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The 42 Laws of Ma'at is also known as “The Negative Confessions” or “The Declaration of Innocence“.
About Goddess Ma'at
The ancient Egyptian goddess Ma’at from The Old Kingdom played a significant role in the law, religion, and cosmology of ancient Kemet (Egypt). Traditionally, Ma’at is depicted as feminine with an ostrich feather on her head and sometimes with wings. Her ostrich feather represents truth, morality, justice, balance, and harmony. Ma’at is the principle governing all aspects of life, society, and the Universe. She is the daughter of the Sun God Ra and the wife of Thoth, the God of Wisdom. The ancients believed Ma’at was the force keeping the universe balanced and by doing this; society, the Pharaoh’s ruling of the land, and the afterlife were all able to function properly.
Ma'at and the Feather
According to ancient Kemetic beliefs, once a person dies, their heart is weighed against the feather of Ma’at at the afterlife judgment. If the heart was lighter than the feather, they would be admitted to the paradise of the afterlife. If a person’s heart weighed more than a feather, a beast named Ammut (or Ammit), consumed the heart banishing them from the afterlife. A light heart was considered joyous and good-spirited. A heavy heart was considered chaotic and evil-spirited. Ma’at was intimately linked with the Pharaoh, as it was the Pharaoh’s duty to preserve Ma’at and uphold order within society. Pharaohs paid homage to Ma’at by performing rituals aimed at securing Egypt’s prosperity and stability.
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The Ancient Egyptians transcribed a set of Divine laws known as The 42 Laws of Ma’at around 2925 B.C.E. These laws were written in hieroglyphics on the Papyrus of Ani and were discovered in Luxor, Egypt. Chapter 125 of The Egyptian Book Of The Dead contains The 42 Laws Of Ma’at.
The 42 Laws of Ma’at
- I have not committed sin.
- I have not committed robbery with violence.
- I have not stolen.
- I have not slain men or women.
- I have not stolen food.
- I have not swindled offerings.
- I have not stolen from God/Goddess.
- I have not told lies.
- I have not carried away food.
- I have not cursed.
- I have not closed my ears to truth.
- I have not committed adultery.
- I have not made anyone cry.
- I have not felt sorrow without reason.
- I have not assaulted anyone.
- I am not deceitful.
- I have not stolen anyone’s land.
- I have not been an eavesdropper.
- I have not falsely accused anyone.
- I have not been angry without reason.
- I have not seduced anyone’s wife.
- I have not polluted myself.
- I have not terrorized anyone.
- I have not disobeyed the Law.
- I have not been exclusively angry.
- I have not cursed God/Goddess.
- I have not behaved with violence.
- I have not caused disruption of peace.
- I have not acted hastily or without thought.
- I have not overstepped my boundaries of concern.
- I have not exaggerated my words when speaking.
- I have not worked evil.
- I have not used evil thoughts, words, or deeds.
- I have not polluted the water.
- I have not spoken angrily or arrogantly.
- I have not cursed anyone in thought, word, or deeds.
- I have not placed myself on a pedestal.
- I have not stolen what belongs to God/Goddess.
- I have not stolen from or disrespected the deceased.
- I have not taken food from a child.
- I have not acted with insolence.
- I have not destroyed property belonging to God/Goddess.
The Seven Principles of Ma’at
The 42 Ideals of Ma’at
The 42 Ideals of Ma’at were written by High Priestesses in the modern day as positives to the 42 Laws of Ma’at.
- I honor virtue
- I benefit with gratitude
- I am peaceful
- I respect the property of others
- I affirm that all life is sacred
- I give offerings that are genuine
- I live in truth
- I regard all altars with respect
- I speak with sincerity
- I consume only my fair share
- I offer words of good intent
- I relate in peace
- I honor animals with reverence
- I can be trusted
- I care for the Earth
- I keep my own council
- I speak positively of others
- I remain in balance with my emotions
- I am trustful in my relationships
- I hold purity in high esteem
- I spread joy
- I do the best I can
- I communicate with compassion
- I listen to opposing opinions
- I create harmony
- I invoke laughter
- I am open to love in various forms
- I am forgiving
- I am kind
- I act respectfully
- I am accepting
- I follow my inner guidance
- I converse with awareness
- I do good
- I give blessings
- I keep the waters pure
- I speak with good intent
- I praise the Goddess and the God
- I am humble
- I achieve with integrity
- I advance through my own abilities
- I embrace the All
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