The Afterlife In Egypt

What was the ancient Egyptian afterlife like and why do the ancient Egyptians put so much effort into getting there? The ancient Egyptians had what might seem to us very strange and complex beliefs about what life after death was like and how to prepare for it. So what was the point of it all? The point was in fact not to obsess over death but rather to overcome it and be able to live on forever in what we now call the afterlife. You need to know about the ancient Egyptian afterlife to understand why they spent so much time and money preparing for it. There was no one single accepted idea of what the afterlife was like this might seem like the weirdest part of all, but the ancient Egyptians had many different interpretations and ideas about religious concepts such as the afterlife. Some traditional beliefs were certainly more popular in some places and in some time periods than others, but the ancient Egyptians seem to have had no issues at all with there being varying viewpoints on these topics. The afterlife could mean living among the gods, the Sun and the stars in the sky. This idea was especially common for kings but it expanded to more people over time. In this version of the afterlife the person could live among the stars, hang out with the moon-god or even ride in the Sun God's boat. Which the Sun used to travel through the sky during the day and then through the underworld during the night.

The afterlife could mean living in an even better version of ancient Egyptian rural life forever, you could think of this version of the ancient Egyptian afterlife as a type of paradise. But you won't find any angels sitting on clouds here instead this place which was often called the field of reeds by the ancient Egyptians was much like life in ancient Egypt before death only better. This location was ruled by the god Osiris and was sometimes envisioned as being under the earth or and at other times was thought of as being up above the sky. This version of the afterlife could include things like being reunited with your family, eating, drinking but it also potentially included having to work. To make the afterlife even better than the first life and to avoid this type of physical labor the ancient Egyptians planned ahead, they often included in their burials small figurines of workers who could take their place if they were called to work in the afterlife. However before they went to the field of reeds a number of things had to happen firstly they had to die obviously then they had to be made into a mummy.

The Egyptians believed that their bodies needed to be preserved in order to survive the journey to the afterlife. A death mask was placed on them so that they would be recognized in the afterlife, they were placed into a coffin with a variety of amulets and lucky charms. The book of the dead was placed in the coffin too, spells in here would be useful in the afterlife. Then there was a funeral where lots of offerings were made, finally the body was placed in a Sarcophagus. It's at this point that the soul was recognized by the underworld and the body was raised in order to embark on its journey to the afterlife. However it wasn't that easy there was a huge test ahead, priests, family members. mourners and embalmers had done all they could to help the body on its way. Now it was the body's turn, firstly the body had to survive a boat voyage on a long and perilous journey through the dark gloomy waters of the underworld. The waters traveled on was called the river of death the pheromone on the boat and the guide himself would be anubis. On the way the body would be blocked by various evil spirits, lakes of fire, and deadly snakes. The body was buried with the Book of death that contains lots of spells that would now come in handy eventually the body would arrive at the hall of judgment it's at this place where it would see Osiris himself. Yet this wasn't the end, every person earned their place in the field of reeds by doing good deeds while the body was alive the better the deeds you did the lighter your heart became. If the heart was not light it would not be allowed to go to the field of reeds, so anubis would take the heart and weigh it against a feather. The life of the body was then judged by osiris himself depending on how the heart weighed, if the heart was heavier than the feather this meant that the body was full of wickedness and the heart was gobbled up by a monster. The soul was then lost forever if however the heart was light as the feather the body was full of goodness and could enter the field of reeds and have eternal joy. The two main versions of the afterlife that I've described here may seem to conflict with each other, but because the ancient Egyptians believed that every person had multiple parts to them that's separated after death people could conceivably be in many places at once. Therefore you might be in your tomb in the field of reeds with Osiris and in the Sun God's boat all at the same time.

07 July 2022
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