Ancient Egyptians /Culture Analogies Part 1
When I think about the ancient Egyptians, one picture that comes to mind is the exquisite glamour of their clothing, jewelry and make-up.
Men, women and children of ancient Egypt didn't only wear jewelry for luxury and status, but also for a much higher necessity. They thought it made them more attractive to the Gods. It was a priority to own jewelry for protection against evil forces, warding off diseases and attracting prosperity during one's life and into the afterlife.
Jewelers had to follow a strict set of rules for the forms and colors of the pieces. They needed to make sure the magical functions were not destroyed but rather endowed the wearers with the promised powers.
Gold was commonly used for jewelry as it was believed to be 'the flesh of the gods' as it never tarnished. The lower class also made it a priority to own jewelry, not out of the most extravagant gemstones and metals but they sure had beautiful pieces made for them in glass, copper, clay, and shells.
The Heart Scarab
Pieces similar to the above were common as funerary jewelry, buried with the dead. The Ancient Egyptians believed that a human's memory originated in their heart. So in order to make sure that the heart speaks only of the good doings on behalf of the dead, a Heart Scarab was worn atop the heart upon judgment at the "Weighing of Heart" ceremony in the afterlife.
The base of the Heart Scarab has a chapter from the "Book of Dead" engraved on it in hieroglyphs. In which the deceased addresses their own heart not to betray them in the verdict before the judges.
Part of the spell reads: ‘Oh, my heart of my mother … my heart of my existence, Do not stand against me … do not oppose me in the Council, do not act against me under the gods, let there not be a fall of the scale before the keeper of the balance … do not utter a lie against me beside the Great God …’
I'm very dazzled how the Ancient Egyptians believed that the heart of the deceased would be weighed against Maat (The Goddess of Truth and Justice)'s feather by Anubis (The God of the Afterlife) in front of the panel of judges who make sure that the process is fair. You see, the heart needed to outweigh the feather in order for the deceased to make it through to the afterlife. If it failed to do so, they would be eaten by Ammit the Crocodile-lion-hippopotamus hybrid demon and cease to exist forever.
Analogies were a huge part of the Ancient Egyptian culture. The Scarab beetle, for instance, is what the Heart Scarab necklace originates from. They associated the beetle with the sun. As they thought the sun, or interchangeably the sun God Ra, rolled across the sky each day to rejuvenate all living things. The Scarab beetle rolled dung as food and a place for them to lay eggs. By that the larvae hatch and are instantly surrounded by food. Hence, the Scarab beetle was granted the analogy of regenerative powers for the afterlife.
One of the main reasons I am personally fascinated by the cultural history of the Ancient Egyptians is that it is not a romanticised fiction story, but rather the fact that these tales actually existed is what adds to the history's appeal.
Stay tuned for the next blog posts about other culture analogies. Are there any analogies in your culture that you think are intriguing? Let me know in the comments below.
Meanwhile, why not browse through the Custom mades of Analogie to see what modern day jewelry pieces I have made that have a great significance for their wearers.