The gods of Ancient Egypt were placed in three categories: Local Deities, Cosmic Deities, and Minor Deities. Local Deities were worshiped by the inhabitants of individual groups in Egypt, separated either by geography or cultural differences. Based upon the importance of a locality, a Local Deity could be promoted to state gods, who would be worshiped throughout Egypt. Cosmic Deities were gods of myths and legends. Cosmic Deities are often involved in Egyptian Creation myths. Minor Deities were those that could be worshiped by the general population. Most people in Ancient Egypt did not have access to the grand state temples where the important gods were worshiped, so Minor Deities gave these people a chance to worship the gods in some form. Often these deities were involved in local mythology, taking on the form of humans, similar to the gods of Greece and Rome.
The temple in Ancient Egypt was an important structure, as it was considered to be the house of the gods. Temples were often built with the purpose of reflecting the myths of Egyptian Creation. Services in the temple reflected the daily life of the god it was built for. Three main services were held each day, one at dawn, one at midday, and a third at night. These services included the washing, adornment and feeding of the worshiped god, and presenting offerings. Festivals were used to represent the social life of the god, including taking him to to vist another deity's house. The majority of the people could participate only in these festivals, as the inner sanctuaries of the temples where services took place were off limits to everyone but high priests. Festivals were schedules many times each year, including the Feast of Opet, held in Thebes, and the New Year Feast.
A major part of Egyptian religion included rituals for the dead. The Ancient Egyptians believed that there was life after death, and that afterlife was organized in a hierarchical manner, similar to life on Earth. Nobles and Clergy would have the best afterlife, while the peasants would life as they did in life. However, they believed that the afterlife should be made to consist of the best of one's life on earth. This required that one's name continue to exist, one's body remain intact, and there be an ample supply of food and drink. Thus, tombs were developed that included mummies, which preserved the body, inscribed texts with the deceased's name, and other desirable objects to have in the afterlife. An example is the tomb of King Tutankhamen, which was filled with elements of the young king's life, such as toys, arrows for practice, as well as likenesses of his servants and himself to aid him in the next life.
A change in Egyptian religion came with the reign of Akhenaten, who attempted to install monotheism. He wished to install Aten, a god that represented the light and heat of the sun, as the supreme and only god of Egypt. His attempts did not outlast his life, however, because the orthodoxy forced his successor, King Tutankhamen, to restore the old practices.
Much of what we know of Egyptian religion comes from texts from tombs, coffins, and papyri. The Pyramid Texts were the earliest records of Egyptian religion and customs. During the Middle Kingdom, the Coffin Texts were written on the tombs of dead kings, and the Book of the Dead, developed in the New Kingdom, were written on scrolls of papyri placed with the dead in the coffin. Other texts also shed light on Egyptian religion, most dealing with death and one's journey to the afterlife.
It is also believed by many that Ancient Egyptian religion was heavily intertwined with their astronomy. Some Egyptologists now believe that the Pyramids were built with the intent of giving the Pharaoh a passageway to the afterlife in the heavens, and that the layout was mimicking the positions of the star's in the constellation of Orion. These theories, however, are yet to be universally accepted by Archaeologists.