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Egyptian Mythology: The Afterlife & Burial Practices

Updated on February 15, 2011
Mummification Practices
Mummification Practices
Canopic Jars
Canopic Jars

Egyptian Afterlife

Every Egyptian help concerns about the Afterlife and the Beyond. Although, the gods and goddesses demanded mollification while you are alive, once you die, the gods become beneficent protectors and provide for the dead.

Death was not seen as the last stage of life, but as a stage of life to which a person was at rest waiting for revivification. For those more fortunate to live comfortably, they were able to avoid funerary objects, mummification, and entombment, which is what l us how dangerous they felt the Afterlife could be.

Inscriptions of the Book of the Dead, the Book of the Two Ways, and the Amduat, were found around the body.

The dead needed protection as they progressed from the Other World to the Hall of Judgement.

The dead travel on the solar barge, which is a low boat that Ra created as a way to achieve eternal life.

A priest performed the 'Opening of the Mouth' ceremony over the mummified body in order to restore all of the senses to the body.

Speech was one of the first senses restored because the Egyptians needed to justify their time on Earth when they arrive at the Hall of Judgement.

All of the other senses were restored immediately, as well, because the first step after death was to the Field of Reeds- the land of wish fulfillment. The deceased had to pass through 7 difference gates which is aided by the magical spells inscribed on the tomb around the deceased person.

They would have to stand in front of Osiris and face judgement, in a 'weighing the heart' ceremony, which is why the heart is remained intact and the other organs are placed in canopic jars.

While justifying himself, the deceased would face all 42 gods and heart would be weighed against a feather. If the heart does not balance perfectly, Amemat would devour it and Set would eat the rest of the body.

Burial Practices
Burial Practices
Funerary Scene
Funerary Scene

The Burial Practice

Egyptians believed that there were different levels of good and evil, which is why their burial practices are elaborate and complex.

Great care goes into removing the internal organs. Once carefully removed, the organs were treated and placed in clay or stone Canopic Jars with tops depicting the human, baboon, falcon, and jackal, which are the protective spirits (considered the Four Sons of Horus).

The heart was removed carefully, as it was to be weighed again feather to determine goodness.

The brain was pulled through the cranial cavity and thrown away because the Egyptians felt that it was useless.

But, the liver, stomach, lungs, and intestines are carefully removed and saved for use in the Afterlife.

The body was carefully covered with a linen in order to preserve the body in the afterlife. The body usually sat for several days to a week in order for the linens to dry.

Personal items were usually placed in the tomb in order to make the person's 'Ka' more at home and to assist the deceased on journey into the afterlife.

Sometimes, tools were, also, added to the tomb in order to assist the deceased in jobs in the afterlife.

Foods was provided in case the deceased needed to make an offering. In most cases, food was drawn on the walls of the tomb to magically transform into real food if needed.

Text from the Book of the Dead was often inscription so that it can be read at the Opening The Mouth ceremony.

The Egyptians prepared the deceased for the afterlife with expertise and care, stretching from the body to the objects placed with and around the body.


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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I really enjoy it. It's very important things which is need to know everyone.......may be all it's true.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      What were the two practices???

    • DS Duby profile image

      DS Duby 

      7 years ago from United States, Illinois

      Very detailed description of the Egyptian burial process. I really enjoyed this article, voted up and awesome.

    • profile image

      Tom Humphries  

      8 years ago

      I think that it is really interesting how they kept all of the internal organs but just thee out the brain because it is useless.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      ha, that's funny how the brain was tossed away. The significance of the heart (as goodness/emotion) persists today


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