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A Sign of Stability: The Djed

By Devo

If there is any symbol that has become synonymous with Osiris it is the Djed pillar. The connection between Osiris and the djed became so important that by the New Kingdom, the deity would often be shown as a djed entirely.

But what is the history of this symbol? What can we learn about Osiris through the djed?

Early Origins

According to Griffiths (pg 41), the djed wasn’t originally tied to Osiris. It was its own symbol before it got sucked into the Osirian cult. It is believed that the djed was originally a bundle of reed stalks or papyrus that had been tied together. The four cross-bars that you see on the pillar are considered to be papyrus flowers that poke out from the various stalks that are tied together. It’s possible that the idea came from archaic housing methods, where the entirety of the house/tent rested upon a central pillar that perhaps was made of reed or papyrus.

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