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.
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