I was originally going to do a post on the goddess Isis (since she is a major part of my writing) when I remembered I already had written and posted an article about her. If you like to read that post, you’ll find it here. And today, I’m going to speak a little bit about the Egyptian heart, the ib. Another important part of the Descendants of Isis, since Natara’s gifts involve reading and even seeing inside a person’s heart.
In ancient Egyptian beliefs, the ib is formed from a single drop of clotted blood extracted from the mother’s heart at the hour of conception or birth. The image of the heart looks like a vase with handles. A fair representation of a section of a sheep’s heart, with the handles corresponding with the veins and arteries. To the ancient Egyptians, the ib was more than an origin that pumped blood throughout the body. It was the seat of the soul and the center of emotion, intelligence, and moral sense. It was also what gave a person’s life direction.
When the heart tired out, the body died, and the ib became the record of the person’s mortal past. This record was weighed against the feather of Ma ‘at, which determined the soul’s fate. This organ was so important that, during embalming, the Egyptian priests would leave the heart inside the body rather than remove it with the other internal organs. And to protect the ib as well as prevent it from speaking against its owner, they would place a scarab amulet into the mummy’s bindings, right above the heart. On the bottom side of this amulet was the inscription of Spell 30 from the Book of the Dead.
- Egyptian Myth. (2014) Heart (ieb). http://www.egyptianmyths.net/heart.htm
- Reshafim, K. (2003) Body and Soul. http://www.reshafim.org.il/ad/egypt/religion/body_and_soul.htm
- Rogerson, B. (2013) 5: Components of the soul in ancient Egypt. https://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2013/dec/05/books-advent-calendar-5-soul-ancient-egypt
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