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Depiction of Aaru within a work of ancient Egyptian art, from Dayr al-Madīnah.

Aaru (/ɑːˈr/; Ancient Egyptian: jꜣrw, lit.'reeds'), or the Field of Reeds (sḫt-jꜣrw), is the name for heavenly paradise in Egyptian mythology. Ruled over by Osiris, an Egyptian god, the location has been described as the ka of the Nile Delta. It has been represented in hieroglyphs as three reeds: 𓇏.

Depiction of the "Field of Reeds" within the Papyrus of Ani, currently at the British Museum.
Sennedjem plows his fields with a pair of oxen, used as beasts of burden and a source of food, a depiction of Aaru from Dayr al-Madīnah.

Ancient Egyptians believed that the soul resided in the heart, and that each individual would therefore undergo a "Weighing of the Heart" in the afterlife; each human heart is weighed on a giant scale against an ostrich feather, which represents the concept of the goddess Maat. All souls that successfully balance the scales will be allowed to start a long and perilous journey to Aaru, where they will exist in peace and pleasure for eternity. Conversely, hearts that weigh heavy with evil will tip and fall into the crocodilian jaws of the goddess Ammit. Any souls that are subject to Ammit's "second death" are doomed to restlessness in the Duat.[1]

Qualifying souls undergo a long journey and face many perils before finally reaching Aaru. Once they arrive, they enter through a series of gates — the exact number of gates varies across sources, with given figures alternating between 15 gates and 21 gates. They are uniformly described as being guarded by deities and evil demons.

Aaru was usually placed in the east, where the Sun rises, and has been described as comprising boundless reed fields, like those of the Nile Delta. Consequently, this ideal hunting and farming ground enabled qualified souls to live for eternity; more precisely, Aaru was envisaged as a series of islands covered in fields of reeds. The part where Osiris later dwelt is sometimes known as the "field of offerings" (sḫt-ḥtpt).

Resident deities[edit]

Gatekeepers of Aaru, painting on the southern wall of the tomb of Sennedjem in Dayr al-Madīnah, Thebes, Egypt, around 1775 BC.

Aaru was also a residence for various deities, mainly gate deities of the underworld. Located outside of the gates of Aaru, where deities guarding the gates to Aaru. Therefore the deaceased lives amongst some of there gods, ruled over by the resident god, Osiris. The deceased ate and drank the same delicacies devoured by their gods.

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Fadl, Ayman. "Egyptian Heaven". Article. Aldokkan. Retrieved 15 March 2012.