The 42 Divine Principles of Ma’at

Ma’at

Ma’at is the ancient Egyptian goddess of truth, justice, harmony, and balance who first appears during the period known as the Old Kingdom (c. 2613 – 2181 BCE) but almost assuredly existed in some form earlier.

The purpose of ma’at (law/justice/truth) among the Ancient Egyptian people of Upper and Lower Egypt was to divert chaos. Known as the principles of Ma’at or the Negative Confessions.

42 Divine Principles of Ma’at Simplified

  1. I have not committed sin.
  2. I have not committed robbery with violence.
  3. I have not stolen.
  4. I have not slain men or women.
  5. I have not stolen food.
  6. I have not swindled offerings.
  7. I have not stolen from God/Goddess.
  8. I have not told lies.
  9. I have not carried away food.
  10. I have not cursed.
  11. I have not closed my ears to truth.
  12. I have not committed adultery.
  13. I have not made anyone cry.
  14. I have not felt sorrow without reason.
  15. I have not assaulted anyone.
  16. I am not deceitful.
  17. I have not stolen anyone’s land.
  18. I have not been an eavesdropper.
  19. I have not falsely accused anyone.
  20. I have not been angry without reason.
  21. I have not seduced anyone’s wife.
  22. I have not polluted myself.
  23. I have not terrorized anyone.
  24. I have not disobeyed the Law.
  25. I have not been exclusively angry.
  26. I have not cursed God/Goddess.
  27. I have not behaved with violence.
  28. I have not caused disruption of peace.
  29. I have not acted hastily or without thought.
  30. I have not overstepped my boundaries of concern.
  31. I have not exaggerated my words when speaking.
  32. I have not worked evil.
  33. I have not used evil thoughts, words or deeds.
  34. I have not polluted the water.
  35. I have not spoken angrily or arrogantly.
  36. I have not cursed anyone in thought, word or deeds.
  37. I have not placed myself on a pedestal.
  38. I have not stolen what belongs to God/Goddess.
  39. I have not stolen from or disrespected the deceased.
  40. I have not taken food from a child.
  41. I have not acted with insolence.
  42. I have not destroyed property belonging to God/Goddess

The Negative Confessions Of The Papyrus of Ani

Hail, Usekh-nemmt, who comest forth from Anu, I have not committed sin.

Hail, Hept-khet, who comest forth from Kher-aha, I have not committed robbery with violence.

Hail, Fenti, who comest forth from Khemenu, I have not stolen.

Hail, Am-khaibit, who comest forth from Qernet, I have not slain men and women.

Hail, Neha-her, who comest forth from Rasta, I have not stolen grain.

Hail, Ruruti, who comest forth from heaven, I have not purloined offerings.

Hail, Arfi-em-khet, who comest forth from Suat, I have not stolen the property of God.

Hail, Neba, who comest and goest, I have not uttered lies.

Hail, Set-qesu, who comest forth from Hensu, I have not carried away food.

Hail, Utu-nesert, who comest forth from Het-ka-Ptah, I have not uttered curses.

Hail, Qerrti, who comest forth from Amentet, I have not committed adultery, I have not lain with men.

Hail, Her-f-ha-f, who comest forth from thy cavern, I have made none to weep.

Hail, Basti, who comest forth from Bast, I have not eaten the heart.

Hail, Ta-retiu, who comest forth from the night, I have not attacked any man.

Hail, Unem-snef, who comest forth from the execution chamber, I am not a man of deceit.

Hail, Unem-besek, who comest forth from Mabit, I have not stolen cultivated land.

Hail, Neb-Maat, who comest forth from Maati, I have not been an eavesdropper.

Hail, Tenemiu, who comest forth from Bast, I have not slandered [no man].

Hail, Sertiu, who comest forth from Anu, I have not been angry without just cause.

Hail, Tutu, who comest forth from Ati, I have not debauched the wife of any man.

Hail, Uamenti, who comest forth from the Khebt chamber, I have not debauched the wife of [any] man.

Hail, Maa-antuf, who comest forth from Per-Menu, I have not polluted myself.

Hail, Her-uru, who comest forth from Nehatu, I have terrorized none.

Hail, Khemiu, who comest forth from Kaui, I have not transgressed [the law].

Hail, Shet-kheru, who comest forth from Urit, I have not been wroth.

Hail, Nekhenu, who comest forth from Heqat, I have not shut my ears to the words of truth.

Hail, Kenemti, who comest forth from Kenmet, I have not blasphemed.

Hail, An-hetep-f, who comest forth from Sau, I am not a man of violence.

Hail, Sera-kheru, who comest forth from Unaset, I have not been a stirrer up of strife.

Hail, Neb-heru, who comest forth from Netchfet, I have not acted with undue haste.

Hail, Sekhriu, who comest forth from Uten, I have not pried into matters.

Hail, Neb-abui, who comest forth from Sauti, I have not multiplied my words in speaking.

Hail, Nefer-Tem, who comest forth from Het-ka-Ptah, I have wronged none, I have done no evil.

Hail, Tem-Sepu, who comest forth from Tetu, I have not worked witchcraft against the king.

Hail, Ari-em-ab-f, who comest forth from Tebu, I have never stopped [the flow of] water.

Hail, Ahi, who comest forth from Nu, I have never raised my voice.

Hail, Uatch-rekhit, who comest forth from Sau, I have not cursed God.

Hail, Neheb-ka, who comest forth from thy cavern, I have not acted with arrogance.

Hail, Neheb-nefert, who comest forth from thy cavern, I have not stolen the bread of the gods.

Hail, Tcheser-tep, who comest forth from the shrine, I have not carried away the khenfu cakes from the Spirits of the dead.

Hail, An-af, who comest forth from Maati, I have not snatched away the bread of the child, nor treated with contempt the god of my city.

Hail, Hetch-abhu, who comest forth from Ta-she, I have not slain the cattle belonging to the god.

Thoth: God of Scribes

Moon-god presiding over scribes and knowledge.

Thoth or ‘Djeheuty’ in Ancient Egyptian – can be represented under two forms:

~ Sacred ibis (a large wading bird with a long down-curved bill, long neck, and long legs.)

~ Baboon

Thoth as ‘lord of the sacred words’ gave to the Egyptians the knowledge of how to write by picture symbols, hieroglyphs could always possess a magical force. Scribes regarded themselves as ‘followers of Thoth’. They were a privileged class and, according to one hymn to Thoth, the eye of the baboon watched out for scribes who abused their skill by applying it to illicit self-gain.

Thoth represented to the Egyptians the embodiment of all scientific and literary attainments, being in command of all ‘the sacred books in the house of life’. The house of life was a revered resource centre accessible only to scribes, containing a wealth of knowledge on papyri under the protection of Thoth. Examples were medical manuals, mathematical problems and instructional documents on social etiquette. The idea of Thoth transmitting wisdom, too secret for profane eyes, to a few initiates (notably to scribes in charge of temple libraries) comes across in the Middle Kingdom story set centuries before in the reign of King Khufu (Dynasty IV) about a magician called Djedi: Djedi knows the number of the secret chambers in the sanctuary of Thoth, powerful knowledge not even possessed by the pharaoh himself.

Source: George Hart. “The Routledge Dictionary of Egyptian Gods & Goddesses 2nd Edition.” 2005.

Sekhmet

Sekhmet was a powerful war goddess of Egypt, the destroyer of pharaoh’s enemies, called “She Who Is Powerful.” Sekhmet was a lioness deity, the consort of Ptah and the mother of Nefertem and Imhotep in Memphis. A daughter of the god Re, Sekhmet struck at evildoers and spread plagues. She also healed the righteous. Her clergy- men were physicians and magicians.


Sekhmet had a popular role among the rulers of Egypt, as she was believed to bring about the conception of the pharaohs. In the form of a cobra she was called Mehen, and she possibly came from Nubia (modern Sudan) in the early eras. She was also called the “Eye of Re.”

Her statues normally depicted her as a woman with a lion’s head, and at times she wore a sun disk on her head. In this form she was a warrior manifestation of the sun, causing flames to devour the enemies of Egypt. In some eras, the gates of Sekhmet’s temples were opened as a signal of the onset of a military campaign. Amenehmet III (1844–1797 B.C.E.) included 700 statues of Sekhmet in his mortuary temple in Dashur.

Source: Margaret R. Bunson, “Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt.” 2002.

Samhain: The Lore of Halloween

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History

Samhain is a pagan religious festival originating from ancient Celtic spiritual tradition. In modern times, Samhain, a Gaelic word pronounced “sow-win”, is usually celebrated from October 31 to November 1 to welcome in the harvest and usher in the dark half of the year. The barriers between the physical world and the spirit world (the veil) break down during Samhain, allowing more interaction between humans and denizens of the Otherworld.

Ancient Celts marked Samhain as the most significant of the four quarterly fire festivals.  After the harvest work was complete, celebrants joined with Druid priests to light a community fire using a wheel that would cause friction and spark flames. The wheel was considered a representation of the sun and used along with prayers. Cattle were sacrificed, and participants took a flame from the communal bonfire back to their home to relight the hearth.

 

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Christianity attempted to reframe Samhain as a Christian celebration The first attempt was by Pope Boniface in the 5th century. He moved the celebration to May 13 and specified it as a day celebrating saints and martyrs. The fire festivals of October and November, however, did not end with this decree.  In the 9th century, Pope Gregory moved the celebration back to the time of the fire festivals, but declared it All Saints’ Day, on November 1. All Souls’ Day would follow on November 2.

Neither new holiday did away with the pagan aspects of the celebration. October 31 became known as All Hallows Eve, or Halloween, and contained much of the traditional pagan practices. Trick-or-treating derives from ancient Irish and Scottish practices in the nights leading up to Samhain. In Ireland, mumming was the practice of putting on costumes, going door-to-door and singing songs to the dead. Cakes were given as payment.

Wicca Today

A broad revival of Samhain resembling its traditional pagan form began in the 1980’s.  Wicca celebration of Samhain run the gamut from the traditional fire ceremonies to celebrations that embrace many aspects of modern Halloween, as well as activities related to honoring nature or ancestors.  Wiccans look at Samhain as the passing of the year, and incorporate common Wiccan traditions into the celebration.

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Celtic Deconstructionists Today

Samhain is often called Oiche Shamnhna and celebrates the mating between Tuatha de Danaan gods Dagda and River Unis. They celebrate by placing juniper decorations around their homes and creating an altar for the dead where a feast is held in honor of deceased loved ones.

Sources:

  • History.com
  • BBC
  • “The Pagan Mysteries of Halloween,” By Jean Markale
  • “Samhain: Rituals, Recipes and Lore for Halloween,” By Diana Rajchel.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream Act II, Scene I

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“My gentle Puck, come hither. Thou rememberest
Since once I sat upon a promontory
And heard a mermaid on a dolphin’s back
Uttering such dulcet and harmonious breath
That the rude sea grew civil at her song.”
~ William Shakspeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream Act II, Scene I

Painting: John William Waterhouse – Mermaid, 1900

#Folklore #Myth #Mermaid #Shakespeare

Ancient Egyptian Religion Overview

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Ancient Egyptian Religion Overview:

~ The religion of Ancient Egypt lasted for more than 3,000 years, and was polytheistic, meaning there were a multitude of deities, who were believed to reside within and control the forces of nature.

~ Formal religious practice centered on the pharaoh, or ruler, of Egypt, who was believed to be divine, and acted as intermediary between the people and the gods. His role was to sustain the gods so that they could maintain order in the universe.

~ The Egyptian universe centered on Ma’at, which has several meanings in English, including truth, justice and order. It was fixed and eternal; without it the world would fall apart.

~ The most important myth was of Osiris and Isis. The divine ruler Osiris was murdered by Set (god of chaos), then resurrected by his sister and wife Isis to conceive an heir, Horus. Osiris then became the ruler of the dead, while Horus eventually avenged his father and became king.

~ Egyptians were very concerned about the fate of their souls after death. They believed ka (life-force) left the body upon death and needed to be fed. Ba, or personal spirituality, remained in the body. The goal was to unite ka and ba to create akh.

~ Artistic depictions of gods were not literal representations, as their true nature was considered mysterious. However, symbolic imagery was used to indicate this nature.

~ Temples were the state’s method of sustaining the gods, since their physical images were housed and cared for; temples were not a place for the average person to worship.

Certain animals were worshipped and mummified as representatives of gods.

~ Oracles were used by all classes.