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Ancient Egyptian religion
Eye of Horus
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Ancient Egyptian afterlife beliefs were centered around a variety of complex rituals, that were influenced by many aspects of Egyptian culture. Religion was a major contributor, since it was an important social practice that bound all Egyptians together. For instance, many of the Egyptian gods played roles in guiding the souls of the dead through the afterlife. With the evolution of writing, religious ideals were recorded and quickly spread throughout the Egyptian community. The solidification and commencement of these doctrines were formed in the creation of afterlife texts which illustrated and explained what the dead would needed to know in order to complete the journey safely. By fostering common traditions through publication, many Egyptian afterlife practices were universally understood and transmitted throughout the kingdom.
Egyptian religious doctrines included three basic afterlife ideologies; belief in an underworld, eternal life, and rebirth of the soul. The underworld, also known as the Duat had only one entrance that could be reached by traveling through the tomb of the deceased. The initial image a soul would be presented with upon entering this realm was a corridor lined with an array of fascinating statues, including a variation of the famous hawk headed god, Horus. It must also be noted that the path taken to the underworld may have varied between kings and common people. After entry, spirits were presented to another prominent god, Osiris. Osiris would determine the virtue of the deceased’s soul and grant those deemed deserving a peaceful afterlife. The Egyptian concept of ‘eternal life’ was often seen as being reborn indefinitely. Therefore, the souls who had lived their life elegantly and were guided to Osiris to be born again.1
In order to achieve the ideal afterlife, many practices must be performed during one’s life. This may have included acting justly and following the beliefs of Egyptian creed. Additionally, the Egyptians stressed the rituals completed after an individual’s life has ended. In other words, it was the responsibility of the living to carry out the final traditions required so the dead could promptly meet their final fate. Ultimately, maintaining high religious morals by both the living and the dead, as well as complying to a variety of traditions guaranteed the deceased a smoother transition into the underworld