Ancient Egyptian Belief in the Afterlife

    The Egyptian belief in the rebirth after death became their driving force behind their funeral practices. Death was simply a temporary interruption, rather then complete cessation, of life, and that eternal life could be ensured by means like piety to the Gods, preservation of the physical form through mummification, and the provision of statuary  and other funerary equipment. Wealthier Egyptians began to bury their dead in stone tombs, using artificial mummification. Egyptians believed that the only way into the afterlife is being mummified. Anubis is the Egyptian God of mummification and death, Inpu is the actual Egyptian name were as Anubis is the Greek name.  He is also associated with a deceased Pharaoh. (G Suarez)



    The Egyptians believed in an elaborate after life. They believed a person’s spirit or “ka” lived on after death. Along with everyones “ka” spirit they also believed in the “ba” spirit, which was the characteristic of the person or their personality. During the funeral the persons “ba” was released so it could move more freely. At first the Egyptians believed that only Pharaohs posed a “ba”, but then they realized that nobles and people of importance had them too. In the tomb of the Pharaoh the Egyptians placed objects, they believed, they could use in the afterlife. For example, a boat to help them get across a river in the after life. When someone would die they would mummified. What they believed were the most important organs were placed in jars, so they could be used in the after life. (G Tillemans)




    During life the body was known as "khet" meaning appearance. At the time of death the corpse was known as "khat". When the corpse is transformed into a mummy, it was known as "sah". Mummification was considered the transfiguration of the corpse into a new body. Over the centuries the Egyptians changed several different concepts of human survival after death. These ideas were first formulated to ensure safe passage for the dead king into the afterlife, but over time people of lower staus were able to do the same thing. The akh is the form of the dead in the afterlife. Akh means spirit. It is believed that when the akh will be free to roam on or over the earth for eternity. (R Jackson) 



    The Egyptian Afterlife was seen as a perfect existence in an ideal version of Egypt. The Afterlife was a place of complete bliss, delight and peace.  The Afterlife was referred to as the Field of Rushes or Field of Offerings. Ancient Egyptians provided for their afterlives according to their earthly means. The Ancient Egyptians were preoccupied by death and believed that after death they would go to the dark and terrifying place called the Underworld. The Underworld was a land of great dangers and various tests through which every Egyptian would need to pass before passing into the Afterlife.  If the person sucessfully passed through the underworld they entered the afterlife and lived for eternity in a perfect life. (A Johnson)


    The Egyptians had a lot of different ideas about death and the afterlife. The Egyptians believed that humans had a ka, or a life- force that left the body at the time of death. During life, the ka took nourishment from food and drinks, but even after death the ka was suppose to remain and its spiritual essence was still able to eat, so that’s why food was put in tombs.

The Egyptians also believed every person had a ba, which was like someone’s personality. The ba, was suppose to stay in the body even after death. The funeral rituals though were supposed to make it so the ba could free itself from the person. But, the person had to be preserved well because it was believed that the ba returned to the body each night to get new life, before leaving the body again as an akh. So that is the reason why bodies were made into mummies.

    To get to the afterlife the soul had to go through the final judgment aka, ‘Weighing of the Heart’. The gods would judge how the person had lived their lives. If the heart was heavy Ammut would destroy you. If your heart was light, and you had been a good person your ba and ka were united into an akh. 
There were many ideas about where the akh went. One idea was that they lived in Osiris’ kingdom which was really beautiful, and amazing. Kings, and sometimes commoners were sometimes believed to travel with Ra across the sky.   (A Cortez-Holmes and Z Foston)


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