One of the common threads between all religions and mythologies is the concept of the afterlife. In Judeo-Christian mythology, this afterlife is known as heaven, hell, and sometimes limbo and purgatory are added to this list. In Greek Mythology, the dead reside in the underworld known as Hades. You also have some religions where the afterlife is just a re-hash of the current one - also known as reincarnation.

Egyptian Mythology follows this pattern as well, with Yaaru being the place where righteous men and women went after they died. Death and the afterlife were of utmost importance to ancient Egyptians. All you need to do is take a look at some of the tombs to see how important it was. Ancient Egyptians had the most elaborate funerary rituals and equipment in recorded history. Mummies are among the most recognizable images in the world. (Although mummies are usually associated with ancient Egypt, they are not the only ones who practiced mummification.)

Egyptians believed that when a man or woman died, their life-force or ka left the body, and set off to find the kingdom of the dead which was in a valley in the sky toward the east where the sun rises. This journey would be through a land called Duat and the journey was fraught with peril and danger. The Book of the Dead was often placed in a tomb with the deceased and contained information about Duat, and helpful spells to help them through this journey. At the end of the journey, they stood before Osiris and 42 demon-judges all of whom would review the life of the deceased, and weigh the heart of the ka on a balance scale against the feather of truth, to test for goodness and purity and finally they would pass judgement.

If the deceased led a good life (i.e. not terribly sinful), and judgement was favorable, Osiris would allow the ka entry into heavenly realms of Yaaru - also called Iaru or Aalu - which was a glorified version of life on earth. Their friends, who preceded them in death, would greet them at the gates, and welcome them inside. In Yaaru the grain grew 12 feet high and the deceased could do whatever it was they liked to do best when they were alive. It was an idyllic realm where food and lavish pleasures were unending.

The dead had to supply their own accouterments, however - or rather, the living supplied it for them. Which is why furniture, clothing, reading material, and even money were placed into tombs with the dead. Gifts for Osiris were placed into the tombs sometimes as well. Osiris required the dead to reap the grain for food, in return for his protection, and kindness in allowing them to inhabit his kingdom. This was the only toil in Yaaru, and even this work could sometimes be reduced or eliminated through gifts of ushabtis (small statues).

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.