Rituals Of Life After Death In Ancient Egyptian Culture

Decent Essays
What happens to one after death? This timeless question is something civilization has been striving to answer dating back hundreds, if not thousands of years. When looking at ancient cultures such as the Egyptians, it is interesting to note that their myths and the rituals they performed surrounding the dead center around the premise of life continuing after death. The idea that the life that one lives in their earthly form is but a piece of the journey, and as Joseph Campbell put it, “Out of death comes life (221).” The myth of the god Osiris, the God of Death, is one that is woven into the very fabric of the Egyptian culture with rituals of mummification and the burial process itself are all designed to ensure entry into the Duat.…show more content…
First, priests set to work to remove all the internal organs from the body, except for the heart, including removing the brain through the nose with a specialized instrument. Next, the stomach, liver, lungs, and intestine were placed in special jars known as canopic jars, to await burial. Lastly, removed all moisture, and meticulously wrapped the body. This was all part of the burial ritual, part of preparing the body for the Afterlife. The Egyptians firmly believed that each part had to be followed to the letter, in order to gain access to the Duat. One thing, which the Egyptians were concerned about was that the heart staying intact, often wrapping a sacred amulet or heart scarab with the mummy believing this would help in the event something happened to the heart. Additionally, spells were often cast on the amulets to prevent the heart from testifying against the dead in front of Osiris, as discussed in the piece “Weighing of the Heart”. All of this work was done in preparation for Judgment Day before Osiris. With this in mind, the idea that an entity is waiting in death to pass judgment upon the deeds that someone commits in this life to determine whether one is worthy of a blissful afterlife, is a common myth that can be seen in other religions and cultures as well. As Marie Parsons, writer for Tour Egypt details, at the funeral, the priests performed the special rites of the “Opening of the Mouth” ritual. The priest would “open” certain parts of the body, such as the mouth to eat, talk, breathe, and ears to hear, that the dead would need , not only in the Afterlife, but also to allow them to watch over their family and enjoy the offering left behind at the tomb each day. For example, part of the ritual was translated
Get Access