In Egyptian mythology, Heka (also spelt Hike) was the deification of magic, his name being the Egyptian word for magic. According to Egyptian writing (Coffin text, spell 261), Heka existed "before duality had yet come into being." The term "Heka" was also used for the practice of magical ritual. The Coptic word "hik", is derived from the Ancient Egyptian.
Heka literally means activating the Ka, the aspect of the soul which embodied personality. Egyptians thought activating the power of the soul was how magic worked. "Heka" also implied great power and influence, particularly in the case of drawing upon the Ka of the gods. Heka acted together with Hu, the principle of divine utterance, and Sia, the concept of divine omniscience, to create the basis of creative power both in the mortal world and the world of the gods.
As the one who activates Ka, Heka was also said to be the son of Atum, the creator of things in general, or occasionally the son of Chnum, who created specific individual Ba (another aspect of the soul). As the son of Chnum, his mother was said to be Menhit.
The hieroglyph for his name featured a twist of flax within a pair of raised arms; however, it also vaguely resembles a pair of entwined snakes within someone's arms. Consequently, Heka was said to have battled and conquered two serpents, and was usually depicted as a man choking two entwined serpents. Medicine and doctors was thought to be a form of magic, and so Heka's priesthood performed these activities.
Egyptians believed that with the help of heka, they could influence the world of the gods and gain protection, healing and support. Mundane existence and religion were not distinct in the world view of the ancient Egyptians. Every aspect of life, the world, plant and animal life, mortal existence, cultic practices and the afterlife, was connected to the power and authority of the gods.
Magic in ancient Egypt consisted of four components. The primeval potency that empowered the creator-god was identified with Heka. This power was accompanied by magical rituals, known as Seshaw, which were held within sacred texts, Rw. In addition Pekhret, medicinal prescriptions, could be given to seekers to bring about the desired condition. This magic was used in temple rituals, in consultation with priests and healers, and in informal daily situations. These rituals were often combined with medical practices, which formed an integrated therapy for both physical and spiritual ills.
"Hike." Encyclopedia Mythica from Encyclopedia Mythica Online. (Accessed February 18, 2010).
Amun · Amunet · Anubis · Anuket · Apep · Apis · Aten · Atum · Bastet · Bat · Bes
Four sons of Horus · Geb · Hapy · Hathor · Heka · Heqet · Horus · Isis · Khepri
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