The Ancient Egyptians believed that the soul was comprised of 9 parts, one being the human body that was left behind. This is partially the reason for mummification, to preserve this piece of the soul and act as conduit to deliver offerings to the rest of it. Photo: Gary Todd (modified)
The Book of Thoth is a name given to a number of books purported to be written by Thoth, the Egyptian God of Knowledge. One version of the book is described in the ancient story Setne I. In the story, the book contained two spells—a spell to speak to animals, and one to perceive the gods. The book was originally hidden at the bottom of the Nile, locked and guarded by serpents, until it was retrieved by Prince Neferkaptah. As punishment, he was driven to suicide and entombed with the book. Years later, Prince Setne Khamwas retrieves the book from Neferkaptah’s tomb. The prince is seduced by the illusion of a beautiful woman who convinces him to kill his children, and make a fool of himself in front of the Pharaoh. Prince Setne returns the book in fear of further punishment. Image: Hunefer’s Book of the Dead, detail with Thoth
The title plate from Michael Maier’s Arcana Arcanissima, 1614. Above are three figures from the Egyptian myth of the dismemberment of Osiris by his brother Typhon, and reassembling by his sister Isis. The Greek gods Hercules and Dionysus flank the sides and below are the Egyptian mythological creatures of Ibis, Apis, and Cynocephalus.
Apep was the Egyptian god of chaos and the greatest enemy of the Sun god Ra. This god appeared as a giant snake and was much feared by Egyptians, even in their death—as he’s known to eat souls. To ward off Apep, they would defile effigies and bury the dead with protective spells.
Cynocephaly or “having the head of a dog” is a characteristic found in many mythological and folklore traditions across the world, such as ancient Egypt, India, Greece, and China. These humanoid, dog-headed beings were often described by travelers coming back from far off lands. Images: Saint Christopher by Anonymous, 17th Century | The Egyptian Book of the Dead, 1550 BCE | Kievan Psalter by Unknown, 1397 | Man with dog head by Hartmann Schedel, 1493.
Egyptian ram-headed Demon from a royal tomb in the Valley of the Kings, Thebes, Egypt, 1325 B.C.E. The hands probably held two snakes. Image: Jon Bodsworth
Ammit or Ammut is an Egyptian demon, who holds the titles “Devourer of the Dead” and “Eater of Hearts”. If Anubis determined a deceased’s heart was impure, Ammit would devour it, causing the soul to be restless forever. She was also known to cast hearts into a lake of fire.⠀