Before the Ten Commandments: The 42 Commandments of the Goddess Maat
Written at least 2,000 years before the Ten Commandments of Moses, the 42 Commandments of Ancient Egypt, the " Ideals of Ma’at," were one of Africa’s - and the world’s - oldest sources of moral and spiritual instruction. In fact, 8 of the 10 Commandments originate from the Ideals of Ma'at. And although they were somewhat buried in 2000 years of history, and the splitting of religions, The 42 Ideals of Ma'at are so simple, and so beautiful - they cover every basic tenant of higher awareness and consciousness - they are as relevant today as if they came straight from a modern day spiritual teacher.
Ma’at was the Ancient Egyptian Goddess of the Divine Principles of Truth, Justice, and Righteousness. She was also personified as a goddess who regulated the stars, seasons, and the actions of both mortals and the deities, who set the order of the universe from chaos at the moment of creation. The significance of Ma'at was all-encompassing - it embraced all aspects of existence, including the basic equilibrium of the universe, the relationship between constituent parts, the cycle of the seasons, heavenly movements, religious observations and fair dealings, honesty and truthfulness in social interactions.
In addition to Ma'at's role in creation and continuously preventing the universe from returning to chaos, according to Egyptian mythology she also was responsible for the weighing of souls in the underworld. Her measure determined whether the souls (considered to reside in the heart) of the departed would reach the paradise of afterlife successfully. The measure was that their heart must be lighter than her measurement tool - a feather.
The 42 Ideals of Ma’at
1. I honor virtue
2. I benefit with gratitude
3. I am peaceful
4. I respect the property of others
5. I affirm that all life is sacred
6. I give offerings that are genuine
7. I live in truth
8. I regard all altars with respect
9. I speak with sincerity
10. I consume only my fair share
11. I offer words of good intent
12. I relate in peace
13. I honor animals with reverence
14. I can be trusted
15. I care for the earth
16. I keep my own council
17. I speak positively of others
18. I remain in balance with my emotions
19. I am trustful in my relationships
20. I hold purity in high esteem
21. I spread joy
22. I do the best I can
23. I communicate with compassion
24. I listen to opposing opinions
25. I create harmony
26. I invoke laughter
27. I am open to love in various forms
28. I am forgiving
29. I am kind
30. I act respectfully of others
31. I am accepting
32. I follow my inner guidance
33. I converse with awareness
34. I do good
35. I give blessings
36. I keep the waters pure
37. I speak with good intent
38. I praise the Goddess and the God
39. I am humble
40. I achieve with integrity
41. I advance through my own abilities
42. I embrace the All
These Laws command our love and respect for the life, dignity and Goddess-given rights of all living things, as well as imposing upon us divine obligations and duties toward them, and our precious planet. By their observance we reflect the light upon the world, fusing virtue with justice, and aligning individual rights with righteousness.
These ancient ideals were created to apply to everyone regardless of belief system. There was no concept of religious bias in ancient Egypt. People strived to live a good life in accordance to these ideals of truth, balance, order, law, morality, and justice. The 42 Ideals of Ma'at are valuable passages of history that are as viable today as they were 5,000 years ago.
The 42 principles of Ma'at existed thousands of years before the Jewish Torah, the Christians Bible, and the Muslim Qur'an.
If you want to further explore the importance of tapping into your inner goddess, you will enjoy this article: Explore Your Inner Priestess
Or, this article on Shakti and Yoni Power (ancient, sacred girl power!)
These ideals are an example of how some things will always be promoted in our culture. We couldn't think of a single value that is missing can you? Which are the most important to you?