The Egyptian culture was rich in symbolism. Symbols were
used for religious and magickal purposes by both the living
and the dead. Amulets were constructed to ward of danger
or things of a negative nature. Talismen were used to bring
desirable things to the owner.
(aka Crux Ansata)
The Ankh is probably the most widely recognized of all Egyptian
symbols. In his book Body Guards, Desmond Morris calls the Ankh
"one of the most complicated and confusing images in the history
of art." One a very basic level it represents life in general.
For example, it is commonly seen being held by gods, goddesses
and pharaohs indicating that they are life givers or that they
have control over life.
The Ankh was often worn as an amulet to protect the wearer from
illness and infertility and to guarantee immorality in the afterlife.
Regarding the latter, some believed it to be a mystical key that
unlocks the 'Gates of Death'.
The orgins of this symbol are unknown. Many have ventured to
guess: an Egyptian sandal strap, the rising sun, male and/or
female genitalia or a human figure.
One common modern misconception is that it is an alternate
version of the Christian cross. Nothing could be futher from
the truth since the Ankh is many centuries older than the
Strength and stability
The Tet symbol relates to the slaying of Osiris by his
brother Set. After Osiris had been flung into the Nile,
he and the box he was in washed up on the shore. Around
him grew a beautiful tree. A prince came along and fell in
love with the tree. He decided to use it for a column in
his palace. The column, when finished, resembled the Tet.
It is sometimes referred to as the backbone of Osiris.
The Scarab represents the rising sun or the god Khephera. The Egyptians
believed that the sun was reborn each day. After the sun set, he battled
through the underworld. He would have to slay monsters (delusion) in
order to be born again. The scarab, also known as the dung beetle,
mystified the Egyptians. It appeared that it was self-created when
it 'magickly' sprang to life from a ball of dung. The ball being
symbolic of the solar disk.
Also known as the Eye of Horus. While battling Set,
Horus lost his left eye. Thoth found it and returned it
to Horus. It is said to keep evil or negative forces away
and is also related to psychic vision.
The Feather of Ma'at
Balance or Justice
The hearts of the deceased were weighed against her feather at
the Judgment. The heart of a 'Truth Speaker' would weigh the same
as the feather of Maat and he/she would then be permitted to enter the
Kingdom of Osiris. The deceased whose heart was heavier than the
feather of Maat was devoured by Ammut.
A good Pharaoh would establish and maintain Maat, that is he kept
the cosmic forces in balance.
Protection and Lower Egypt
The cobra symbolized the divine protection of the Pharaoh. Originally
the cobra appeared on the red crown of Lower Egypt. When the
Two Lands were united, their two crowns were also united. The red
crown combined with the white crown of Upper Egypt to become the
double crown. The cobra is related to a goddess of Lower Egypt,
Uadjet (or Wadjet).
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