Notes on the ab


The Egyptians had rituals and recitations whose goal was to restore, in a new form, the corporeal unity that had disintegrated in death. The most important prerequisite was to restore the heart to its former place and to awaken it, so that it could again assume its centralizing and organizing functions. Without this personal center and source of direction, the new, divine constellations into which the self was now to be inserted for a new unfolding would not have been serviceable. From spells that deal with the restitution of the heart, we learn a great deal about the connective function of that organ:

“My heart, it creates my limbs,
my flesh obeys me and raises me up.”

In these texts, the heart stands not only for life-giving integration through the blood that it pumps through the “vessels” (mt.wt), but also and above all for will, consciousness, and memory as mental media of connectivity:

“Your heart is placed in your body for you,
that you might recall what you have forgotten.”

– Assmann, Jan. Death and Salvation in Ancient Egypt. Cornell University Press, 2005, p. 29.