Out story begins with Ani.
A scribe from the city of Thebes. Standing in front of a large golden scale in the underworld where the Jackal-headed god Anubis will weigh his heart against a pure ostrich feather.
Well, this is a scene from his book of the dead.
Not the one from the Mummy trilogy. it’s actually a 78-foot papyrus scroll designed to help him attain immortality.
It’s actually a 78-foot papyrus scroll designed to help him attain immortality.
Originally such funerary texts were written for the Pharaohs, but with time the Egyptian came to believe regular people can also reach the afterlife if they can pass the passage.
Ani’s epic journey begins with his death.
Body mummified by a team of priests, who remove every organ except the heart.
The body is stuffed with a salt called natron, and wrapped with resin-soaked linen. Spells are woven into the linen for protection and it’s topped with a heart scarab amulet.
The Goal of this two-month process is to preserve Ani’s body in ideal form so that his spirit can eventually reunite. But before that can happen, the spirit must pass through the underworld.
The underworld is not a very pleasant place it has dark caverns, lakes of fire and magical gates all guarded by fearsome beast’s snake’s lizard’s crocodile’s half humans, anything bad you can imagine you will find it there. With names like “He who dances in Blood”.
Well, definitely not a place to go for your first date.
To make things worse, Apep the serpent god of destruction lurks in the shadow waiting to swallow Ani’s soul.
But thanks to the magic in his book of dead Ani is prepared, like any other Egyptian who could afford it Ani customized his scroll to include the particular spells, and prayers and codes he thought his spirit might need to overcome all the ostriches in this way to reach the Hall of Ma’at the goddess of truth and Justice.
Here Ani faces his final challenge, His is judged by 42 assessor gods. Every god in charge of a particular sin. He must convince them that he had lived a righteous life.
Ani approaches each one, addressing them by their name, and declaring a sin he has not committed.
Among these negative confessions or declaration of innocence, he proclaims that he has not made anyone cry, or he is not an eavesdropper etc. You get the idea.
But the question is, did Ani really live such a remarkable life?
Well, this is where the scarab amulet comes in play. It’s inscribed with these words
“Do not stand as a witness against me”
Precisely so Ani’s heart doesn’t betray him by recalling the time he stole from someone or made anyone cry.
Well if you thought money doesn’t buy everything, in Ancient Egypt it definitely did buy you an afterlife.
After Passing this level, Ani is standing in front of Anubis, who will weigh his heart.
If his heart is guilty Abet will eat his heart Ani will be lost in darkness forever.
FAQ: Ammit is part crocodile, part leopard, and part hippo
But today Ani is in luck, Ra, the sun god takes him to Osiris, the god of the Underworld who gives him the final approval to enter the afterlife.
And you though your custom’s line in the airport was long, well you know better now.
In the endless and lush fields of reeds, Ani meets his parents, here there is no sadness, pain or anger but there is work to be done. Like everyone else Ani must cultivate a plot of land which he does with the help of a shabti doll, that had been placed in his tomb.
Today the Papyrus of Ani resides in the British Museum, where it is since 1888 because you know British people like keeping another people’s things safe.
Only Ani knows what actually happened to him in his afterlife but thanks to his book of dead we can all imagine him peacefully tending to his crops for all eternity.
I bet he is super bored farming in all these years.