Mummification Process in Ancient Egypt and Book of the Dead

Those individuals that are familiar with the book of the dead will know that it speaks highly of mummification. Many of the ancient Egyptians followed the Book of the Dead, therefore mummification was necessary when someone passed away to go on to the next world. We would like to take the time to tell you some information that we find interesting about mummification.

Preserving ones, body was needed and was basic funeral practices in ancient Egypt. If the body was not reserved, then the “ka” would not be able to return and find sustenance. If the body had taken normal process and decayed, it would become unrecognizable, therefore the ka would starve and the afterlife would be in jeopardy of the one who died. This means the ancient Egyptians used mummification in order to prevent the body from decaying.

Many look at mummification as just being a technical process in order to fill the body, the truth is that it was also a ritual process. They were always looking into recreating Osiris, whom was the first original mummy. The “hery seshta” was the individual who was in charge of doing the mummification; this is the one who took part of Anubis who is the jackal god. The assistant of the mummification process is the “hetemw netjer.” The individual who was reading the magic spells during the mummification process was known as the “hery heb.” The one who did the actual removal of the internal organs along with bandaging up the body was called the “wetyw.”

When someone died, they would be taken to the place of purification. This is where they would be washed in natron, which is a solution of carbonate and sodium bicarbonate. After this, they would be taken to the “per nefer” which in English is the house of beauty, this is where the mummification process would be performed. The internal organs of the dead person were taken out, dried, rinsed and then bandaged. The internal organs were put in jars where they would be put with the body. They would decorate the jars with the “four sons of Horus.” Hapy is the god that had a baboon head and he protected the lungs, Imety protected the liver and he was the human headed god, Duamutef was a jackal headed god and he protected the stomach and Qebehsenuff was a falcon headed god that protected the intestines. Hapy would be pointing North, Imsety pointed South, and Duamutef pointed East and Qebehsenuef pointed to the West.

After the organs were removed and preserved, the natron that was dry would be mouled around the corpse and maybe even inserted into the body cavity. During mummification, the body was left for about forty days to dehydrate. When the body dried, the stuffing would be removed and the body would be packed with bandages that had been soaked in resin along with other sweet smelling perfumes. The openings of the skull would also be packed and some fake eyes might have been added. After this process, they bandaged up the body, which created the mummy, as we know it today. Next time you think about mummies, you see that it is an actual process and should be nothing scary.