Magic in Ancient Egypt

The term “magic” as used here simply denotes the use of Supernatural means to produce desired effects . The power by which this was done was called “heka” by the Egyptians . Heka was a creative power , possessed by all the gods , and to which the dead also had access .
Magic pervaded life in ancient Egypt . Far from having the negative connotations of irregularity and subversiveness which are associated with the term in many cultures , it played a regular part in orthodox religion at all levels of society . Recourse was had to magic when confronted by situations which required more than the human power to deal with . In this circumstances practical approaches would be used as well as magic . Magic was preventative as well as responsive: it was used to avert an undesirable situation , as well as to solve one . It was also used to serve both positive and negative ends .
Egyptian magic was founded on a belief in the power of the spoken and written word , and the use of amulets and ritual objects . It was used in the temple cult , in everyday life (in healing and protecting against illness)and for the dead . Magic was performed on behalf of the dead by priests and relatives during mummification , in the funeral rites and the offering cult , it was also available for the personal use of the dead in the tomb via texts , images and amulets .



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