7 Easy Steps to Mummify Your Relative
By, Emily Ferrell
A messenger ran shouting through the streets, people fell to the ground in mourning, others listened wide eyed, something has happened. The death, of a Pharaoh.
The Egyptians had a polytheistic religion, the belief in many gods. They believe in an afterlife like many other religions. One difference is how they get there. Egyptians believe that in order to get to the afterlife they have to be recognized by the gods. The Egyptians would preserve the bodies of their people through the process of mummification.
The mummification process can be broken down into seven easy steps. Step one begins with sending a messenger to tell the cities that a death has occurred. This notification gives the people time to mourn and prepare for the burial ceremony of this person.
Step two starts the embalming process. The body is taken to an embalming workshop which is maintained by teams of priests. In these tents the bodies are preserved to stop decomposition from taking place.The person is then washed with palm wine to kill bacteria and rinsed with water from the Nile.
Step three begins the removal of the brain. The brain was always the first part to be removed. Egyptians knew little about the the function of the brain, so they considered a waste of space; hence the removal. A hook is inserted into the nostril of the deceased. The embalmers pull as much of the brain out that the hook can grab. The brain is put into water to dissolve. Some say the water was then thrown out, but others say it was placed in the burial chamber with the mummy.
Next came the removal of the internal organs; the liver, the lungs, the stomach, and the intestines. This marked step four. A small slit was made on the left side of the abdomen, in order for the embalmers to pull out the organs. The heart was always left inside the body. The people believe that it is the most important part of a human body system. Each organ was then separately mummified and stored in canopic jars , that resembled miniature coffins. These four jars were said to be protected by the four sons of Horus. Imset protected the liver, Ha’py looked after the lungs, Duamutef watched over the stomach, and Qebehsenuef looked after the intestines.
After this removal, step five takes place. It is the process of washing the mummy in palm oil, lotions, and general preserving fluids. The body is stuffed with linens, to keep its human shape. Stuffing a body was a task that took time and patience. If it was carelessly stuffed, it could look disfigured or puffy. This bring us to step five, the drying process. They are then layed flat and covered in either nacron or natron salt. The priests drain the water out, inorder to remove the moisture to prevent rotting. Before the wrapping process, it is placed outside to dry for forty days.
In step six linens completely encompass the dried corpse. The abdomen slit is filled with a piece of gold, oils are anointed, charms, amulets and inscribed pieces are placed between linens. They believed that riches and golds that a person is buried with will pass on with them to the afterlife. In between wrapping a priest says prayers over the one whom they have lost. Finally shroud was placed over the mummy, before adding mummia to glue an hold the every step together. Often portraits were painted on masks and placed over the face, so the soul can recognize it’s body.
Step 7, the final step, is the burial ceremony. Family and friends walk the streets on the way to the ceremony. Outside the burial sight The Opening of the Mouth takes place. A priest uses special instruments to touch the mummy in certain spots while the family chants spells. This was to ensure that the person would be able to eat, hear, see and move in the afterlife. After the time consuming process the mummy is layed in it’s final resting place to remain for thousands of years.