MAAT: The Goddess of Truth and Balance

According to the Metu Neter , Maat, pronounced “Ma-aut”, corresponds to the faculty within man wherein is intuited and experienced the urge to live truth (according to the laws of the indwelling self). The name and the meaning derived from the hieroglyph that is the phonetic symbol of “Maa”-the measure of a cubit. The connection of measurement with Truth is one of the most profound achievements of the African mind. We saw that the name of Maat’s compliment (brother/husband), Tehuti, is also based on the idea of measurement. When something, one side of an equation is known, it is because we have an objective standard, the other side of the equation, against which to measure it. Hence the “double measure” or “Tehu-ti”, the “utchau metut” (Weighing of Words) and the Weighing of the Heart and judgment.

The creating of all things and the revelation of all events are based on universal patterns underlying the activities of all natural forces. While some of the patterns underlying physical phenomena have been discovered and codified by Western scientists (E.g., chemistry, physics), Africans and other Nonwestern people have discovered and codified the patterns governing our day to day existence and spiritual development. In other words, the quality of life, the destiny of men and nations are ruled by forces that are as measurable and subject to codification into immutable laws as are the factors governing physical and chemical phenomena. In the esoteric tradition, the branch of study governing these laws is Cosmology. The embodiment of these laws (moral canon), against which the actions and beliefs of Man are weighed/measured, is Maat.

By extension, the term ‘maat’ has several denotations in the everyday language of the Kamitic people; straight, rule, law, canon by which the lives of men is kept straight, real unalterable (“it, the law, hath never been altered since the time of Ausar”), upright, righteous and steadfast or consistent. The last correspondence, “steadfast or consistent”, is of extreme importance. In the Kamitic tradition, a person cannot claim that he is living truth if he has not been consistent in the observance of the spiritual laws at each and every crossroad situation. This is why it is said, “Today as Yesterday, Tomorrow as Today, is Truth!”

We have seen that the basis of Truth is living by a standard imposed by our essential divine nature. This leads unavoidably to the question of where does man find the strength to rise to a moral standard of which God is the standard of measure. In the Kamitic tradition the answer has been concealed in their metaphoric (so-called mythologic) mode of communicating spiritual scientific information. Maat is the daughter of Ra, we are told. But its meaning has been clouded by the popular belief that Ra represents the Sun, or the Sun God. “Ra”, pronounced Rau, and not Re (hence Aur-light; Aurum-gold, oro, Aura, Aurora, RAdiation, ARdent-fiery, etc.) corresponds to the solar energy or life force stored in physical bodies. It is the kundalini of the Hindus, the chi of Chinese metaphysics, Aganyu of the Yorubas, Dambadah Wedo of the Fons, etc.

An abundance of life force, which is required through proper diet, adequate exercise and the avoidance of sensual excesses, is required for developing the strength to live truth. The implications of this fact are that as long as people are kept ignorant of how to cultivate their life force, and worse, kept indulging in a lifestyle characterized by wrong diet, sexual excesses, etc., they will never intuit, understand, or find the strength to live truth. Society must then be doomed to ever deepening decadence. Salvation, they teach, can supposedly be achieved by asking for God’s forgiveness after a life of debauchery.

Maat is generally depicted as a woman holding the Ankh cross, symbol of the heka Aung, in one hand and the Papyrus scepter, representing the book of the law, in the other. On her head rests the feather–her main symbol– which is the standard against which the will (the heart/ab) of the initiate is weighed. In one pan of the scale is placed the heart and in the other, the feather, which symbolizes the lightness of truth, that is the absence of emotional force that characterizes the action of truth. A fact little known to Egyptologists is that in her furrow (a wrinkle in her face) lays concealed the scepter of flint which she confers upon the initiate after he has been found to be “true of heart” (to have lived truth). That it is to be used to kindle the fire of Ra, is a hint regarding the life force (kundalini) arousing power of living truth. This is the key of the supreme mantra caitanya (mantra awakening) secret that has eluded many yogis for millenniums.

Published by Kimberly Bowen

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