What is a “akh”? In ancient Egypt, the akh was one of the parts of a person that came into being in the ancient Egyptian afterlife. Because the akh could live after death and could contact the living, sometimes you will hear that the akh was a ghost. But the akh was really not like how western idea of a ghost – so what was it really? In this video, you’ll learn the 3 things that you need to know to understand the ancient Egyptian akh.
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This book by Salima Ikram is my favorite general introduction to death, burial, and afterlife beliefs and practices in ancient Egypt. It is a great introduction to a variety of topics related to the afterlife, including the parts of the person, such as the akh. I like it so much that I use it as the main text in one of my courses:
If you’re looking for an introduction to the wider subject of ancient Egyptian religion, this book by Teeter is one I love to use when teaching ancient Egyptian religion. It covers many aspects of ancient Egyptian belief and ritual and devotes an entire chapter to communication between the living and the dead:
If you want to dive deeper and read a bunch of letters to the dead for yourself, you should check out this book by Wente. It also includes ancient Egyptian letters on many different topics from a wide variety of time periods: