10 Brutal Little-Known Trials Of The Egyptian Afterlife

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Death, for the ancient Egyptians, meant a lot more than just mummies and pyramids. The Egyptians had a terrifying vision of what awaited them after death. The souls of dead Egyptians didn’t just drift on to eternity—they had to fight for it.

After death, the Egyptians had to battle their way through the 12 lands of hell. They had to pass through rings of fire, sneak past gods, and hide from serpents and crocodiles that would try to devour their souls. It was a brutal, horrific journey, and it was a lot more exciting than your history teacher let on.

10. Fighting Through The 12 Lands Of Hell

Like most religions, the Egyptian faith promised a land of eternal paradise. They called it Aaru, the field of reeds, where endless crops grew in an unceasing abundance. Getting to Aaru, though, wasn’t exactly easy. To make it in, you’d have to battle your way through a place they called Duat: the 12 lands of hell.

Duat (also spelled Tuat and a number of other ways) was the netherworld that they believed waited above them in the sky. It was a massive, mystical world where you could find forests of turquoise trees, lakes of fire, and walls of iron. The Egyptians had the whole afterworld mapped out—literally. They had maps of Duat, showing it as a land divided into two paths by a lake of flames that consumed the souls of the damned.

The biggest threats, though, were the creatures that lived there. The land was filled with gods, demons, and monsters, most of which would annihilate the eternal soul of anyone who tried to pass through their domains. As the dead traveled through Duat, they would be pursued by serpents and crocodiles that would try to devour their souls.[1] If they wanted eternal life, they’d have to get past them all. If they failed, they would suffer through an eternity of oblivion.

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