Monday, January 11, 2010

Ma'at

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Ma'at
Partner of  Thoth,
whom I adopted as
God of Blogging









Ma'at
pronounced Ma aht
means Truth

Ma'at
the Egyptian Goddess
represented truth,
order, justice
and balance
It was Ma'at's task
to prevent the world
from falling into chaos













Ma'at also helped Ra,
the sun God,
steer his boat
across the sky each day
guiding his direction













Ma'at is depicted as a woman
with a white ostrich feather
on her head
She carries a sceptre
in one hand
and an ankh
in the other













In the Hall of Judgement
Ma' at weighs the hearts of the dead
against her feather
If the heart weighs heavier
it is thrown
to the crocodile headed Ammut
to devour
If the heart weighs lighter
than the feather
the soul may cross
into the kingdom of Osiris,
into paradise



Notice in the image above
Thoth

on the right
recording his observations



Illustrations such as this
were common
in the Egyptian
Books of the Dead













The Book of the Dead
such as that of the Scribe Ani
written in 1240 BC,
which is called the Papyrus of Ani,
was a document
written for a particular person,
composed to assist the newly deceased
to negotiate the afterlife


These books included hymns
spells and instructions


It was common to also
include a list behaviours,
a code of ethics,
or commandments


sometimes called
Going Forth by Day

















42 Negative Confessions from the Papyrus of Ani



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 and women.
5. I have not stolen grain.
6. I have not purloined offerings.
7. I have not stolen the property of the god.
8. I have not uttered lies.
9. I have not carried away food.
10. I have not uttered curses.
11. I have not committed adultery, I have not lain with men.
12. I have made none to weep.
13. I have not eaten the heart [i.e I have not grieved uselessly, or felt remorse].
14. I have not attacked any man.
15. I am not a man of deceit.
16. I have not stolen cultivated land.
17. I have not been an eavesdropper.
18. I have slandered [no man].
19. I have not been angry without just cause
20. I have not debauched the wife of any man.
21. I have not debauched the wife of any man.
22. I have not polluted myself.
23. I have terrorised none.
24. I have not transgressed [the Law].
25. I have not been wroth.
26. I have not shut my ears to the words of truth.
27. I have not blasphemed.
28. I am not a man of violence.
29. I am not a stirrer up of strife (or a disturber of the peace).
30. I have not acted (or judged) with undue haste.
31. I have not pried into matters.
32. I have not multiplied my words in speaking.
33. I have wronged none, I have done no evil.
34. I have not worked witchcraft against the King (or blasphemed against the King).
35. I have never stopped [the flow of] water.
36. I have never raised my voice (spoken arrogantly, or in anger).
37. I have not cursed (or blasphemed) God.
38. I have not acted with arrogance
39. I have not stolen the bread of the gods.
40. I have not carried away the khenfu cakes from the Spirits of the dead.
41. I have not snatched away the bread of the child, nor treated with contempt the god of my city.
42. I have not slayed the cattle belonging to the god.






It is interesting to read
this code of conduct
which precedes
the 12 Commandments
of Moses
by over a thousand years,
and to see which values
we maintain
as important guides
in our lives today...




I like # 26















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31 comments:

  1. Hello from Monday the 11th...

    I have ideas and enthusiasm but as yet no computer at home so I have presented a post from my blog post bank - that repository of posts written for a rainy day...

    I have been enjoying reconnecting with you of late...

    Happy days
    P.S. Of course it's not raining - It's another 30C day in paradise...

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  2. I love that it's always an interesting surprise to see what you will post about.

    That's all I will say, so as to not "multiply my words in speaking."

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  3. As always, I have learned something new by visiting your blog. Beautiful accompanying images too.

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  4. Hello from Sunday the 10th! Is there a typo on 20 and 21?

    Generally, I was late to discover how happiness is so dependent on ethical behavior. Somehow, I grew up thinking that in unethical behaviors I would find fun (and happiness). Experience (and some wise teachers) have taught me otherwise.

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  5. I have just noticed that too dan. Perhaps I copied one twice and missed one- it was a while ago.

    I often think of the Golden Rule; Do unto others as you would have them do unto you ... And how much easier things would be if we followed that premis.

    I know that you are a good man following a path of kindness and best endeavours.

    Happy days

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  6. Such an interesting post. That list is superhuman, did they live like saints? i love the images :)

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  7. I have a set of Thoth Tarot cards, and they speak many truths, I've found. Loved the illustrations in this post.

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  8. What an interesting post!
    The illustrations(? paintings?) are lovely! Their costumes are cool! Ma'at's wings intrigue me a lot! Thank you for sharing. I enjoyed this post very much!

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  9. Delwyn

    Everytime I read your blog, I have a since of peace and I also learn so much from you.

    Thank-You for sharing!

    Best
    Tracy :)

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  10. hello delwyn! this is fascinating - i'm particularly drawn by the melding of expectations of everyday behaviour, with the treatment of the gods, and then too with not shutting ones ears to the words of truth. it's interesting to see the progression through history of what is valued as a way of being. have a peaceful day. steven

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  11. so interesting~! i missed my favorite subject in my high school days--Asian and world history~!!!

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  12. Very interesting Delwyn. I was amused by 32 - probably because it applies to me!

    Now you have given me another reason to avoid a heavy heart! Coming here always lifts and lightens it.

    Now if I can just figure out why you are already in paradise and most of us reading your blog are still waiting!

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  13. Greetings, Delwyn. This post gives a lot of pause; reading the negative confessions was very interesting, and I learned a new word: wroth! But I believe I will think often of the concept of the weight of the heart and its significance of entry to the heavens. Indeed, how one gets through the day can be decided with this premise, as well.

    Off to lighten my heart!

    Cyndy

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  14. Oh Delwyn, I really enjoyed this. I have been fascinated by ancient Egypt since I was a young teen. Modern Christians seem to think that these values were invented by their god so it's nice to see these old rules of conduct. The Code of Hammaurabi is also very interesting. And the concept of the dead and risen god is not a new concept with christianity as seen in the story of Osiris and even more ancient tales.

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  15. Thanks for giving me the reminder of the magic time I had in Egypt. Maat was omnipresent and her wings were sheltering. And I do think Thoth is a great god of blogging. The anthology that is coming out of our trip to Egypt will be called "The Book of Coming into the Light."

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  16. What an awesome, beautiful post, Delwyn. I want a tattoo of Ma'at and may use one of your photos. Thanks for sharing this. Blessings!

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  17. Fascinating and fabulous post, Delwyn. Thanks!

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  18. yes it is interesting to see the differences in cultures and what has survived down to our lives-- as I was reading the code of conduct-- I would say after each one-- me too

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  19. Hi Delwyn

    All of the precepts listed ought to be a matter of course; we should live by such words whatever our religion or non-religion.

    Honestly? The slighter one get forgotten sometimes.

    Why did you adopt Thoth as God of Blogging? Do we really speak truth?

    I love this post, it makes me curious to explore the
    deities and their colourful world. Christians tend to believe they are the only adherents with a set of beliefs worth following, how far from truth is that!

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  20. How dare you tell me it's 30 C in paradise, when it's bitterly cold here and we are cut off from civilisation, Egyptian, Japanese or Antipodean!

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  21. You may be in a warm paradise, but I am in a cold paradise at the moment Delwyn! I enjoyed reading their list of rules...sometimes it would be hard not to pry into matters though...
    I started to say I hope, but I know, you are enjoying your new home.

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  22. May Ma'at guide my blogger's hand and eye.
    I like #26, too.

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  23. Ma'at has a lot of responsibility! The negative confessions are eye-opening. I hope that my heart is light... Keep cool as I am trying to keep warm.

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  24. Hello blogging friends:

    Barb, sounds like that piece of metal might weigh your heart heavier in the physical...but I am sure in the spiritual it is light as a feather...
    Take care


    Janie
    with Ma'at and Thoth standing over us we are in good company...


    Hello Wanda
    I know that you heart is lighter than a feather. You have no worries.

    We are getting into the swing of the new place and enjoying walking over to the beach for swims and surfs. There are still many jobs to be done, as is usual in a new building.


    Sorry Friko
    I am melting in over 30C today...I'll be swimming later...'
    Look back at my Thoth post if you can be bothered. He is the God of writing, recording, messages...so he seemed appropriate...

    AS for the code of conduct...if we all knew how to behave with respect and kindness there would be no need for laws either...



    Hello Donna
    AS Steven says it is a great balance having the everyday niceties sitting alongside the spiritual conduct. You will have no fear then when you meet Ma'at...


    Hi Marion and Titus, Jasmin and Ayu
    Glad you enjoyed Ma'at and her feather...

    Hi Meri
    now that is an interesting endeavour. How are you going to present it?


    Hello Ellen
    I agree it is fascinating to look back through time and cultures this way...
    there is no beginning and no end in the spiritual evolution of man - all cultures seem to overlap and have the same core...


    Hi Cyndy
    I hope that your day has been free of wroth...
    That is a good idea to use Ma'at's feather as a metaphor to meditate on at the end of the day...


    Hi Bonnie
    those points appealed to me too - that they are considered serious enough to void our entry into Paradise.
    In addition to the multiplying of words unnecessarily I was also taken with:
    I have not acted with undue haste
    I am learning to not rush to conclusions and neither rush to form opinions...


    Hi Steven
    Like you I love the complementary nature of the everyday with the Godly....perhaps the Egyptians lived life in a more unified way, rather than separating the spiritual from the mundane as our culture tends to do.


    Hi Sapphire
    It is good to compare cultures and find points of similarity and then points of great difference like her wings...

    Tracey
    I am glad that coming here makes you feel that way.. My heart is lighter...thank you...


    Hi Jinksy
    It is nice to have you call by.

    Thoth cards - that is something I have never seen. Truth can be disseminated through a vast range of mediums can't it...

    Hi Amy
    and so nice to see you little one..

    Hi Polly
    Brevity and succinctness in speech are great goals for me. Maybe that's why I love haiku...

    Thanks for the follow up everyone. I have enjoyed your company and ideas.
    Happy days

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  25. Delwyn, this is a lot of rules to live by. :)

    I try to grow a little every day, not fall into the same traps that I did the day before, the week before... some days I succeed, other days I fail.

    I'm going to always be a work in progress.

    Thank you for stopping by today and leaving a beautiful comment. I appreciate it very much.

    May your Wednesday be filled with peace and joy.

    xoxo

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  26. I love Egyptian mythology. Well ... who doesn't? I think of it as a Virgo culture where there's a place for everything, and everything has its place.

    Thanks for posting. You must be rich in banked posts!!

    Hope you are able to stay cool!!

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  27. Sorry to hear you are still having computer woes and reposting was a good stop gap. I agree that #26 is the best.

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  28. 'God has no religion.'
    (Mahatma Gandhi, 1869-1948)

    Interesting list!
    Greetings from Aleksandra

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  29. Wow this is such an interesting and informative post. Thanks, have always loved reading about the Egyptian Kings, Queens and Gods. Lovely.

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