Afterlife Rituals

As a member of a society who puts much emphasis on life itself, and how we spend our limited time on this earth, it is extremely interesting to me to read about a society that focused so much on the dead, and what happened to individuals after their mortal time limit was up. In lecture today, Dr. Watrall talked about Duat, where the dead go to be judged by Osiris. This reminded me of some religions that are practiced today, such as Christianity, where one is immediately judged after death, and are then sent to Heaven, Hell, or Purgatory. It’s interesting to see how completely different cultures/societies have some similar basis in their beliefs.

I also came across some information about the Egyptian afterlife while I was reading the assigned chapters for this week. The author described the three different elements of a person’s existence in the afterlife – ba, ka, and akh. Ka is the living person’s personality, ba is the soul of the person, and akh, if I’m understanding this correctly, helps with the transition between life and death. This, however, and as the author also states, is very different than Judeo/Christian and Muslim beliefs. I think it is so interesting to me that a majority of the cultures, past and present, of our world’s population have many of the same basic beliefs, but specifics of the beliefs are quite different.

It is fascinating to me just how much work the Egyptians put into their afterlife rituals. To some people, it may seem crazy that brains were supposedly pulled out of the body’s nose. To the Egyptians, however, each practice they performed meant something very specific. I very much wish I could travel back in time to see one of these rituals performed and to really understand what everything meant. However, until the time comes when someone invents a time machine, I guess I’ll have to make do with what pyramid texts and other archaeological discoveries tell us.