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Egypt: General Ancient Egyptian Religion


For comprehensive information see our New Egypt Mythology Section and Old Egyptian Mythology Section. You may also read The Egyptian Book of the Dead

 


The Ancient Ankh, Symbol of Life by Jimmy Dunn writing as Taylor Ray Ellison

 

The Ankh was, for the ancient Egyptians, the symbol (the actual Hieroglyphic sign) of life but it is an enduring icon that remains with us even today as a Christian cross. It is one of the most potent symbols represented in Egyptian art, often forming a part of decorative motifs. The ankh seems at least to be an evolved form of, or associated with the Egyptian glyph for magical protection, sa.

 

The Anceint Egyptian Concept of the Soul By Caroline Seawright

 

To the Ancient Egyptians, their soul - their being - was made up of many different parts. Not only was there the physical form, but there were eight immortal or semi-divine parts that survived death, with the body making nine parts of a human.

 

God's Wife of Amun by Taylor Ray Ellison

 

Beginning from the 18th Dynasty and the start of Egypt's New Kingdom, one of the most consistently important positions held by Egyptian Women (outside of queen) was that of the God's Wife of Amun (Hemet Netjer nt Imen). She took on the function of playing consort to the "National God" in one of Egypt's most important cities, Thebes, yet it could be argued that it was as much an important political posting as it was a religious role (In many ways, it is difficult to separate the two in ancient Egypt).

 

Creation by Marie Parsons

 

The ancient Egyptians believed that there was a time when nothing had existed, when "the sky had not yet coming into being, the earth had not yet come into being, the gods had not yet been born, and death had not yet come into being," as Pyramid Text 1466 had stated. For the Egyptians, creation was essentially an act of generation, and the generative principle was represented by the yearly flooding of the Nile River, and its waters seemed like the primeval waters, as they left in their wake mounds of fertile black soil.

 

Grand Festivals in Ancient Egypt by Ilene Springer

 

There was nothing better than breaking the routine of life with a grandiose festival for the ancient Egyptians. Religious or political, festivals allowed both rich and poor to put away their cares for a day or two and celebrate the best of ancient Egypt. Imagine New Years Eve in New York Citys Times Squareand youll have an idea of what an Egyptian festival was like.

 

On the Politics of Ancient and Modern Religion by Jimmy Dunn writing as Wayne Philips

 

For anyone interested in religion on almost any level, the study of ancient Egypt can be a revelation. Certainly there were religions prior to that of the Egyptians, but they are not nearly so documented, nor are they so central to many of today's modern religions. Further more, it is a grand topic, who scholars have documented, but philosophers have hardly touched. This can only be a brief overview, but in frankly we wish to create inspiration and more dialog on the subject. In this respect, we will limit our discussion to some comparisons between the Christian and ancient Egyptian religion, as those are the two religions that are most familiar to us.

 

The Oracle in Ancient Egypt by Marie Parsons

 

The ancient Egyptians had their own ways of finding out answers to both big and small problems. Kings were chosen, nobles were appointed, thieves made to confess their guilt, legal disputes settled, crops were planted, sometimes by the "yes" or "no" from the Deity of choice.

 

Priests in Ancient Egypt by Marie Parsons

 

Priests in ancient Egypt had a role different to the role of a priest in modern society. Though the Egyptians had close associations with their gods, they did not practice any form of organized religion, as modern times would define it. The priests did not preach, proselytize, or care for a congregation. They were not messengers of any "divinely revealed truth."

 

Was Pharaoh Divine? by Ken Humphries

 

Obviously the answer is No, the question is did the Egyptian in the street believe that he was and why was it necessary that he believed the religious teachings. To understand the development of kingship and the belief in the divinity of the pharaoh we need to look at the development of the civilisation in the Nile Valley and compare it to the progress made elsewhere in the world. Religion and religious ceremony was necessary to hold together the primitive civilisations and cultures that were beginning to form some 7,000 years ago or more. The great fear of the time was death and the blackness that this brought. The promise of life after death for those that believed and followed the true teachings was a big incentive to conform.

 

Women in Ancient Egyptian Religion in Old-New Kingdoms, Part I by Marie Parsons

 

Religion was an integral part of life in ancient Egypt, for women as well as for men. Women of the household maintained ancestor cults and kept shrines in their homes dedicated to deities especially caring of women, such as the goddess Taweret, and the bandy-legged dwarf Bes. Both these divinities were involved in guarding the woman and child through the pregnancy and childbirth process. In addition to the domestic observances and household shrines, many women of the elite class also participated in religious life and temple service, from the Old Kingdom onwards.

 

Women in Ancient Egyptian Religion, Part II - The Divine Adoratrice and God's Wife of Amun in the Third Intermediate Period by Marie Parsons

 

One of the highest ranks a woman could attain in a cult of the god was the position known as Gods Wife. Another high temple rank for women was Divine Adoratrice, which in the 18thDynasty was sometimes held by women of high status at court, like the mother of the queen, or by the wife of the high priest in the Amun cult at Karnak.

 

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