Ancient Egyptians believed in Kemetic Spirituality which was based on the:
- i) Egyptian Kemetic Theology of Creation found in the Ennead of Heliopolis and the Memphite Theology;
- ii) Ausarian Religion;
- iii) 42 Divine Laws Of Maat;
- iv) Funerary Texts such as the Egyptian Book of the Dead which spoke to the afterlife.
THE HELIOPOLITAN EGYPTIAN KEMETIC STORY OF CREATION
The Heliopolitan story of Creation of Egyptian Kemetic Spirituality was developed at Heliopolis (On – Innu – Innu Mehret) and the meaning of this Egyptian creation story is based on the manifestation of the Deity RA as the Principal Expression of the Supreme Being at the moment of creation.
According to Egyptian Kemetic Spirituality, the Heliopolitan creation story states that initially the Universe was a vast inactive ocean of watery nothingness called “Nun” in which were contained all the Laws of the Universe and the Seeds of life which were still in an inactive dormant state.
The Supreme Being of the Heliopolitan creation story then begot itself out of the Nun and rose to a mount of dry land upon which the Neteru Deity “RA” manifested through an act of Self-Creation by exercising Conscious Will on the Nun to bring it into an active state which resulted in RA’s emanation as the Principal expression of the Supreme Being out of the primordial Nun once it was activated by the Will of the Supreme Being.
Since RA self-emanated from the exercise of will on active Nun (Energy) by the Unseen Supreme Being in Egyptian Kemetic Spirituality, RA was represented by a Symbol that combined a Falcon (Will) with a Red Solar Disc (Active Primordial Energy or Nun) and a Snake coiled around the Solar Disc representing the Intelligent Exercise of Will over Pimordial Matter by the Unseen Supreme Being which had led to the First Emanation of the Deity RA.
RA then split itself into 2 Pairs or Deities “Shu” representing Air and “Tefnut” representing moisture.
Shu and Tefnut then paired to make another Pair: “Nut” representing the Sky, and “Geb” representing Earth.
In this way, sky and earth as well as the Natural Laws of Modality which oscillate between Hot and Cold that apply in the space between the Sky and the Earth came to exist.
From Nut and Geb, the Deities: Osiris, Isis, Seth and Nephthis were born.
Thus in the creation story of Egyptian Kemetic Spirituality the One Supreme Being produced the Nine Deities of the Ennead Pantheon.
THE MEMPHITE STORY OF CREATION IN ANCIENT KEMET
The meaning of the creation story in Egyptian Kemetic Spirituality is also found in the Memphite Theology.
In the Memphite Theology which is inscribed on a Stone Slab dating back to King Shabaka of Cush in Nubia (25th dynasty – 6th century BC), the First Emanation of a Deity from the Unseen Supreme Being from the Primordial Nun was a Primordial Hill called Ptah followed by Atum.
However, unlike RA, of the Heliopolitan Egyptian creation story, in Memphite Theology, Egyptian Kemetic Spirituality teaches that Ptah and Atum do not emanate from the exercise of Intelligent Will over Energy, instead they emanate from Thoughts in the Supreme Being’s mind which are expressed as Utterances or Sound (The Greek Logos).
Memphite creation mythology goes on the state that from the remaining Primeval Nun, the following Pairs of Principles that govern the Natural world emerged as part of Atum:
(1) Nun and Naunet, i.e., the Above and Below.
(2) Huh and Hauhet, i.e., Infinite and Finite;
(3) Kuk and Kauket, i.e., Darkness and Light; and
(4) Amun, i.e., (Amon) and Amaunet, i.e., the Seen and the Unseen.
The Memphite Theology version of the Egyptian creation story then goes on to name the remainder of the 8 Principles that govern Natural Order.
These Eight Deities are created when Atum (Atom) divides itself into other Deities made up of a total of 4 Pairs.
(i) Shu (Air)
(ii) Tefnut (Moisture)
(iii) Geb (Earth) and
(iv) Nut (Sky);
who are said to have given birth to four other Gods:
(v) Osiris (the God of omnipotence and omniscience)
(vi) Isis (wife of Osiris, Female Principle)
(vii) Seth (the opposite of good)
(viii) Nephthys (Female Principle in the Unseen World).
In the Memphite Egyptian Kemetic Spirituality, Ptah is pure Consciousness as the Principal Emanation of the Unseen Supreme Being.
The creation story of the Memphite Cult of Ptah was the official State Religion of Egypt from the period of the Ancient Egypt’s First Dynasty.
However, Ptah was subsequently replaced by RA as the head of the Egyptian Ennead Pantheon when the Egyptians created a more accurate Calendar by tracking the movements of the Sun which gave them the ability to take into account the Quarter missing day in each year once every 4 years, allowing the Ancient Egyptian Africans to predict the Flooding of the Nile more accurately.
The fact that the Sun was the key to predicting the Flooding of the Nile meant that the Temples of RA were elevated which led to a decline in the status of Ptah.
However, by the 4th-6th Dynasties, the Osirian Revolution, the world’s first Revolution which was carried out by Egyptian Commoners against the Egyptian Old Kingdom Monarchy led to a change in the Egyptian Kemetic Spirituality which saw an elevation of the status of Osiris as Hero and Protector of the vulnerable Commoners to become the Principal Emanation of the Unseen Supreme Being, and thereby replacing RA at the head of the Egyptian Kemetic Pantheon.
In this way Ausar (Osiris) came to represent Pure Consciousness as the First Emanation of the Supreme Being in Egyptian Kemetic Spirituality.
Once again, the meaning of the creation story found in the Memphite Theology is that the Universe was created by One Supreme Being.
The Ausarian Religion In Egyptian Kemetic Spirituality
Egyptian Kemetic Spirituality experienced a significant change through the events of the Ausarian Revolution which is considered the first big Revolution in world history occurring towards the end of Egypt’s First Golden Pyramid Age also referred to as the Old Kingdom.
The rise of the Ausarian Religion in Egyptian Kemetic Spirituality was rooted in the fact that from the days of Pre-Dynastic Egypt and into the Old Kingdom (1st– 6th Dynasties), only Kings were regarded as Divine with the afterlife being the exclusive right of Kings to which Commoners were not entitled.
In this regard, The Pyramids Texts were clear when they stated that the Pharaoh:
“You enter the gates of heaven – That people are not allowed”.
The turning point in Egyptian Kemetic Spirituality would come with the large Commoner revolt that occurred because of the deterioration in Administrative standards causing widespread inequality and poverty amongst the Egyptian population.
According to Chiekh Anta Diop in Civilization Or Barbarism, the main reason for this situation was Ancient Egypt’s Economy which was organised along a classical Ancient World system of Economic Organisation which Karl Marx called The Asiatic Mode Of Production (AMP).
This model would lead to the outbreak of the world’s first big Revolution in Ancient Egypt because the Kings owned all the land with most people being dependant on the State for their Provisions, Defence and Survival in exchange for their Labour.
Diop contends that this is why Ancient Egypt was able to produce such a large surplus and have the labour to conduct massive building projects such as the Pyramids because although Egypt was not a Slave State, the Asiatic Mode Of Production ensured that there was a massive pool of labour available at very little cost.
Eventually this system would reach its limits as internal strife amongst the Priest Cults was coupled with complaints of corruption, deprivation and tyranny from the Commoners.
As a result, the people of Ancient Egypt initiated the Osirian Revolt which initiated significant changes in Egyptian Kemetic Spirituality because it led to changes in the Ancient Pantheon of Gods dating back to the Ennead of Creation.
The outcome of the Ausarian revolt was that Ausar was elevated to the Divine Council of Gods in Theological Texts like the Ennead in order to accommodate his new Status as custodian of the authentic Spirit of the Pre-Dynastic people that created Ancient Egypt’s First Dynasty.
Due to the Ausarian Revolution, Egyptian Kemetic Spirituality was significantly changed because Commoners through Ausar (Osiris) could now also partake in the afterlife just like the Kings with Ausar becoming the first Christ Messianic figure in Human History.
The 42 Divine Laws Of Maat In Egyptian Kemetic Spirituality
Maat is the aspect of Egyptian Kemetic Spirituality that represents Law, Order, Balance and Harmony in the Cosmos as well as in the Individual based on Egyptian Kemetic Theology such as the Ennead of Heliopolis and The Memphite Theology recorded on the Shabaka Stone which form the philosophical basis of the 42 Laws of Maat.
At the individual level, Egyptian Kemetic Spirituality as taught in the 42 Laws Of Maat required that people exercise their free will voluntarily to follow the Divine Law contained in the 42 Laws Maat in order for individuals and Egyptian Kemetic Civilization itself to prosper.
Egyptian Kemetic Spirituality and its Ausarian Religion taught that failure by the individual to follow the Divine 42 Laws Of Maat during life would result in the individual’s failure to enter the afterlife following the final Judgment in the Underworld or Duat as related in the Egyptian Book Of The Dead.
Its also important to understand that Egyptian Kemetic Spirituality regarded the 42 Laws of Maat as more than just a means of individual afterlife Salvation.
In Egyptian Kemetic Spirituality, the 42 Laws of Maat were regarded as an integral part of the Metaphysical Laws of the Universe which were necessary to prevent Chaos both in the Cosmos and in the individual’s Earthly life.
As such, a fundamental teaching of Egyptian Kemetic Spirituality was that a failure to follow the 42 Laws Of Maat would not only lead to individual failure but the collapse of the Egyptian Kemetic Civilization itself due to the absence of Law, Order and Conscience.
Chapter 125 of The Papyrus of Ani contains a Pronounciation of the 42 Divine Laws Of Maat, where the deceased is led by Anubis into the Underworld and declares that they have followed the 42 Laws Of Maat during their lifetime:
- I have not committed sin.
- I have not committed robbery with violence.
- I have not stolen.
- I have not slain men or women.
- I have not stolen food.
- I have not swindled offerings.
- I have not stolen from God/Goddess.
- I have not told lies.
- I have not carried away food.
- I have not cursed.
- I have not closed my ears to truth.
- I have not committed adultery.
- I have not made anyone cry.
- I have not felt sorrow without reason.
- I have not assaulted anyone.
- I am not deceitful.
- I have not stolen anyone’s land.
- I have not been an eavesdropper.
- I have not falsely accused anyone.
- I have not been angry without reason.
- I have not seduced anyone’s wife.
- I have not polluted myself.
- I have not terrorized anyone.
- I have not disobeyed the Law.
- I have not been exclusively angry.
- I have not cursed God/Goddess.
- I have not behaved with violence.
- I have not caused disruption of peace.
- I have not acted hastily or without thought.
- I have not overstepped my boundaries of concern.
- I have not exaggerated my words when speaking.
- I have not worked evil.
- I have not used evil thoughts, words or deeds.
- I have not polluted the water.
- I have not spoken angrily or arrogantly.
- I have not cursed anyone in thought, word or deeds.
- I have not placed myself on a pedestal.
- I have not stolen what belongs to God/Goddess.
- I have not stolen from or disrespected the deceased.
- I have not taken food from a child.
- I have not acted with insolence.
- I have not destroyed property belonging to God/Goddess.
After pronouncing the 42 Laws of Maat, Egyptian Kemetic Spirituality speaks of the weighing of the Soul(Ka) for Truth on the Scales where the Soul of the deceased is measured against the weight the Feather of Maat in order to determine whether the individual has followed the 42 Divine Laws of Maat in Earthly life.
After the weighing of the Ka, if the Scales are balanced in favour of the person following the 42 Divine Law Of Maat , then the Soul passes from the Underworld to the Field of Reeds to join Ausar and the Ancestors in the afterlife.
The 42 Laws of Maat were thus the Divine foundation of Egyptian Kemetic Spirituality.
In their symbolic form, Egyptian Kemetic Spirituality regarded the 42 of Laws of Maat as represented by the Neter or Deity Maat as the Cosmic Law which ensures that Order prevails both on Earth and in the Universe.
The Afterlife In Egyptian Kemetic Spirtuality
The Egyptian Book Of The Dead was one of the two types of Funerary Texts which was important in Egyptian Kemetic Spirituality because they assisted first the Kings and then the Commonerss in their journey to pass Divine Judgment so they could enter the Afterlife in accordance with the Ausarian Religion of Ancient Kemet based on whether they had followed the Laws of Maat.
The Pyramid Texts appeared first in Egyptian Kemetic Spirituality and written before The Egyptian Book Of The Dead and they are the oldest, going back as far as the Old Egyptian Kingdom.
These Pyramid Texts which preceded the Book Of The Dead were reserved only for Egyptian Royalty and they were sculpted onto the walls and the Sarcophagi of the Pyramids at Saqqara from the end of the 5th Dynasty, as well as throughout the 6th Dynasty right up to the period of the 8th Dynasty.
The earliest Pyramid Texts date at least as far back as 2400– 2300 BC with some Historians suggesting that they may even be older going back at least 10 000 years to the earliest period of Pre-Dynastic Egypt.
The following is an extract from the Pyramid Text of the Pharaoh Unas:
‘O Ausar Unas…Thou exists at the side of God after death.
He sits on the Throne of the Supreme Being
Make Salutations, you Angels (Neteru) to the King’.
During the Old Kingdom (2686 BCE– 2181 BCE), Pyramid Texts were now also found in the Tombs of Queens and this spread of funerary Texts would culminate in the use of individual Coffin Texts amongst the ordinary Egyptian people who could not be buried in the auspicious Pyramid Tombs of the Pharaohs but still needed their Souls to be guided in the afterlife following the right to the afterlife gained by the Commoners in the Ausarian Revolution.
The Egyptian Book Of The Dead or Pert Em Hru are a collection of Egyptian Funerary Text used in Egyptian Kemetic Spirituality in the form of spells inscribed on coffins starting in the First Intermediate Period.
Initially The Book of The Dead was based on the earlier Pyramid Texts, however, in time The Book Of The Dead developed to meet the needs of everyday common people dating back to 2100 BCE.
Due to the limited writing space available on Coffins, some of the Egyptian Coffin Texts were shortened and became The Egyptian Book Of the Dead.
The following is an extract from The Book Of The Dead of the Egyptian Scribe Ani:
“Tehuti anncounces, the heart of Ausar, the Scribe Ani has in very truth been weighed, and his Soul has stood as a Witness for him; and it hath been found true by the Trial in the Great Balance…”
The Egyptian Book Of The Dead and the Pyramid Texts were written to serve the Egyptian Kemetic Spiritual purpose of epitaphs in remembrance of the Spiritual Quest of Ancient Egyptians to live according to the Law of Divine Justice or Maat.
As such, the Book Of The Dead served as guidance of Divine Law for the Egyptian Soul in the Spiritual Realm of the Dead in the same way the Laws Of Maat provided guidance for the Soul to follow Divine Law in the Physical Realm during life.
The culmination of the Soul’s journey in the Underworld was the Weighing of the Deeds of the Soul on the scales of Divine Law by the Egyptian Deity Tehuti (Thot).
The development and features of Egyptian Kemetic Spirituality reflect the changes in the Social, Economic and Political Conditions of the Egyptian Kemetic Civilization.
Ultimately, the purpose of Egyptian Kemetic Spirituality was to ensure that Earthly Life mirrored the Order the people of Kemet observed in the Cosmos.
Divine Law or Maat was therefore a critical aspect of the Kemetic Spirituality Ancient Egyptians believed in because it was through Maat that Order in the Cosmos and on Earth could be achieved in order that the Egyptian Kemetic Civilization could flourish.
Egyptian Kemetic Civilization in the Nile Valley was therefore conceived and sustained by the Ancient Egyptian belief in Kemetic Spirituality.