One of the most famous ancient Egyptian symbols was the Djed pillar that was a symbol of stability, permanence, and immutability. It was found everywhere in Egyptian art and architecture all across Egypt throughout the country's history. The symbol was associated with Ptah the God of creation and Osiris the Ruler of the underworld, actually, it represents the god's Osiris backbone. The symbol has appeared throughout Egypt's history very vividly and regularly as it reminded the public of that death is a portal to a new beginning, the nature of life itself, and that the gods are always near.
The symbol appears as a pillar or a vertical shaft with four horizontal bars near the top which a series of lines between each bar. There are four bands around the neck of the shaft under the first of the horizontal bars. The Djed pillar represents the concept, the spoken & written word of stability. The origin of the symbol can be traced to the myth of Osiris which involved his brother Seth the god of disorder, chaos, desert, and violence attempting to kill his brother Osiris by tricking Osiris into climbing in a coffin then thrown into the Nile which ended up on the shores of Byblos where a sacred tree grew rapidly around the coffin.
The king of the land was impressed by the huge tree and ordered to be cut into a pillar and put in his palace without what is inside of it, then his wife goddess Isis was able to get the pillar to remove Osiris body and reconstruct the pillar which became known as the Djed Pillar. The creator god Ptah was often seen with the Djed and even called the noble Djed. The Djed pillar represents the human backbone of Osiris which would encourage the soul to rise up from the body and move towards the afterlife and the enduring presence of the gods in one's life.
During the predynastic, there has been a form of fertility pole as Osiris started as a fertility god before becoming the ruler of the underworld as there used to be festival called Heb Sed "The Djed Pillar" Festival which celebrated the first day of the harvest season through rising the pillar in the sky by the cult of Osiris which symbolizes the grains rising from the earth like how Osiris Returned from the dead.
The pillar of Djed was viewed as the pillar that held the skies. In Egypt old kingdom (2613-2181 BC) the Djed was featured on many temples and illustrated in the book of the dead in various versions and even came in the shape of an amulet. One of the most notable examples of the Djed is shown in the temple complex of the step pyramid of Djoser at Saqqara.
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