Magic in ancient Egypt

Magic in ancient Egypt

Since ancient times the ancient civilizations has known the existence of magic and they used it in their daily lives for different causes but Egypt for thousands of years leaded the world in understanding magic and dealing with it.

Magic in ancient Egypt was practiced by all the society but on different levels. Meanwhile, magicians were considered on the top of the cream in the Egyptian society, that they mostly took so many important positions in the government because of the great power they own. They were called ( Heryo-Teb) in Hieroglyphs which means “ The leader of everyone” and this title was used in The Modern State. Furthermore, in history Egyptians called them ( Writters on God's scirpts).

And from the so many famous ancient Egyptian magicians that we knew through the transcripts and stories written on tombs walls were: Dede& Am- Ankh ,and those two were mentioned in (Westkar papyrus) and there is also ( Mery- Raa) who was in the first and second century.  

Moreover, Egyptians has linked magic itself with their gods and goddesses because they thought that magic was a gift from gods, so it was a blessing to use it for their own sake and in their daily lives, they even featured their gods using magic between each other like in the myth of “Isis and Osiris”.

Now let’s talk briefly about the Priest in ancient Egypt,

He was mostly the magician too; he had the knowledge of using magic, possessing evil spirits and healing medical conditions like poison, snake bite, fever, and so on. He also had to do certain steps and rituals for the magic to work and do what it’s supposed to do, and they were:

  1. Repeating several magical words and that was called spoken rituals
  2. Do certain things ( actions) and that was called Practical rituals

However, Egyptians used magic for several reasons, some were precautionary and other was for defense. And examples for defense magic: Keeping wild animals away, possessing evil spirits as mentioned above, protection from evil eye and much more.

Talking more about the rituals it was incredibly important for all people to do it especially if it’s done against one of the pharaoh’s enemies because they believed that any danger to the Pharaoh, is a danger to the country and the people. And examples from those rituals where rituals that were done against the two God enemies; (Set) the God of Evil and ( Abo Fees) God of the Sun. These two rituals were done daily by everyone in temples and it was done like that:

First of all the spoken rituals are done on a small statue featuring the enemy or a papyrus paper. Then it was spit on, stepped on ,stabbed with a spear and finally burnt. It was done 6 times a day in temples. Also there were rituals to protect the dead in their journey in the afterlife, It was believed that in the journey of the dead he will face the net; the net basically was something that falls on the dead in their journey to the sky that traps them and make them lose their path in the afterlife, so the dead person had to know which the rituals of the net , what are the directions of the net and how do get escape from it in his path west to the sky. This was sculptured on the tombs walls and Papyrus; featuring the dead person as a fish or a bird getting caught in the net, and that was also the reason they often photo their enemies in animals they birds, fish, and so on.Beside rituals in ancient Egypt they also had Magical myth that had to do with their gods and magic between them. Like what was mentioned in the (Papyrus of Westkar) or (the myth on Isis and Raa), or (the myth of Isis and the scorpions).


Now let’s talk about each of the three magical myths:


1.Westkar or Khofo and the Magicians.

It was mentioned that one day the king was bored and had nothing to do,so he gathered the princes to tell suggest on him what to do or tell him a story that  might make him feel better, so one of the prince suggested on him to go on a boat trip with 20 beautiful ladies, The king liked the idea and indeed set up a boat with 20 beautiful women-slaves. In their journey by the boat one of the beautiful ladies lost her hair jewelry-she was so beautiful that everyone liked her- she got really upset and so did the crew, which made the Pharaoh not happy too! So he called his magician (Gaga- Am-Ankh) and asked him to do something with his magic to return the head jewelry to this beautiful. So Gaga made a magic spell that divided the river into two parts (a upper and lower one), and it was said in the myth that the height of the water reached 12 arms. Between the water Gaga found the jewelry and went to get for the beautiful lady, she took it, became happy again and so did the Pharaoh and everyone.





2.The myth of Isis and Raa:


It was known in the Egyptian methodology that Goddess (Isis) was very talented with magic and that she could know everything happening whether on Earth or in the sky except one thing; which was, the real name of God Raa.


So she used one of her magic spells to know his real name; she took some of his saliva that was falling from him while talking and then mixed it with mud to create a snake. Then put the snake in the path of Raa while walking, Raa walked on the snake and got bite from the snake, the poison of the snake was so strong that kept Raa in bed for so long. After that, Isis came and offered to help him but with one condition: Raa telling her his real name, at first Raa refused to tell her anything but later on the poison became stronger and stronger so he surrendered and told her his real name which was ( The Invisible Raa). Isis helped Raa and casted a spell that cured him from the poison and shared Raa in his power, she took Horus (Her son) as a witness on that. Since Goddess Isis could know everything that was happening in the world and shared Raa in his power. It was mentioned too that the spell that Isis casted on Raa to cure his poison was used by the priests to cure people.


3.Isis Scorpions:

One day Isis was going to Gehote (another God) to visit him as he asked her to, with her seven scorpions- which followed her in her trip- walking in front of her, behind her, from the left and from the right so that no one can block her path. She commanded them to never hurt anyone; No child, No man, No plant and No woman.

She walked in the land of Egypt passing by the swamps; she got really tired of walking all day and wanted to rest. So she went to a woman’s house who people of the village often called her “ The great” and sometimes “ The strong”, Isis knocked her door and asked her if she could rest a little bit in her house, The lady was so afraid of the seven scorpions and slammed the door in the face of Isis.


Isis got mad and went to another house to ask for rest, a woman opened for her and let her in with her seven scorpions and because the woman was afraid too, Isis took the poison of the seven scorpions and put them all in Tefen. Then her madness blasted of that woman who slammed in her face the door and sent Tefen to bite her little child and kill him. Tefen went to that woman’s house and could sneak into it, went to the little child, bite him and the Child died. After that, the house was on fire and the woman started screaming of grieve on her child and on her house. The sky made rain fall to put off the fire and that was strange because this wasn’t floods time.


Isis heard the woman’s sad screams and her heart broke of what she did so she decided to correct this awful mistake. She went to the woman’s house again and went to the dead child, Casted a spell on him, calling the spirit of the child to return to his body again from the land of the dead-With her power as a goddess she could easily do that- After that, the child came back to life but he was so cold because the presence of the poison was still there. So she commanded the poison of Tefen to leave the child’s body and go away. The child became good again and the sky stopped raining, the house of the women went to normal and everything was fine.


The woman collected all her jewelry and valuable things and offered them to Isis as regret that she closed the door in her face. Since then, ancient Egyptians always mixed pasted flour with salt, put on the scorpion bite and casted the spells that Isis said on the Poison of Tefen to leave the child’s body.





And this was brief blog about magic in ancient Egypt a long with three of the magical myths in the ancient Egyptian methodology, we hope you liked it.