My heart is with me, it shall not be carried off.
I am the ruler of my heart.
I live in maat.
I am Horus, pure of heart.
My heart, my mother, my heart, my mother,
. . . my existence on earth.
Ab-a ma-a, an un tjetet-f
Nuk neb abu
Ank-a em maat
Nuk Heru, ami-ab
Ab-a en mut-a sep sen
. . . una tep ta
(adapted from The Papyrus of Ani, trans. Wallis Budge)
Last night I dreamed that someone handed me a premature baby. The roughly two-pound creature was disturbing to see, though I felt great love for it. I held it against my body to keep it warm. Then it began to speak aloud to me, expressing its concerns about me and encouraging me not to fear death, but to think, rather, about life and eternal things. One time I set it down for a moment, and it told me, I will die if you let me grow cold. When I woke, I could not shake the feeling of the baby’s presence, and then it came to me that the premature infant was my inner self. I don’t know how I know this, but I do.
For the ancient Egyptian, the heart was the center of life in the body, intrinsic to personal identity, essential to ankh, or eternal life. The writer of The Papyrus of Ani calls out to his heart to stand in witness to his integrity and worth. The heart knows its own better than any other entity, be it ba, ka or neter (deity).
Ab-a en mut-a! My heart, my mother! When all other layers of defense and separation to protect us from the world fall away, there is only our heart, the mother of our existence. Stripped of all else, we cry out to our heart as to a mother to shield us, to assure we are able to walk safely through the world.
When we learn to let our heart lead, then we are strong like the shining golden hawk-god who soars above the earth on wings of maat, with the vision of Ra’s burning eye. Then we may say, Nuk Heru, ami-ab, I am Horus, pure of heart.