Souls, and Spirits, and Ghosts, Oh My!

I think I’ve talked here before (and if I haven’t, I should!) about how a lot of what we think of as magic today, was actually part of Ancient Egypt’s religion. There are a number of terms I use in the books, that I thought I’d explain a little more in depth here, especially those having to do with the magic and curses Theo deals with.

The Egyptians idea of a soul actually included three parts; ba, ka, and akh.

The ka was the divine life force that each person possessed. The ka didn’t have a personality, per se, but very much needed a physical body to inhabit. This is why mummification was so important to the ancient Egyptians—they needed a place for their ka to live once they had died. All the food and objects left in their tombs were for the ka to use.

The ba was the part of the soul that held the person’s personality. It was the ba that journeyed to the Egyptian Underworld and risked being overcome by Underworld demons and dying a second time. If the ba failed in its journey through the Underworld, it died for a second, final time.

However, if the ba survived the journey through the Underworld, it was transformed into an akh, a spirit who lived with the gods and might even have some small powers of its own.

The ba that did not survive the Egyptian Underworld became restless and unhappy. These were called mut, and are a large part of what Theodosia has to deal with in her work with curses.

Hm. Maybe I should do an entire glossary for the books. There are an awful lot of unfamiliar or unusual words having to do with ancient Egypt in the book.

8 Responses to “Souls, and Spirits, and Ghosts, Oh My!”

  1. Madeline Says:

    Hi Theodosia, Just happened to stumble upon your blog and I love it! I’m reading the Staff of Osiris right now. I really liked the Serpents of Chaos! I can’t wait to get hte Eyes of Horus! Please write to me! Have fun removing curses!

  2. Theodosia Says:

    hi i love her bbbbbbbbbbbbooks to

  3. Ren Says:

    Hi, after reading the paragraph you wrote, I remembered a book I`d read called Orphan of the Sun by Gillis Harvey. It was REALLY good and I could relate to a lot of the history mentioned in the Theo books. I would definitely recommend it for all Theo fans.

  4. kate Says:

    I agree with Madeline, your books are most amazing! I found your blog a couple of weeks ago and have been coming on and off since. i can’t wait for The eyes of Horus to come out!

  5. Claire Says:

    Applause for RL and her Eyes of Horus!!!

    Theodosia is awesome!

  6. RL Says:

    Dear Madeline,

    I am SO glad you are enjoying the books! Thank you for letting me know!

    Ren, I am writing that title down right now. Sound really interesting!

    Kate, I’m so glad you found the blog and have been visiting. I love hearing from my readers.

    Thank you, Miss Claire! :-)

  7. Kayla Says:

    I LOVE Theo!!!!!!!!!!!! She is amaaazing!!!!!!! Keep Writing!!!!!!!!!!! Never Stop!! Ever!!!!!

  8. Greek Girl/Athena Says:

    Thanks for the Egyptian vocab. I’ll have to tell my teacher about it!