F is for Funerals
Funerals would start with the Funeral procession, where the embalmed body and coffin were taken in a procession to the western side of the river, where burials took place. Relatives were positioned at either end of the coffin, while two of the female relatives would act the roles of Isis and Nephthys. Some people in the procession would carry canopic jars or other things for the grave, while others were hired mourners, dancers, musicians or priests.
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The funerary rites would take place in front of the tomb. The mummy is raised upright for the 'Opening of the Mouth' ceremony, which is performed so that the dead person can use their senses in the afterlife. Food and clothing are then offered to the dead person, while the mourners participate in the funerary banquet. The mummy is then places in the burial chamber, ready for the afterlife.
The underworld was considered a dangerous place by the ancient Egyptians, but the spirit had to cross it in order to reach the Field of Rushes, the paradise awaiting them.
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Once they have completed their journey through the underworld, they reach the Hall of Final Judgement. First, they must stand before 42 divine judges and plead their innocence of any wrong they committed during their lifetime. The Book of the Dead provided them with the correct words to use for each of the judges, therefore allowing them to pass this part of the process even if they weren't completely innocent.
Then it's time for the 'Weighing of the Heart' ceremony, where the heart is weighed against the feather of the goddess Ma'at. The feather was the symbol for truth and justice, and helped to determine whether the person had been virtuous. If the heart was heavier than the feather it was fed to Ammut, the 'Devourer', and the soul cast into darkness. The deceased passed the test if the scales were balanced, and was then taken before Osiris who welcomed them into the afterlife.
The Field of Rushes was a reflection of the real world. It had blue skies, rivers with boats for travel, gods and goddesses to worship and fields and crops that had to be ploughed and harvested. The dead were given a plot of land and expected to maintain it.