An Egyptian sarcophagus discovered in an ancient burial chamber years back has been revealed as something more than just an artifact.
The same coffin consists of the oldest known map of the underworld in existence.
“A new study published in The Journal of Egyptian Archaeology by Harco Willems suggests this ancient text is the earliest known copy of The Book of Two Ways, dating back at least 4,000 years. This dating has been associated with the tomb because it contains inscriptions mentioning Djehutinakht I from around the 21st to 20th century BC. However, it was previously incorrectly believed that the coffin must therefore contain the body of Djehutinakht I, but this latest study suggests the coffin was inhabited by the body of an elite female called Ankh.”
After searching for decades, lately, archaeologists have found a few versions of the ancient Book of Two Ways.
The discovered inscription on the coffin is intriguing.
The Book of Two Ways
The title refers to the two routes a soul can take while looking for solace afterlife in the Egyptian underworld.
The paths allow the soul to enter the realm of Osiris.
Osiris is the Egyptian God of the underworld who is the final judge of all human souls.
The Book of Two Ways is also part of ancient Egyptian mythology.
The Coffin Texts is referred to as a clear precursor to later Netherworld books such as the ‘Amduat’ and the ‘Book of Gates.’
Book of the Dead
All the mentioned books are part of a well-known codex known as The Book of the Dead.
The book of the dead has been described by National Geographic as the full collection of mortuary texts which consists of spells that deal with the afterlife.
The Book of the Dead contains 1,185 spells and enchantments which can be best defined as everything a person needs to successfully find his or her way in the next life.
Getting to Osiris in the underworld
The Book of Two Ways tells in detail about how one could find the God Osiris in the underworld:
“Two zig-zagging paths crossing a dangerous landscape where demonic entities challenge one’s progression to ‘Rostau’ – the realm of Osiris – a dark place surrounded with fire and located at the ‘boundary of the sky.’ It was believed that any person who looked upon the dead body of Osiris would never completely die and if one reached the Field of Offerings, after a feast with Osiris their desires would be satisfied.
According to the books, the paths can be dangerous and some lead nowhere, leaving a soul looking for the final rest.
The paths are divided by the Lake of Fire, which can either destroy or revive the soul.
The soul also must overcome the Sun’s ‘fiery court’ with endless guardians and demons blocking the way with high walls of stone and fire.”
The Egyptian underworld is not a place for weak-hearted people.
Considering what the inscription told, the Book of Two Ways is a map for the soul.
The ancient Egyptians called it a psychological map of the soul.
“At the time of its creation, about 4,000 years ago, nobody had yet attempted to map the netherworld and scholars maintain the later texts all divide the afterlife into hours or caves and include landmarks and events.
In a way, The Book of Two Ways is a guidebook for those who might be facing death.
Reading it, they could have a fuller understanding of what awaited them after they had passed from this world to the next.
Whether it was accurate or not, nobody can tell.
The Book of Two Ways is in keeping with other texts that have existed for centuries.
So, Let us know what you think happens after death?