Five Parts Of The Egyptian Soul

topic posted Tue, February 26, 2008 - 7:20 PM by  Unsubscribed
In Ancient Egyptian religious thought, a human soul is made up of five parts: the Ren, the Ba, the Ka, the Sheut, and the Ib. In addition to these components of the soul there was the human body (called the ha, occasionally a plural haw, meaning approximately sum of bodily parts

Ib (heart)

The most important part of the Egyptian soul was thought to be the Ib, or heart. To Ancient Egyptians, it was the heart and not the brain that was the seat of emotion and thought, including the will and intentions. In Egyptian religion, the heart was the key to the afterlife. It was conceived as proceeding at death to the future world, where it gave evidence for, or against, its possessor. It was thought that the heart was examined by Anubis and the deities during the Weighing of the Heart ceremony. If the heart weighed heavier than the feather of Maat, the heart immediately was consumed by the demon Ammit. This is evidenced by the many expressions in the Egyptian language which incorporate the word ib, Awt-ib: happiness (literally, wideness of heart), Xak-ib: estranged (literally, truncated of heart). This word was transcribed by Wallis-Budge as 'Ab'.

Sheut (shadow)

A person's shadow, Sheut (šwt in Egyptian), was always present. It was believed that a person could not exist without a shadow, nor a shadow without a person, therefore, Egyptians surmised that a shadow contained something of the person it represents. For this reason statues of people and deities were sometimes referred to as their shadows.

The shadow was represented graphically as a small human figure painted completely black as well, as a figure of death, or servant of Anubis.

Ren (name)

As a part of the soul, a person's name (ren in Egyptian) was given to them at birth and the Egyptians believed that it would live for as long as that name was spoken, which explains why efforts were made to protect it and the practice of placing it in numerous writings. For example, part of the Book of Breathings, a derivative of the Book of the Dead, was a means to ensure the survival of the name. A cartouche (magical rope) often was used to surround the name and protect it. Conversely, the names of deceased enemies of the state, such as Akhenaten, were hacked out of monuments in a form of damnatio memoriae. Sometimes, however, they were removed in order to make room for the economical insertion of the name of a successor, without having to build another monument. The greater the number of places a name was used, the grater the possibility it would survive to be read and spoken.

Ba (individual personality)

The 'Ba' ('b3') is in some regards the closest to the contemporary Western religious notion of a soul, but it also was everything that makes an individual unique, similar to the notion of 'personality'. (In this sense, inanimate objects could also have a 'Ba', a unique character, and indeed Old Kingdom pyramids often were called the 'Ba' of their owner). Like a soul, the 'Ba' is a part of a person that the Egyptians believed would live after the body died, and it is sometimes depicted as a human-headed bird flying out of the tomb to join with the 'Ka' in the afterlife.

The word 'bau' (plural of the word ba) is based on this concept. It meant something similar to 'impressiveness', 'power', and 'reputation', particularly of a deity. When a deity intervened in human affairs, it was said that the 'Bau' of the deity were at work [Borghouts 1982]. In this regard, the ruler was regarded as a 'Ba' of a deity, or one deity was believed to be the 'Ba' of another.

[edit] Ka (life force)
The Ka (k3) was the Egyptian concept of life force, that which distinguishes the difference between a living and a dead person, death occurring when the ka left the body. The Egyptians believed that Khnum created the bodies of children on a potter's wheel and inserted them into women's bodies. Depending on the region, Egyptians believed that Heket or Meskhenet, was the creator of each person's Ka, breathing it into them at the instant of their birth as the part of their soul that made them be, alive. This resembles the concept of spirit in other religions, sharing the PIE root.

The Egyptians also believed that the ka was sustained through food and drink. For this reason food and drink offerings were presented to the dead, although it was the kau (k3w) within the offerings (also known as kau) that was consumed, not the physical aspect. The ka often was represented in Egyptian iconography as a second image of the individual, leading earlier works to attempt to translate ka as double.

Ancient Egyptians believed that death occurs when a person's ka, leaves the body. Ceremonies conducted by priests after death, including the "opening of the mouth (wp r)" aimed, not only to restore a person's physical abilities in death, but also to release a Ba's attachment to the body. This allowed the Ba to be united with the Ka in the afterlife, creating an entity known as an "Akh" (3ḫ meaning "effective one").

According to Friedrich Junge, Giacomo Borioni proposes in his work "Der Ka aus religionswissenschaftlicher Sicht" that, the Ka was the self of a human being.

Julian Jaynes in his theoretical work, The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind, suggests that the "ka" originally was a hallucinated deity-voice similar to that experienced in schizophrenia. He asserts that most people were not fully conscious in ancient times, and hence his theory is regarded as being on the fringe by the mainstream of researchers into antiquity.

[edit] The soul in Egyptian afterlife concepts
Egyptians conceived of an afterlife as quite similar to normal physical existence—but with a difference. The model for this new existence was the journey of the sun. At night the sun descended into the Duat (the underworld). Eventually the sun meets the body of the mummified Osiris. Osiris and the sun, re-energized by each other, rise to new life for another day. For the deceased, their body and their tomb were their personal Osiris and a personal Duat. For this reason they are often addressed as "Osiris". For this process to work, some sort of bodily preservation was required, to allow the Ba to return during the night, and to rise to new life in the morning. However, the complete Akhu were also thought to appear as stars.[1] Until the Late Period, non-royal Egyptians did not expect to unite with the sun deity, it being reserved for the royals.[2]

The Book of the Dead, the collection of spells which aided a person in the afterlife existence, had the Egyptian name of the Book of going forth by day. They helped people avoid the perils of the afterlife and also aided their existence, containing spells to assure "not dying a second time in the underworld", and to "grant memory always" to a person.

The tomb of Paheri, an Eighteenth dynasty nomarch of Nekhen, has an eloquent description of this existence, and is translated by James P. Allen as:

Your life happening again, without your ba being kept away from your divine corpse, with your ba being together with the akh ... You shall emerge each day and return each evening. A lamp will be lit for you in the night until the sunlight shines forth on your breast. You shall be told: "Welcome, welcome, into this your house of the living!"
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  • Unsu...

    Re: Five Parts Of The Egyptian Soul

    Tue, February 26, 2008 - 7:30 PM
    Senate (Sn.t) (Egyptian)
    is a means of communicating with your soul, or with the dead
    • Unsu...

      Re: Five Parts Of The Egyptian Soul

      Tue, February 26, 2008 - 7:33 PM
      <<<Senate To SIN>>>>

      Mehen (serpent who gave birth to the sun) is predecessor, patron guide, protector and initiator to those who practice Senet. And to those amongst the deceased who travel on the Boat of Ra for all the millions of years. The 30 squares are literally ‘sections’ of the body of Mehen, and earlier game synonymous with the divine serpent-deity. So if you say that “Mehen leads us in Senet”, that is meant literally since Mehen is the path!

      The earliest Sn.t boards yet found were in the First Dynasty tombs at Abu Rawash (c.3050 B.C.), but

      Senate probably existed already in the Predynastic Era. Boards from the Old and Middle Kingdoms were generally undecorated except for the last five squares (plus sometimes 1 and 15). From the New Kingdom onwards, squares also contained religious hieroglyphs. The .jpg diagram above is 1100-1300 B.C. painted papyrus board, currently in the Turin Museum. You may download and print for use (A4 landscape is best).

      The heavenly Council of Thirty gods and goddesses (House 7) had a human counterpart of 30 Assessors or Judges, 10 representatives from the three great Aegyptian cities - Heliopolis (where it was based), Memphis and Thebes. The Spell 335, Coffin Texts, is especially associated with Senate

      Played by two persons (or sometimes by one) the game senet/ senate is from Aegyptian zn.t, which was later sn.t or "passing." The full name of the game was zn.t n.t H'b, the "passing game."

      The Senate board was actually portrayed as a physical bridge connecting the space of the deceased to the space of the living, allowing “ -- for the first time in Egyptian art -- direct physical contact between the living and the dead, and it indicates that the game had acquired an intrinsic religious meaning by the Sixth Dynasty. The trend in the Old Kingdom depictions of senet-playing is clear: initially, the game was portrayed merely as a secular entertainment functioning in a religious context; later, it was portrayed with an intrinsically religious meaning of its own, i.e., enabling contact between the living and the dead.

      Later in the Middle Kingdom, a textual parallel to the Old Kingdom senet scenes was recorded in Coffin Text Spell 405 (CT 405). Here senet-playing was described as a means for the dead to communicate with the living. The context of senet-playing here in CT 405 was very similar to the Hathoric context of the game in the earlier Old Kingdom mastabas, where, likewise, the deceased played with the living. In addition, Coffin Text Spell 1019 associated the mobility of the deceased in the necropolis with a god's movement across a senet board. Hence in the Middle Kingdom, senet was associated with the themes of communication with the dead and also the free movement and passage of the ba.” Synopisis: Gaming with Gods, Senet and
      Ancient Egyptian Religious Beliefs, Peter A. Piccione, Ph.D. 2003.

      Skill is required to win most games. The ‘blocking or racing’ strategic components are like those found in Ba-c(k)-Amoun; a game which descends from Senate. But there also exists an element of luck or fortune. In play this is represented by the casting sticks or “fingers.” You need both skill and beneficence of the gods to win. There also seems to have been a psychological or ‘bluffing’ dimension, with banter between the players. A number of rules reconstruction exist, here are some links (standard disclaimer, not my sites):

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