During Pharaonic era, there was a religious book that described afterlife entitled “Imy Duat”; which means what exists in the other world.
This book was also called the hidden chamber: the tomb.
The Egyptian archaeologist Dr.Zahi Hawass stated that the book copies were found in different places in Egypt.
The books have slight differences but the number and arrangement of amulets indicate they all have the same original text.
Some similar books were found to describe the other world like “The 2 Ways”, “The Celestial Cow”, “The Gates” and “The Caves”.
According to the books, after a person dies and he is buried in his tomb, within 12 hours, he crosses through the other world by a boat.
During this journey, the sun sits on the boat beside the dead body.
Book of the dead
At every hour, the boat passes through an enormous gate guarded by a huge snake.
Both the boat and the dead body should know names of the gates and snakes beside the necessary magic spells to be able to pass all the gates and continue the journey.
According to ancient Egyptians, the sun resembles the human beings and has 3 successive stages; childhood, youth and oldness.
When the sun rises, it was called “Khebry”; which means the newborn scarab and at noon it’s called “Ra”; which is the full glowing sun disc.
Texts of the Book of the dead
At sunset it turns out to be “Atum”; which means an old man, or “Iuef Re”; which means Ra’s meat as the sun’s color at this moments turns out to be red like meat.
All the dead wished to be brought back to life again and enjoy eternity like the sun.
Back to the 12-hours- journey, the most important hour is the fifth one; when God Osiris convene a trial to determine the fate of the dead
After this crucial trial, the dead either go to eternal heaven or hell. The heaven, where people with good deeds will stay forever, was called “Iru fields” while the hell is a place where evil people stay forever.
Regarding the trial scene; God Osiris sits on the throne and the balance with its two pans is put in front of him.
In one of the two pans, there’s a feather of justice; which is known as “Maat”. In the corresponding pan, the heart of the dead person is placed. If the heart pan is heavier than the feather pan, the dead person crosses safely to the afterlife and vice versa.
Horus; son of God Osiris is there in every trial to give a helping hand to the dead person; whether man or woman.
The Papyrus of Ani
The most interesting thing is that ancient Egyptians considered the heart as the main source of actions apart from the brain.
This is similar among contemporary Egyptians who always say in their day-to-day conversation that someone has a white kind heart or black evil heart.
It’s remarkable that ancient Egyptians were keen on being kind and fair during their life in order to pass the trial successfully.
Contributed by Salma Yassin
Trial of the dead