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In ancient Egyptian religion the ka is, generally speaking, the life force that animates human beings.

S. G. F. Brandon says it’s difficult to define, variously described, and could be regarded as a kind of “protecting genius.” ¹

According to Wikipedia, the ka is one of five elements of the human soul:

The Ancient Egyptians believed that a human soul was made up of five parts: the Ren, the Ba, the Ka, the Sheut, and the Ib. In addition to these components of the soul there was the human body (called the ha, occasionally a plural haw, meaning approximately sum of bodily parts). The other souls were aakhu, khaibut, and khat.²

¹ A Dictionary of Comparative Religion, S. G. F. Brandon ed., New York: Scribner, 1970, p. 388.

² See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egyptian_soul

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