The weighting of the heart (The final judgement in Ancient Egypt)

I made a quick stop-over in Cairo while I was on my way to Nairobi. I used the time to visit the pyramids and to wander through some shops in the area, where I bought this beautiful painting. I love it so much because of it’s meaning.

The ancient Egyptians believed that there is life after death. Before the person travels to the next world, to eternity, he is forced to go through this judgement.

The purpose of this judgement is to see which road he was on, which destiny would be in store for him. The destination depends totally on his actions.

The judgement begins as follows:

Anubis, the Jacal-head God of death and mummification introduces the dead to the scales of justice. He places the heart of the dead, which was regarded by the Egyptians as the center of the feelings, the source of evil or good thoughts, in one pan of the scales. The heart is weighed against the feather of truth.

If the heart is full of evil, misdeeds, it weights more. This means, the dead acted wickedly during his lifetime and committed a lot of sins such as murder, robbery, greed, lying, violence etc,. so, this animal whose body consists of the head of a crocodile, the trunk of a lion the hind part of a hippopotamus, devours his heart as a punishment for him.

But if the good outweighs the bad, the dead passes the test. In this case, the scales would be even, i.e. the heart would be of equal weight with the feather of truth. As a result, his sins are forgiven, his soul is saved, and he gets his salvation. The verdict is recorded by Thot, the Ibis-head God of writing. Thot transmits the results to Horus, the falcon-head God of protection who gives him a safe passage to Osiris, the king of the afterlife.

By his side, Isis and Neftis, his wife and his sister. Above you can see the judges who give the key of life to the dead. The dead is raising this hands and kneeling down in adoration for them.

What a lovely story 🙂 What do you think about the final judgement in Ancient Egypt? What fascinates you about ancient Egypt in general?




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