Maat

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Two depictions of Maat, the goddess of wisdom, justice, morality, and universal order, shown with red dress, wearing ostrich feather, holding a lotus staff.

In Egyptian mythology, Maat (TR:24) (LH:16) (TL:40), or Ma’at, is the goddess of natural moral order, aka the "Maa" principle, who is said to have become a dominate goddess with rise of Ra, in the 2nd dynasty (2890-2686BC) (Kahl, 2007), defined as the daughter of Ra, who is born out of his head, and husband of Thoth; she generally is seen riding in the solar boat with Ra and Thoth.

Overview

In 2900BC, during the second dynasty (2890-2686BC), Maat began to appear along with Ra.[1]

Birth

The following shows the birth of Maat out of the head of Ra, who is emerging out of the primordial waters of Nun:

Maat born out of Ra (two images).png
An illustration (Baekeker, 1885) of Maat or "Ma", defined as the daughter of Ra.[2]

A close-up of the same image, but inverted, shows the symbology behind the letter theta "Θ", as found in the th-based words:

In 2600BC, Maat was conceptualized, by the Egyptians, as the goddess or principle of moral order that existed at the start of creation; in some versions of the myth, Maat was defined as the female counterpart of Thoth, the god of wisdom and truth.

Recripts

The following are the god character rescripts of Maat:

Moreover, Maat's maa principle, seems to have been molded and transformed into modern moral principles.

Scale of Maat

In 2000BC, the so-called "scale of Maat", was used, in the Judgment Hall, of the afterlife, to weigh the 42 "negative confessions", aka “admonitions of Maat” (Ѻ), or the weight of the sins of a person's soul, on one side, against the "feather of truth" on the other. If a person's sins or wrong doings were to heavy, then their "soul" would be eaten by the monster Ammit, as shown below:

Scale of Maat.png

One's soul, there after, digested, and excreted into the "lake of fire", aka "hell" in Christianity.

Theta

The Maat-Thoth version of the Heliopolis creation myth, wherein, out of the void (Nun), Maat, aka "moral order", Thoth, aka "truth and science", and Ra, "power or heat", are co-generated.

In 280, Porphyry said that the Theta Θ symbol represents the “world soul” or "soul" of the world and connects it with the number “9” of the Ennead.[3] The following is a 17th century residual form of this belief:

“Whatever [?] the power be that creates such an animal out of an egg, that it is either the soul, or part of the soul, or something having a soul, or something existing previous to, and more excellent than the soul, operating with intelligence and foresight.”
William Harvey (c.1630), “On the Source of the Chick Embryo”

Connecting Porphyry's Θ = world soul + Ennead conjecture, with Harvey's "power that turns an egg into an animal", with the Hermopolis creation myth (2800BC), as shown below, wherein the god Ptah makes a golden egg, out of which the sun is born, which was the second main religious recension in Egypt, we have a loose connection between: Maat, Theta Θ, the moral order of the universe, and power:[4]

Ptah's golden egg.png

The following, from Coffin Text 80 (c.2100BC) gives us insight into this Egyptian moral order based theo-philosophy:[5]

“Atum’s two children Shu [life principle] and Tefnut [moral order principle]—whose offspring were Geb [Adam] (earth) and Nut [Eve] (heaven)—and in this Coffin Text 80 (c.2100BC), Shu is identified as the principle of life and Tefnut is identified as the principle of moral order, a concept that the Egyptians referred to as Ma’at [Maat].”
— Gary Greenberg (2000), 101 Myths of the Bible (pgs. 43-49) [6]

We also note the following:

“The hymns to Ra which are found in the Book of the Dead and in other funeral works of the ancient Egyptians state that the deities Thoth and Maat stand one on each side of the great god in his boat, and it is clear that they were believed to take some important part in directing its course; and as they were with Ra when he sprang up from the abyss [Δ] of Nu [Nun] their existence must have been coeval with his own. Thoth was a self-begotten god who made calculations concerning the establishing of the heavens, and the stars, and the earth; was the heart of Ra, master of law, both in the physical and moral conceptions of the knowledge of ‘divine speech’. He was the inventor and god of all arts and sciences, the ‘lord of books’, the ‘scribe of the gods’, and ‘mighty in speech’, i.e. his words took effect, and he was declared to be the author of many of the funeral works by which the deceased gained everlasting life.”
— Wallis Budge (1904), The Gods of the Egyptians, Volume One (pgs. 400-27, esp. 401) [7]
A depiction of Ra, Thoth, and Maat riding in Ra's solar boat, though the sky, in the stars, shown inside the arched body of Nut, above which the boat rides.[8]

Here, according to Budge, Maat was thought to be the "guiding-directive" that determined Ra's path in the sky, for the day, or something along these lines, like a person's destiny.

Related to this, in 1350BC, we find the Akhenaten (c.1380-1335BC)[9], Egypt's first monotheistic pharaoh, who is the considered the archetype role model behind Judaism, behind regularly describing himself as “living in Maat”, meaning living in truth and justice, or something to this effect.[10] A century after this, on the Papyrus of Ani, we find Maat playing the following role in the judgment of the "moral nature" of a person in the afterlife:

“Let there be given to him the offerings which are issued in the presence of Osiris, and may a grant of land be established in the ‘field of offerings’ as for the ‘followers of Horus[11]. Thus, says Horus son of Isis: I have come to you, O Wennefer [high priest of Osiris] (Ѻ), and bring Ani to you. His heart is true, having gone forth from the balance, and he has not sinned against any god or any goddess. Thoth has judged him in writing which has been told to the Ennead, and Maat the great has witnessed. Let there be given to him bread and beer which have been issued in the presence of Osiris, and he will be forever like the ‘follower of Horus’.”
— Anon (1250BC), Egyptian Book of the Dead (§:30B Chapter for not letting Ani’s heart create opposition against him in the god’s domain) (Plate 3-B to 4-A, pgs. 41-42) [12]

In the following quote, we see Maat connected with the term "dynamic order":

“In the ethical and or philosophical sense Maat means much more than to do what is right. Maat means also the just order established by god in nature and society through the act of creation. It is the dynamic order that is behind all creation, an order man must strive to preserve by conducting himself properly toward god, his fellow men, and all things, even animals. For the Egyptian all life was of a single piece governed by the same moral law. This idea is close to the medieval notion of a natural moral order that is the material expression of the divine order in which human law and human action are participants in and reflections of the larger order of the universe. In the Egyptian view, however, unlike the later Aristotelian concept, this cosmic order does not govern itself nor is it governed by some unmoved mover. When men do evil, they bring disorder to the natural order of things. Accordingly, it is man's responsibility to preserve and restore the natural order by doing what is right, that is, Maat.”
— Richard Gabriel (2002), Gods of Our Fathers: The Memory of Egypt in Judaism and Christianity (pg. 12) [13]

Another take on this comes from Muata Ashby (1997) who alludes to the assertion that “Pa”, as in papa (father), has its etymological roots in the Egyptian Pa Neter (see: neter [god][14]) or “high god”, and that “Ma”, as in mama (mother) has its etymological roots in the order goddess Maat, to the effect that Ra created the universe by putting the Maat in place of chaos; Maat is akin to “universal mother” or “mother nature”, or thereabouts.[15]

Quotes

The following are related quotes:

“Having once proved the veneration of Ra during the Second [2890-2686BC] and Third Dynasties [2686-2613BC], the earliest mentions of Maat — the ethical conception of connective justice, truth, order, and cosmic balance — present themselves in a different light than has been realized. Maat as a principle of order was instrumental in establishing a political norm, which should regulate the living together of an immeasurable group of people. Maat was the basis on which social life could be formed and protected. Attestations to Maat start nearly at the same time as Ra's importance increased. According to the statements of the Pyramid Texts and the Coffin Texts, Maat functions as a principle of cosmic order that was set by Ra. As a personification of this order Maat also acted as a hypostasis of Ra. Even if Maat was linked in these texts to other deities such as Osiris, Ptah, Thoth, and Horus, the close connection between Maat and Ra was prominent; Maat was Ra's closest ally. Of these other deities who are connected to Maat in later times, Osiris and Thoth are not attested at all in the Early Dynastic inscriptions, Ptah and Horus are known since the Zeroth Dynasty [3200-3100BC] and the First Dynasty [3100-2900BC], respectively. The emergence of Maat, however, coincides with the rise of Ra in the Second Dynasty. Therefore and because of her intimate association with Ra during the Old and Middle Kingdoms one can argue that the rise of Maat in the Second Dynasty is connected with the emergence of Ra.”
— Jochem Kahl (2007), Ra is My Lord (pg. 51)[1]

End matter

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Kahl, Jochem. (2007). Ra is My Lord: Searching for the Rise of the Sun God at the Dawn of Egyptian History (pg. 51). Otto.
  2. Baekeker, Karl. (1885). Egypt: Lower Egypt, with the Fayum and the peninsula of the Sinai (pg. 129). Publisher.
  3. Theta Symbol and its Meaning – Mythologian.net.
  4. Memphis creation myth – Hmolpedia 2020.
  5. Morality Squared – Hmolpedia 2020.
  6. Greenberg, Gary. (2000). 101 Myths of the Bible: How Ancient Scribes Invented Biblical History (§ Myth 1: In the beginning everything was without form and void, pgs. 11-12; Maat, pgs. 43-49). Source Books.
  7. Budge, Wallis. (1904). The Gods of the Egyptians, Volume One (soul split, pg. 91; §13: Thoth [Tehuti], Maat, and the Other Goddesses Who Were Associated With Him, pgs. 400-27). Dover, 1969.
  8. Budge, Wallis. (1904). The Gods of the Egyptians, Volume Two (solar boat image, pgs. 94-95; Manetho, pg. 246). Dover, 1969.
  9. Akhenaten – Hmolpedia 2020.
  10. Osman, Ahmed. (1990). Moses and Akhenaten: the Secret History of the Egypt at the Time of the Exodus (pg. 5). Bear & Co.
  11. Followers of Horus – Hmolpedia 2020.
  12. Faulkner, Raymond. (1972). The Egyptian Book of the Dead: the Book of Coming Forth by Day: Complete Papyrus of Ani, Featuring Integrated Text and Full-Color Images (translator: Ogden Goelet; Preface: Carol Andrews; Introduction: Daniel Gunther; Foreword: James Wasserman) (Amz) (chapters, pg. 18; recensions, pg. 144). Chronicle Books, 2015.
  13. Gabriel, Richard A. (2002). Gods of Our Fathers: The Memory of Egypt in Judaism and Christianity (pg. 12). Greenwood.
  14. Neter – Hmolpedia 2020.
  15. Ashby, Muata. (1997). Anunian Theology: African Religion, Volume One (Pa, pg. 48; Ma, pg. 50). Cruzian Mystic Books.

External links

  • Maat – Hmolpedia 2020.
Theta Delta ics T2.jpg