Ka the soul is
carrying away life from the body.
Ancient Egyptians believed the soul had three parts,
the ka, the ba, and the akh.
ancient Egypt, The Egyptian Book of the Dead mentions the travel
of the soul Ka into a next world.
Egyptians embalmed the dead because they believed that the
body will be required later for
the future life. The
only conclusion we can make is that the soul will one day return
in search of its body.
This suggests their belief in resurrection rather than in
was everything that makes an individual unique, similar to
the notion of 'personality'. (In this sense, inanimate objects
could also have a 'Ba', a unique character, and indeed Old Kingdom
pyramids often were called the 'Ba' of their owner). The 'Ba' is
an aspect of a person that the Egyptians believed would live after
the body died, and it is sometimes depicted
as a human-headed bird flying out of the tomb to join with the
'Ka' in the afterlife.
Ka was the Egyptian
concept of vital essence, that
which distinguishes the difference between a living and a dead
person, with death occurring when the ka left the body.
ka was sustained through food and drink. For this reason
food and drink offerings were presented to the dead, although it
was the kau within
the offerings that was consumed, not the physical aspect. The ka
was often represented in Egyptian iconography as a second image of
the king, leading earlier works to attempt to translate ka as
meaning '(magically) effective one'), was a concept of the dead
that varied over the long history of ancient Egyptian belief. It
was associated with thought, but not as an action of the mind;
rather, it was intellect as a living entity.
Akh also played a role in the afterlife. Following the death of
the Khat (physical body), the Ba and Ka were reunited to reanimate
the Akh.The reanimation of the Akh was only possible if the proper
funeral rites were executed and followed by constant offerings.
The separation of Akh and the unification of Ka and Ba were
brought about after death by having the proper offerings made and
knowing the proper, efficacious spell, but there was an attendant
risk of dying again. Egyptian funerary literature (such as the
Coffin Texts and the Book of the Dead) were intended to aid the
deceased in "not dying a second time" and becoming an
this suggests that Egyptians did not have any concept of
transmigration or reincarnation. The rituals of mummification and other rituals strongly
pronounce a belief in judgment
after death and bodily resurrection.
Herodotus, Histories 2. 123 (trans. Godley) (Greek
historian C5th B.C.) says :
Egyptians say that Demeter [Isis] and Dionysos [Osiris] are the
rulers of the lower world. The Egyptians were the first who
maintained the following doctrine, too, that the human soul is
immortal, and at the death of the body enters into some other
living thing then coming to birth; and after passing through all
creatures of land, sea, and air, it enters once more into a human
body at birth, a cycle which it completes in three thousand years.
There are Greeks who have used this doctrine [the Orphics], some
earlier and some later, as if it were their own; I know their
names, but do not record them."
Ancient Egyptian Roots of the
Hermeticism, also called Hermetism, is a
religious and philosophical tradition based primarily upon
pseudepigraphical writings attributed to Hermes Trismegistus.
Hermes Trismegistus means:
"Thrice Great" and is most probably a pseudonym .
An account of how Hermes Trismegistus received the name
"Thrice Great" is derived from the The Emerald Tablet of
Hermes Trismegistus, wherein it is stated that he knew the three
parts of the wisdom of the whole universe.
The three parts of the wisdom are alchemy, astrology, and
interpretation is "They called him Trismegistus
because he was the greatest philosopher and the greatest priest
and the greatest king."
The Suda (10th century) states that "He was called
Trismegistus on account of his praise of the trinity, saying there
is one divine nature in the trinity."
These writings have greatly influenced the
Western esoteric tradition and were considered to be of great
importance during both the Renaissance
and the Reformation. The tradition claims descent from a
prisca theologia, a doctrine which affirms that a single, true
theology exists which is present in all religions and was given by
God to man in antiquity.
Many Christian writers, including Emerson,
Lactantius, Thomas of Aquinas, Augustine, Giordano Bruno, Marsilio
Ficino, Campanella and Giovanni Pico della Mirandola considered
Hermes Trismegistus to be a wise pagan prophet who foresaw the
coming of Christianity.
Much of the importance of Hermeticism
arises from its connection with the development of science during
the time from 1300 to 1600 A.D. The prominence that it gave to the
idea of influencing or controlling nature led many scientists to
look to magic and its allied arts (e.g., alchemy, astrology)
which, it was thought, could put Nature to the test by means of
experiments. Consequently it was the practical aspects of Hermetic
writings that attracted the attention of scientists. Isaac Newton
placed great faith in the concept of an unadulterated, pure,
ancient doctrine, which he studied vigorously to aid his
understanding of the physical world.
Many of Newton's manuscripts—most of which are still
unpublished —detail his thorough study of the Corpus Hermeticum,
writings said to have been transmitted from ancient times, in
which the secrets and techniques of influencing the stars and the
forces of nature were revealed.
Reincarnation is mentioned in Hermetic texts. Hermes Trismegistus asked:
"O son, how many bodies have
we to pass through, how many bands of demons, through how many
series of repetitions and cycles of the stars, before we hasten to
the One alone?"
When Hermeticism was no longer endorsed by the Christian church, it was
driven underground and several Hermetic societies were formed. The
western esoteric tradition is now steeped in Hermeticism. The work
of such writers as Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, who attempted to
reconcile Jewish kabbalah and Christian mysticism, brought
Hermeticism into a context more easily understood by Europeans
during the time of the Renaissance.
A few primarily Hermetic occult orders were founded in the late Middle
Ages and early Renaissance.
Hermetic magic underwent a 19th-century revival in Western Europe,
Many Hermetic, or Hermetically influenced, groups exist
today. Most of them are derived from Rosicrucianism, Freemasonry,
or the Golden Dawn.
However all the claims to antiquity
as going back to Egyptian times are open to question.