The word “ka” literally means “spirit” or “soul” and it was believed to represent the soul that was breathed into babies by goddesses Heket or Meskhenet when they were born. However, the symbol of Ka is far more complex, and plays many different roles in ancient Egyptian beliefs.
The main belief of Ka was that a person's soul had many parts, and that all people and the parts of their souls were sculpted from clay by the ram-headed god named Khnum. One of these parts was called the ka. The ka was a person's double, sort of an invisible twin, which supposedly lived in the body until death. It was necessary to prevent the dead body from decaying because the ka still needed it.
When the person died, the ka left the body. But if the body was preserved, the ka would return so they could live again. Some tombs included model houses as the ka needed a place to live. Offerings of food and drink would be left at the tomb entrance so the ka could eat and drink.
This symbol is one of the most important in Ancient Egypt as it really was a gateway to the afterlife.