Weighing of the Heart

In order for someone to make it into the afterlife, they had to follow certain ceremonial events.

These events happened before the different gods and judges, where the dead was asked if he or she had committed different sins or broken different laws, and if the dead said that they were innocent and had a “voice of truth,” they were then allowed to continue to the next stage where they would face the weighing of the heart.

Weighing of the Heart is one of the most important parts of the afterlife of the Ancient Egyptians.  In order to make it to the afterlife, one must get their heart weighed to see if it is heavy or light.

If someone has a heavy heart, they are stuck out of the afterlife forever and are forced to either go to the Underworld or they are gobbled up or they disappear.  Those that have a light heart are able to go to eternal happiness in the afterlife, to the Land of Two Fields, or the Field of Reeds.

When the weighing of the heart happens, the goddess Ammut is there.  She is considered to be one of the most feared gods in all of Egypt.

Ammut could eat you if you had done something wrong during judgement because she was part crocodile.  Ammut is also part lioness, and part hippopotamus and these are animals that are most feared in Egypt.

Maat was at judgement and was represented as truth, law, morality and justice.  She also helped to regulate the stars and seasons and helped to bring people into submission and truth.

When you enter judgement and the weighing of the heart, your heart is weighed by the “feather of truth,” on a scale.  Anubis weighs the heart, and the god of Thoth records what the findings are.  If your heart is light as a feather, you pass, but if your heart is heavy, Ammut could eat you.

If your heart was light, it was thought that you were pure and that you had no sin.  With this, you passed the weigh and you were allowed to enter into the afterlife.

The Egyptians thought that the heart was the most important part of the body and they considered the heart to be the part of the body that gave people thoughts and emotions.

The heart was the part of the body that gave each person their individual personality and was a part of the body that had to be there for the rebirth into the afterlife.  The heart was never removed from the body, even during mummification, because the heart had to stay inside of the body so that the person could enter into the afterlife and live forever.

Even after the weighing of the heart, the heart was returned to the owner and it could never be removed from their body again.

All of the Egyptians wanted to make it to the afterlife and so most of the time they would do good deeds.  Those that had a heavy heart and did not make it to the afterlife were not given a life of torment, but they simply just disappeared and were never seen again.

This idea was terrifying to the Egyptians and that is why they were known for doing so many good deeds.  The good deeds ensured life in a heavenly place where they could return and visit their earthly family and their family in the Land of Two Fields.

Facts about the weighing of the heart:

  • If the heart was heavy, the balance would sink, and the heart would be grabbed and eaten by Ammut.
  • Ammut is called the “gobbler” because she would gobble up the heavy hearts.
  • The heart was weighed on a set of huge scales.
  • Thoth is called the “scribe of the gods” because he writes down information at the weighing of the heart.
  • Thoth is known for writing on papyrus scrolls.
  • Osiris is considered the “chief god of the afterlife.”
  • There is a spell that is put in the heart when someone dies that begs it not to weigh down the scales.
  • The heart was not allowed to weigh more than the feather.

Q and A

  • Q: What did the people have to have when they were asked if they committed any sins?
    A: The people had to have a “voice of truth” in order to pass to the weighing of the heart.
  • Q: What was the goddess that would gobble up the heart?
    A: The goddess Ammut is part crocodile and is known to eat the hearts of those that have heavy hearts.
  • Q: Who records the findings of the weighing of the heart?
    A: The god Thoth records the weighing of the heart and notes if the person is allowed to go to the afterlife or not.
  • Q: Why is the heart the most important part of the body?
    A: The Egyptians believe that the heart is where people have their thoughts and their emotions, and this is the body part that allows or prevents the people from going to the afterlife.
  • Q: What is the name of the afterlife?
    A: The name of the afterlife is The Land of Two Fields.