VIRTUES OF MAáT
MAáT: The symbolic representation of Maát as a human figure with outreached hands and wings, is the Netcher of the weighing of the soul in ancient Kemet. The heart of the deceased was believed to be the seat of the soul and it was where ones virtues resided. This symbolic weighing of the heart against the feather of truth (Maát) was performed to established the righteousness of the deceased. The scale of Maát was balanced after the recitation of the “42” Declarations of Innocence or Admonitions of Maát. pg. 91, NVCTC.
The Neophyte or students ultimate aim in Kemet was for a person to become “One with God” or to “become like God.” The path to the development of godlike qualities was through the development of virtue, but virtue could only be achieved through special study and effort. According to George G. M. James in his timeless work Stolen Legacy writes: The following of the 10 virtues were sought by the Neophyte in ancient Kemet. In the final analysis, the ancient Kemites sought Maát or to be more correct they sought to become one with Maát, the cosmic order.
(1). Control of thoughts
(2). Control of actions
(3). Devotion of purpose
(4). Have faith in the ability of [your] [teacher] to teach [you] the truth.
(5). Have faith in [yourself] to assimilate the truth
(6). Have faith in [themselves] to wield the truth
(7). Be free from resentment under the experience of persecution.
(8). Be free from resentment under the experience of wrong.
(9). Cultivate the ability to distinguish between right and wrong and
(10). Cultivate the ability to distinguish between the real and the unreal
“TRUTH IS LIKE LIGHTING WITH ITS ERRAND DONE BEFORE YOU HEAR THE THUNDER” Dr. Gerald Massey.
Principles of MAáT
Admonitions of Maát
(Concepts for Living in Balance)
1)I have not committed sin
2)I have not committed robbery with violence
3)I have not stolen
4)I have not slain men and women
5)I have not stolen food
6)I have not swindled offerings
7)I have not stolen from God
8)I have not told lies
9)I have not carried away food
10)I have not cursed
11)I have not closed my ears to truth
12)I have not committed adultery
13)I have not made anyone cry
14)I have not felt sorrow without reason
15)I have not assaulted anyone
16)I am not deceitful
17)I have not stolen anyone’s land
18)I have not been an eavesdropper
19)I have not falsely accused anyone
20)I have not been angry without reason
21)I have not seduced anyone’s wife
22)I have not polluted myself
23)I have not terrorized anyone
24)I have not disobeyed the law
25)I have not been excessively angry
26)I have not cursed God
27)I have not behaved with violence
28)I have not caused disruption of peace
29)I have not acted hastily or without thought
30)I have not overstepped my boundaries of concern
31)I have not exaggerated my words when speaking
32)I have not worked evil
33)I have not used evil thoughts, words or deeds
34)I have not polluted the water
35)I have not spoken angrily or arrogantly
36)I have not cursed anyone in thought, word or deed
37)I have not placed myself on a pedestal
38)I have not stolen that which belongs to God
39)I have not stolen from or disrespected the deceased
40)I have not taken food from a child
41)I have not acted with insolence
42)I have not destroyed property belonging to God
NGUZO SABA: THE SEVEN PRINCIPLES
While the Nguzo Saba are commonly linked to the yearly Kwanzaa celebration, they have year-round applicability and should be reviewed frequently. In addition to the Nguzo Saba, other Kwanzaa components (such as libations) also come into use during the year. If you want to study our Kwanzaa material, it can be accessed from The Official Kwanzaa Web Site .
UMOJA (00-MOE-JAH) UNITY
The first principle is a commitment to the idea of togetherness. This principle is a foundation; for without unity, neither the family nor the community can survive. National African-American unity begins with the family. Open discussions of family problems and their probable solutions are very important.
KUJICHAGULIA (CO-GEE-CHA-GOO-LEE-AH) SELF-DETERMINATION
The second principle is a commitment to building our lives in our own images and interests. If we, as a people, are to achieve our goals we must take the responsibility for that achievement upon ourselves, for self-determination is the essence of freedom. This day calls for a reaffirmation of our commitment to Afrikan American’s struggle to build a more meaningful and fulfilling life.
UJIMA (00-GEE-MA) COLLECTIVE WORK AND RESPONSIBILITY
The third principle encourages self-criticism and personal evaluation, as it relates to the common good of the family/community. Without collective work and struggle, progress is impossible. The family and the community must accept the reality that we are collectively responsible for our failures, as well as our victories and achievements. Discussions concerning each family member’s responsibility prove helpful in defining and achieving family goals.
UJAMAA (00-JAH-MAH) COOPERATIVE ECONOMICS
Out of the fundamental concepts of “African Communal Living” comes the fourth principle of Kwanzaa. In a community or family, wealth and resources should be shared. On the national level, cooperative economics can help African-Americans take physical control of their own destinies. On this day, ideas should be shared and discussed for cooperative economic efforts to provide for needs as related to housing, education, food, day care, health, transportation and other goods and services.
NIA (NEE-AH) PURPOSE
The fifth day of Kwanzaa is a day for reviewing our purpose for living. Each family member should examine his/her ability to put his/her skill or talent to use In the service of the family and community at large. Take time to reflect on your expectations from life: discuss your desires and hopes with family and friends. On this day you should try to determine if this purpose will eventually result in positive achievements for family and community.
KUUMBA (KOO-M-BAH) CREATIVITY
The sixth principle of the Nguzo Saba relates to building and developing our creative potential. It involves both aesthetic and material creations. It is essential that creativity be encouraged in all aspects of African American culture. It is through new ideas that we achieve higher levels of living and a greater appreciation for life. Each family member should find creative things to do throughout the year that will enhance the family as a whole. On this day, poetry reading, songfests, dance exhibitions and the like, can aid in promoting the Importance of Kuumba.
IMANI (E-MAH-NE) FAITH
The seventh principle is belief in ourselves as individuals and as a people. Further, it is a commitment to the development of the family and the national African-American community. African America’s goal of freedom rests significantly on our belief in our own ability and right to control our own destiny. Without Imani (faith), there is no possibility of victory.
Maulana Karenga, Ph.D.7