Imagine is to choose one’s state of being, and luck is when this preparation meets one of the countless opportunities that arise in life.
Can anyone name the worlds oldest religious texts?
Bahagavida? Good guess, but in written form it isn’t as old as another. The Egyptian tomb texts predate any religious cannon. They even predate the Book of the Dead which was later published. For the Egyptians, life and death weren’t separate things. They were seen as parts of the same cycle, and we actually use a lot of the imagery today that they used, though we forgot its origin.
What composes the human being? Of what are we made?
- Water and trace minerals.
- Energy and matter.
- Ask Carl Sagan he knows.
Good answers, star stuff, but in fact the Egyptian faith wasn’t as otherworldly as we might think. They even had the concept of the skies as being the realm of the departed, basically heaven. In the Egyptian understanding we are made of our bodies which they didn’t actually place a lot of importance on. Our spirits, sort of that primal lightning that first catalyzed the water and trace mineral material into forming DNA, the spirit being called Ka in their language, and thought to be a “double” of the body. More bodily than cerebral really, and the Ba or personality. The Ka was symbolized as a stork, and to what do we often attribute the arrival of babies but to a stork? The Egyptian empire as it was is now long gone, but the Ka was seen as feeding on the essence of what sustains life in our world, as was the Ba. In their view the worlds didn’t really have separate sets of rules.
Also interesting how things are taken too literal in modern times? Indeed, just like a lot of modern religions.
So did you get to heaven by pleasing the gods in the Egyptian belief system? No. The body when alive was considered more like a clay sculpture than your real being, but it was seen that this sculpture needed to be cared for. It was a part of the cycle of life, and in a sense the rites of mummification were not funerary as we know them. The Priest of Anubis who oversaw your mummification was in a sense being midwife to your rebirth in the spirit realm. They saw death as being scary and painful, because isn’t birth scary and painful?
Why preserve the old body? It was seen as transformation. Viewed as the vessel that was necessary to make the transit to the heaven realm, which was actually seen as more like the night sky. It has a name that roughly translates as ‘field of stars‘.
So this was not an immediate process? No, not immediate. They felt that death didn’t exempt you from the cycles of nature. Depending on what text, you had to travel with the sun to the field of heaven or by the “crescent moon” which looked like one of their boats. The powers that governed the earth were still presiding over you, so you could encounter Sobek or Set, dark gods, or more minor forces.
They needed the support of your servants too. They were sometimes buried with them? The sacrifice of living servants was actually old and became sort of out moded in later Egyptian thought. Contrary to popular belief it was often voluntary. Remember my reference to Egyptians seeing the flesh as a vessel?
Wasn’t the soul weighed against a feather? That was when you got the chamber of Osiris, and the ushering entity was Anubis symbolized by a jackal as it would not be uncommon to see a human body being dragged off by jackals at that time. They were carrion eaters as well as predators. So first the Ba would begin its journey, while the Ka or spirit would continue on in its “house” or tomb dwelling in the transformed vessel. But each day the Ba would have to return to its Ka. Thus even in modern thinking we say “they are with us in spirit”. To the Egyptians that was quite literal, and tomb robbery was no different from literal robbery.
The mood of a funeral in that society was different with this belief of the cycle? Yes. When the Ka and Ba were able to unite in the field of stars, they would be reborn as the Akh, a being shown as an Ibis. Having gone through the journey it had achieved perfection. It was only later in Osirian cults that instead it was just to dwell in the offering fields. Osiris was a late comer deity in the Egyptian belief systems.
Your thoughts are welcome. Be well friends.