Details of Duat: Ancient Egyptian Terms

For Daniel Alexander Jones, inspiration for Duat has come from many different aspects of culture and history. We asked Daniel to give us a list of some of the things that inspired his work and are presenting them here in a series we call Details of Duat.  



Duat was heavily inspired by Egyptian mythology and as such there are many references to ancient Egyptian concepts and deities throughout the show. Below is a glossary to help you brush up on the ancient Egyptian lexicon before seeing the show.

Apep: spirit of evil, darkness and destruction.

Ba: the spiritual manifestation of a person’s soul. This was the aspect of the soul that could leave the tomb after death and travel between the living world and the afterlife. The Ba would return to the body from time to time, but it does not need it in the same way the Ka does.

Duat: the Egyptian realm of the dead. Duat is where your soul went for judgment. It’s where your soul was weighed against the feather of Ma’at.

Horus: god of the sky, son of Osiris. He is usually depicted as a falcon. The pharaoh is the human embodiment of Horus.

Isis: wife/sister of Osiris. Goddess of fertility and motherhood. Her name means “Queen of the Throne.”

Ka: a “spiritual twin” that everyone is born with. It is a person’s life-force and upon death it leaves the body, but lives in the person’s tomb. That’s why people were buried with food and wine, so that the Ka could live when left its human’s body.

Khonsu: god of the moon and time.

Ma’at: the goddess of truth, harmony and order. Without her, chaos would take over and the world would be destroyed. “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.”

Nephthys: sister/wife of Set. Bore a son by Osiris, also her brother, which is said to be part of the reason that Set killed Osiris.

Osiris: husband/brother of Isis. Oftentimes referred to as a God of the Underworld. But more accurately is the God of resurrection. His resurrection symbolizes the yearly flood of the Nile.

Ra/Re: Sun God and King of the Egyptian gods. Ra was the patron of the pharaoh and represented sunlight, warmth and growth.  

Set: brother/murderer of Osiris. God of chaos.

One thought on “Details of Duat: Ancient Egyptian Terms

  1. YULI |

    If hearts of the deceased are as ‘light as a feather,’ they were granted eternal life in the Duat.

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