Ma’at is the goddess of truth, justice, ethics, balance, and harmony. She is always depicted with an ostrich feather, either on her head or in her hands, and she sometimes also has wings and a scepter to highlight her divinity and power.
Ma’at was the daughter of Ra, and in many accounts she is credited with bringing the world into existence. In particular, she is seen as the epitome of Egyptian civilization and culture, and citizens and royalty alike were encouraged to mirror her good judgment, strong morals, and refined ethics. By emulating Ma’at, the people of Egypt would be honoring balance and harmony, essential to the universe and to the survival of their kingdom.
Ma’at was often pictured with Ra in his boat as they moved across the sky. She was part of the Eye of Ra, which helped protect him from his archenemy Apep, the evil serpent who tried to attack his progress each day. Ma’at’s Feather of Truth was used in the Weighing of the Heart ceremony after death. The dead of Egypt had all of their internal organs removed except for the heart before embalming. It was thought that they would take this with them to the scales to be judged by Anubis in Duat (the underworld). If their heart was heavier than the feather, they were eaten by a demon; however, if their heart was lighter than the feather, Anubis would escort them on their heavenly ascent to Aaru.
In many versions of Ma’at’s myth, she is not only the counterpart of Thoth, she is also his wife.
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