Mummies and pyramids – we modern-day people know some things about ancient Egypt’s afterlife.
However, for the real inside story, we need a tour guide like Bastet the cat who will explain all of its important rules and symbolism.
“My pre-death career was as Pharaoh’s cat,” says Bastet, as he introduces the major gods (like his namesake) who placed the pharaohs as rulers over Egypt, as well as the four sons of Horus who guard those who have died.
After death, ancient Egyptians believed that the soul split into two parts, reuniting in the body nightly. Mummification was perfected to preserve bodies and prevent a second, final death.
Bastet the cat gives us a detailed (but not gory) tour through mummification’s steps and the meanings of the many symbols placed on each mummy’s coffins and sarcophagus.
Everything a person needed in life will also be required in their afterlife, so ancient Egyptian tombs contain food, clothes, furniture, and mummified cats for good luck. The walls are painted with servants, animals, more food and entertainments.
The journey to the Land of the Dead is perilous, so our guide shows ancient ones everything they need to get there safely!
Travel along with knowledgeable and witty Bastet to learn the symbolism of scarab beetles, what shabti dolls are, and why both legs are shown on Egyptian paintings of people.
Lavishly illustrated in the two-dimensional style that we associate with hieroglyphics and paintings inside pyramids, this book cleverly conveys familiar and little-known information about ancient Egyptian beliefs and practices.
Ever tried writing your name in hieroglyphics?
Book info: The Unofficial Guide to the Ancient Egyptian Afterlife / Sophie Berger & Laura Winstone. Cicada Books, 2022. [publisher interview] [illustrator site] [publisher site] Review copy, page image, and cover image courtesy of the publisher.