Ancient Egypt Immortality

In the Life of Ancient Egypt

ancient egypt immortality

Ancient Egypt Immortality

What distinguished this religion above everything else was its emphasis on immortality.

If Osiris, the Nile, and all vegetation, might rise again. so might man.

The amazing preservation of the dead body in the dry soil of Egypt lent some encouragement to this belief, which was to dominate Egyptian faith for thousands of years, and to pass from it, by its own resurrection, into Christianity.

The body. Egypt believed, was inhabited by a small replica of itself called the ka, and also by a soul that dwelt in the body like a bird flitting among trees.

All of these—body, ka and soul survived the appearance of death; they could escape mortality for a time in proportion as the flesh was preserved from decay.

But if they came to Osiris clean of all sin they would be permitted to live forever in the "Happy Field of Food" those heavenly gardens where there would always be abundance and security and Immortality: judge the harassed penury that spoke in this consoling dream.

These Elysian Fields, however, could be reached only through the services of a ferryman, an Egyptian prototype of Charon; and this old gentleman would receive into his boat only such men and women as had done no evil in their lives.

Or Osiris would question the dead, weighing each candidate's heart in the scale against a feather to test his truthfulness.

Those who failed in this final examination would be condemned to lie forever in their tombs, hungering and thirsting, fed upon by hideous crocodiles, and never coming forth to see the sun.

According to the priests there were clever ways of passing these tests; and they offered to reveal these ways for a consideration.

One was to fit up the tomb with food, drink and servants to nourish and help the dead.

Another was to fill the tomb with talismans pleasing to the gods: fish, vultures, snakes, above all, the scarab a beetle which, because it reproduced itself apparently with fertilization, typified the resurrected soul;

If these were properly blessed by a priest they would frighten away every assailant, and annihilate every evil. Ancient Egypt Immortality

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