Hey guys. So this post might seem a little late, considering we have learnt about mummification wayy back in the past. Regardless, we have observed that most of what we know about Mummification comes from Herodotus. While he was pretty accurate with his observations, he was not as invested as the Egyptians on the topic of mummification. To Herodotus, it was more about the process than the meaning to it. In reality, this is a HUGE part in Egyptian culture. So, we have decided to use Pharaoh Tutankhamen as our fictional spirit guide into his own mummification. King Tut, as if you may please?
Greetings peasants, I am King Tutankhamen, son of Akhenaten, Ruler of both the Upper and Lower Egypt. During my reign I have freed my people from the cursed religious reforms of my father, Pharaoh Akhenaten. It is most unfortunate that the gods have cursed me for my father's sins, inflicting upon me a curse onto my left foot. Though I was in excruciating pain most of the time, I stand by the gods for my people. Alas, my life was to come at an end at the age of 19. 19!
That's a pretty crappy life I lead, isn't it?
As a boy king, I had a lot of responsibility placed on my shoulders you know. I had to lead my people, rule my country, I was the chosen one, the one closest to god! Believe me, maintaining Ma’at all the time was a lot harder than it looked.
Err ... what is Ma'at? You're joking right?
You would think they would teach this in class these days ... I mean, look at you, sitting behind your magical steel tablets of light and sound, ignorant of what is to come. Come, before the sun sets, let me tell you more about the afterlife and the burial practices of my people.
Ma'at is our concept of truth. Our concept of law, Our concept of both morality and justice. You see, my people believe that the afterlife is a continuation of your previous mortal existence. Your soul consists of five parts: the Ren, Ba, Ka, Sheut and Ib.Your body and your soul must be maintained if you were to enjoy the afterlife.
Oh The Field of Reeds is an amazing place. It is a place where the pure of heart live on for an eternity. Over here you have no illnesses, no death, no sadness, there is only beauty and eternal peace. It is a world just like yours! You walk amongst the lands of which you once loved, in a place you once knew, just a lot more happy and a lot less, well, starvation, slavery and monument building. I’m sure you know what I mean, but I digress.
So there I was, watching my own servants carry my already limp body towards a tent we called the ‘ibu’. It was known as the place of purification, it was where we purified the dead. My body was about to be preserved, mummified, made ready, for the journey into the afterlife.
It was strange, watching the embalmers rinse my body with palm wine and water from the Nile. I always wondered how I looked from the eyes of another, and I must admit, I didn’t give myself enough credit from when I was alive.
One of the guys then made an incision on the left side of my body and began to pull out intestines, guts, basically most of my internal organs. My liver, lungs and stomach were then washed and packed in Natron, a salt found along our riverbeds. This Natron(natrum) dries up and preserves the organs before they are to be placed in canopic jars. Then my heart was placed along my throat, in situ, so that it is protected, and I don’t die a second time.
I watched the embalmers stuff the empty shell of my body with more Natron before my brain was hooked out through my nose and disposed of.
After 40 long days, my body was then washed again with water from the Nile. I watched them stuff my body with sawdust, leaves and more linen in an effort to try to restore my body to its former glory. My head and neck were then wrapped in linen and they gradually worked down my body, placing amulets in between layers of wrapping to better protect my new self.
As the priest chanted the last of the protection prayers, he placed a Papyrus scroll between my already wrapped hands, in it contained spells and incantations that would best guide me through the afterlife.
Several layers of linen wrapping later, a ritual known as the ‘opening of the mouth’ was performed so as to free my soul, ‘Ba’, from the confines of my mortal body.
Just as I was watching the priests and servants gingerly place my sarcophagus in my offering-packed tomb, I suddenly found myself in the magnificent court of the Two Ma’ats.
The seemingly endless walls in the great court were adorned with gold that glistened brighter than a thousand suns. Bejeweled scarabs peppered the shimmering golden walls as I was led to kneel before God Anubis and the full tribunal of forty-two divine deities. Upon reciting my negative confession, declaring myself to be pure and free of offense, my Ib, or my heart, was then place on a scale. On the other end of the scale, lay a feather, from the Goddess of Ma’at.
This was it! it was either eternal life or instant damnation, complete elimination of your existence and your soul. I watched in silence as the scales gradually tipped in my favor, my Ib was deemed to be lighter than the feather. Thank goodness I did more good than bad in my short time as King. All the effort put into the mummification of my body would have gone to waste had my soul been deemed evil and devoured instantly by the fiendish crocodile-head demon Ammut. shudder
I began to I feel my entire being fill up with an ever-familiar warmth which I later discovered to be my ‘Ka’, my life force. The moment I was judged to be pure of heart, my ‘Ba’ and my ‘Ka’ reunited with one another and I became an Akh, a citizen of the afterlife, a spirit. I returned to my body a brand new and complete entity.
The afterlife is an amazing place, my friends! Each night, after the sun sets in your realm, it descends into the underworld, Duat. While in Duat, the sun would meet with the mummified Osiris and the presence of one another is enough to fuel them with the energy needed, to rise again the next day. The afterlife is modeled after this relationship. Every night, the ‘Ba’ enters the burial tomb just like the sun and reunites with the body. Every morning, it leaves the body to reunite with the ‘Ka’.
And there you have it! A glimpse into what awaits you at the end of your mortal existence! My time on this dimensional plane is coming to an end once again. Farewell young ones! I hope that I’ll be seeing your faces amongst the Field of Reeds!
Done by: Yong Quan, Mariam and Terry