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The sacred symbol of the Djed pillar

The sacred symbol of the Djed pillar


Hieroglyphics play an important role in understanding ancient Egyptian culture. One of the most commonly found and mysterious hieroglyphic symbols is known as the djed symbol. With the appearance of a pillar and three or more cross bars, there have been several theories as to the meaning of this enigmatic symbol, and what it represented to the ancient Egyptians who used it so frequently.

The djed symbol has the appearance of a vertical shaft or pillar. It usually had four horizontal bars near the top, with a series of vertical lines between each bar. It also had four bands around the neck of the shaft, beneath the first of the horizontal bars. Sometimes it is topped with a capital.

A djed pillar (center) on a glazed steatite pectoral

A djed pillar (center) on a glazed steatite pectoral (1070 – 703 BC). (Wikimedia)

Many believe the djed is a symbol of the god Osiris, specifically, his spine. According to Egyptian mythology, Osiris was the god of the afterlife. While visiting Set, the god of disorder, desert, storms, and violence, Osiris was tricked into climbing into a coffin that was built exactly to his size. He was quickly suffocated, and the coffin was cast into the Nile. Eventually, the coffin washed up on the shores of Byblos, in Syria. A sacred tree grew rapidly around the coffin, encasing the coffin within its trunk. The king of the land, unaware of the presence of the coffin, was in awe of the tree’s quick growth, and he ordered it cut down to become a pillar in his palace. All the while, Osiris’ wife Isis had been searching for him. She came to learn that his body was contained inside the pillar. She became close with the king and queen, and when they granted her a boon, she requested the pillar. Upon being granted the pillar, she removed Osiris’ body, and consecrated the pillar. It has since been called the pillar of the djed.

The sun disk of the god Ra

The sun disk of the god Ra is raised into the sky by an ankh-sign (signifying life) and a djed-pillar (signifying stability and the god Osiris) while adored by Isis, Nephthys, and baboons. The motif symbolizes rebirth and the sunrise. (Wikimedia)

According to others, the djed is a fertility pillar made from or surrounded by reeds, trees, or sheaves. As Egypt was a treeless land, this may represent the importance of the trees that were imported from Syria. This also ties in with the story of Osiris, where his body was encased within the trunk of a tree. Other accounts associate the djed with the falcon god of the Memphite necropolis, Seker, then with the Memphite patron god of craftsmen Ptah. Ptah is sometimes referred to as “the noble djed.” The djed symbol is also sometimes viewed as a pillar supporting the sky. In a palace, the pillars may surround a window, and when viewed from the right angle, it appears that the pillars are supporting the sky.

Stucco relief of Ptah holding a staff

Stucco relief of Ptah holding a staff that bears the combined ankh and djed symbols. Late Period or Ptolemaic Dynasty, 4th to 3rd century BC. (Wikipedia)

The djed symbol is also used in a ceremony called “raising the djed.” This ceremony is meant to represent Osiris’ triumph over Set. During the ceremony, the pharaoh uses ropes to raise a pillar, with the assistance of priests. This coincided with the time of year when the agricultural year began and fields were sown. This was just one part of a 17-day holiday of festivals dedicated to Osiris. Overall, the raising the djed ceremony represented both the resurrection of Osiris, and the strength and stability of the monarch.

Raising the Djed pillar, Temple of Seti I, Abydos

Raising the Djed pillar, Temple of Seti I, Abydos, Egypt (Wikimedia)

The djed has also been used as an amulet, placed near the spines of mummified bodies, and the image painted on their coffin. The amulet was intended to allow the deceased to live eternally, and to ensure their resurrection. The Egyptian Book of the Dead contains a spell that would be spoken as the amulet was placed on the mummy, in hopes that it would allow the deceased to sit up and regain use of their spine. In addition, it was often seen in hieroglyphic inscriptions and even as part of architectural structures. Its ubiquitous appearance gives the impression that this symbol was both important and sacred in ancient Egyptian belief systems.

The djed symbol seen in hieroglyphic inscription at Deir el-Bahri

The djed symbol seen in hieroglyphic inscription at Deir el-Bahri. Credit: Kyera Giannini / flickr

Featured image: A scene on the west wall of the Osiris Hall that is situated beyond the seven chapels and entered via the Osiris Chapel. It shows the raising of the Djed pillar. (Wikimedia)


The Concept of the Djed Symbol – Pyramid of Man. Available from:

Egypt: The Djed Pillar – Tour Egypt. Available from:

The Djed – Wikipedia. Available from:

By M R Reese



Anytime someone uses Wikipedia as a source, rational folks dismiss the entire article.

I have found some fascinating articles on this page. Keep up the good work

(this is still an ongoing work in progress )

Just meandering thoughts and notes of a madman

My apologies for it’s length
Djed. Thinking with an open, an exploring mind.

Think of the earth's electro-magnetic field. Extending from the earth's core outwards into space meeting/protecting us from the solar winds. On the surface of the earth this field measures 225-60 micro telsas (.25-65 gauss).

The earth's magnetic field changes over time due to this field being generated by a geo-dynamo effect. The motion of the earth's molten iron alloys in/from it’s outer core.

The north and south poles wander. At irregular intervals, averaging several hundred of thousands of years, the north and south poles reverse polarity. It is believed /estimated that this field is at least 3,540 million years old. At best that which is known, the primary function of the earth's magnetic field, protects life on earth from an excess amount of solar radiation (sunlight)/ solar winds and cosmic rays
The solar winds are/is the the stream of charged particules (plasma; electrons, protons, alpha particules) that are released from the upper atmosphere of the sun.

Think. Atmospheric lightning. The sudden release (a build up ) of an electrostatic discharge (either positive or negative)during an electrical storm. These discharges (plasma channel of ionized air/atom/molecule which have acquired a – or + charge) can occur within a cloud, between clouds, or towards the surface of the earth( a lightning strike). The ‘leader’ being a channel of ionized air- are electrically conductive channels and depending on it’s charge can travel in different directions. Positive charged channels travel upwards within the cloud(s), well negative charged channels travel downwards towards the earth.

Think. Upper atmospheric or ionospheric lightning discharges. These are electrical discharges that occur in the thermosphere and mesosphere. Similar to ‘regular’ lightning but having some different/similar characteristics.

Now think of how many stories, myths and legends that are associated with the various dieties through out the world in regards to lightening etc.

Think. Piezoelectricity. A natural occurring phenomenon. The electrical charge that “accumulates in certain solid materials such as crystals/esp quartz, certain ceramics (made from certain types of clay), biological material such as bone, DNA & various proteins. This electrical charge comes in response to an applied mechanic stress”. Some man made examples are cigerate lighters, quartz watches, gas stoves/barbecues ( the source of the spark that ignites the gas).

Think humans. Bio-chemical/mechanical electrical impulses, especially in the brain and along the central nervous system. Think of these impulses creating it’s own bio electric field which some claim can be seen. (auras). The human eye has photo-receptor cells called rods and cones. I recall reading a while back which I had/have not pursed further, that someone had discovered another photo-receptors which measured/guaged the ‘intensity’ of light.

Now think. Silicon, it is the 8th most common element in the known universe. It is most widely distributed in dusts, sands, planetoids and planets in various forms of silicon dioxide (silica) or silicates.

90% of the earth’s crust is composed of silicate minerals. It is the most abundant element in the earth’s crust (28% of mass) after oxygen. Although this element has no piezoelectrical properties it is used In modern technologies in a number of products acting as a modulating mechanical transducers. Such as silicon chips having a wide application, silicon planer and nonplaner technologies.

Now. Think of the concept of the European ley lines, the Chinese dragon lines. Possible pathways of electromagnetism.

Australian Aborigines have a term called TURINGAS- pathways that revitalised the earth, or being able to receive messages from great distances. The Inca culture had Ceques (spanish term) meaning spirit lines, sacred pathways.

Now. Think of humans & some of our believes, faiths, religions. I always try to keep in mind that with every translation from one language to another a certain 'essance of meaning is lost’.

Pneuma- Greek- word for ‘breath’. In a religious context-‘ spirit’ or ‘soul’. Used in the greek translation of the Hebrew Bible & in the Greek New Testament. Pnuema is distinguishable from Psyche which originately meant ‘breath of life’. It is regularly translated as ‘spirit’ or more often then not as ‘soul’. In the King James version of the Bible, Pheuma is translated as both ‘wind’ & ‘spirit’.

Prana- Sanskit-‘ force of life’

Jing- China/Manderian-‘essence of life’. Death occuring when one has ‘run’ out of Jing.

Qi- China/Manderian – ‘energy’

Vitality- Latin-‘ life’- as in the vitality of live

Ka- the concept of ‘vital essence’. That which differentiates between life & death. Death occurring when the Ka leaves the body.

Djed- represents ‘stability’, “commonly understood to represent the spine”. The spine of course provides us with stability in the upright position. It also surrounds & protects the central nervous system which transports electrical impulses to and from the brain. It is interesting that during the mummification process a djed amulet is placed at the base of the spine. I also find it interesting that there might be a relationship or is similar to the concept of Kundalini energy in Hindu/Sanskrit –traditions.

Ankh- a symbol for ‘life’. More specific the “breath of life” or the “key of the Nile”. The Nile of course being seen as the life line for ancient Egyptian life.

- Mythology; The personification of the upper sky (space/heaven). One of the primordial Gods which embodies the pure upper air that the God’s breathed as opposed to the normal air we mortals inhale.

- Ancient/medieval science. A classical element. The material that supposedly filled the universe – being that which is above the earth. It was used in a number of theories to explain various natural phenomenons such as light and gravity. Also seen as the 5th element.

- In the late 19th century it was used as a term to postulate the substance which permeated throughout space, the medium required for light to travel in a vacum. The medium thought to be present for the transmission of and for the propagation of electromagnetic or gravitational forces.

All of these references to the natural phenomenon of electrical impulses being created on the earth, coming from the sun, in the lower and upper reaches of the bio-spere. Being generated by life forms (all). Throughout earth's bio-spere.

Any one seeing a pattern here? Both the physical world as well as the human mind/spirit/soul traditions.

Now think of all the stories in various ancient cultures of
megalithic structures being built by various dieties or these dieties helping to build, floating, being moved some how into place.

Now think of the modern high speed magnetic levitation trains and current theories/ technologies being developed revolving around anti-grav applications.

Now think. 6 degrees of separation, 100 monkey syndrome.

there is no direct indication, at all this is some electrical device. there are NO hieroglyphic bolts of lightning of any kind ! wake up !

This is very interesting.There is a video on youtube about "Djed pillars".In that video,an old men,a tourist guide,explain the meaning of the word "djed."He sugest that it means an old person or a grandfather in ancient Egyptian language.
I am from Serbia and the word djed or đed,ђед,deda,деда in serbian language also means an old man,grandfather.


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M R Reese

M R Reese is a writer and researcher with a passion for unlocking the mysteries of ancient civilizations. She believes that only by understanding where we come from, can we truly understand our life path and purpose. She has earned... Read More

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