Heka: God of Magic & Medicine

Who the god Heka is?

In ancient Egypt, magic was a very important aspect in society, Ancient Egyptians believed that magic comes from power or strength which is present in the universe. So, they personified magic. Thus, this personification is the god Heka. ‘Heka’ itself was a word in ancient Egypt which people used to describe all ritualistic magic.

heka god of magic

Is he a god of creation?

There is mythology about the god of magic. According to this, Heka existed from the time of creation. He empowered the event of creation. Thus, it indicates his close association with the beginning of everything.

Association of the god with medicine

In ancient Egypt, people saw magic & medicine as one thing. Thus, Heka has associated with medicine also. So, Egyptian doctors & physicians called themselves ‘priests of Heka’. According to the Ebers Papyrus of c. 1550 BCE, magic is effective with medicine.

The meaning of the name ‘Heka’

According to the Coffin Texts, the name ‘Heka’ refers to ‘he who consecrates the ka‘. But, the archaeological evidence from Esna refers to the meaning of his name as ‘the first work’. There may have been some reasons for this type of explanation. In the beginning, Heka first came as magic. Then it empowered all gods & goddesses. So, he worked as a power of the divine. Thus, from the 20th Dynasty onward, his name started to be written with the hieroglyph of the word ‘power’.

the heka symbol

The main duties of the god

There were some important duties of Heka. He accompanied the sun god in his bark. It was the most important one. Another is that he protected Osiris in the underworld. So, these duties indicate that Heka had moderate importance in the ancient Egyptian religious pantheon.

The iconography of Heka

Iconographically speaking, Heka is represented in anthropomorphic form. He is a man with a special kind of clothing & the carved beard of the gods. There is an interesting thing about Heka’s representations. As he can be seen represented as the son of various divine couples in ancient Egypt.

god heka

The magic of Heka

Heka was definitely a personification of magic. But broadly speaking, this word refers to magical rituals in ancient Egypt. The rituals usually took place in the temples in the absence of common people. But there is archaeological evidence of the participation of mass in the magic of Heka. As they believed that they can reach to the close of their divines through the magic of Heka.

The cult of Heka

Heka had no regular formal cult of his own. But, he had great importance in the religion. The Pyramid Texts & the Coffin Texts are the indications of his importance. Pyramid Texts claim his authority. On the other hand, there is a spell in the Coffin Texts. It is on how to become the god Heka.

heka at the temple of esna

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