nine parts of the soul in ancient egypt

The Ancient Egyptian Nine Soul Parts (with Tarot Spread)

nine soul parts in ancient egypt

During my Sekhmet Reiki studies, we learned about the nine soul parts or bodies of the human being. This is an interesting concept to me, especially since my Norse ancestors held to a similar complex system of eight parts of the individual. There is no way of knowing how old either of these teachings is but my gut tells me they are Atlantean or antediluvian.

Jump to the Nine Soul Parts Tarot Spread

According to ancient Egyptian teachings, the nine parts are in a hierarchical relationship with one another. Ideally, during life, they remain in harmony with one another. However, one soul part can take over and dominate, disabling us from reaching our full potential. Thankfully, we can also nurture each soul part individually if one of them is out of balance. For instance, reading and learning new things strengthens the Ka (mental body).

Below, you can see each of the nine soul parts listed from the densest to the most subtle. The first five bodies (Khat, Ka, Khaibit, Ab and Ba) represent the physical form and its personality and the other four bodies or parts represent the psyche (Akhu, Ren, Sekhem and Sahu).

Khat – The Physical Body

The Khat refers to the physical body. Ancient Egyptians went to great lengths to preserve the body through mummification. The Khat has a brain but no mind of its own. The brain only regulates the mechanical functions of the body’s physiology.

All other soul parts influence the Khat, whose job it is to give expression to the other parts. Surprisingly, the more subtle the part, the greater the influence on the Khat. However, even from a scientific point of view, this makes sense. Faith and prayer are known to influence longevity.

After death, the Khat is a base for the Ka (Thinking Body) and the Ba (Soul).

Ka – The Double

The Ka (the Thinking Body) is essentially a person’s double form. It is the life force and at the same time an energetic blueprint of the individual. The creator deity Knuhm creates the Ka together with the Khat at the time of conception. However, only the Ka lives on after death. It was the Ka that the Ancient Egyptians provided sustenance for in the afterlife.

In life, it is the Ka that instructs the Khat on what to do.

In hieroglyphic writing, the Ka is represented by two upstretched arms. Anything inside the arms represents what the person is thinking of or what’s on their mind.

It is not a stretch of the Ka (pun intended) to imagine that there is sometimes conflict between the Ka and the Khat, especially when negative self-talk is present.

Khaibit – The Shadow

The Khaibit (aka Sheut) represents the shadow of a person and equates to the emotional/astral body of the person. The ancient Egyptians believed that the shadow contained something of the person it represented. Like the Ka and the Ba, the shadow was also important in the afterlife. It is the Khaibit who avenges the soul if the peace of the grave is disturbed.

The Khaibit has agency through a person’s mind, emotions, dreams and memory, as well as through experiences of pleasure and bain. It can disturb the peace of the Khat when chaotic feelings take over. The body of the Khaibit is self-created and has the power to shapeshift as well as bilocate.

Even the Egyptian Neteru (deities) had a Khaibit but they were able to lock it away and keep it hidden. Perhaps, on a psychological level, this is symbolic of learning to be in control of one’s emotions rather than being controlled by them. Could it be that when our emotions are perfectly integrated, they no longer cast a shadow?

Ib/Ab – The Heart

The Ib was believed to be created from a drop of blood from the heart of the child’s mother, formed at conception. The heart was considered the seat of thought, emotion, and intention, weighed against the feather of Ma’at after death. This weighing of the heart is what you see in the image at the top of the post, with Anubis doing the weighing while the other Neteru watch from above.

Some interpretations mention the Ab (the Karmic Body) as the heart but with a separate emphasis from the Ib. The Ab is associated with the inner essence of the person. It carries the person’s will and intention and it is also referenced in context with morality. This is the meaning we see in Sekhmet Reiki where we also learn that the Ab has the power to activate our MeKaBa (light body).

To develop and mature, the heart has to learn to discern between truth and illusion, as well as appreciate that everything is divine. This ties the concept of the Ab very much to the meaning of The Lovers in the Tarot. This is also where we find the bridge between the conscious mind and the deep/subconscious mind.

Ab and the Khaibit determine your soul qualities (Ba) and the Ren (Name) is the result of the Ab in combination with your actions.

Ba – The True Nature

The Ba (the soul) is often represented as a bird with a human head and is seen as the unique aspect that makes an individual who they are. It is located in the Ab, the seat of the soul. Ba is akin to the concept of personality or the self. It could travel between the underworld and the physical world after death.

The word ‘Ba’ means reputation. This eternal soul part remains unaffected by whatever happens to the lower soul parts.

We can access the Ba (true nature or soul self) when sleeping or in a trance.

Akhu – The Transformed Self

The Akhu (the Magical Body) is the spirit that after death and the proper ceremonies, could interact with the living. It is known as ‘The Shining One’ and often also translated as ‘effective one.’ The latter suggests a being with magical powers. It forms out of the union of the Ba and the Ka and allows the soul to return to the physical plan when it so desires.

The Akhu forms only after the soul has passed the test by Maat of the weighing of the heart. When we pass, the Ka joins with the Ba and we get to take our place among the stars. The Akhu soul part is that of Ascended Masters, spirit guides and ancestors who can interact with the living. While living, we can only access the reality of the Akhu in Dreamtime.

The Akhu largely determines the Khat’s fate, including when and how it will die.

Ren – The Name

The Ancient Egyptian word, ‘Ren’ means ringing or echo. The Ren is the secret and sacred immortal name given to a person at birth. It is composed of sacred symbols that we cannot easily translate into spoken or written language.

The Ren was placed inside a cartouch to protect it. This was to prevent the destruction of the sacred symbols which could lead to the destruction of the soul.

The Neturu did not reveal their true name to anybody so nobody could gain power over them.

Sekhem – Universal Life Energy

Sekhem is the healing and revitalising divine force of truth and love. This subtle energy is omnipresent and it is the force we seek to channel when giving healing. The Sekhem soul part resides in the Heavens with the Akhu.

According to Egyptian Mythology, the Sekhem is the power where Horus and Osiris reside. It can be seen as the resurrection body that the Higher Self fashions for itself.

It is the eternal flame of creation that sustains the Ankh.

Sahu – Higher Self

The Sahu is the subtle body where the Akhu and the Ba dwell. It can be seen as the Higher Self or possibly as the Oversoul to the Higher Self which then equates to the Akhu.

Ancient Egyptian priests were the only ones believed to be capable of working with the Sahu. It is the only soul part that is compatible with the highest spiritual realities and forces. When the Akhu ascends, it unites with the Sahu.

When the Sahu is fully integrated, all our actions flow from the spiritual planes and we are capable of manifesting our true purpose in life.

Your Sahu can always access the answer to any questions you have as it is part of the One Mind.

The Nine Soul Parts Tarot Spread

the ancient egyptian nine soul parts tarot spread

Achieve balance, integrate all parts of yourself and deepen your understanding of the ancient Egyptian concepts of the soul by using this unique Nine Soul Parts Tarot Spread.

  1. Khat – The Physical Body
    What physical actions can I take to honour my body and give expression to my soul’s intentions?
  2. Ka – The Double
    How can I better align my life force with my soul’s blueprint and live more authentically?
  3. Khaibit – The Shadow
    What part of my shadow do I need to acknowledge or heal to achieve emotional balance?
  4. Ib/Ab – The Heart
    Where does my heart need to discern truth from illusion to evolve and mature spiritually?
  5. Ba – The True Nature
    What qualities of my true self should I embrace or develop further?
  6. Akhu – The Transformed Self
    How can I connect with my ‘Shining One’ to realise my magical potential?
  7. Ren – The Name
    What personal energies do I need to express more powerfully in terms of my legacy?
  8. Sekhem – Universal Life Energy
    In what way can I open myself to channel the healing and revitalising force of Sekhem?
  9. Sahu – Higher Self
    How can I integrate my Higher Self more fully to manifest my true purpose in life?

Before laying out the cards, take a moment to ground and centre yourself. Hold the intention of seeking a deeper understanding of these soul parts and their influence on your life. Shuffle the Tarot deck while focusing on your intention and draw a card for each position, laying them out in the order given. Reflect on the messages of the cards and how they relate to the corresponding soul parts.

Sample Nine Soul Parts Tarot Reading

Khat – The Physical Body

4 of Pentacles
This card suggests a need to examine your relationship with material stability and control. Ground your energy and put habits in place that lay a solid foundation for good health.

Ka – The Double

8 of Wands
Your life force is aligning swiftly with your soul’s blueprint. This card indicates momentum and positive energy flow. Live authentically by maintaining this pace and direction, capitalising on the growth opportunities that come your way as fast-moving developments occur.

Khaibit – The Shadow

Page of Swords
This card suggests curiosity and a thirst for knowledge may be key in confronting parts of your shadow. It is a call to communicate clearly and face truths that will enable emotional balance. Acknowledge the need to explore and heal aspects of your shadow with a brave and curious mindset.

Ib/Ab – The Heart

9 of Swords
Your mind currently suffers from anxiety and worry, trapping you in illusions that prevent your heart from discerning the truth. It’s a clear indicator that to evolve and mature spiritually, you will need to confront these fears. Learn to distinguish between what is real and what is imagined.

Ba – The True Nature

5 of Pentacles
Feelings of isolation or financial stress obscure the qualities of your true self. Embrace your inner resilience and seek out the community and support that can help you develop further. Recognising your worth, regardless of external circumstances, allows you to shine brightly.

Akhu – The Transformed Self

The Fool
This card signifies the potential for a transformative new journey. Connect with your ‘Shining One’ by embracing the spirit of adventure and the willingness to take risks. The magical version of you knows how to trust in the Divine, no matter what.

Ren – The Name

7 of Pentacles
You need patience. Reflect on your accomplishments, strengths and weaknesses to understand what energies you came here to express. This is a moment to consider the fruits of your labour and evaluate what steps you need to take next. Acknowledge the efforts you’ve put in and discern the legacy you wish to cultivate and eventually leave behind.

Sekhem – Universal Life Energy

Knight of Wands
To channel the healing and revitalising force of Sekhem, see life as a grand adventure. The Knight of Wands encourages you to take action on your inspirations, letting the fire within guide you to express this universal energy in dynamic ways.

Sahu – Higher Self

Ace of Wands
A spark of inspiration indicates a strong connection with your Higher Self, offering an inspired opportunity to manifest your true purpose in life. Seize this moment for a fresh start, letting the creative force of the Ace of Wands ignite your actions and connect you more fully with the divine spark within.

If you enjoyed this Tarot Spread, you’ll love the Egyptian Chakra Wisdom Tarot Spread!

Check out this massive library with 300+ FREE Tarot Spreads for personal & spiritual development!