Heart Scarab
watercolor, colored pencils,
gold leaf on paper
16" x 10"
back
On a botanical background
pattern inspired by William
Morris, I have inscribed a
quotation from a 3,500 year
old Egyptian papyrus.

One of my favorite aspects of
Ancient Egyptian burial rites is
the use of the heart scarab.  
This beetle-shaped amulet
was tucked inside the mummy
wrappings just above the
heart.  It was often inscribed
with this prayer excerpted from
the Egyptian "Book of the
Dead" beseeching the heart to
not reveal anything negative
about the deceased during the
final judgement.  
Paraphrasing: If you have
nothing nice to say, please
don't say anything at all!

What a great connection to
share with the ancients: our
mutual wish to not be defined
by our errors and mistakes,
but rather to dwell on our
qualities and positive
intentions!
O heart which I had from my mother,
O my heart which I had upon earth,
do not rise up against me as a witness in the presence of the Lord of Things;
do not speak against me concerning what I have done,
do not bring up anything against me in the presence of the Great God, Lord of the West.  
Hail to you, my heart!  Hail to you, my heart!  
May you say what is good, may you make me to flourish,
may powers be bestowed when I go forth,
having been interred among the great ones who long endured upon Earth.  
Not dying in the West, but becoming a Spirit in it.

From the Papyrus of Ani
Translated by Dr. Raymond Faulkner
© Ron Orpitelli 2006