Talk:Ancient Egyptian concept of the soul

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Sekhem and Sekhu[edit]

In Norman Mailer's novel Ancient Evenings, set in ancient Egypt, he talks about the "seven souls and spirits" which leave the body after death. As well as the five mentioned here we hear about the Sekhem and the Sekhu. Is there any info about what exactly these terms refer to?

I added two new sections to accomodate Sekem and Sekhu. I also edited the introductory paragraph to reflect this and reordered the seven in the order that they leave the body. I am not entirely sure what Sekem is but I added something about Sekhu. - reahad

Sekhu vs Ha[edit]

Is there any difference between the "Sekhu" and the "Ha". They both seem to mean the physical body. Are they simply synonyms? (Several of the other souls have two names.)

Valley of the Kings[edit]

The largest and most complex tomb in the Valley of the Kings was apparently built to contain the burial chambers of many of the sons of Rames II (reigned 1279-13), the greatest king of the 19th dynasty. This tomb, which had been previously discovered but dismissed as insignificant, was again located in the late 1980's and paritially excavated in the 1990's [1]


  1. ^ Drowner, Stefana. "Vallley of the Kings". Encyclopedia Britannica. 

Removal and rewrite[edit]

I've removed sekhem and sekhu -- not sure Norman Mailer is an appropriate authority. I believe Sekhem (I'm presuming this is the word sxm) means power, as in the power to do violence (sxm-ib, violent minded). I'm not sure what sekhu is. There is a word "sxw" which according to my word-list means "breadth". Yes, breadth. Though my notes aren't completely accurate ... The usual word for breath is "taw"

Added some stuff based off Essays 7 & 8 from James Allen's book (reference added). I've also deleted some stuff about the Ka which seems to come from Wallis Budge (who is unreferenced?). The Akh was transliterated by him as Khu sometimes.

Ha means body, as in the physical shell. Sometimes you will see Xt (khet, or variant) also translated as body, but I think this is more associated with "womb" or "belly". In a Ramesside inscription I remember reading, sa ra n xt.f (ra-ms-s), the Son of Re, of his body (i.e. begotten by him), Ramesses. --Cliau 03:52, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

Tomb of Paheri[edit]

The tomb of Paheri =

Oh excellent satisfier of the heart of his master, may you enter and leave happy, in the favour of the lord of the gods.
A perfect burial after a long life of excellent service.
When old age is here and you arrive at your place in the underworld and join the land of the west, become a living Ba.
May you be able to enjoy bread, water and breath.
May you be able to transform into a heron, swallow, falcon, egret, according to your desire.
May you cross (the Nile) in the barque without being driven back and having to sail with the current.
May you live again a second time, without your ba being kept away from your divine corpse.

--Cliau 03:39, 25 February 2007 (UTC)

Problems with this page[edit]

There are many. I think the interpretation of the AE parts of being is difficult. This page attempts to make equivalents such as ka = life force which are not strictly ok. The akh which is one of the most important concepts isn't given its own section. The text says the ka leaves the body - when actually it remains with the body and the ba actually leaves. Needs a complete revision in my view. Apepch7 18:49, 15 October 2007 (UTC)

Seven souls[edit]

I'm breaking the Wiki-link to Seven souls by renaming it Seven souls (Egyptian mythology). The link leads to a disambiguation page, and the disambiguation page leads back here, which isn't helpful and is somewhat annoying. Does anyone know how this happened, or how Seven souls was intended to differ from this article? If not, I'll look through the history and try to figure out what was intended. (By the way, that's a very nice ba bird. Kudos to Jeff Dahl.) Yappy2bhere (talk) 16:02, 6 January 2010 (UTC)

The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind[edit]

Calling The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind "regarded as on the fringe by the mainstream" is like calling the Pacific Ocean "moist". Julian Jaynes's theories have been utterly debunked. Works of fantasy that just happen to mention ancient Egypt do not belong in this article. This is why people sneer at Wikipedia. -- (talk) 19:34, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

I'm curious, where have Jaynes's theories been debunked? Googling, I can find some hits calling him a crackpot, but with no explanation of why he is so "obviously" wrong. This dismissal requires further explanation. (Btw, I'm not saying he is right) (talk) 02:40, 22 March 2011 (UTC)

Pyramids called Baw???[edit]

I have checked the assertion that pyramids were called b3 or b3w and found that only two are called a b3 - so will remove this part unless someone can convince otherwise. Apepch7 (talk) 12:58, 30 June 2008 (UTC)


This page lists Borroughs as a source, but Borroughs claimed that the Egyptian soul had seven parts, not five. The Ren, the secret name, Sekem, the power, the Khu, the guardian angel which will move on to protect another soul, Ba, the heart, Ka, the double, Khaibit, the shadow, and Sekhu, the body. So what's the dealio? (talk) 14:46, 21 August 2008 (UTC)

Autocontradictory intro[edit]

I count the number of "souls" to

[1] Ren, the [2] Ba, the [3] Ka, the [4] Sheut, and the [5] Ib. In addition to these components of the soul there was the human body (called the ha, occasionally a plural haw, meaning approximately sum of bodily parts). The other souls were [6] aakhu, [2] ba, [3] ka, [7] khaibut, [8] khat, and [1] ren.

sum 8. While the first clause claims:

The Ancient Egyptians believed that a human soul was made up of five parts

Some cleanup is needed. ... said: Rursus (mbork³) 19:50, 24 September 2009 (UTC)

Happenstance 6 soul types are mentioned in the text. Reminds me of a funny song text by Povel Ramel, freely translated:
Cheat and Kick, and Dry and Quark,
was six tiny dwarfs,
one was glad, another ugly, the third was simply stupid...
... said: Rursus (mbork³) 19:57, 24 September 2009 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

The following is a closed discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: 07:22, 31 May 2011‎ Hadal moved Egyptian soul to Ancient Egyptian concept of the soul: per move request; retained qualifier "Ancient" to properly disambiguate. – Wbm1058 (talk) 21:55, 14 February 2015 (UTC)

Egyptian soulEgyptian concept of the soul – The current title sounds like the article's about the soul of an Egyptian. I'm open to any other suggested title that makes it clear what the topic is. Theoldsparkle (talk) 20:15, 23 May 2011 (UTC)

I support the move to a clearer title, and I also think your suggestion is about the best title one could devise. My only question is whether the word "ancient" should be added to it. This question bother me project-wide; when do we need the title to distinguish between ancient and medieval and modern Egypt? It's an easy decision with, say, ancient Egyptian cuisine as opposed to modern Egyptian cuisine, and with ancient Egyptian religion, which without the "ancient" could be confused with religion in Egypt. Egyptian temple is a fairly clear example in the opposite direction: almost all modern places of worship in Egypt are never called temples (they're mosques or churches or synagogues), so the "ancient" isn't necessary to disambiguate.

In this case I favor leaving out "ancient" because there is no specifically Egyptian concept of the soul in modern times, just various concepts of the soul (from different religions & philosophies) that some Egyptians happen to hold. But I'd like other people to weigh in, partly because it will help in naming other ancient Egypt-related articles. A. Parrot (talk) 21:29, 23 May 2011 (UTC)

The article almost certainly needs to be moved, when seeing the title of this article I thought it was about Soul music in Egypt. I would also suggest the addition of 'Ancient' interestingly because of the reason A. Parrot gives for not using it: "because there is no specifically Egyptian concept of the soul in modern times", to me to leave out the word Ancient would imply that there was a modern Egyptian concept of the soul. Shatter Resistance (talk) 17:30, 24 May 2011 (UTC)
I went ahead and moved the article, as per the discussion above. IMO "Ancient" is a necessary qualifier, as without it you run into the same ambiguities A. Parrot mentions. Other language wikis seem to treat the title issue by using the convention "Soul (Ancient Egyptian religion)" but I think Theoldsparkle's phrasing is less awkward. --Hadal (talk) 07:36, 31 May 2011 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

proposed revision of introduction[edit]

The current introduction is internally inconsistent. Since the page has been locked from public editing there's no way to change this without discussing the change. I'd like to suggest the following. - "The cultures of ancient Egypt believed in a rich cosmology and a detailed view of the afterlife. As a result they developed a detailed conceptualization of the human soul. Various sources from their time and later observers have also explored and expanded ancient Egyptian ideas of the soul, the mundane, and the afterlife. Traditionally, the soul was viewed as five distinct parts which came together to form a single living being. Other parts have also been defined and hold significance to either historical or contemporary sources. This article will elaborate upon some of the more commonly documented parts of the ancient Egyptian view of the human soul." - Whenever opinions differ the need for citations becomes evident. Wikipedia has procedures in place to handle these disputes. By leaving the specific parts out of the introduction editors will be able to state and support each part independently. The article can be constructed in a well-researched way as further edits progress. (talk) 16:55, 5 January 2016 (UTC)

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