Key Concepts: Ma'at

What is Ma’at. Why is it important?

Ma’at the concept of truth, justice, law and order. It is represented by the winged goddess who has the feather of truth on the top of her head. It appears int he weighing of the heart scene, where the decssed’s heart is weighed against the feather to reveal how pure their life has been and whether the deceased should proceed to the afterlife, or end up in oblivion, consumed by Apep the devourer.

While it has played a large part in the funeral process, Ma’at affects daily life too. There is a list of precepts, or ‘rules’ that we should follow or guide us in living a pure an lawful life called the ‘Negative Confusion’. The list contains 42 items, some of which in modern reconstructionism could be a difficult one such as those related to the Pharaoh! :slight_smile:

Even so, in modern times may of the other aspects we can aim for still apply and we should strive for the best. Ma’at plays a large part in my life and away from the mundane, it also is a significant part of magic, the purity or what we utter from our mouths, for words and breath are power and are divine.

This is a great and succinct definition of ma’at which is very easy wrap one’s head around:

‘As a guiding principle maat is a point of orientation or a standard of measurement; it is the “ought” against which the “is” of life is ruthlessly and repeatedly measured and almost always found lacking.’ (Erik Hornung, “Idea into Image,” p.143)

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Oooo I like that thanks!

You’re welcome. It is my favourite definition/explanation of ma’at by far.

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