Ancient Egypt places a lot of importance on amulets. Amulets were worn around the neck of the living and used to adorn the dead. The word “amulet” originated from the Arabic language, which stands for “to carry” or “to bear” in the English language. In the dynastic period, amulet means protector.
Simply put, an amulet refers to an object created for a particular purpose, and it can equally be carried about worn on any part of the body. Amulets are not just used for fashion purposes; they are believed to carry magical powers. They can be worn around the arm or neck. They are usually used for protection, love, and several other purposes, depending on what the particular amulet is designed for. See Egyptian Jewelry for more on this.
In ancient Egypt and Egyptian mythology they are equally included in mummy’s wrappings; it is believed that the amulets protect and prepare the dead for his journey through the underworld. The amulet can equally protect the dead in the afterlife.
Amulets are available in many forms and shapes. They are also made with different materials, with each of them having a different meaning. The shape and material also determine the purpose of its use. Amulets can protect the mind and the body of the wearer from evil forces, both visible and invisible. They can equally confer special magical power on the wearer.
In this write-up, we will look at the various types of amulets and their meanings.
Types of amulets
Amulets are classified into two groups:
- Those carrying magical formulae and verses
- Those not carrying magical formulae or verses
Amulet of the hearts
The heart is seen as .the sear of life and power in ancient Egypt. It is also seen as the source of good and evil. Also, the heart refers to the conscious part of the human mind. Considering the purpose described above. The heart can be considered as a precious part of the body that should not be lost. This is a good reasons why people guide it with a very strong sense of purpose, both in life and death.
Those involved in mummification give special .attention to the heart and the lungs to preserve them by placing them in a pitcher or a jar, after which they are placed under the protection of Tuamutef. After removing the heart from the mummy, it is replaced with the Amulet of Hearts.
Amulet of the Scarab
It is also called kheper. . It is an insect with great influence in Egyptian civilization. It held sway for several years. It first became a popular object for making amulet during the period of building pyramids. The insect represented several sets of beliefs that dated further than these beliefs that prevailed in ancient Egypt.
People of ancient .Egypt saw the scarab as the symbol of the sun and most potent of all symbols for making amulets. It is believed that the symbol can resurrect, transform and protect. It is believed in ancient Egypt that an amulet made of scarab can provide adequate protection for the dead soul.
The amulet can also contain verses that can increase their power. Additionally, the amulet can give the dead soul a new life and energy in the harsh after-life. The scarab is a symbol of Khepera, which is the god with the invisible power propelling the sun in its journey across the sky.
Amulet of the Buckle
It is also called .the Knot of Isis. It has a similarity to the girdle of Isis, which is why it is also called the Blood of Isis, Buckle Isis or the Girdle of Isis. There is no clear information about the origin of the Amulet or the Buckle. It is translated to mean life or welfare. It equally symbolizes the strength and power of the goddess of Isis and said to have a magical power capable of protecting the wearer from negative influence, sickness and all kinds of evil.
You can find the buckle of Isis .on several items that are associated with burials and funerals; it can also be found on things relocated to sarcophagi und shrines.
Amulet of the Tet
It is also called Djed. The amulet symbolizes rebirth and resurrection of .Osiris. It equally symbolizes hope and new life. It stands out as the oldest symbol of Osiris and is related to the ankh symbol. The word “tet” means stability, firmness, balance, and preservation.
It has four crossbars, which indicate the four branches .of the world-tree and the four cardinal points. The object is revered in Egypt and considered as the highest religious item for Egyptians.
Also, the amulet stands for a .tree that grew beside the casket of Osiris and equally stands for where the goddess of Isis hid her husband’s corpse. It equally serves as the pillar of a Byblos palace.
Amulet of the pillow
This amulet is rare and shaped like a head-rest or pillow. It is placed directly under the neck of the mummy inside the coffin. The purpose of the amulet is to protect the head of the deceased when he reaches the underworld. The pillow equally prevents the head from being de-capacitated.
The amulet functions as a protective talisman. It equally produces peace and pillow. The amulet is made of hematite, which is a dark, reddish-black stone. It equally has a text from Spell 167 and CLXVIth Chapter of the Book of the Dead.
Amulet of the vulture
This amulet possesses the great .power of Isis, which is seen as the divine mother protecting the deceased. The amulet was usually tied around the neck of the deceased on the day of the funeral, and it gives the dead fierceness and strength accustomed to Isis when the latter was wandering in the form of a vulture around the papyrus swamplands of the delta.
Other ancient Egyptian amulets and their meanings are highlighted below:
- Amulet of the collar of gold, which provides freedom from all fettering around the neck
- Amulet of the papyrus scepter, which gives the dead vigor, vitality, youth, renewed energy and endurance
- Amulet of the soul, which helps the soul to unite with the body of the dead
There are several others, but these .are the amulets that space will permit.