We’ve long witnessed the grandeur and glory of Ancient Egypt as portrayed in movies such as Gods of Egypt, The Scorpion King and The Mummy. There are vast plains, monumental structures and even some scenes of magic (amulets, rituals, incantations), all of which leave us in awe and wonder. Being able to travel to Egypt today, we still get to admire the plains and pyramids. However, do you ever catch yourself wondering: how exactly did the Egyptians live and why were these magical rites so important to them?
More often than not, all we catch on-screen are glimpses of a reality for the Egyptians. This is also true for their magic. As we take a deeper dive into their world, we start learning that magic, also known as Heka, was inherently tied to their belief of an afterlife and communal living. For the Egyptians, Heka served as an essential tool to bless, protect and transmit one’s soul in the afterlife as well as for women and their children before, during and after childbirth.
Check out our Buzzfeed article as we bring you these interesting insights in bite-sized proportions!
Ancient Egypt Society; Shabti, Shawabti and Ushabti. (2017).
BBC - History - Ancient History in depth: Ancient Egyptian Magic. (n.d.).
Budge, EA Wallis. (1901). Egyptian magic (Vol. 2). Courier Corporation.
Bunson, Margaret. (2012). Encyclopedia of ancient Egypt. New York: Facts on File, 72.
Mark, J.Joshua 2017). Magic in Ancient Egypt. Ancient History Encyclopedia.
Mark, J.Joshua (2017). Egyptian Book of the Dead. Ancient History Encyclopedia.
Rose, C. (2016). CHILDBIRTH MAGIC. Expedition, 58(3), 38-45.
Roth, A., & Roehrig, C. (2002). Magical Bricks and the Bricks of Birth. The Journal of Egyptian Archaeology, 88, 121-139. doi:10.2307/3822340
Waraksa, Elizabeth. (2008). Female Figurines (Pharaonic Period). UCLA Encyclopedia of Egyptology, 1(1). UCLA: Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures. nelc_uee_7915.
Pic 1 (Heka): Ka statue of Hor Awibra, (n.d) Egyptian Museum, Cairo. Public domain.
Pic 2 (Mummification): Andre. (19 June 2009) Nederlands: Kist uit de 27-31e dynastie (525-332 v. Chr.) CC BY-SA 2.0
Pic 3 (Heart Amulets): Walters Art Museum, (n.d). Public domain, CC BY-SA 3.0
Pic 4 (Shabti Dolls): Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin, (16 June 2016). Shabti box illustration. CC BY-NC-SA 3.0
Pic 5 (Book of the dead): Mark Cartwright, (7 March 2015). Book of the Dead of Tayesnakht. CC BY-NC-SA 3.0
Pic 6 (Magic Wand): Magic wands in ancient Egypt, (16 November 2014). CC BY-SA 4.0
Pic 7 (Birth Bricks): Birth Bricks (n.d). University of Pennsylvania Museum E2914.
Pic 8 (Model Women): Female Fertility Figure, (n.d). Walters Art Museum. CC BY-SA 3.0
Video 1:Experience Ancient Egypt, (6 Aug 2015). Ancient Egyptian Magic - Methods & Symbols.