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THE GODS OF EGYPT

 

AMUN       

 

A primeval god, he was adopted as the god of Thebes. He was considered to be the force of the wind and as a creator god, associated with fertility. He was the force of nature, the giver of life itself. He is sometimes pictured as a goose. The curved horn ram was his sacred animal. In the New Kingdom, he is shown as a man with feathers upon a flat hat.

 

ANKET

 

She is depicted as a woman wearing an unusual tall crown of ostrich feathers. She can be seen on the walls of the temple of Ramses 11 at Abu-Simbel. She is the protectress of the river and sometimes called the daughter of RA.

 

ANUBIS

 

The principle god of the dead, before it was taken over by Osiris, who descended into the land of the dead. Anubis, along with Nepthys and Isis, restored the body of Osiris through mummification. At the time of death, he weighed the heart of the person against the feather symbol of Maat, goddess of truth. High priests often wore masks of Anubis while performing the funeral rites. His color is black, the color of regeneration. He is portrayed as a jackal-headed man or a jackal.

 

ATUM

 

He was the sun-god, creator of all things, he was known before the best knowm sun-god RA. He was depicted as the setting sun. The cult of Amun held that only Atum and Osiris would survive the flood that would signal the end of mankind and earth. Seen as the setting sun, animals such as the lion, bull, lizard and snake were associated with ATUM.

 

BASTET

 

This was the lion goddess but then became the cat goddess while Sekhmet took over the lion goddess role. All Egyptians loved cats and they were considered sacred to the god RA. Cats were often mummified and buried at Bubastis, the sacred place of Bastet. Appears as a cat or a woman with a cats head.

 

BES

 

It is usually shown as a man of dwarf size, facing forward wearing the mask  and tail of a lion and carrying a knife. It is also associated with protection of the household, children and pregnant women.

 

GEB

 

This was the personification of earth. The dead entered into Geb, plants were born of Geb. Geb with NUT produced the sun and so was considered the father of the gods, and passed his authority onto his son Osiris and then to Horus, who gave it to the king. Appears as a man, with a goose on his head.

 

HAPI

 

This is the god of the Nile. As the Nile provided the essentials of life in the desert, he represents the fullness of life. He was a thick-chested man, adorned with marsh flowers and papyrus plants.

 

HATHOR

 

The god Horus came to rest on the breast of this goddess each night before he was reborn at dawn. Hathor was deeply loved by the general population especially women who thought of her as the wife, mother and lover. She is seen as a great cow, suckling Horus and thus the two lands. The temple at Dendera is her centre. She is seen as a woman with cows horns and a moon.

 

HORUS

 

He was the solar god and brother of Seth. He was also the son of Osiris and Isis. He was conceived when Isis revivied his fathers dead body and born to avenge his father against his brother seth. He was thought to have had 4 sons, Imset, Hapi, Qebehsenuf and Duamuttef, who help to guide the dead, the canopic jars that held the vital organs were made in his sons likenesses. He is seen as the falcon or falcon-bearded man. His eyes are the sun and the moon. The eye of the moon was the eye lost in battle with Seth. The eye of Horus charm is considered protection against evil.

 

ISIS

 

Her name means throne and mother of Horus by Osiris. She became a protector of seaman with the ancient Greeks. She is closely associated with Hathor, so has her attributes, with the sun disc, the ureacus of royalty, the horns of Hathor and falcon wings on either side of her head.

 

KHEPRI

 

He was the primeval god who created himself. He was a manifestation of Atum but then became equated to Re. This god rose from the netherowrld with each dawn, having been born of Nut, the sky, he sets forth from the eastern horizon, moving across the sky heading for the moon god, Khons. He is seen as a beetle or scarab.

 

KHNUM

 

He was considered the guardian of the source of the Nile. He was considered to be the craftsman of mankind. Sometimes incorporates Heket, goddess of birth, Re, the sun and heaven, Shu, the air and Osiris, the netherworld and Geb, the earth. A ram headed man represented with four heads. Shown as a potter forming humans on potters wheels.

 

KHONS

 

He was called the traveller because he moved across the night sky. He was the god of the moon. His father was Amun, mother of Mut, so his brothers were shu, who supported the sky and the royal god Horus. He watched over night travellers and protected people against wild animals. Carries the Pharoahs crook and flail and had a falcon head and crescent moon or sun disc on top of his head. As protector, is shown on top of a crocodile.

 

MAAT

 

Maat is the goddess of truth, justice and natural order. She was the food and drink of Re. Pharaohs were often shown holding out a statue of Maat. The feather of maat was the symbol of truth. Shown as a woman with a single feather balanced ontop of her head.

 

MUT

 

This is depicted as a woman wearing the double crown of Kemets rulers. Her temple was at Karnak and housed the great statues and sacred processional boats which went up the Nile to the great temple at Karnak every year.

 

NEBT-HET

 

This one is seen in the old kingdom riding the night boat of the underworld. Her hair is compared to the strips of cloth in a shroud. She is now associated with the newly dead and the relatives as the Lady with Wings who comforts them.

 

NUT

 

Nut is personified sky and especially the starry sky of night-time. Nut is often depicted as a tall or long woman bending over the body of her husband Geb, coloured blue and spangled with 5 point stars.

 

OSIRIS

 

The best known of all Gods, he was once a fertility god, then adopted the properties of a royal god and acquired the crook and flail of a pharaoh. As he brought forth the earths abundance, food, wine, he became known as the perfect one or the eternally good. At his death he became ruler of the netherworld. Later Horus emerged as the son of Osiris and the living pharaoh became the incarnation of Horus and the dead.

 

QEBSHENEF

 

One of the four sons of heru depicted in funerary literature as protecting the throne of Wesir in the underworld. He is depicted as the hawk-headed mummified human on furniture and canopic jars.

 

RA

 

Ra is the  Netjer of light, life and heat and the power inherent in the sun. he lives within the actual disc of the sun, which rises and sets each day, riding from horizon to horizon on the back of Nut.

 

RENENET

 

Depicted as a cobra or as a woman with a cobras head, is protectress of Lower Kemet. She represents the cyclical nature of time and that which is foreordained as destiny or fate.

 

SETH

 

The embodiment of strength and became jealous of his brother Osiris and killed him. Seth was the god of the desert while Osiris was god of vegetation and regeneration. Irons and metals found in the earth were his bones. More detail is between the two brothers. Horus was the avenger of his father Osiris. Seth lost his testicles and Horus lost an eye, Thoth stopped the fight. Shown as a ramheaded man wearing a pharaohs crown, his arms swing aggressively.

 

SHU

 

Shu had issued forth from the creator god as breath from the nose. His wife Tefnut, goddess of moisture and dew, the pair embodied the basic elements of life. Shu was with the sun, Tefnut with the moon, their children were sky goddess Nut and earth god Geb. Shown with a lions head or with feathers on his head.

 

SOBEK

 

This means crocodile in the ancient language. It was believed that the sweat from his body, became the nile so he carried with him certain Osirian traits such as regeneration and rebirth. He appealed as to the exact spiritual embodiment of the powerful crocodiles in the Nile. Seen as a croc, a croc with a falons head and double crown.

 

SOTHIS

 

The star Sirius was deified as a goddess. The Egyptians were aware that the Egyptian calender would correct itself every four years. A Sothic cycle was 1460 years. The new year corresponded with the rise of this star. Shown as a woman with a star on top of her head. Or as a large dog and sometimes associated with Isis.

 

TAWERET

 

This was the hippo goddess oversaw childbirth. Protector during childbirth, holds back wild wind storms, especially those at sea. Seen as a hippo standing upright with human arms and legs. She holds an ankh and sometimes a torch.

 

TEFNUT

 

Daughter of Shu, sometimes associated with the lion, usually it is with the uraeus and came to be known as the lady of the flame. Seen as a solar eye but more often as a uraeus on the headdress of gods and pharaohs.

 

THOTH

 

He was the lord of the moon and acquired the title of silver Aten. Said to have sprung from the head of Seth, he is an embodiment of the power of darkness. The god who invented writing. An ibis headed man writing on a tablet with a pen. As a baboon with a sundic, set in a crescent moon on his head, with a writing palette.

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