So, you died. What happens next?
Easy, you wait in line to get your soul weighed up against a feather.
Yeah, that sure does remind you of something. It’s Egyptian Afterlife mythology, and it’s real. It doesn’t matter whether you believed in it or not, whether you’re an atheist, agnostic, or devout Catholic. Heck, there are a couple of Scientologists in here with us, waiting in line.
It. Does. Not. Matter.
Osiris will be the one to judge you in the end, because he’s a badass like that.
So, you wait. In the Hall of Truth. Some call it Limbo, the In-Between. It doesn’t really matter what you call it and we are not sticklers for proper terminology. All that matters is that you wait in line as your Akh, the immortal transformed self, and when it’s your turn, your heart, Ab, will be weighed in the balance on a golden scale against the white feather of truth.
How long you have to wait?
Oh, it’s something between a lifetime and an eternity. But don’t worry, chump. Your turn will come eventually. Everyone gets their turn.
Yeah, that’s the god Osiris. No, he doesn’t have a jackal head, that’s mortal stupidity. You’re confusing him with Anubis, that’s him over there. See? No jackal’s head. I don’t have a jackal’s head either. I don’t know where you came up with that, ask your contemporaries.
Can I carry on with the orientation? It’s kinda important to me that we do this correctly. I mean, we are talking about your immortal soul here. Good. As I said, you just wait. There are no forty two judges, we don’t do that anymore because frankly it was deciding by committee and Osiris got really angry at them and turned them all into caterpillars to be reborn.
So, it’s just Osiris and the golden scales, a quick process. But there’s one more thing you have to do. You have to deny your sins during your earthly existence.
No, there’s no script to follow, and it doesn’t matter that you’re not Egyptian. It’s easy, look.
It’s different for every person. It depends on their life. An accountant would obviously have to be judged against different standards than a war veteran, you know? For one, stealing is bad, but for the other, stealing might be the only way he could get medicine for his fellow squadmates.
Ehhh… Yeah. It’s relative. The big things are up there, murder, lying, stealing. But as I said, it depends. Did you lie to get an innocent person out of jail? Or, did you lie to get an innocent person into it?
See how it goes? Grey areas, all over.
Since I’m here, let’s try it out, let’s do a practice run on the Negative Confessions. No worries, just say it to me.
I know you can’t remember anything from your life, man. Here, look at this tablet. Swipe the pictures, that’s you, your parents, your wife, your kids. No, it’s not weird that we have technology, what are we, Luddites? We used to paint all this up against the walls of the tomb to help you remember, but to be honest, this way is quicker. We just take your online data from when you were alive.
Yeah, digital data. It works wonders, it’s so efficient. Look, you had two kids, a boy and a girl. Nice and healthy. See? Good livin’. They got so many upvotes and comments on their photos, so cute!
Starting to come back to you? Good, keep watching the pics, something will trigger your memories.
Yeah, I know your head hurts, it’s the whole dying thing, sorry.
Let’s walk as we talk, okay? The line is moving forward.
You remembered your name?
Oh, nice to meet you! I’m Serket, and I’ll be your Afterlife orientation counselor, as you’ve noticed! Tee-hee, you’re funny!
Okay, let’s get you some water. Qebhet is offering those water bottles, let me grab one for you. Here. Of course we have plastic water bottles, what did you expect, little lakes or something? This is way more efficient. Do not throw the bottle away, place it at the designated bins to be recycled.
Okay then. We’re almost there. Normally, Anubis would do this, but to be honest with you, he only escorts the pretty ladies, so you’ll have to stick with me.
Yeah, that guy is getting judged. He’s reciting the Negative Confessions, correct. You’re a quick learner.
Come on, now that you remember some stuff, let’s give it a go. Lemme see the tablet and get some ideas for you, just use whatever sounds right to you.
Try this, “I have never stolen money.” Huh? Good? Okay, let’s do another.
“I have not cheated in my school tests.” Oh, you have. Eek, that one will weigh it down a bit, sorry.
Something else. “I have not started a barfight.” Okay, that’s not too big, but why not? Let’s throw that in there, you never know where the scales will tip.
“I have never forgotten to recycle my garbage.” Okay, again, not a big one, but throw it in, Osiris is a big fan of recycling. Don’t get him talking on that subject, we’ll literally be done after a century, you know what I mean?
“I have never beaten my wife.” No? It does not apply. Oh, man, that’s not good at all. Sorry, but it’s a big one for a domestic life such as yours. I mean, she is the mother of your children, man. I know you’re sorry, don’t start crying now. It’s okay, what’s done is done. Nothing we can do to fix it now, so let’s just make this a great Negative Confession, okay?
Moving on. “I have never beaten my kids.” That applies? Good, at least you have that lifting the weight off your Ab. Let’s see, what else? Oh, no, we don’t really give a crap about cheating on your spouse, yeah. Sex is something to be enjoyed between consenting partners and jealousy has brought more people down here with weight on their hearts than anything else.
I’m actually surprised you haven’t figured that one out by this time. It even seems you’re making a turn-about on that aspect. Anyway, moving on. You had a quiet life, so there isn’t anything too big in here. Let’s do the smaller Confessions, those can add up.
“I have never favoured one of my children.” Oh, you have? Well, everybody does that. Some kids are losers. Or, annoying. Or both. Nevermind.
“I have never stolen intellectual property.” That applies to you? I’m happy, because we do appreciate art down here. You can tell from all the ambiance, it could use a bit of a freshening up, but it’s kind of a big deal for my family.
Yeah, it’s a family business, you might say that. I won’t bore you with my genealogy because it gets really weird, but yeah. This is a family-run business for about five thousand years or so.
Before that? I’m not sure, really. Who cares?
Well, your turn is almost up. One old lady to go, oh, by the sands, she’ll be there forever. Oh, so I don’t forget, you recite the Negative Confessions as we practised, and then you finish up with the statement, “I am pure.” Again and again. Yes, man, this is your soul we’re talking about, you have to mean it. I am pure, I am pure, I am so goddamn pure my heart will float and make the white feather of Ma’at look like a lead weight.
Yes, just like that! With feeling. Awesomesauce.
I think you’ll do fine. We call it the Field of Reeds, but yeah, it’s pretty much what you expect of Heaven. Even your doggo will be there! Yes, it’s so cool.
That’s all from me, it was great meeting you. Your number is about to be called up any minute now. Don’t keep Osiris waiting, trust me on this.
Oh! Oh, silly me, I almost forgot. Here’s the tablet, tap that app. Yes, the Egyptian Book of the Dead. If you get through to the boats, the journey might be dangerous. You might need some spells, it’s all there. I know you don’t know any spells, that’s why there’s an app for it!
It’s all very intuitive, we’ve been beta-testing it for years now, you’ll figure it out in no time on the boat ride. If, yes, but I’m rooting for you! Yay!
Okay, I have to get to some other people in line, it took some extra time longer but we got you all up to speed.
Hope your heart is pure.
That monster? Pff, don’t worry about it, that’s just Amenti. If your heart is too heavy, Osiris is gonna toss it to him and he’ll eat it like a tasty snack.
What happens to you? Nothing, you cease to exist. No Hell, or whatever you wanna call it. Frankly, this is the worst part. Okay, and the dangerous journey ahead while you try to reach the Field of Reeds.
But don’t worry, I’m sure you have nothing to fear.
You were an accountant. You said you have never stolen money, so you’re cool.
The scales will balance everything in your life against a white feather.
What did you do with that water bottle I gave you?
You tossed it on the ground?