History in the Making

Document Type



Giving birth in the ancient world was very difficult, stressful, and dangerous with many mothers and children sadly not surviving the ordeal. To deal with this often-traumatic event, many ancient Egyptians used rituals, tools, and spells to ensure that their deities would be present during these difficult times and help either physically or mentally. For the ancient Egyptians, interacting with their gods was a way to ensure their survival, but in modernity, relying on religious or spiritual practices during stressful events correlates with psychology. Modern scholars have named this idea transpersonal psychology, and it is a subsection of humanistic psychology that focuses on the spiritual aspect of life and having sacred experiences with higher powers. There are many different approaches to this form of psychology, but by combining David N. Elkin’s and Gregg Lahood’s models, a better understanding of how the ancient Egyptians might have used proto-techniques of transpersonal psychology can be constructed. Their prototechniques are seen in the reliefs, artifacts, and texts left behind by the ancient Egyptians. By examining these relics through the lenses of transpersonal psychology, modern scholars can better understand the rituals and practices the ancient Egyptians participated in and how they dealt with trauma they experienced specifically relating to birth.