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Reiki_LayDee
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PostSubject: Egyptian Myth   Wed Oct 11, 2006 4:56 am

EGYPTIAN AFTERLIFE
Ancient Egyptians believed in the afterlife.

Death was the stage to the next life which was believed to be lived in a land to the West and was often called the Kingdom of the West.

Elaborate sets of buriel rituals were followed.

There was also a detailed account of the reception to be expected at the final destination.

The dead person would need a ferryman to row them across the River of Death.

The dead person had to cross the trials of the serpent gaurded Twelve Gates and also cross the Lake of Fire.

When these were passed, 42 Assessors read a list of the dead person`s sins.

The dead person then made a declaration of purity and sinlessness.

Judgement then followed in the Hall of Osiris.

If one led a sinful life then destruction would follow.

However, if one had led a good life, they would be given everlasting life in the Next World.

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PostSubject: Burial   Wed Oct 11, 2006 4:57 am

BURIAL


It was the ancient Egyptians burial practises that give us so much information about their lives.

During burial it was important that the dead persons body survived for the afterlife.

The soul needed to have it`s body intact.

The early pre-dynastic period saw bodies buried in shallow graves in hot sand were the purpose was to dry out the body quickly and were then preserved.

Later on chamber burials became popular with the rich.

By the time of 1552 B.C. an elaborate set of rituals had grown around the practise.

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PostSubject: EGYPTIAN EMBALMING   Wed Oct 11, 2006 4:59 am

EGYPTIAN EMBALMING

The embalmers were called the "wahet".

The left side of the body was opened to take out the internal organs.

The organs were put in canopic jars.

These jars were often decorated with hieroglyphics.

The body was then dried out with salt and stuffed with preservatives.

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PostSubject: ANCIENT EGYPTIAN COFFINS   Wed Oct 11, 2006 5:00 am

ANCIENT EGYPTIAN COFFINS

The style of the coffins went through many changes.

Old Kingdom versions were mostly plain or may carry hieroglyphics.

By the Middle Kingdom the humanoid coffins were in fashion.

By the later New Kingdom these styles had evolved to nests of human shaped coffins.


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PostSubject: FUNERAL IN ANCIENT EGYPT   Wed Oct 11, 2006 5:01 am

FUNERAL IN ANCIENT EGYPT

During the funerals, if the dead were rich, then professional mourners were hired.

The persons belongings were placed in the tomb and food offerings were often left too.

Sometimes servants were sealed in alive so as to continue serving their master in the afterlife.

Prayers were said before the coffin was lowered
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PostSubject: MAJOR GOD CENTRES   Wed Oct 11, 2006 5:02 am

MAJOR GOD CENTRES

There were over 2,000 Gods and Godesses in ancient Egypt.

However, an Egyptian did not worship all of these Gods.

Each locality retained loyalty to it`s own set of Gods.

Each locality thought it`s own set of Gods were the superior.

Helliopolis : Ra was the supreme diety, but eight other Gods were worshipped there.

Memphis : Home to the God Ptah.

Hermopolis : Eight Gods in total were worshipped here.

Thebes : The head diety was Amon.

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PostSubject: THE TEMPLES   Wed Oct 11, 2006 5:03 am

THE TEMPLES
Worshippers would come to the Temple gates with offerings where they would ask questions.

Scribes would copy down their questions and pass them to the Temple Priests.

The general public were almost never allowed inside the Temples.

The Priests would interpret Gods response through an Oracle.

On feast days the God statue was carried out of the Temple on a sacred Barque.

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PostSubject: ONE CREATION   Wed Oct 11, 2006 5:03 am

ONE CREATION

All God centres in ancient Egypt shared a one creation belief.

It was believed that creation was a gradual process that the Gods intervened in only at the beginning.

Some God centres expressed differences in the creation theory
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PostSubject: THE KING   Wed Oct 11, 2006 5:04 am

THE KING

The Egyptian King claimed descent through the Gods from the God Ra.

The King was the intermediary between the people and their deities.

He was regarded as the head of the God centres.

People prayed to statues of the King in the hope he would influence the Gods on their behalf.

In fact the King was thought too Godly to be called by name.

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PostSubject: ANIMALS   Wed Oct 11, 2006 5:05 am

ANIMALS
In ancient Egypt many animals were thought of as being sacred.

A life of luxury was given to the lucky animal chosen to live at the Temple.

By the last millinium B.C. whole groups of animals were being honoured in the hope of pleasing the Gods.

Dead animals were buried with full mourning and honours.

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PostSubject: OSIRIS   Wed Oct 11, 2006 5:06 am

OSIRIS

Osiris was a diety in ancient Egypt. He was associated with fertility and the vegetation.

He was also the principle of spiritual rebirth. Osiris was the son of Geb and Nut.

His brother Set was very jealous of Orisis. One day Set was able to trick Osiris to get into a chest which was then thrown into the Nile.

The body was retrieved but when Set found out he tore it into 14 pieces and spread it around all the Kingdom.

All the pieces except one where recovered by the wife of Osiris, Isis. Using magic she embarmed Osiris and restored him to life.

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PostSubject: HAPI   Wed Oct 11, 2006 5:06 am

HAPI

Hapi was the God of the Nile.

He appeared as a man with womans breasts.

He had both strength and nurturing qualities.

However, he had a destructive side and represented the Nile`s flooding.

His status was that of among the creature Gods.

Hapi was depicted as crowned with papyrus plants for the northern Nile and lotus plants for the southern Nile.

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PostSubject: HORUS   Wed Oct 11, 2006 5:07 am

HORUS
Horus was one of the Gods of Heliopolis.

He eventually came to be identified with the ruling Pharaoh.

He fought in the form of a sun disk with outstretched wings.

Horus was a sky God.

He was represented as a man with a Hawl`s head.

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PostSubject: CATS IN EGYPT   Wed Oct 11, 2006 5:08 am

Cats In Egypt
When the Egyptians started identifying the lions that roamed around their land with the Sun. They believed that at sunset, Ra, the Sun God, would die and descend through the underworld in the West, to be born again in the East, at sunrise. During the night, however Ra was always in great danger, as his enemies, headed by the great serpent Apophis would not hesitate to attack him, thus putting the whole Universe in danger.
However, the lions would look unto the setting sun, and keep its rays in their eyes, for they, like domestic felines, have eyes that reflect in the dark. With that fire burning in their eyes, the lions would go forth and kill the serpents of the night, as we were going to do afterwards, when the domestic cat was bred in the temples of the Black Land (Kemet, the name applied by the Ancient Egyptians to their country).
With the image of the lion in mind, the Egyptians built the Sphinx, a huge effigy of the Sun God, with the body of a lion and the head of a Pharaoh, and they also worshipped the goddess Sekhmet, who with the head of a lion was the goddess of war, who descended to the earth to destroy the enemies of Ra, and was known as the Eye of Ra. Amongst the list of Egyptian feline goddess we find Mau, a personification of Ra as a cat (Mau being the ancient Egyptian word for cat); Tefnut, a lion headed goddess whose name means Moisture and represents one of the most primeval forces of creation; and Mafdet, a goddess of protection. In an Ancient Egyptian spell which repels snakes, the protection of Mafdet is invoked: 'O cobra, I am the flame which shines on the brows of the Chaos-gods of the Standard of Years. Begone from me, for I am Mafdet!'

However, the domestic cat was specifically claimed to be under the protection of Bast. Bast, like Sekhmet was often said to be the daughter of Ra, and she was the protector of cats and those who took care of cats; her gifts were joy and pleasure. Her cult was centred in the city of Bubastis (called Per-Bast, or House of Bast, by the Egyptians), where, once her temple stood. The Greek historian, Herodotus said "there is no temple more beautiful than that of Bubastis". Bubastis also housed a necropolis where hundreds of mummified cats were buried. She also had an annual festival, which seems to have been one of the most popular in the whole of Egypt, accompanied by loud music and chanting. She is often represented either as a woman with a cat's head, or as a cat. The significance of Bast can only be understood by comparing her to Sekhmet. Indeed, there is evidence that the Egyptians viewed them as aspects of the same divine force - Sekhmet being the violent aspect of the divine sun, and Bast being its gentler aspect.
However, while Bast is recently growing in popularity, it must be remembered that Egyptian deities were not without their macabre side. In an Egyptian legend, which talks about the search for the Book of Thoth, one of the characters is a mysterious seductress who is a priestess of Bast. She seduces Prince Setna, telling him: 'Be joyful, my sweet lord, for I am destined to be your bride. But remember that I am no common woman but the child of Bastet the Beautiful - and I cannot endure a rival. So before we are wed write me a scroll of divorcement against your present wife; and write also that you give your children to me to be slain and thrown down to the cats of Bastet - for I cannot endure that they shall live and perhaps plot evil against our children.'
The quote above also sheds light on a popular concept amongst Egyptian women seems to have been that the ideal beauty was that of a cat. The make-up they used accentuated particular features, especially the eyes, which gave them a mysterious cat-like look.
Often children were consecrated to Bastet - a cut was made on their arm and drops of cat blood poured into it. A marble coffin of a royal cat refers to the cat contained inside it as "Lady Cat". A human who killed a cat, even accidentally, was put to death, and when a cat died, the owners used to shave off their eyebrows as a sign of mourning. In the tomb of Tutankhamun, the image of a serene Bast was found on a gilded shrine, housing the royal coffin. One of the discoverers of Tutankhamun's tomb, Lord Carnarvon, is said to have become interested in Egyptology after discovering a cat coffin.
The increase in internation trade with Ancient Egypt, especially by Phoenicians and Romans, spread cats to other lands, from Egypt to Europe and Asia. In these countries, cats have their own stories too. In the meantime, the domestic cats in Egypt are still highly respected, for in that land, the bond between cat and human is now eternal, with cats walking among the streets in the market place, where till today, the images of Bast are still being offered to tourists, as they must have been offered once, a long time ago, to pilgrims, who would have been going to the annual celebration of Bast!

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PostSubject: THE SCARAB BEETLE   Wed Oct 11, 2006 5:09 am

The Scarab Beetle
The Egyptians always looked to nature to provide a model for their cosmic imaginings. The activities of the scarab, or dung beetle, provided an ideal allegory for the movement of the sun across the sky.
The dung beetle laid its eggs in a ball of dung that it rolled across the ground to its burrow. Safely ensconced, the eggs would then be incubated by the warmth of the sun's rays. This imagery was irresistible to ancient Egyptians: they saw in the life-cycle of the beetle a microcosm of the daily voyage of the sun emerging from the Duat to cross the anytime sky before sinking below the horizon just before sunset.
There were additional aspects to the scarab beetle's symbolism. Inside the warm casing of each dung ball was an egg, which bursts open to reveal a larva, causing the Egyptians to believe that the insect had created itself. The creature's first flight was also woven into myth as the common motif of the sun god rising up into the sky. In the words of The Book of the Dead: "I have flown up like the primeval ones, I have become Khepri..."
Thus the scarab beetle personified Khepri, the morning aspect of the sun god - and by extension the sun's (and the pharaoh's) rebirth. Khepri is often pictured as a scarab sailing in a boat on Nun, the waters of chaos, or even as a human body with a scarab head.
Scarabs were made in various materials - stone and glazed earthenware were common - and could have a purely ornamental function, apart from their properties as amulets. In the Middle Kingdom (c. 1980 - 1630BCE) they were sued as seals, and during the New Kingdom reign of Amenhotep III (c. 1390 - c. 1353BCE) hey served to record important events in the king's reign. Their flat undersides were inscribed with designs referring to a variety of subjects according to their purpose.
Scarabs also played an important role as funerary equipment. Nearly always fashioned out of blue faience (glazed earthenware), funerary scarabs were large, winged amulets often attached to the surface of a mummy within the bead nets that covered its torso.
Another type of scarab, known as the heart scarab, was inscribed with a chapter of The Book of the Dead and was embedded in the bandages of the mummy.

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