Isis’ Knife


“Isis gives you this knife of Hers which She gave to Horus after the mourning of the Gods.” (Coffin Texts, Formula 102.)

What is this mysterious knife of Isis?

In ancient Egypt, the knife was not only a practical tool and weapon; it was also a magical tool and weapon. The preferred ritual knife was the ancient flint knife, des. Des actually means “flint,” but it remained the general word used for knife throughout Egyptian history. As you might expect, knives, practical and magical, could be used both defensively and offensively.

The des, the ancient Egyptian flint knife

Knives appear frequently in representations of the Egyptian Otherworld. They are used in slaying the enemies of the deceased and smoothing the passage through the land of the dead. Some magical rites called for a protective circle of knives to be erected for the working. Knives are also found in judgment scenes…

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