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The Ancient Egyptian Afterlife and What You Really Are

Updated on November 22, 2017

The Book of the Dead

The ancient Egyptians spent a very long time, more than 3,000 years in fact, searching for answers about the afterlife. They put together a number of books, writings, and manuscripts containing what they believed to be the answers they were seeking. These answers came together to become the Book of the Dead, which seems very much like an "instruction manual" for what must be done after dying. Apparently, you are required to understand certain things before you can successfully traverse the afterlife.

According to ancient Egyptian belief, what you potentially face after dying is not an easy journey of any kind; you better be prepared for what is to come, or you will have no idea how to proceed forward into the afterlife.

According to ancient Egyptian belief, it is extremely important to come to some understanding of these things -- while you are still alive -- or else a horrible nightmare will begin for you after dying.

As Above, So Below

The ancient Egyptians believed so strongly in the journey through the afterlife that they symbolized it, by building it on the ground at Giza. You cannot understand the Great Pyramid, the Sphinx, or anything else about Giza -- unless you understand how they relate to the Book of the Dead.

On the ground at Giza, the ancient people of Egypt recreated, and attempted to symbolize, the afterlife and the journey through it; they did so by creating the Great Pyramid, as well as the other structures at Giza -- "as above, so below".

According to researchers, Giza was made to be a "physical representation" of the Duat (the "place" you go after dying), but on the ground instead of in the sky. So, according to some researchers, the whole purpose of Giza was to represent the "place" you went upon dying, and the inside of the Great Pyramid was constructed to symbolically represent your afterlife "journey". Giza represented the "place" you went after death, and the Great Pyramid symbolized the journey you took -- simple as that.

Upon entering the Great Pyramid is what is known as the Grand Gallery, which is like an ascending hallway that leads to the Kings Chamber; the Egyptians called it the "Judgement Hall of Osiris", and it was meant to symbolize the journey from life to afterlife.

During the transition from life to afterlife, the goddess known as Maat would weigh your heart, which is represented by a feather and a scale. The feather would be placed on one side of the scale, your heart on the other; if your heart is heavier than the feather, this is not good.

You should not have a "heavy heart" -- your heart should be "light as a feather". This is why "en-light-enment" happens in the heart, not the mind; you cannot reach enlightenment through the brain or the mind, only through the heart can one truly become enlightened.

If your heart is not as "light as a feather", this is bad news; it means you still have a lot of work to do and your eternal soul may be in grave danger, but this is certainly not the end of the journey.


After the "weighing of the heart", you are asked a series of questions called the "42 Negative Assessors". Questions like: Did you steal? Did you lie? Did you murder? Did you cheat? Did you abuse? Other questions about morality and the manner by which you lived your life are also asked, according to ancient Egyptian belief.

This, in point of fact, is the origin of the Ten Commandments of the Bible; the "Ten Commandments" were part of the ancient Egyptian "42 Negative Assessors" long before anyone ever even heard of anything called the Holy Bible.

The "weighing of the heart" and the "42 Negative Assessors" were both part, but only part, of being "judged" for how you lived your life. This is where the idea of a "judgement day" came from, which was more than 1,000 years before Christianity; it is very important to understand where things actually come from -- especially if you intend to hand over your eternal soul to it. You need to know where things come from before believing them, or you might end up believing things that simply aren't even true.

During the "judgement", according to the beliefs of ancient Egypt, ideally (if you have lived decently) you will be able to correctly answer all the questions of the 42 Negative Assessors; if however, you were unable to do so there was still hope -- all hope was not lost, not just yet anyway.

Mistakes are Allowed

Ancient Egyptian belief suggests that we are allowed to make mistakes and fall short of perfection; this is where "we all fall short of the glory of God" comes from.

We are meant to "learn as we go" all the way through life to the very end, and are not expected to be completely perfect. During the judgement, if it was determined that you had learned from your mistakes, wrongdoings, and shortcomings, this would "lighten the load" of your heart and help to bring the scale back toward balance.

This is crucial: if you were able to learn, and grow beyond your mistakes, much hope for your eternal soul remained. However, if you never learned anything, and kept repeating the same mistakes, this was not good at all.

Were you too sinful?

Ancient Egyptian belief suggests that life is like a "magnificent work of art" that you are allowed many decades to complete. Life is similar to a great sculpture that you have all the years of your life to work on; you are to mold yourself (and your life) all the way to the very end, according to the ancient Egyptians.

If when your life is over, improvements have been made, wrongs righted, and mistakes have been corrected you will be able to move on to the "eternal" part of the afterlife. However, If you reincarnated many times and still made no attempt to improve -- you will be destroyed -- and utterly eliminated from all existence.

If "judgement" determines that all of your lives were spent indulging in terrible evil wickedness, and if your sin is too great, this "utter elimination from all existence" will come in the form of the demon goddess known as Ammit -- who will eat your soul.

In Christianity, the Devil takes you to Hell if you are too sinful; in ancient Egypt, Ammit eats your soul if you are too sinful. It's the same basic concept: severe eternal punishment after death of those who have been "too sinful".

According to ancient Egyptian belief, if you lived many lifetimes in the most sinful evil wickedness there ever was and never corrected or learned from your mistakes, there was still one last hope for you: did you achieve Gnosis?

If you were too sinful, and too ignorant to realize your errors, Gnosis might still save you from being eternally wiped away from all existence. In this situation, according to ancient Egyptian belief, Gnosis is the only thing that can save you now.

By now, you are beyond anything else; Gnosis is your last chance.


Ancient Egyptians believed that the only way someone who was "too sinful", and terribly wicked throughout all of their lives, could escape being consumed and utterly eliminated into nonexistence was through Gnosis.

Gnosis is a specific type of knowledge; it is an awareness, or a level of consciousness, that cannot be learned through any external means. Gnosis is found nowhere in any book ever written; it is found in no university, school, or church. No one can teach Gnosis to you, and no amount of study will ever achieve it. Gnosis is something that can only come from "within", and happens only "inside" one's own self; it is about spiritual and intellectual enlightenment, and inner revelation.

The Universe (God, Creation, Consciousness, All That Is, Evolution -- whatever you like) worked for billions of years to come up with "you", do you understand the significance of that? Did you become aware of what you were supposed to do in life, and what your purpose was? Did you fulfill, in the physical realm of the human body, what your soul was supposed to do on Earth? If so, you achieved Gnosis; if not, you were sent back to do it again.

If after many lifetimes you still lived very sinfully and never achieved Gnosis, when all hope was finally lost -- Ammit would consume you -- and "utterly destroy" your very soul into nonexistence.

However, if you lived many lives, passed all the tests, and eventually achieved Gnosis; you will then be able to reincarnate -- into a star, which was the final destination and ultimate goal in the ancient Egyptian belief.

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

"We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience."
"We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience."

What are you?

Are you trapped in the illusion of physicality and materialism; or, do you realize that you are an eternal nonphysical being temporarily residing inside a physical body -- and that what we would call "nonphysical" is what is actually "real"? Do you realize that death is only an illusion; only the physical body dies -- "you" cannot die. This can be said many different ways, but if you can realize this one very simple concept then you have achieved what the ancient Egyptians called "Gnosis".

You are not a human being who has spiritual experiences; no, you are a spiritual being who is having a human experience.

No matter how much time has passed since the time of the ancient Egyptians, the question remains: do you "get it", or not?

Can you see through the illusory nature of what we call "physical" reality? Can you see through what you think of as your "physical" body, and realize that this part of you (including your brain) is only part of the illusion? Do you realize that you are an eternal spiritual being that exists forever, or are you trapped and imprisoned in the false idea that you are nothing more than a materialistic physical body?

In this "modern" high-speed scientific five-sense world we live in, too many people seem to have forgotten what they are ... have you forgotten what you are?

WHAT, are you? Are "you" a physical body, or are "you" in a physical body? What, exactly, are you? WHAT ARE YOU?? No, -- what -- are "you", really? ...

"You" are preexisting eternal consciousness. You are all that was, is, or ever can be -- having an experience called "being a human". You are infinite, unlimited, all knowing, ever expanding awareness. You are the creator, the builder, the maker ... and the experiencer, of all you manifest into existence. You are divine, never ending, and forever. You are part of everything, and everything is part of you. You are the beginning, and the end, of all existence.

You, I, we, are each a singularly focused point of expression and experience of the One Consciousness that ceaselessly permeates all existence for all time -- that, is WHAT "you" are.


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