The Amulet of the Ladder (maq-t) was believed to provide the deceased a safe passage from the earth to the floor of heaven and it symbolizes the divine help of reaching the heavenly world of the afterlife.
Many ancient tombs from the early and middle civilizations reveal plenty of small objects of wood and other similar materials. However, their significance or the usage is still not clear. Nevertheless, the wall art and inscriptions found in the tombs of Unas, Teta, Pepi, and other early kings, reveal that Egyptians believed the floor of the heaven has a large number of iron plates that are rectangular. The four stable corners of this platform rested upon four pillars that made the cardinal points of the heaven. Legends inform us that gods, the blessed dead people resided over this plate, and it was the ultimate duty of every Egyptian to reach this point soon after the death.
However, on certain strategic points, the edge of the plate was very close to the steep tops of hills that a dead soul might easily climb up and reach the heavens. However, other places were too far from the edges of the mountains that eventually made the travel very difficult to the dead. Now, they needed help from someone, so that the climbing became easier. There is a stern belief that even Osiris experienced difficulty in then travel and he had to seek help from his father Ra to climb up the steep gradient.
Ra provided a sturdy ladder to his son Osiris, so that he could climb up the ladder very easily. Horus and Seth stood guard on one side of the ladder, while Osiris himself monitored the other side. The importance of ladder is in considerable detail in the Theban Recension of the Book of the Dead. The Chapter CXLIX of the book has many chanting that helped the amulet of ladder placed near the casket. However, in the later period, priests started using a painted ladder on the papyri with inscribed texts from the Book of the Dead and both buried together.
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