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To go through each one, they had to recite a specific text and call out the name of the gate. After the labyrinth, the next stop was the Hall of Two Truths, where the dead would be judged by a panel of 42 judges presided over by the god of the underworld, Osiris. I have not caused anyone to weep I have not carried out grain-profiteering I have not sinfully copulated I have not been the cause of terror I have not been impatient I have not slain sacred cattle. After the confession came the climax of the trial: the weighing of the heart.
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Anubis, the jackal god of mummification, held up a pair of scales. In one dish sat an ostrich feather, like that worn by the goddess of justice, Maat, and regarded as a symbol of truth. If the feather and the heart balanced the scales, the dead person would pass the test.
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Those whose hearts weighed too much were considered impure and condemned to several horrific fates. The deepest fears of an ancient Egyptian contemplating their lot for eternity are eloquently summarized in chapter 53 of the Book of the Dead. I will not eat feces, I will not drink urine, I will not walk headdown. Of such importance was the weighing that the Egyptians fashioned amulets, the scarab of the heart, which were placed over the heart of the deceased before mummification. O heart of my different ages!
Do not stand up as a witness against me, do not be opposed to me in the tribunal, do not be hostile to me in the presence of the Keeper of the Balance. To the righteous, on the other hand, the way to paradise would now be opened. It was not, however, an exclusively spiritual paradise. There were physical rewards as well. The Last of Days. Dove Amongst the Hawks. The Waxman Murders. The Prince of Darkness. The Mysterious Death of Tutankhamun. The Assassins of Isis.
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Hatayw is also used in the account of the Bentresh Stela, a monumental inscription of Persian times although falsely ascribed to Ramesses II, presumably to give it extra clout. Evoking the name of a famous ancestor is standard practice in magical texts, Solomon being the most widespread example; see for example the pseudo-eponymous Testament of Solomon. It serves to give extra authority, that those hearing the contents, including spirits, will not risk contradicting—just in case. Ramesses summons priests from the Theban House of Life attached to the temple of the moon god Khonsu, experts in magic and demonology.
One is dispatched to Bactria to investigate and reports that the princess Bentresh is indeed possessed by a spirit and that he is an enemy whom he can defeat, although the priest first needs a special statue to finish the job. This kind of image-magic involving statues is the bread and butter of ancient sorcery. Khonsu, an ancient Egyptian god depicted as a mummiform child with a moon disk on his head. Bactria is your home, its people are your servants, and I am your servant!
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I shall go to the place from which I came, so as to set your heart at rest about that which you came for. May your majesty command to make a feast day with me and the prince of Bactria.
While all this was happening the prince and his soldiers were very frightened, but they did what was required, organized a great feast for the entire day and at the end of it the spirit departed and the princess was cured. The technique of animating statues with divine entities is a core technique of Egyptian magical practice.
The way the statue indicates its desire usually involves some kind of forward or backward movement, rocking or change of position. The story is remarkable similar to the foundation myth of the modern day Zar cult as told to Enno Littman in the s! Both texts, the Voyage of Wenamun and the Bentresh Stella use a similar technical magical word for the process of expelling the demon.
This is the Hatayw — which has connotations of frenzied fury but also ecstasy leading to catharsis. It can be a power the magician casts or throws at a hostile entity, or a power that possesses the magician bestowing the ability to conjure and prophesize. It is from this base that the technique passed westwards into the grimoire traditions of Europe and eastwards to fuse with the religious impulse that in about the eighth to ninth century became Kaula and Tantra. Demonology may well be making a comeback in our time as a complimentary therapy, an older version of the talking cure perhaps.