Skip to content

Egyptian Afterlife Essay

Egyptian View of the Afterlife Essay

1687 Words7 Pages

The Egyptians believed very much in life after death. As Taylor states in Death and the Afterlife in Ancient Egypt, “It is often observed that they appear to have devoted greater efforts and resources to preparing for the afterlife than to creating a convenient environment for living” (Taylor, 2001:12). The Egyptians viewed life on earth as one stage and death as the beginning of another. They believed that, “human existence did not end with death and that survival of the body played a part in the new life” (Taylor, 2001:12). One of the key elements in the Egyptian culture and religion was the preservation of the body. The body was the most important aspect because it was like a portal through which an individual could continue to live…show more content…

Owners could be recognized by the artwork and inscriptions carved around their tomb entrance (Harpur, 1987:1). Lastly, the changes made to the tombs styles can be clearly shown over time throughout the years. In Egypt, life and religion were so intertwined that it would have been impossible not to believe in a life after death (Brewer, 1999: 98). Hence religion basically defined Egyptian way of life and their customs.
The tombs had two main functions. The first function was a place that provided an eternal resting place in which the body could lay protected from thieves and scavengers. The second function of the tomb was a place where cults and ritual acts could be performed to ensure eternal life (Taylor, 2001:136). The body of the person was buried along with their belongings in the tomb to ensure the individual had all the proper materials needed for the afterlife. The Egyptians usually did this because “Tombs were constructed to mirror aspects of the afterlife” (Olson, 2009). These tombs were not only a place where bodies of a deceased lay; it was also a place where rituals would take place. One ritual that was done on the bodies was the ‘Opening of the Mouth’. This was a burial ritual that “accompanied the placement of funerary goods in a tomb- and was a necessary step in the deceased’s rebirth” (Olson, 2009). One very important service that had to be done was the mummification process in which the removal of organs

Show More

The Afterlife and Beyond

  • Length: 962 words (2.7 double-spaced pages)
  • Rating: Excellent
Open Document

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - More ↓
The Afterlife and Beyond

Egyptians were loyal to their gods and to their pharaohs who were gods on earth, as established by their enthusiasm to build the pyramids for the safe means of access of their leaders into the next world. Understanding the development and belief system they had with the physical and afterlife, you would have to know a little bit about the location of the area, which the Egyptians began to rise.

The villages of ancient Egypt were found all along the Nile. The Egyptians were skillful farmers. They knew the Nile would flood each year and bring new life and rich grain. The Nile's flooding was expected and left rich new deposits of mud for new crops, making irrigation easy to plan. A basic irrigation system allowed the floodwaters to flow gently into each field, cleansing and renewing the earth each year. Egyptian people would then look to nature to explain the unexplainable. Egyptian gods were depicted as wise, caring, predictable, and forgiving, just as the Nile was predictable and life sustaining.
The Egyptian people thought the world was created by super beings using earth, wind and fire. This was called "The Theogony of Heliopolis". The Theogony of Heliopolis is the belief that a water god called Nu, who gave birth to the sun god Ra, who then created his wife Tefnut, who made the rain. Together, they created Seb, God of the Earth, and Nat, the Goddess of the Sky. Seb and Nat were the parents of Osiris who later became the ruler of the underworld, Isis, Set and Nepthys. Ra is given credit for creating the heavens and earth and all creatures. Ra is also said to have created man from his eye, and Ra became the first king on earth. The idea that the god Ra was the first king is the seed for the belief that a Pharaoh was both King and god. After Ra gave up his kingship to ride across the sky, Osiris became king with Isis as his queen. Osiris is recognized with teaching men to be civilized, and for teaching mankind to worship the gods and to build temples. Almost every god and goddess was associated with one or more animals and in some instances might appear in the form of their chosen animal-familiar. This was called anthropromorphic.

Another Egyptian link from the physical world to the supernatural is the pyramid.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"The Afterlife and Beyond." 13 Mar 2018

LengthColor Rating 
After Life Beyond The Horizon: The Ancient Greek Belief of the Afterlife - What do all cultures have in common. All cultures have some believe that after death the soul goes to an underworld. In the underworld there is a variety of different gods and creatures, beliefs of what happens to the soul, the settings in them, and the hero’s journey to and from the underworld. In ancient Greece they believed that a god by the name of Hades ruled everything beneath the earth. They also saw the importance in the length of ones life. This is why they had the three semi-goddesses who are responsible for the spinning of life and death is called the Moirae....   [tags: cultures, afterlife, Dante, Ancient Greece,]1674 words
(4.8 pages)
Powerful Essays[preview]
The Great Ambiguity of the Afterlife Essay - ... Nevertheless, the souls in their graves sense the destiny that awaits them on the Day of Judgment; they feel suffering if their future is in Hell, and they are at peace if their fate lies ahead in Heaven. On this day, the whole world will be razed and abolished, and Allah will lift the dead from their tombs to be judged. During the judgment of a soul, Allah decides one’s immortal destiny through their good and bad exploits during their time of living (Islamic Beliefs about the Afterlife). The evil will be separated from the virtuous when they attempt to cross the bridge to Paradise, the “Sirat”....   [tags: religious beliefs and death]
:: 9 Works Cited
1876 words
(5.4 pages)
Term Papers[preview]
Ideas of the Afterlife Essay - In the illustration, Death’s Door, published first in 1805 as part of The Grave, William Blake is depicting the transition from this life into the afterlife. (Blake, 2008) Blake represents this transition as going through the door old, sick and feeble and coming out the other side as he was at his prime, a young muscular vibrant man. The illustration is a strong reflection of the Christian idea of life after death or. Blake depicts the move from this life to the next as one which will bring happiness and pleasure to those who pass through it....   [tags: notions of death, religious beliefs]
:: 4 Works Cited
1037 words
(3 pages)
Strong Essays[preview]
Essay on Heaven: Personal Perseption about Religion - Religion has become part of a life style to fill the emptiness that we have as humans, although is more than just that. Even if we don’t believe in any religion we know that there is something bigger than us, it can be science, a plant, or even an animal that we could consider the superior power. Sometimes it cannot be explained with words because is like the air we can feel and we know is there, but we can’t see it. Every opinion or fact always creates a belief, and a controversy. The fact that religion it’s so important to society created different opinions about it and disagreements....   [tags: Afterlife, Hell]
:: 3 Works Cited
1582 words
(4.5 pages)
Strong Essays[preview]
Essay about Near Death Experiences - What our eyes can see are limited. What our mind can imagine are also limited. In the usual cases people don’t believe things exist unless their eyes have seen. The existence of dualism of both human flesh and the spirit or the existing life and afterlife seem to be a doubtful topic. Most people’s belief seem to fall in the category of monism which “only one basic substance exists as the ground of reality” (Web Dictionary). That reality is the human body, the materialistic world that we see everyday with our eyes made of flesh....   [tags: Afterlife]1007 words
(2.9 pages)
Strong Essays[preview]
Afterlife Essay - The Afterlife Considering my thoughts on the afterlife is something I have done several times in my life. My views and beliefs have changed over the years regarding this subject. My Catholic upbringing was probably where my first views came from. They were the traditional heaven and hell beliefs and also of purgatory. Today my thoughts are not so black and white. I am not sure what lies beyond this life. I do believe that we just don’t disappear but that we change forms. I personally struggled with this subject because I have researched several different religions....   [tags: essays research papers]469 words
(1.3 pages)
Good Essays[preview]
Pharaohs: Their Life as Royalty Essay - Golden death masks, elaborate tombs filled with priceless artifacts, and jewelry made by the best of goldsmiths: these things were all created for the ancient rulers of egypt. From the start of Egyptian history the rulers were believed to be divine, even god-like. (Meltzer 141). Egypt’s pharaohs wore fine apparel, had many duties, and are famous for what they did. While there are many male pharaohs,however, there were few female rulers. Egyptians believed in the afterlife; a place people went after death....   [tags: Tombs, Afterlife, King]
:: 5 Works Cited
626 words
(1.8 pages)
Better Essays[preview]
Essay on The Gift of Life: Ulysses by Alfred - Every living thing was giving the gift of life. Life is something unimaginable, something that is hard to explain in a way. No matter where you came from, life is precious and sometimes mistaken. In the text Ulysses by Alfred, Lord Tennyson his mariners and Ulysses are not ever taken their life for granted. As stated by Ulysses, “My mariners, souls that have toiled and wrought, and thought with me--that ever with a frolic welcome took...Old age hath yet his honor and his toil; death closes all; but something ere the end, some work of noble note, may yet be done, not unbecoming men that strove with Gods.” (Prentice Hall Literature [the British tradition - volume two] page 972 lines 45-55)....   [tags: death, afterlife, gratefull]
:: 1 Works Cited
623 words
(1.8 pages)
Better Essays[preview]
Death: The End or a New Beginning Essay - ... Their loved ones can either give them two choices. One to keep them on life support for the rest of their remaining lives or two allow doctors to help their patients die to free them of their tortured states. It could also be on the path to enlightenment, an old college professor Morrie Schwartz has suffered a terminal neurological disease called ALS. The disease slowly works its way through the body stopping motor control. The disease slowly took away most of his body functions until it finally reached his lungs and suffocated....   [tags: belief, afterlife, demise]
:: 6 Works Cited
818 words
(2.3 pages)
Strong Essays[preview]
Essay on What Happens When We Die - What Happens When We Die What happens when we die. A very good question, which I have pondered most of my life along with the rest of humanity. I would categorize myself as a Christian theist as I do believe in the afterlife and that our bodies transform and we either enter into eternal existence with God, or eternal separation from him (Sire, 2009, p. 41). Although I personally cannot find the Catholic Doctrine of Purgatory in Scripture (Akin, n.d., para. 1), I keep an open mind to the possibility that it, indeed, exists....   [tags: Deism, afterlife, purgatory]
:: 7 Works Cited
1508 words
(4.3 pages)
Powerful Essays[preview]

Related Searches

Afterlife         Beyond         Belief System         Egyptians         New Life         Irrigation         Pharaohs         Cleansing         Theogony         Caring        

The pyramids were built during the Old Kingdom Period. The Egyptians had been preserving the remains of their dead long before the building of the great pyramids. They believed that a person's soul "Ka" could live after the death of the body. But, the Ka needed a place to be, so the body was conserved and supplied with the belongings it would need on its journey to the "land of shadows." The mummified body was even provided with food and drink for its journey.

The great pyramids were raised to protect the souls of the Pharaohs from their enemies. Farmers would build the pyramids while the Nile was flooding. Work on the pyramids was owed to the god-pharaoh. Tools used to build the pyramid were simple: wooden mallets, stone drills, chisels, flint knives, wooden rulers, plumb lines, and ramps. It is amazing to consider that these huge monuments were built before widespread use of the wheel. The pyramids were huge housing that contained not only the history of the kings, but pits for the temples, and many fake chambers to confuse thieves. Pharaohs would be buried in the tombs, as would other members of the royal family. All the belongings the pharaoh might need would be buried with him: food, clothing, tools, furniture, jewelry, slaves and even sculptures.

One sculpture that you might find with the Pharaoh was possiblely a sculpture depicting a woman with enlarged breast, cut of arms, and a huge belly, similar to the Venus of Wilendorf. The women represented birth or rebirth, since the Egyptians believed that the Pharaoh would go onto a new life that this sculpture would give a re- birth of life to the Pharaoh. The enlarged belly represented birth. The breast would represent feeding, since we are breast fed at young, the Pharaoh would need to feed in the afterlife. The cut off arms just showed that the only thing that was important was the feeding and birth process of a woman.

The dead had to be given instructions concerning the prayers, attitudes, feelings and stuff like that, to be delivered at different stages of their journey. The priests were the only ones who knew how to teach the dead for their journey. Directions were written all over the coffin and in the tomb so the soul would not forget what it should do. Later the directions were written on scrolls of paper. Some of these directions have been collected in the Book of the Dead. One Part of the soul's journey was that it was led before the seat of Osiris, who sat as the Judge of the Dead. He weighed the heart of the dead person on his balance. Maat, the goddess of truth and justice, balanced the scale. If the heart of the dead weighed true, he went to his eternal reward wandering the shadow land. If his heart weighed too heavy, he would be thrown to the animal gods who tear him to shreds.

The hieroglyphs left by the priests of ancient Egypt were meant to provide the dead with a manual to the afterlife, to teach the Ka what it should do. Those same hieroglyphs have provided present day scholars with a remarkable testimony of a culture that existed thousands of years ago and some insight into the minds of the people who lived in that culture.