Note: This is the beginning of a series of posts about Kemetic healing. This is only intended to be a general overview of the topic, and as such may contain information that may be present in other posts. I will also use certain terms within these posts, and will include definitions at the end.
Kemetic healing is used in various different levels, oftentimes on all the levels at once. The most common form are those which are amulets which are to be worn by the ill person, or are worn before becoming ill as a preventive measure against illness. Next, is the use of written or spoken words in order to effect or prevent a condition. Finally, the sunu will assume a netjer's form and heal through this netjer's powers. Herbs are used throughout these three processes in a additional booster to the spiritual side.
Each process or level can be used individually or as part of a whole. For instance, an amulet can be spoken over, either with words of power or with words of the netjer. Or a person can be made to wear an amulet, as they are spoken over by a person who has assumed the form of a netjer. These are usually compounded as the use of triples or using multiple measures is used to completely subdue and defeat the illness. It was thought that by completely conquering the illness or those responsible for it, that nothing would be missed.
Illness was often thought to be caused by some bad spirit or evil intentions which had been worked against them, whether by the netjeru, netjeri, muuet, or men. The body was divided into different portions, each portion having its own netjeru and netjeri overseeing it.
Amulets were the most common form of protection against disease or injury, which was a form of healing in and of itself, as it was used to prevent the need for healing to take place. Amulets could also be used after the fact to assist in the healing process by either calling on the powers of a particular netjer, or by calling on the powers of the violent being that caused the illness.
Often words were carved into the amulets, and these words of power, would be used along with the image used in order to further along the healing or protective process.
However, that is not to say that all amulets were physical carved or created images, or rather I should say are what we think of when hearing the word amulet. Amulets could be something as simple as a small piece of papyrus, written and/or drawn on, rolled up, and placed in or on a sa. This was often used in the case of children. These papyrus could contain an oracle about the life of the person, a spell intended for a good harvest or hunt, or various other things intended to protect from harm or cause healing.
In particular, this use reminds me of the abracadabra spell. If you don't know what I mean, the spell basically goes like so: a person is ill, abracadabra is written on the first line, and the sequent lines the last letter is removed, this is tied on the person's neck for some days, then thrown in a river.
Oftentimes, something as simple as "in the name of Re" or "Oh Re, Netjer of Light and Health, inspire me" was used by physicians when writing down a recipe or ritual to be done for a particular person or condition.
Things such as the following could be used to invoke the healing power of the particular netjer at hand. By simply calling on their healing powers in a flattering, threatening, or both flattering and threatening way, one could coerce the netjer to do as is being requested of them, in this case, asking for healing from all wicked things.
"Oh Auset, Werethekau,
Release me from all things bad and evil."
Words written on or spoken over an amulet would further empower it to do its purpose, such as speaking to an image of Apep in such a way that it is well known what your intention for him is. Words often commanded that something occur in the name of a netjer, or else the object would be severely punished for disobedience. This form of threat was also used upon the netjer themselves.
One of the best known netjer for healing was the goddess Sekhmet. Sekhmet, while a netjer of plagues, destruction, and war, could be used towards healing purposes as not only could she attack the disease, but by controlling it she could be flattered or forced into not allowing it to happen in the first place. Other netjer could be called forth for specific types of harm, such as Auset could be called to heal a person of a snake bite as she had healed her son Heru.
Often, a sunu would invoke the being that would be doing the healing, or another being that would request or force the healing on behalf of the one invoked. To clear that up some, an example would be if you wanted Sekhmet to heal someone, but for whatever reason you think she would be unlikely to do so or do not want to risk a negative reaction, you would invoke Re, her father, and evoke her and tell her to do so by her father's command. Yes, it is a bit complicated, and yes it is more than a bit confusing. However, this was particularly useful because you are using the powers of a netjer who is able to control the actions of another netjer, and in doing so you are able to avoid unexpected reactions or any unhappy netjeru.
Flattery was often used in conjunction with force or it was used on its own to coerce the netjer to do as you wished. This is partially why there are so many epithets for the Kemetic netjeru.
Please feel free to ask any questions or clarifications. As I am currently using my phone, I apologize for any grammar or spelling errors, and for such a short amount of information.
Kemet - ancient Egypt
Muuet - these are damned souls that refused or were unable to enter the afterlife.
Netjer - the deities of Kemet.
Netjeri - non-human spirits which could be violent or beneficial.
Netjeru - the plural of netjer.
Sa - a group of amulets, the cord they were strung on, the bag they were tied in, or the words and gestures used to activate them.
Sunu - physicians who used both medicine and heka (magic).
Werethekau - epithet meaning " Great of Magic" used for several female deities.
The Great Goddesses of Egypt by Barbara S. Lesko
Ancient Egyptian Myths and Legends by Lewis Spence
Ancient Egyptian Divination and Magic by Eleanor L. Harris
The Way to Eternity by Fergus Fleming and Alan Lothian
Egyptian Magic by E. A. Wallis Budge
Ancient Egypt by Lorna Oakes and Lucia Gahlin
Daily Life of the Egyptian Gods by Dimitri Meeks and Christine Favard-Meeks