Opening of the mouth ceremony
The opening of the mouth ceremony was an ancient Egyptian ritual described in funerary texts such as the Pyramid Texts. The ceremony involved a symbolic animation of a statue or mummy by magically opening its mouth so that it could breathe and speak. There is evidence of this ritual from the Old Kingdom to the Roman Period. Special tools were used to perform the ceremony, such as a ritual adze, an arm shaped ritual censer, a spooned blade known as a peseshkaf, a serpent-head blade, a variety of other amulets. A calf's leg was held up to the lips painted on the coffin; the ancient Egyptians believed that in order for a person's soul to survive in the afterlife it would need to have food and water. The opening of the mouth ritual was thus performed so that the person who died could eat and drink again in the afterlife; the ceremony involved up to 75 "episodes" and, in its most complete version, included the following stages: Episodes 1–9 Preliminary rites Episodes 10–22 Animation of the statue Episodes 23–42 Meat offerings aligned with upper Egypt Episodes 43–46 Meat offerings aligned with lower Egypt Episodes 47–71 Funerary meal Episodes 72–75 Closing ritesThe Book of the Dead contains a spell for this process, which the deceased may use on themselves: Translating as "opening of the mouth," the Egyptian terms for the ritual are wpt-r and um-r.
According to Ann Macy Roth, the verb wpi connotes an opening that splits, divides or separates: "it can be used, for example, to describe the separation of two combatants, the dividing of time, or an analysis or determination of the truth." Parallels between the Opening of the Mouth and Psalm 51 have been noted. The parallels include: Mentions of ritual washing with special herbs. Restoration of broken bones. "O Lord, open thou my lips". Sacrifices. Ancient Egyptian burial customs
Amun is a major ancient Egyptian deity who appears as a member of the Hermopolitan Ogdoad. Amun was attested from the Old Kingdom together with his wife Amaunet. With the 11th dynasty, Amun rose to the position of patron deity of Thebes by replacing Montu. After the rebellion of Thebes against the Hyksos and with the rule of Ahmose I, Amun acquired national importance, expressed in his fusion with the Sun god, Ra, as Amun-Ra or Amun-Re. Amun-Ra retained chief importance in the Egyptian pantheon throughout the New Kingdom. Amun-Ra in this period held the position of transcendental, self-created creator deity "par excellence", his position as King of Gods developed to the point of virtual monotheism where other gods became manifestations of him. With Osiris, Amun-Ra is the most recorded of the Egyptian gods; as the chief deity of the Egyptian Empire, Amun-Ra came to be worshipped outside Egypt, according to the testimony of ancient Greek historiographers in Libya and Nubia. As Zeus Ammon, he came to be identified with Zeus in Greece.
Amun and Amaunet are mentioned in the Old Egyptian Pyramid Texts. The name Amun meant something like "the hidden one" or "invisible". Amun rose to the position of tutelary deity of Thebes after the end of the First Intermediate Period, under the 11th dynasty; as the patron of Thebes, his spouse was Mut. In Thebes, Amun as father, Mut as mother and the Moon god Khonsu formed a divine family or "Theban Triad"; the history of Amun as the patron god of Thebes begins in the 20th century BC, with the construction of the Precinct of Amun-Re at Karnak under Senusret I. The city of Thebes does not appear to have been of great significance before the 11th dynasty. Major construction work in the Precinct of Amun-Re took place during the 18th dynasty when Thebes became the capital of the unified ancient Egypt. Construction of the Hypostyle Hall may have begun during the 18th dynasty, though most building was undertaken under Seti I and Ramesses II. Merenptah commemorated his victories over the Sea Peoples on the walls of the Cachette Court, the start of the processional route to the Luxor Temple.
This Great Inscription shows the king's campaigns and eventual return with items of potential value and prisoners. Next to this inscription is the Victory Stela, a copy of the more famous Israel Stela found in the funerary complex of Merenptah on the west bank of the Nile in Thebes. Merenptah's son Seti II added two small obelisks in front of the Second Pylon, a triple bark-shrine to the north of the processional avenue in the same area; this was constructed with a chapel to Amun flanked by those of Mut and Khonsu. The last major change to the Precinct of Amun-Re's layout was the addition of the first pylon and the massive enclosure walls that surrounded the whole Precinct, both constructed by Nectanebo I; when the army of the founder of the Eighteenth dynasty expelled the Hyksos rulers from Egypt, the victor's city of origin, became the most important city in Egypt, the capital of a new dynasty. The local patron deity of Thebes, therefore became nationally important; the pharaohs of that new dynasty attributed all their successful enterprises to Amun, they lavished much of their wealth and captured spoil on the construction of temples dedicated to Amun.
The victory accomplished by pharaohs who worshipped Amun against the "foreign rulers", brought him to be seen as a champion of the less fortunate, upholding the rights of justice for the poor. By aiding those who traveled in his name, he became the Protector of the road. Since he upheld Ma'at, those who prayed to Amun were required first to demonstrate that they were worthy by confessing their sins. Votive stelae from the artisans' village at Deir el-Medina record: who comes at the voice of the poor in distress, who gives breath to him, wretched.. You are the Lord of the silent, who comes at the voice of the poor. Though the servant was disposed to do evil, the Lord is disposed to forgive; the Lord of Thebes spends not a whole day in anger. His breath comes back to us in mercy... May your kꜣ be kind. Subsequently, when Egypt conquered Kush, they identified the chief deity of the Kushites as Amun; this Kush deity was depicted as ram-headed, more a woolly ram with curved horns. Amun thus became associated with the ram arising from the aged appearance of the Kush ram deity.
A solar deity in the form of a ram can be traced to the pre-literate Kerma culture in Nubia, contemporary to the Old Kingdom of Egypt. The name of Nubian Amun was Amani, attested in numerous personal names such as Tanwetamani and Amanitore. Since rams were considered a symbol of virility, Amun became thought of as a fertility deity, so started to absorb the identity of Min, becoming Amun-Min; this association with virility led to Amun-Min gaining the epithet Kamutef, meaning "Bull of his mother", in which form he was found depicted on the walls of Karnak and with a scourge, as Min was. As the cult of Amun grew in importance, Amun became identified with the chief deity, worshipped in other areas during that period, the sun god Ra; this identification led with Amun becoming Amun-Ra. In the Hymn to Amun-Ra he is described as Lord of truth, father of the gods, maker of m
Mortuary temples were temples that were erected adjacent to, or in the vicinity of, royal tombs in Ancient Egypt. The temples were designed to commemorate the reign of the Pharaoh under whom they were constructed, as well as for use by the king's cult after death. Mortuary temples were built around pyramids in the Old Middle Kingdom. However, once the New Kingdom pharaohs began constructing tombs in the Valley of the Kings, they built their mortuary temples separately; these New Kingdom temples were called "mansions of millions of years" by the Egyptians. The mortuary temples were used as a resting place for the boat of Amun at the time of the Beautiful Festival of the Valley, during which the cult statue of the deity visited the west bank of Thebes; the first mortuary temple was built for Amenhotep I of the 18th dynasty during the New Kingdom. Several other rulers of this dynasty built temples for the same purpose, the best known being those at Deir el-Bahari, where Hatshepsut built beside the funerary temple of Mentuhotep II, that of Amenhotep III, of which the only major extant remains are the Colossi of Memnon.
Rulers of the 18th Dynasty either failed to build here at all or, in the case of Tutankhamun, Ay and Horemheb, their construction was not completed. The 19th Dynasty ruler Seti I constructed his temple at. Part of his "Glorious temple of Seti Merenptah in the field of Amun which resides at the West of Thebes" was dedicated to his father Ramesses I, whose short reign prevented him from building his own, was completed by his son Ramesses II. Ramesses II constructed his own temple, referred to as the Ramesseum: "Temple of a million years of Usermaatre Setepenre, linked with Thebes-the-Quoted in the Field of Amun, in the West". Much during the 20th Dynasty, Ramesses III constructed his own temple at Medinet Habu
Veneration of the dead
The veneration of the dead, including one's ancestors, is based on love and respect for the deceased. In some cultures, it is related to beliefs that the dead have a continued existence, may possess the ability to influence the fortune of the living; some groups venerate their familial ancestors. Certain sects and religions, in particular the Roman Catholic Church, venerate saints as intercessors with God, as well as pray for departed souls in Purgatory. In Europe and Oceania, in some African and Afro-diasporic cultures, the goal of ancestor veneration is to ensure the ancestors' continued well-being and positive disposition towards the living, sometimes to ask for special favours or assistance; the social or non-religious function of ancestor veneration is to cultivate kinship values, such as filial piety, family loyalty, continuity of the family lineage. Ancestor veneration occurs in societies with every degree of social and technological complexity, it remains an important component of various religious practices in modern times.
Ancestor reverence is not the same as the worship of deities. In some Afro-diasporic cultures, ancestors are seen as being able to intercede on behalf of the living as messengers between humans and the gods; as spirits who were once human themselves, they are seen as being better able to understand human needs than would a divine being. In other cultures, the purpose of ancestor veneration is not to ask for favors but to do one's filial duty; some cultures believe that their ancestors need to be provided for by their descendants, their practices include offerings of food and other provisions. Others do not believe that the ancestors are aware of what their descendants do for them, but that the expression of filial piety is what is important. Most cultures who practice ancestor veneration do not call it "ancestor worship". In English, the word worship refers to the reverent love and devotion accorded a deity or God. However, in other cultures, this act of worship does not confer any belief that the departed ancestors have become some kind of deity.
Rather, the act is a way to respect and look after ancestors in their afterlives as well as seek their guidance for their living descendants. In this regard, many cultures and religions have similar practices; some may visit the graves of their parents or other ancestors, leave flowers and pray to them in order to honor and remember them, while asking their ancestors to continue to look after them. However, this would not be considered as worshipping them since the term worship shows no such meaning. In that sense the phrase ancestor veneration may convey a more accurate sense of what practitioners, such as the Chinese and other Buddhist-influenced and Confucian-influenced societies, as well as the African and European cultures see themselves as doing; this is consistent with the meaning of the word veneration in English, great respect or reverence caused by the dignity, wisdom, or dedication of a person. Although there is no accepted theory concerning the origins of ancestor veneration, this social phenomenon appears in some form in all human cultures documented so far.
David-Barrett and Carney claim that ancestor veneration might have served a group coordination role during human evolution, thus it was the mechanism that led to religious representation fostering group cohesion. Although some historians claim that ancient Egyptian society was a "death cult" because of its elaborate tombs and mummification rituals, it was the opposite; the philosophy that "this world is but a vale of tears" and that to die and be with God is a better existence than an earthly one was unknown among the ancient Egyptians. This was not to say; the Egyptian people loved the culture and religion of their daily lives so much that they wanted to continue them in the next—although some might hope for a better station in the Beautiful West. Tombs were housing in the Hereafter and so they were constructed and decorated, just as homes for the living were. Mummification was a way to preserve the corpse so the ka of the deceased could return to receive offerings of the things s/he enjoyed while alive.
If mummification was not affordable, a "ka-statue" in the likeness of the deceased was carved for this purpose. The Blessed Dead were collectively called the akhu, or "shining ones", they were described as "shining as gold in the belly of Nut" and were indeed depicted as golden stars on the roofs of many tombs and temples. The process by which a ka became an akh was not automatic upon death. However, if the ka was not properly prepared, this journey could be fraught with dangerous pitfalls and strange demons. If the heart was in balance with the Feather of Ma'at, the ka passed judgment and was granted access to the Beautiful West as an akh, ma’a heru to dwell among the gods and other akhu. At this point only was the ka deemed worthy to be venerated by the living through rites and offerings; those who became lost in the duat or deliberately tried to avoid judgment became the unfortunate mutu, t
The was sceptre is a symbol that appeared in relics and hieroglyphics associated with the ancient Egyptian religion. It appears as a stylized animal head at the top of a straight staff with a forked end. Was sceptres were used as symbols of power or dominion, were associated with ancient Egyptian deities such as Set or Anubis as well as with the pharaoh. Was sceptres represent the Set animal. In use, it was a symbol of control over the force of chaos that Set represented. In a funerary context the was sceptre was responsible for the well-being of the deceased, was thus sometimes included in the tomb equipment or in the decoration of the tomb or coffin; the sceptre is considered an amulet. The Egyptians perceived the sky as being supported on four pillars, which could have the shape of the was; this sceptre was the symbol of the fourth Upper Egyptian nome, the nome of Thebes. Was sceptres were depicted as being carried by gods and priests, they occur in paintings and carvings of gods, parallel with emblems such as the ankh and the djed-pillar.
Remnants of real was sceptres. They are constructed of faience or wood, where the head and forked tail of the Set-animal are visible; the earliest examples date to the First Dynasty. The Was is the Egyptian hieroglyph character representing power. Media related to Seth at Wikimedia Commons Media related to Was sceptre at Wikimedia Commons
Theriocephaly is the anthropomorphic condition or quality of having the head of an animal – used to refer the depiction in art of humans with animal heads. Many of the gods and goddesses worshipped by the ancient Egyptians, for example, were depicted as being theriocephalic. Notable examples include: Horus, depicted as having the head of a falcon. Anubis, depicted with a jackal's head; the desert-god Set depicted with the head of an unknown creature, referred to as the Set animal by Egyptologists. The Horned God of Wicca; the Minotaur, from Greek mythology. In some Eastern Orthodox Church icon traditions, some saints St. Christopher, are depicted as having the head of a dog. In Hinduism, the wisdom god Ganesha is depicted with an elephant head. In Native American Abenaki mythology, the spirit Pamola was a being who possessed the head of a moose, wings and taloned feet of an eagle. Animal worship Cynocephaly Hybrid Therianthropy Zoomorphism Agamben, Giorgio; the Open. Stanford: Stanford University Press.