Rediscover Ancient Egypt
with Tehuti Research Foundation
Last Updated: 13-Sep-2004
Egyptians: The Most Religious
The Greek historian Herodotus (500 BCE) stated:
Of all the nations of the world, the Egyptians are the happiest, healthiest and most religious.
The excellent condition of the Egyptians was attributed to their application of metaphysical realities in their daily lifeâ€” in other wordsâ€” total cosmic consciousness. As above, so below, and as below, so above.
The scenes of daily activities, found inside Egyptian tombs, show a strong perpetual correlation between the earth and heavens. The scenes provide graphical representation of all manner of activities: hunting, fishing, agriculture, law courts, and all kinds of arts and crafts. Portraying these daily activities, in the presence of the neteru (gods) or with their assistance, signifies their cosmic correspondence.
Every action, no matter how mundane, was in some sense a cosmic correspondence act: plowing, sowing, reaping, brewing, the sizing of a beer mug, building ships, waging wars, playing gamesâ€”all were viewed as earthly symbols for divine activities.
In Egypt, what we now call religion, was so widely acknowledged that it did not even need a name. For them, there was no perceived difference between sacred and mundane. All their knowledge that was based on cosmic consciousness was embedded into their daily practices, which became traditions.
In the Beginning
Every Egyptian creation text begins with the same basic belief that before the beginning of things, there was a liquidy primeval abyssâ€”everywhere, endless, and without boundaries or directions. Egyptians called this cosmic ocean/watery chaos, Nu/Ny/Nunâ€”the unpolarized state of matter.
Scientists agree with the Ancient Egyptian description of the origin of the universe as being an abyss. Scientists refer to this abyss as neutron soup, where there are neither electrons nor protons, and only neutrons forming one huge extremely dense nucleus. Such chaos, in the pre-creation state, was caused by the compression of matter, i.e. atoms did not exist in their normal states, but were squeezed so closely together, that many atomic nuclei were crowded into a space previously occupied by a single normal atom. Under such conditions, the electrons of these atoms were squeezed out of their orbits and move about freely (a degenerate state).
For the deeply religious people of Egypt, the creation of the universe was not a physical event (Big Bang) that just happened. It was an orderly event that was pre-planned and executed according to an orderly Divine Law that governs the physical and metaphysical worlds.
Egyptian creation texts repeatedly stress the belief of creation by the Word. When nothing existed except the One, he created the universe with his commanding voice. The Egyptian Book of the Coming Forth by Light (wrongly and commonly translated as the Book of the Dead), the oldest written text in the world, states:
I am the Eternal ... I am that which created the Word ... I am the Word ...
In Ancient Egypt, the words of Ra, revealed through Tehuti (equivalent to Hermes or Mercury), became the things and creatures of this world, i.e. the words (meaning sound waves) created the forms in the universe.
We find that in the Book of the Divine Cow (found in the shrines of Tut-Ankh-Amen), Ra creates the heavens and its hosts merely by pronouncing some words whose sound alone evokes the names of thingsâ€”and these things then appear at his bidding. As its name is pronounced, so the thing comes into being. For the name is a reality, the thing itself. In other words, each particular sound has/is its corresponding form.
Our Purpose on Earth
According to the Egyptian philosophy, man is born mortal but contains within himself the seed of the divine. His purpose in this life is to nourish that seed, and his reward, if successful, is eternal life, where he will reunite with his divine origin.
The essence of the Egyptian metaphysical beliefs is that man is created to accomplish a specific role, within the grand cosmic scheme. According to Egyptian traditions, one cannot succeed in earthly life merely by default. One must use his metaphysical faculty (mind symbolized by the heart) and his physical faculty (action symbolized by the tongue). These actions will be in agreement or at variance with natural harmony. If during his/her earthly life, the actions are not harmonious with nature, s/he will reincarnate again to the earthly realm, to try another time.
At the end of oneâ€™s earthly existence, a performance evaluation will determine his/her fate.
In a book of instructions, an Egyptian King advised his son, the prince, to attain the highest qualities, because upon his death, he would see his whole lifetime in a single instant, and his performance on earth would be reviewed and evaluated by the judges. Even as far back as the period of the 6th Dynasty [4300 years ago], we find the idea that heaven was reserved for those who had performed their duty to man and to the Divine Powers while on earth. No exceptions were made to a King or anyone else.
For example, the Pharaoh Unas (2323 BCE), before he was ready to fly from earth into heaven, was not allowed to start unless the neteru (who were about to help him) were satisfied as to the reality of his moral worth. They demanded that no man should have uttered a word against him on earth, and that no complaint should have been made against him in heaven before the neteru (gods). Accordingly, in the text of Unas we read:
Unas hath not been spoken against on earth before men, he hath not been accused of sin in heaven before the neteru (gods).
As stated earlier, Ancient Egyptians expressed their metaphysical beliefs in a story form, like a sacred drama or a mystery play. The following are the Egyptiansâ€™ symbolic representations of the process of the Judgment Day Mystery Play.
1. The soul of the deceased is led to the Hall of Judgment of the Double-Ma-at. She is double because the scale balances only when there is an equality of opposing forces. Ma-atâ€™s symbol is the ostrich feather, representing judgment or truth. Her feather is customarily mounted on the scales.
2. Anbu (Anubis), as opener of the way, guides the deceased to the scales and weighs the heart.
The heart, as a metaphor for conscience, is weighed against the feather of truth, to determine the fate of the deceased.
3. The seated Grand Ancestorâ€”Ausar (Osiris)â€”presides in the Hall of Justice. The jury consists of 42 judges/assessors. Each judge has a specific jurisdiction over a specific sin or fault; each wears a feather of truth on his/her head.
4. The spirit of the deceased denies committing each sin/fault before its assigned judge, by reciting the 42 Negative Confessions. These Negative Confessions come from Chapter CXXV of The Book of the Coming Forth by Light (commonly known as The Book of the Dead).
The assigned juror/judge will declare his/her acceptance by declaring Maa-Kheru (True of Voice/Action).
Here is a translation of the 42 Negative Confessions. Some of them may seem repetitive, but this is caused by the inability to translate the exact intent and meaning of the original language.
1. I have not done iniquity.
2. I have not robbed with violence.
3. I have not stolen.
4. I have done no murder; I have done no harm.
5. I have not defrauded offerings.
6. I have not diminished obligations.
7. I have not plundered the neteru.
8. I have not spoken lies.
9. I have not uttered evil words.
10. I have not caused pain.
11. I have not committed fornication.
12. I have not caused shedding of tears.
13. I have not dealt deceitfully.
14. I have not transgressed.
15. I have not acted guilefully.
16. I have not laid waste the ploughed land.
17. I have not been an eavesdropper.
18. I have not set my lips in motion (against any man).
19. I have not been angry and wrathful except for a just cause.
20. I have not defiled the wife of any man.
21. I have not been a man of anger.
22. I have not polluted myself.
23. I have not caused terror.
24. I have not burned with rage.
25. I have not stopped my ears against the words of Right and Truth. (Ma-at)
26. I have not worked grief.
27. I have not acted with insolence.
28. I have not stirred up strife.
29. I have not judged hastily.
30. I have not sought for distinctions.
31. I have not multiplied words exceedingly.
32. I have not done neither harm nor ill.
33. I have not cursed the King. (i.e. violation of laws)
34. I have not fouled the water.
35. I have not spoken scornfully.
36. I have never cursed the neteru.
37. I have not stolen.
38. I have not defrauded the offerings of the neteru.
39. I have not plundered the offerings of the blessed dead.
40. I have not filched the food of the infant.
41. I have not sinned against the neter of my native town.
42. I have not slaughtered with evil intent the cattle of the neter.
5. Tehuti (Thoth), scribe of the neteru (gods), records the verdict, as Anbu (Anubis) weighs the heart against the feather of truth. The outcome is either:
* If the pans are not balanced, this means that this person lived simply as matter. As a result, Amam (Ammit) would eat this heart. Amam is a protean crossbreed.
The unperfected soul will be reborn again (reincarnated) in a new physical vehicle (body), in order to provide the soul an opportunity for further development on earth. This cycle of life/death/renewal continues until the soul is perfected, by fulfilling the 42 Negative Confessions, during his life on earth.
* If the two pans are perfectly balanced, Ausar gives favorable judgment, and gives his final Maa-Kheru (True of Voice).
The perfected soul will go through the process of transformation and the subsequent rebirth. The outcome of his/her evaluation will determine which heavenly level (2-6) a person reaches.