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The Gods of Ancient Egypt


Egypt Site about Ancient Religion for Kids

 

 

The Gods of Ancient Egypt Mythology and Stories Cult Centers (Temples)

 


 

Amun and Amun-Re - The King of the Gods

 

Amun Amun-Re was associated with the pharaohs of Egypt, and instead of causing trouble for the rulers, Amun-Re helped them out. The pharaoh got power from the god, and the god was able to influence the pharaoh's people. The king supported the temples and the worship of Amun. Amun-Re could even turn himself into a human man and get the pharaoh's wife pregnant, so that a son would be born to the pharaoh that would keep the worship of Amun-Re alive. According to official history, Egypt was actually ruled by Amun-Re through the pharaohs, with the god revealing his will through oracles.

 

Anubis - God of Embalming

 

 

 

Anubis

 

 

Anubis, as the God of Embalming, watches over the process of preserving dead bodies as mummies. He is usually shown in the form of a man, with the head of a jackal. His head is black, and this connects him with being a god of the dead. Anubis escorts the souls through the underworld, testing their knowledge of the gods and their faith. He places their heart on the Scales of Justice during the Judging of the Heart, and he feeds the souls of wicked people to Ammit.

 

Aten - The Sun Disk and later God

 

Aten is the ancient Egyptian term for a circular disk. This was used when talking about the sun, and the life it gave to people and crops. Sun worship predates ancient Egyptian times, but was continued on through Egyptian history.

 

 

Atum - The All-Father

 

AtumCreating himself, or rising out of nothing, all other gods and pharaohs were created by Atum.

 

 

Bast - Beautiful Cat Goddess

 

 

Bast

 

 

Bast was a wild goddess, usually depicted as a desert cat, or a woman with the head of a cat. Because she was wild, her powers were great. To be in her favor would get you great blessings, to be ill willed would receive serious wrath.

 

 

 

Bes - Protector of Childbirth

 

Bes is depicted as an ugly dwarven god, usually holding a rattle. Being the protector of childbirth, he would dance around the room shaking his rattle to scare off any demons that might curse the new baby.

 

 

 

Geb - God of the Earth

 

Geb is sometimes represented as a goose, or a man who wears a white crown. Geb was an extremely important god and could be closely associated with nature. His parents were the god of air, and the goddess of moisture, all descended from high level gods.

 

 

 

Hathor - Goddess of Music and Dance

 

Tributes to Hathor were for inspiration and creativity. Her clerics were artisans, musicians and dancers who would use their talents to create rituals for honoring their goddess.

 

 

Horus - King of the Gods on Earth

 

It is nearly impossible to distinguish a "true" Horus from all his many forms. In fact, Horus is mostly a general term for a great number of falcon gods, some of which were worshipped all over Egypt, others simply had local cults. Yet in all of his forms he is regarded as the prince of the gods.

 

 

Isis - Queen of the Gods

 

 

Isis

 

Isis may be the oldest deity in Egypt. She may also be the most important, because Isis was worshipped by almost all Egyptians. She was revered as the great protector, prayed to for guidance, and begged to for peace in the world. Temples to Isis are found everywhere in Egypt, some of them from ancient times, and many houses had shrines to her devotion.

 

 

Khenmu - The Great Potter

 

Being the Great Potter, Khenmu created statues of people out of the clay of the Nile River and then held them up to the sky for Ra to shine his life-giving rays on them, then put them into a mother's womb to be born as babies to the people.

 

 

Kephri - The Great Scarab

 

The word kheper means scarab, and as the animal was associated with life and rebirth, so was Khephri. The scarab lays its eggs in a ball of dung and rolls it to hide in a safe place. From this animal waste, the Egyptians observed new life emerging. They believed that Khephri, in the form of a gigantic scarab, rolled the sun like a huge ball through the sky, then rolled it through the underworld to the eastern horizon. Each morning Khephri would renew the sun so that it could give life to all the world.

 

 

Khonsu - God of the Moon

 

He was believed to influence the creation and birth of both humans and animals, and was even connected to stories and myths about creation.

 

 

Maat - Lady of Truth and Order

 

MaatMaat was the personification of the fundamental order of the universe, without which all of creation would perish. The primary duty of the pharaoh was to uphold this order by maintaining the law and administering justice. To reflect this, many pharaohs took the title "Beloved of Maat," emphasizing their focus on justice and truth.

 

 

Min - God of Fertility

 

Min was honored with a variety of ceremonies, some involving the harvest, others praying for a male heir to the pharaoh. Lettuce was his sacred plant, for it was believed by the Egyptians to be an aphrodisiac. An aphrodisiac is something that makes people want to have babies. Fertile plants made lots of food for the people, and fertility in people assured that the Egyptians would not become extinct. Min is usually depicted as a man with a large erect penis, and is sometimes shown dressed in pharaoh's clothing.

 

 

Mut - Grandmother of the Gods

 

Mut is usually seen as a vulture headed woman or a woman wearing a vulture like a crown. The very word Mut means "mother" and Mut was the great mother goddess of Egypt, even outranking Isis. Often Mut was believed to be a sort of grandmother figure, as Isis was the mother figure for the world.

 

 

 

Nefertem - Lord of the Sunrise

 

Nefertem was the god of the sunrise who helped to bring the sun into the sky where Ra was. According to myth, he had no father and no mother, instead being born from a lotus blossom. He wore a crown of lotus flowers on his head.

 

 

 

Nekhbet - Goddess of the Power of Kings

 

In her form representing the king's power, she is shown wearing a white crown and carrying the symbols of life and power in her talons. Ancient pharaohs would pray to Nekhbet for power to rule the people, and the power to withhold any opposition to the throne.

 

 

Neith - Goddess of War and Funerals

 

When someone died and they were mummified and buried in a tomb, a lot of times there would be weapons buried with the deceased. These weapons were blessed to Neith (also known as Nit) who would use them to guard the spirit of the person who had passed on from evil spirits and those who would do the body harm and keep the soul from resting peacefully. Neith worked with other gods and goddesses to protect those who had moved on to the afterlife. Because of this, she was often depicted holding a shield and arrows.

 

 

Nephthys - Lady of the Wings

 

Nephthys is usually shown riding in the funeral boat with the dead into the Blessed Land. She is not exactly the personification of death, but she is the closest thing to it in Egyptian belief.

 

 

 

Nun and Naunet - Gods of Chaos and Water

 

The Egyptians believed that before the world was formed, there was a watery mass of dark chaos. Nun and Naunet were a set of dieties that lived in that chaos. Nun was shown as either a frog-headed man, or as a bearded blue or green man. Naunet, his wife, was thought to be a snake-headed woman who ruled over the watery chaos with Nun. The stories say that Nun and Naunet were mother and father to Ra, the sun god. Nun and Naunet were two halves (male and female) of a whole, rather than individual dieties in themselves.

 

 

Osiris - Lord of the Dead

 

In the underworld, Osiris sits on a great throne, where he is praised by the "good" souls of those who have died. All those who pass the tests of the underworld become worthy to enter The Blessed Land, that part of the underworld that is like the land of the living, but without sorrow or pain. Osiris is traditionally shown as a green skinned or mummified man, wearing the clothing of a pharaoh.

 

 

 

Ptah - The Creator

 

Ptah did not exist as a child from anyone else, he just was. He gave hand in the creation of the world, of the heavens and of the earth. Ptah also was known to have built the boats used in the underworld, to aid the souls of the dead on their journey to the Blessed Land.

 

 

Re (Ra) - The Sun God

 

The early Egyptians believed that Re was the creator of the world. The sun rising every morning was a symbol of creation, as well as depending on the sunlight for survival. The pattern of the sun rising and setting each day, only to have it rise again the next morning stood for renewal in ancient times.

 

 

Set - God of Evil

 

At first, Set was worshipped as the god of wind and desert storms. The ancient Egyptians would pray to him in hopes that they would gain favor and be blessed with the strength of a desert storm. Set's personality was dark and moody, but in the beginning he was not an evil god. As time progressed, the way Set was viewed changed. He was associated with the other evil gods, and became the Egyptians' image of evil. After Set became the god of evil, he really was not worshipped as a main diety.

 

 

Shu - God of the Air and Sky

 

Shu is the creator of wind, and is responsible for that which separates the earth from the sky. Being the lord of the sky and cool air, he is usually shown with his hands above his head as if he's holding something heavy.

 

 

Sobek - Guard of the Gods

 

Sobek was a bodyguard to the gods, protecting them. He did the same for the pharaohs, giving them the strength to overcome any obstacles and evil magic. Sobek was usually portrayed as a man with the head of a crocodile, wearing a crown made of feathers.

 

 

Taweret - Demoness of Birth

 

She was a fierce demoness, the protector of mothers and newborn babies. Taweret was a combination of a pregnant hippo, a lion and a crocodile. All of these animals are known to kill to protect their young. She was also a goddess of fertility.

 

 

Tefnut - Goddess of Moisture

 

As dry as Ancient Egypt was, Tefnut was still the goddess of moisture, and of the warm, moist air near the Nile River that nourished the crops.

 

 

Thoth - God of Wisdom

 

Thoth is usually shown with the head of an ibis (bird) and the body of a man. He is usually seen carrying a tablet to write with because Thoth was a scribe to the gods, and a mediator (solver) of problems. He was the one the other gods went to when they had problems or needed disputes solved. He is the creator of magic, the inventor of writing, teacher of man, and the messenger of the gods.

 

 

Wadjet - The Serpent Goddess

 

Wadjet is a usually seen as a cobra, and is the defender of the pharaohs. This is why the pharaoh wore a headpiece with a cobra on top of it. She also became the goddess of heat and fire, giving her even more powers to defend the pharaoh with.

 

 

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Last Updated: Aug 4th, 2011

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