Since ancient times, religion was already a very important part of the lives of ancient Egyptians. They believed that the phenomenon of nature was linked to the divine forces of nature. Because of this, they started to worship and believe in a multitude of Gods.
The true nature of Gods was believed to be mysterious, terrifying and unpredictable. The Egyptians themselves…well…you could say they enjoyed talking about Gods. Much as they are feared, the Gods are loved by their people equally as much too.
Hundreds of Gods were honoured by everyone throughout the land in a festival that lasted for a month in the flood season when farmers did no work in the fields. At home, lesser gods were turned to for help with everyday problems.
Similar to that of Romans and Greeks, the Egyptian Gods seemed to be in existence for the sake of storytelling. Stories which made the Gods less unreachable. It was comforting to know that there is someone out there in the universe, going through similar events which civilization themselves go through in their daily events: Laughter, Sorrow, Problems etc. This, in a way, taught the Egyptian Civilization how to relate better to their universe: by learning more about their Gods on an intimate level.
A belief system which was part totemism, part polytheism, and part ancestor worship was practiced by the ancient Egyptians. If any of the terms are foreign to you, here are the definitions:
system of belief in which humans are said to have kinship or a mystical relationship with a spirit-being, such as an animal or plant. The entity, or totem, is thought to interact with a given kin group or an individual and to serve as their emblem or symbol.
The belief in, and consequent worship of, many gods.
The basis of ancestor worship seems to stem from two principle ideas: (1) that “those who have gone before” have a continual and beneficent interest in the affairs of the living; and (2) more widespread, uneasiness, fear of the dead, with practices to placate them.
Of course, I shall only list out the more commonly heard ones. Well, cause if I were to list out every single one, I think you all will be reading my post from sunrise to sunset =) (Honestly? I’m just lazy ^^) Anyway, here they are: Let’s give a warm welcome to the Gods of Egypt:
Amun-Re or (Amon-Ra)
- Sun God
- Considered King of the Gods (Think of him as an equivalent to Zeus/Jade Emperor/
- Representation: Man with the falcon’s head and a sun
- Symbols: Bennu (Phoenix), Obelisk, pyramid, Udjat (Eye of Horus), sun, falcon, bull
- Name was thought to mean “creative power” with “Creator” as the proper name
- Father of Shu and Tefnut
- Grandfather of Nut and Geb
- Great-grandfather of Osiris, Seth, Isis, Nephthys
- Great-great-grandfather of Horus
- Goddess of Magic/Fertility
- Gifted with magical powers
- Representation: A woman wearing cow’s horns + solar disk on her head + ankh symbol in her hand
- Symbol: tiet (Knot of Isis), throne, kite, scorpion, sistrum
- Sister of Osiris (also her husband), Nephthys and Seth
- Daughter of Nut and Geb
- Mother of Horus
- Occasionally wears the double-crowns of the North and South with the feather of Ma’at
- When portrayed as a woman, she wears a headdress but with a uraeus over her forehead
- Jackal – God of Mummification
- “Yinepu, Anpu”
- Assisted in the rites by which a dead man was sent to the underworld
- Representation: A man with the head of a jackal holding the divine sceptre carried by kings and gods; as simply a black jackal or as a dog accompanying Isis
- Symbol: jackal, ox-hide hanging from a pole, embalming equipment, flail, flags
- Son of Nephthys
- Son of Osiris
- He monitored the Scales of Truth to protect the dead from deception and eternal death.
- God of the Underworld
- “Asar, Wesir, Ausar, Unnefer”
- Representation: a bearded, mummified human with green skin and wearing the atef crown. His hands emerge from the mummy wrappings and hold the flail and crook.
- Symbol: crook and flail, djed, White and Atef Crowns, bull, mummified form, throne, Bennu (phoenix)
- First child of Nut and Geb
- Brother of Seth, Nephthys, and Isis.
- Father of Horus and Anubis.
- He was believed to be willing to admit all people to the Duat, the gentle, fertile land in which the righteous dead lived
- His realm was said to lie beneath Nun, in the northern heavens or in the west.
- Falcon – God of the Sun
- “Hor, Heru, Her”
- Representation: a hawk, or a man with a hawk’s head crowned with the crown of all Egypt
- Symbols: hawk/falcon, bull, Double Crown, Winged Disk, Udjat, Sphinx, weapons, iron, blacksmiths
- Son of Isis
- Son of Osiris
- Horus was among the most important gods of Egypt, particularly because the Pharaoh was supposed to be his earthly embodiment
- The Eye of Horus, healed by Thoth, was an amulet, or magic charm
- Kings of Egypt associated themselves with Horus.
- Goddess of Music, Love, Happiness, Dance
- Representation: cow, as a woman with the head of a cow; horns of cow and sun disk
- Symbols: cow, lioness, falcon, cobra, hippopotamus, sistrum, musical instruments, drums, pregnant women, mirrors, cosmetics
- Looks after all women
- Mother of Horus
- Queen of Egypt identified with her
- also known as Sekhmet, the Eye of Ra, the destructive Sun Goddess
- God of Wisdom, Moon, Time, Writing
- “Djehuty, Tahuti, Tehuti”
- Representation: ibis-headed human, an ibis, or a baboon (or dog-headed ape)
- Symbols: ibis, baboon, writing palette and reed pens
- He was said to be self-created in the beginning along with his consort, the goddess Ma’at (truth)
- He invented hieroglyphs, the picture writing of Ancient Egypt
- measurer of the earth and the counter of the stars, the keeper and recorder of all knowledge
- was the vizier and official scribe of the afterworld.
- He was associated with the moon; as the sun vanished, Thoth tried to dispel the darkness with his light.
These are the 7 major Gods in Egyptian Mythology. Of course, these are just the tip of the ice-bergs. Here are some of the less commonly heard ones along with a little more trivia =D
Embalming Process/Journey to Osiris
From left to right:
- Imset (Liver)
- Ha’py (Lungs)
- Duamutef (Stomach)
- Qebehsenuf (Intestines)
*The heart was left inside the body to be weighed against the feather of truth by the God Anubis*
*If the heart was deemed unworthy, it would be thrown to the monster Ammit “Devourer of the dead” and the journey through the underworld stops there for the owners.
It is not the end for those who pass for the journey still continues and it is dangerous and difficult. Magic symbols painted on the mummy’s case were designed for protection. (FYI, animals were mummified too, including cats and crocodiles)
- protected pregnant woman
- part hippopotamus, part woman, legs of a lion
– Bes Amulet
- Protection from household dangers
– Fish Amulet
- Protection against watery accidents such as drowning or being taken by crocodiles
Well, that’s all folks. Hope you had a good read =) These are simply the summary. For more information, you can visit the sites below or get the book ^^
Ja ne ~
Time Life Discoveries Library Ancient Egypt