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MUMMIFICATION IN EGYPTIAN RELIGION

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With the belief in the soul containing three parts, The Egyptians were concerned about
keeping the three parts alive until the time of reincarnation. The body had to be preserved
so that the soul would remain alive.
The body was prepared for the ritual of mummification by trained priests outside of town
in a placed known as the Wabet (a clean place).
The head priest who would preside over the ritual would wear the mask of Anubis, the
God of surgery. Anubis's mask was to be worn so that the God could watch the process
and guild the priest in the ritual.
If a cut was made to the body that was un- necessary, the spirit would not be able to
recognize the body and would be doomed to wander the earth forever and haunt the priest
responsible.

The first step in the process was to make a cut in the abdomen, below the ribs, on the left
side of the body. This first incision was done with a special flint knife, and all other
cutting was done with an ordinary metal blade. They had to cut into the body so that they
could take out special organs. Once the organs were removed they were placed in canopic
jars, which were carved out of alabaster and inscribed with spells that would one day
enable the organs to rejoin the body when it was resurrected. The organs that were placed
in the jars include: stomach, lungs, intestines, and liver. Once inside the canopic jars each
organ was protected by the one of sons of Horus whose head graced the lid.

Next the brain would be extracted through the nose and then thrown away. Resin was
then poured through the nose and into the skull with the use of a funnel, to keep the head
from collapsing. The heart was left in place because later in the underworld Anubis would
weigh the heart and guide the soul through the underworld. During the embalming
process every part of the body was saved and either placed in the tomb with the body or
given to the relatives of the deceased. Then, the body and organs were preserved with
spices and dried out with natron salt. The spices that were used in the preservation
process made the body look brown and leathery.

The entire preservation process took about 70 days. After the process was complete, the
body was wrapped in linen. Death masks were placed on the head of the mummy around
the bandages to be used as a replacement head incase something happened to the real
skull. Special amulets were placed within the wrapping of the mummy to protect it.
Finally, a “mummy tag,” similar to our toe tags, was placed around the mummy’s neck to
help identify it for burial.