Friday 15 April 2016

The Realm Of Osiris Part II

The Egyptians came to believe that human body consisted of three spiritual parts. First, the ka, was part of a kind of "soul". The ba  formed another part of the "soul " , in another terms , an individual's personality. Finally, the akh was the form in which a deceased person existed in the afterlife, when ka and ba were reunited.

It was typically believed that ka and ba were released from the body at death and needed to find each other again in the afterlife in order to create a happy, eternal akh.

Osiris sitting in judgement

This papyrus scene, from The Book of the Dead of Any(1550 - 1069 BC), shows Osiris deciding Any's destiny in a ceremony believed to take place after death. Any's heart is weighed against the feather of Ma'at, goddess of truth and justice.

After death, embalmers washed the body, preferably in water from the Nile. They then removed the intestines,stomach , liver and lungs and placed them in four vessels called canopic jars.

Canopic Jars

The brain was removed through nostrils, but the heart considered to be the source of intelligence, was left in place. The Body was then stuffed in linen (to keep its proper shape and appearance) and made whole again. It was soaked with preservative salts and decorated with protective charms.

The body was then wrapped in linen bandages, placed in a coffin, and buried along with other amulets or items from everyday life to provide comfort in afterlife.

The Cult Of Aten -  During the period of Egypt's new kingdom(1550-1069 BC), when Osiris worship was at its peak, the 18th dynasty pharaoh Akhenaten created a break away cult of his own. He decided to worship the Sun's disk, in the form of a god called Aten. This cult, was one of the first examples of a single god(monotheism). 

Akhenaten's chief wife Nefertiti
 worshiping Sun's rays 

By the Ptolemaic period in Egypt, (323 - 40 BC) the cult of Osiris had began to fade and the cult of Serapis was on the rise. This combined the cults of Osiris and the sacred bull Apis.

Cults of Osiris and Isis lived on  in various provinces of the Roman Empire , with temples to Isis built in Roman London and Pompeii. 

Osiris lives on today within the "secret society" known as Free Masons. Some of their believes and symbolism are connected to the figure of Osiris, partly as a way of evoking a sense of order and mystery rooted in ancient wisdom.


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