Day 16: The Feather of Truth
Eshe was met by Anubis, confused at what was happening she stood still, waiting for him to speak. Standing on the sands it dawned on her that she was finally able to see the pyramids of Giza, taking in the sight she was beginning to remember… “I’m dead” she said to herself, hyperventilation settling in. Of all the places she could end up, her soul decided to take her to the Egyptian underworld in hopes of entering the field of Reeds. Anubis waited until she calmed down. “You have left the mortal world and your Khat, the physical body, behind. You have now become Akh, your immortal self.” he explained.
“You will enter into the halls of two truths with your Ab, your heart. The Ab is the source of good and evil, you will be judged on what the Ab holds within. Your Shuyet, which is your shadow self, will also be present.” he pointed behind her and she turned around. Waving at her, she saw her other self, her twin, yet not. “The Shuyet will ensure that you do not lie as you tell your sins. Should you be moved to do such a thing, the Shuyet will shriek and the judgement process will end, your soul will be deemed unworthy and devoured. Lastly, keep your Ren to yourself. It is the secret name only you know that will be given to Osiris for final judgement. The other souls will try and ask you for it, in hopes to use it to enter the Field of Reeds, guard it well.”
Eshe began to hyperventilate again. There were so many questions she had, primarily how she died. She asked him, “Anubis, Why can’t I remember anything? How did I die? Why do I look the way I do?” He smiled at her, “ Child, it will all come back to you. This is so that the soul is able to detach and leave the physical plane without regrets. I promise you will remember shortly. As for your appearance. This is the version of yourself that you liked the best, and so your soul took on its form. It’s time to go.” He encouraged her to walk before him towards the pyramids. As she grew closer the memories began to rush back. Her husband, her child, her grandchildren….”Wait, what?” she stopped. “Keep going” he said softly. She began to remember her life, her friends. The people that stayed in her life and those that didn’t. The things she had achieved, the lives that she touched… She remembered her family that had passed on. “Will I see them?” she whispered to Anubis. “If they were judged worthy, and so are you, then yes, you will.” he confirmed. “They didn’t believe in any of this” she said sadly. “They didn’t have to. You did. Have faith that they are on the banks of the Lake waiting for you.” His words steadied her and she continued walking.
Reaching the pyramids they were transported inside. To her surprise there was a line of people. “This is kinda like that beetlejuice moment” she muttered to herself, except there was no ticket, and she had to stand. Qebhet, the Goddess of Cool water, walked around with refreshments. The journey was long and the soul needed to be replenished. The line moved, and as she got closer she was able to see the ceremony but was still mostly out of earshot.
As she waited, more memories came rushing back to her and Eshe just let them through. She stood waiting patiently as the tears flowed from her eyes. Nephthys surprised her, “my darling girl” she breathed, “Don’t cry… are you afraid?” Being in front of a deity was nothing to blink at yet she wasn’t afraid of the divinity before her. Instead she felt the comfort of a mother. “Most gracious lady, I am nervous but the fear hasn’t taken me yet. I am just remembering… I miss everyone so much…” overwhelmed again she began sobbing. Nephthys gently rubbed her back in comfort ,Horus appearing before them both. “It is time Eshe” he said. She hadn’t noticed how quickly the line had moved and now it was her turn, the fear finally settling in.
Before her was a giant golden scale that radiated a brilliant light. This is where your heart was weighed against the feather of truth. Thoth, the scribe of the Gods, called me forward and asked my name, date of birth and the names of my parents. He jotted down the information then motioned for me to move forward. I stood facing the scale and saw that Ma’at, the Goddess of truth, justice, harmony and morality stood to the left. On the right was Ammut, not a Goddess but more like a demon. Her job was to eat the hearts that outweighed the feather. She was terrifying to behold. With the head of a crocodile, she had the front part of a leopard and her hind quarters were that of a hippopotamus. She was known as The Gobbler . Any heart eaten was condemned to a second death but this one resulted in obliteration. The soul would cease to exist, forever.
Behind the scale were 42 judges, who would determine whether the sins being confessed would be considered a negative offense or not. Their faces were covered by a thin veil yet their features were undistinguishable, also making them frightening to look upon. Eshe wrung her hands, willing the process to move along. The judge seated at the center stood up. “Hand over your heart and recite your sins!” his voice boomed. Taken aback by the intensity she wondered how she didn’t hear him the entire time she waited on line! Horus stepped forward and reached into her chest, removing her Ab and placed it on the scale. The feather immediately appeared and the scales tipped back and forth wildly.
“Oh heart that was mine, permit me not to be wronged in the presence of Osiris!” she cried. Her Shuyet stood beside her but she wasn’t sure if it was for comfort or to frighten her even more. The Shuyet spoke, as if to prompt her, “Am-khaibit” she croaked. “I haven’t slain any men or women!” Eshe said immediately. Perks of being dead, all languages sound like your native tongue. The Shuyet spoke and Eshe answered in response. All the judges stood up to hear her confessions. One by one, they would sit, finding what she said to be truthful.
“ I have not committed robbery with violence and the only thing I ever stole was an eraser set from the dollar store. I have never stolen food from anyone and have never denied anyone food. I have never stolen anything off an altar. I have never defiled any temples or altars of any Gods, nor have I ever taken food that belonged to them. Any sacrifices I have made, were done justly and I have never taken a sacrifice from one to give to another.” The Shuyet nodded in encouragement.
“I am purified” Eshe said.
“I have not attacked a person yet I have had to defend my life. I am not a woman of deceit and stopped leaning on lies when I was child. Favoring to be disliked instead of being called a liar. I have not slandered any persons..” the Shuyet began groaning “I have made my opinions clear and refused to associate with people who did not uphold their personal truths. Did I tell every single individual in the world that I disliked how I felt? No but that was also socially unacceptable during my time on earth.” The Shuyet stopped and nodded in acceptance, so the judge sat and Eshe continued. “I cannot claim innocence of adultery as men can also be liars but to my knowledge, I have not been with a married man. I have never mistreated a child nor ignored any of their basic needs. I believe I have only raised my voice when it was justified and not out of arrogance. I have taken care not to multiply my words and if I have, I did try to remedy that as quickly as possible. I am purified.”
“I have done my best to not pry into matters that were not my own as I too hated this, and eavesdropping doesn’t count if you’re within ear shot, so I’ve tried not to do that as well. My intentions were never to stir up strife in any one’s life, but I have called people to take action and make changes in their life, to better themselves, and not without its repercussions. I had lost a few friends that way. I also never debauched a man’s wife…” here the Shuyet began its growing again “seriously?” Eshe said, looking at her shadow. “Ok, maybe debauched, but she wasn’t married!” Eshe assured. Once again the Shuyet was quiet and the judge sat.
“Sheesh, tough crowd” she said to herself. Taking a deep breath “ I have not polluted myself with anything that I did not think was either medicine or a coping method. I have terrorized no living person and I have not transgressed the law. I am purified.”
“I haven’t shut my ears to the words of truth but I have shut my heart to them until I was ready and had accepted my fate. I haven’t blasphemed but it doesn’t mean I didn’t question some of the things that had happened in my life.” More judges sat down. “I am purified.”
“I cannot say that I haven’t made others weep and that may be a sin but when it happened, there was just cause behind it. I have never eaten the heart of someone I truly cared for and acted as accordingly as I could while suffering my own heart ache and pain. I am purified.”
“Lastly, to say I have not cursed would be a lie. I did curse, and I cursed myself most of all while I lived. The people who I cursed, I asked the Gods to take my suffering and commute it into divine justice. I did not seek to be the judge of any person on this earth.” The last Judge remained standing.
“I am purified.” she finished but the judge remained standing. Fear gripped her heart as it began to beat faster and Ammut began to stir.
“I am purified.” Eshe said again, running through all of the confessions she had made to make sure there were no discrepancies and yet, there it stood.
“I am purified.” Eshe said yet again ready to accept her fate and she turned towards Ammut, and the judge finally sat. Breathing a sigh of relief she wiped the tears from her eyes and awaited what to do next. As the judges deliberated what they had just heard, the scales began to even out, slowing down, ready to pass judgement as well at any moment. She still was not in the clear but kept her spirits up. The judges all stood again as the scale stopped. To her disbelief, the feather proved to be heavier and she was called forward. The judge in the center raised its boney hand and pointed at her. “You have been judged in a court full of peers and ancestors. We have determined that the judgement of the scale will stand as final, you are free to move on.” Ammut reared her head, as another meal passed her by and Horus appeared once more. “Follow me” he said.
Horus brought her before Osiris who sat on his throne, flanked by Ma’at and Nephthys. Isis stood behind him, majestic as any queen would be. The emotions overwhelmed Eshe. She dropped to her knees and began sobbing. She would be reunited with her loved one’s again, it was finally happening. In front of Osiris’ throne was a pool of water with three lotus flowers floating in it. “Pick one up and tell it your Ren, the secret name that only you know.” She closed her eyes and breathed that name into the flower.
The doors behind the throne opened and Horus tapped Eshe on the shoulder. She opened her eyes to see the open doors and Horus offering a hand. “Your ride is here,” he smiled. “May I be permitted to say something before I go?” Osiris motioned for her to speak. Still on her knees, “Most gracious and most holy of holies… I don’t really know what to call you and using your names seems disrespectful at this moment. I want to thank you for the gift of eternal life. I thank you for letting me live on and for letting me be reunited with all those gone before me. I have had a hard life, and although I had many moments of doubt and grief, my faith in you all, in the Divine energy never wavered. It was only faith in myself that held me back, the biggest sin of all. Thank you for deeming me worthy.” She lowered her head to the ground and kissed it. Standing, she took Horus’ hand and they walked through the doors.
It was night out but the sky was a beautiful sapphire, and clear. The air was warm, gently pushing the reeds and the grass at the riverbank. A gilded barge appeared, rowed by two individuals. Upon its arrival, she said goodbye to Horus and left on her final journey. The boat ride was short, and the sun began to rise as she noticed three figures on the side of the river bank she was heading towards. There stood her father, holding hands with her mother and her Grandmother. She willed the boat to move faster but her impatience had no power. “I have waited so long for this… just a few more minutes…”
So it went that she jumped from the boat, just a girl once more. Her grandmother, a younger version of herself but still grams and her parents, young and healthy, not much older than the Eshe that was before them, all greeted her in a giant hug. She looked around, “Where is everyone else grams?” “Oh they’re waiting for you at home, there is a huge party underway, we just wanted to be the first to see you my love.”
She was whole once more, having passed the last trial and the hall of two truths.