the human-headed ‘ba’-birds (representing the souls) of Userhat and his wife Hatshepsut (both wearing the 'menat’-necklace) standing on the top of a pond and drinking the water and eating the food that is offered to them. Detail from the “House of Eternity” of Userhat, “First Prophet-priest of the Royal Ka-spirit of King Thutmosi I”, West 'Uaset’-Thebes (TT51); Userhat lived during the reigns of Horemheb, Ramses I, and Sethi I. Painting by Norman de Garis Davies
You ain’t a man till you stop chasing your friends, my nigga.
Think for your self, make your own plans, my Nigga.
I’ll be lying if I said I ain’t understand my nigga.
Cause who you gone follow when the leaders all get swallowed.
detail from the highly sacred “Book of the Earth”, I part, IV register, that is the Cosmogonic Text known as the “Book of Aker”: detail from the third scene, “the Passage through the Cavern of Nun”; from the “House of Eternity” of King Ramses V and King Ramses VI, KV9, Valley of the Kings, west ‘Uaset’-Thebes. Below, at right, the right half of the body of the Double Lion God Aker; inside the body of Aker is represented Shu; on the top, the Solar Barque of the Night with Ra in His form of ram-headed scarab flanked by two 'Ba’-birds making adorations to Him; the 'Ba’-bird at right is “the'Ba’ of Atum” while the other is “the 'Ba’ of Khepri”; below, at left, the God of the Primaeval Mound (T3-ṯnn) receiving the Night Barque of Ra into the body of Aker
According to the ancient Egyptians, people were composed of many different parts besides their physical body which when combined, formed the individual:
Ren: The name. According to Egyptian belief, the name ensured and in many ways equalled existence. As long as a person’s name was preserved and spoken, the person would continue to exist.
Sehwat: The shadow. The Egyptians believed that the shadow contained a part of the individual, since it was always present and visible. It was often connected to the ba and the two parts were sometimes said to travel together. It was a very important component because of its relation to light and the sun and it was also associated with protection.
Ka: The “life-force” that made the body move and marked the difference between being alive and dead. It is also described as the “double”, a twin-like aspect. It was present both in life and death. After death, it was present inside the mummy or representations of the deceased and depended on sustinance through offerings and depictions or models of food placed inside the tomb. It was also believed to be the part of the body connected to ancestors and inheritance.
Ba: The “personality” or the more individual aspect of a person. It was present both in life and death and was the travelling part of the spirit. When a person was asleep, the ba could travel freely (both in this world and the next) and see things, which the person then experienced as dreams (this is also sometimes connected to the sehwat). After death, the ba continued to travel, but had to return to the mummified body to rest and to reunite with the ka.
Akh: The result of a unification of the ka and the ba. It was only present after death and was the manifestation of a successful transition to the afterlife. Only those who had recieved a proper funeral with all the right rituals and had lived a life in agreement with maat could hope to reach this state after death.
Hey! Do you have any information on the anatomy of the soul?
I dooooooooooooooooo because I’m reading a book that talks about it.
There are several parts to the soul, as per Egyptian thought. They are:
Ka is an animating force that is shared with your ancestors. It’s basically given to you by your parents, and is the unseen ‘juju’ that we interact with when talking about Open statues and the like. We often translate it as ‘vital force’, and you can transfer vital force through hugs and embraces. There is a good write up on ka here.
Ba can be translated as multiple things. A deity’s ba would be whatever physical manifestation of the god exists in our plane. So you might consider wind to be a ba of Shu, or the Apis bull to be the ba of Ptah. When you’re dead, its your ba that allows you to manifest and to move around. Bas often appear as birds, and there have been multiple discussions of ba’s being equated to migratory birds- you migrate to the Duat to be renewed, and then you might come back to the physical plane to bother your living family members, etc. Bas are also supposed to be able to manifest into whatever form it wants. I personally consider the ba to be almost like a wrapper for the ka.
Ib is your heart. I talk a little bit about ibs here. You can also read about it here. Ib is a container, basically, and it contains your vital essence. It’s very important to survival in the Duat.
Khat is your body or corpse. Your khat is important for the first part of your transformation after death. It will provide you a sort of… stability and safe point for your ba until you’re established as an akh. Tombs usually included back-ups in the form of statues and reliefs in case your body gets destroyed.
Shadows are a bit harder to find good information on. According to Harrington, the shadow was responsible for helping the dead person find food, and was closely tied to the ba. It’s said that if your shadow gets destroyed, you get destroyed entirely. And that shadows are not entirely ethereal, but possibly a sort of physical entity in the unseen.
Ren is said to be your true name, the name that the gods give you, or perhaps a sort of ‘soul line name’. There isn’t a whole lot out there on the ren, and most of us don’t know our ren- usually for safety.
Akh is less of a soul’s attribute, but more the summation of what you become once you die. Akh is often translated as shining spirit or effective spirit. Akh are capable of a lot of things. You’re able to communicate with the living, you’re able to arbitrate with gods on behalf of the living. You can play a role in judging people who are trying to enter the Duat. You can make people sick or ruin people’s days if you want XD all sorts of things. Being established as an akh was the end goal when you died.
This is the short version of what I’ve got. I’d recommend checking out the links below to learn more:
Temple of the Goddess Hathor at Nitentóre (Dendera), astronomical ceiling of the Outer Hypostyle Hall, first strip east, middle register: the daily journey of the God Ra during the Hours of the Day, detail from the IV Hour. To the right, the Goddess of the Fourth Hour of the Day, wearing the Solar disk and making adorations; on the bow of the sacred barque of Ra are represented a human-headed ‘Ba’-bird (the 'Ba’ is the Soul) and the God Montu (falcon-headed and wearing the Solar disk with the two feathers) spearing the cursed apophis (the enemy of Ra and of all the Gods) here depicted as a human being with asiatic features.
My notifications told me that you had a text post that started with "PIGEONS MAKE ME REALLY HAPPY" and I was like wat, so I clicked on it expecting there to be more. But no. Just that sentence. I love you.