Amon, Amun, Ammon,& Amoun)
name means "The Hidden One." He was the patron deity of
the city of Thebes from earliest times, and was viewed as a primordial
creation-deity by the priests of Hermopolis. His sacred animals were
the goose and the ram.
Up to the Middle Kingdom Amen was merely a local god in Thebes; but
when the Thebans had established their sovereignty in Egypt, Amen
became a prominent deity, and by Dynasty XVIII was termed the King
of the Gods. His famous temple, Karnak, is the largest religious structure
ever built by man. According to Budge, Amen by Dynasty XIX-XX was
thought of as "an invisible creative power which was the source
of all life in heaven, and on the earth, and in the great deep, and
in the Underworld, and which made itself manifest under the form of
Ra." Additionally, Amen appears to have been the protector of
any pious devotee in need.
Amen was self-created, according to later traditions; according to
the older Theban traditions, Amen was created by Thoth as one of the
eight primordial deities of creation (Amen, Amenet, Heq, Heqet, Nun,
Naunet, Kau, Kauket).
During the New Kingdom, Amen's consort was Mut, "Mother,"
who seems to have been the Egyptian equivalent of the "Great
Mother" archetype. The two thus formed a pair reminiscent of
the God and Goddess of other traditions such as Wicca. Their child
was the moon god Khons.
Egyptian god of the dead, represented as a black jackal or dog, or
as a man with the head of a dog or jackal. His parents were usually
given as Re in combination with either Nephthys or Isis. After the
early period of the Old Kingdom, he was superseded by Osiris as god
of the dead, being relegated to a supporting role as a god of the
funeral cult and of the care of the dead. The black colour represented
the colour of human corpses after they had undergone the embalming
process. In the Book of the Dead, he was depicted as presiding over
the weighing of the heart of the deceased in the Hall of the Two Truths.
In his role as psychopomp he was referred to as the "conductor
of souls". The Greeks later identified him with their god Hermes,
resulting in the composite deity Hermanubis. His principal sanctuary
was at the necropolis in Memphis and in other cities. Anubis was also
known as Khenty- Imentiu - "chief of the westerners" - a
reference to the Egyptian belief that the realm of the dead lay to
the west in association with the setting sun, and to their custom
of building cemeteries on the west bank of the Nile.
(A.K.A. Bastet, Ubasti)
cat goddess. A goddess of the home and of the domestic cat, although
she sometimes took on the war-like aspect of a lioness. Daughter of
the sun god Re, although sometimes regarded as the daughter of Amun.
Wife of Ptah and mother of the lion-god Mihos. Her cult was centered
on her sanctuary at Bubastis in the delta region, where a necropolis
has been found containing mummified cats. Bast was also associated
with the 'eye of Re', acting as the instrument of the sun god's vengeance.
She was depicted as a cat or in human form with the head of a cat,
often holding the sacred rattle known as the sistrum.
dwarf god believed to guard against evil spirits and misfortune. In
contrast to the other Egyptian deities, who were usually depicted
in profile, Bes was depicted full face. He was shown to be ugly and
grotesque in appearance, with a large head, protruding tongue, bow
legs and a bushy tail. He bore a plumed crown and wore the skin of
a lion or panther. Despite his appearance, he was a beneficent deity
and his appearance was meant to scare off evil spirits. He bore swords
and knives to ward off evil spirits, as well as musical instruments
which he used to create a din which would frighten them off. Bes aided
the hippopotamus goddess Taweret in childbirth. He was originally
the protective deity of the royal house of Egypt, but came to be a
popular household deity throughout Egypt.
third member (with his parents said to be Amen and Mut) of the great
triad of Thebes. Chons/Khons was the god of the moon. The best-known
story about him tells of him playing the ancient game senet against
Thoth, and wagering a portion of his light. Thoth won, and because
of losing some of his light, Khons cannot show his whole glory for
the entire month, but must wax and wane, Thus explaining the phases
of the moon. The main temple in the enclosure at Karnak is dedicated
Duamutef, Tuamutef; Golden Dawn, and Thmoomathph)
of the Four Sons of Horus, Duamutef was represented as a mummified
man with the head of a jackal. He was the protector of the stomach
of the deceased, and was protected by the goddess Neith.
(A.K.A. Keb and Seb)
earth god. Son of Shu and Tefnut. Brother and consort of the sky god
Nut. Father of Osiris, Seth, Isis, and Nephthys. Geb was generally
depicted lying on his back, often wearing the crown of Lower Egypt,
with the naked body of Nut arched above him. Sometimes, however, the
air god Shu was shown standing on the body of Geb, supporting Nut
and perhaps separating her from Geb. His skin was often green, indicative
of his role as a god of fertility and vegetation. The goose was his
sacred animal and his symbol in Egyptian hieroglyphics. Geb was also
said to imprison the souls of the dead, preventing them from passing
on to the afterlife. The laughter of Geb was said to cause earthquakes.
cow goddess. Daughter of Nut and Re. In early Egyptian mythology she
was the mother of the sky god Horus, but was later replaced in this
capacity by Isis. Hathor then became a protectress of Horus. She was
depicted either as a cow or in human form wearing a crown consisting
of a sun disk held between the horns of a cow.
Her name appears to mean "house of Horus", referring to
her role as a sky goddess, the "house" denoting the heavens
depicted as a great cow. Hathor was often regarded as the mother of
the Egyptian pharaoh, who styled himself the "son of Hathor".
Since the pharaoh was also considered to be Horus as the son of Isis,
it might be surmised that this had its origin when Horus was considered
to be the son of Hathor.
Hathor took on an uncharacteristically destructive aspect in the legend
of the Eye of Re. According to this legend, Re sent the Eye of Re
in the form of Hathor to destroy humanity, believing that they were
plotting aganist him. However, Re changed his mind and flooded the
fields with beer, dyed red to look like blood. Hathor stopped to drink
the beer, and, having become intoxicated, never carried out her deadly
Hathor was often symbolized by the papyrus reed, the snake, and the
Egyptian rattle known as the sistrum. Her image could also be used
to form the capitals of columns in Egyptian architecture. Her principal
sanctuary was at Dandarah, where her cult had its early focus, and
where it may have had its origin. At Dandarah, she was particularly
worshipped in her role as a goddess of fertility, of women, and of
childbirth. At Thebes she was regarded as a goddess of the dead under
the title of the "Lady of the West", associated with the
sun god Re on his descent below the western horizon. The Greeks identified
Hathor with Aphrodite.
(A.K.A. Aset, Eset)
Egyptian mother goddess. Daughter of Geb and Nut according to the
Heliopolitan genealogy. Sister and wife of Osiris. Mother of Horus.
She was depicted in human form, crowned either by a throne or by
cow horns enclosing a sun disk. A vulture was also sometimes incorporated
in her crown. She is sometimes depicted as a kite above the mummified
body of Osiris. As the personification of the throne, she was an
important source of the pharaoh's power. Her cult was popular throughout
Egypt, but the most important sanctuaries were at Giza and at Behbeit
El-Hagar in the Nile delta. Isis later had an importan cult in the
Greco-Roman world, with sanctuaries at Delos and Pompeii. Her Latin
epithet was Stella Maris, or "star of the sea".
It was Isis who retrieved and reassembled the body of Osiris after
his murder and dismemberment by Seth. In this connection she took
on the role of a goddess of the dead and of funeral rites. Isis
impregnated herself from the corpse and subsequently gave birth
to Horus. She gave birth in secrecy at Khemmis in the Nile delta
and hid the child from Seth in the papyrus swamps. Horus later defeated
Seth and became the first ruler of a united Egypt. Isis, as mother
of Horus, was by extension regarded as the mother and protectress
of the pharaohs. The relationship between Isis and Horus may also
have influenced the Christian conception of the relationship between
Mary and the infant Jesus Christ. The depiction of the seated holding
or suckling the child Horus is certainly reminiscent of the iconography
of Mary and Jesus.
"Straight": i.e. law and order. Egyptian
goddess of truth and justice. She was associated with Thoth, Ptah
and Khnemu in the Egyptian Creation. She was a goddess of the underworld,
sitting in judgment over the souls of the dead in the Judgment Hall
(A.K.A. Minu, and Egyptian Menu)
fertility god. Sometimes given as either the son or consort of Isis.
He generally held a flail in his raised right hand and wore a crown surmounted
by two tall plumes. The "White Bull" appears to have been
sacred to him. His most important sanctuaries were at Koptos (Qift)
and Akhmim (Panoplis). Min was also worshipped as a god of desert
roads and of travellers. In addition to his role in coronation rites,
Min was honoured in harvest festivals during which offerings of
lettuce and sheaves of wheat.
(A.K.A. Golden Dawn &Auramooth)
wife of Amen in Theban tradition; the word mut in Egyptian means
"mother", and she was the mother of Khons, the moon god.
(A.K.A. Neb-hut & Nebthet)
of the House". Egyptian goddess of the dead. Daughter of Geb
and Nut. Sister of Isis, Osiris and Seth. According to one tradition,
she was also the mother of Anubis by Osiris. Her principal sanctuary
was at Heliopolis. Along with Isis, she was one of the guardians
of the corpse of Osiris. Depicted in human form wearing a crown
in the form of the hieroglyph for house. Sometimes depicted as a
kite guarding funeral bier of Osiris.
(A.K.A. Neuth &Nuit)
goddess of the sky and of the heavens. Daughter of the air god Shu
and Tefnut, the goddess of moisture, in the Heliopolitan genealogy.
She was typically depicted as a woman with her elongated and naked
body arching above Shu and the earth god Geb to form the heavens.
Sometimes she appeared in the form of a cow whose body froms the
sky and heavens. Nut was the barrier separating the forces of chaos
from the ordered cosmos in this world. Her fingers and toes were
believed to touch the four cardinal points or directions. Nut was
also a goddess of the dead, and the pharaoh was said to enter her
body after death, from which he would later be resurrected. Her
principal sanctuary was at Heliopolis.
god of the underworld and of vegetation. Son of Nut and Geb. His
birthplace was said to be Rosetau in the necropolis west of Memphis.
Brother of Nephthys and Seth, and the brother and husband of Isis.
Isis gave birth to Horus after his death, having impregnated herself
with semen from his corpse. Osiris was depicted in human form wrapped
up as a mummy, holding the crook and flail. He was often depicted
with green skin, alluding to his role as a god of vegetation. He
wore a crown known as the 'atef', composed of the tall conical white
crown of Upper Egypt with red plumes on each side. Osiris had many
cult centers, but the most important were at Abydos (Ibdju) in Upper
Egypt, where the god's legend was reenacted in an annual festival,
and at Busiris (Djedu) in the Nile delta.
One of the so-called "dying gods", he was the focus of
a famous legend in which he was killed by the rival god Seth. At
a banquet of the gods, Seth fooled Osiris into stepping into a coffin,
which he promptly slammed shut and cast into the Nile. The coffin
was born by the Nile to the delta town of Byblos, where it became
enclosed in a tamarisk tree. Isis, the wife of Osiris, discovered
the coffin and brought it back. (The story to this point is attested
only by the Greek writer Plutarch, although Seth was identified
as his murderer as early as the Pyramid era of the Old Kingdom.)
Seth took advantage of Isis's temporary absence on one occasion,
cut the body to pieces, and cast them into the Nile. (In the Egyptian
texts this incident alone accounts for the murder of Osiris.) Isis
searched the land for the body parts of Osiris, and was eventually
able to piece together his body. In some Egyptian texts, the scattering of the body parts is likened to the scattering
of grain in the fields, a reference to Osiris's role as a vegetation
god. 'Osiris gardens' - wood-framed barley seedbeds in the shape
of the god, were sometimes placed in tombs - and the plants which
sprouted from these beds symbolized the resurrection of life after
this legend that accounted for Osiris's role as a god of the dead
and ruler of the Egyptian underworld. He was associated with funerary
rituals, at first only with those of the Egyptian monarch, later
with those of the populace in general. The pharaoh was believed
to become Osiris after his death. Although he was regarded as a
guarantor of continued existence in the afterlife, Osiris also had
a darker, demonic aspect associated with the physiological processes
of death and decay, and reflecting the fear Egyptians had of death
in spite of their belief in an afterlife. Osiris was also a judge
of the dead, referred to as the 'lord of Maat' (i.e. of divine law).
Legendary ruler of predynastic Egypt and god of the underworld.
Osiris symbolized the creative forces of nature and the imperishability
of life. Called the great benefactor of humanity, he brought to
the people knowledge of agriculture and civilization. The worship
of Osiris, one of the great cults of ancient Egypt, gradually spread
throughout the Mediterranean world and, with that of Isis and Horus,
was especially vital during the Roman Empire.
believed to be a Syrian deity, Qetesh was a goddess of love and
beauty. Qetesh was depicted as a beautiful nude woman, standing
or riding upon a lion, holding flowers, a mirror, or serpents. She
is generally shown full-face (unusual in Egyptian artistic convention).
She was considered to be one of the forms of Hathor. She was also
considered the consort of the god Min, the god of virility.
sun god and creator god. He was usually depicted in human form with
a falcon head, crowned with the sun disc encircled by the uraeus
(a stylized representation of the sacred cobra). The sun itself
was taken to be either his body or his eye. He was said to traverse
the sky each day in a solar barque and pass through the underworld
each night on another solar barque to reappear in the east each
morning. His principal cult centre was at Heliopolis ("sun
city"), near modern Cairo. Re was also considered to be an
underworld god, closely associated in this respect with Osiris.
In this capacity he was depicted as a ram-headed figure.
By the third millennium B.C. Re's prominence had already become
such that the pharaohs took to styling themselves "sons of
Re". After death, the Egyptian monarch was said to ascend into
the sky to join the entourage of the sun god. According to the Heliopolitan
cosmology, Re was said to have created himself, either out of a
primordial lotus blossom, or on the mound that emerged from the
primeval waters. He then created Shu (air) and Tefnut (moisture),
who in turn engendered the earth god Geb and the sky goddess Nut.
Re was said to have created humankind from his own tears and the
gods Hu (authority) and Sia (mind) from blood drawn from himself. Re was often combined with other deities to enhance the prestige
of the latter, as in Re-Atum, Amun-Re, or in the formula "Re
in Osiris, Osiris in Re".
(A.K.A. Serqet & Serket)
scorpion-goddess, shown as a beautiful woman with a scorpion poised
on her head; her creature struck death to the wicked, but she was
also petitioned to save the lives of innocent people stung by scorpions;
she was also viewed as a helper of women in childbirth. She is depicted
as binding up demons that would otherwise threaten Ra, and she sent
seven of her scorpions to protect Isis from Set.
She was the protectress of Qebehsenuf, the son of Horus who guarded
the intestines of the deceased.
(A.K.A. Seth, Setekh, Setesh, Seti, Sutekh, Setech,
god of chaos who embodied the principle of hostility if not of outright
evil. He was associated with foreign lands and was the adversary
of the god Osiris. Seth was usually depicted in human form with
a head of indeterminate origin, though said to resemble that of
an aardvark. He had a curved snout, erect square- tipped ears and
a long forked tail. Sometimes he was represented in entirely animal
form with a body similar to that of a greyhound. He was said to
be the son either of Nut and Geb or of Nut and Ra, and the brother
of Isis, Osiris and Nephthys. Nephthys was sometimes given as his
consort, although he is more commonly associated with the foreign,
Semitic goddesses Astarte and Anat. Despite his reputation, he had
an important sanctuary at Ombos in Upper Egypt, his reputed birthplace,
and had his cult was also prominent in the north-eastern region
of the Nile delta.
For a time during the third millenium BC, Seth replaced Horus as
the tutelary deity of the pharaohs. However, the story of Seth's
murder of Osiris and subsequent war with Horus gained currency and
Horus was restored to his original status. The war with Horus lasted
eighty years, during which Seth tore out the left eye his adversary
and Horus tore out Seth's foreleg and testicles. Horus eventually
emerged victorious, or was deemed the victor by a council of the
gods, and thus became the rightful ruler of the kingdoms of both
Upper and Lower Egypt. Seth was forced to return the eye of Horus
and was himself either castrated or, in some versions, killed. In
some versions Seth then went to live with the sun god Re, where
he became the voice of the thunder. In the Book of the Dead Seth
was referred to as the "lord of the northern sky" and
held responsible for storms and cloudy weather. Seth protected Re
during his night voyage through the underworld against the Apophis-snake.
On the other hand, Seth was a peril for ordinary Egyptians in the
underworld, where he was said seize the souls of the unwary. Among
the animals sacred to Seth were the desert oryx, crocodile, boar,
and the hippopotamus in its aspect as a destroyer of boats and of
planted fields. The pig was a taboo in Seth's cult. The Greeks later
equated Seth with their demon-god Typhon.
(A.K.A. Su & Sos )
Egyptian god of the air and supporter of the sky. In the Heliopolitan
creation myth, Shu was, with his sister Tefnut, one of the first
deities created by the sun god Atum, either from his semen or from
the mucus of his nostrils. Tefnut then became his consort, giving
birth to the sky goddess Nut and the earth god Geb. Shu separated
Geb and Nut (heaven and earth) by interposing himself between them.
Depicted in human form wearing an ostrich feather (the hieroglyph
for his name), with his arms raised to support the goddess Nut above
the supine form of Geb.
crocodile god. Sobek symbolized the might of the Egyptian pharaohs.
Son of Neith. Depicted as a crocodile or in human form with the
head of a crocodile, crowned either by a pair of plumes or sometimes
by a combination of the solar disk and the uraeus (cobra). Sobek
was worshipped to appease him and his animals. According to some
evidence, Sobek was considered a fourfold deity who represented
the four elemental gods (Ra of fire, Shu of air, Geb of earth, and
Osiris of water). In the Book of the Dead, Sobek assists in the
birth of Horus; he fetches Isis and Nephthys to protect the deceased;
and he aids in the destruction of Set.
(A.K.A.Taueret, Taurt, Apet, Opet Thoueris, Thoeris,
& Toeris )
Great One". Egyptian hippopotamus goddess and protective deity
of childbirth. She was depicted with the head of a hippopotamus,
the legs and arms of a lion, the tail of a crocodile, human breasts,
and a swollen belly. This appearance was meant to frighten off any
spirits that might be harmful to the child. She was often depicted
holding the Sa amulet symbolizing protection. As a protective deity
of childbirth she was often depicted in the company of the dwarf
god Bes, who had a similar function. Taweret was most popular among
ordinary Egyptians as a protectress. Pregnant women commonly wore
amulets bearing the goddess's image.
(A.K.A. Thot, Thout; Egyptian Djhowtey, Djehuti,
moon god. Over time, he developed as a god of wisdom, and came to
be associated with magic, music, medicine, astronomy, geometry,
surveying, drawing and writing. Thoth was generally depicted in
human form with the head of an ibis, wearing a crown consisting
of a crescent moon topped by a moon disk. He could also be depicted
wholly as an ibis or a baboon. Both the ibis and the baboon were
sacred to him. His principal sanctuary was at Hermopolis (Khmunu)
in the Nile delta region.
Thoth served as an arbiter among the gods. In the Osirian legend,
he protected Isis during her pregnancy and healed her son Horus
when Seth tore out his left eye. Thoth was later identified with
the Greek god Hermes in the form of Hermes Trismegistos ("Hermes
the thrice great"), in which form he remained popular in medieval
magic and alchemy. Thoth was also a god of the underworld, where
he served as a clerk who recorded the judgments on the souls of
the dead. Alternatively, it was Thoth himself who weighed the hearts
of the dead against the feather of Truth in the Hall of the Two
(A.K.A. Upuaut & Ophois)
of the Ways". Egyptian jackal god. Wepwawet had a dual role
as a god of war and of the funerary cult, and could be said to "open
the way" both for the armies of the pharaoh and for the spirits
of the dead. He originated as a god of Upper Egypt, but his cult
had spread throughout Egypt by the time of the Old Kingdom. Depicted
as a jackal or in human form with the head of a jackal, often holding
the 'shedshed', a standard which led the pharaoh to victory in war
and on which the pharaoh was said to ascend into the sky after death.
Despite his origin in Upper Egypt, one inscription said that he
was born in the sanctuary of the goddess Wadjet at Buto in the Nile
delta. Another inscription identified him with Horus and thus by
extension with the pharaoh. Wepwawet also symbolized the unification
of Upper and Lower Egypt. In his capacity as a funerary deity he
used his adze to break open the mouth of the deceased in the "opening
of the mouth' ceremony which ensured that the person would have
the enjoyment of all his faculties in the afterlife. At Abydos the
'procession of Wepwawet' initiated the mysteries of Osiris as a
god of the dead.
winged sphinx of Boeotian Thebes, the most famous in legend, was said
to have terrorized the people by demanding the answer to a riddle
taught her by the Muses and devouring a man each time the riddle was
Goes on Four legs at Dawn,
But Two legs in the Day,
And Three Legs in the Evening
Eventually Oedipus gave the proper answer: man, who crawls on all
fours in infancy, walks on two feet when grown, and leans on a staff
in old age; the sphinx thereupon killed herself.
Sphinx later became a Guardian Of the Dead. The Image of the Sphinx
was Put on Tombs to Protect the Dead. The Most famous Image of the
Sphinx is the Great Sphinx Statue at the Pyramids of Giza.