The Egyptian culture was rich in symbolism. Symbols were used for religious and magickal purposes by both the living and the dead. Amulets were constructed to ward of danger or things of a negative nature. Talismen were used to bring desirable things to the owner.

The Ankh
The Tet
The Scarab
The Feather of Ma'at
The Cobra
Wadjet (Eye of Horus)

Ankh (aka Crux Ansata) Life The Ankh is probably the most widely recognized of all Egyptian symbols. In his book Body Guards, Desmond Morris calls the Ankh "one of the most complicated and confusing images in the history of art." One a very basic level it represents life in general. For example, it is commonly seen being held by gods, goddesses and pharaohs indicating that they are life givers or that they have control over life. The Ankh was often worn as an amulet to protect the wearer from illness and infertility and to guarantee immorality in the afterlife. Regarding the latter, some believed it to be a mystical key that unlocks the 'Gates of Death'. The orgins of this symbol are unknown. Many have ventured to guess: an Egyptian sandal strap, the rising sun, male and/or female genitalia or a human figure. One common modern misconception is that it is an alternate version of the Christian cross. Nothing could be futher from the truth since the Ankh is many centuries older than the Christian cross.
Tet Strength and stability The Tet symbol relates to the slaying of Osiris by his brother Set. After Osiris had been flung into the Nile, he and the box he was in washed up on the shore. Around him grew a beautiful tree. A prince came along and fell in love with the tree. He decided to use it for a column in his palace. The column, when finished, resembled the Tet. It is sometimes referred to as the backbone of Osiris.
Scarab Rebirth The Scarab represents the rising sun or the god Khephera. The Egyptians believed that the sun was reborn each day. After the sun set, he battled through the underworld. He would have to slay monsters (delusion) in order to be born again. The scarab, also known as the dung beetle, mystified the Egyptians. It appeared that it was self-created when it 'magickly' sprang to life from a ball of dung. The ball being symbolic of the solar disk.
Wadjet Protection Also known as the Eye of Horus. While battling Set, Horus lost his left eye. Thoth found it and returned it to Horus. It is said to keep evil or negative forces away and is also related to psychic vision.
The Feather of Ma'at Balance or Justice The hearts of the deceased were weighed against her feather at the Judgment. The heart of a 'Truth Speaker' would weigh the same as the feather of Maat and he/she would then be permitted to enter the Kingdom of Osiris. The deceased whose heart was heavier than the feather of Maat was devoured by Ammut. A good Pharaoh would establish and maintain Maat, that is he kept the cosmic forces in balance.
The Cobra Protection and Lower Egypt The cobra symbolized the divine protection of the Pharaoh. Originally the cobra appeared on the red crown of Lower Egypt. When the Two Lands were united, their two crowns were also united. The red crown combined with the white crown of Upper Egypt to become the double crown. The cobra is related to a goddess of Lower Egypt, Uadjet (or Wadjet).
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