The Ancient Egyptians have cropped up a lot during my research on Heaven but I shouldn’t be surprised about that. They are the forerunners of so many things, their thoughts and work still visible today. Yet, my knowledge is limited to three things – the pyramids as burial chambers, sucking out the brain through the nose of a dead person and mummification, and cats. Although I cannot recall the significance of cats.
Ancient Egyptians believed that to have everlasting life after death they needed both a sound soul (Ka) and physical body (Ba) which were in perfect balance with each other. It was vital that an individual was intact at death if they were to go to paradise, hence the elaborate embalming rituals that many peace must automatically think about when someone mentions the Ancient Egyptians. I wonder what they would think of the development of science and medicine that has enabled blood transfusions and organ donations?
In a way, there is a perception that death is the easy bit, but a lot of my research so far has shown me that this is perhaps the hardest part of our journey. For the Ancient Egyptians this certainly seems to be the case, and it is why they had texts like ‘The Book of the Dead’ in order to guide them on their journey.
Firstly a person had to travel through the underworld (Tuat, said to be on the dark side of the moon). Here Anubis would weigh their heart to judge whether Ka and Ba were sound and in balance. If a person had been excessively bad, Ammit ‘Eater of the Dead’ would eat their heart and they would be reincarnated to try again.If not they would be put to test in Tuat. Should they fail, their Ka and Ba would die and they would be reincarnated on earth. Only worthy devotees would be rewarded with eternal life with the gods. Known as the Elysian Fields there they could live an endless life of peace and purity with a neverending, never dying supply of crops and water.
As for cats, fully domesticated cats in Egypt originated around 2000BC where they were also worshipped as deities. The Goddess Bast was represented as a cat and her roles included fertility, the moon and protector of all cats. Hence the punishment for killing a cat was death and so revered were they by the Ancient Egyptians that they too were mummified.