The Judgment of the Dead

As the judgment of the dead, or Judgment of Amenti, formed a part of the Mysteries of Isis, it should be properly mentioned in that connection. Although this ceremony was part of the Mysteries, yet it was well known to all, as it was founded upon the peculiar funeral rites of the Egyptians. From this judgment in this world no Egyptian was exempt, no matter how exalted his position; and upon this trial depended the right to an honorable burial. All whom the deceased person had wronged, and all who knew of his evil deeds, were permitted to testify over his dead body, while his friends and kindred loudly proclaimed his virtues. The decision followed the weight of the evidence; and even a king who had led a bad and wicked life might be excluded from burial in his own sepulchre. And the "assessors" at the funeral were allowed to pronounce a condemnation, which all agreed would also be received in a future state. This trial of the dead in this world was typical of the judgment of Amenti, where Osiris presided in the invisible world, and which the devout Egyptian believed took place there at the same time.

From this peculiar custom of the Egyptians arose a part of the ceremonies of initiation into the Mysteries of Isis; for, as in initiation, the candidate died symbolically, so also he underwent the Judgment of the dead, to ascertain if he was worthy to receive the higher and more important secrets, by being raised and brought to light, typical of the admission of the good into the "mansions of the blessed." The last judgment is one of the principal subjects found depicted upon the walls of tombs and in the "Book of the Dead," sometimes referring to the actual trial, at others to its representations as enacted in the Mysteries. This judgment of the dead was peculiar to the national customs and funeral rites of the Egyptians, and does not appear to have prevailed in other countries. It was therefore naturally discontinued as a part of the Mysteries when they were introduced into other countries other names. The Greeks, however, introduced it into their mythology—the Greek Themis being derived from the Egyptian Themei, or goddess of Justice; while Minos and Rhad-amanthus, the Grecian judges of the dead in Hades, show their connection with Amenti, the Egyptian Hades, or region of darkness. The transport of the body over the sacred lake in the baris, or boat, in the funeral procession of the Egyptians, in like manner, gave rise to the Acherusian lake, the ferryboat of Charon, and the passage of the Styx, in the Grecian mythology. There is nothing in the ancient masonic degrees in the least analogous to the Judgment of Amenti, that portion of the Mysteries of Isis not having been adopted into the Mysteries as celebrated in other lands and at later age.

The following representation of the scene, taken from the "Book of the Dead," will, however be interesting to all readers, and members of the fraternity will not fail to recognize in it certain masonic features which we may not particularize. The figure seated on the throne of Osiris, or judge of the dead; he

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