Thoth and Horus entombing Osiris: Kom Ombo TempleAncient Egyptians believed the purpose of life was to nourish the seeds of the divine within us all. They thought if a person or god is successful in this and passes the test of the Tuat, or Underworld, and the Weighing of the Heart, the reward is eternal life with the gods. They believed that a person cannot succeed in life without conscious application of the metaphysical faculty (the mind symbolized by the heart) with the physical faculty (action symbolized by the tongue). If a person failed in his or her life, that is, if their actions were not harmonious with nature, they would reincarnate to earth in order to try again, after being evaluated by Anubis and Thoth in Tuat (Gadalla 1-3). A person did not meet Osiris unless he or she had proven him/herself by passing this test as being in harmony with Maat, or order and justice (Kinnaer 2).

The Egyptians produced maps of this world and other worlds, such as Paradise and Tuat, which they left in the tombs of Pharaohs to guide them after death. The ancient Egyptians viewed the afterlife as a continuation of their life on earth (Budge 168). If a person passed the Weighing of the Heart, their bliss was to join the train of Ra and the neteru in the Fields of Hotep, or "Fields of Offerings" (also called the "Elysian Fields"). There, the noble man could live an endless life of peace, grow crops "as high as a man" with numerous canals full of water, and "bread and beer of eternity," which would never grow stale (Bibby 1-3, Budge 165). "In every division of the Elysian Fields the deceased... found some fresh material pleasure, but the heaven of the Egyptians was better and purer than that of many more modern nations which are credited with higher intelligence and better civilizations" (Budge 169).

The Book of the Heavens explained Ra's reasoning for creating Tuat and Heaven. In the beginning, it was always daytime and gods lived with humans on earth. This was paradise. However, the humans rebelled against the sun god, who was growing old. Ra then sent Tefnut (or the Eye of Ra) in the form of a cobra to punish them, but the rebellious humans destroyed Ra's sacred uraeus with fire. Ra was merciful on them and deceived Hathor into letting some of the humans live. He then arranged Tuat and heaven as it is and left earth on the back of the celestial cow (Crystal 9).

Bibby, Miriam. "Mapping the Afterlife: Ancient Egypt Magazine." "Ancient Egypt: The History, People and Culture of the Nile Valley." July 2001. http://www.ancientegyptmagazine.com/mapping_afterlife_07.htm

Budge, E. A. Wallis. "Chapter IV: The Companions of the Gods in Heaven." The Gods of the Egyptians, Vol. 1 New York: Dover Publications Inc. 1969.

Crystal, Ellie. "Book of the Heavens: Ancient Egyptian Texts." 2004. http://www.crystalinks.com/egyptexts.html

Gadalla, Moustafa. "Egyptians: The Most Religious." Tehuti Research Foundation. 2004. http://www.egypt-tehuti.org/religion.html

Kinnaer, Jacques. "Anubis: Gods and Religion in Ancient Egypt." 2004. http://www.ancient-egypt.org/glossary/religion/anubis.html

 

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