Excerpt from the book:
Dark Goddess Tarot by Ellen Lorenzi-Prince
for Julie Cuccia-Watts
Maat or Ma'at is the ancient Egyptian goddess of truth, balance, law, morality, and justice. All of these ideals are one and the same in her. The ancient Egyptians deeply believed in the holiness, unity, and equilibrium of the universe. The goddess Maat sets and continually maintains the order of the stars and all the worlds, lest the powers of chaos overtake creation. She stands behind the Sun, Re himself, as the guiding principle of life. Humanity participates in this divine, cosmic harmony through correct civic and ritual behavior.
The most important expression of the veneration of the goddess was not within a temple dedicated to her, for those were comparatively rare. It was the king's ritual presentation of a small figure of Maat in the temples of other gods, particularly in the temples of Amun, Re, and Ptah, the most ancient gods of creation. With this offering, the king vowed to work toward preserving order and justice on their behalf.
Maat is depicted as a woman wearing a feather in her hair. She may have outstretched wings, or hold a scepter for power, an ankh for life, or a scale for judgment. In the Papyrus of Ani, known today as The Book of the Dead, she becomes the scale itself. Within the Hall of Two Truths, representing the two Maats, the goddess and the ideal, she weighs the souls of the deceased as they enter the underworld. The human heart, where the soul has its home, is balanced against her single sacred feather. A light heart, one free from wrongdoing, may continue on the journey toward paradise. The unworthy heart is devoured by the ferocious monster of the underworld, the goddess Ammut.
Chapter or spell 125 of the Papyrus of Ani lists forty-two Declarations of Purity, the so-called Negative Confessions. This is a magical spell for the absolution of the soul of the deceased. Through the power of words and the magic of writing, transgressions against harmony could be cleared off the cosmic record, and enable the soul to pass the judgment of Maat. Some of these declarations are:
I have caused none to weep.
I have not eaten the heart. [i.e. through regret]
I am not a stirrer of strife.
I have never stopped the flow of water.
In a land where crops grow exclusively through irrigation, this last is more than metaphoric.
In another text from the New Kingdom era, the Book of the Cow of Heaven, one is advised to paint a figure of Maat on one's tongue. This ritual assures the individual will speak only what is true. For the magician, it allows what is spoken to become true.
When Maat appears:
Evaluate your relationships, whether intimate or public, for right conduct. Where cruelty, falsehood, entitlement, or servility exists, realize how your heart is eroded by these actions.
An opportunity exists for your voice to be heard. An opportunity exists for you to be a voice of justice.
Maintaining calm and creating order is beneficial. Do not invite chaos into your life.
Speak aloud what you wish for. Write down your confession. Draw up a contract. There is power to be gained in formal declarations of intent.
To reveal the truth of an unjust situation, set a light in a window, using an oil lamp or a candle scented with frankincense or myrrh. Gaze at the flame and scry for how the inequity may come to light to be redressed.
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