Friday, April 4, 2014

Duat - The Egyptian Realm of the Dead #atozchallenge

D- According to Egyptian mythology, Duat is one of the many names for the realm of the dead overseen by Osiris. Other Gods who reside in Duat are Thoth, Horus, Ma'At, Hathor, and Anubis. In addition to these Gods, many creatures also reside in Duat, and each soul must enter the realm for judgment upon death. 

Duat is made up of many regions, separated by gates. Each gate represents another test or challenge of sorts a soul must pass to move on to the next. These gates are guarded by various gods and creatures. 

When a soul successfully passes through the the various gates and challenges found in Duat, his or her heart is finally weighed by Anubis with a feather. If the heart weights more or less than the feather, the heart is eaten by Ammit. Those that pass the test (those who successfully follow Ma'at - Goddess of Truth and Justice - in life) move on to Aaru, paradise.

Interestingly enough, even Ra (Egyptian Sun God) must travel through Duat each night after the Sun dies in order to reach the point where the Sun is reborn each morning. While in Duat, Ra must fight Apep, the serpent God of darkness and chaos. During these battles, Apep often hypnotizes Ra in an attempt to devour him.

When Apep comes out ahead in these nightly battles, natural disasters strike. And when Apep swallows Ra, a solar eclipse is said to occur. Luckily, Ra never travels alone, and his followers quickly free him from Apep's clutches so he can continue his journey.

It's important to note that Duat is neither heaven nor hell. It is a sort of spiritual purgatory one must enter before moving on. A journey between life and death, if you will.

If you ever have time to delve into Egyptian mythology, Duat is a fascinating aspect to explore. The Egyptians took the afterlife business very seriously and went to great lengths to record Duat. The Book of Amduat is one of the earliest known accounts of this realm between life and death. The first version of the Book of Amduat is located in Tuthmosis III's tomb in the Valley of Kings.

The image above is part of the Amduat, describing Ra's journey through Duat. 


xoxo,
Ayden
   

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5 comments:

  1. The various underworlds of different cultures has always fascinated me. :)

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    1. They are pretty fascinating. I always find it interesting how similar various underworld themes tend to be from one culture to another!

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  2. This is so very interesting! Liked the concept of passing the gates and getting the heart weighed by Anubis with a feather!!
    Hope you are having a great time reading, writing and connecting with fellow A to Zers :)
    Shilpa Garg
    Co-Host AJ's wHooligan for the A to Z Challenge 2014

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    1. Shilpa, it is a nice concept. Of course... I could do without the being banished from Paradise if it weighs more than a feather though. :) Thanks for stopping by!

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  3. Very cool. One of the writers in my fiction group just submitted a story to our upcoming anthology that is all about Ammt/Ammit, so this was a fun little post to read and get excited about. :) thanks for sharing!

    Alex Hurst, fantasy author in Japan, participating in Blogging A-Z April Challenge.

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