Djed & Tyet

Djed & Tyet

Tjet (Tyet)

The Tjet (Tyet, Tet, Tit, Tat, That, Thet) is also commonly known as the Isis knot, or Isis girdle. Some commentators have argued that the symbol was originally a variant of the Ankh. It has a similar appearance (except its “arms” are bent downwards) and could also have a similar meaning, sometimes being translated as “life”. As a hieroglyph it represented the Tjet amulet.

The Tjet was commonly used to decorate the walls and columns of Egyptian temples, often appearing with the Djed and occasionally with the Was or Ankh. The symbol also appears on numerous items associated with burial, including sarcophagi and shrines. Occasionally, the symbol appears as a personified goddess wearing a knotted dress and it was also used as the emblem for the office of the “kherep-ah” (the palace manager).

The Tjet is thought to date from the Predynastic period and was a popular decorative symbol by the Third Dynasty (Old Kingdom), often appearing alongside the Ankh and the Djed.

In this early period, the symbol was sometimes combined with the face of Bat or Hathor as a symbol of their cult. By the New Kingdom, the symbol was clearly associated with Isis perhaps due to its frequent association with the Djed, which was associated with her husband, Osiris. Thus, the Djed may have represented the masculine power while the Tjet represented feminine power.

The symbol was also linked to Nephthys because of her association with burial and resurrection. From the Third Intermediate Period, the symbol was often depicted in statuary as a pendant hung from a low slung belt.

There is much debate regarding the subject of the symbol. It is similar to the knot used to tie garments in place, and so is often called the “knot of Isis“. Knots were thought to bind magic, and so this would not seem to be an unreasonable suggestion. However, other commentators have suggested that it should really be ‘the girdle of Isis’ or ‘the blood of Isis’ as the symbol represents a female sanitary cloth used during menstruation or an ancient charm to help women deal with menstrual cramps. Others suggest it represents the female reproductive organs and represents Isis in her role as the universal mother.

While we cannot be certain of the original meaning of the symbol, there seems to be a link to blood, power, and regeneration. The Book of the Dead states that a Tjet amulet should be formed from a red stone (such as carnelian, red jasper, or red glass) and buried with the mummy. According to this ancient text – “The blood of Isis, the spells of Isis, the magical words of Isis shall keep this great one strong, and shall protect him from whosoever would harm him”. However, the Tjet was not always red. Tutankhamun was buried with a beautiful blue Tjet and amulets were also fashioned from yellow sycamore wood (as the tree was sacred to Nut, Isis, and Hathor).

What does the Knot of Isis mean?

Sorry I missed last Saturday’s post…I was away doing magical things. I had intended to post during the week, but life got in the way and here it is Saturday again already. So…guess we’ll just go from here.

Thanks to Alexandra-Shakira for her question via Facebook, today’s post will be about that sister of the ankh, the Tiet, Tyet, Tet, also known as the Knot of Isis, the Girdle of Isis, the Buckle of Isis, or the Blood of Isis. There’s a famous passage from the Book of Coming Forth by Day, commonly called the Book of the Dead, that tells us the words to use to magically charge this important amulet:

Spell for a knot amulet of red jasper. “You have your blood, O Isis you have your power, O Isis you have your magic, O Isis.” As for him for whom this is done, the power of Isis will be the protection of his body, and Horus son of Isis will rejoice over him when he sees him no path will be hidden from him, and one side of him will be towards the sky and the other towards the earth. A true matter you shall not let anyone see it in your hand, for there is nothing equal to it. (Formula 156, Book of Coming Forth by Day)

If you happen to have a Knot of Isis of your own, speaking the formula over it from time to time will keep it magically alive and active.

The image to the right is the standard form of the amulet an open loop of material, tied with a sash that hangs down below the loop on two sides. The tiet looks similar to the ankh, the hieroglyph for “life” except that its crossbar is folded down. In fact, the tiet may be related to the ankh, for the tiet sign is often translated as “life” or “welfare.”

The origins of the amulet are unknown. As a knot, however, its symbolism revolves around the idea of binding and releasing, the joining of opposites, and, since a knot secures things, protection. Knot magic was well known in Egypt from an early period an inscription in one of the pyramids states, “Isis and Nephthys work magic on Thee [Osiris] with knotted cords.” In addition to the formula above, the Book of Coming Forth by Day gives several other examples of the magical power of the knot. In this one, knots are tied around the deceased to help her come into the presence of the Deities: “The four knots are tied about me by the guardian of the sky [. . .] the knot was tied about me by Nut, when I first saw Maat, when the gods and the sacred images had not yet been born. I am heaven born, I am in the presence of the Great Gods.” In addition to these four knots, there were seven knots, or tesut, that were tied about the deceased to protect him or her.

The Knot of Isis is frequently paired with the Pillar of Osiris as in this modern amulet.

The tiet first appears in Egyptian iconography in the third dynasty. It was frequently used in association with the djed pillar of Osiris and so became almost exclusively associated with Isis. Used together, the two symbols could refer to the power of the Goddess and God to engender Life. Because of this, the symbols may also be seen as sexual symbols the pillar referring to the phallus of the God and the knot to the vulva and womb of the Goddess.

It may have been the combination of the tiet’s connection with life and its association with Isis’ sexuality that led to it being called the Blood of Isis and so being made of red jasper, carnelian, or even red glass. It might represent the red lifeblood a mother sheds while giving birth. On the other hand, it might represent menstrual blood. Some say the amulet is shaped like the cloth worn by women during menstruation. Others have interpreted it as a representation of a ritual tampon that could be inserted in the vagina to prevent miscarriage. In this case, it would have been the amulet Isis used to protect Horus while He was still within Her womb. In addition to blood, the amulet’s red color could represent fire and the Sun—and the living, regenerative properties of Isis the Flame, the Radiant Solar Goddess and Lady of Rebirth.

Note the knots in the straps of the Goddess’ garment as well as the little loop between Her breasts.

Goddesses other than Isis could be accompanied by the tiet as well. In later periods, the tiet was associated with Isis’ sister, Nephthys, and Her mother, Nuet, especially in situations having to do with resurrection and rebirth. Earlier, it served as a badge of office in the cults of the Cow Goddesses Bat and Hathor. Yet the knot remains primarily associated with Isis. There are many representations of Isis with knots (surely, magical knots) tied into the straps of Her clothing. This tradition followed the Goddess into the Graeco-Roman world where the Knot of Isis was also tied into the robes of Her priestesses. This potent symbol of the Goddess is still worn by Her priestesses and priests today.

The Knot of Isis tied into the robes of a Priestess of Isis. This statue is from the Roman period and stood in the Emperor Hadrian’s villa at one time.

2- The Ankh (Key Of Life)

Ankh symbol is the most common decorative motif in ancient Egypt and by neighboring cultures, as an Egyptian symbol of protection and other things.

How was The Ankh symbol shaped?

The most commonly used and known symbol since the early Dynasty is the Ankh you probably know it by life's key. It's an ancient Egyptian symbol that looks like a cross with a looped top in a teardrop's shape it is one of the Egyptian characters most commonly used in tattoos.

What Is The Ankh symbol used In Ancient Egyptian?

This symbol was used in Hieroglyphic writing and Egyptian art to represent the word "life," you'll find it a lot in the tomb paintings and inscriptions on the temples' walls, so it is one of the Egyptian symbols used in the alphabet. The Egyptians also wore it as an amulet, so it is a symbol for protection.

What Ankh symbolizes, and Why was it held in the ancient Egyptian deities?

The Ankh symbolizes many things like the power to sustain life and revive human souls in the afterlife that's why it was commonly held in the hands of ancient Egyptian deities or given by them to a pharaoh. It also symbolizes the promise of eternal life, the Sun, fertility, and light. The symbol was placed among the mummy wrapping to secure the deceased's rebirth and well-being in the afterlife.

The mystery behind the Ankh symbol

This symbol's origin is still a mystery one theory says it originated from a sandal strap. Others suggest it was the belt buckle of goddess Isis, but we certainly know it is associated with life.

The Djed in Art

Today, the Djed symbol isn’t as widely used in contemporary art or religious symbolism as its simple pillar shape doesn’t seem to spark most artists’ imagination. This is normal for such especially old and straightforward symbols – after all, pillar shapes have been used to symbolize stability in most ancient cultures and mythologies.

This doesn’t need to be held against the Djed symbol, however, and can easily be seen as its benefit – with such a universal meaning, the Djed is one of those symbols that can easily be translated from one culture to another. Plus, the horizontal linear ornaments at the top do give it a pretty distinguishable look compared to other pillar symbols.

As a result, the Djed can make for a fascinating jewelry piece such as an earring or a pendant, as well as a clothing ornament. It’s sometimes used in pendants, on charms, as earrings or as a decorative motif on various items.

Origins and myths

Although it remains a bit unclear as to the origin of the ankh symbol, some Egyptologists have stated that it probably came from the ‘knot of Isis’ (also known as the tjet/tyet), a symbol for protection and fertility.

The first known use of the ankh symbol dates back to the First Dynasty of Egypt (around 2900 BCE). However, it is unknown what concepts the symbol represented back then.

The ankh symbol, or in some cases the ankh and the djed, were inscribed on sarcophagi, paintings on the walls of tombs, statues and obelisks.

Such was the popularity of the ankh, a symbol which dates back to the late 4 th millennium BCE, that the early Christians adapted it around the 4 th century CE.

Owing to their belief that the sun was the embodiment of the sun gods such as Ra and Amun, it was also not uncommon for the Egyptians to relate the symbol to the sun.

Ancient Egyptian ankh, also known as the ‘source of life’ or ‘the key of the Nile’ a symbolized both life in the land of the living and eternal life in the afterlife.

Many of the ancient Egyptian gods were depicted holding the ankh, particularly Isis, the goddess of fertility, healing and motherhood.

So Who Made the Royal Game of Ur?

Assuming built on Osiris’ story, the board depicts his body (the human shape of the whole board), as well as the combined tyet and djed pillars, symbolizing in the first phase of the game, Isis’ hard time searching, and in the second, the establishing of stability in Osiris’ spine.

In a macro cosmic view, the gods of the Heliopolitan creation myth also nicely explain the board’s top part, the neck and the central axis of the lower part.

To this point, it is still not definite which culture invented the game. If anything, it looks as if somebody had combined the three old cultures’ beliefs, or as if there had been close contacts between them.

Some tantric beliefs seem to have influenced the patterns as well as the Egyptian, so that the board also displays a micro cosmic personal modus operandi for spiritual development. This is not the place to elaborate this view in detail, but it is noticeable that the patterns display the same sequence of nature elements as the tantric energy centers along the spine. The Osiris-like Indian god Yama (mentioned in the first part) could be interesting in this connection too.

But until a better candidate is found, Osiris and Isis must be favorites to explain the game.

The later stretching of the top of the Royal Game of Ur could indicate that both contestants followed the same route in the head/Heaven part. (Provided by the author)

Hieroglyphic usage

The djed hieroglyph was a pillar-like symbol that represented stability. It was also sometimes used to represent Osiris himself, often combined "with a pair of eyes between the crossbars and holding the crook and flail." [7] The djed hieroglyph is often found together with the tyet (also known as Isis knot) hieroglyph, which is translated as life or welfare. The djed and the tiet used together may depict the duality of life. The tyet hieroglyph may have become associated with Isis because of its frequent pairing with the djed. [8]

Accession number: 3718
Measurements: Length: 3.93 cm Width: 1.47 cm Thickness: 0.81 cm
Material: Egyptian Faience
Date: Late Period, ca. 664-332 BCE
Provenance: Thebes, Egypt
Collection: Mendes Israel Cohen Collection of Egyptian Antiquities, number 165

Description (3718)

This djed-pillar amulet is made of a bright blue faience with large sections of a brownish-purple colorant throughout. A suspension bar has been included at the top of the djed-pillar, which is slightly lopsided.

Description (1991-1)

This faience djed-pillar has been rendered with great care and a high level of incised detail. A very small hole is pierced through the top of its back-pillar horizontally for suspension.


This symbol was Osirian in nature and was primarily associated with themes of rebirth and regeneration. According to legend, Osiris, the king of the ancient Egyptian pantheon, was murdered by his brother, Seth, the god of chaos. After his passing, his consort, Isis, and son, Horus, revived the god so that he could serve as the chief deity of the netherworld. The djed-pillar was designed as a symbol of Osiris and later came to be understood as a representation of his backbone. In fact, in several Book of the Dead spells, representations of the symbol are used to help reinstate the vertebrae of the deceased and consequently revive them for his or her rebirth into the afterlife. When worn as an amulet, the symbol helped to invoke the regenerative powers of Osiris. The djed-pillar also served as a common hieroglyphic symbol, representing the ancient Egyptian word for “stability.”

As one of the most common Egyptian amulets, djed-pillar amulets have a long history, dating back to the late Old Kingdom (ca. 2686-2160 BCE). Due to their Osirian associations and powers, djed-pillar amulets were most frequently used in funerary contexts. The amulets were often strung together and laid across the lower torso of a mummy, especially in the later periods of ancient Egyptian history, and also around the neck. Green and blue — as seen in these examples — are the most commonly attested colors of these amulets, enhancing the regenerative powers of the amulets through their connection with the fertility and renewal provided by the Nile and its vegetation.


Andrews, Carol, 1994. Amulets of Ancient Egypt. Austin: University of Texas. 18.

Meeks, Dimitri, 1996. “Hierarchies, Prerogatives, Groups.” In Daily Life of the Egyptian Gods, edited by Dimitri Meeks and Christine Favard-Meeks, translated by G.M. Goshgarian. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. 33-52.

Te Velde, H., 1971. “Some Remarks on the Structure of Egyptian Divine Triads.” The Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 57. 80–86.

The Shen

The shen is a circle of rope, knotted, to form an unbroken, circle symbolizing completeness, infinity, and serving as protection. The name comes from the Egyptian word for ‘encircle.’ Shen amulets were frequently worn for protection and shen images appear on a kind of stand, the whole resembling the Greek omega, though this ‘stand’ should be understood as the knotted rope completing the circle.

This is a fragment of limestone stele. The relief depicts Paser (red coloring) and his wife. Both sit on a on same backed lion-legged chair. They look to the right side at their daughter (who stands at the right side and holds a lotus over a table of offerings. Both females bear the name of Meryt. At the upper part, there are wedjat-eyes flanking a shen-ring. From Egypt, precise provenance of excavation is unknown. 18th Dynasty, 1543–1292 BCE. The Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, London (with thanks to The Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, UCL). / Photo by Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin, Wikimedia Commons

The shen probably developed during the Old Kingdom or First Intermediate Period of Egypt but became popular during the Middle Kingdom (2040-1782 BCE) and remained so. The god Horus and the goddesses Nekhbet and Isis are frequently seen holding the shen but other gods are also associated with the symbol. The shen appears on sarcophagi and in temples and tombs as well as personal inscriptions. The Egyptians greatly valued symmetry and completeness, and so the shen was quite popular and often represented.

Djed Pillar

The djed pillar is one of the oldest symbols of ancient Egyptian religion. It symbolizes strength and stability and is related to the creative god Ptah and Osiris, the god of death.

Due to its association with the god Osiris this symbol is also known as the backbone of Osiris.

The ancient Egyptians often made amulets in the shape of the djed pillar symbol. These were for both the living and the dead.

It was also customary to decorate the bottom of the coffins with an engraving following the shape of the djed pillar, centered on the same space where the deceased’s spine would be placed.

This symbol, also known as knot of Isis, is an ancient Egyptian symbol that represents the goddess Isis.

This is a symbol of unknown origin but that has a certain geometric similarity with the Ankh symbol.

Also its meaning is similar to that of Ankh since it is considered that the tyet symbolizes life and well-being.

The designation of knot of Isis has its origin in the similarity of this symbol with the knots used to hold the dresses of the gods.

This symbol is often accompanied by the Djed Pillar, symbol of the death god Osiris.

This has led some experts to interpret this joint representation as a symbol of the duality between life and death.

Watch the video: Ancient Technology: The DJED Project (December 2021).

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