Djed Pillar One of the most famous ancient Egyptian symbols 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 that death is
a portal to a new beginning, the nature of life itself and that the gods are always near.
Djed Pillar Meaning
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 impressed by the huge tree and ordered it to cut into
a pillar and put in his palace without what inside of it, then his wife goddess Isis
able to get the pillar to remove Osiris’s body and reconstruct the pillar which
became known as the Djed Pillar. The creator god Ptah 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.
Djed Pillar History
During the predynastic, there a form of fertility pole Osiris started
a fertility god before becoming the ruler of the underworld as there used to a 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
viewed as the pillar that held the skies. In Egypt old kingdom (2613-2181 BC)
the Djed 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 shown in the temple complex of the step pyramid of Djoser at Saqqara.