Ancient Egyptians Afterlife Essay

2273 words - 10 pages

Ancient Egyptian history encompasses the beliefs and rituals followed in Egypt for over three thousand years until the establishment of Coptic Christianity and Islam. The ancient Egyptians had a highly developed view of the afterlife. They considered death to be a stage to the next life. They followed elaborate set of burial rituals for preparing the body and soul for an eternal life after death. These beliefs about the afterlife were heavily focused on the preservation of the body, and this is why embalming and mummification was practiced, to preserve one’s identity in afterlife.
The Egyptians celebrated a very sound relationship with the faith, and gods. All kings (pharaohs) were ...view middle of the document...

Of all these facets, the ka and ba were the two most important ones. The Egyptians considered the soul to be an intangible essence associate with the life or breath of a person. At the time of the death, the ba was considered to leave the body. Portraits of ba as human-headed birds leaving the body have been found on the walls of the tombs. The ka, on the other hand, assumed an independent but similar looking identity after the death, still requiring food and other utilities for sustenance. A person's tomb was called the het ka, the "house of the ka," suggesting that the Egyptians not only considered the ka an essential aspect of a human being, but understood that a provision for it, as well as for the physical body, must be made at the time of death. Thus it was the ka with began the cult of the dead, for it was the ka that all the offerings of food and material possessions were made (Historical Egypt).
Osiris was considered to be the god of resurrection, the judge of the life after death. Their belief was that the deceased has to appear in from of Osiris, and account for his sins. Osiris, along with 42 other divine judges, would balance the life of the deceased on a large balance, with the heart of deceased, and feather of the truth. Should the feather outweigh his or her heart, a monstrous creature would devour the dead. In those instances when the heart outweighed the feather the deceased was permitted to proceed to the Fields of Aalu, the world, where the gods lived. Because humans were the offspring of the gods, the Fields of Aalu offered an eternal association and loving companionship with the deities.
The Egyptians rituals made arrangements for the greatest care of preserving the body upon death, as it was seen as a center of individual manifestation. The body was carefully embalmed and mummified and placed in a coffin. Furthermore, they believed that the dead could take a number of items to help them in the afterlife, and placed all the utensils that a living person might need on a long journey, together with day-to-day articles, vessels for water and food, and weapons and hunting equipment to protect against robbers and to provide food once the initial supply was depleted. The dead was buried in a manner to prevent decomposition, originally they used hot sand wrapped in reed mats, which caused the remains to dry quickly. Later, subterraneous tombs came into fashion. The process of mummification was approximately developed around the fourth dynasty, mostly for the kings. The process of mummification involved removal of inner organs including the liver, lungs, stomach and intestines (as those are more vulnerable to decaying) through an incision in abdomen using a rock knife. The brain was scooped out through a nostril after breaking the thin bone encasing it. The heart, however, was left intact for it was thought to be the home of the ba. An individual without a heart in the afterlife in essence, did not exist as Egyptians believed...

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