To the Lady Ma’at, the Righteous One

Reblogged from https://theahaus.wordpress.com

To the Lady Ma’at, the Righteous One

Within most religious traditions there is a concept of divine order. truth, justice, or law which is viewed as central to those religions. Thus within Judaism the Torah is central and plays a equivalent role to that which Jesus plays within Christianity. Within Islam the concept of Islamic law, the Sharia, is second only to the Koran in importance. Within both Hinduism and Buddhism the concept of Dharma is central. Within the Zoroastrian religion a central theological tradition is that of the Seven Bountiful Immortals / Angels. Of these the most important conception is that of Asha / Asa which is divine truth / righteousness / law, etc. Within the Pagan society of ancient Egypt a central role was played by Ma’at. Maat for the ancient Egyptians was both moral ideal and endeavor but also the Goddess who manifested those qualities. These are just some examples of the centrality of this concept(s). There are many more.

When thinking on this divine law or justice we should not think of this Law of the Deity as beingMaat as Justice something that is imposed from the outside by some arbitrary dictatorial God. On the contrary this order / law / ma’at exists both within and without of our very being. Without the physical order of nature which is enfolded within the Divine Nature, the physical being of life and of our bodies could not exist. Without a certain degree of order and justice, societies and nations could not exist. Instead they would collapse and the result would be failed states in which in which social anarchy and a war of all against all is the norm.

Order in its forms of symmetry and proportion is also central to the beauty of both nature and cultural productivity. Without order, proportion, and symmetry nature would not be beautiful, nor could the visual arts, dance, manners, and many other aspects of culture exist.

In worship when we invoke the Name of the Angel of Order, Law, and Justice as either Asha or Ma’at or by some other name, we are acknowledging and confessing the fact that we need to live by the norms of the righteousness / justice / the law of Thea / God. We are also invoking the help of the Angel to aid us in this endeavor. And in invoking the Angel we are also invoking Thea herself.

The problem of course is that a counter tendency exists within the world and within humanity. This tendency is conceptualised within Filianism / Deanism as “kear,” within the Jewish and Christian traditions as sin or the evil urge. Within these and many traditions, It is seen as that within us that is destructive to our own selves and to others, and to society as a whole. It is also destructive to nature on which society must reside. In Deanism and many traditions it is seen as the false self as opposed to the true self. It is a selfishness and ingratitude to Thea; an egotism which refuses to live according to the order, the pattern of Ma’ at in right relationship with self, with society, with Thea.

Thus we must struggle against this false self in all ways by striving to discipline personal life so that it is devoted to Thea, while simultaneously pursuing a struggle against injustice within, community, society and nation, the earth itself. We can not do this based only on our own powers, but we may call upon the name of Thea for the power to live within her will. This may be best done by calling upon in her angelic persona particularly upon the Janya of Righteousness. We can call upon her in the Name that resonates most closely to us. For me that name is Ma’at.

Maat and lionWhat is it about the name of the Lady Ma’at which is so compelling. As stated previously, Egyptian civilization was based solidly on the principle of Ma,at as order / justice / truth in both the physical and the spiritual moral world. All activity within Egyptian society, that of the pharoanic government, that of the nobility, that of the people was ideally based on the foundation of Ma’at. In fact the destiny of the dead was decided within the Hall of Maati / Truth / Judgement in which a judgment was made upon the dead based on the criteria of how they had lived in relation to Ma’at. The purpose of the famous 42 Negative Confessions was to determine this. Thus we have confessions such as:

“I have not deprived an orphan of his property, … I have not caused pain, I have not made hungry, I have not made to weep, I have not killed, I have not made suffering to anybody, I have not commanded to kill, etc.”

The emphasis on the importance of Ma’at is also witnessed within the epitaphs that were often marked upon the walls of tombs. Thus upon the tomb of the noble Sheshi is written these words as a part of his declaration of virtue.

I rescued the weak from one stronger than he as much as was in my power ….I gave bread to the hungry, cloths to the naked. I brought the boadless to dry land. I buried one who had no son…I respected my father, I pleased my mother, I raised their children.”

Many other examples of this kind of literature can be found within the wisdom literature of Ancient Egypt. Within the Instructions of Ptahhotep one of the most important pieces of Egyptian wisdom literature we have this bit of instruction for government leaders.

“If you are a leader who governs the affairs of the many, seek every excellent deed so that your conduct may be blameless. For Ma’at is great; it endured and is effective. It has not been disturbed since the time it was created. It is a path even for the unlearned.”

Of course Egyptian civilization and the normal behavior of most ordinary Egyptian probably did not conform fully to the idea of Maat any more than the ordinary behavior of most Christians conform to Jesus’ teachings within the “Sermon on the Mount.” However as Egypt’s social ideal, it no doubt did motivate the behavior of many people.

Of course Maat was also the Goddess who personified and ruled over the actitivities of Maat. Thus according to Wallis Bundge within his
“The Gods of the Egyptians” it is stated that she was praised as the “Daughter of Ra, the Eye of Ra, the Lady of Heaven, Queen of the Earth, and Mistress of the Underworld.” She was also the “Lady of the Gods and Goddesses, the Lady of the Judgement Hall / the Hall of Ma’ati.” She and her male counterpart Thoth the God of knowledge, wisdom, and scribal skills guided the great solar barque / ship which sailed over the sea of the Egyptian sky each day carrying the Creator Ra through the heavens. Ra and the other Gods were said to “live on Maat.” She was seen to be like the food which we eat, our drink, and air which we breath.

Thus while on one level Maat is a principle, a way of life manifested by the saying of Ma’at and doing of actions of Ma’at, She was also the personal Goddess who supports those actions. She was so much that so that according to the noted Egyptologist Geraldine Pinch when one died often the term “joining Ma’at” was used to announce that person’s death in a way similar to today’s expression that one has “passed away.” Ma’at was viewed as a personal divine presence and not purely as depersonalized abstraction.

According to the exclusivistic Monotheistic traditions of the West, the monotheistic ideal excludes belief in the multiple traditions of the gods and goddess of the pagan societies such as those of Ancient Egypt or Greece. However alternate forms of Monotheism have also developed within the Zoroastrian and Hindu traditions which envisioned the many Gods and Goddesses as Aspects of or Delegations of the power of the One whether that One is called either Brahman or Ahura Mazda. The Filianic / Deanic tradition has built upon that tradition with its theology of the Janya. This makes perfect sense to my mind and heart. And with my mind and heart I believe in the great Janya, the Lady Ma’at.

To the Righteous One

Praise be to Aset Mayat, the Righteous One, the Just One.
May she be blessed who whispers words of righteousness into the mind
Thanks be to the one who places justice before our sight,
who can make the doing of works of righteousness to be as food to us.
Lead us that the rule of Thea may be established upon this earth.

Mr Glenn King

References:

Egyptian Mythology: A Guide to the Gods, Goddesses, and Traditions of Ancient Egpyt
by Geraldine Pinch

Maat: The Moral Ideal In Ancient Egypt by Maulana Karenga

The Gods of the Egyptians by E. A. Wallis Budge

The Filianic Scriptures, New Celestial Union Version edited by Sarah A. Morrigan

Isis-Ma’at, Lady of Truth

Isis-Ma’at, Lady of Truth

Posted by: Isidora | April 6, 2014

maat

As I am sure you know, Ma’at is the Egyptian Goddess of Truth, Universal Order, and Right. The ideas related to Her form the core of the ancient Egyptian conception of the way things should be. Ma’at was considered to be the very food of the Goddesses and Gods. Ma’at explained the relationships between humanity and the Divine. Ma’at was natural law and social law. Ma’at was not only justice, but also fairness and even kindness toward one another. Ideally, the king who ruled Egypt, the viziers who advised the king, the judges who made decisions that affected the people, and the people themselves all operated under the laws of Ma’at. If they did, peace and plenty and Divine favor would reign in the land.
Isis, too, is associated with these ideals and sometimes Ma’at is assimilated with Isis. The Osirian Hall of Judgment is also known as the Hall of the Two Truths. Twin Goddesses, the Ma’ati (the Two Truths), presided over it. Very often, the Ma’ati were specifically identified as Isis and Nephthys. (As an aside, I have always found the idea of the Judgment Hall being the place of Two Truths to be a particularly wise concept; there are always at least two sides to any story and both are likely to be true—from the perspective of each participant.)The quintessential symbol of Ma’at is the shut, the ostrich plume that represents the “lightness” and all-pervading, airy nature of Truth and Right. It is against the Feather of Truth that the heart of the deceased is weighed during the post mortum judgment before Osiris. The 42 Assessors Who witness the judgment each hold a Ma’at feather. Following a successful judgment, and as an attestation of her truthfulness, the deceased was sometimes shown wearing Ma’at feathers upon her head and suspended from her wrists and arms.

isis

Without Her twin, Isis was identified with Ma’at’s singular form. The Coffin Texts tell us that Isis comes before the deceased as Ma’at. An inscription at Denderah says that Isis the Great is not only Mother of the God, but also Ma’at in Denderah. Plutarch records a tradition that points to an identification of Isis with Ma’at  (“Justice”) in Hermopolis. He writes, “that is why they call the leader of the muses in the city of Hermes at once Isis and Justice, since she is wise…” One scholar has suggested that this Hermopolitan ennead of Muses might have consisted of Isis-Ma’at, Isis-Hathor, and the Seven Hathors.

The Two Truths in the Judgment Hall weigh the heart of the deceased against Truth, Ma'at.

Isis has always been considered a wise Goddess. A Turin papyrus tells us, “Isis was a woman wise in speech, her heart more cunning than the millions of men, her utterance was more excellent than the millions of gods, she was more perceptive than millions of glorified spirits. She was not ignorant of anything in heaven or earth.” In this aspect, Isis is called Rekhiet, “the Wise Woman.” One of the titles of Isis of the star, Isis-Sothis, is Rekhit, “Knowledge.” This easily led to Isis’ later identification with Sophia (Gk. “Wisdom”). From his Egyptian studies, Plutarch concluded that Isis is a Goddess “exceptionally wise and a lover of wisdom.”

As time passed, Isis’ reputation as a Goddess of Truth, Rightness, Justice, Wisdom, and Law incresed. The hymns to Isis at Her temple in the Faiyum oasis say that Isis, “taught customs that justice might in some measure prevail” and that She is “a judge with the immortal gods.” The hymn’s author, Isidorus, writes to his Goddess, “You are directing the world of men, looking down on the manifold deeds of the wicked and gazing down on those of the just” and “You witness individual virtue.” Like Demeter, Isis was called Thesmophoros, “Lawgiver.” A number of Greek inscriptions from Delos and one from Athens calls Her Dikaiosyne, “Righteousness” or “Lawfulness.” Others call Her Nemesis, a Greek justice-bringing Goddess. The ancient historian, Diodorus Siculus, records that “Isis also established laws, they say, in accordance with which the people regularly dispense justice to one another and are led to refrain, through fear of punishment, from illegal violence and insolence…”

Green Isis, looking like Ma'at, but you can identify Her by the throne on Her head. She is seated on the glyph for

In almost all of the surviving Isis aretalogies (self-statements), the Goddess affirms Her connection with Ma’at. In the aretalogy from Kyme, Turkey, Isis says of Herself, “I made the right to be stronger than gold or silver. I ordained that the true should be thought good. I devised marriage contracts. I ordained that nothing should be more feared than an oath. I have delivered the plotter of evil against other men into the hands of the one he plotted against. I established penalties for those who practice injustice. I decreed mercy to suppliants. I protect righteous guards. With me the right prevails.” Similar statements are included in other aretalogies including one from Maronea in Greece, which says that Isis “established justice, so that each one of us, just as he by nature endures equal death, may also be able to live in conditions of equality.” In the late Hermetic texts, both Isis an Osiris are known as lawgivers. One such text, the Kore Kosmou, tells us that Isis and Osiris learned the secrets of lawgiving from God and so became lawgivers for humankind.

The words of the Lady of Words of Power are not only words of magic, but also words of Truth and Justice.

P.S. What inspired me for this post was an interesting article by Christopher Faraone and Emily Teeter that opines that the Greek Wisdom Goddess Metis (Who Zeus married then ate (!!!) because He can be a rather jealous God and Metis was destined to bear Him a daughter (again, !!!) Who would be as powerful as Zeus and as wise as Metis, and a son Who would be king of the Gods, and Zeus couldn’t have that) was either directly or indirectly derived from the Egyptian Goddess Ma’at. They argue that 1.) both Metis and Ma’at were understood as concepts and personified Goddesses; 2.) The fact of Zeus “gulping down” Metis may derive from the Egyptian idea that the Deities “lived on” and “ate” Truth (Ma’at); 3.) Both Metis and Ma’at legitimate the kingship; 4.) Just as Egyptian kings had Ma’at names among their coronation names, so Zeus has a number of epithets that include Metis. Interesting, isn’t it?

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https://isiopolis.com/2014/04/06/isis-maat-lady-of-truth/

Please note that all material on this blog is copyright M. Isidora Forrest. Excerpts from Isis Magic, first edition, are copyright 2001, and from Isis Magic, second edition, copyright 2013 by M. Isidora Forrest. Excerpts from Offering to Isis are copyright 2005, M. Isidora Forrest.

Author:

M. Isidora Forrest has been devoted to Isis ever since the Goddess told her, in no uncertain terms, that she was not yet ready to be Her priestess. (Isidora respects a Goddess Who doesn’t coddle.) More than twenty years—and a lot of research, ritual, agony and ecstasy—later, Isidora has earned the title of Prophetess in the House of Isis. She is also a priestess of the international Fellowship of Isis, a Hermetic adept, a maenad for Dionysos, and a founder of the Hermetic Fellowship, a non-profit religious organization devoted to spiritual development through ritual and education in the Western Esoteric Tradition. In addition to Isis Magic, she is the author of Offering to Isis: Knowing the Goddess through Her Sacred Symbols, and a contributor to the Golden Dawn Journal series of books edited by Chic and Tabatha Cicero. Isidora lives and works in the not-at-all-Egypt-like climate of Portland, Oregon with her husband Adam Forrest, a fierce black cat name Korê, and both a Temple of Isis and a grape arbor sacred to Dionysos in the backyard.

Related Isis Posts:

https://mydevotionstodea.wordpress.com/2016/09/04/isis-demeter/

https://mydevotionstodea.wordpress.com/2016/08/21/isis-oh-golden-one/

42 Laws of Maat

42 Laws of Maat, or 42 Negative Confessions, or 42 Admonition to Goddess Maat, or 42 Declarations of Innocence or Admonitions of Maát, 42 Laws of Maat of Ancient Egypt, or the Laws of the Goddess Maat

heiroglyph-of-maat

Low relief hieroglyph of Goddess Maat iconography ie feather of truth – Shu or Shut – on top of her head and Ankh ie life

The purpose of ma’at (law/justice/truth) among the Kemet (Kmt Khemet) people of ancient Upper and Lower Egypt was to divert chaos (Isfet).
The originating blog maatlaws describes the judging of the heart.
Written by Vanessa Cross, J.D., LL.M. [CC 2012]
It is also the source of photos for my blog post.
http://maatlaws.blogspot.com

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The sun-god Ra came from the primaeval mound of creation only after he set his daughter Maat in place of Isfet (chaos).

To the Egyptian mind, Maat bound all things together in an indestructible unity: the universe, the natural world, the state, and the individual were all seen as parts of the wider order generated by Maat.

third-intermediate-period-ca-800-700-bce-from-khartoum-sudan-gold-and-lapis-lazuli-the-egyptian-museum-cairo

Third Intermediate Period, ca. 800–700 BCE From Khartoum, Sudan Gold and lapis lazuli The Egyptian Museum, Cairo

Written at least 2,000 years before the Ten Commandments of Moses, the 42 Principles of Ma’at are one of Africa’s, and the world’s, oldest sources of moral and spiritual instruction. Ma’at, the Ancient Egyptian divine Principle of Truth, Justice, and Righteousness, is the foundation of natural and social order and unity. Ancient Africans developed a humane system of thought and conduct which has been recorded in volumes of African wisdom literature, such as, these declarations from the Book of Coming Forth By Day (the so-called Book of the Dead), The Teachings of Ptah-Hotep, the writings of Ani, Amenemope, Merikare, and others.

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One aspect of ancient Egyptian funerary literature which often is mistaken for a codified ethic of Ma’at is Chapter 125 of the Book of the Dead, often called the 42 Declarations of Purity or the Negative Confession. These declarations varied somewhat from tomb to tomb, and so can not be considered a canonical definition of Ma’at. Rather, they appear to express each tomb owner’s individual conception of Ma’at, as well as working as a magical absolution (misdeeds or mistakes made by the tomb owner in life could be declared as not having been done, and through the power of the written word, wipe that particular misdeed from the afterlife record of the deceased).

Many of the lines are similar, however, and they can help to give the student a “flavor” for the sorts of things which Ma’at governed—essentially everything from the most formal to the most mundane aspect of life.

Many versions are given on-line, unfortunately seldom do they note the tomb from which they came or, whether they are a collection from various different tombs.

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Moses, if he existed, (there is no undisputed historical/archaeological evidence that he did), was an Egyptian. According to stories, he was adopted by an Egyptian royal family. If that were true he would have been familiar with these principles. If there was no historical Moses, then others most likely borrowed a few if the Principles of Maat when composing the Ten Commandments.

THE 42 COMMANDMENTS OF ANCIENT EGYPT
I. Thou shalt not kill, nor bid anyone kill.
II. Thou shalt not commit adultery or rape.
X. Thou shalt not steal nor take that which does not belong to you.
XXVIII. Thou shalt not take God’s name in vain.
XXXII. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s goods.
XXXIV. Thou shalt remember and observe the appointed holy days.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maat
https://www.crystalinks.com/maat.html
https://xenophilius.wordpress.com/2008/03/11/42-principles-of-maat-2000-years-before-ten-commandments/

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But more importantly, under Mosaic Law, violation of any of the Ten Commandments was punishable by death.

When the Ten Commandments are compared with the principles by which the ancient Egyptians governed their lives, the laws of the Judaeo-Christian-Moslem world are barbaric and meaningless. The principle that governs the “True Egyptian” is Maat which is a religious principle that is more than justice, it is Divine-Justice, personified in the Goddess, (NTRT) Maat, who exemplifies the eternal laws of the universe as, Right and Truth.

In the weighing of the wrongs man does in this life against the intent of his heart, Maat makes a distinction between transgressions and violations of the laws of the Gods and Goddesses, that is, laws that pertain to the ordinances and requirements which the Gods and Goddesses have given for their worship. This also extends to the commitment one makes to the Neters or Gods and the respect one holds for their gifts.

Transgressions on the other hand, are offenses against our fellow mortals, their possessions, or the earth–or that portion of the earth on which we live. Thus, one violates the Laws of a God or Goddess, but one transgresses against mortals.

All transgressions may be forgiven by the priestesses of The Goddess, but not all violations of the Laws of the Goddesses. As one progresses in knowledge in the religion of The Goddess, one is taught the principles of Maat. The further one progresses, the more he or she is expected to incorporate those principles into his or her life.

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It should be obvious that the Forty-two Affirmations of Right and Truth are far more inclusive than the so-called Ten Commandments. Even when the rest of the Jewish laws are considered, they pale in the light of the Pagan Egyptian Law. Punishment for the Personal Transgressions was reserved for the judgment of the Gods–not in this life, but in the judgment of Maat.

The punishment for violations of The Laws of Goddesses in ancient Egypt was banishment from the religion–which in Egypt usually meant banishment from the community where the Goddess was worshiped. That could mean banishment from the nation, depending on the Goddess against whom the sin was committed.

As for the Transgressions against mortals, the punishment was exacted to fit the crime. In ancient Egypt, the death penalty was seldom used, and then only under unusual circumstances. Periods as long as 150 years went by without a single execution. Yet Egypt, for the most part, was without crime.

goddess-maat-by-dylan-meconis

goddess Maat by Dylan Meconis

 

MAAT – Right and Truth
Transgressions Against Mankind

1. I have not committed murder, neither have I bid any man to slay on my behalf;

2. I have not committed rape, neither have I forced any woman to commit fornication;

3. I have not avenged myself, nor have I burned with rage;

4. I have not caused terror, nor have I worked affliction;

5. I have caused none to feel pain, nor have I worked grief;

6. I have done neither harm nor ill, nor I have caused misery;

7. I have done no hurt to man, nor have I wrought harm to beasts;

8. I have made none to weep;

9. I have had no knowledge of evil, neither have I acted wickedly, nor have I wronged the people;

10. I have not stolen, neither have I taken that which does not belong to me, nor that which belongs to another, nor have I taken from the orchards, nor snatched the milk from the mouth of the babe;

11. I have not defrauded, neither I have added to the weight of the balance, nor have I made light the weight in the scales;

12. I have not laid waste the plowed land, nor trampled down the fields;

 

 

Transgressions Against Living In Maat During Life

13. I have not driven the cattle from their pastures, nor have I deprived any of that which was rightfully theirs;

14. I have accused no man falsely, nor have I supported any false accusation;

15. I have spoken no lies, neither have I spoken falsely to the hurt of another;

16. I have never uttered fiery words, nor have I stirred up strife;

17. I have not acted guilefully, neither have I dealt deceitfully, nor spoken to deceive to the hurt another;

18. I have not spoken scornfully, nor have I set my lips in motion against any man;

19. I have not been an eavesdropper;

20. I have not stopped my ears against the words of Right and Truth;

21. I have not judged hastily, nor have I judged harshly;

22. I have committed no crime in the place of Right and Truth;

23. I have caused no wrong to be done to the servant by his master;

24. I have not been angry without cause;

25. I have not turned back water at its springtide, nor stemmed the flow of running water;

26. I have not broken the channel of a running water;

27. I have never fouled the water, nor have I polluted the land;

Transgressions Against The Gods

28. I have not cursed nor despised The Gods, nor have I done that which The Gods abominate;

29. I have not vexed or angered The Gods;

30. I have not robbed The God, nor have I filched that which has been offered in the temples;

31. I have not added unto nor have I diminished the offerings which are due;

32. I have not purloined the cakes of The Gods;

33. I have not carried away the offerings made unto the blessed dead;

34. I have not disregarded the season for the offerings which are appointed;

35. I have not turned away the cattle set apart for sacrifice;

36. I have not thwarted the processions of The Gods;

37. I have not slaughtered with evil intent the cattle of The Gods;

Personal Transgressions

38. I have not acted guile fully nor have I acted in insolence;

39. I have not been overly proud, nor have I behaved myself with arrogance;

40. I have never magnified my condition beyond what was fitting;

41. Each day have I labored more than was required of me;

42. My name has not come forth to the boat of the Prince;

Copyright 1986, 1990, 1997, 2012, 2015 by Sabrina Aset. All rights reserved.
http://www.goddess.org/cmhg/laws.html

 

vintage-sterling-silver-charm-egyptian-goddess-maat-3

I have just purchased this vintage sterling silver charm of the Egyptian goddess Maat