In ancient Egyptian religion, Ammit (also spelled Ammut and Ahemait, meaning Devourer or Bone Eater) was a female demon with a body that was part lion, hippopotamus and crocodile. A funerary deity, her titles included “Devourer of the Dead,” “Eater of Hearts,” and “Great of Death.”
Ammit lived near the scales of justice in Duat, the Egyptian underworld. In the Hall of Two Truths, Anubis weighed the heart of a person against Ma'at, the goddess of truth, who was sometimes depicted symbolically as an ostrich feather. If the heart was judged to be not pure, Ammit would devour it, and the person undergoing judgement was not allowed to continue their voyage towards Osiris and immortality. Once Ammut swallowed the heart, the soul was believed to become restless forever; this was called "to die a second time". Ammit was also sometimes said to stand by a lake of fire. In some traditions, the unworthy hearts were cast into the fiery lake to be destroyed. Some scholars believe Ammit and the lake represent the same concept of destruction.
Ammit was not worshipped, and was never regarded as a goddess; instead she embodied all that the Egyptians feared, threatening to bind them to eternal restlessness if they did not follow the principle of Ma'at.
Ammit has been linked with the goddess Taweret, who has a similar physical appearance and, as a companion of Bes, also protected others from evil. Other authors have noted that Ammit's lion characteristics, and the lake of fire, may be pointers to a connection with the goddess Sekhmet.
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