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Ancient Egyptian afterlife beliefs

TLDR: Ancient Egyptians believed in a complex afterlife with rituals and beliefs centered around the journey of the soul. They believed in an underworld, eternal life, and the rebirth of the soul. The deceased had to go through various stages, including judgment, to reach the afterlife. They practiced mummification, built tombs, and left offerings for the dead. The journey to the afterlife involved passing through gates and being judged by the gods. If the deceased passed the judgment, they would be reborn and live eternally.

Ancient Egyptian afterlife beliefs were centered around a variety of complex rituals and practices that were influenced by many aspects of Egyptian culture. Religion played a major role, as it was an important social practice that bound all Egyptians together. 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 need to know in order to complete the journey safely.

Egyptian religious doctrines included three 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. After entry, spirits were presented to the god Osiris, who 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 were guided to Osiris to be born again.

In order to achieve the ideal afterlife, many practices had to 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. 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.

Egyptians hoped to perform their jobs and partake in their hobbies in the afterlife. Rivers and natural locales with fertile soil for farmers were thought to exist in the afterlife, and drawings on tomb walls of objects such as boats were thought to make them appear in the afterlife for people who used the objects before they died.

Funeral practices included building tombs, mummification, and leaving offerings for the dead. Tombs were constructed to house the body of the dead and transmit the soul to the underworld. They were often decorated with texts meant to guide the deceased's soul to the afterlife. Mummification was a practice to preserve the body for the afterlife. Offerings, including food and valuable ornaments, were left near the body of the deceased to sustain their spirit in the afterlife.

The journey to the afterlife involved passing through various gates and being judged by the gods. The deceased had to correctly address each of the forty-two Assessors of Maat by name and prove their purity. Their heart was weighed against the feather of Maat, and if it balanced, they would be admitted into the Sekhet-Aaru. If their heart was heavier, it would be devoured by the goddess Ammit, permanently destroying the soul.

Ancient Egyptians believed in the rebirth of the soul. After judgment, the soul would return to the Mother Goddess' womb and be restored to its former body. This process symbolized the endless lives that the Egyptians desired for the afterlife.

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