Cradle of Civilization

A Blog about the Birth of Our Civilisation and Development

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  • The Fertile Crescent

    The Fertile Crescent is a term for an old fertile area north, east and west of the Arabian Desert in Southwest Asia. The Mesopotamian valley and the Nile valley fall under this term even though the mountain zone around Mesopotamia is the natural zone for the transition in a historical sense.

    As a result of a number of unique geographical factors the Fertile Crescent have an impressive history of early human agricultural activity and culture. Besides the numerous archaeological sites with remains of skeletons and cultural relics the area is known primarily for its excavation sites linked to agricultural origins and development of the Neolithic era.

    It was here, in the forested mountain slopes of the periphery of this area, that agriculture originated in an ecologically restricted environment. The western zone and areas around the upper Euphrates gave growth to the first known Neolithic farming communities with small, round houses , also referred to as Pre Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA) cultures, which dates to just after 10,000 BC and include areas such as Jericho, the world’s oldest city.

    During the subsequent PPNB from 9000 BC these communities developed into larger villages with farming and animal husbandry as the main source of livelihood, with settlement in the two-story, rectangular house. Man now entered in symbiosis with grain and livestock species, with no opportunity to return to hunter – gatherer societies.

    The area west and north of the plains of the Euphrates and Tigris also saw the emergence of early complex societies in the much later Bronze Age (about 4000 BC). There is evidence of written culture and early state formation in this northern steppe area, although the written formation of the states relatively quickly shifted its center of gravity into the Mesopotamian valley and developed there. The area is therefore in very many writers been named “The Cradle of Civilization.”

    The area has experienced a series of upheavals and new formation of states. When Turkey was formed in the aftermath of the genocide against the Pontic Greeks, Armenians and Assyrians perpetrated by the Young Turks during the First World War it is estimated that two-thirds to three-quarters of all Armenians and Assyrians in the region died, and the Pontic Greeks was pushed to Greece.

    Israel was created out of the Ottoman Empire and the conquering of the Palestinian terretories. The existence of large Arab nation states from the Maghreb to the Levant has since represented a potential threat to Israel which should be neutralised when opportunities arise.

    This line of thinking was at the heart of David Ben Gurion’s policies in the 1950s which sought to exacerbate tensions between Christians and Muslims in the Lebanon for the fruits of acquiring regional influence by the dismembering the country and the possible acquisition of additional territory.

    The Christians are now being systematically targeted for genocide in Syria according to Vatican and other sources with contacts on the ground among the besieged Christian community.

    According to reports by the Vatican’s Fides News Agency collected by the Centre for the Study of Interventionism, the US-backed Free Syrian Army rebels and ever more radical spin-off factions are sacking Christian churches, shooting Christians dead in the street, broadcasting ultimatums that all Christians must be cleansed from the rebel-held villages, and even shooting priests.

    It is now time that the genocide against the Pontic Greeks, Assyrians and Armenians is being recognized, that the Israeli occupation, settlements and violence against the Palestinians stop, and that the various minorities in the area start to live their lifes in peace – without violence and threats from majority populations, or from the West, and then specificially from the US.

    War in the Fertile Crescent
    https://aratta.wordpress.com/2013/11/13/war-in-the-fertile-crescent

    Everyone is free to use the text on this blog as they want. There is no copyright etc. This because knowledge is more important than rules and regulations.

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Ceres, the caretaker, Orion and the Scorpion (Scorpio)

Posted by Sjur Cappelen Papazian on September 25, 2019

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Bilderesultat for orion scorpio

Bilderesultat for Ophiuchus

““There is a package of values and behaviors connected to a form of masculinity that I call ‘industrial breadwinner masculinity.’ They see the world as separated between humans and nature. They believe humans are obliged to use nature and its resources to make products out of them. And they have a risk perception that nature will tolerate all types of waste. It’s a risk perception that doesn’t think of nature as vulnerable and as something that is possible to be destroyed. For them, economic growth is more important than the environment” Hultman told Deutsche Welle last year”

Ceres

Ceres is the smallest identified dwarf planet in the Solar System, but is significantly the largest object in the asteroid belt. It passes through the zodiac every 4 years and 7 months, passing through a little more than 2½ signs every year.

It was discovered on 1 January 1801 by Giuseppe Piazzi, and is named after Ceres, the Roman goddess of growing plants, the harvest, and of motherly love. It was the first asteroid discovered, taking up about one-third of the entire mass of its asteroid belt.

The German astronomer Johann Elert Bode (1747-1826) believed Ceres to be the “missing planet” he had proposed to exist between Mars and Jupiter, at a distance of 419 million km (2.8 AU) from the Sun. Ceres was assigned a planetary symbol, and remained listed as a planet in astronomy books and tables for about half a century.

The classification of Ceres has changed more than once and has been the subject of some disagreement. The 2006 debate surrounding Pluto and what constitutes a planet led to Ceres being considered for reclassification as a planet, but in the end, Ceres and Pluto were classified as the first members of the new dwarf planet category.

In mythology, Ceres is the Roman equivalent of the Greek goddess Demeter, and is the goddess of agriculture. Ceres, as the Goddess who has control over nature’s resources and cycles, may astrologically be considered the planet of the Environment.

In ancient Greek religion and mythology, Demeter is the goddess of the harvest and agriculture, presiding over grains and the fertility of the earth. Her cult titles include Sito («she of the Grain»), as the giver of food or grain, and Thesmophoros (thesmos: «divine order, unwritten law»; phoros: «bringer, bearer», «Law-Bringer», as a mark of the civilized existence of agricultural society.

Ceres (and metaphorically the planet) is also associated with the reproductive issues of an adult woman, as well as pregnancy and other major transitions in a woman’s life, including the nine months of gestation time, family bonds and relationships.

In old opinion, Ceres is the ruling planet of Virgo but as more knowledge about the planet’s character has been revealed, the majority opinion of modern astrologers denotes Ceres being the ruler for Taurus, however, Ceres is exalted in Virgo.

In an updated revision, Taurus is also ruled by Chiron, held to be the superlative centaur amongst his brethren, as he was called as the «wisest and justest of all the centaurs», with that very same centaur having an astrological maverick character being a co-ruler to Virgo, and exalted in Sagittarius.

Although a mother, Ceres is also the archetype of a virgin goddess. She epitomizes independent women who are often unmarried since, according to myth, Ceres is an unmarried goddess who chose to become a mother without a husband or partner. While the moon represents our ideal of “motherhood”, Ceres would represent how our real and nature motherhood should be.

Returning to mythology, an early environmental villain is the figure of Erysichthon («arth-tearer»), the tearer up of the earth, who cut down trees in a grove sacred to Ceres-Demeter, for which he was punished by the goddess with fearful hunger.

In this sense, Ceres became an emerging archetype in the awareness of climate change in the 21st century and is entering the collective consciousness as a need to take care of our natural and irreplaceable resources.

Ceres represents a leap towards a future of ecological responsibility and knowledge. As an indicator for environmental or community activism, Ceres would represent for some astrologers the wave of the future.

Erysichthon

In Greek mythology, Erysichthon was a King of Thessaly. He once ordered all trees in the sacred grove of Demeter to be cut down. One huge oak was covered with votive wreaths, a symbol of every prayer Demeter had granted, and so the men refused to cut it down.

Erysichthon grabbed an axe and cut it down himself, killing a dryad nymph in the process. The nymph’s dying words were a curse on Erysichthon. Demeter responded to the nymph’s curse and punished him by entreating Limos, the spirit of unrelenting and insatiable hunger, to place herself in his stomach. Food acted like fuel on a fire: The more he ate, the hungrier he got.

Erysichthon sold all his possessions to buy food, but was still hungry. At last he sold his own daughter Mestra into slavery. Mestra was freed from slavery by her former lover Poseidon, who gave her the gift of shape-shifting into any creature at will to escape her bonds.

Erysichthon used her shape-shifting ability to sell her numerous times to make money to feed himself, but no amount of food was enough. Eventually, Erysichthon ate himself in hunger. Nothing of him remained the following morning.

Orion

Since ancient times, humans have engaged in hunting, for example, and still do today. Such an endeavor functions as a form of dominion over nature, but also appears to illustrate a connection between humans and nature.

Hunting is connected to the natural world, as lions hunt zebras, sharks hunt other fish, and humans, too, hunt for deer, among other things. So, in considering hunting as a method for dominating the natural world, one, in turn, witnesses the connection between nature and a seemingly distant or separate act.

Orion is a prominent constellation located on the celestial equator and visible throughout the world. It is one of the most conspicuous and recognizable constellations in the night sky. It was named after Orion, a giant huntsman whom Zeus (or perhaps Artemis) placed among the stars as the constellation of Orion.

Ancient sources tell several different stories about Orion; there are two major versions of his birth and several versions of his death. According to the myth, Orion was a great hunter and became quite boastful about his skills, claiming there to be no animal he could not kill.

When Orion boasted to the Goddess Artemis, daughter of Zeus, that he would kill every animal on earth, Gaia, the Goddess of the Earth, in rage sent Scorpius to kill Orion. The angry goddess tried to dispatch Orion with a scorpion. This is given as the reason that the constellations of Scorpius and Orion are never in the sky at the same time. Every winter Orion hunts in the sky, but every summer he flees as the constellation of the scorpion comes.

According to another myth Orion boasted to goddess Artemis and her mother, Leto, that he would kill every animal on the Earth. Although Artemis was known to be a hunter herself she offered protection to all creatures. Artemis and her mother Leto sent a scorpion to deal with Orion.

The pair battled and the scorpion killed Orion. However, the contest was apparently a lively one that caught the attention of the king of the gods Zeus, who later raised the scorpion to heaven and afterwards, at the request of Artemis, did the same for Orion to serve as a reminder for mortals to curb their excessive pride.

In yet another version, Apollo sends the scorpion. According to Hyginus Artemis once loved Orion (in spite of the late source, this version appears to be a rare remnant of her as the pre-Olympian goddess, who took consorts, as Eos did), but was tricked into killing him by her brother Apollo, who was “protective” of his sister’s maidenhood.

Scorpio

The myths associated with Scorpio almost invariably also contain a reference to Orion. The two constellations lie opposite each other in the sky, and Orion is said to be fleeing from the scorpion as it sets just as Scorpio rises.

Scorpio is the eighth astrological sign in the Zodiac, originating from the constellation of Scorpius. It spans 210°–240° ecliptic longitude. It is one of the three water signs, the others being Cancer and Pisces. It lies between Libra to the west and Sagittarius to the east.

Under the tropical zodiac (most commonly used in Western astrology), the Sun transits this sign on average from October 23 to November 22. Under the sidereal zodiac (most commonly used in Hindu astrology), the Sun is in Scorpio from approximately November 16 to December 15.

In ancient times, Scorpio was associated with the planet Mars. After Pluto was discovered in 1930, it became associated with Scorpio instead. Scorpio is also associated with the Greek deity Artemis, who is said to have created the constellation Scorpius.

The Babylonians called this constellation MUL.GIR.TAB – the ‘Scorpion’, the signs can be literally read as ‘the (creature with) a burning sting’. The constellation of Libra was known as the Claws of the Scorpion in Babylonian (zibānītu; compare Arabic zubānā).

The Western astrological sign Scorpio differs from the astronomical constellation. Astronomically, the sun is in Scorpius for just six days, from November 23 to November 28. Much of the difference is due to the constellation Ophiuchus (“serpent-bearer”), a large constellation straddling the celestial equator, which is used by few astrologers.

Libra

Libra is the seventh astrological sign in the Zodiac. It spans 180°–210° celestial longitude. Under the tropical zodiac, the Sun transits this area on average between (northern autumnal equinox) September 23 and October 23, and under the sidereal zodiac, the sun currently transits the constellation of Libra from approximately October 31 to November 22.

The ruling planet of Libra is Venus. Libra is the only zodiac constellation in the sky represented by an inanimate object. The other eleven signs are represented either as an animal or mythological characters throughout history. The symbol of the scales is based on the Scales of Justice held by Themis, the Greek personification of divine law and custom. She became the inspiration for modern depictions of Lady Justice.

Ophiuchus

Ophiuchus straddles the equator with the majority of its area lying in the southern hemisphere. Rasalhague, its brightest star, lies near the northern edge of Ophiuchus at about 12½°N declination. The constellation extends southward to −30° declination. Segments of the ecliptic within Ophiuchus are south of −20° declination.

The constellation lies between Aquila, Serpens, Scorpius, Sagittarius, and Hercules, northwest of the center of the Milky Way. The southern part lies between Scorpius to the west and Sagittarius to the east. It was formerly referred to as Serpentarius and Anguitenens.

The Anguillidae are a family of ray-finned fish that contains the freshwater eels. Eighteen of the 19 extant species and six subspecies in this family are in the genus Anguilla. They are elongated fish with snake-like bodies, their long dorsal, caudal and anal fins forming a continuous fringe.

In Hittite mythology, Illuyanka was a serpentine dragon slain by Tarḫunz (dIM), the Hittite incarnation of the Hurrian god of sky and storm. Illuyanka is probably a compound, consisting of two words for “snake”, Proto-Indo-European *h₁illu- and *h₂eng(w)eh₂-. The same compound members, inverted, appear in Latin anguilla “eel”. The *h₁illu- word is cognate to English eel, the anka- word to Sanskrit ahi.

In the northern hemisphere, it is best visible in summer. It is opposite Orion. Perhaps we could call Ophiuchus the “anti-Orion,” because this celestial snake man is positioned diametrically opposite to Orion in the sky; Ophiuchus appears in early summertime just about where Orion will be a half year later, at the same time of night.

Ophiuchus is a sort of summer counterpart of the famous constellation Orion, the Hunter, which straddles the celestial equator and is prominent high in our southern sky on late December evenings. Ophiuchus also straddles the celestial equator, and it sits high in the evening skies in late June.

In contrast to Orion, from November to January (summer in the Southern Hemisphere, winter in the Northern Hemisphere), Ophiuchus is in the daytime sky and thus not visible at most latitudes. However, for much of the Arctic Circle in the Northern Hemisphere’s winter months, the Sun is below the horizon even at midday. Stars (and thus parts of Ophiuchus, especially Rasalhague) are then visible at twilight for a few hours around local noon, low in the south.

In the Northern Hemisphere’s spring and summer months, when Ophiuchus is normally visible in the night sky, the constellation is actually not visible, at those times and places in the Arctic when midnight sun obscures the stars. In countries close to the equator, Ophiuchus appears overhead in June around midnight and in the October evening sky.

Ophiuchus occupies the same part of the sky that Orion does in winter, but most star guides usually nominate Scorpio the Scorpion as summer’s representative. This is chiefly because of brightness; with the exception of Orion, there is probably no brighter constellation in the sky than Scorpius.

In contrast, Ophiuchus is composed primarily of widely spaced third- and fourth- magnitude stars, save for a lone second-magnitude star, called Rasalhague (“head of the serpent charmer”). (Reminder: Lower magnitudes denote brighter objects on the scale astronomers use.)

The fact that Scorpius is so much brighter than Ophiuchus probably explains why Scorpius is recognized as a member of the zodiac and Ophiuchus isn’t. And that’s a shame, because the snake man really should be.

The ecliptic – which marks the path in the sky for the sun, moon and planets – cuts a much broader expanse through the Serpent Bearer compared with the Scorpion. In late fall, the sun spends only about a week in Scorpius but three full weeks in Ophiuchus. Perhaps the real reason the Serpent Bearer is being denied membership in the Zodiac is that its inclusion would boost the number of zodiacal signs to 13.

The constellation is depicted as a man grasping a serpent. It actually consists of two star patterns; the snake that the man is holding is a constellation in and of itself — Serpens. In some old star books and atlases, Ophiuchus is branded as “Serpentarius, the snake handler.”

To further confuse matters, some people consider the serpent to be two separate constellations, the interposition of his body divides the snake constellation Serpens into two parts, Serpens Caput (“Head”) and Serpens Cauda (“Tail”).

The official constellation boundaries set forth in 1930 by the International Astronomical Union keep the head and tail of Serpens as their own separate entities, and yet both body parts constitute one singular constellation.

Ophiuchus is the celestial physician, for he represents the mythological doctor Aesculapius, who supposedly had the ability to bring the dead back to life. In fact, to this day, Aesculapius is mentioned in the Hippocratic Oath taken by physicians.

The serpent was important because it represented the ancient pharmaceutical elixir to cure all illness. Of course, in real life, that has proved to be a fallacy, and the term “snake oil” has come to mean an item that’s sold as a remedy but has no real medicinal value.

Yet, ironically, the universal medical symbol — the caduceus — depicts a serpent coiled around a rod. We see it, for example, on the U.S. Army Medical Corps branch plaque, and various health care providers have incorporated the caduceus into their logos over the years.

There is an interesting tale that involves several constellations, with Ophiuchus as a key player. It goes like this: Orion was out hunting one day with his two faithful dogs (Canis Major and Canis Minor) when they started pursuing a hare (Lepus). But Orion ran into misfortune when he was stung in the heel by a scorpion (Scorpius) and died.

Ophiuchus enters the story here, in the guise of Aesculapius. The healer was called in and, true to his reputation, brought Orion back to life with the help of his serpent. This alarmed the god of the dead, Pluto, who bitterly complained to the king of the gods, Jupiter, who usually saw to it that his subordinates had no trouble in their respective realms. Much as he probably hated to do it, Jupiter threw his thunderbolt and killed both Aesculapius and Orion.

After that, everybody concerned was awarded a place in the sky: Orion with his two dogs, Aesculapius with his serpent, the Scorpion, and even the hare that Orion had been hunting when he had his unfortunate encounter with Scorpius.

The Serpent Bearer was placed directly above the Scorpion, and Orion was placed on the opposite side of the sky so that he and the Scorpion would never encounter each other again. Following Orion across the sky are his two dogs, while the hare lies below Orion’s feet.

Inanna

Inanna is an ancient Mesopotamian goddess associated with love, beauty, sex, desire, fertility, war, justice, and political power. She was originally worshipped in Sumer and was later worshipped by the Akkadians, Babylonians, and Assyrians under the name Ishtar. She was known as the “Queen of Heaven” and was the patron goddess of the Eanna temple at the city of Uruk, which was her main cult center.

She was associated with the planet Venus and her most prominent symbols included the lion and the eight-pointed star. Alongside her twin brother Utu (later known as Shamash), the ancient Mesopotamian god of the sun, justice, morality, and truth, Inanna was the enforcer of divine justice and was thought to aid those in distress. In Sumerian texts, Inanna and Utu are shown as extremely close; in fact, their relationship frequently borders on incestuous.

Ishara

Ishara is an ancient deity of unknown origin from northern modern Syria. She first appeared in Ebla and was incorporated into the Hurrian pantheon, from which she found her way to the Hittite pantheon. Ishara is the Hittite word for “treaty, binding promise”, also personified as a goddess of the oath.

Variants of the name appear as Ašḫara (in a treaty of Naram-Sin of Akkad with Hita of Elam) and Ušḫara (in Ugarite texts). In Ebla, there were various logographic spellings involving the sign AMA “mother”. In Alalah, her name was written with the Akkadogram IŠTAR plus a phonetic complement -ra, as IŠTAR-ra.

While she was considered to belong to the entourage of Ishtar, she was invoked to heal the sick. In this context, she came to be seen as a “goddess of medicine” whose pity was invoked in case of illness. As a goddess, Ishara could inflict severe bodily penalties on oathbreakers, in particular ascites.  There was even a verb, isharis- “to be afflicted by the illness of Ishara”.

In Hurrian and Semitic traditions, Išḫara is a love goddess, often identified with Ishtar. She was associated with the underworld. Her astrological embodiment is the constellation Scorpio and she is called the mother of the Sebitti (the Seven Stars), a group of seven minor war gods that follow the god Erra, an Akkadian plague god known from an ‘epos’ of the eighth century BCE, into battle in Babylonian and Akkadian tradition.

Ushas

Ushas is a Vedic goddess of dawn in Hinduism. Vedic uṣás is derived from the word uṣá which means “dawn”. Uṣás is an s-stem, i.e. the genitive case is uṣásas, whereby it connotes “dawn goddess” in Indo-European languages. This word comes from Proto-Indo-Iranian *Hušā́s (“ušā” in Avestan), which in turn is from Proto-Indo-European *h₂éusōs (“dawn”), and is related to “ēṓs” in Greek.

She is related to the Proto-Indo-European goddess *h₂ausos-. Her cognates in other Indo-European pantheons include the Greek goddess Eos, the Roman goddess Aurora, the Lithuanian goddess Ausrine, and the English goddess Ēostre, whose name is probably the root of the modern English word “Easter.” A non-Indo-European example, but still closely related, is the Japanese goddess Uzume.

She repeatedly appears in the Rigvedic hymns where she is “consistently identified with dawn, revealing herself with the daily coming of light to the world, driving away oppressive darkness, chasing away evil demons, rousing all life, setting all things in motion, sending everyone off to do their duties”.

Ushas is the prominent goddess of dawn in the Vedas. She is depicted as the one who imbues life to all beings, as the “life of all life” and “breath of all breaths”. She is the life of all living creatures, the impeller of action and breath, the foe of chaos and confusion, the auspicious arouser of cosmic and moral order called the Ṛta in Hinduism.

According to Sri Aurobindo, Ushas is “the medium of the awakening, the activity and the growth of the other gods; she is the first condition of the Vedic realisation. By her increasing illumination the whole nature of man is clarified; through her [mankind] arrives at the Truth, through her he enjoys [Truth’s] beatitude.”

Ama-gi

Ama-gi is a Sumerian word written ama-gi or ama-ar-gi. It has been translated as “freedom”, as well as “manumission”, “exemption from debts or obligations”, and “the restoration of persons and property to their original status” including the remission of debts. Other interpretations include a “reversion to a previous state” and release from debt, slavery, taxation or punishment.

The word originates from the noun ama “mother” (sometimes with the enclitic dative case marker ar), and the present participle gi4 “return, restore, put back”, thus literally meaning “returning to mother”. It is related to the Akkadian word anduraāru(m), meaning “freedom”, “exemption” and “release from (debt) slavery”.

Assyriologist Samuel Noah Kramer has identified it as the first known written reference to the concept of freedom. Referring to its literal meaning “return to the mother”, he wrote in 1963 that “we still do not know why this figure of speech came to be used for “freedom.”” A number of Libertarian organizations have adopted the cuneiform glyph as a symbol claiming it is “the earliest-known written appearance of the word ‘freedom'”.

The earliest known usage of the word was in the reforms of Urukagina (Sumerian: URU-KA-gi.na; c. 24th century BC, short chronology). By the Third Dynasty of Ur, it was used as a legal term for the manumission of individuals. 

Urukagina was a ruler (ensi) of the city-state Lagash in Mesopotamia. He assumed the title of king, claiming to have been divinely appointed, upon the downfall of his corrupt predecessor, Lugalanda, a Sumerian king of Lagash during the 24th century BC.

He is best known for his reforms to combat corruption, which are sometimes cited as the first example of a legal code in recorded history. In it, he exempted widows and orphans from taxes; compelled the city to pay funeral expenses (including the ritual food and drink libations for the journey of the dead into the lower world); and decreed that the rich must use silver when purchasing from the poor, and if the poor does not wish to sell, the powerful man (the rich man or the priest) cannot force him to do so.

Nergal

Nergal is a deity that was worshipped throughout ancient Mesopotamia (Akkad, Assyria, and Babylonia). Other names for him are Erra and Irra. Over time Nergal developed from a war god to a god of the underworld. He has also been called “the king of sunset”.

Nergal seems to be in part a solar deity, sometimes identified with Shamash, but only representative of a certain phase of the sun. Portrayed in hymns and myths as a god of war and pestilence, Nergal seems to represent the sun of noontime and of the summer solstice that brings destruction, high summer being the dead season in the Mesopotamian annual cycle.

In the late Babylonian astral-theological system Nergal is related to the planet Mars. As a fiery god of destruction and war, Nergal doubtless seemed an appropriate choice for the red planet, and he was equated by the Greeks to the war-god Ares (Latin Mars)—hence the current name of the planet.

Amongst the Hurrians and later Hittites Nergal was known as Aplu, a name derived from the Akkadian Apal Enlil, (Apal being the construct state of Aplu) meaning “the son of Enlil”. As god of the plague, he was invoked during the “plague years” during the reign of the Hittite king Suppiluliuma, when this disease spread from Egypt. Aplu may be related with Apaliunas who is considered to be the Hittite reflex of *Apeljōn, an early form of the name Apollo.

Maat

The constellation of the scales of Libra occurs immediately before Scorpio, the sign associated with the Underworld and death. The Egyptians referred to Libra as Chonsu, the divine child, which symbolized birth and renewal. The Egyptians believed that at the time of death the scales were used to determine if the soul would reincarnate.

The goddess Maat placed the soul on one scale and a feather on the other. If the scale tilted even slightly the soul would reincarnate. Thoth, in the Underworld, would use the scales to measure a persons heart. Thoth was similar to Hermes, as he was the only Egyptian god who could travel between the three realms of Heaven, Earth and Underworld.

Maat or Maʽat (meaning “(world-) order” or “harmony”) refers to the ancient Egyptian concepts of truth, balance, order, harmony, law, morality, and justice. Maat was also the goddess who personified these concepts, and regulated the stars, seasons, and the actions of mortals and the deities who had brought order from chaos at the moment of creation.

Her ideological opposite was Isfet or Asfet (Egyptian jzft), meaning “injustice”, “chaos”, or “violence”; as a verb, “to do evil”), an ancient Egyptian term from Egyptian mythology used in philosophy, which was built on a religious, social and politically affected dualism. Isfet was to be overcome by good and to replace disunity with unity and disorder with order. Ma’at was to overcome isfet, “that which is difficult,” “evil,” “disharmonious,” and “troublesome.”

An Egyptian king (pharaoh) was appointed to “achieve” Ma’at, which means that he had to keep and protect justice and harmony by destroying Isfet. A responsible kingship meant that Egypt would remain in prosperity and at peace of Ma’at. However, if Isfet were to rise, humanity would decay and return to a primordial state. Decay was unacceptable as a natural course of events, which meant that the world was separated from the cosmos and away from order.

The universe was cyclical meaning it had repeated sequences: the daily sunsetting and its rising, annual seasons and flooding of the Nile. On the other hand, when Ma’at was absent, and Isfet unleashed then the Nile flood failed and the country fell into famine. Therefore, Ancient Egyptians believed through their rituals of the cosmic order it would bring forth prosperity to the gods and goddesses who controlled the cosmos.

The principles of the contrariness between Isfet and Ma’at are exemplified in a popular tale from the Middle Kingdom, called “the moaning of the Bedouin”: Those who destroy the lie promote Ma’at; those who promote the good will erase the evil. As fullness casts out appetite, as clothes cover the nude and
as heaven clears up after a storm.

In the eyes of the Egyptians, the world was always ambiguous; the actions and judgments of a king were thought to simplify these principles in order to keep Ma’at by separating order from chaos or good from evil. Coffin Text 335a asserts the necessity of the dead being cleansed of Isfet in order to be reborn in the Duat.

Isfet is thought to be the product of an individual’s free will rather than a primordial state of chaos. In mythology, this is represented by Apep (also spelled Apepi or Aapep) or Apophis, the ancient Egyptian deity who embodied chaos (ı͗zft in Egyptian) and thus the opponent of light and Ma’at (order/truth), being born from Ra’s umbilical cord relatively late.

The judgement of the dead was the process that allowed the Egyptian gods to judge the worthiness of the souls of the deceased. Deeply rooted in the Egyptian belief of immortality, judgement was one of the most important parts of the journey through the afterlife. As such, many variations of judgement scenes appear in the Egyptian afterlife texts.

Each soul that entered the afterlife was handled individually during judgement. Once the deceased finished their journey through the underworld, they arrived at the Hall of Maat. Here their purity would be the determining factor in whether they would be allowed to enter the Kingdom of Osiris.

The deceased’s first task was to correctly address each of the forty-two judges, by name, while reciting the sins they did not commit during their lifetime. This process allowed the dead to demonstrate that they knew each of the judges’ names or Ren and established that they were pure, and free of sin. After confirming that they were sinless, the deceased was presented with the balance that was used to weight their heart against the feather of Maat.

Anubis was the god often seen administering this test. If the deceased’s heart balanced with the feather of Maat, Thoth would record the result and they would be presented to Osiris, who admitted them into the Sekhet-Aaru. However, if their heart was heavier than the feather, it was to be devoured by the Goddess Ammit, permanently destroying the soul of the deceased.

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