42 Ideals of Ma'at
Note: These ideals are meant as guidelines to actions in every day life and not as a replacement of the ancient Egyptian negative confession made by the soul after death.
"I also want to point out that the 42 Ideals a group of us are recreating are more philosophical than dogmatic. The Temple of Isis prefers Catma to Dogma and we try to live by that concept. None of these principles are directed to anyone in particular but are simply a kind of guide to living a life of love and harmony." - Loreon Vigne
The 42 Ideals of Ma'at of the Temple of Isis
A Positive Confession for the Present Day
Founder, Temple of Isis, Geyserville
We venerate Ma’at within the Isian community as the personification of Truth, Justice and Right Action. Her Laws create Divine Order out of Chaos and anarchy, and are the sacred and redemptive precepts by which we in the Temple of Isis strive to live.
The 42 Laws of Ma’at were revealed to Priests and Priestesses in ancient Egypt and codified by them over 5000 years ago. They are a comprehensive set of spiritual and moral laws as valid to us today as they were to worshipers of Isis so many millennia ago. These Laws command our love and respect for the life, dignity and Goddess-given rights of all living things, as well as imposing upon us divine obligations and duties toward them, and our precious planet. By their observance we reflect the light of Isis upon the world, fusing virtue with justice, and aligning individual rights with righteousness.
Today, in the Temple of Isis, we honor the Goddess Ma’at, beloved of all ancient Egyptians. The Translation of Her ‘Laws,’ as they are called, we have now changed to ‘Ideals,’ which may be closer to the meaning of just what they were. It seems that they were a guide to a better way to live. A kind of self help program. Those who were living during ancient times attempted to use these guidelines knowing that the entire society would fare better if they had a kind of code of behavior. It was part of being a civilized human. Upon death one was expected to know how to recite these ideals and to have lived by them. The example of the Feather of Truth being weighed beside the heart of the deceased is a powerful one.
How had one lived their life? If one had done do so in an exemplary manner, that person would be rewarded by having a beautiful afterlife. Otherwise, persons who had lived in a way contrary to Ma‘at, would be totally destroyed by a horrible beast.
These concepts in many ways echo the sentiments of a host of religious beliefs from around the world. It is indeed common for most human beings to want to do good. Yet there are many who ignore this natural phenomenon of our soul. I use the word soul for the ancient Egyptians did not put much significance on the brain, for them intellect came directly from the heart.
‘Know thyself,’ ‘know thy soul,’ ‘know thy heart,’ and ‘know thy purpose’ - this is what they believed. Somehow, even today, it still sounds so right. Thousands of years later, these laws offer insight into a deeper spiritual understanding.
The Laws of Ma’at were re-written and updated from the ancient texts by a panel of nine of our Temple of Isis Priestesses while traveling together in Egypt from November 22 to December 22 in 1995. They were re-written for use in the Temple of Isis as a Positive Confession, instead of in the older form, which is called the Negative Confession. We preach no rigid dogma wthin the Temple of Isis. We embrace all races and genders, and follow the positive and benign principles of the renowned international Fellowship of Isis, out of which, the Temple of Isis was born.
Let us go over the 41 Ideals of Ma’at once again, starting our examination with the first one. We have been changing them a bit from the time since we were first inspired to re-create them for the present day from their older form. The ancient Egyptians listed the first Law of Ma’at as “I have not done iniquity.” We had changed it in 1995 to “I honor virtue” but later felt the word ‘virtue’ was a bit old fashioned, and may not be the right principle. We instead quickly added ‘kindness’ but I realized that we already have the Ideal, ‘I am kind’ and therefore we still needed to find a different principle to honor. I meditated on this for a time, and the best I came up with was ‘I honor Enlightenment’ or ‘I honor Higher Consciousness.’
I consider the first law very important. It needs to encompass just the right sentiment, for within the Laws of Ma’at are all the components that promote a life of purity, harmony and sanctity. “Ma’at is a philosophy, a spiritual symbol as well as a cosmic energy or force which pervades the entire universe.” (Muata Ashby)
In the end, we decided to keep ‘I honor virtue’ as the first Ideal of Ma’at of the Temple of Isis. ‘Virtue’ is the opposite of vice which made me think ... why not a ‘virtue president’ instead of a vice president? Just a thought ...
The 42 Ideals of Ma’at of the Temple of Isis
A Positive Confession for the Present Day
1. I honor virtue
2. I benefit with gratitude
3. I am peaceful
4. I respect the property of others
5. I affirm that all life is sacred
6. I give offerings that are genuine
7. I live in truth
8. I regard all altars with respect
9. I speak with sincerity
10. I consume only my fair share
11. I offer words of good intent
12. I relate in peace
13. I honor animals with reverence
14. I can be trusted
15. I care for the earth
16. I keep my own council
17. I speak positively of others
18. I remain in balance with my emotions
19. I am trustful in my relationships
20. I hold purity in high esteem
21. I spread joy
22. I do the best I can
23. I communicate with compassion
24. I listen to opposing opinions
25. I create harmony
26. I invoke laughter
27. I am open to love in various forms
28. I am forgiving
29. I am kind
30. I act respectfully of others
31. I am accepting
32. I follow my inner guidance
33. I converse with awareness
34. I do good
35. I give blessings
36. I keep the waters pure
37. I speak with good intent
38. I praise the Goddess and the God
39. I am humble
40. I achieve with integrity
41. I advance through my own abilities
42. I embrace the All
Other informational pages on the work of Loreon Vigne:
The Founding of the Temple of Isis
A Visit with the FOI Co-Founders