Concept: Modern popular beliefs and culture has completely distorted the true nature of magic in ancient Egypt. Egyptian Magic was an integral part of the religion, and spells were mainly used for protection purposes or white magic, in an organized manner. The magic spells of the Book of the Dead, Coffin Texts and all other sacred texts, were recited as a method of praying very similar to the praying of the Abraham religions when reading verses of the Bible, Quran and Torah Spells and texts were standardized through long periods of time, this is again very similar to the Holy sacred books Abraham religions There were strict rules for using spells, and this activity was performed in temples according to known codes.
Egyptian magic was practiced by priests, who were seen as guardians of divine knowledge, and practiced magic as part of their daily duties in temples, festivals and funerals. Magic was not a business, and priests did not engage in direct economic activities from this profession The general public was not allowed to recite these magical spells, due to their lack of proper purification and their low level of education.
The single most important use of magic in ancient Egypt was to provide protection. The vast majority of spells found in sacred texts and inscriptions served this important purpose.
Amulets were magical symbols of protection used in ornaments, and articles of dress and jewelry, made of various substances, to protect the human body, either living or dead, from baleful influences until the end of the Middle Kingdom,priests performed lengthy consecration rituals on amulets carried by the living, the appropriate chapter from the Book of the Dead was read Staring form the New Kingdom, the original consecration ritual was now considered unnecessary for amulets worn by the living persons, the amulet only needed to be inscribed with the chapter number. Furthermore, the drawing of an amulet or any sacred symbol contained the identical power as the actual amulet, to accomplish this task the scribe and tools used had to be purified.
Magical Symbols of Protection:
Ankh -Symbol Of Life
The ankh was used as an emblem and appears as one of the most powerful cultural and religious symbols of Pharaonic Egypt. The Loop of the Ankh represented the feminine discipline or the (Womb), while the elongated section represented the masculine discipline or the (Penis).
These two sacred units then come together and form life. It was the symbol of eternal life and bestowed immortality on anyone who possessed it. Gods and Pharaohs were often depicted as carrying ankh signs. It was usually worn as an amulet to extent the life of living, and placed on the mummy to energize the resurrected soul. The amulet was a powerful talisman that provided the wearer with protection from the evil forces of decay and degeneration. This symbols appears widely in writing, paintings, ankh-shaped objects such mirrors or mirror-cases.
Cartouche – Royal Encircling Protection
The Good Luck Charm of the Egyptian civilization, the ancient name for the cartouche was “shenu” It was worn only by the Pharaohs, and represented the Pharaohs’ insignia. Both the king’s Praenomen (throne name), and his Nomen (birth name), were written within cartouches. These two names the most important royal titles, and the two cartouche names always appeared with emblematic use and formal inscriptions.
The “Magical Oval” in which the Pharaoh’s first name was written was intended to protect him from evil spirits both while he lived and in the afterworld.
Djed – Protection Of The Back And Spine
This amulet represents the tree trunk in which the Isis concealed the dead body of her husband Osiris, the tree trunk came to represent the spine of Osiris The four cross-bars refer to the four internal organs kept in canopic jars during mummification, the heart, liver, stomach and lung
The Four Sons of Horus that were associated with the four canopic jars that contained the organs of the dead, were often shown with depictions of Djed pillars adorning the exterior of the chest that held the jars. This symbol became an important symbol of stability symbolizing the backbone and body of Osiris. The Djed amulet was used to cure and protect the wearer against injury of the spine. The Djed funerary amulet was and laid upon the neck of the deceased, to whom it gave the power to reconstitute the body and to become a perfect Ka and reborn with a strong spine in the underworld.
Cartouche – Royal Encircling Protection
A powerful symbol used to protect from evil, the ancient name for the Eye of Horus was “udjat” Horus lost his left eye in his war with Seth, who tore the eye into pieces. The left eye, being the moon was discovered by Thoth lying in pieces, but he was able to reassemble them into the full moon. This healing of the eye became a symbol of renewal of health Horus gave the reassembled eye to his murdered father Osiris, thereby bringing him back to life. Egyptians believed that the Eye of Horus was capable of healing sickness and capable of bringing the dead to life, as it did withOsiris The Egyptians used the eye as a funerary amulet for protection against evil and rebirth in the underworld, and decoratedmummies, coffins and tombs with it.
The Book of the Dead instructs that funerary eye amulets be made out of lapis lazuli or gold
The Eye consisted of 6 pieces, each piece of the udjat represented a fraction of the descending geometric series 1/2, 1/4, 1/8., put together they make 63/64 or approximately 1.The Egyptian fraction system was based on this symbol. It was used to record prescriptions, land and grain.The modern ‘Rx’ symbol which is used by pharmacies and in medicine has its origins in the eye of Horus.
Knot Of Isis (Tyet)- Sign Of Fertility
The symbol represented the flow of menstrual blood from the womb of the goddess Isis, and its magical properties. Isis was identified as the universal mother, and this symbol was a representation of her female organs.
The knot resembled an ancient symbol for menstrual cramps, which involved insertion of a knotted cloth. Almost every woman carried this amulet attached to the neck, in order to be granted with Isis’s fertility
Amulets of the sign were fashioned from red stones and red glass In funerary and ritual objects, this symbol is often found in conjunction with the Djed which represented the spine of Osiris While the Djed represented the masculine forces, the knot of Isis represented the feminine fertility
Lotus Flower – Sign For Rebirth
Two native species of lotus grew in Egypt, the white and the blue lotus, the sacred blue lotus was the flower most commonly used and the one depicted in the hieroglyphs. The lotus closes at night and sinks underwater, In the morning it re-emerges and blooms again. Thus the flower became a natural symbol of the sun god Ra The Egyptians saw that the blue water lotus opened up each morning, seeing the intense golden center set against the blue petals, an imitation of the golden sun appearing in the blue sky In the Book of the Dead, “transforming oneself into a lotus” is synonymous with resurrection. According to the Creation Myth it was a giant lotus which first rose out of Nun the watery chaos at the beginning of time. From this giant lotus the sun god Ra itself rose on the first day. In Hall of Maat, the Four Sons of Horus were shown standing on a lotus in front of Osiris, signaling that the deceased organs are ready for resurrection and rebirth from the lotus flower
Scarab – Protector Of The Heart
The scarab was a favorite amulet associated with renewal and regeneration. It personified Khepri, the morning manifestation (associated with resurrection) of Ra the sun god The dung beetle was chosen for this honor because after it laid its egg in animal dung and rolled it into a ball, it then pushed the ball into the sun so that the sun’s heat hatched the egg.
Thus, the connection of the beetle with the life giving powers of Ra was established During life, Egyptians carried the Scarab amulet to protect their hearts and give them long lives. Since the physical heart is taken from the body during mummification, and the body has need of another to act as the source of life and movement in its new life. A stone heart scarab gave new life to the body on which it lies.Heart scarab amulets were weighed against the feather of truth in the Hall of Maat, and were often inscribed with a spell from the Book of the Dead which entreated the heart to, “do not stand as a witness against me.” Actual beetles were found stored in jars buried with.