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The amulet of the Heart

The amulet of the Heart.

The heart was not only the seat of the power of life, but also the
source of both good and evil thoughts; and it sometimes typified the
conscience. It was guarded after death with special care, and was mummified
separately, and then, with the lungs, was preserved in a jar which was
placed under the protection of the god Tuamutef. Its preservation was
considered to be of such importance that a text 1 was introduced into the
Book of the Dead at an early period, with the view of providing the
deceased with a heart in the place of that which had been removed in the
process of mummification. The text reads:

"May my heart be with me in the House of Hearts! May my breast 2 be
with me in the House of Hearts! May my heart be with me, and may it rest
there, or I shall not eat of the cakes of Osiris on the eastern side of
the Lake of Flowers, neither shall I have a boat wherein to go down the
Nile, nor another wherein to go up, nor shall I be able to sail down
the Nile with thee. May my mouth [be given] to me that I may speak
therewith, and my two legs to walk therewith, and my two hands and arms to
overthrow my foe. May the doors of heaven be opened unto me; may Seb, the
prince of the gods, open wide his two jaws unto me; may he open my two
eyes which are blindfolded; may he cause me to stretch apart my two
legs which are bound together; and may Anpu (Anubis) make my thighs to be
firm so that I may stand upon them. May the goddess Sekhet make me to
rise so that I may ascend into heaven, and may that which I command in
the House of the Ka of Ptah be done. I shall understand with my heart, I
shall gain the mastery over my heart, I shall gain the mastery over my
two hands, I shall gain the mastery over my legs, I shall have the
power to do whatsoever my ka (i.e., double) pleaseth. My soul shall not be
fettered to my body at the gates of the underworld, but I shall enter
in and come forth in peace."

When the deceased had uttered these words, it was believed that he
would at once obtain the powers which he wished to possess in the next
world; and when he had gained the mastery over his heart, the heart, the
double, and the soul had the power to go where they wished and to do what
they pleased. The mention of the god Ptah and of his consort Sekhet
indicates that the Chapter was the work of the priests of Memphis, and
that the ideas embodied in it are of great antiquity. According to the
Papyrus of Nekhtu-Amen, the amulet of the heart, which is referred to in
the above Chapter, was to be made of lapis-lazuli, and there is no doubt
that this stone was believed to possess certain qualities which were
beneficial to those who wore it. It will also be remembered that,
according to one tradition, 1 the text of the LXIVth Chapter of the Book of
the Dead was found written in letters of lapis-lazuli in the reign of
Hesep-ti, king of Egypt about B.C. 4300, and the way in which the fact is
mentioned in the Rubric to the Chapter proves that special importance
was attached to it.

Nefer-uben-f, a priest, guarding his heart against the destroyer of
hearts.

But although a heart might be given to a man by means of the above
Chapter, it was necessary for the deceased to take the greatest care that
it was not carried off from him by a monster, who was part man and part
beast, and who went about seeking for hearts to carry away. To prevent
such a calamity no less than seven Chapters of the Book of the Dead
(Nos. XXVII., XXVIII., XXIX., XXIXA, XXX., XXXA, and XXXB) were written.
The XXVIIth Chapter was connected with a heart amulet made of a white,
semi-transparent stone, and reads:

"Hail, ye who carry away hearts! Hail, ye who steal hearts, and who
make the heart of a man to go through its transformations according to its
deeds, let not what he hath done harm him before you! Homage to you, O
ye lords of eternity, ye possessors of ever lastingness, take ye not
this heart of Osiris 1 into your grasp, and cause ye not words of evil to
spring up against it; for it is the heart of Osiris, and it belongeth
unto him of many names, 2 the mighty one whose words are his limbs, and
who sendeth forth his heart to dwell in his body. The heart of Osiris
is triumphant, and it is made new before the gods: he hath gained power
over it, and he hath not been judged according to what he hath done. He
hath gotten power over his own members. His heart obeyeth him, he is
the lord thereof, it is in his body, and it shall never fall away
therefrom. I, Osiris, victorious in peace, and triumphant in the beautiful
Amenta and on the mountain of eternity, bid thee [O heart] to be obedient
unto me in the underworld."

Another Chapter (XXIXB) was connected with a heart amulet made of
carnelian, of which so many examples may be found in large museums; the text
reads: "I am the Bennu, 1 the soul of Ra, and the guide of the gods who
are in the underworld. Their divine souls came forth upon earth to do
the will of their doubles, let therefore the soul of the Osiris come
forth to do the will of his double." The Bennu was also the soul of
Osiris, and thus the amulet brought with it the protection of both Osiris and
Ra.

But of all the Chapters which related to the heart, the most popular
among the Egyptians was that which is commonly known as XXXB, and its
importance from a religious point of view cannot be overstated. The
antiquity of the Chapter is undoubted, for according to the Papyrus of Nu, 2
a document of the early part of the XVIIIth dynasty, it dates from the
time of Hesep-ti, king of Egypt about B.C. 4300, and it seems that it
formed a pendant or supplement to the LXIVth Chapter, which professed to
give the substance of all the "Chapters of Coming Forth by Day" in a
single Chapter. In the rubric to the longer version of the Chapter, given
in the same papyrus, 3 Chapter XXXB is connected with Herut?t?f, the
son of Khufu (Cheops), a man famed for wisdom, and it is there ordered
that the words of it be recited over a hard, green stone scarab, which
shall be laid in the breast of the deceased where the heart would
ordinarily be; this amulet would then perform for him the "opening of the
mouth," 1 for the words of the Chapter would be indeed "words of
power." From reciting the words of the Chapter over a scarab to engraving
them upon it was but a step, and this step was taken as early as the IVth
dynasty. The text is as follows:

"My heart, my mother; my heart, my mother! My heart whereby I came into
being! May naught stand up to oppose me at [my] judgment; may there be
no opposition to me in the presence of the sovereign princes; may there
be no parting of thee from me in the presence of him that keepeth the
Balance! Thou art my double (ka), the dweller in my body, the god Khnemu
who knitteth and strengtheneth my limbs. Mayest thou come forth into
the place of happiness whither we go. May the Shenit, who form the
conditions of the lives of men, not make my name to stink. Let it be
satisfactory unto us, and let the listening be satisfactory unto us, and let
there be joy of heart unto us at the weighing of words. Let not that
which is false be uttered against me before the great god, the lord of
Amentet. Verily how great shalt thou be when thou risest in triumph."

It was this Chapter which the deceased recited when he was in the
Judgment Hall of Osiris, whilst his heart was being weighed in the Balance
against the feather symbolic of right and truth. From certain papyri it
seems as if the above words should, properly, be said by the deceased
when he is being weighed against his own heart, a conception which is
quite different from that of the judgment of the heart before the gods.

The scribe Nebsent being weighed in a balance against his heart in the
presence of Osiris.




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