The human double or astral body in ancient Egyptian belief.
The ka was usually depicted as a birdlike duplicate of the
deceased. Egyptologist Gaston Maspero defined it as ‘‘a kind
of second copy of the body in matter less dense than the corporeal,
a coloured though real projection of the individual, an
exact reproduction of him in every part.’’ The ka was believed
to live in the tomb. Egyptians mummified the deceased’s body
and filled the tomb with provisions to prolong the life of the ka.
If neglected the ka was thought to come out of the tomb and
haunt the guilty relatives.
The ka was not to be confused with the soul, called ba or bai,
which was believed to abandon the material body and the double
at the moment of death.
Berger, Arthur S., and Joyce Berger. The Encyclopedia of
Parapsychology and Psychical Research. New York Paragon
House, 1991.
Hornung, Erik. Conceptions of God in Ancient Egypt. Ithaca,
N.Y. Cornell University Press, 1982.

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