There are three different principles in the Egyptian man’s life: the Ankh, a spiritual and supernatural force.
It is represented by the Feathered Ibis, the same hieroglyphic mark forms the root of the truth “to be effective, charitable, glorious”. Opposed to the body, that belongs to the earth, the Ankh belongs to the sky. In the most remote epochs it was an appanage only for the gods and the pharaohs, as they were divine beings, in fact in the Ancient Reign, the sovereign was subjected to a particular ritual the “sakh”, that made him spiritual and made him an ankh, that is a spirit. Soon the idea of the ankh was also for common humans. To reach one’s ankh, meant to die and so a new dimension like the one of the spiritual “I”.
The Ba is better assimilated with our idea of soul. It’s symbolized by a bird and sometimes from the XVIII dynasty, by a winged creature with a human head. It seems that in origin the Ba, was the god’s ability to assume different forms. In the tombs it’s easy to see the Ba represented while flying around the sepulcher or drinking at a pond. After the death the Ba continued to live, keeping not the body, but only what animated the living creature of whom he had been a part.
The Ka is one of the spiritual concepts that is hard to understand. During the centuries the sense given to this word has had great changes and has had different meanings:
According to the first Egyptology the Ka expressed “the being, the person, the individuality”, in a second time Lepag-Renouf has emphasized the different character of genius, protector-god and double-spiritual, proposing an interpretation, taken up again by Maspero, that defined the Ka as a “living projection of the human figure, a double that reproduces the individual’s details to whom he belongs”. For others who studied it, the Ka was the power to generate and the sexual strength. The hieroglyphic mark of the Ka is two arms stretched out to embrace, to a gesture of protection, this has enforced the hypothesis of a protector-god, a very questionable hypothesis as the upraised arms have nothing to do with an embrace, instead they indicate the sign for the double. So the Ka protected those alive, but even more those dead, in fact for the Egyptian it was nothing else than “reaching one’s own Ka”.