By Joseph “Joe” Panek | A Seeker’s Thoughts
In the Egyptian Book Of The Dead we encounter a Ceremony called the “Weighing Of The Heart” in which the deceased Pharaoh is led into the underworld by Anubis, the Egyptian Neter who is the “Guardian of the Way”. There the Pharaoh’s heart is placed upon the Scales of Justice and weighed against the Feather of Maat.
If the weight of the Pharaoh’s heart was less than, or equal to, the weight of the Feather, he was then led onward to meet Osiris who welcomed the recently deceased Pharaoh into the afterlife. However, if the Pharaoh’s heart weighed more than the Feather of Maat, the Pharaoh was immediately devoured by Ammit, a beast with the head of a crocodile, the front legs and body of a lion, and the back legs of a hippopotamus.
This “Day of Judgement”, as it is referred to in other religious texts, may strike us as a hideous trial which is imposed upon the recently deceased Pharaoh. However, powerful Lessons are often contained within “stories” which rattle our emotions and strike fear into our imagination. But, as we shall see, the “Weighing of the Heart” Ceremony is actually a powerful metaphor, a teaching tool, which reveals to the Seeker and Initiate an ancient and eternal Truth.
Although the “Weighing Of The Heart” Ceremony contains a great deal of Symbolism, we need only to focus on the following five Symbols to understand the Lesson contained within this particular Ritual: The Pharaoh, the Feather of Maat, the Heart, the beast Ammit, and the Underworld.
Pharaoh: This is a Symbol, and a Metaphor, which teaches us that just as the Pharaoh is the ruler of a material kingdom, so too are we Pharaohs of our own personal kingdom: the kingdom of our mind, body and Spirit. A kingdom for which we alone bear the sole responsibility for either its expansion or demise.
Ammit: The beast Ammit Symbolizes our Inner Demons which we must continually grapple with as we Journey through our Current Incarnation. Either we boldly conquer our Inner Demons, or they end up devouring us.
Underworld: The Underworld is that dark, silent place within each one of us. The Underworld Symbolizes a place where a “rite of passage” occurs. It is a place of Initiation, deep within ourselves, where we must go to in order to resolve our dilemmas and to grapple with, and conquer, our Inner Demons. It is a place of Decision, Contemplation, and Growth. We do not return from the Underworld as the same person who originally entered into it.
There is a natural order which prevails throughout the Universe. The Ancient Egyptians called this natural order Maat.
When we are in perfect Balance with Maat, we experience Peace, Harmony, and light-heartedness in our life. It is during these times that we find ourselves in control of both sides of Duality and our Heart weighs less than the Feather of Maat.
When we are out-of-balance with Maat, we experience stress. Stress is nothing more than an “unbalanced energy” which the Qabalists call Qliphoth. These are the times when our Hearts are “heavier than the Feather of Maat” and we find ourselves grappling with our Inner Demons, our Ammits, until Balance and Harmony is restored within us.
Our life is one long Journey of Decisions and Choices. And, as all major decisions must be “weighed” cautiously and deliberately, these are the times when we find ourselves retreating into our own Underworld within ourselves (Our Subconscious) to grapple with the various dilemmas and demons which confront us during our times of indecision and strife. We begin our Underworld Journey with confusion, uncertainty, and a degree of fear. Or, to state it metaphorically, we begin our Journey into our Underworld with a “heavy heart”.
However, slowly we begin to unravel our dilemmas and conquer our Inner Demons. When we are done with this particular “rite of passage”, our dilemmas become clear and our Inner Demons vanish.
Once our Inner Demons are conquered, and our confusions are clearly resolved, we can leave our Underworld with the “lightest of hearts”, proceed upon the Path of our Current Incarnation, pursue our Personal Destiny, fulfill our Dreams, and bask in the Peace, Contentment, and Simplicity of our personal kingdom.
Throughout the course of Our Current Incarnation it is very easy for us to acquire a “heavy heart” by way of burdens which are heaped upon us, not only by ourselves, but by all of the various aspects of society. These difficult to recognize burdens are covered in depth in the articles on “Sin“, “Karma” and “Guilt, Threats and Obligations“.