I love to explore the Divine Feminine and write about Goddesses. For a list of those, click on the link: Goddesses. In order to become more balanced within ourselves and, through that, to bring greater balance and harmony to the world around us, we must find greater balance between the masculine and feminine energies within ourselves that each one of us possesses, regardless of physical gender or any other ways of self-identification.
Goddess of Truth, Balance & Cosmic Order
Ma’at is an Ancient Egyptian Goddess. She stands for truth, balance, order, harmony, law, morality, and justice, however, not in human concepts but divine. The Egyptians saw this as distinctly different. Humans made laws to regulate their innate fallibility and discourage criminal and immoral activities.
Divine Law, in Egyptian eyes, was not fallible or dependant on human moral and ethical codes. It meant the absolute laws of universal physical energetic relations, such as the law of balance, karma, attraction and cosmic order.
In mythology, Ma’at oversaw the weighing of hearts in the Hall of Ma’at, the Hall of Two Truths, in the Duat, the Egyptian Underworld or realm of the dead, after a person had died. There were 42 minor deities in attendance to bear witness as Anubis brought the deceased before Osiris who performed the weighing. The heart (conscience) of the deceased was weighed in scales against the feather of Ma’at, an ostrich feather, symbolically representing the concept of Ma’at.
When the scales were balanced, it meant the heart was light and the soul of the person was allowed into the afterlife, the Egyptian heaven or paradise. If not, the demon Goddess Ammit devoured the heart and the person had to remain in the Duat, the Underworld, and was not allowed to enter Aaru, the Egyptian heaven or paradise. This was also the reason why the heart was left inside the mummy, whereas all other organs were removed from the body during embalming and placed into canopic jars.
Her opposite is Isfet, balancing her by bringing chaos, injustice, evil and violence. However, Isfet was born from human ego and free will and not from primordial chaos which was represented by the demon serpent Apep.
Butterflies & Leading a Good Life
Pharaohs decisions and rulings were seen as the holding up of the Law of Ma’at and keeping Isfet at bay. He was also depicted often surrounded by foreigners which meant that he was the protector of Egypt from chaos, as foreigners were seen as enemies of Divine Law, bringing chaos and destruction.
The word Ma’at means that which is straight or truth but also implies order, balance and justice, and the later Coptic word Mee/Me which means the same and is directly derived from the Goddess’ name. Ma’at was already recorded as the norm for nature and society in the Old Kingdom, at 2,375 years BCE, which is just under 4,400 years ago.
Egyptian citizens were expected to act in accordance with the Law of Ma’at with truth and honour in all areas of daily life. This spanned matters of family, work, society and the gods. Having an umbrella of Divine Laws to adhere to kept things in order in an emerging, growing state that governed different tribes and people with varying interests. It was expected to put the good of the whole before your own personal gratification and lead a life that was good, righteous and sustainable in its ethical and moral actions and the consequences thereof.
The Egyptians believed in what is today known as the Butterfly Effect. A small change on an individual part could have astronomical repercussions in the results it has for the entire complex system of nature and society. Chaos Theory as in advanced mathematics plays a part in this as well and as the Egyptians were extremely advanced in scientific, as well as spiritual areas, they were well aware of what effect even a small act out of alignment with the Law of Ma’at could entail and thus made Ma’at as a concept the basis on which they built their legal system and societal rules and regulations.
Ma’at came into being when the Sungod Ra rose from the waters of Nun, the primordial waters of chaos and thus bringing order into creation. Creation itself is order because to create there has to be a certain formation in energy to make things manifest. However, if you create chaos through going against the “will” or law of Ma’at, the cosmic law, you create chaos and disorder (Isfet) and thus insult the gods (you being the divine expressed in the flesh).
In other words, you hurt yourself, whether you are aware of it or not, your vibrations attract more experiences of the same energy, so if you bring lower, (or, according to Egyptian worldview) chaotic or evil vibrational energy into the world, you attract more of the same, thus going against your own innate divine nature. This discrepancy causes tension and stress which will over time have ill effects on you as well. Physical and mental health issues are a result as much as attracting undesirable people, places and experiences.
The Pharaoh was perceived as the guardian of Ma’at. However, each individual was also held responsible to uphold the Law and thus, support order and structure, as opposed to chaos and evil. If this wasn’t observed, Nun would reclaim the universe and thus chaos would reign supreme. This meant the end of the world, not only Planet Earth, but the entire universe.
Egyptians had a strong sense of honour, morality and justice. Loyalty was praised and seen as a high virtue, especially to one’s family. The good people should prosper and the evil ones would be punished. Those who defended weaker were praised and the rape of women and especially children was usually punishable by death. Using violence against someone weaker was seen as the most cowardly act and women were held in high esteem. Many held high stations in public and professional life and their status was by no means inferior to that of men.
The Egyptian worldview was one of duality and to keep balance, there had to be equality between opposites, not only in terms of gender. To elevate one over another was unthinkable, as it went against cosmic law. This also fuelled a very spiritual way of life, as it was believed that in order to Egypt and its people to prosper, the gods had to be appeased. There were many temple compounds and a thriving caste of priests and priestesses who performed often elaborate rituals in order to ensure the benevolence of the gods was obtained and sustained for the good of the country and its citizens.
In my romance novel Cloud Nine, the female MC Dana meets rockstar Weston on a plane and the two enter into a holiday romance. However, when things go wrong, Weston accuses Dana without evidence of acting dishonourably and sharing private information with a paparazzo for fame and money. Dana is deeply hurt by this because her code of honour would forbid her to ever betray another person’s trust, especially a person she feels so close to. To her, living a righteous life isn’t a religious or societal dogma she feels forced to adhere to, but it is an innate, intrinsic urge to conduct herself in a manner that will enable her to look at herself in the mirror every morning and feel any shame.
Having character, dignity and loyalty is of the utmost importance to her and it doesn’t matter whether it is a poor person or a famous rockstar. Her ethics and moral values are not dependent on outside influences and factors but independent of those. Dana lives according to her inner moral and ethical compass and this is exactly what Ma’at’s energy and Law is about. Divine Truth is beyond human evaluation. It is not subject to a certain trend or fashion. So in this novel, Dana shows Weston Ashville, the famous rockstar, that she is a rock in stormy seas, living by her own moral code and cannot be bought or swayed in any other way. Thus, she is living the concept of the Law in her daily life, bringing the Goddess to life in every thought she has and every action she undertakes.
Ma’at was depicted as a woman wearing a crown with a single ostrich feather, representing truth, protruding from it. Occasionally, she was depicted as a winged Goddess and her symbols were a stone platform which symbolised the stable foundation on which order was built but also the primaeval mound which first emerged from the waters of Nun (chaos).
In the Egyptian understanding, Ma'at's spirit was the spirit of all creation, and if you were in tune with that spirit, you would live well and have good reason to hope for eternal peace in the afterlife. However, if you refused to live in accordance with the principles of Ma'at, then you would suffer the consequences which you would have brought upon yourself.
Unlike most other deities, excepting Heka, the personification of divine magick, Ma’at did not have a cult centre and following. Rather, she was honoured by living your life according to her laws. Thus, she was more a principle than a deity with a rich mythology. She hardly features in any mythological stories, and yet, her influences were all-pervasive and she was considered to be one of the most important deities of the pantheon.
To incorporate the worship of Ma’at in your daily spiritual practice, it means, you have to seek for and follow divine truth and justice in everything you do. Thrive to be fair when dealing with others and conduct yourself in alignment with these laws and principles. In this sense, Ma’at is as mundane as she is omnipresent.
Connect with the energy of Ma’at by going within and listening to your own divine wisdom to seek out the truth of a matter and fell a just verdict on a person or situation. When your inner voice speaks to you on truth, it is the voice of the Goddess that speaks to you.