I hit on this, briefly, in my Ma’at posting for this project. I explained that when it comes to the Negative Confessions, we as human beings cannot look to them in the frame of mind of a Christian or Muslim. We cannot look to these words and say, “These are the commandments these ancient peoples used to live by.” This is a deep untruth and it’s perpetrated by numerous people. I, myself, have been both the victim of it and guilty of it. I believed for years (until recently) that when I was looking at the Negative Confessions, they were the laws that all humans of ancient Egypt abided by. I looked to these 42 sayings and saw the discrepancies between the different websites, the different books, and chalked it up to mistranslations. Or perhaps, the wording was out of order. But this was never the case. What they don’t sit you down and tell you in grade school when you’re learning about this is that the ancient Egyptian concept of ma’at was a fluid morality. It changed and varied with each individual and so long as you knew what you had done and didn’t feel the need to atone for it, you didn’t have to talk about it when you went through the Duat.
What my basis in morality is does not mean that it is the same basis as ancient Egyptian peasant number six or the pharaoh who ruled justly for three decades. And the basis of my morality cannot be said to be the same as what any of the people who read this blog may use as a basis. I would like to believe that when we consider our souls and what could happen to us in the Duat, then we would base our moral code off of some similarities: perhaps the mortal laws of the realm or some preconceived notions that our parents instilled in us. However, what I believe to be right (abortion, for example) cannot be said to be universal. The same can be said of any varying things that we would look to in order to formulate our own moral codes. For example, my mother always taught me to not place my elbows on the table when we were eating dinner, but maybe your parent(s) didn’t teach you that. I consider it basic manners and I suppose it could be incorporated into my own, personal, moral code (not that I think it has any bearing, but it’s an example, so…). However, if you parent(s) didn’t teach you the same thing, then you wouldn’t think to incorporate such a thing in your ethical code of conduct.
Now, when you look at this blog and you see all the posts that I make, you may not think that I take this kind of stuff seriously. In fact, you may think that, considering the issues I’ve had in the past with this stuff, that I may not actually live in ma’at or have a firmly defined ethical code of conduct. And while that does suck that I can be perceived that way (and for anyone who has no idea what I’m talking about, that’s fine… leave it that way, but just stick with me here), I can safely say that I actually do take this stuff very seriously and that I do feel that I live in ma’at. And as I said in the post about Ma’at for this blogging project, it’s my own fucking moral fucking code and it bears up to what I feel the gods want from me. And it is with that particular background – the being accused of not upholding ma’at and the thought processes that the occasion inspired within me – that I realized how finely honed my moral code is.
And it’s now that I realize what exactly I have to do to make it with a semblance of permanence.
It’s my time to shine because it’s time to write down some Negative Confessions. These are things that I feel work with the frame work as set by the Papyrus of Ani, which is one of the most prime examples out there for the Negative Confessions. I’ve been studying the papyrus in bits and pieces for years. And I’ve been studying the NCs in that papyrus for the same amount of time. I have a general idea of what I need to be looking for when I decide what, specifically, my soul would say to the gods when I sit before them in judgment. From the basis of Ani’s papyrus, and even some others that are still extant, I can safely say that I do want to make mention of the things I haven’t done to offend the gods. That’s one of the bigger contenders out there. I also want to mention that I didn’t steal, that I didn’t rape, and that I didn’t murder. Those are also all big ones, in both my world and the world of the ancient Egyptians. But, I also want to add that I have not been intolerant of others’ faiths and beliefs. I want to also add things like I have been kind to the souls of all animals and all plants.
I’m not sure, specifically, what exactly my entire confessional will entail, but I do know that I want to have something in preparation for the day when I do stand before Wesir and Djehuti with Ammit chomping hungrily behind me. And I want to say things with the pure heart of someone who is plainly maat-kheru.