Ancient Egyptian Magic and Superstitions
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Most of the homes in Ancient Egypt believed that there was magic and spells that could work to make people better, to allow them to curse someone or just for fun.

Medicine

Ancient Egyptians believed that there were magical powers that could be placed on people so that they could be healed of their sicknesses or diseases.  Since medicine was not like it is today, the Ancient Egyptians were not able to always rely on something like an antibiotic to make them better so they believed that these spells would work to make people better, even better than medicine.

Amulets

The Ancient Egyptians believed that amulets were powerful and magic.  An amulet is a small thing, like a trinket, that people would carry or wear or give to the gods.  These amulets would contain magical powers to keep the Ancient Egyptians safe.

There were two different kinds of amulets, one was made for people that were alive to offer them protection from evil spirits and to give them good luck and the other was for people that had died.

When a person died, someone that loved them would put amulets in their grave or on their bodies when they were mummies.

The amulets all looked different and were made out of different things.  Some were made out of stone, quartz, metal and precious stones.  Some amulets were hand carved and some were put into molds and made to look the same.

Since animals were a big thing in Ancient Egypt, many of the amulets would look like animals, while others looked like their gods or be symbols that represented the gods.

Animals

The Ancient Egyptians loved their animals and they believed that some animals were magical.  One animal that they thought was magical was the cat.

Sometimes, cats would be placed outside of tombs to make sure that no evil spirits would be able to enter the tomb.

Ancient Egyptians believed that cats were there to protect people in their homes, especially children.

Most homes in Ancient Egypt had some kind of cat in not only for the magical powers but also because cats were useful to keep the homes safe from mice and snakes.

Gods and Goddesses

The people of Egypt believed in gods and goddesses and that they were given magical powers to communicate with them.

Ancient Egyptians believed that the gods and goddesses contacted them through dreams and that they had dreams so that they could predict the future.

Book of the Dead

The Book of the Dead was written with over 200 different spells in it.  Most of the spells were written to try to get people into the afterlife safely.  Some were written on special paper called papyrus and some were written on the walls of the tombs.

The spells were not secret for the people and the people had their favorite spells that they used.  Many people would include the spells in their loved one’s graves.

The Ancient Egyptians could buy spells from the market and the spell would already be written down and the person would only have to say the spell in order for it to work.

Dreams

Dreams were another form of superstition for the Ancient Egyptians.  Dreams were important because the gods and goddesses gave them the dreams.

The Ancient Egyptians believed that the dreams would tell the future and if a dream was scary or seemed evil, the Egyptians would run to the amulet maker and have them make an amulet to protect them.

Sometimes, people would sleep in the temples so the gods could give them dreams easier and they could know what their future would hold.

If a priest would interpret a dream for the Egyptians, they would have to pay them some way such as with goods or with some type of food.

Curses

Some people believed that curses could be placed on people or tombs.  Some believed that King Tut’s tomb had a curse on it.

The message in the tomb said that if anyone would go into the tomb and disturb the king that they would be cursed.

The Egyptians believed that if one of the mummies was destroyed or taken that their spirit would not be able to go into the afterlife and they would stay a mummy forever.  They would add curses to their loved ones tombs so that grave robbers would not cause this to happen.

More Facts About Ancient Egyptian Magic and Superstitions:

  • Some amulets were symbols such as a flower that would symbolize rebirth.
  • Amulets were shaped into a certain shape and once it was you could not change the shape, or it would change the meaning of the amulet and change the magic.
  • It was against the law to kill a cat and the Egyptians could be put to death if they did.
  • Many Ancient Egyptians would paint or sculpt cats because they were considered good luck.
  • The goddess Bastet had the head of a cat and the woman of a body, she was a goddess that was supposed to protect and be kind to the people.
  • One of the most important things about the written spells was that people would sign their name on these. Someone had to have their name written down in order to be able to make it to the afterlife.  The two souls the Ba and Ka had to be reunited and they could only do this if their name was written down somewhere.

What Did You Learn?

  1. What were some of the things that the Ancient Egyptians considered to be magic?  The Ancient Egyptians believed amulets, cats, animals and gods and goddesses were magic.
  2. Did the Egyptians believe in curses?   The Egyptians believed that they could put curses on people and on tombs and that there were curses if a mummy was stolen or destroyed.
  3. What was the “Book of the Dead?” The “Book of the Dead,” was a book that was full of over 200 different spells.  The book would be used by the people to help their loved ones to pass over to the afterlife and to put spells on people and things.
  4. What was one of the most important things about writing a spell? People of Ancient Egypt believed that they could only make it to the afterlife if they wrote their name somewhere.  When a spell was written, the people would write their name on the spell and it would allow them to pass to the afterlife when they died.
  5. Why were dreams important? The Ancient Egyptians believed that dreams were important because it was the way that their gods and goddesses communicated with them and helped them to tell the future.