Link to Main Menu

Link to Egyptian Civilization Menu
Link to Religion Menu

The Soul

Ba bird; 
CMC PCD 2001-299-074 There are three elements to the Egyptian concept of the soul: Ka, Ba and Akh.

  • Ka is the life force or spiritual double of the person. The royal Ka symbolized a pharaoh's right to rule, a universal force that passed from one pharaoh to the next.
  • Ba is represented as a human-headed bird that leaves the body when a person dies. The face of Ba was the exact likeness of that of the deceased person.
  • Akh is the spirit of Re, which encapsulates the concept of light - the transfigured spirit of a person that becomes one with light after death. The opposite of Akh is Mut (dead), the state of a person who has died but has not been transfigured into light.

Soul-Bird with a Human Face The ba of Queen Nefertari, representing her unique character, stood before a false door, an architectural feature found on the west walls of tombs and mortuary temples. Food would be placed on an offering table in front of the door, serving as a link between the living and the dead. The ka would leave the burial chamber to partake of the offerings, providing sustenance for the deceased. The ba was expected to unite with the ka in order to transform the deceased into akh.

Click to go to the section of your choice
main menu |  civilization |  religion