Ma'at (G/R Mayet) - "Truth" Both the concept and the Name of Netjer associated with truth, justice, order, and "that which is right." Kemetic society hinged completely upon the furtherance of Ma'at, Who was considered to be the first emanation of Tem/Ra, and depicted as a woman with wings or alternately a woman with Her symbol, a single white ostrich feather, bound to Her head. Ma'at in antiquity was patroness of judges, magistrates and all court officials; the phrase "priest of Ma'at" in inscriptions can be understood as a euphemism for "judge." Ma'at's feather symbol is weighed against the heart of the deceased in the Hall of Judgment after death, a place which is also known as the Hall of Ma'ati, or Double Truth ("double" in Kemetic implying something more serious or intense than a "single" something, much as we use the terms "extra" or "advanced" or in the English language).
From: House of NetjerOther Names: Ma'at
Patron of: truth, law and universal order.
Appearance: A woman wearing a crown surmounted by a huge ostrich feather. Her totem symbol is a stone platform or foundation, representing the stable base on which order is built.
Description: Maat was the personification of the fundamental order of the universe, without which all of creation would perish. The primary duty of the pharaoh was to uphold this order by maintaining the law and administering justice. To reflect this, many pharaohs took the title "Beloved of Maat," emphasizing their focus on justice and truth.
At any event in which something would be judged, Maat was said to be present, and her name would be invoked so that the judge involved would rule correctly and impartially. In the underworld, the heart of the deceased was weighed by Anubis against Maat's feather. If the heart was heavy with wicked deeds, it would outweigh the feather, and the soul would be fed to Ammit. But if the scales were balanced, indicating that the deceased was a just and honorable person in life, he would be welcomed by Osiris into the Blessed Land. Maat's presence in all worlds was universal, and all the gods deferred to her.
Worship: Worshipped and revered widely throughout all of Egypt. Even the gods are shown praising Maat.
From: TourEgyptMa'at is a female Neter, and is described as the daughter of the Creator-God. She is often portrayed as a human woman with wings. Her symbol is that of an ostrich feather, and She is often shown wearing it atop Her head. In one hand, She holds the sceptre, and in the other hand, the ankh.
Along with several other Neters, (such as Shu and Tefnut), She is said to have come into existence at the time of creation when the Creator-God arose from the Nun. Ma'at did not exist until Creation rose up out of the Nun.
Ma'at also presides at the Weighing of the Heart that judges the deceased's heart against the Feather of Truth (the ostrich feather) with the Hall of Two Truths (the Hall of the Two Ma'ats.)
If the deceased person's heard balances to the weight of the feather, then they are admitted to the AfterLife.
However, if a person's heart is heavier than the feather, they are thrown to Ammemit, the Soul Eater, or to a number of demons or other unfortunate souls to be tormented for the rest of eternity.
Ma'at is considered to be the daughter of Re. She is seen on the Barge of Re as it traverses it's nightly journey. She is seen sitting with Hu (the personification of utterance) and Sia (the personficiation of perception)
As the Daughter of Re, She was also called the sister of the Pharoah, whose primary duty was to uphold ma'at within all of Kemet.
Tehuty (greek: Thoth) is said to be the consort of Ma'at. The male neter, Heka, is also partnered with Ma'at, but is not seen as Her consort.
Places of Worship
While the concepts of ma'at was the basis for all of Egyptian laws and culture, Her only known sanctuary was at Karnak.
Ma'at is associated primarily with the ostrich feather. But other, lesser known associations exist:
the Udjat eye (wounded eye of Horus) is often linked to ma'at. They both symbolize an endangered order that must be re-established, and both are linked to Thoth.
the beveled pedestal on which a throne of a god might stand, which implies that ma'at is the foundation of all order in Creation.
The Pharoah is said to be the upholder of ma'at within Kemet, as well as other officials in the Egyptian government.
the Vizier is often seen as a priest/ess of Ma'at.
judges in a court of law must also uphold the concepts of Ma'at.
To the greeks, She was known as Mayet.
Symbols: ostrich feather, scales, ma'at
Ma'at was the goddess of the physical and moral law of Egypt, of order and truth. She said to be the wife of Thoth and had eight children with him. The most important of her children was Amon. These eight were the chief gods of Hermopolis and according to the priests there, they created the earth and all that is in it.
Ma'at is depicted in the form of a woman seated or standing. She holds the sceptre in one hand and the ankh in the other. A symbol of Ma'at was the ostrich feather and she is always shown wearing it in her hair. In some pictures she has a pair of wings attached to her arms. Occasionally she is shown as a woman with an ostrich feather for a head.
Another symbol of Ma'at is the primeval mound (ma'at) upon which the creator god stood at the beginning of time. It was when the world was created and chaos was eliminated that the principles of Ma'at were set in place. The Egyptians believed that if the pharaoh ever failed to live by and maintain ma'at that chaos would return to Egypt and the world and all would be destroyed. Thus, the pharoahs of Egypt saw it as their cosmic role to uphold the principles of Ma'at, and was due to Ma'at that the pharaohs had the authority to rule the land. Amenhotep stated that ma'at was placed upon his breast by Amon himself. Akhenaten, the "heretic" king who was accused of deviating from her laws by his successors, repeatedly emphasized his adherence to Ma'at on many of his monuments.
When the dead were judged, it is was the feather of Ma'at that their hearts were weighed against. If hearts of the deceased are as "light as a feather", they were granted eternal life in the Duat. The near-weightlessness of their hearts indicated that their souls were not burdened with sin and evil. If their hearts did not "measure up", the soul of the deceased was consumed by Ammut. This judgement occurred in the "Hall of the Two Truths", Maaty.
The last role of Ma'at was to help guide the Sun-god Re as he made his journey across the skies. It was she that determined the course that his boat took across the sky each day. It was sometimes said that she actually traveled in his boat with him, guiding its direction.
From: hereMa'at, Symbol of Order Ma'at, Goddess of Truth, Balance, Order...
Ma'at, unlike Hathor and Nephthys, seemed to be more of a concept than an actual goddess. Her name, literally, meant 'truth' in Egyptian. She was truth, order, balance and justice personified. She was harmony, she was what was right, she was what things should be. It was thought that if Ma'at didn't exist, the universe would become chaos, once again!
For the Egyptian believed that the universe was above everything else an ordered and rational place. It functioned with predictability and regularity; the cycles of the universe always remained constant; in the moral sphere, purity was rewarded and sin was punished. Both morally and physically, the universe was in perfect balance.
Because of Ma'at, the Egyptians knew that the universe, that everything in the universe, worked on a pattern, just as, later on, the Greeks called the underlying order of the universe logos (meaning, order, pattern).
"In the beginning was the logos*, and the logos* was with God and the logos* was God." - John 1:1
* Logos was the 'Word', another name for Jesus.
Egypt, then, was seen to be nothing without Ma'at.
Ma'at was reality, the solid grounding of reality that made the Sun rise, the stars shine, the river flood and mankind think. The universe itself, all the world around them, was sacred in the ancient view. "Ethics" is an issue of human will and human permission. It is a function of the human world of duality. What is "ethical" for one group is sin for another. But Ma'at, the reality that made all groups what they are is transcendent of ethics, just as a rock or a flower is amoral, a-ethical, without "truth or falsehood." How can a flower be "false" or "ethical." It just is. How can the universe be "ethical or moral, right or wrong"? It simply is. That is Ma'at.
Despite being a winged goddess (like Nephthys), she was judge at the Egyptian underworld at the Halls of Ma'ati or Halls of the Double Ma'at.
The dead person's heart was placed on a scale, balanced by Ma'at herself, or by the Feather of Ma'at (her symbol that she wore on her head was an ostrich feather)
Thoth (god of writing and scribes) weighed the heart... if the deceased had been found to not have followed the concept of ma'at during his life (if he had lied or cheated or killed or done anything against ma'at) his heart was devoured by a demon (she was called Ammut - Devouress of the Dead) and he died the final death. If the heart weighed the same as Ma'at, the deceased was allowed to go on to the afterlife.
In life, it was the pharaohs' duty to uphold ma'at. "I have done Ma'at" has been spoken by several pharaohs, as well as being called "beloved of Ma'at".
The ruler who forcibly emphasizes his adherence to Maat on his monuments in Akhenaten — the very king whom later pharaohs considered to have deviated immensely from her laws.
Ma'at, as would be logical, was also was the justice meeted out in ancient Egyptial law courts. It is likely that a "Priest of Ma'at" referred to people who were involved in the justice system, as well as being priests of the goddess herself.
From: Ma'at, Goddess of Truth, Balance, Order... -- Caroline SeawrightMaat or maʻat (thought to have been pronounced *[muʔ.ʕat]), also spelled māt or mayet, was the Ancient Egyptian concept of truth, balance, order, law, morality, and justice. Maat was also personified as a goddess regulating 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 earliest surviving records indicating Maat is the norm for nature and society, in this world and the next, is recorded during the Old Kingdom in pyramid texts (ca. 2780-2250 BCE).
Later, as a goddess in other traditions of the Egyptian pantheon, where most goddesses were paired with a male aspect, her masculine counterpart was Thoth and their attributes are the same. After the rise of Ra they were depicted together in the Solar Barque. As Thoth has been seen to represent the Logos of Plato, so Maat has been viewed as an expression of Divine Wisdom.
After her role in creation and continuously preventing the universe from returning to chaos, her primary role in Egyptian mythology dealt with the weighing of souls that took place in the underworld, Duat. Her feather was the measure that determined whether the souls (considered to reside in the heart) of the departed would reach the paradise of afterlife successfully.
Pharaohs are often depicted with the emblems of Maat to emphasise their role in upholding the laws of the Creator.
Maat was the goddess of harmony, justice, and truth represented as a young woman, sitting or standing, holding a was scepter, the symbol of power, in one hand and an ankh, the symbol of eternal life, in the other. Sometimes she is depicted with wings on each arm or as a woman with an ostrich feather on her head. Depictions of Maat as a goddess are recorded from as early as the middle of the Old Kingdom (c. 2680 to 2190 BCE).
The sun-god Ra came from the primaeval mound of creation only after he set his daughter Maat in place of Isfet (chaos). Kings inherited the duty to ensure Maat remained in place and they with Ra are said to "live on Maat", with Akhenaten (r. 1372-1355 BCE) in particular emphasising the concept. Some of them incorporated Maat into their names, being referred to as Lords of Maat, or Meri-Maat (Beloved of Maat). When beliefs about Thoth arose in the Egyptian pantheon and started to consume the earlier beliefs at Hermopolis about the Ogdoad, it was said that she was the mother of the Ogdoad and Thoth the father.
In the Duat, the Egyptian underworld, the hearts of the dead were said to be weighed against her single "Feather of Ma'at", symbolically representing the concept of Maat, in the Hall of Two Truths. A heart which was unworthy was devoured by the goddess Ammit and its owner condemned to remain in the Duat. The heart was considered the location of the soul by ancient Egyptians. Those people with good and pure hearts were sent on to Aaru. Osiris came to be seen as the guardian of the gates of Aaru after he became part of the Egyptian pantheon and displaced Anubis in the Ogdoad tradition.
The weighing of the heart, pictured on papyrus in the Book of the Dead typically, or in tomb scenes, shows Anubis overseeing the weighing and the lioness Ammit seated awaiting the results so she could consume those who failed. The image would be the vertical heart on one flat surface of the balance scale and the vertical Shu-feather standing on the other balance scale surface. Other traditions hold that Anubis brought the soul before the posthumous Osiris who performed the weighing.
From: WikiThe personification of the basic laws of all existence; the concept of justice, truth, order and balance, without which life is impossible. She is not really a goddess/netjer but rather the principle of these factors. The Egyptians had no difficulties in personifying such things, it was their habit and way of making things understood on more than one level.
Pharaoh often held a seated image of Ma´at in his hand, and offered it to the gods, which indicated Pharaoh as the representative of Divine Order.
Maat was the deity who personified all the elements of cosmic harmony as established by the creator-god at the beginning of time. These included truth, justice and moral integrity, as well as established order and structure. Without Maat the whole structure of Creation would crumble and be swallowed up to the powers of Chaos.
Maat is shown as a lady, who wears an ostrich feather on her head. The feather is often depicted on its own, instead of a full depiction of the goddess. The hieroglyphs of her name represent the primeval mound upon which the creator-god emerged.
Many representations of Maat are depicted on funerary papyri from the New Kingdom, as the goddess essential to the deceased reaching paradise. In the Hall of the Double Truths, the heart of the deceased is weighed in balance against an image of the goddess or her feather. Here Maat symbolizes the truthful; assertions of a blameless life, given before the assessor gods.
Maat is also regarded as justice administered by magistrates in the law courts. Possible the title “priest of Maat” refers to this function of an official’s duties. According to classical sources, magistrates wore a Maat figure when giving judgements — the British Museum has such a small golden Maat on a chain.
In the southern sector of the precinct of Montu at Karnak, is a small ruined temple to Maat.
Festivals: (exact dates not historically verified)
4th April - 20th Pachons - Ma´at judges the souls before the Netjeru
30th May - 16th Epipi - Ma´at is taken to Ra in Heliopolis
1st June - 18th Epipi - Ma´at and Ra go forth in secret
15th June - 1st Mesore
Ma´at unites as one with all the Netjeru of the heavens
7th October - 21st Hethara - Feast day of Ma´at
28th November - 13 Tybi - Sekhmet; Day of prolonging life and the goodness of Ma´at
3rd April - 19th Pachons - Day of the Counting of Tehuti(Thoth) Who heard Ma´at
4th April - 20 Pachons - Ma´at judges the souls before the Netjeru
30th May - 16th Epipi - Ma´at is taken to Ra in Heliopolis
1st June - 18th Epipi - Ma´at and Ra Go Forth in secret
15th June - 2 Mesore - Ma´at unites as one with all the Netjeru of the heavens
From: hereEmbodiment of the divine order, truth, and justice. Maat, absent from the chaos before the act of creation, was the base of all being. She was constantly under attack by the forces of chaos such as the Apepi snake trying to destroy Re on his course through the underworld, but also by more mundane human activities like people committing crimes. In the spiritual realm it was the gods fighting evil demons, who constantly restored order, in this world it was the pharaoh who upheld it, by dispensing justice, protecting the weak, and defending the land of the gods against lawless foreigners. As Seti I had it in his stela dedicated to Amen-Re:
Divine offspring, who has come forth from the body of the god in order to endow the temple and who established Egypt and raise mankind and made Maat take her place.
Alabaster stela of Seti I at Karnak 
In the Pyramid Texts of Unas there is mention of Wish-of-the-Gods, who is in the bow of Re's bark , which has been interpreted to denote Maat. Later in the New Kingdom Book of the Dead she is referred to by name:
May Re raise you in the horizon of Maat who is in his bark!
pParis Louvre 3092 
In the course of history Maat came to be thought of as the daughter of Re, the creator god:
Mat, daughter of Re, presider over the palace, mistress of heaven, ruler of the gods. She gives myriads of years.
Tomb of the vizier Ramose, 18th dynasty
J. H. Breasted, Ancient Records of Egypt, Part Two, § 939
Maat's symbol is a feather. It is with the weight of this feather that the heart of the deceased is compared to during the Judgment of the Dead. Should the heart be weighed down with sin, should the magic of the heart scarab placed over it to prevent the heart from bearing witness against its owner be of no avail, and should the protestations of innocence not be believed, then the dead person's heart will be devoured by the demon Ammit and he will not have part in the eternal life.
Maat's counterpart is Isfet, which denotes all that is wrong and chaotic.
The Concept of Ma'at and Ifset
Ma'at: The Neteret and the Concept
Neos Alexandria Shrine -- with poems/hymns, info, links, etc
Ma’at on Henadology
Ostrich feather symbolism/meaning
About Ma'at as concept, law, etc