Author:
Jacco Dieleman
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Abstract

This chapter discusses ritual in pharaonic Egypt, focusing on attempts to mobilize the primordial, natural force of heka to intervene in worldly affairs. It gives examples of the positive use of heka both through rituals of the king, who performed rituals to preserve the Egyptian state and society, and through temple priests who conducted similar rituals aimed at protecting households or individuals. Then it turns to hostile uses of heka such as curses and the “heka-workers” who performed these rituals. Throughout its analysis, this chapter also reflects on the reasons behind these rituals, recognizing that whether uses of heka were for benevolent or malign purposes, the ultimate force involved remained the same.

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