Magic and Superstitions

Ancient Egyptians believed that magic, science and religion were all linked together. Priests performed ceremonies and cast spells, asking the gods for favour and power to help people.

They performed different rituals at set times in the day and on special days in the year to bring success to the kingdom and to protect the pharaohs.

Everybody used magic in their daily lives to solve their problems. They would use magical wards to stop evil from entering their house or a tomb and would say spells, as well as take medicine, to cure disease.

When people left the protection of their home, they carried or wore amulets – jewellery which they believed had magical powers so could protect them and bring them good luck.

The ancient Egyptians thought that the gods would communicate with them in their dreams. They thought the gods would give them solutions to their problems and tell them what would happen in their future.

For example:

  • If a man dreamt of his bed catching fire, it meant that his wife would leave him!
  • If someone dreamt they were looking after monkeys, it meant that there as a big change to come.
  • If someone dreamt they were looking out of a window, it meant the gods were listening to them.

If people had a dream that they thought meant something, they would immediate run out to buy a spell or an amulet.

For a bad dream, you wanted magic to protect you and for a good dream you wanted some good luck to make sure the prediction happened.

The ancient Egyptians kept their spells written down on a sheet of papyrus paper. These sheets were nicknamed the Book of the Dead!

Most spells were to help people reach the afterlife after they died, as this was the most important thing to ancient Egyptians – over 200 spells were created! Some were written on tombs or amulets to carry with you when you died for protection.

You could buy spells written down already in the marketplace, with blank spaces for you to write your name in, or you could pay a scribe to design a spell for you.

This would then be placed in your tomb. It was important to write your name down so that you got the protection after you died. Also, it helped your souls (Ba and Ka) to get home to your tomb and body at night, after their travels around the world.

Ancient Egyptian Magic and Superstitions Facts

  • Ancient Egyptians thought that magic, science and religion were all interlinked.
  • People used magic to protect themselves from evil, bring them good luck and help them in life and death.
  • Ancient Egyptians communicated with the gods in their dreams.
  • People would use their dreams to predict the future and to solve their problems.
  • Spells and amulets would be bought based off of what people dreamed about and to either protect them from bad things or help them get good things.
  • The Book of the Dead was a nickname for spells written on papyrus paper or walls in your tomb.
  • There were over 200 unique spells to help you out in life and death!
  • Your name was written on spells so that your soul could get home to the body after you died and so you could reach the afterlife.

Questions

  • Why did Ancient Egyptians use magic?
    They believed magic, science and religion all worked together to protect them.
  • What did people think about dreams?
    The gods communicated through dreams and people used them to predict the future.
  • What sort of things did people use spells for?
    Everything! Protecting their homes, curing disease and helping them reach the afterlife.
  • What was the Book of the Dead?
    A collection of personal spells written down on papyrus paper or in your tomb.