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The Ancient Egyptian goddess Ma'at is the “conceptual personification of order, rightness, truth, justice”. The concept and principal of Ma'at meant the divine law and the law by which the political and theological landscape of Egypt existed in harmony. She is “the principle of divinity and righteousness without whom all deteriorates into evil. The gods themselves are said to “live by Ma'at” …psychological taints such as egoism, greed or jealousy are anathema to her.” The Goddess is depicted usually as being seated with an ostrich feather on her head. The feather or ostrich plume, symbolizes the goddess herself. Ma'at was not just a goddess but also the principal understanding of divine order and truth underlying and governing the entire universe. The goddess Ma'at was also universal since it was her feather that was used to help in the Judgement of the Dead for the Royals and commoners alike.  

The Judgment of the Dead was a tribunal that operated in the underworld. After the individual had died, and reached the court of Osiris, his heart was weighed against the feather of Ma'at. if the deceased had led a good and a just life the heart would be lighter than the feather, and the soul was allowed to move on to the afterlife and exist for eternity. If however, sin weighed down the heart, it would be heavier than the feather and therefore be given to the goddess Ammut who would swallow the heart, leading to the end of the individual. Ammut was an abysmally horrendous looking goddess who had the head of a crocodile, body of a leopard ending up in the backside of a hippopotamus, all creatures that were dreaded for their savage tendencies in Ancient Egypt.

The Ancient Egyptians removed part of the brain, all internal organs and they removed moisture from the body. Canopic jars were used in ancient Egyptian mummification to store and preserve the organs that were removed from the body of the deceased during the mummification process. The jars were made of a variety of materials, including stone, pottery, and wood, and were decorated with the likenesses of the four sons of the goddess Isis. Each of the four jars was associated with a specific organ, and the organs were placed in the jars to ensure their preservation. The four organs that were typically removed from the body and placed in canopic jars were the liver, lungs, stomach, and intestines. Each of the four sons of Isis was associated with a specific organ and direction. The jars were placed near the mummy in the tomb and were meant to protect and preserve the organs, as well as to ensure a successful journey to the afterlife. The jars were often inscribed with spells and incantations to further protect the organs and the deceased on their journey to the afterlife.

The heart was returned to the body during the process of mummification, since the heart was said to be the centre of the being's consciousness. The four sons of Horus were Hapy (associated with the lungs and the north), Duamutef (associated with the stomach and the east), Qebehsenuef (associated with the intestines and the west), and Imsety (associated with the liver and the south).The liver was placed into a canopic jar with the head of person known as Imsety , Qebhesneuf a falcon was the guardian of the intestines, the lungs were protected by a baboon called Hapy, and Duamutef a jackal was in charge of keeping safe the stomach. These four were the sons of Horus, who was a Jesus like figure in ancient Egypt born of the Virgin mother Isis. These four canopic jars were placed in the burial chamber by the Ancient Egyptians. The soul was led into the Hall of judgment.

Anubis the jackal headed god who presided over the embalming’s balanced the heart of the individual against the feather of Ma'at. Anubis is a god of ancient Egyptian mythology associated with death, mummification, and the afterlife. He is depicted as a jackal-headed man, reflecting the association of jackals with graveyards and death in ancient Egyptian culture.

Anubis was a psychopomp who was also responsible for leading, guiding and protecting souls in the afterlife.

Thoth the god of Magic presided over the weighing of the heart. What is interesting is that while the heart of the individual is being weighed Ma'at does make a distinction between the sins or wrongs committed against the gods and the wrongs or transgressions committed against fellow mortals.  

Ma'at was also the letter of the Law. Ma'at is the principal by which the universe is governed, the moral law and code. There were many laws encoded as the Laws of Ma'at and they are said to be the guiding lines for the Laws of Moses. Examples of the laws of Ma'at are like “I have not vexed or angered the gods...I have not acted guilefully...' It was often said that it was the moral responsibility of each and every individual to preserve Ma'at for the sake of his well-being and that of the community. The king had an equal responsibility of being the guardian of the divine law or Ma'at. The land that was governed justly according to the principals of Ma'at would flourish and be protected.   Here is a list of some of the principles that were considered to be part of the laws of Maat in ancient Egyptian religion and culture:

  1. Truthfulness: speaking the truth and avoiding deception

  2. Balance: maintaining balance and harmony in all things

  3. Fairness: treating others justly and without prejudice

  4. Compassion: showing empathy and caring for others

  5. Respect for elders and superiors: honoring those who are older and in positions of authority.

  6. Humility: recognizing one's own limitations and avoiding arrogance

  7. Charity: helping those in need and being generous

  8. Justice: treating others fairly and avoiding harm

  9. Responsibility: accepting the consequences of one's actions

  10. Order: maintaining order and stability in society

In ancient Egyptian religion, there were several ceremonies and rituals that were performed in honor of Maat such as

  1. Offerings and libations: Offerings of food, drink, and incense were made to Maat as a way of expressing gratitude and seeking her blessings.

  2. Hymns and prayers: Hymns and prayers to Maat were recited in temples and homes, as well as during festivals and other religious ceremonies.

  3. Festivals: There were several festivals throughout the year that were dedicated to Maat and her principles, during which people would gather to celebrate and honor the goddess.

  4. Temple rituals: Daily rituals and ceremonies were performed in temples dedicated to Maat, in which priests would offer up prayers and make offerings on behalf of the people.

These ceremonies and rituals served as a way for people to connect with Maat and her principles, and to seek her guidance and blessings in their daily lives, and to reinforce these values and provide a framework for living a virtuous life.

In tarot, the archetype of Justice is often personified as the goddess Maat in her role as the embodiment of truth, balance, and order. In the tarot deck, the Justice card is typically associated with the idea of making decisions and taking actions that are fair and just, as well as with the concept of balance and harmony. Just as Maat was considered to be the guiding principle of justice and balance in ancient Egyptian culture, the tarot Justice card represents these same values and concepts in the context of tarot readings and divination. The card can indicate a need to make a decision that is fair and just, or to find balance in one's life. It can also suggest that a situation requires a sense of fairness, objectivity, and impartiality, and that one should strive to be honest and truthful in all matters. In tarot readings, the Justice card can also suggest a time for reflection and self-evaluation, as well as a call to action to make changes in one's life to bring about greater balance and harmony. Ultimately, the Justice card personified as Maat serves as a reminder of the importance of living a virtuous life and making decisions that are in line with one's values and beliefs.

Dignified: On the personal front this card mentions that the querent is at a crossroad and takes the time to weigh his or her life ideals with where he or she is at the present moment. The sword of the traditional Justice Card thus comes in handy to cut away all that is unnecessary and no longer serves the individual in pursuing his life path. The card definitely has legal implications since it means that if a querent is involved in a lawsuit the judgement will be in his favour, since they are in accordance with Ma'at, though the other cards in the spread will also have to be consulted.   Reversed or weakly Aspected: the querent may not be in line with the laws of Ma'at and there for may have losses in a court ruling. Alternately it could also mean that one is at a crossroad and is unable to take a decision which will ultimately be imposed upon him.

Works Cited:

Ma’at Ancient Egyptian Mythology Karenga, M. (December 1, 2003).

Ma'at, The Moral Ideal in Ancient Egypt (African Studies: History, Politics, Economics and Culture). Routledge. Trobe, K. (June 8, 2000).

Invoke the Goddess: Visualizations of Hindu, Greek & Egyptian Deities. Llewellyn Publications. Rogers, D. P. (October 18, 2011).

Universal Truth: Thinking Outside the Box: Book Ii. AuthorHouse.


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