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Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt

THE ENNEAD: Ra, Geb, Nut, Shu, Tefnut, Osiris, Isis, Set, and Nephythys.
These nine gods were the foremost deities of the Egyptian pantheon. They were the close
family of Ra, the sun god, and formed a sort of protective dynasty about him. They were also
called Great Ennead of Heliopolis. That city was for a long time the religious capital of Egypt.
It was the city sacred to Ra. Below is a list of most of the Egyptian Mythical Gods and
Goddesses. In truth - one soul played all of these roles - as well of those of the Pharaohs
and Kings.

An earth-god also presiding over the juncture of the western and eastern horizons in the
Underworld. The motif of Aker consists of the foreparts of two lions, or two human heads,
juxtaposed so that they face away from each other. Aker opens the earth's gate for the king
to pass into the Underworld. He absorbs the poison from the body of anyone bitten by a
snake and neutralizes the venom in the belly of a person who has swallowed an obnoxious
fly. More importantly he imprisons the coils of the snake Apophis after being hacked to pieces
by Isis. This idea of enclosure accounts for the socket holding the mast of the Underworld
ferryboat being identified with Aker.

In the Egyptian notion of the Underworld Akerr could provide along his back a secure
passage for the sun-god's boat travelling from west to east during the hours of night. From
the tomb of Ramesses VI in the Valley of the Kings, the massive tomb of Pedamenopet.
(Dynasty XXVI) in el-Asasif necropolis at Thebes, and mythological papyri of the priesthood
of Amun in Dynasty XXI, it is possible to reconstruct a 'Book of Aker', concerned with the
solar journey from sunset to sunrise. A more threatening side to Aker can be detected when
he pluralizes into the Akeru or earth-gods. In apotropaic passages in the Pyramid Texts the
Akeru are said not to seize the monarch; later there is a general hope for everyone to escape
the grasp of the earth-gods. The Akeru appear to be primeval deities more ancient than Geb,
earth-god of the cosmogony of Heliopolis.

A goddess whose name means 'hidden one' and whose shadow, among the primeval gods,
is a symbol of protection. A deity at Karnak temple at least since the reign of Sesostris I
(Dynasty XII), she is predominantly the consort of Amun playing, however, a less prolific role
than his other wife Mut. A statue datable to Tutankhamun's reugn which was set up in the
Record Hall of Tuthmosis III at Karnak shows the goddess in human form wearing the Red
Crown of the Delta.

Reliefs at Karnak clearly mark her as prominent in rituals closely associated with the
monarch's accession and jubilee festival. For instance, in the monument of Tuthmosis III,
known as the Akh-menu, Amaunet and Min lead a row of deities to watch the king and sacred
bull in the jubilee celebration. Much later in the Greek domination of Egypt she is carved on
the exterior wall of the sanctuary suckling the pharaoh Philip Arrhidaeus who is playing the
role of the divine child immediately following the scene depicting his enthronement. A late
equation at Karnak identifies her with Neith of the Delta- comparable to the analogy made
between Mut and Sakhmet- but she retains her own identity well into the Ptolemaic period.


A bearded Man wearing a cap surmounted by two tall plumes. A ram, a ram headed man, or
a ram headed sphinx. Self created at the beginning of time. Believed to be the physical father
of all Pharaohs. King of the gods of Egypt, Patron of the Pharaohs. Originally a god of fertility,
a local deity of Memphis. Ammon became linked with the sun god Ra through the royal
family, becoming Ammon-Ra.
Early, a god of air and wind. Later, a fertility god. The Creator of all things. During the New
Kingdom he became "The king of the gods". He was said to be able to assume any form he
wished, with each of the other gods being one of these forms. From the eighteenth dynasty
on he was a national deity. Through political means managed to assimilate many lesser

One of chief Theban deities; united with sun god under form of Amen-Ra. As the city grew
from a village to a powerful metropolis so Amun, whose name signifies 'hidden', grew in
importance. He ousted the Theban god of war, Mont, and went on to be regarded as chief
god Egypt, 'King of the Gods'. Originally he might have been a wind or air god; later he was
given several powers and attributes.

As an ithyphallic god, either standing or enthroned carrying a whip, Amun was god of fertility.
At Karnak he was considered to be incarnate in a sacred ram which was kept in that temple.
Another symbol of sexual power, the goose, was also sacred to him.

From being worshipped as a god of generative power to being worshipped as an agricultural

deity responsible for the growth of crops was but a short step for Amun. He then rose to be
the patron of the Pharaohs, and because of the inevitable connections between royalty and
the sun, became linked to the great god Ra. As Amun-Ra he became supreme amoung the
gods and ruler of the Great Ennead. During the reign of Akhenaten, the worship of Amun, like
that of all the other great gods, was severely curtailed.

On the death of Akhenaten the new king, the boy Tut-ankh-aten, changed his name to
declare his allegiance to the neglected but now ascendant Amun; the youthful monarch is
known to us as Tut-ankh-amun. Thebes, home of the god Amun, developed into a state
within a state, a rich and powerful inner kingdom ruled by the high priestess of Amun and
staffed by men of nobility and genius.

The god's fame extended well beyond the boundaries of Egypt; Ethiopia was virtually a
vassal state to the city of Thebes. To the west, in Libya, his cult was the centre of public
religion, lasting well into Classical times as the cult of Jupiter Ammon. Even Alexander the
Great thought it worthwhile consulting the oracle of Amun.

He received a favorable reply and assumed the title, Son of Amun. Apart from Thebes, which
grew so important that it was simply known as 'the city', Amun was worshipped all over
Egypt, and his magnificent temples at Luxor and Karnak are among the finest remains of
antiquity. Amun formed a triad with his wife Mut and his son Khons.

A combination of the head of a crocodile, the middle of a lioness and the hind quarters of a
hippopotamus. We find Ammut during the weighing of the heart of a deceased person
against the feather of Maat. It was Ammut who would devour the souls of those who's hearts
proved heavier than Maat. This was a terrifying prospect for the ancient Egyptians. It meant
the end of existence. They would never meet Osiris and live forever in the Fields of Peace.

God in anthropomorphic form originally worshipped in the mid-Delta in Lower Egyptian nome
9. Andjety (meaning 'he of Andjet', i.e. the town of Busiris) was the precursor of Osiris at the
cult center of Busiris. The iconography of this god persuasively argues for his being the
forerunner of Osiris. Andjety holds the two scepters in the shape of a 'crook' and a 'flail',
insignia which are Osiris's symbols of dominion. Also his high conical crown decorated with
two feathers is clearly related to the 'atef' crown of Osiris.
As early as the beginning of Dynasty IV King Seneferu, the builder of the first true pyramid
tomb, is carved wearing this crown of Andjety. The close relationship of the god to the
monarch is is also evident from the earliest references in the Pyramid Texts, where the king's
power as a universal ruler is enhanced by his being equated to Andjety 'presiding over the
eastern districts'. Perhaps Andjety is an embodiment of sovereignty and its attendant regalia.
As such he would readily be absorbed into the nature of Osiris and by extension into the
pharaoh himself. The most likely explanation of his epithet, 'bull of vultures', found in the
Middle Kingdom Coffin Texts, is that it emphasizes his role as a procreative consort of major

Andjety figures in a funerary context as well. The notion that he is responsible for rebirth in
the Afterlife is probably the reason for the substitution for the two feathers of a bicornate
uterus in early writings of his name in the Pyramid Texts. In the Underworld too there is an
obvious identification between Andjety and Osiris, as ruler. Hence in the Temple of Sety I at
Abydos, the king is depicted burning incense to the god Osiris-Andjety who holds a 'crook'
scepter, wears two feathers in his headband and is accompanied by Isis.

ANHUR (Anhert, Onouris, Onuris)

A sky god associated with Shu. Anhur is shown as a man with one or both arms raised. He
wears four straight feathers on his head and sometimes holds a spear. His name is
interpreted as 'skybearer', or 'he who leads that which has gone away'. He was a warrior, and
was invoked against both human and animal enemies whom he chased in his chariot. Apart
from being a personification of war, he was also regarded as the creative power of the sun.
Sometimes he is shown holding a string by which he leads the sun; this to recall the story
that when Ra's eye wandered away it was Anhut who went to fetch it back. He was a popular
god in the New Empire with cult centers at Sebennytus and This. Married to the goddess
Mehit, Anhur was a generally benign god, warlike in order to be helpful. His festival included
a playful mock combat between the priests and people, who hit each other with sticks in
honor of their savior god.

Considered by the Egyptians to be a daughter of Ra, Anta is an aspect of Ishtar. She was
that of a warrior goddess of Ugarit on the Syrian coast and attested in Egypt from the end of
the Middle Kingdom. The Hyksos rulers seem to have promoted her cult and in the
Ramesside era Anat was a crown flanked with plumes, her martial nature is emphasised by
the shield, lance and battle ace. The fact that Anat can be shown under the iconography of
Hathor is not surprising since Hathor can closely relate to foreign deities (ex: Baalat at
Byblos or in the Sinai peninsula) as well as possessing a bloodthirsty, albeit usually subdued,
side to her nature. Anat is called 'mistress of the sky' and mother of all the gods' but it is her
warlike character that predominates in both Egyptian and Near Eastern references to her.
Anat's introduction into the Egyptian pantheon was on account of her protecting the monarch
in combat.

A man with the head of a jackal. A dog or a jackal. The jackal-headed god. Anubis can
foresee a mortal's destiny and is associated with magic and divination. Anubis supervises the
weighing of the soul when the departed are brought to the hall of the dead. Guardian of the
Necropolis (cemetery). He was the guide of the dead as they made their way through the
darkness of the underworld. As a patron of magic, it was believed he could foresee a persons
destiny, in this role he was the announcer of death. Anubis was the patron of embalming. He
was also the keeper of poisons and medicines. He provided unguents and rare herbs to help
Isis and Nephthys with the embalming of Osiris. Anubis then performed the funeral of Osiris,
which would be the model for all funerals to come. As he received the mummy into the tomb,
he performed the 'Opening of the Mouth' ceremony. In the Hall of Maat - Anubis appears on
behalf of the diseased. It was Anubis who saw that the beam of the great scale was in the
proper position as he supervises the weighing of the heart of a deceased person against the
feather of Maat. The god of knowledge, Thoth, records the results. It is also Anubis that
protects the dead from Ammut, the 'Devourer'.

The Assyro-Babylonian goddess Ishtar, inducted into the Egyptian pantheon and made a
daughter of Ammon-Ra. Sometimes identified (or confused, which is the same thing) with
Isis. Astarte was one of the earliest Mother Goddesses. The "bird-headed" figure above left
are very common and thought to represent Astarte or one of her precursors. Parts of the
world that honored the Astarte archetype were Indo-European, the Anatolian and Indo-
Iranian branches, eg, areas where these statues are found. The bronze figure on the right is
intriguing and rare.

An unseen Sun God link to the Akhnaton. The God was of light and had no physical state.

Atum was one of the most ancient gods in Egypt and was part of the Heliopolitan cosmology.
Originally an earth god, he became associated with Re, the sun god. Specifically, he was
considered to be the setting sun. In later times he became associated with Ptah and
eventually Osiris. According to the priests of Heliopolis, Atum was the first being to emerge
from the waters of Nun at the time of creation. Originally, he was a serpent in Nun and will
return to that form at the end of time. However, Atum was depicted in art as a man wearing
the Double Crown of Upper and Lower Egypt. As such, he is the first living man god
conceived of by the ancient Egyptians. Until then, their gods were all forms of animals.
Following his self-creation from Nun, Atum created his children Shu and Tefnut by
masturbating. This may seem impossible but Atum was a bisexual god. He embodied both
the male and female aspects of life. Therefore, his semen contained all that was necessary
to create new life and deities. The Egyptians called Atum "Great He-She" and his name
meant "the complete one." Later myths said that his children were products of his relationship
with his shadow, or with the goddess Iusaaset.

An aspect of the sun god Ra Auf was a ram-headed god who wore the solar disc and
traveled at night through the Underworld waterways in order to reach the east in time for the
new day; however, he still had to fight off the creatures of the Underworld. Demons and gods
towed his boat along while Auf stood in a deck-house, over which was coiled the serpent
Mehen who warded off the dangerous Apep. The boat of night was crewed by the gods Hu,
Saa and Wepwawet.


Ram god whose name means 'ba (or 'soul') lord of Mendes', his cult centerd in the north-east
Delta. When the two gods Horus and Set were making the heavens ring with their wranglings
over precedent, it was the ram-god Ba Neb Tetet who sensibly suggested to the gods in
council that they should write a letter to the goddess Neith and ask for her opinion. His
suggestion opened the way for discussion and arbitration which finally settled the dispute.
His character, one of peace and level-headedness, has been sadly perverted in sensational
'occult' fiction, for Ba Neb Tetet is the benign original for a travesty called the 'goat of
Mendes', who is supposed to be some sort of diabolic spirit. At Mendes was kept a sacred
ram, worshipped as the incarnation of Ra and Osiris. Originally a local god, Ba Neb Tetet was
given the solar disc and uraeus (coiled cobra) and brought into the main-stream of religious
Prominent god of the sky and storms whose cult spread from Ugarit in Syria into Egypt,
where he possessed a priesthood by Dynasty XVIII. Aliyan Baal, son of a less well-attested
god Dagan, dwelt on Mount Sapan (hence Ball-Zaphon) in North Syria but also became
associated as a local deity of other sites such as Baal-Hazor in Palestine, and Baal-Sidon
and Baal of Tyre(Melkart) in the Lebanon. Although the anme Baal can mean 'lord' or 'owner'
it was being used as a proper name for a specific god by the sixteenth century BC.

Baal has a pointed beard, a horned helmet and wields a cedar tree, club, or spear. His
epithet in the cuneiform texts, 'he who rides on the clouds', is admirable for a god of
tempests and thunder- relating thereby to the Mesopotamian thunder- god Adad and in Egypt
to the god Seth. Ramesses II in his almost fatal struggle against the Hittite confederation at
the battle of Kadesh is called 'Seth great of strength and Baal himself'. The war cry of
Ramesses III is like Baal in the sky, i.e. Baal's voice (the thunder) which makes the
mountains shake. His relationship to the warrior-pharaoh image may account for the
popularity of his cult at Memphis, capital of Egypt, and the theophorous name Baal-
Khepeshef or 'Baal-is-upon-his-sword'.

In the Middle East Baal's dominion was greatly enhanced when he became the vanquisher of
Yamm god of the sea. But Baal was killed in a struggle with Mot (possibly a personification of
death) and descended into the Underworld. He returns to life by the intervention of his sister-
lover Anat, who also slays his murderer. It is curious that the Egyptians did not, in extant
texts at any ratem relate this myth symbolizing the continual cycle of vegetation to their own
Osiris legend.

The cat-headed goddess, a local deity of the delta. The kindly goddess of joy, music and
dancing. Cats were sacred to Bast as a symbol of animal passion. Bast's devotees
celebrated their lady with processions of flower-laden barges and orgiastic ceremonies. Her
festivals were licentious and quite popular. She appears as a woman with the head of a
domesticated cat, sometimes holding a sistrum. The town of Bubastis was the cult centre of
this solar goddess represented as a woman with a cat's head, or simply as a cat. The
goddess holds a sistrum or rattle. She was identified and confused with both Mut and
Sekhmet, the lion-headed goddess. Bastet wore an aegis or shield in the form of a semi-
circular plate, embellished with a lion's head. She was goddess of pleasure and inevitably
became one of the most popular deities. In her temple were kept sacred cats, who were
supposed to be incarnations of the goddess. When they died they were carefully mummified.
The Egyptians found something to worship in just about every animal they had: dogs, cats,
lions, crocodiles, snakes, dung-beetles, hippos, hawks, cows and ibises.

As the daughter of Re she is associated with the rage inherent in the sun-god's eye, his
instrument of vengeance. It was probably this ferocity that made the analogy so plausible
between Bastet and lioness. Her development into the cat-goddess par excellence, of the
Late Period of Egyptian civilization, retains the link with the sun-god but in some ways
softens the vicious side of her nature. She becomes a peaceful creature, destroying only
vermin, and unlike her leonine form she can be approached fearlessly and stroked.
It has been suggested that in one myth the Egyptians saw Bastet's return from Nubia, where
she had been sent by Re as a lioness and had raged in isolation, to Egypt in the form of the
more placid cat as an explanation of the period of unapproachability in the cycle of
menstruation. A tangential evidence that advocates of this theory cite the scenes in New
Kingdom tomb paintings at Thebes where a cat is depicted under the lady's chair as a
deliberate ploy to indicate that she will always be available for sexual intercourse with the
tomb owner in the Afterlife.
In her earliest appearances in the Pyramid Era Bastet is a goddess closely linked to the king.
A magnificent example of precise engineering in the Old Kingdom, namely the valley temple
of King Khafre at Giza, carries on its facade the names of two goddess only- Hathor of
Southern Egypt and Bastet of the north. The latter is invoked as a benign royal protectress in
the Pyramid Texts where, in a spell to enable him to reach the sky, the king proclaims that his
mother and nurse is Bastet.

Besides the king, Bastet has a son in the form of the lion-headed god Mihos and is also the
mother of a more artificial offspring combining the natures of Nefertum and the child Horus,
personifying her connection with perfume and royalty. With the dramatic extension of the
roles of deities to assist Egyptian courtiers as well as the pharaoh that we find in the Coffin
Texts of the Middle Kingdom, Bastet gives immense protection as first-born daughter of
Atum. The aggressive side of Bastet can be seen in historial texts describing the pharaoh in
battle. For example, Amenhotep II's enemies are slaughtered like the victims of Bastet along
the road cut by the god Amun.

From her epithet 'lady of Asheru', the precinct of the goddess Mut at Karnak, it is clear that
Bastet had a place on Theban soil where she could be equated with the consort of Amun-
especially since the lioness and the cat were also claimed as sacred animals by Mut. Reliefs
in the temple of Karnak show the pharaoh celebrating ritual races carrying either four
sceptres and a bird or an oar in front of Bastet who is called ruler of 'Sekhet-neter' or the
'Divine Field'- i.e. Egypt.

A guardian god. Dwarf-god, grotesque in appearance, benign in nature. A god of a far
different order from the serene and poised figures of the official pantheon. He was a plump,
bandy-legged, hairy, rude dwarf with a wicked gleam in his pop-eyes. his tongue resolutely
stuck out at the follies of mankind. Bes was a foreign god, an import from the land of Punt
(Libya). He was a swaggering, jolly, mock-gallant pigmy, fond of music and clumsy, inelegant
dancing. He was a popular proletarian god who was adopted by the middle classes; he was
considered a tutelary god of childbirth and, strangely enough, of cosmetics and female
adornments. Bes chased away demons of the night and guarded men from dangerous
animals. His image was carved on bedpost, bringing a touch of coarse geniality into the
boudoir. He eventually became a protector of the dead and, amazingly, competed with even
the refined and magnificent god Osiris for the attentions of men. Bes' only clothing appears to
have been a leopard skin tied round his shoulders and an ostrich feather stuck in his
uncombed hair.

A funerary god, son of Horus.
Like Anubis he was jackal-headed and concerned with the dead. The stomach was
Duamutef's sphere of influence, the preserved viscera in question being removed from the
body, preserved in spices and placed in a jar on which was a mode of Duamutef's head. The
viscera were preserved as being essential parts of the mummified human.


Son of Shu and Tefnut, twin brother of Nut, husband of Nut, father of Osiris and Isis, Seth,
Nephthys. As a vegetation-god he was shown with green patches or plants on his body. As
the earth, he is often seen lying beneath Nut, leaning on one elbow, with a knee bent toward
the sky, this is representive of the mountains and valleys of the earth. He was often pictured
with a goose on his head or as a goose. Geb was thought to represent the earth, he is often
seen reclining beneath the sky goddess Nut. Geb was called 'the Great Cackler', and as
such, was represented as a goose. It was in this form that he was said to have laid the egg
from which the sun was hatched. He was believed to have been the third divine king of earth.
The royal throne of Egypt was known as the 'throne of Geb' in honor of his great reign.
Geb was a god without a cult; he was given the world to rule. One day he and a group of
friends rashly opened a box in which was kept Ra's uraeus, the divine cobra. The snake's
poisonous breath killed Geb's companions and severely burned Geb. The god was healed by
the application of a magic lock of hair belonging to Ra, and ever after that was careful to
mind his own business. After a long and uneventful reign he handed his power over to his
son Osiris and retired to heaven. There he occasionally assisted the god Thoth, sometimes
as a magistrate, sometimes as an envoy. Geb's generative power is shown not only in
representations of him as an ithyphallic man, but also in the story that he once had the shape
of a gander. He mated with a goose to produce an egg, the sun. Many cultures regard the
earth as female; Geb is an interesting exception.

God of the desert, particularly the regions of the west including the oases. Ha is
anthropomorphic and wears the symbol for desert hills on his head. As lord of the desert he
wards off enemies from the west, probably referring to invading tribes from Libya.

Husband of Nekhebet. A bearded man colored blue or green, with female breasts, indicating
his powers of nourishment. As god of the Northern Nile he wears papyrus plants on his head,
and as god of the southern Nile he wears lotus plants. He is often seen carrying offerings of
food or giving libations of water from a vase. Sometimes he is pictured offering two plants
and two vases, which represented the upper and lower Nile.

Hapi was a very important deity to anyone living in the Nile valley. He was the god of the Nile,
particularly the inundation, His followers worshipped him even above Ra. After all, without the
sun the Egyptians would have lived in darkness, but without the Nile the Egyptians would
have perished. It was believed that Hapi's source was two whirlpools in the caves on
Elephantine island. On his journey he was thought to flow through the Underworld, through
the heavens, and then through Egypt. He was responsible for watering the meadows and
bringing the dew. But most importantly he brought the fertile inundation. He provided food
and water for nourishment and for offerings to the gods. As a fertility god he is associated
with Osiris.

Because her worship stretches back to pre-dynastic times, we find Hathor identified with
many local goddesses, and it can be said that all the goddesses were forms of Hathor. At
times we find her playing the role of a sky-goddess, a sun-goddess, a moon-goddess, a
goddess of the east, a goddess of the west, a goddess of moisture, a goddess of fertility, an
agricultural goddess, and a goddess of the underworld. Hathor was the goddess of joy,
motherhood, and love. She was considered the protectress of pregnant women and a
midwife. She was the patron of all women, no matter their station in life. As the goddess of
music and dancing her symbol was the sistrum. As a fertility goddess and a goddess of
moisture, Hathor was associated with the inundation of the Nile. In this aspect she was
associated with the Dog-star Sothis whose rising above the horizon heralded the annual
flooding of the Nile. In the legend of Ra and Hathor she is called the Eye of Ra.

In later times, when the Osiris cults gained popularity, her role changed. She now welcomed
the arrival of the deceased to the underworld, dispensing water to the souls of the dead from
the branches of a sycamore and offering them food. Hathor was also represented as a cow
suckling the soul of the dead, thus giving them sustenance during their mummification, their
journey to the judgement hall, and the weighing of their soul. In the Late Period, dead women
identified themselves with Hathor, as men identified with Osiris.
A sky goddess, sometimes represented as a woman with cow's horns between which hangs
a solar disc, sometimes portrayed as a cow. Hathor concerns herself with beauty, love and
marriage, and watches over women giving birth. Mother and wife of Ra. Hathor is also a
goddess of death and offers comfort to the newly dead as they pass into the after-world.

Hathor was originally worshipped in the form of a cow, sometimes as a cow with stars on her.
Later she is represented as a woman with the head of a cow, and finally with a human head,
the face broad and placid, sometimes she is depicted with the ears or horns of a cow. She is
also shown with a head-dress resembling a pair of horns with the moon-disk between them.
Sometimes she is met with in the form of a cow standing in a boat, surrounded by tall
papyrus reeds. As the "Mistress of the Necropolis" she is shown as the head of a cow
protruding from a mountainside. In this case she wears a menat necklace, which is a symbol
of rebirth.

Goddess of creation, birth and the germination of corn. Heket was pictured as a frog, or a
frog-headed woman. She is a midwife, assisting at the daily birth of the sun. An earlier
theogony made greater claims for her, saying that with Shu as husband she gave birth to the
gods. A goddess of very antiquity, her cult never really got off the ground.


The falcon-headed god. The name Horus comes from the Egyptian word 'Hor', which
translates as 'face'. He was worshipped as Mekhenti-irry which translates as 'He who has on
his brow Two Eyes', the sun and moon representing his eyes, on nights when there is no
moon. In this form he was considered the god of the blind. The followers of Horus invaded
Egypt in pre dynastic history, at this time he was venerated as a victorious warlord. He
became a part of the state religion and was associated with the sun god, Ra. Horus was so
important to the state religion that Pharaohs were considered his human manifestation and
even took on the name Horus.

In the more popular religious beliefs of the Osiris cults he was the son of Osiris and Isis. The
avenger of his father's murder and the model of a dutiful son. It is in these stories that we find
him doing battle with his uncle, Seth.

The name 'Horus' stems from the ancient Egyptian word hr (her) which in its simple form was
the preposition 'above' Horus the falcon soars above all the land and its inhabitants, and
was, the natural symbol of the King who reigns over all Egypt. Every pharaoh was
supposedly an incarnation of Horus, who according to legend conquered Seth the evil god of
Upper Egypt. Seth was god of turmoil and confusion who murdered Osiris, Horus's father.
Horus avenged his father's death and became the god of order and justice. Therefore the
pharaoh in Ancient Egypt became Horus on earth, the ruler of the two lands (Upper and
Lower Egypt). Horus means the 'forsighted', where one eye represents the Sun and other
represents the Moon. The Sun was Known as 'Horakhty', or 'Horus in the Horizon'. He was
considered as the god of the east and the rising Sun. Horus has the Shape of a falcon or a
hawk or can take a human shape with a falcon. Horus was the god of the Nile Delta (Lower
Egypt) and Seth was the god of Upper Egypt, but Horus became the Symbol of Kingship and
the King of Upper and Lower Egypt because it was he who united the two Kingdoms.

The Kings of the predynastic Egypt were known as the followers of Horus. In this period,
Horus was known as the son of Isis and Osiris and inherited the throne of his father. Horus
was connected with the goddess Hathor. She was the eye of the Sun god Re, the wife of the
living King, and the mother of coming King. Her name was written with the hieroglyph of the
Horus falcon inside a rectangle-mean 'house' or 'mansion' of Horus.
Horus, in the shape of a falcon was worshiped in Hierakonpolis in Upper Egypt (north of
Edfu). Archaeologists found a golden head of a falcon inside the temple in Hierakonpolis, and
the name of the city means 'City of the Hawk'. Another temple was built for Horus in the city
of Behdet (now Damnhour in the Nile Delta), where Horus was represented in the shape of a
winged Sun disk. The modern name Damnhour itself 'town of Horus' derives from the ancient
Egyptian dmi-Hor.

Horus took anew form in the late Period (747 B.C.), when he became a popular god and was
represented as a naked child standing above a crocodile holding in his hands snakes,
scorpions and lions. Therefore Horus became known as a healer for the people with snake
bites and scorpion stings.

One of the most famous scenes of Horus is the representation of the falcon (Horus) perched
on a throne behind the head of King Khafre, the builder of the second pyramid at Giza. The
falcon embraces the King with its wings in order to fly with him to the Sky. Another scene
shows Isis nursing Horus. She and Hathor nursed and raised him to take revenge on his
uncle Seth, the evil King of Upper Egypt, who killed Osiris, Horus's father. Ancient Egyptian
literature relates great battles between Horus and Seth and how Horus conquered Seth and
united the two lands of Egypt. Therefore he was also known as Horus the fighter.

God of learning and medicine. A rare example of a commoner who reached the rank of god
by sheer merit. Like the later Amenhotep of the 18th Dynasty, Imhotep was an architect and
polymath. He was made god of learning and medicine and given Ptah, the artificer-god, as a
father. Imhotep, whose name means 'he who comes in peace', was an adviser of King Zoser
(Jeser, Djoser) of the 3rd Dynasty. It is thought that he was responsible for the design of the
Step Pyramid of Zaqqara, and he is also credited with introducing the stone column.
Imhotep's cult was centred on Memphis. He is shown seated with an open manuscript roll on
his knees and with the shaven head of a priest.

Statue fragments attest that Imhotep was given the extreme privilege of his name being
carved alongside that of Djoser Netjerykhet himself. He held the offices of chief executive
(vizier) and master sculptor- the Egyptian priest Manetho, who wrote in Greek a history of
Egypt in the third century BC, credits 'Imouthes' (i.e. Imhotep) with the invention of the
technique of building with cut stone. It is likely he was the architect who planned Egypt's first
large-scale stone monument: the Step Pyramid at Saqqara.

After his death Imhotep is remembered in Middle and New Kingdom scribal compositions as
the author of a book of instruction- a well known genre of Egyptian literature although the one
credited to Imhotep has not survived. In the Late Period bronzes of Imhotep show him seated
in scribal posture with a papyrus-roll open across his knees. This veneration for him leads to
his deification- an extremely rare phenomenon in ancient Egypt. In the Ptolemaic period
Imhotep as a god is found in cult centres and temples throughout Egypt.

An astral goddess (although possibly androgynous in origin) worshipped in Mesopotamia as
'lady of battle' and as an embodiment of sexuality and fertility. She is the Eastern Semitic
counterpart of Astarte (who figures far more prominently in Egyptian theology) and the
Akkadian equivalent of the Sumerian goddess Inanna. One of the most important Assyriam
goddesses, her fame extends into the realm of the Hurrians and Hittites to the north. Her
emblem, as on her gate in Babylon, is the eight-pointed star and her eminence is
emphasised by her identification with the brightest planet Venus. Further, she is the daughter
of the moon-god Sin.
Ishtar of Nineveh accompanies the Assyrian king into battle breaking the bows of his
enemies, armed with her own quiver, bow and sword. Her animal, the lioness, symbolises
her martial prowess. It has been suggested that the voluptuous side of Ishtar- her pleasure in
love, her 'beautiful figure' and 'sweet lips' as the texts tell us- is an inheritance from the
Sumerian Inanna. Certainly, when lamenting the death of her consort Tammuz (Sumerian
Dumuzi), Ishtar decends into the Underworld, all sexual activity ceased on earth. It would be
tempting to make an analogy between Ishtar and Isis or Hathor but evidence from the
Egyptian sources is lacking.

The role of Ishtar as a goddess of healing traverses frontiers in the Middle East. The best
example comes from Egypt, preserved in one of the cuneiform letters from the diplomatic
archive discovered at el-Amarna. Towards the end of his reign Amenhotep III suffered a
sickness or pain- if the mummy revuried under his name by priest living generations later is
definitely that of this king, then the agony of his severe dental abscesses must have made
him desperate for relief. To alleviate Amenhotep's illness his father-in-law Tushratta of
Mitanni sent- on loan only- a statue of Ishtar of Nineveh to Egypt in the hope that the
goddess's curing-power might operate through the divine effigy.

Daughter of Nut and Geb. Wife and sister of Osiris. The ideal wife and mother. Generally a
goddess of the home and person rather than of the temple and the priest. After the twenty
sixth dynasty, Isis is increasingly portrayed as a nursing mother, and her cult eventually
spread throughout the Roman empire. Her husband/brother was Osiris who was slain by
their brother Set. She had his dismembered remains restored. Their son was Horus.

The nature goddess whose worship, originating in ancient Egypt, gradually extended
throughout the lands of the Mediterranean world and became one of the chief religions of the
Roman Empire. The worship of Isis, together with that of her brother and husband, OSIRIS,
and their son, HORUS, resisted the rise of Christianity and lasted until the 6th cent. A.D.

The greatest of Egyptian divinities, the embodiment of ideal motherhood and womanhood.
On her head is a miniature throne (the ideogram of her name) and the solar disc between the
cow's horns of Hathor. In some cases vestigial cow's ears are all that remain to show her
connection with that goddess. Sacred to her were the sistrum, the rattle, to ward off evil
spirits, and a magic knot called Tat. She is shown in many attitudes: suckling the infant
Horus, enthronged alongside Osiris, protecting her husband and the souls of the dead with
her winged arms. Her magical powers were considerable; Isis was the only divinity ever to
discover the secret name of Ra. She used a magic snake to torment him with its poison until
he revealed his true name to her.

Possession of the name would have given her power of life and death over Ra, and there is
in the this story a hint of an inner cult. The outer cult has been described in The Golden Ass
by Apuleius. Isis is a splendid example of the prieval mother goddess developed into a regal
lady. She is positive and attractive, modest yet active, loving, faithful and humane, civilzed
and sensitive. Her name, linked to Ishtar, had charmingly been described as an
onomatopoeic derivation of the sound of weeping, and indeed Isis is often shown with tears.

God of morning sun. Sun-god creator in the form of a scarab beetle. One of the many images
of the sun god Ra was the scarab beetle. The Egyptians saw in its tireless mocing of a ball of
dung a parallel to the movement of the sun across the sky. They also noticed that small
beetles emerged from similar balls and assumed that, like the sun the scarab was a self-
created entity. Heliopolis was the cult centre of Khepra worship; the name Khepra means
'scarab' or 'he who becomes', with the added idea of continuinnng and eternal life. The god
was shown as a scarab bettle, or as a man with a complete beetle instead of his human
head. Inscriptional evidence for Khepri occurs in the pyramids of the Old Kingdom: a wish is
expressed for the sun to come into being in its name of Khepri. The priesthood of the sun-
god combined his different forms to assert that Atum-Khepri arises on the primeval mound in
the mansion of the Benu in Heliopolis. Referring to the myth of the sun-god's journey through
the hours of night. Khepri is said to raise his beauty into the body of Nut the sky-goddess.
From noticing the somewhat slimy sonsistency of the scarab beetle's dirt-ball, the earth is
made from the spittle coming from Khepri.

From about the Middle Kingdom representations of Khepri as the ovoid scarab regularly
occur in three-dimensional form carved as the amuletic backing of seals. These scarabs, by
implication, connect the wearer with the sun-god. The underside could be incised, not just
with the titles and name of an official, but also with good luck designs, deities and the names
of royalty used for their protective power. Kings would use the undersides of large scarabs to
commemorate specific events- Amenhotep III has left a number of these news bulletins
which inter alia give information on his prowess at lion hunting and celebrate the arrival of a
Syrian princess into his harem.

The scarab could form the bezel of a ring or be part of a necklace or bracelet- the tomb of
Tutankhamun has provided us with splendid examples of scarabs made of semi-precious
stones like lapis lazuli set in gold. One of the young king's pectorals in particular stresses the
dominance of Khepri the sun-god as well as being a masterpiece of the jeweller's craft: in the
centre of the design is a scarab carved from chalcedony combined with the wings and talons
of the solar hawk, representing Khepri whom as controller of celestial motion, is shown here
pushing the boat of the moon-eye.

Paintings in funerary papyri show Khepri on a boat being lifted up by the god Nun, the
primeval watery chaos. In some depictions Khepri coalesces with other conceptions of the
sun-god to present the appearance of a ram-headed beetle. On a wall of the interior chamber
in the tomb of Petosiris (fourth century BC) at Tuna el-Gebel, Khepri was carved quite
naturalistically in low relief, painted lapis lazuli blue, wearing the 'atef' crown of Osiris.
Less frequently Khepri could be shown as an anthropomorphic god to the shoulders with a
full scarab beetle for a head. Bizarre as it might seem, the Egyptian artist has left some
magnificent depictions of Khepri in this form- e.g. in the tomb of Nefertari in the Valley of the
Queens. Although relatively few examples are extant in museums or in situ, it seems likely
that the major temples each possessed a colossal hard-stone statue of Khepri. Raised on a
plinth, the scarab symbolised architecturally the concept that the temple was the site where
the sun-god first emerged to begin the creation of the cosmos.

Ram-headed god. God of fecundity and creation from the Cataract area. Originally a local
ram-god, his sanctuary was on Elephantine Island; he was visualized as a man with a ram's
head and wavy horns. He guarded the source of the Nile, which to the Egyptians was the
same as guarding the source of life. From a guardian god he developed into a demiurge
(creator), and it was said that he shaped the world on his potter's wheel. As a potter shapes
clay so does Khnum shape man's flesh; it is he who is responsible for the formation of the
foetus in the womb. In Nubia there was a ram-god called Doudoun with whom Khnum may
be associated. The Egpytians married Khnum off to the goddess Heket, who was a frog.

Goddess of truth and justice. Her symbol is the feather. Wife of Thoth. A woman wearing a
tall ostrich feather on her head - an ostrich feather. The goddess Maat represents the ideals
of law, order, and truth. The word, Maat translates "that which is straight." it implies anything
that is true, ordered, or balanced. She was the female counterpart of Thoth. We know she is
a very ancient goddess because we find her in the boat of Ra as it rose above the waters of
the abyss of Nu on the first day. Together with Thoth, they charted the daily course of the sun
god Ra. She is sometimes called the 'eye of Ra' or the 'daughter of Ra'. Maat also plays an
important part in the Book of the Dead. It is in the Hall of Maat the judgement of the dead
was performed. This was done by weighing one's heart (conscience) against the feather of
Maat. If a balance was struck the deceased was deemed to be worthy of meeting Osiris in
the after life. If the heart of the deceased was found to be heavier then the feather of Maat it
would be devoured by Ammut.

A panther-goddess whose ferocity prevails over snakes and scorpions. The scratch of her
claws is lethal to snakes, hence symbolically the barbs of the king's harpoon become
Mafdet's claws for decapitating his enemies in the Underworld. When Mafdet is described as
leaping at the necks of snakes, the imagery seems to suggest her form takes on that of a
mongoose. In one epithet Mafdet wears braided locls, probably a reference to her displaying
the jointed bodies of the scorpions which she has killed.

The ferryman who navigates the boat, provided by Aken, along the winding waters of the
Underworld. He also acts as a herald announcing the arrival of the king into the presence of
the sun-god Re.

Sun-god of Lower Nubia. Mandulis wears a crown of ram-horns surmounted by high plumes,
sun disks and cobras. His name in Egyptian inscriptions is 'Merwel' but the Greek vision, as
found in the text known as the 'Vision of Mandulis' is used almost universally. A chapel to
Mandulis existed on the island of Philae off the eastern colonnade approaching the temple of
Isis, a goddess who seems to be regarded at least at his close companion. But it is in the
temple of Kalabsha (now resited just above the High Dam at Aswan), the most impressive
monument in Lower Nubia from the Graeco-Roman period, that the best evidence of the cult
of Mandulis can be found. Constructed on the site of an earlier New Kingdom sanctuary
Kalabsha (ancient Talmis) took its present form during the reign of the Roman emperor
Augustus. Mandulis, as represented on its walls, does not seem at all out of place among the
other members of the Egyptian pantheon placed in his company. From the 'Vision of
Mandulis' we find the enforced equation of this Nubian solar deity to Egyptian Horus and to
Greek Apollo.

The divine snake whose coils protected Ra as he journeyed on his boat through the
waterways of the kingdom of night. Mehen is usually seen draped in protective coils about
the deck-house in which Ra stands. The earliest mention of the god occurs in a Coffin Text of
the Middle Kingdom. Detailed representation of the 'coiled one' can be found in vignettes of
funerary papyri and on the walls of tombs in the Valley of the Kings especially Sety I and
Ramesses VI.

Cow-goddess of the sky. Her name means 'great flood'. In the Pyramid Era Mehet-Weret
represents the waterway in the heavens, sailed upon by both the sun-god and the king. She
is also a manifestation of the primeval waters- consequently being sometimes considered as
the 'mother of Re'. (Compare Neith with whom Mehet-Weret identifies.) From vignettes in the
New Kingdom funerary papyri the goddess is pictured as a cow lying on a reed mat with a
sun disk between her horns.

Lion-god, son of Bastet, called Miysis by the Greeks. His local roots were at Leontopolis
(modern Tell el-Muqdam) in nome 11 of Lower Egypt in the Eastern Delta. Osorkon III
(Dynasty XXII) erected a temple to him at Bubastis, the town sacred to the god's mother.
Mihos's name is also found in amuletic papyri of the late New Kingdom.


Ithyphallic god of sex. A god of fertility and sexual potency. As orgiastic festivals were held in
his honor, Min was quite a popular god. Son of Ra and Shu. An ancient god of pre-dynastic
origins. Min was pictured as an bearded, ithyphallic man, with his legs close together. He
wore two tall feathers, the same headdress that we find Amun wearing. His arm is raised,
holding a whip, or a thunderbolt. In the New Kingdom he was seen as a white bull.
In early times Min was a sky-god whose symbol was a thunderbolt. His title was Chief of
Heaven. Well into the Middle Kingdom he was identified with the falcon-god Haroeris (Horus
the Elder). Above all, Min was worshipped by men as a fertility god, a bestower of sexual
powers. He was also seen as a rain god that promoted the fertility of nature, especially in the
growing of grain. During the Min festivals that celebrated the beginning of the planting
season, we find renderings of pharaohs ceremonially hoeing the ground and watering the
fields under the supervision of Min. Likewise at the Min festival that marked the beginning of
the harvest season, the pharaoh was seen reaping the grain. Despite his fertility
associations, Min was also known as Lord of the Eastern Desert. In this role he was the
protector of the caravan routes from his cult center at Koptos to the Red Sea. As the Lord of
Foreign Lands he was the protector of nomads and hunters.

A falcon-headed god of war whose cult was at Hermonthis (Armant). Mont was favoured by
the kings of the 11th Dynasty, who used his name as part of theirs. Sometimes pictured as a
bull-headed man, he was reputed to incarnate himself in the bull called Buchis, kept in the
shrine at Hermonthis. Mont also had solar characteristics (a bull often represents the heat
and power of the sun) and for a while was supreme god in the south, until he was included in
the Theban triad and demoted by the god Amun of Thebes. As war against the Hittites,
Rameses II found himself losing; he called upon Amun and rallied his forces to the
counterattack. He successfully routed the Hittites and then declared that he was like the god
Mont. The Greeks and Celts might have had gods who intervened in battles, but the
Egyptians had a god on the battlefield their king. For all his qualities Mont was later dropped
from the Theban triad in favour of Khons, the lunar god.

Sky goddess and wife of Amun-Ra. Mother of all the gods, mother of all living things. A
woman wearing a vulture headdress, with the double crown of upper and lower Egypt. In
some pictures the heads of vultures project from her shoulders. Sometimes she holds a
papyrus sceptre. Mut was the divine mother, the queen of all gods. She was the female
counterpart of Amun. Mut usurped many of the other Egyptian goddess that exhibited the
attributes of motherhood. During the New Kingdom, The marriage of Mut and Amun was one
of the great annual celebrations. Amun would be brought from his temple at Karnak, a great
following would escort him to visit Mut at her temple at Luxor. In spite of her marriage to
Amun, Mut was bisexual, perhaps to reinforce her position as the mother of all things. Her
hieroglyphic symbol was a vulture, it was worn on the crowns of Egypt's queens to typify their
A goddess of Heliopolis whose name 'mistress of the offering' conceals a more intellectual
concept. Like Iusaas she is a feminine counterpart to the male creative principle embodied in
the sun-god Atum. She is therefore transformed from merely a manifestation of Hathor at
Heliopolis into an integral element of the creator-god, namely the hand with which he grips
his phallus prior to bringing the Egyptian cosmos into being.


A snake-god, 'He who harnesses the spirits', whose invincibility is a source of protection both
in Egypt and in the Underworld. Looking like a serpent but with human arms and legs,
Nehebkau lurked in the Underworld as a constant menace to gods and men. He was
however a subject of Ra and would often give food to the dead. He is sometimes shown with
two heads at one end of his body and another head at the other end.

Goddess of war and domestic arts, especially weaving. Neith was pictured as a woman
wearing the red crown of Lower Egypt, holding a bow and crossed arrows. Her cult sign was
a shield and crossed arrows. Occasionally she was represented as the great cow, mother of
Ra. Neith was a goddess of the hunt. She may have also been a war goddess. Her worship
dates from pre dynastic history. In early times she was called 'mother of the gods' and 'Great
Goddess'. She was considered the guardian of men and gods.

Later, Neith was seen as a protector of the dead, she is often seen standing with Nephthys at
the head of coffins. Or assisting Isis, Nephthys, and Serqet to guard the Canopic jars. As
'Opener of the Ways', she was a guide in the underworld, a female Anubis. In the Eighteenth
Dynasty she took on the attributes of Hathor, as a protector of women. As a creative deity
she was said to be the wife of Khnum at Elephantine. She was appealed to for her wisdom
as an arbitrator during the great quarrel of Horus and Seth.

Neith assumed the role of state deity during the Twenty-sixth Dynasty, when the kings of Sais
repeled the invading Assyrians and reunited Egypt. This period lasted for about a century and
a half and the tendency in art and religion was to try to regain the glories of the past. This
was a suitable time for the worship of an ancient goddess. Mother of Sobek, Isis, Horus and
Osiris. Or mother of Ra. The pharaoh Nectanebo II of the Twenty-sixth Dynasty, claimed her
as his Mother. Husband of Khnum.

A guardian goddess of Upper Egypt who looked after children and mothers. Nekhebet was
worshipped at Nekheb (El Kab; Greek:Eileithyiaspolis). She was shown hovering over the
Pharaoh in vulture-form, holding a fly-whisk and a seal. She protected and suckled the royal
children. The Greeks identified her with their goddess of childbirth, Ilythia or Eileithyia. Also in
the Pyramid Texts she is called 'White Crown', symbolic headdress of the king as ruler of
Upper Egypt, and 'mistress of the Per-wer', i.e. the shrine par excellence of the southern
kingdom. In this respect she is the counterpart to Wadjet of the north whom she occasionally
accompanies on the front of the royal headdress. She can even take the serpent-form of the
northern goddess- normally to form an heraldic device around the sun disk or royal name.
Her cult-sanctuary at el-Kab is impressive in size but devastated. The presence of a Middle
Kingdom shrine is attested as are constructions from Dynasty XVIII bit the present ruins date
to the last native rulers of Egypt (Dynasties XXIX-XXX).

A woman wearing on her head the hieroglyphic symbol of her name. Daughter of Nut and
Geb. Sister of Osiris, Isis, and Seth. Wife of Seth, mother of Anubis. Her name means 'Lady
of the House' it's thought to be referring to Osiris' Palace. Nephthys conceived no children
with her husband Seth. Her son, Anubis was conceived from a union with Osiris. It is said
that she tricked Osiris into this union by making him drunk, or by disguising herself as Isis.
Fearing Seth's anger, Nephthys hides the infant in the Delta marshes shortly after his birth.
Seth murders Osiris and Nephthys flees in fear. She finds her sister, Isis, and helps in the
search for Osiris' body. Nephthys tells her sister about the infant. During the search for
Osiris, Isis finds Anubis and adopts him. After finding the body of Osiris, she helps Isis
embalm him. The two sisters turn into birds and fly about mourning over the dead body. She
is often rendered on the head of coffins, as Isis is rendered at the foot, with long wings
spread to protect the deceased.

Goddess of heavens & sky; consort of Geb. God of the primal waters. Nut united with her
brother the earth god Geb, in a tight and passionate embrace until separated by Shu ('air') on
the orders of Ra. Ra was annoyed because Geb and Nut had come together without his
knowledge or agreement. Expecting that there would be a natural result of their affection, he
declared that Nut could not give birth to children on any day of any month of any year. The
god Thoth came to Nut's help.

He had been playing draughts with the moon and he had won enough of the moon's light to
make up five new days. Since these days were not on the official calendar, Nut was able to
bear a child on each. She gave life to Osurus, Isis, Set, Nephythys, and Horus the Elder. Nut
is represented as a slim-limbed girl; supported only on the tips of her fingers and toes, she
arches over the fallen body of Geb, who sprawls with limbs awry and phallus erect. Nut is
supported by the god Shu in some representations, and her star-spangled belly forms a
canopy for the earth.

When Ra decided to go away and have nothing to do with men, he rose to the heavens on
the back of Nut who had taken on the form of a cow. Nut grew rapidly to such an enormous
height that it was feared her legs would snap, so to each leg was appointed a god whose
duty was to stiffen and strengthen it. Nut arches over the earth morning from between her

God of underworld and judge of dead; son of Geb and Nut. The ancient Egyptian god whose
annual death and resurrection personified the self-renewing vitality and fertility of nature. God
whose domain is Duat- the Egyptian Underworld. Legendary ruler of pre-dynastic 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. In a famous myth he was slain by his evil brother Set, but his
death was avenged by his son HORUS. 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. Originally a vegetation god closely
linked to corn; later god of the dead, the supreme funerary deity.

Osiris was born at Thebes of Geb and Nut and succeeded to the throne on his father's
abdication. He took Isis as his queen and set about teaching the Egyptians the arts and
crafts of civilizations. He showed them how to use grain for bread and grapes for wine. He
started religion, built temples, composed rituals, and carved statues. He taught them weaving
and music, founded towns, and introduced codes of law. Having brought the Egyptians up to
a reasonable standard of personal and social behavior, Osiris set off to do the same for other

He was accompanied in these journeys by Thoth, Anubis, and Wepwawet. In his absence his
kingdom was successfully governed by Isis. After the return of Osiris, Set who had been
growing more and more jealous of his brother's successes and popularity, invited him to a
great banquet. During the feast a huge and beautifully decorated coffer was brought into the

Set jokingly declared that the coffer would become the property of whomsoever it fitted.
Osiris was invited to be the first to try it. Amidst general mirth he clambered inside and lay
down. Immediately the lid was slammed on and nailed down tight. The banquet guests, who
were all in the conspiracy, sealed the coffer with molten lead. Secretly, in the darkness, the
coffer was carried to the Nile and dropped into the swift waters. The coffer floated out to sea
and eventually came to land at Byblos in Phoenicia. It beached near the roots of a tamarisk
tree. The tree, as if sensing the presence of something divine, spread around the coffer
magically, protectively. The tree grew rapidly to a huge size, so that the great box was
entirely closed in its magic trunk. The local king, Malcandre, heard of the wonderful giant tree
and had it cut down to be used as a column in his palace. The column gave off a sweet
perfume. News of this wonder reached Isis, who understood what had happened and set off
for Byblos in disguise. There she was given the royal baby to look after by the queen,

Isis wanted to give the gift of immortality to the child and began tto burn off its mortal being
with magic fire. Astarte saw the flames, misunderstood what was happening and spoiled the
spell with her anxious intervention. Isis then confessed her true identity and told them the
reason for her visit. King Malcandre gave her the column and the goddess retrieved the
coffer containing her dead husband. Returning to Egypt, she hid in the swamplands of Buto
and managed to revive the body long enough for it to make her pregnant. But Set, out
hunting in the swamps, came across the hiding place and found the body. Furiously he
dismembered the corpse into fourteen parts and dispersed them about the land. Isis
searched for the pieces and patiently reassembled her husband.

The artificer, the creator god, according to the priests of Memphis, the ancient capitol of
Egypt. He was supposedly the founder of all creation. God of artisans and artists, designers,
builders, architects, masons, metal workers. Ptah's consort is Sekhmet, goddess of war. A
man wrapped as a mummy with a shaved head and beard. Hanging from the back of his
neck is the Menat, a symbol of happiness. Holding a staff that is a combination of three
symbols. An ankh, a died, and a was scepter. This staff represents life, stability, and

Ptah represents the sun at the time when it begins to rise above the horizon and or right after
it has risen. As early as the Second Dynasty, he is regarded as a creator god. The patron of
architects, artists and sculptors. It was Ptah who built the boats for the souls of the dead to
use in the afterlife. In the Book of the Dead we learn that he was a master architect, and
responsible for building the framework of the universe. It was said that Ptah created the great
metal plate that was the floor of heaven and the roof of the sky. He also constructed the
supports that held it up. Some creation legends say that by speaking the names of all things,
Ptah caused them to be.

God of the sun - sometimes identified or considered synonymous with Atum. The Supreme
God. Son of Nut. Pharoahs claimed descent from him. Pharaohs claimed descent from him;
represented as lion, cat, or falcon. His mask - head - was that of a hawk crowned with a solar
disk and uraeus. Father of the first divine couple, Shu and Tefnut. Grandfather of Geb and
Nut, whose children were Osiris and Isis, Seth and Nephthys. Sun god, one of the most
important gods of ancient Egypt. Called the creator and father of all things, he was chief of
the cosmic deities. Early Egyptian kings alleged descent from him. Various other Egyptian
gods, e.g., AMON, were identified with him. His symbol is the pyramid.
Finding himself alone in the watery mists of Nun, the sun god Ra achieved the remarkable
feat of making himself pregnant. He then have birth to air, Shu, and moisture, Tefnut, by
spitting them out of his mouth. Shu and Tefnut mated to produce the earth god Geb and the
sky goddess Nut. These grandchildren followed their parents' incestuous example with such
enthusiasm that they engendered four great-grandchildren for Ra. There were two of each
sex, which was convenient, for Osiris mated with Isis and Set with Nephythys. They are
known collectively as the Great Ennead of Heliopolis, the nine major gods of Ancient Egypt.
Ra had several aspects. As Atum he is a man wearing the double crown of Egypt; as Khepra
he is a dung beetle tirelessly rolling its ball to hide in the sand - as tirelessly as the sun is
moved across the sky. As Ra he is a falcon-headed man wearing the uraeus, the coiled
cobra, and sun disc. Every day Ra travelled from Manu, the hill of sunrise, across the sky in
a boat called Manjet.

As he traveled, he aged from boy to old man. At night he assumed a ram's head and
transferred to the boat called Mesektet for his night journey through the waterways of the
Underworld. The reliability of his sailings, the eternal validity of his season-ticket, were
constant facts in Egyptian life. Ra is said to have created man from his tears; a problem to
the gods. And sure enough there was trouble. Men were wicked unruly and treacherous.
Eventually Ra had had enough; he ordered Hathor to kill mankind. The goddess went about
the work so efficiently and enthusiastically that Ra changed his mind. Aghast at the slaughter,
he ordered her to stop. Hathor ignored him, and he had to resort to trickery to cease the
carnage. Ra found men so distasteful that he took to sailing, assuming what is now known as
a low profilel if that is possible for the sun.

Ra had trouble with his eye, the sun. Not only did it stay out at night, but it actually began to
wander off on its own. The god had to send Anhur (some say Thoth) to bring it back. When
the sun realized that its place in the sky had been taken by a rival, the moon, there were
angry scenes. Ra had to play the diplomat and find places and suitable times for both of

There was a close interdependence between Ra and the Egyptian kings. The kings claimed
not only relationship with the sun but also identity. Thus a Pharaoh was the son of the sun,
and also the incarnation of it. Ra was the sun and the kinf was Ra. This identification was
strengthened by royal titles in which the name Ra predominated by the wearing of the golden
cobra or uraeus, and by the practice of incest in the royal family.


Goddess of war and battles, consort of Ptah. Hathor took Sekhmut's shape when she made
war on men. Sekhmut is usually portrayed as a woman with the head of a lioness,
sometimes brandishing a knife in an upraised hand. A sun goddess. She represents the
scorching, burning, destructive heat of the sun. She was a fierce goddess of war, the
destroyer of the enemies of Ra and Osiris. Her temper was uncontrollable. In the legend of
Ra and Hathor, Sekhmet's anger became so great, she would have destroyed all of mankind
if Ra had not taken pity on us and made her drunk. Lion-headed goddess of war and battle of
Memphis. Although she was the malignant sun, Sekhmet attracted osteopaths to her cult.

Her name simply means the 'powerful' and is extremely apt in view of the destructive aspect
of her character. Sometimes the linen dress she wears exhibits a rosetta pattern over each
nipple, an ancient leonine motif that can be traced to observation of the shoulder-knot hairs
on lions. She is daughter of the sun-god Re. A superbly carved limestone fragment from the
valley of Sneferu (Dynasty IV) at Dahshur shows the monarch's head closely juxtaposed to
the muzzle of a lioness-deity (presumably Sakhmet) as if to symbolize Sneferu breathing in
the divine life-force emanating from the goddess's mouth. This would be in line with a
statement in the Pyramid Texts to the effect that Sakhmet conceived the king. Certainly,
under Sahure of Dynasty V the goddess received a shrine at Abusir.

A corresponding relationship was made between Sakhmet of Memphis and the goddess Mut,
wife of Amun at Thebes, a fusion facilitated by the fact that both goddesses could manifest
themselves under leonine forms. Hundreds of statues of Sakhmet were set up in the reign of
Amenhotep III (Dynasty XVIII) in the precinct of Mut's temple (known as 'Isheru') south of the
Great Temple of Amun of Karnak. Their quantity is attributable to their ritual purpose in
receiving offerings, each statue being so honoured on one particular day of the year.
Sakhmet's black granite statues either show her seated holding the sign of life ('ankh') in her
hand or standing with a sceptre in the shape of the papyrus, heraldic plant of north Egypt.
Inscriptions on these statues emphasise her warlike aspect, e.g., 'smiter of the Nubians'.

The goddess is adopted by the pharaohs as a symbol of their own unvanquishable heroism
in battle. She breathes fire against the king's enemies, such as in the Battle of Kadesh when
she is visualised on the horses of Ramesses II, her flames scorching the bodies of enemy
soldiers. The wrath of the pharaoh towards those who rebel against his rule is compared by a
Middle Kingdom treatise on kingship to the rage of Sakhmet. In a passage intended to flatter
the pharaoh in the story of Sinuhe, it is said that the fear of the king pervades foreign
countries like Sakhmet in a year of pestilence. Her title 'lady of bright red linen', which on the
surface is a reference to the colour of her homeland of Lower Egypt, carries, from her warlike
nature, the secondary force of meaning the blood-soaked garments of her enemies. One
myth in particular reveals the bloodthirsty side of Sakhmet. it is found in a number of cersions
in royal tombs at Thebes. It involves also the goddess Hathor in her vengeful aspect. The two
goddesses are both 'Eyes of Re', agents of his punishment.

There was a temple to Sakhmet-Hathor at Kom el-Hisn in the western Delta, and in his
temple at Abydos Sety I (Dynasty XIX) is suckled by Hathor whose title is 'mistress of the
mansion of Sakhmet'. In this legend the sun-god Re fears that mankind plots against him.
The gods urge him to call down retribution on men by sending his avenging Eye down to
Egypt as Hathor. As the goddess slays men, leaving them in pools of blood in the deserts
where they fled, she transforms into the 'powerful'.

During the night the god Re, trying to avert a total massacre of the human race by the
goddess who clearly has become unstoppable in her bloodlust, orders his high priest at
Heliopolis to obtain red ochre from Elephantine and grind it with beer mash. Secen thousand
jars of red beer are spread over the land of Egypt. in the morning Sakhmet returns to finish
her task of destroying the human race, drinks what she assumes is blood and goes away
intoxicated, unable to complete her slaughter.

Spells exist that regard plagues as brought by the 'messengers' of Sakhmet. On the
assumption that the goddess could ward off pestilence as well as bring it, the Egyptians
adopted Sakhmet 'lady of life' as a beneficial force in their attempts to counteract illness. her
priesthood seems to have had a prophylactic role in medicine.

The Immortal Scribe - Wife and Partner of Thoth


Lord of upper Egypt. Son of Geb and Nut. Brother of Isis, Nephthys, and Osiris. The husband
of Nephthys or sometimes the husband of Taurt. Man with the head of an unknown animal.
Some times he takes the form of a crocodile. He is represented as a hippopotamus or a
black pig in his battles with Horus. Red of hair and eyes, pale of skin, Set is the god of evil, of
drought, of destruction, thunder and storm. Set tore himself from his mother's womb in his
hurry to be born. Every month Set attacks and devours the moon, the sanctuary of Osiris and
the gathering place of the souls of the recently dead.

Early in Egyptian history, Seth is spoken of in terms of reverence as the god of wind and
storms. He was even known as the Lord of Upper Egypt. Horus being the Lord of Lower
Egypt. It was Seth who stood in the front of the solar barque to defended the sun god Ra
from his most dangerous foe, the serpent Apep. At this time, he seems to have had no
conflicts with the cults of Isis or Osiris. In fact, he was part of the same family of gods, and
married to his twin sister, Nephthys.

However, it appears the followers of Seth may have resisted the followers of Horus and the
First Dynasty pharaoh, Menes, when he united Upper and Lower Egypt. This struggle for
control of Egypt seems to be reflected in the mythology. At this point, Seth is portrayed as
questioning the authority of his brother, Osiris. The Osiris cults took this opportunity to
discredit the followers of Seth; he was now considered to be Osiris' evil brother. And the story
was told that Seth was evil since birth, because he ripped himself from his mother's womb by
tearing through her side. In the Osiris legends, it is Seth who tricks and murders Osiris. He is
also the antagonist of Horus. By the Twenty-sixth Dynasty, Seth was the embodiment of evil.
He was depicted with red eyes and hair. The ancient Egyptians believed red represented evil.


A crocodile, a mummified crocodile or as a man with a crocodile-head. Sometimes wearing
horns like those of Amon-Ra, and the solar disk. Son of Neith of Sais. Admired and feared for
his ferocity. At the command of Ra, He performed tasks such as catching with a net the four
sons of Horus as they emerged from the waters in a lotus bloom. Sometimes identified with
Seth when Seth took the form of a crocodile. It is said that in the Osiris legends, Horus takes
the form of a crocodile in order to retrieve the parts of Osiris's body that were cast into the
Nile by Seth.


The great lady. A pregnant hippopotamus with human breasts, the hind legs of a lioness and
the tail of a crocodile. Daughter of Ra, sometimes considered the mother of Isis and Osiris.
Sometimes considered the wife of Seth. Protectress of pregnant woman and infants. Also
protectress of rebirth into the afterlife.

Responsible For: Order, Justice, Time, Heaven and Hell, Weather. Totemic Form: Lion.
Tefnut helped support the sky, and each morning received the sun on the eastern horizon.
She was one of the "great nine" who sat in judgment of the dead. She was considered the
goddess of the second hour of the night of the fourteenth moon. In art, Tefnut usually
appeared as a lion-headed goddess with a solar disk on her head, or as a woman, or as a

In the mythology of Heliopolis, the first event of creation was the emergence of the god Atum
from the chaotic wastes of Nun. He gave birth to his son Shu by spitting him out, and to his
daughter Tefnut by vomiting her forth. Shu and Tefnut were brought up by Nun and looked
after by Atum's Eye. Atum had only one eye, and it was physically separable from him and
independent in its wishes. Shu and Tefnut became separated from Atum in the dark wastes
of the waters of Nun. Atum sent his Eye to look for them and eventually Shu and Tefnut came
back with the Eye. While the Eye had been searching for them, Atum had replaced it with
another, much brighter one. The original Eye was enraged with Atum when it returned at
finding its placed usurped. So Atum took the first Eye and placed it on his forehead where it
could rule the whole world he was about to create. Once, Tefnut left Egypt and went to live in
the Nubian desert. Ra was lonely and sent the baboon Thoth to ask her to return to Egypt.
She came back and there were great celebrations in all the temples.
Self conceived at the beginning of time. Husband of Maat. Brother and some times husband
of Seshat. God of the moon, drawing, writing, geometry, wisdom, medicine, music,
astronomy, and magic. Scribe of the Gods. His sacred bird was the ibis. He is represented
with the head and neck of an ibis and carries a pen, tablet, and palm branch. On his head he
wore the combinned lunar disc and crescent. Thoth's name means 'He of Djehut', which was
a province in Lower Egypt Thoth's priests claimed Thoth was the Demi-Urge who created
everything from sound. It was said that Thoth wrote books in which he set forth a fabulous
knowledge of magic and incantation, and then concealed them in a crypt.


Responsible For: Justice, Time, Heaven and Hell. Totemic Form: Cobra. Uadjet's original
home and chief cult center was in the Delta marshes. As her sister Nekhebet was the
motherly protectress of the pharoah, so Uadjet was his aggressive defender. When Isis was
hiding in the swamps with her baby Horus, Uadjet came to help her protect him. In art, Uadjet
appeared as a cobra, sometimes winged and crowned, and sometimes as a snake with the
face of a woman. She was the uraeus (cobra-shaped symbol of sovereignty) that appeared
on the headdresses of the Egyptian pharaohs. She figured prominently in the coronation
ceremony and in the underworld, where she endowed justice and truth and destroyed the
enemies of the deceased. Uadjet was the goddess of the fifth hour of the fifth day of the

(used with permission from http://www.crystalinks.com/egyptgods.html)