Ma’at, the Egyptian goddess of justice, truth and order, was always depicted wearing a white ostrich feather in her hair. The Egyptians believed that when they died they would enter the underworld or the Hall of the Dead where Ma’at would weigh their hearts against the weight of a feather to determine the worthiness of his or her soul.
If the heart was free from the impurities of sin, and therefore lighter than the feather, then the dead person could enter the eternal afterlife. A heart could be made light as a feather by lifetime of kind deeds, love and care for the needed.
Makes the expression – “lighten up”- take on new meaning, doesn’t it?
My heart has been heavy lately – full of hurts, anger, and resentments. Reading this story reminded me it was time to lighten up my heart. Time to replace my negative emotions for more Christlike characteristics of kindness, gentleness, and love.
Being able to find an image to describe a problem or situation I face helps me let go and become more open to where the Spirit is leading me. I think visualizing a concern or even a joy creates a concrete and tangible symbol instead of feeling lost in the foggy aftermath of churning emotions. Imagery can be a powerful spiritual discipline.
Hildegard of Bingen wrote, “Thus am I, a feather on the breath of God.”
May I live each day with a light heart responding only to God’s breath.
I like the image of the feather, Jean…and the idea of using an image to inspire prayer and contemplation. You know, I’ve been feeling dark and bitter lately — worried, anxious, resentful. Perhaps I should meditate on the image of a feather, and ask God to lighten my burden.
Now I’ll always see a feather when someone says, “Lighten up!” But the feathers I see won’t be made of my own kind deeds…they’ll be fashioned of His grace.
Great image, Jeanie!
Jean Wise says
I just think the image of a feather – keeping my heart light and being a feather in God’s hand – is so powerful. had to share it.
Aww, Jeanie, you always teach me with the research you do. Now I know the extra meaning of those feathers. Blessings to you dear friend.
Great post, Jesus is willing to lighten our burden if we let him. As Christians we can truly have this lightened heart-
Thanks for link up Time and Followed my blog.
Love your blog