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The chief deity in Egyptian mythology, Ra, when considered as a sun god, was thought to traverse the daily sky in a boat, and cross the underworld at night in another, named Meseket. As the mythology developed, so did the idea that Meseket was controlled by a separate ferryman, who became known as Aken. In their mythology, the underworld was composed of the general area, named Duat, and a more pleasant area to which the morally righteous were permitted, named Aaru. At this point in history, Anubis had become merely the god of embalming, and Osiris, though lord of the whole underworld, dwelt specifically in Aaru, and so Aken was identified as the ruler of the area outside it, Duat in general, on Osiris' behalf. Because the Egyptian word for part of the soul Ba was also used as a word meaning ram, Aken was usually depicted as being ram-headed. As both an underworld deity, and subservient to Osiris, Aken became known as Cherti (also spelt Kherty), meaning (one who is) subservient. The main center of his cult became Letopolis, and it is considered a possibility that his cult caused the development of the myth of the ferryman in other Mediterranean mythologies, such as that of Charon.
In Egyptian mythology, Aker (also spelt Akar) was one of the earliest gods worshipped, and was the deification of the horizon. There are strong indications that Aker was worshipped before other known Egyptian gods of the earth, such as Geb. In particular, the Pyramid texts make a sinister statement that the Akeru (plural of Aker) will not seize the pharaoh, as if this were something that might have happened, and was something of which to be afraid. Aker itself translates as (one who) bends, and thus Akeru translates as benders, though in what sense this is meant is not fully understood. As the horizon, Aker was also seen as symbolic of the borders between each day, and so was originally depicted as a narrow strip of land (i.e. a horizon), with heads on either side, facing away from one another, a symbol of borders. Since the sun reaches its peak (its solstice) in the zodiac of Leo, these heads were usually those of lions. Over time, the heads became full figures of lions (still facing away from each other), one representing the concept of yesterday (Sef in Egyptian), and the other the concept of tomorrow (Duau in Egyptian). Consequently, Aker often became referred to as Ruti, the Egyptian word meaning two lions. Between them would often appear the hieroglyph for horizon, which was the sun's disc placed between two mountains. Sometimes the lions were depicted as being covered with leopard-like spots, leading some to think it a depiction of the extinct Barbary lion, which, unlike African species, had a spotted coat. Since the horizon was where night became day, Aker was said to guard the entrance and exit to the underworld, opening them for the sun to pass through during the night. As the guard, it was said that the dead had to
request Aker to open the underworld's gates, so that they might enter. Also, as all who had died had to pass Aker, it was said that Aker annulled the causes of death, such as extracting the poison from any snakes that had bitten the deceased, or from any scorpions that had stung them. As the Egyptians believed that the gates of the morning and evening were guarded by Aker, they sometimes placed twin statues of lions at the doors of their palaces and tombs. This was to guard the households and tombs from evil spirits and other malevolent beings. This practice was adopted by the Greeks and Romans, and is still unknowingly followed by some today. Unlike most of the other Egyptian deities, the worship of Aker remained popular well into the Greco-Roman era. Aker had no temples of his own like the main gods in the Egyptian religion, since he was more connected to the primeval concepts of the very old earth powers.
Ammit - Ammut
In Egyptian mythology, Ammit (also spelled Ammut, Ammet, Amam, Amemet and Ahemait) was the personification of divine retribution for all the wrongs one had committed in life. She dwelt in the Hall of Ma'at, who was the personification of the concept of truth, balance, and order. In the Ancient Egyptian underworld (known as Duat) hearts of the dead were weighed by Anubis against a feather from Ma'at's headdress. The hearts of those who were heavy with wrongdoing failed the test were given to Ammit for her to devour. Those whose souls were devoured were not
permitted to enter Aaru, having to be restless forever·effectively dying a second time. If the heart was lighter than a feather then the soul was judged by the god of the underworld, Osiris. [
In myth Ammit was not worshipped, and she was never regarded as a goddess. Instead, she embodied all that the Egyptians feared, threatening to bind them to eternal restlessness if they did not follow the principle of Ma'at. Thus Ammit was depicted with the head of a crocodile or dog, the front part of her body as a lioness or leopard, and her hind quarters in the form of a hippopotamus, a combination of those animals which were considered as the most dangerous to the Ancient Egyptians. Although often referred to as a demon, by destroying evil she acted as a force for good. Her role is reflected in her name, which means Devourer or, more accurately, and less euphemistically, Bone Eater, and her titles such as Devourer of the dead, Devourer of millions (Am-heh in Egyptian), Eater of hearts, and Greatness of Death. In some traditions, Ammit was said to stand by a lake of fire, into which the unworthy hearts were cast, rather than eating them. In this role, Ammit was more the lake guardian than a destroyer, which some scholars believe may be evidence of syncretism of a fiery lake belief, from an as yet unidentified elsewhere. In still another version, Ammut ate the condemned person, rather than only the heart. An evil person then dissolved forever in her stomach.
Although Ammit is seen as a swallowing entity, its order is neutral and strictly serves at the whim of the other deities to take souls that have sinned against the gods and consign them into oblivion. In one rendering Ammit a pole is depicted with seven balls on it. Ammit, the swallower, bites the pole just between the third and the fourth ball. It has been suggested, most notably by mythologist Joseph Campbell, that the seven balls in that painting represent a prototype of the chakra system. In that case the symbolic meaning would seem to be that if one's aims in life have not surpassed the ones associated with the three lowest chakras and into the realm of those associated with the four highest chakras, one will be devoured by the swallower after death. Some experts have linked Ammit with the goddess Taweret, who has a similar physical appearance and, as a companion of Bes, also protected others from evil. Other authors have noted that Ammit's lioness characteristics, and the lake of fire, may be pointers to a connection with the goddess Sekhmet.
Amun-Re; Ammon; Amon; Amun Amun, reconstructed Egyptian Yamanu , was the name of a deity in Egyptian mythology who in the form of Amun-Ra became the focus of the most complex system of theology in Ancient Egypt. Whilst remaining hypostatic deities, Amun represented the essential and hidden, whilst in Ra he represented revealed divinity. As the creator deity "par excellence", he
was the champion of the poor and central to personal piety. Amun was self created, without mother and father, and during the New Kingdom he became the greatest expression of transcendental deity in Egyptian theology. He was not considered to be immanent within creation nor was creation seen as as an extension of himself. Amun-Re, likewise with the Hebrew creator deity, did not physically engender the universe. His position as King of Gods developed to the point of virtual monotheism were other Gods became manifestations of him. With Osiris Amun-Re is the most widely recorded of the Egyptian Gods. Amun is known from an early date from references in the Pyramid texts where he is shown as a primeval deity who symbolised creative force. Initially, a religious concept that was identified as the air in the Ancient Egyptian myths of creation included Amunet and Amun as dual aspects. These religious beliefs varied by region. In Thebes, Amun came to be associated with the breath of life, one of the deities who created part of the ba. In the areas where Amun was worshiped, by the First Intermediate Period, this association had led to his being thought of as a creator, titled father of the gods. These changes in beliefs preceded the Ogdoad, although they also were part of it. As he became more significant, he was paired with a goddess (his counterpart, Amunet, being the female aspect of the early concept of air, rather than a wife), and since he was becoming identified as a creator, it was considered more appropriate to designate him as the spouse of the divine mother from whom the cosmos emerged to enhance his status. By the time that Amun rose to this recognition, the divine mother was Mut. Amun became depicted in human form, seated on a throne, wearing on his head a plain, deep circlet from which rise two straight parallel plumes. The plumes may have been symbolic of the tail feathers of a bird, a reference to his earlier status as a wind deity. Having become more important than Montu, the local war deity of Thebes, Montu's authority then diminished and he was said to be the son of Amun. As Mut then was said to be infertile, it was believed that she, and thus Amun, had adopted Montu instead of giving birth to him. This changed later when Montu was replaced by Khonsu, the lunar deity as her adopted
son. Rise of Cult after Expulsion of Hyksos When the army of the founder of the Eighteenth dynasty expelled the Hyksos rulers from Egypt, the victor's city of origin, Thebes, became the most important city in Egypt, the capital of a new dynasty. The local patron deity of Thebes, Amun, therefore became nationally important. The pharaohs of that new dynasty attributed all their successful enterprises to Amun and they lavished much of their wealth and captured spoil on the construction of temples dedicated to Amun. The cultural advances achieved by the pharaohs of this dynasty brought Egypt into a cultural renaissance, restoring trade and advancing architectural design to a level that would not be achieved by any other culture for a thousand years. As the Egyptians considered themselves oppressed during the period of the Hyksos rule, the victory accomplished by pharaohs worshiping Amun was seen as a champion of the less fortunate. Consequently, Amun was viewed as upholding the rights of justice for the poor. By aiding those who traveled in his name, he became the Protector of the road. Since he upheld Ma'at (truth, justice and goodness) - those who prayed to Amun were required, first, to demonstrate that they were worthy by confessing their sins. Much later, because of the evidence of the adoration given to Amun in many regions during the height of his cult, Greek travelers to Egypt would report that Amun - who they determined to be the ruler of the Egyptian pantheon - was similar to the leader of the Classical Greek pantheon, Zeus, and therefore they became identified by the Greeks as the same deity. Likewise, Amun's consort Mut became associated by these Greeks with Zeus's consort in the Classical pantheon, Hera. In the Greek period (and somewhat earlier, in order to ascribe many attributes to Amun-Re, he was sometimes depicted in bronze with the bearded head of a man, the body of a beetle with the wings of a hawk, the legs of a man and the toes and claws of a lion. He was further provided with four hands and arms and four wings.
The worship surrounding Amun, and later, Amun-Re represented one of ancient Egypt's most complex theologies. In his most mature form, Amun-Re became a hidden, secret god. In fact, his name (Imn), or at lest the name by which the ancient Egyptians called him, means "the hidden one" or "the secret one" (though there has been speculation that his name is derived from the Libyan word for water, aman. However, modern context seems to negate this possibility). In reality, however, and according to mythology, both his name and physical appearance were unknown, thus indicating his unknowable essence. Stated differently, Amun was unknown because he represented absolute holiness, and in this regard, he was different then any other Egyptian deity. So holy was he that he remained independent of the created universe. He was associated with the air as an invisible force, which facilitated his growth as a supreme deity. He was the Egyptian creator deity par excellence, and according to Egyptian myth, was self-created. It was believed that he could regenerate himself by becoming a snake and shedding his skin. At the same time, he remained apart from creation, totally different from it, and fully independent from it.
However, while hidden, the addition to his name of "Re" revealed the god to humanity. Re was the common Egyptian term for the sun, thus making him visible. Hence, Amun-Re combined within himself the two opposites of divinity, the hidden and the revealed. As Amun, he was secret, hidden and mysterious, but as Re, he was visible and revealed. In some respects, this even relates to his association with Ma'at, the Egyptian concept of order and balance, and reflects back upon the ancient Egyptian's concepts of duality. The secret, or hidden attribute of Amun enabled him to be easily synchronized and associated with other deities. At Thebes, Amun was first identified with Montu, but soon replaced him as the city's protector. His association with Re grew in importance when Amenemhet I moved the capital of Egypt to Itjtawy at the apex of the Nile Delta, where the relationship was probably expedient both theologically and politically. However, this association with Re actually grew as Thebes itself gained importance. Soon, Amun was identified with other gods as well, taking on the names (among others) Amun-Re-Atum, Amun-Re-Montu,
Amun-Re-Horakhty and Min-Amun. However, it should be noted that with all of this synchronization, Amun was not absorbed to create a a new god. Instead, there was a unity of divine power with these other gods.
Amun-Re was associated with the Egyptian monarchy, and theoretically, rather than threatening the pharaoh's power, the throne was supported by Amun-Re. The ancient theology made Amun-Re the physical father of the king. Hence, the Pharaoh and Amun-Re enjoyed a symbiotic relationship, with the king deriving power from Amun-Re. In return, the king supported the temples and the worship of Amun. In theory, Amun-Re could even take the form of the king in order to impregnate the chief royal wife with the successor to the throne (first documented during the reign of Hatshepsut during the New Kingdom). Furthermore, according to official state theology during the New Kingdom, Egypt was actually ruled by Amun-Re through the pharaohs, with the god revealing his will through oracles. In reality, the god did in fact threaten the monarchy, for the cult of Amun-Re became so powerful that its priesthood grew very large and influential, and at one point, priests of the deity actually came to rule Egypt during the 21st Dynasty. At other times, Amun-Re created difficulties for the king, such as in the case of Akhenaten, who sought to change the basic structure of Egyptian religion. In this instance, Amun-Re
eventually proved more powerful then the king, for though Akhenaten desperately tried to change the nature of Egyptian religion, for such efforts he himself became the scorn of later pharaohs. After Akhenaten's reign, Egyptian religion almost immediately reverted back to its prior form and to the worship of Amun-Re. Fertility God
Subsequently, when Egypt conquered Kush, they identified the chief deity of the Kushites as Amun. This Kush deity was depicted as ram-headed, more specifically a woolly ram with curved horns so Amun became associated with the ram. Indeed, due to the aged appearance of the Kush ram deity, the Egyptians came to believe that this image had been the original form of Amun and, that Kush was where he had been born. Since rams were considered a symbol of virility due to their rutting behavior, Amun also became thought of as a fertility deity, and so started to absorb the identity of Min, becoming Amun-Min. This association with virility led to Amun-Min gaining the epithet Kamutef, meaning Bull of his mother, in which form he was found depicted on the walls of Karnak, ithyphallic, and with a scourge, as Min was. As the cult of Amun grew in importance, Amun became identified with the chief deity who was worshipped in other areas during that period, Ra-Herakhty, the merged identities of Ra, and Horus. This identification led
to another merger of identities, with Amun becoming Amun-Ra. In the Hymn to Amen-Ra he is described as "Lord of truth, father of the Gods, maker of men, creator of all animals, Lord of things that are, creator of the staff of life." By then Ra had been described as the father of Shu, Tefnut, and the remainder of the Ennead, so Amun-Ra likewise, became identified as their father. Ra-Herakhty had been a solar deity and this nature became ascribed to Amun-Ra as well, Amun becoming considered the hidden aspect of the sun during the night, in contrast to Ra-Herakhty as the visible aspect during the day. Amun clearly meant the one who is hidden. This complexity over the sun led to a gradual movement toward the support of a more pure form of deity. During the later part of the eighteenth dynasty, the pharaoh Akhenaten (also known as Amenhotep IV) disliked the power of the temple of Amun and advanced the worship of the Aten, a deity whose power was manifested in the sun disk, both literally and symbolically. He defaced the symbols of many of the old deities and based his religious practices upon the deity, the Aten. He moved his capitol away from Thebes, but this abrupt change was very unpopular with the priests of Amun, who now found themselves without any of their former power. The religion of Egypt was inexorably tied to the leadership of the country, the pharaoh being the leader of both. The pharaoh was the highest priest in the temple of the capital and the next lower level of religious leaders were important advisers to the pharaoh, many being administrators of the bureaucracy that ran the country. When Akhenaten died, the priests of Amun reasserted themselves. His name was struck from Egyptian records, all of his religious and governmental changes were undone, and the capitol was returned to Thebes. The return to the previous capital and its patron deity was accomplished so swiftly that it seemed this almost monotheistic cult and its governmental reforms had never existed. Worship of the Aten ceased and worship of Amun-Ra was restored. The priests of Amun even persuaded his young son, Tutankhaten, whose name meant "the living image of Aten" - and who later would become a pharaoh - to change his
name to Tutankhamun, "the living image of Amun".
In Egyptian mythology, Amunet (also spelled Amonet, Amaunet, Amentet, Amentit, Imentet, Imentit, and Ament) was a deity having several different characteristics during the long history of the pantheon of Ancient Egypt.
Initially, Amunet was the female aspect of an abstract concept for air and invisibility and aspect of Hathor. This deity was without gender, but divided between Amunet and Amun for female and male aspects. They were the two aspects of the primordial concept of air and invisibility in the Ogdoad cosmogony. This included eight deities worshipped as pairs in Hermopolis during what is called the Old Kingdom, the third through sixth dynasties, extending from 2,686 B.C. to 2,134 B.C. Of the name for primordial air meaning, (one who) is hidden, the female aspect is Amunet and the male aspect is Amun. As the deity became more significant, eventually both aspects of the abstract concept were depicted as independent deities and identified as a pair. As with all goddesses in the Ogdoad, Amunet was depicted either as an Egyptian cobra snake, or as a snake-headed woman. The male deities in the Ogdoad generally were depicted with the head of a frog. Amaunet was said to be the mother who is father, implying that she was a creator who needed no male to procreate, reproducing asexually through parthenogenesis. The Egyptians thought that animals without sexual dimorphism, such as snakes, were all female. As Amunet continued to be identified as the goddess of air, she sometimes was depicted as a winged goddess, or as a woman with a hawk, or ostrich feather, on her head. She also is depicted with one of the hieroglyphs for the concept "West" on her head, on which the hawk or ostrich feather rests. Her name means "She of the West", as she is regarded as a personification of the direction West. Euphemisms were used frequently to name deities in Ancient Egypt, to avoid divulging the sacred name of a deity to the uninitiated and to avoid unauthorized uses of the name. References to the west also relate to the place where the dead enter the underworld, relating to her role as a funerary goddess. The alternative spelling names Amentet or Imentit sometimes were used to refer to her role in the underworld, where the goddess provided a welcome to the newly dead. She was associated with an acacia tree that was said to be near Heliopolis, where bread was provided for the surrounding population during winter when their food
supplies were limited. < When Amun became regarded with greater importance and his identity increasingly overlapped with that of Atum, Amaunet, as the female aspect, became increasingly identified with Iusaaset. Iusaaset was seen as the mother and grandmother of the deities. By becoming identified as Iusaaset, Amunet was regarded as the mother of creation and she was seen as owning the tree from which all life emerged and returned, the tree of life, an acacia tree said to be located on the desert's edge to the west of Egypt at Heliopolis. Its strength, hardiness, medical properties, and edibility resulted in the acacia tree being considered the tree of life. What was thought to be the oldest acacia tree in existence, the one which was situated close to, and north of, Heliopolis was said to be the tree of life. Its location was said to be the birthplace of all of the deities. Thus, as the mother, and grandmother, of the deities, Iusaaset was said to own this tree. When Amunet later was displaced as Amun's consort by Mut, she retained her own individual characteristics. Amun went through many changes and became the patron deity of Thebes and rose to become the most important deity in that city and, for a while, the country. While continuing to represent the air and the invisible, Amunet was said to have become associated with Iah, the moon, and was depicted in association with the Moon on tombs, coffins, and sarcophaguses.
Anat first appears in Egypt in the 16th dynasty (the Hyksos period) along with other northwest Semitic deities. She was especially worshipped in her aspect of a war goddess, often paired with the goddess `Ashtart. In the Contest Between Horus and Set, these two goddesses appear as daughters of Re and are given in marriage to the god Set, who had been identified with the Semitic god Hadad. During the Hyksos period Anat had temples in the Hyksos capital of Avaris and in Beth-Shan (Palestine) as well as being worshipped in Memphis. On inscriptions from Memphis of 15th to 12th centuries BCE, Anat is called "Bin-Ptah", Daughter of Ptah. She is associated with Reshpu, (Canaanite: Resheph) in some texts and sometimes identified with the native Egyptian goddess Neith. She is sometimes called "Queen of Heaven". Her iconography varies, but she is usually shown carrying one or more weapons. The name of Anat-her, a shadowy Egyptian ruler of this time, is evidently derived from "Anat". In the New Kingdom Ramesses II made ŒAnat his personal guardian in battle and enlarged Anat's temple in Pi-Ramesses. Ramesses named his
daughter (whom he later married) Bint-Anat 'Daughter of Anat'. His dog appears in a carving in Beit el Wali temple with the name "Anat-in-vigor" and one of his horses was named ŒAna-herte 'Anat-is-satisfied'. In the Ugaritic Ba'al/Hadad cycle Anat is a violent war-goddess, a virgin in Ugarit though the sister and lover of the great Ba'al known as Hadad elsewhere. Ba'al is usually called the son of Dagon and sometimes the son of El. ŒAnat is addressed by El as "daughter". Either one relationship or the other is probably figurative. Anat's titles used again and again are "virgin Anat" and "sister-in-law of the peoples" (or "progenitress of the peoples" or "sister-in-law, widow of the Li'mites"). In a fragmentary passage from Ras Shamra Anat appears as a wild and furious warrior in a battle, wading knee-deep in blood, striking off heads, cutting off hands, binding the heads to her torso and the hands in her sash, driving out the old men and townsfolk with her arrows, her heart filled with joy. "Her character in this passage anticipates her subsequent warlike role against the enemies of Baal". Anat boasts that she has put an end to Yamm the darling of El, to the seven-headed serpent, to Arsh the darling of the gods, to Atik 'Quarrelsome' the calf of El, to Ishat 'Fire' the bitch of the gods, and to Zabib 'flame?' the daughter of El. Later, when BaŒal is believed to be dead, she seeks after Ba'al "like a cow for its calf" and finds his body (or supposed body) and buries it with great sacrifices and weeping. Anat then finds Mot, Ba'al/Hadad's supposed slayer and she seizes Mot, splits him with a sword, winnows him with a sieve, burns him with fire, grinds him with millstones and scatters the remnants to the birds. Text CTA 10 tells how 'Anat seeks after Ba'al who is out hunting, finds him, and is told she will bear a steer to him. Following the birth she brings the new calf to Ba'al on Mount Zephon. But nowhere in these texts is Anat explicitly Ba'al/Hadad's consort. To judge from later traditions' Athtart (who also appears in these texts) is more likely to be Ba'al/Hadad's consort. But of course northwest Semitic culture permitted more than one wife and liaisons outside marriage are normal for deities in all pantheons. In the North Canaanite story of Aqhat, the protagonist Aqhat son of the judge Danel (Dn'il is given a wonderful bow and arrows which was created
for Anat by the craftsman god Kothar-wa-Khasis but which was given to Dan[i]el for his infant son as a gift. When Aqhat grew to be a young man, the goddess Anat tried to buy the bow from Aqhat, offering even immortality, but Aqhat refused all offers, calling her a liar since old age and death are the lot of all men. He then added to this insult by asking what would a woman do with a bow? Like Inanna in the Epic of Gilgamesh, Anat complained to El and threatened El himself if he did not allow her to take vengeance on Aqhat. El conceded. Anat launched her attendant Yatpan in hawk form against Aqhat to knock the breath out of him and to steal the bow back. Her plan succeeds, but Aqhat is killed instead of merely beaten and robbed. In her rage against Yatpan, (text is missing here) Yatpan runs away and the bow and arrows fall into the sea. All is lost. Anat mourned for Aqhat and for the curse that this act would bring upon the land and for the loss of the bow. The focus of the story then turns to Paghat, the wise younger sister of Aqhat. She sets off to avenge her brother's death and to restore the land which has been devastated by drought as a direct result of the murder. The story is unfortunately incomplete. It breaks at an extremely dramatic moment when Paghat discovers that the mercenary whom she has hired to help her avenge the death is, in fact, Yatpan, her brother's murderer. The parallels between the story of ŒAnat and her revenge on Mot for the killing of her brother are obvious. In the end, the seasonal myth is played out on the human level. Gibson (1978) thinks Rahmay 'The Merciful', co-wife of El with Athirat, is also the goddess ŒAnat but he fails to take into account the primary source documents. Most Ugaritic scholars point out that the dual names of deities in Ugaritic poetry is an essential part of the verse-form and that two names for the same deity are traditionally mentioned in parallel lines. In the same way Athirat, is called Elath (meaning "The Goddess") in paired couplets. The poetic structure can also be seen in early Hebrew verse forms. Much of the world's religion today originated in the regions bordering the Mediterranean Sea, including what is today Israel, together with its neighboring countries. In ancient times, these old states often imported
and exported their gods as people migrated about, as these nations fought each other in wars, a fact that certainly had no small impact on our modern beliefs. Often, the attributes of the gods of one region were incorporated into the gods of another region. An example of this is the goddess, Anat, who was one of a number of deities imported into Egypt from the Syrian region. The name Anat occurs in several forms in Ugaritic, Hebrew, Akkadian, and Egyptian, and as in such cases, the forms may vary widely. For example, in the Ugarit V Deity List it is spelled da-na-tu to be pronounced 'Anatu'. Otherwise in Phoenician it is `nt and is pronounced 'Anat', 'Anatu', 'Anath' or 'Anata'. The name is usually translated from Hebrew as 'Anath', but it could also be 'Anat'. The Akkadian form is usually written as 'Anta' or 'Antu'. The Egyptian forms are 'Anant', 'Anit', 'Anti', and 'Antit'. We may also find variations of her name in reference books such as Anthat. A major goddess of fertility, sexual love, hunting and war, the Goddess Anat was known among the Canaanites in prehistoric times, and was doubtless of considerable importance in that region. From the fertile agricultural area along the eastern Mediterranean coast, her cult spread throughout the Levant by the middle of the third millennium BC. Around the beginning of the Phoenician period (circa 1200 BC) Anat enjoyed a significant cult following. She was very prominent at Ugarit, a major religious center, and appears frequently in Ugaritic literary works incorporating mythical elements, in deity and offering lists, and in votive inscriptions. Her cult became established in Egypt by the end of the Middle Kingdom, even before the Hyksos (Asiatics probably from Syria) invasion of Egypt, so her presence certainly attests to the slow immigration (or perhaps more often, enslavement as the spoils of war) of the Hyksos prior to their ultimate rule of Egypt. However, she attained prominence, particularly in the north (the Delta) during the Second Intermediate Period rule of the Hyksos, who appear to have promoted her cult in Egypt. She was represented at Memphis like all but the most local of deities, and sanctuaries were dedicated to her at the Hyksos capital of Tanis (Egypt) and Beth-Shan (Palistine).
Yet, while the rulers of Egypt's New Kingdom took every step to denounce the Hyksos dynasty, her prestige reached its height in Egypt under Ramesses II who adopted Anat as his personal guardian in battle. Even Ramesses II's dog, shown rushing onto a vanquished Libyan in a carving in Beit el Wali temple, has the name "Anat in vigor". He also named his daughter (whom he later married) Bint-Anat, which means Daughter of Anat. He rebuilt Tanis and enlarged the sanctuary of Anat there. The Elephantine papyri dating from the late sixth century BC indicate that Anat was one of the two goddesses worshiped at the Temple of Yahu (Yahweh) by the Jews on the island of Elephantine in the Nile. In Lebanon, Syria, and Palestine the worship of Anat persisted into Christian times (c. 200 AD), and perhaps much longer in popular religion. In Egypt traditional religion was practiced until the end of the Egyptian period (c. 400 AD). Anat may have been worshiped in one or more of the few Egyptian temples that remained open into the early 6th century AD. In contemporary times the worship of Anat has been revived in neo-pagan religion.
In Ugaritic texts she is the daughter of El, sister (though perhaps not literally) and consort of Baal. As Ba`al's companion and help-mate, She is
goddess of dew and the fertility that it brings. Apparently, through the union of Anat and Baal, an offspring was born in the form of a wild bull. She may be Rachmay, one of the two nursemaids of the Gracious Gods mentioned in the eponymous ritual text. She is also the twin sister of Myrrh. At Tanis in Egypt she was regarded as the daughter of Re. In the Egyptian myth of the Contest between Horus and Seth, Anat and Astarte appear as daughters of Re and consorts of Seth (whom the Egyptians themselves identified with Baal). From cuneiform text, Anat appears much the ruthless goddess. In her martial aspect she confines herself to slaying the enemies of Baal. She participates in the confrontation between Baal and Yam-Nahar. In a missing portion of the text she slays Yam and other enemies of Baal. During a victory celebration she departs to slaughter the warriors of two local towns. She joyfully wades in their blood, pours a peace offering and cleans up. She intercedes with El on Baal's behalf to obtain the necessary permission for a palace to be built for Baal. Later, when Baal is killed by Mot (Death) in an archetypal battle, she buries him, hunts down Mot, and takes revenge by cutting, winnowing, grinding, and burning Mot like grain. In another myth she coveted the splendid bow belonging to a youth called Aqhat. When he refuses to part with this bow, Ana sends an eagle to slay him.
Although terrible as a war deity she was regarded as a just and benevolent goddess of beauty, sexuality, and of the fertility of crops, animals, and men. Her grace and beauty were considered among the acme of perfection. Anat is a complex and somewhat paradoxical goddess as can be seen from the epithets applied to her. Although she is regarded as the mother of gods, the most common epithet at Ugarit is batulat, Virgin or Maiden. She is sometimes called Wanton, in reference to her putative lust for sexual intercourse and the bloodshed of war. Other common epithets include: Adolescent Anat, Fairest daughter-sister of Baal, Lady, Strength of Life, Anat the Destroyer, and Lady of the Mountain. `Anat was considered by the Egyptians to be similar to Neith/Net, an ancient goddess from the Nile delta, with whom they identified Her. Neith is a skilled weaver and guardian of domestic life, as well as a goddess of war, whose symbols include crossed arrows on an animal skin or shield and a weaver's shuttle. `Anat is interpreted as being depicted with a spindle as well as Her spear, and as the Canaanites/ Phoenicians were famed for their weaving, She may well have been a patroness of that skill, perhaps also of the famed dye, later known as Tyrian purple, which could also be a blood red color. In some descriptions, `Anat adorns Herself with something translated by some as murex, the snail from which the purple
dye comes. Several epithets are known from Egyptian inscriptions. From Aramaic inscriptions of the Hyksos period (c.1700 BC): "Anat-her", Anat agrees or Agreeable Anat, and "Herit-Anta", Terror of Anat. From inscriptions at Memphis dating to the 15th to the 12th centuries BC, we find her referred to as "Bin-Ptah", Daughter of Ptah. And from Elephantine "Beth-El", House of El or House of God.
In Phoenician iconography Anat is usually depicted nude with exaggerated sexual organs and a coiffure similar to Hathor. She is sometimes depicted with bow and arrow, and with the lion, her sacred animal. Otherwise she may be armed with a spear and shield, or a spear and a spindle. An Egyptian inscription from Beth-Shan shows "Antit" with a plumed crown (very similar to the White Crown of Egypt). In her left hand is the "Scepter of Happiness", and in her right the "Ankh of Life". Iconography at Tanis from the time of Ramesses II shows Anat on a throne with lance, battle ax, and shield above an inscription reading, "To Antit that she may give life, prosperity, and health to the Ka of Hesi-Nekht". Anat in Mesopotamia In Akkadian the form one would expect Anat to take would be Antu earlier Antum. This would also be the normal feminine form that would be taken by Anu, the Akkadian form of An 'Sky', the Sumerian god of heaven. Antu appears in Akkadian texts mostly as a rather colorless consort of Anu, the mother of Ishtar in the Gilgamesh story, but is also identified with the northwest Semitic goddess ŒAnat of essentially the same name. It is unknown whether this is an equation of two originally separate goddesses
whose names happened to fall together or whether Anat's cult spread to Mesopotamia where she came to be worshipped as Anu's spouse because the Mesopotamia form of her name suggested she was a counterpart to Anu. It has also been suggested that the parallelism between the names of the Sumerian goddess, Inanna, and her West Semitic counterpart, Ishtar, continued in Canaanite tradition as Anath and Astarte, particularly in the poetry of Ugarit. The two goddesses were invariably linked in Ugaritic scripture and are also known to have formed a triad (known from sculpture) with a third goddess whose was given the name/title of Qadesh (meaning "the holy one"}. Anat in Israel The goddess Anat is never mentioned in Hebrew scriptures as a goddess, though her name is apparently preserved in the city names Beth Anath and Anathoth. Anathoth seems to be a plural form of the name. The ancient hero Shamgar son of 'Anat is mentioned in Judges 3.31;5:6 which raises the idea that this hero may have been imagined as a demi-god, a mortal son of the goddess. But John Day (2000) notes that a number of Canaanites known from non-Biblical sources bore that title and theorizes that it was a military designation indicating a warrior under ŒAnat's protection. Asenath "holy to Anath" was the wife of the Hebrew patriarch Joseph. In Elephantine (modern Aswan) in Egypt, Jewish mercenaries, c. 410 BC, make mention of a goddess called Anat-Yahu (Anat-Yahweh) worshiped in the temple to Yahweh originally built by Jewish refugees from the Babylonian conquest of Judah. Anat and Athene In a Cyprian inscription (KAI. 42) the Greek goddess Athêna Sôteira Nikê is equated with ŒAnat (who is described in the inscription as the strength of life : lŒuzza hayim). Anat is also presumably the goddess whom Sanchuniathon calls Athene, a daughter of El, mother unnamed, who with Hermes (that is Anubis) councelled El on the making of a sickle and a spear of iron, presumably to use against his father Uranus. However, in the Baal cycle, that role is
assigned to Asherah / 'Elat and 'Anat is there called the "Virgin."
In Egyptian mythology, Andjety (also Anezti, Anedjti) is a god who was particularly worshipped at Andjet (known in Greek as Busiris). His name reflects this, as it means simply (one who is) from Andjet, and Andjet simply meaning place of djed, djed being a type of pillar. Andjety appears to have been worshipped since pre-dynastic times, and is thought by most Egyptologists to be the god that eventually became Osiris, although the question is not finally settled. Andjety's attributes are quite similar to those of the early Osiris - he was in charge of the underworld, and was depicted holding the symbols of rulership of the pharaoh - the crook, conical crown (of Upper Egypt), and flail. In association with death, he has the title bull of vultures, i.e. progenitor, or
son, of vultures. Because of the Egyptian beliefs about re-incarnation, Andjety, as lord of the dead sometimes was regarded as a god of re-birth, and consequently in those situations considered to be the husband of Meskhenet (Mesenet), an ancient goddess of birth. In such associations, Andjety is sometimes depicted as having the bovine uterus above his head, since it was a depiction given to Meskhenet to symbolise her association with birth. During the eighteenth dynasty, Hebrew workers brought with them the worship of Anat, a war goddess, and identified Andjety as her husband, symbolising how war and death are bound together. God in anthropomorphic form originally worshipped in the mid-Delta in Lower Egyptian. He was originally an old god from the semi-nomad society before the unification, and was the patron of domesticated animals. Andjety means 'He of Andjet'. Andjety holds the two sceptres 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. Many believe they are the same character. The center of his cult was in province number 9 in Lower Egypt at the town of Busuris in the delta. He was portrayed as a shepherd with a crook as regalia and on his head was a stylistic cow's uterus. He was one of the members of the exclusive gang of gods connected to Osiris who were later swallowed up the family of Re from Helioplois, making the so called Ennead of nine gods of the Egyptian pantheon. In the New Kingdom Anedjti was associated with - and the precursor of Osiris and was often shown wearing the white crown with feathered and carrying the regalia flail, crook and staff. In that roll he dwelt in the underworld and was responsible for the rebirth of the dead individuals in their afterlife. 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 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 emphasises his role as a procreative consort of major goddesses. His main female counterpart was Anit. 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 buring incense to the god Osiris-Andjety who holds a 'crook' sceptre, wears two feathers in his headband and is accompanied by Isis.
Patron God of war, hunting, and soldiers. In early Egyptian mythology, Anhur (also spelled Onuris, Onouris, An-Her, Anhuret, Han-Her, Inhert) was originally a foreign god of war, who started being worshipped in the Egyptian area of Abydos, and particularly in Thinis, during the 11th dynasty. Myths told that he had brought his wife,
Menhit, who was his female counterpart, from Nubia, and his name reflects this - it means (one who) leads back the distant one. One of his titles was Slayer of Enemies. Anhur was depicted as a bearded man wearing a robe and a headdress with four feathers, holding a spear or lance, or occasionally as a lion-headed god (representing strength and power). In some depictions, the robe was more similar to a kilt. Due to his position as a war god, he was patron of the ancient Egyptian army, and the personification of royal warriors. Indeed, at festivals honoring him, mock battles were staged. During the Roman era the Emperor Tiberius was depicted on the walls of Egyptian temples wearing the distinctive four-plumed crown of Anhur. Because Anhur's name also could mean Sky Bearer, and due to the shared headdress, Anhur was later identified as Shu, becoming Anhur-Shu. Since Anhur was the more popular and significant deity, and, indeed, Shu was more a concept than a god, Shu was eventually absorbed completely into Anhur. In the New Kingdom, his popularity increased and Anhur was also titled Saviour, becoming to the people their deliverer from human burden, due to their view of war as their source of freedom and victory. The aspects of war, and saviour, shared with Horus, contributed to Anhur's eventual identification with the much greater Horus. During the Egyptian period of dominance over Nubia, the Kushites named Horus-Anhur as Arensnuphis (also Arsnuphis, Harensnuphis), Ari-hes-nefer in Egyptian, meaning something along the lines of Horus of the beautiful house. Consequently once Osiris became identified as an aspect of Horus (and vice-versa), Arensnuphis was viewed as having Isis as his wife.
God with the head of a jackal or dog
Anubis is the Egyptian name for a jackal-headed god associated with mummification and the afterlife in Egyptian mythology. In the ancient Greek language, Anubis is known as Inpu, (variously spelled Anupu, Ienpw etc.). The oldest known mention of Anubis is in the Old Kingdom pyramid texts,
where he is associated with the burial of the king. At this time, Anubis was the most important god of the Dead but he was replaced during the Middle Kingdom by Osiris. He takes various names in connection with his funerary role, such as He who is upon his mountain, which underscores his importance as a protector of the deceased and their tombs, and the title He who is in the place of embalming, associating him with the process of mummification. Like many ancient Egyptian deities, Anubis assumes different roles in various contexts, and no public procession in Egypt would be conducted without an Anubis to march at the head. Anubis was the god to protect the dead and bring them to the afterlife. He was usually portrayed as a half human, half jackal, or in full jackal form wearing a ribbon and holding a flail in the crook of its arm. The jackal was strongly associated with cemeteries in ancient Egypt, since it was a scavenger which threatened to uncover human bodies and eat their flesh. The distinctive black color of Anubis "did not have to do with the jackal, per se, but with the color of rotting flesh and with the black soil of the Nile valley, symbolizing rebirth." Anubis is depicted in funerary contexts where he is shown attending to the mummies of the deceased or sitting atop a tomb protecting it. In fact, during embalming, the "head embalmer" wore an Anubis costume. The critical weighing of the heart scene in Book of the Dead also show Anubis performing the measurement that determined the worthiness of the deceased to enter the realm of the dead (the underworld). New Kingdom tomb-seals also depict Anubis atop nine bows that symbolize his domination over the foes of Egypt. Originally, in the Ogdoad system, he was god of the underworld. He was said to have a wife, Anput (who was really just his female aspect, her name being his with an additional feminine suffix: the t), who was depicted exactly the same, though feminine. He is also said to have taken to wife the feminine form of Neheb Kau, Nehebka, and Kebechet, the goddess of purification of body organs specially placed in canopic jars during mummification. Background and Mythology
Anubis was the son of Osiris, the god of the underworld, and Nephthys, Set's sister and wife. Nephthys and Isis tricked Osiris one night. Nephthys never liked Seth (Set), but she always had a "thing" for Osiris.Since Nephthys and Isis were twins, they were able to trick Osiris into sleeping with Nephthys one night instead of Isis.As a result, Anubis was born. Nephthys was very angry since Set killed Osiris so she left him and assisted Isis, Osiris's wife and Nephthys ran away with her son, Anubis. Kebechet is shown as Anubis' daughter in some places. Ennead
Ogdoad Following the merging of the Ennead and Ogdoad belief systems, as a result of the identification of Atum with Ra, and their compatibility, Anubis
became a lesser god in the underworld, giving way to the more popular Osiris during the Middle Kingdom. However, "Anubis was given a place in the family of gods as the...son of Osiris and Nephthys, and in this role he helped Isis mummify his dead father." When the Myth of Osiris and Isis emerged, it was said that when Osiris had died, Osiris' organs were given to Anubis as a gift. With this connection, Anubis became the patron god of embalmers: during the funerary rites of mummification, illustrations from the Book of the Dead often show a priest wearing the jackal mask supporting the upright mummy.
God of the desert. A man with the head of a hawk. Ash was the ancient Egyptian god of oases, as well as the Vineyards of the western Nile Delta and thus was viewed as a benign deity. Flinders-Petrie in his 1923 expedition to the Saqqara (also spelt Sakkara) found several references to Ash in Old Kingdom wine jar seals: I am refreshed by this Ash was a common inscription.
In particular, he was identified by the Ancient Egyptians as the god of the Libu and Tinhu tribes, known as the people of the oasis. Consequently Ash was known as the lord of Libya, the western border areas occupied by the Libu and Tinhu tribes, corresponds roughly with the area of modern Libya. It is also possible that he was worshiped in Ombos, as their original chief deity. In Egyptian Mythology, as god of the oases, Ash was associated with Set, who was originally god of the desert, and was seen as protector of the Sahara. The first known recorded mention of Ash dates to the Protodynastic Period, but by the late 2nd Dynasty, his importance grew, and he was seen as protector of the royal estates, since the related god Set, in Lower Egypt, was regarded as the patron deity of royalty itself. Ash's importance was such that he was mentioned even until the 26th Dynasty. Ash was usually depicted as a human, whose head was one of the desert creatures, variously being shown as a lion, vulture, hawk, snake, or the unidentified Set-animal. Depictions of Ash are the earliest known depictions, in ancient Egyptian art, to show a deity as a human with the head of an animal. On occasion, Ash and Set were depicted similarly, as the currently unidentified Set-Animal. Some depictions of Ash show him as having multiple heads, unlike other Egyptian deities, although some compound depictions were occasionally shown connecting gods to Min. In an article in the journal Ancient Egypt (in 1923), and again in an appendix to her book, The Splendor that was Egypt, Margaret Murray expands on such depictions, and draws a parallel to a Scythian deity, who is referenced in Sebastian Münster's Cosmographia universalis. The idea of Ash as an import God is contested, as he was the God of Ombos far before Set's introduction sometime in Dynasty II. One of his titles is "Nebuty" or "He of Nebut" indicating this position. One of Ash's titles·"Beloved of Set"·has led to interpretations that Set and Ash were lovers. Many Pharaohs had similar titles connected with one or another Gods, but very few, if any, Gods bore such
epithets. Ash is sometimes seen as another name for Set-- similarly as one might give the name Ta-Bitjet for Serket, Dunanwy for Anti, or Sefkhet-Abwy for Sheshat.
Astarte is the name of a goddess as known from Northwestern Semitic regions, cognate in name, origin and functions with the goddess Ishtar in Mesopotamian texts. Another transliteration is ŒAshtart; other names for the goddess. According to scholar Mark S. Smith, Astarte may be the Iron Age (after 1200 BC) incarnation of the Bronze Age (to 1200 BC) Asherah. Astarte was connected with fertility, sexuality, and war. Her symbols were the lion, the horse, the sphinx, the dove, and a star within a circle indicating the planet Venus. Pictorial representations often show her naked. Astarte first appears in Ancient Egypt beginning in the Eighteenth dynasty
of Egypt along with other deities who were worshipped by northwest Semitic people. She was worshipped especially in her aspect of a warrior goddess, often paired with the goddess Anat. In the Contest Between Horus and Set, these two goddesses appear as daughters of Re and are given in marriage to the god Set, here identified with the Semitic name Hadad. Astarte also was identified with the lioness warrior goddess Sekhmet, but seemingly more often conflated, at least in part, with Isis to judge from the many images found of Astarte suckling a small child. Indeed there is a statue of the 6th century BC in the Cairo Museum, which normally would be taken as portraying Isis with her child Horus on her knee and which in every detail of iconography follows normal Egyptian conventions, but the dedicatory inscription reads: "Gersaphon, son of Azor, son of Slrt, man of Lydda, for his Lady, for Astarte." Plutarch, in his On Isis and Osiris, indicates that the King and Queen of Byblos, who, unknowingly, have the body of Osiris in a pillar in their hall, are Melcarthus and Astarte (though he notes some instead call the Queen Saosis or Nemanus, which Plutarch interprets as corresponding to the Greek name Athenais). Astarte was accepted by the Greeks under the name of Aphrodite. The island of Cyprus, one of Astarte's greatest faith centers, supplied the name Cypris as Aphrodite's most common byname. Other major centers of Astarte's worship were Sidon, Tyre, and Byblos. Coins from Sidon portray a chariot in which a globe appears, presumably a stone representing Astarte. In Sidon, she shared a temple with Eshmun. At Beirut coins show Poseidon, Astarte, and Eshmun worshipped together. Other faith centers were Cytherea, Malta, and Eryx in Sicily from which she became known to the Romans as Venus Erycina. A bilingual inscription on the Pyrgi Tablets dating to about 500 BC found near Caere in Etruria equates Astarte with Etruscan Uni-Astre that is, Juno. At Carthage Astarte was worshipped alongside the goddess Tanit. Donald Harden in The Phoenicians discusses a statuette of Astarte from Tutugi (Galera) near Granada in Spain dating to the 6th or 7th century BC in which Astarte sits on a throne flanked by sphinxes holding a bowl
beneath her breasts which are pierced. A hollow in the statue would have been filled with milk through the head and gentle heating would have melted wax plugging the holes in her breasts, producing an apparent miracle when the milk emerged. The Syrian goddess Atargatis (Semitic form ŒAtarŒatah) was generally equated with Astarte and the first element of the name appears to be related to the name Astarte. Astarte appears in Ugaritic texts under the name ŒAthtart', but is little mentioned in those texts. ŒAthtart and ŒAnat together hold back BaŒal from attacking the other deities. Astarte also asks BaŒal to "scatter" Yamm "Sea" after BaŒal's victory. ŒAthtart is called the "Face of BaŒal". Astarte described by Sanchuniathon In the description of the Phoenician pantheon ascribed to Sanchuniathon Astarte appears as a daughter of Sky and Earth and sister of the God El. After El overthrows and banishes his father Sky, as some kind of trick Sky sends to El his "virgin daughter" Astarte along with her sisters Asherah and the goddess who will later be called Ba`alat Gebal, "the Lady of Byblos". It seems that this trick does not work as all three become wives of their brother El. Astarte bears to El children who appear under Greek names as seven daughters called the Titanides or Artemides and two sons named Pothos "Longing" and Eros "Desire". Later we see, with El's consent, Astarte and Hadad reigning over the land together. Astarte, puts the head of a bull on her own head to symbolize Her sovereignty. Wandering through the world Astarte takes up a star that has fallen from the sky (meteorite) and consecrates it at Tyre. Astarte in Judea The Masoretic pointing in the Hebrew Tanach (bible) indicate the pronunciation as Astoret instead of the expected Asteret, probably because the two last syllables have here been pointed with the vowels belonging to boshet "abomination" to indicate that word should be substituted when reading. The plural form is pointed Astoret. For what seems to be the use of the Hebrew plural form Astoret as the name of a demon, see also Astaroth. Astarte, or Ashtoret in Hebrew, was the principal goddess of the
Phoenicians, representing the productive power of nature. She was a lunar goddess and was adopted by the Egyptians as a daughter of Ra or Ptah. In Jewish mythology, She is referred to as Ashtoreth, supposedly interpreted as a female demon of lust in Hebrew monotheism. The name Asherah may also be confused with Ashtoreth, but is probably a different goddess. Astarte Wikipedia Astarte means "she of the womb" in Canaanite and Hebrew. When the Hebrews turned from goddess-worship to a religion centered on the male Yahweh (or Jehovah), her name Athtarath was deliberately mis-rendered as Ashtoreth ("shameful thing") and confused with Asherah (see Monaghan). Depicted variously as a death-dealing virgin warrior, a life-giving mother, and a wanton of unbridled sexuality, her emblems were the moon and the morning and evening stars (the planet Venus). Astarte was a warrior goddess of Canaan and Syria who is a Western Semitic counterpart of the Akkadian Ishtar worshipped in Mesopotamia. In the Egyptian pantheon to which she was officially admitted during the 18th Dynasty, her prime association is with horses and chariots. On the stela set up near the sphinx by Amenhotep II celebrating his prowess, Astarte is described as delighting in the impressive equestrian skill of the monarch when he was still only crown prince. In her iconography her aggression can be seen in the bull horns she sometimes wears as a symbol of domination. Similarly, in her Levantine homelands, Astarte is a battlefield goddess. For example, when the Peleset (Philistines) killed Saul and his three sons on Mount Gilboa, they deposited the enemy armor as spoils in the temple of "Ashtoreth". Like Anat, she is the daughter of Re and the wife of the god Seth, but also has a relationship with the god of the sea. From the fragmentary papyrus giving the legend of Astarte and the sea we learn that Yamm, the sea god, demanded tribute from the gods, particularly Renenutet. Her place is then taken by Astarte called, in this aspect, "daughter of Ptah". The story is lost from that point on but one assumes this liaison resulted in the goddess tempering the arrogance of
Yamm. It should also be noted that outside of Egypt, as well as being a warlike goddess, Astarte seems to have had sexual and motherhood attributes and is sometimes identified with Isis. Asherah, Athirat ("Lady Asherah of the Sea", "she who gives birth", "wet-nurse of the gods") (Canaanite and Hebrew). Her name seems to come from a root meaning "straight," perhaps signifying both moral rectitude and the upright trees or pieces of wood in which her essence was believed to dwell. In homes, she was represented by a simple, woman-shaped clay figurine with, instead of legs, a tapered base which was inserted in the floor of the home. She was also depicted as a naked, curly-haired goddess standing on her sacred lion and holding lilies and serpents in upraised hands. According to one source, she was "the force of life, experienced as benevolent and enduring, found in flocks of cattle and groves of trees, evoked in childbirth and in planting time." She was also called Elat ("Goddess"). Her dying-god consort may have been Yahweh (see Patai). After the shift among the Hebrews to the worship of the male Yahweh, a centuries-long campaign to stamp out her worship began, in which she was deliberately confused with the more wantonly sexual Astarte.
A later, Babylonian form of the Sumerian Inanna, but also identified with Asherah and Astarte. Like Inanna, she loved a dying and reborn vegetation god (Tammuz), whom she descended into the underworld in rescue of after his death. There, she supplicates herself before the queen of the Underworld, Erishkegal (no doubt, the death form of herself). Her emblems were the moon and the morning and evening stars (the planet Venus).
Ishtar ("light-giving queen of heaven") (Babylon) Ishtar, also known as Htar (or Inanna in Sumerian mythology), the name of the chief goddess of Babylonia and Assyria, the counterpart of the Phoenician Astarte. The meaning of the name is not known, though it is possible that the underlying stem is the same as that of Assur, which would thus make her the "leading one" or "chief." At all events it is now generally recognized that the name is Semitic in its origin. Where the name originated is likewise uncertain, but the indications point to Erech where we find the worship of a great mother goddess independent of any association with a male counterpart flourishing in the oldest period of Babylonian history. She appears under various names, among which are Nana, Innanna, Nina and Anunit. As early as the days of Khammurabi we find these various names which represented originally different goddesses, though all manifest as the chief trait the life-giving power united in Ishtar. Even when the older names are employed it is always the great mother-goddess who is meant. Ishtar is the one goddess in the pantheon who retains her independent position despite and throughout all changes that the Babylonian-Assyrian religion undergoes. Even when Ishtar is viewed as the consort of some chief - of Marduk occasionally in the south, of Assur more frequently in the north the consciousness that she has a personality of her own apart from this association is never lost sight of. With Adbeel may be identified Idibi'il (-ba'il) a tribe, employed by Tiglath-Pileser IV. (Œl33 B.c.) to watch the frontier of Musri (Sinaitic peninsula or Northern Arabia). This is suggested by the fact that Ashurbanipal (7th century) mentions as the name of their deity Atar-Samain (i.e. "Ishtar of the heavens"). We may reasonably assume that the analogy drawn from the process of reproduction among men and animals led to the conception of a female deity presiding over the life of the universe. The extension of the scope of this goddess to life in general - to the growth of plants and trees from the fructifying seed - was a natural outcome of a fundamental idea; and so, whether we turn to incantations or hymns, in myths and in epics, in votive inscriptions and in historical annals, Ishtar is celebrated and invoked as
the great mother, as the mistress of lands, as clothed in splendor and power - one might almost say as the personification of life itself. But there are two aspects to this goddess of life. She brings forth, she fertilizes the fields, she clothes nature in joy and gladness, but she also withdraws her favors and when she does so the fields wither, and men and animals cease to reproduce. In place of life, barrenness and death ensue. She is thus also a grim goddess, at once cruel and destructive. We can, therefore, understand that she was also invoked as a goddess of war and battles and of the chase; and more particularly among the warlike Assyrians she assumes this aspect. Before the battle she appears to the army, clad in battle array and armed with bow and arrow. In myths symbolizing the change of seasons she is portrayed in this double character, as the life-giving and the life-depriving power. The most noteworthy of these myths describes her as passing through seven gates into the nether world. At each gate some of her clothing and her ornaments are removed until at the last gate she is entirely naked. While she remains in the nether world as a prisoner - whether voluntary or involuntary it is hard to say - all fertility ceases on Earth, but the time comes when she again returns to Earth, and as she passes each gate the watchman restores to her what she had left there until she is again clad in her full splendor, to the joy of mankind and of all nature. Closely allied with this myth and personifying another view of the change of seasons is the story of Ishtar's love for her son and consort Tammuz symbolizing the spring time - but as midsummer approaches her husband is slain and, according to one version, it is for the purpose of saving Tammuz from the clutches of the goddess of the nether world that she enters upon her journey to that region. In all the great centres Ishtar had her temples, bearing such names as E-anna, "heavenly house," in Erech; E-makh, "great house," in Babylon; E-mash-mash, "house of offerings," in Nineveh. Of the details of her cult we as yet know little, but there is no evidence that there were obscene rites connected with it, though there may have been certain mysteries introduced at certain centres which might easily impress the uninitiated as
having obscene aspects. She was served by priestesses as well as by priests, and it would appear that the votaries of Ishtar were in all cases virgins who, as long as they remained in the service of Ishtar, were not permitted to marry. In the astral-theological system, Ishtar becomes the planet Venus, and the double aspect of the goddess is made to correspond to the strikingly different phases of Venus in the summer and winter seasons. On monuments and seal-cylinders she appears frequently with how and arrow, though also simply clad in long robes with a crown on her head and an eight-rayed star as her symbol. Statuettes have been found in large numbers representing her as naked with her arms folded across her breast or holding a child. The art thus reflects the popular conceptions formed of the goddess. Together with Sin, the Moon god, and Shamash, the Sun god, she is the third figure in a triad personifying the three great forces of nature - Moon, Sun and Earth, as the life-force. The doctrine involved illustrate, the tendency of the Babylonian priests to centralize the manifestations of divine power in the universe, just as the triad Anu, Bel and ha - the heavens, the earth and the watery deep - form another illustration of this same tendency. Naturally, as a member of a triad, Ishtar is dissociated from any local limitations, and similarly as the planet Venus - a conception which is essentially a product of theological speculation - no though of any particular locality for her cult is present. It is because the cult, like that of Sin and Shamash, is spread over al Babylonia and Assyria, that she becomes available for purposes of theological speculation.
Lord of Heaven, Lord of Earth Aten (or Aton) was the disk of the sun in ancient Egyptian mythology, and originally an aspect of Ra. He became the deity of the monotheistic - in fact, monistic - religion Atenism of Amenhotep IV, who took the name Akhenaten. The worship of Aten seemed to stop shortly after Akhenaten's death. In his poem "Hymn to Aten," Akhenaten praises Aten as the creator, and giver of life. Aten was the life-giving force of light. The full title of Akhenaten's god was The Rahorus who rejoices in the horizon, in his/her Name of the Light which is seen in the sun disc. (This is the title of the god as it appears on the numerous stelae which were placed to mark the boundaries of Akhenaten's new capital at Amarna, or "Akhetaten.") This lengthy name was often shortened to Ra-Horus-Aten or just Aten in many texts, but the god of Akhenaten raised to supremacy is considered a synthesis of very
ancient gods viewed in a new and different way. Both Ra and Horus characteristics are part of the god, but the god is also considered to be both masculine and feminine simultaneously. All creation was thought to emanate from the god and to exist within the god. In particular, the god was not depicted in anthropomorphic (human) form, but as rays of light extending from the sun's disk. Furthermore, the god's name came to be written within a cartouche, along with the titles normally given to a Pharaoh, another break with ancient tradition. The Aten, the sun-disk, first appears in texts dating to the 12th dynasty, in The Story of Sinuhe, where the deceased king is described as rising as god to the heavens and uniting with the sun-disk, the divine body merging with its maker. Ra-Horus, more usually referred to as Ra-Herakhty (Ra, who is Horus of the two horizons), is a synthesis of two other gods, both of which are attested from very early on. During the Amarna period, this synthesis was seen as the invisible source of energy of the sun god, of which the visible manifestation was the Aten, the solar disk. Thus Ra-Horus-Aten was a development of old ideas which came gradually. The real change, as some see it, was the apparent abandonment of all other gods, above all Amun, and the introduction of monotheism by Akhenaten. The syncretism is readily apparent in the Great Hymn to the Aten in which Re-Herakhty, Shu and Aten are merged into the creator god. Others see Akhenaten as a practitioner of an Aten monolatry. During the Amarna Period, the Aten was given a Royal Titulary (as he was considered to be king of all), with his names drawn in a cartouche. There were two forms of this title, the first had the names of other gods, and the second later one which was more 'singular' and referred only to the Aten himself. The early form has Re-Horakhti who rejoices in the Horizon, in his name Shu which is the Aten. The later form has Re, ruler of the two horizons who rejoices in the Horizon, in his name of light which is the Aten
Atum (alternatively spelled Tem, Temu, Tum, and Atem) is an important deity in Egyptian mythology, whose cult centred on the city of Heliopolis. His name is thought to be derived from the word 'tem' which means to
complete or finish. Thus he has been interpreted as being the 'complete one' and also the finisher of the world, which he returns to watery chaos at the end of the creative cycle. As creator he was seen as the underlying substance of the world, the deities and all things being made of his flesh or alternatively being his ka. Atum is one of the most important and frequently mentioned deities from earliest times, as evidenced by his prominence in the Pyramid Texts, where he is portrayed as both a creator and father to the king. He is usually depicted as a man wearing either the royal head-cloth or the dual white and red crown of Upper Egypt, and Lower Egypt, reinforcing his connection with kingship. Sometimes he also is shown as a serpent, the form which he returns to at the end of the creative cycle and also occasionally as a mongoose, lion, bull, lizard, or ape. In the Heliopolitan creation myth established in the sixth dynasty, he was considered to be the first god, having created himself, sitting on a mound (benben) (or identified with the mound itself), from the primordial waters (Nu). Early myths state that Atum created the god Shu and goddess Tefnut from spitting or from his semen by masturbation in the city of Annu (the Egyptian name for Heliopolis), a belief strongly associated with Atum's nature as a hermaphrodite (hence his name meaning completeness). Iusaaset, the Grandmother of Deities Another belief held that Shu and Tefnut were created by Atum having sexual intercourse with a goddess, referred to as Iusaaset (also spelt Juesaes, Ausaas, Iusas, and Jusas, and in Greek as Saosis), meaning the great one who comes forth. She was described as his shadow or his hand. Consequently, Iusaaset was seen as the mother and grandmother of the gods. The strength, hardiness, medical properties, and edibility, led the acacia tree to be considered the tree of life, and thus the oldest, which was situated close to, and north of, Heliopolis, was said to be the birthplace of the deities. Thus, as the mother and grandmother, of the deities, Iusaaset was said to own this tree. In the Old Kingdom the Egyptians believed that Atum lifted the dead king's soul from his pyramid to the starry heavens. By the time of the New Kingdom, the Atum mythos, merged in the Egyptian pantheon with that of
Ra, who was also the creator and a solar deity, their two identities were joined into Atum-Ra. But as Ra was the whole sun, and Atum became to be seen as the sun when it sets (depicted as an old man leaning on his staff), while Khepera was seen as the sun when it was rising.
Auf (Efu Ra) Auf (Efu Ra) was an aspect of the sun god Re 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.
Neb Tetet (Banebdjedet, Baneb Djedet, Banaded) was a Ram god whose name means 'ba (or 'soul') lord of Mendes', his cult centered 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 life.
Ba'al the Storm God The storm god, Baal, was a West Semitic import to Egypt. Late Bronze Age texts discovered at Ras Shamra (ancient Ugarit) on the Levantine coast, from which his cult spread, indicate that by 1400 BC, Baal had displaced the god El to become the most important god in the local pantheon.
However, the meaning of Baal is "owner" or "lord" and in the earliest of times it is questionable whether the word was used as a title for important local gods in general, or as a proper name to a specific god. Particularly at first, this name was probably given to completely different gods. Over time, the term seems to have been applied to agricultural gods in a variety of locations. There is a great confusion amongst scholars concerning the these deities called "Baal", or sometimes Bel, and their natures and origins. In fact, this god's survival through a vast period of time provides us with a complex trail marked by considerable theological difficulties. Of the many "Baals" we find referenced, perhaps the most important, or at least the one most associated with Egypt, is the god who dwelt on Mount Sapan (hence Baal-Zaphon) in Northern Syria, and it should be noted that the following discussion relates to him more specifically then to some of his other identities. The equivalent of the Amorite deity Adad, or Hadad, he was a centrally important deity of the Canaanites. He was considered the son of a less well attested god named Dagan (others have identified him as the son of El), who was himself a god of agriculture and storms. Baal was the source of the winter rain storms, spring mist and summer dew which nourished the crops. However, Baal also became associated with the deity of other sites such as Baal Hazor in Palestine, Baal-Sidon and Baal of Tyre (Melkart) in Lebanon. Baal was known to be a rider of clouds, most active during storms but was also considered to be a "lord of heaven and earth", even controlling earth's fertility. He was the god of thunderstorms, the most vigorous and aggressive of the gods and the one on whom mortals most depended. Some of his other common epithets include " Most High Prince/Master", " Conqueror of Warriors", Mightiest, Most High, Supreme, Powerful, Puissant", " Warrior", and " Prince, Master of the Earth". He is also sometimes called Re'ammin, meanign "Thunderer", as well as Aleyin, meaning "Most High", Mightiest", "Most Powerful", or Supreme and he has many, many other epithets.
Armed with magical weapons made by the craftsman god, Kothar, Baal manages to overcome Yam, who was the tyrannical god of the sea, according to the surviving ancient Near Eastern myths. However, in another story, with the assistance Anat, Ball gets El's approval to build a house. It is Kothar who actually builds the house, and afterwards, Baal celebrates by inviting the gods to a feast. Ball himself was eventually overcome by Mot, a personification of death, after which he descended into the underworld. He then returned to life with the help of his sister and consort, Anat, in a tradition not unlike the death and resurrection of Osiris. Baal was usually shown in anthropomorphic form depicted as a powerful warrior with long hair and a full, slightly curved, pointed Syrian style beard. He would wear a conical helmet much like a funnel with two horns attached at its base. He is often represented with a straight-bladed sword that he wore on the belt of a short kilt. At other times, he was shown holding a cedar tree club or spear in his left hand while his raised right hand welding a weapon or even a thunderbolt. This theme, which is common to many Near Eastern storm gods, may have inspired the iconography of the Greek god Zeus. Baal's cult animal was the bull, which symbolized his power and fertility, though at times and in different places he was also associated with goats
and even flies. He is sometimes shown in Near Eastern art standing on the back of a bull, and certainly this association would have also contributed to his acceptance by the Pharaohs of Egypt, where bull cults particularly in the New Kingdom were an important aspect of the ancient theology. Baal's cult animal was the bull, which symbolized his power and fertility, though at times and in different places he was also associated with goats and even flies. He is sometimes shown in Near Eastern art standing on the back of a bull, and certainly this association would have also contributed to his acceptance by the Pharaohs of Egypt, where bull cults particularly in the New Kingdom were an important aspect of the ancient theology.
Virility God In Egyptian mythology, Babi was the deification of the baboon, one of the main animals present in Egypt, and it is thought that from his name we get
the word baboon. His name is usually translated as Bull of the baboons, and roughly means Alpha male of all baboons, i.e. chief of the baboons. Since Baboons exhibit many human characteristics, it was believed in early times, at least since the Predynastic Period, that they were deceased ancestors. In particular, the alpha males were identified as deceased rulers, referred to as the great white one (Hez-ur in Egyptian), since Hamadryas baboon (the species prevalent in Egypt) alpha males have a notable light grey streak. For example, Narmer is depicted in some images as having transformed into a baboon. Since baboons were considered to be the dead, Babi was viewed as an underworld deity. Baboons are extremely aggressive, and omnivorous, and so Babi was viewed as being very bloodthirsty, and living on entrails. Consequently, he was viewed as devouring the souls of the unrighteous after they had been weighed against Ma'at (the concept of truth/order), and was thus said to stand by a lake of fire, representing destruction. Since this judging of righteousness was an important part of the underworld, Babi was said to be the first born son of Osiris, the god of the dead amongst the same areas as Babi was believed in. Baboons also have noticeably high sex drives, in addition to their high level of genital marking, and so Babi was considered the god of virility of the dead. He was usually portrayed with an erection, and due to the association with the judging of souls, was sometimes depicted as using it as the mast of the ferry which conveyed the righteous to Aaru, a series of islands. Babi was also prayed to, in order to ensure that an individual would not suffer from impotence after death.
Bast, Perfumed Protector, Cat Goddess
Statue: 600 B.C.E.
In Egyptian mythology, Bast (also spelled Ubasti, Baset, and later Bastet) is an ancient solar and war goddess, worshipped at least since the Second Dynasty. In the late dynasties, the priests of Amun began to call her Bastet, a repetitive and diminutive form after her role in the pantheon became diminished as Sekhmet, a similar lioness war deity, became more dominant in the unified culture of Lower and Upper Egypt. In the Middle Kingdom, the cat appeared as Bastet's sacred animal and after the New Kingdom she was depicted with a woman with a cat's head carrying a sacred rattle and a box or basket. Bast or Bastet was the cat goddess and local deity of the town of Bubastis or Per-Bast in Egyptian, where her cult was centered. Bubastis was named after her. Originally she was viewed as the protector goddess of Lower Egypt, and consequently depicted as a fierce lioness. Indeed, her name means (female) devourer. As protector, she was seen as defender of the pharaoh, and consequently of the later chief male deity, Ra, who was a solar deity also, gaining her the titles Lady of Flame and Eye of Ra. The goddess Bast was sometimes depicted holding a ceremonial sistrum
in one hand and an aegis in the other - the aegis usually resembling a collar or gorget embellished with a lioness head. Bast was a goddess of the sun throughout most of Ancient Egyptian history, but later when she was changed into a cat goddess rather than a lion, she was changed to a goddess of the moon by Greeks occupying Ancient Egypt toward the end of its civilization. In Greek mythology, Bast is also known as Aelurus. History and Connection to Other Hods Due to the threat to the food supply that could be caused by simple vermin such as mice and rats, and their ability to fight and kill snakes, especially cobras, cats in Egypt were revered highly, sometimes being given golden jewellery to wear and were allowed to eat from the same plates as their owners. Consequently, later as the main cat (rather than lioness) deity, Bastet was strongly revered as the patron of cats, and thus it was in the temple at Per-Bast that cats were buried and mummified. When the owner died they would put the owner next to the mummified cat. More than 300,000 mummified cats were discovered when Bast's temple at Per-Bast was excavated. Herodotus writes that when a cat in the family dies, Egyptians shaved their eyebrows and took the body to Bubastis to be embalmed. As a cat or lioness war goddess, and protector of the lands, when, during the New Kingdom, the fierce lion god Maahes of Nubia became part of Egyptian mythology, she was identified, in the Lower Kingdom, as his mother. This paralleled the identification of the fierce lioness war goddess Sekhmet, as his mother in the Upper Kingdom. Wadjet-Bast, with a lioness head, the solar disk, and the
cobra As divine mother, and more especially as protector, for Lower Egypt, she became strongly associated with Wadjet, the patron goddess of Lower Egypt, eventually becoming Wadjet-Bast, paralleling the similar pair of patron (Nekhbet) and lioness protector (Sekhmet) for Upper Egypt. Bastet was the daughter of Amun Ra. Later Perception Later scribes sometimes renamed her Bastet, a variation on Bast consisting of an additional feminine suffix to the one already present, thought to have been added to emphasize pronunciation; but perhaps it is a diminutive name applied as she receded in the ascendancy of Sekhmet in the Egyptian pantheon. Since Bastet literally meant, (female) of the ointment jar, Bast gradually became regarded as the goddess of perfumes, earning the title perfumed protector. In connection with this, when Anubis became the god of embalming, Bast, as goddess of ointment, came to be regarded as his wife. The association of Bastet as
mother of Anubis, was broken years later when Anubis became Nephthys' son. Egypt's loss in the wars between Upper and Lower Egypt led to a decrease in her ferocity. Thus, by the Middle Kingdom she came to be regarded as a domestic cat rather than a lioness. Occasionally, however, she was depicted holding a lioness mask, hinting at potential ferocity. Because domestic cats tend to be tender and protective of their offspring, Bast was also regarded as a good mother, and she was sometimes depicted with numerous kittens. Consequently, a woman who wanted children sometimes wore an amulet showing the goddess with kittens, the number of which indicated her own desired number of children. Eventually, her position as patron and protector of Lower Egypt led to her being identified with the more substantial goddess Mut, whose cult had risen to power with that of Amun, and eventually being syncretized with her as Mut-Wadjet-Bast. Shortly after, Mut also absorbed the identities of the Sekhmet-Nekhbet pairing as well. This merging of identities of similar goddesses has led to considerable confusion, leading to some attributing to Bastet the title Mistress of the Sistrum (more properly belonging to Hathor, who had become thought of as an aspect of the later emerging Isis, as had Mut), and the Greek idea of her as a lunar goddess (more properly an attribute of Mut) rather than the solar deity she was. Indeed, much of this confusion occurred with subsequent generations; the identities slowly merged among the Greeks during their occupation of Egypt, who sometimes named her Ailuros (Greek for cat), thinking of Bastet as a version of Artemis, their own moon goddess.Thus, to fit their own cosmology, to the Greeks Bastet is thought of as the sister of Horus, whom they identified as Apollo (Artemis' brother), and consequently, the daughter of the later emerging deities, Isis and Ra. The worship of the Goddess Bast continues today through Khemetic reconstructionalist religions, there are several 'Bast Cults' some of which may be found online and as such, technically, predates most Religions. In current day it is very common for Bast to be seen as a fertility goddess or even a goddess of lesbianism, despite the fact that research on her actual
functions within the Egyptian pantheon is so very easy.
Bes (also spelt as Bisu) was an Egyptian deity worshipped in the later periods of dynastic history as a protector of households and in particular mothers and children. In time he would be regarded as the defender of everything good and the enemy of all that is bad. While past studies identified Bes as a Middle Kingdom import from Nubia, some more recent research believes him to be an Egyptian native. Mentions of Bes can be traced to the southern lands of the Old Kingdom; however his cult did not become widespread until well into the New Kingdom.
His name appears to be connected to a Nubian word for "cat" (besa) which literally means "protector", and indeed, his first appearances have the suggestion of a cat god. Egyptians kept cats in order to attack snakes, and creatures that might ruin crop stores, such as mice, and so Bes was naturally singled out as worthy of worship in Egypt. He is also known as a comic dwarf god that brings good luck and happiness to homes.
Louvre Museum Iconography Modern scholars such as James Romano demonstrated that in its earliest inceptions, Bes was a representation of a lion rearing up on its hind legs. After the Third Intermediate Period, Bes is often seen as just the head or the face, often worn as amulets. It is theorized that the god Bes came from the Great Lakes Region of Africa, coming from the Twa people (a
pygmy group) in Congo or Rwanda. The ancient Twa were about the same height as the depictions of Bes. Dawn Prince-Hughes lists Bes as fitting with other archetypal long-haired Bigfoot-like ape-man figures from ancient Northern Africa, "a squat, bandy-legged figure depicted with fur about his body, a prominent brow, and short, pug nose." Another theory born out by Bes's role in both the protection of children and women in labor is the theory that Bes is the figure of an miscarried fetus. Worship Images of the deity were kept in homes he was depicted quite differently from the other gods. Normally Egyptian gods were shown in profile, but instead Bes appeared in portrait, ithyphallic, and sometimes in a soldier's tunic, so as to appear ready to launch an attack on any approaching evil. Bes was a household protector, throughout ancient Egyptian history becoming responsible for such varied tasks as killing snakes, fighting off evil spirits, watching after children, and aiding (by fighting off evil spirits) women in labour (and thus present with Taweret at births). Since he drove off evil, Bes also came to symbolize the good things in life - music, dance, and sexual pleasure. Later, in the Ptolemaic period of Egyptian history, chambers were constructed, painted with images of Bes and his wife Beset, thought by Egyptologists to have been for the purpose of curing fertility problems or general healing rituals. Many instances of Bes masks and costumes from the New Kingdom and later have been uncovered. These show considerable wear, thought to be too great for occasional use at festivals, and are therefore thought to have been used by professional performers, or given out for rent. In the New Kingdom, tattoos of Bes could be found on the thighs of dancers, musicians and servant girls. Like many Egyptian gods, the worship of Bes was exported overseas, and he, in particular, proved popular with the Phoenicians and the ancient Cypriots. The cult of Saint Bessus in northern Italy may represent the Christianization of the cult associated with Bes; St. Bessus was also invoked for fertility, and Bessus and Bes are both associated with an ostrich feather in their iconography.
As another form of protection, an image of the dwarf god was tattooed on some women - different depictions of women, such as girls swimming, female dancers, acrobats and musicians, show them with Bes painted on their skin. The women with the image of Bes tattooed on her upper thigh an around the pubic area might be Egyptian prostitutes, the tattoo being used to ward off venereal disease. This was probably because of his association with music and entertainment, as well as being a protector of women and children. It could have also been a tattoo relating to sexuality or fertility. In the Ptolemaic period, 'incubation' or Bes chambers were built at Anubieion with figures of Bes and a naked goddess - probably Beset - on the inside walls. Pilgrims might have spent the night there to have healing or maybe erotic - dreams to renew their sexual power. The Egyptians also saw Bes as one who not only protected but entertained children - when a child smiled for no reason, it was thought that Bes was pulling faces at the child to make him or her laugh! He was thought to entertain through dancing and singing, and so he was also thought to be a god of happiness and joviality. Despite his fun-loving nature, he was also regarded as a god of war from early times. He used his lion-like, ferocious nature to destroy or scare the enemies of pharaoh, as well as the evil spirits that were thought to plague the people of Egypt (including sickness, dangerous creatures and other such troubles). He was thought to be especially protective of women and
children. It was during the Greek Period that the worship of Bes became wide-spread - the numbers of amulets and charms, as well as reliefs at the temples show how popular the 'Great Dwarf' became. There were even oracles of Bes, to whom the people would ask questions, on papyrus, for Bes to give an answer to their problems. In Roman times, the god was adopted by the Roman people, and there are some figurines of him in legionnaire garb.
He was not a god of Egyptian origin. Bes was described as 'Coming from the Divine Land' and 'Lord of Punt' (perhaps an area in present day Somalia - see Hatshepsut's Expedition to Punt). He was thus linked to the goddess Hathor who was known as the 'Lady of Punt' and also a goddess of music. During this period, he was given a wife, known as Beset - a female version of the dwarf god, presiding over protection, pleasure and childbirth. The two did not appear together before the Ptolemaic era. There is an interesting tale about Bes, still mentioned today: After the triumph of Christianity Bes did not immediately vanish from the memory of man; for we are told of a wicked demon named Bes whom the holy Moses had to exorcise because he was terrorizing the neighborhood. To this day, it would seem, the monumental southern gate of Karnak serves as a dwelling-place for a knock-kneed dwarf whose gross head is embellished with a formidable beard. Woe to the stranger who, coming across him in the dusk of evening, laughs at his grotesque figure! For the monster will leap at his throat and strangle him. He is the Bes of ancient Egypt who, after long centuries, is not yet resigned to abandoning
altogether the scenes of his earlier greatness. -- Egyptian Mythology, Paul Hamlyn Bes had no temples and no priesthood other than his oracle, but statues or depictions of the god was found in most homes throughout the land of Egypt. Although not originally one of the more famous of the gods, Bes came to be loved by the people of Egypt. It was the dwarf god-demon Bes that they came to call on for protection in their daily lives.
In Egyptian mythology, Duamutef (also known as Tuamutef) was one of the Four sons of Horus and a funerary god who protected the stomach and small intestines of mummified corpses, kept in a canopic jar. He was associated with the jackal and was protected by the goddess Neith.Duamutef is represented as a mummified man with the head of a jackal. His name is generally transcribed as Duamutef, and means 'Adoring His Mother'. By all other animals he was feared because of his vengeful spirit and the tendency to hunt. The goddess Neith disowned him and bound him in chains where a great lion was called to kill him. After he died he was given the duty to protect one of the canopic jars.
Ra the sun god later gave him the power to betray Neith, for some unknown reason, and Duamutef killed Neith with the jaws of The Great Lion that killed him. Neith descended into the underworld and sweared revenge against Duamutef. Neith plotted to leave the underworld by resurrecting souls and making Anubis angry however Neith was forced to make a deal with Anubis, but she would later betray him. After seven years of forging Neith forged a sword that could kill any mortal or immortal. Duamutef caught word of this and challenged Neith. Duamutef knew the power of the sword and was given a weapon by Anubis called the Bow of Fatality . In a valley the battle ensued between the Sword of Eternity and the Bow of Fatality. Neith won the battle but was bound by blood to keep Duamutef alive, completely ignoring the agreement she stabbed Duamutef but when the blade struck him it shattered into hundreds of pieces. Realizing that she herself could not kill him because of the agreement with Anubis, she knocked him unconscious and tossed him into a nearby swamp. As much as he struggled Duamutef could not escape. Drowning killed Duamutef and sent him back to the underworld. Stripped of his
power by Ra, (who realized his treachery and not Neith's) he was condemned to protect the stomach inside a canopic jar. Neith, astonished by Ra's decision, was shunned by the other gods because of her treachery. Duamutef made a pact with Anubis that as long as he lived he could use the Bow of Fatality which was forged by three different gods, in return for the death of Neith the goddess who saved many a soul from Anubis. Neith found out about the pact and killed Duamutef first. Duamutef thought that he would be able to fight the goddess Neith alone, but once he died he called upon the Bow of Fatality. When he died again the pact was broken and the Bow of Fatality was hidden from him.
Son of Shu and Tefnut, twin brother of Nut, husband of Nut, father of Osiris and Isis, Seth, Nephthys. Geb was the Egyptian god of the Earth and a member of the Ennead of Heliopolis. As a vegetation-god he was shown with green patches or plants on his
body. As the Earth, he is often seen lying beneath the sky goddess Nut, leaning on one elbow, with a knee bent toward the sky, this is representative of the mountains and valleys of the Earth.
Geb is usually represented in the form of a man who wears either the white crown to which is added the Atef crown, or a goose. The Goose was his sacred animal and symbol. As the God of Earth, the Earth formed his body and was called the "House of Geb," just as the air was called the "House of Shu," and the heaven the "house of Ra," Hence, he was also often portrayed laying on his side on the Earth, and was sometimes even painted green, with plants springing from his body. Earthquakes were believed to be the laughter of Geb. In hymns and other compositions he is often portrayed as the erpat, i.e., the hereditary, tribal chief of the gods, and he plays a very important part in the Book of the Dead. Therefore he is one of the gods who watch the weighing of the heart of the deceased in the Judgement Hall of Osiris. The righteous who were provided with the necessary words of power were able to make their escape from the earth but the wicked were held fast by Geb. Religious texts show that there was no special city or district set apart for the god Geb, but a portion of the temple estates in Apollinopolis Magna were called the "Aat of Geb," and a name of Dendera was "the home of the children of Geb,". The chief seat of the god appears to have been at Heliopolis, where he and his female counterpart Nut produced the great Egg from which sprang the Sun-god under the from of a phoenix. In
ancient Egypt, the egg is a symbol of renewal, and even today, this symbolism appears in our traditions surrounding Easter. It was claimed that Heliopolis was the birthplace of the company of the gods, and that in fact the work of creation began there. In several papyri we find pictures of the first act of creation which took place as soon as the Sun-god, by whatsoever name he may be called, appeared in the sky, and sent forth his rays upon the earth. In these papyri, Geb always occupies a very prominent position. He is seen lying upon the ground with one hand stretched out upon it, and the other extended towards heaven Shu stands by his side, and supports on his upraised hands the heavens which are depicted in the form of a women whose body is covered with stars. She is the goddess Nut. The oldest representation in a fragmentary relief of the god was as an anthropomorphic being accompanied by his name, dating from king Djoser's reign, IIIth Dynasty, and was found in Heliopolis. In later times he could also be depicted as a ram, a bull or a crocodile. Frequently described mythologically as 'father' of snakes and depicted sometimes (partly) as such. In mythology he also often occurs as a primeval ruler/king of Egypt. Geb could be seen as earth containing the dead, or imprisoning those not worthy to go to the North-Eastern heavenly Field of Reeds. In the Heliopolitan Ennead (a group of nine gods created in the beginning by the one god Atum, Geb is the husband of Nut, the sky or visible firmament, the son of the earlier primordial elements Tefnut ('orphaness', later also conceived of as moisture [e.g.: 'tef']) and Shu ('emptiness' or perhaps 'raiser'[namely of the firmament as air]), and the father to the four lesser gods of the system - Osiris, Set, Isis and Nephthys. In this context, Geb was said to have originally been engaged in eternal sex with Nut, and had to be separated from her by Shu, god of the air.
Consequently, in mythological depictions Geb was shown as a 'man' reclining, sometimes with his phallus still pointed towards the sky goddess Nut. As time progressed, the deity became more associated with the habitable land of Egypt and also as one of its early godly rulers. As a chtonic deity he (like e.g. Osiris and Min) became naturally associated with the underworld and with vegetation, with barley being said to grow upon his ribs, and was depicted with plants and other green patches on his body. His association with vegetation, and sometimes with the underworld, and also with royalty brought Geb the occasional interpretation that he was the husband of Renenutet, primarily a minor goddess of the harvest and also mythological caretaker of the young king in the shape of a cobra, who herself was the mother of Nehebkau, a primeval snake god associated with the underworld, who was on the same occasions said to be his son by her. He is also equated by classical authors as the Greek Titan Cronus.
God of the Nile River, Fertility, the North and South Hapi (Hep, Hap, Hapy) was a bearded man often seen in the color blue or green, with female breasts, indicating his powers of nourishment. Hapi was one of the Four sons of Horus depicted in funerary literature as protecting the throne of Osiris in the Underworld.
Hapi is sometimes depicted as a baboon-headed mummified human on funerary furniture and especially the canopic jars that held the organs of the deceased. Hapi's jar held the lungs. Hapi was also the protector of the
North. Hapi was assigned to a tutelary protective goddess Nephthys. Hapi was the personification of the Nile. He was believed to dwell in a great cave near the cataracts. There he was aided by a retinue of crocodile gods and frog goddesses, who ensured that the Nile ran cool and clear. Each year he would increase the Nile so that it flooded, depositing rich soil on the farmlands. He was worshipped throughout Egypt.
Hathor symbolizes rebirth.
In Egyptian mythology, Hathor (Egyptian for House of Horus) was originally a personification of the Milky Way, which was seen as the milk that flowed from the udders of a heavenly cow. Hathor was an ancient goddess, worshipped as a cow-deity from at least 2700 BC, during the 2nd dynasty, and possibly even by the Scorpion King. The name Hathor refers to the encirclement by her, in the form of the Milky Way, of the night sky and consequently of the god of the sky, Horus. She was originally seen as the daughter of Ra, the creator whose own cosmic birth was formalised as the Ogdoad cosmogeny.An alternate name for her, which persisted for 3,000 years, was Mehturt (also spelt Mehurt, Mehet-Weret, and Mehet-uret), meaning great flood, a direct reference to her being the milky way. The Milky Way was seen as a waterway in the heavens, sailed upon by both the sun god and the king, leading the Egyptians to describe it as The Nile in the Sky. Due to this, and the name mehturt, she was identified as responsible for the yearly inundation of the Nile. Another consequence of this name is that she was seen as a herald of imminent birth, as when the amniotic sac breaks and floods its waters, it is a medical indicator that the child is due to be born extremely soon. Hathor was also favored as a protector in desert regions.
Some Egyptologists associate Hathor with artificial light as evidenced by what has been purported to be a representation of an electric lamp in a temple dedicated to her worship. Though other scholars believe the representation to be that of a lotus flower, spawning a snake within. Goddess of Motherhood As a provider of milk, and due to cows careful tending of their calves, the cow was a universal symbol of motherhood, and so Hathor became goddess of motherhood, gaining titles such as 'The Great Cow Who Protects Her Child' and 'Mistress of the Sanctuary of Women.' Because of the aspect of motherhood, her priests were oracles, predicting the fate of the newborn, and midwives delivering them. As a mother, since she enclosed the sky, she was seen as the mother of Horus. Symbolically she became the divine mother of the pharaoh, who was identified as Horus. Since Horus's wife was Isis, Hathor was sometimes said to be her mother, although it was more accurate to say she was her mother in law. As Horus was also said to be the son of Ra, Hathor was identified as Ra's wife (Ra created her in a non-sexual manner), gaining the title Mistress of Heaven. Having been identified as Ra's wife, it was said she arose from Ra's tears, and thus was identified as the Eye of Ra. In art, Hathor was often depicted as a golden cow (sometimes covered in stars), with the titles Cow of Gold, and The one who shines like gold, or as a woman with the ears of a cow and a headdress of horns holding the sun-disc, which represented Ra. Also, Hathor was sometimes identified as a hippopotamus, which the Egyptians also considered quite motherly creatures, and sometimes as an aquatic form of the cow. In her position as divine mother to the pharaoh, Hathor was sometimes depicted as a cow standing in a boat (representing the boat of Ra with which he, as the sun, crosses through the sky), surrounded by tall papyrus reeds (as were common in the Nile delta), with the pharaoh often pictured as a calf standing next to her. As divine mother, she was also represented with, or as, an uraeus, a
stylised cobra, which symbolised royal power. Sometimes, the local depictions of Hathor, with their slight variations on emphasising certain features, were treated separately, and seven of them, any seven, which was perceived as a mystical number (it divides the lunar month into 4 equal parts, and was the number of known planets at the time), named by their different titles, were considered special if gathered together. These Seven Hathors, in Hathor's context as a mother, were said to dress in disguise as young women, and attend the birth of a child, and then one by one announce aspects of his fate. In later centuries, this 7-fold aspect of Hathor was identified as the Pleiades. Fertility Goddess The cow's large eyes with long lashes and generally quiet demeanor were often considered to suggest a gentle aspect of feminine beauty. There are still cultures in the world where to say that a girl is as pretty as a heifer is a great compliment, rather than taking you cow as an insult. And so Hathor rapidly became a goddess of beauty, and fertility, thus also a patron goddess for lovers. A tale grew up around this in which Ra is described as having been upset over Horus' victory over Set (representing the conquest in 3000BC of Lower Egypt by Upper Egypt), and went off to be alone, and so Hathor went to him and started to dance and stripped naked, showing him her genitals, which cheered him up, so he returned. (This has made certain readers believe that the sun god was extremley perverted, which may be true). The tale is thought also to describe a solar eclipse, as it depicts Ra, the sun, going away to sulk, and then returning when cheered up. In her position as a female fertility goddess, who readily strips naked, she was often depicted in red, the color of passion, though her sacred color is turquoise, and so gained the titles Lady of the scarlet-colored garment, and Lady of [sexual] offerings (Nebet Hetepet in Egyptian). Sometimes her fertility aspect was depicted symbolically as a field of reeds. Her position as one of beauty lead to her being depicted in portrait, which was highly unusual by Egyptian artistic conventions, indeed, only
she and Bes were ever depicted in this manner. Her beauty also lead to her being symbolically depicted by mirrors. Hathor's image was also often used to form the capitals of columns in Egyptian architecture. Musician Eventually, Hathor's identity as a cow-goddess of fertility, meant that her Hathor became identified with another ancient cow-goddess of fertility, Bata. It still remains an unanswered question amongst Egyptologists as to why Bata survived as an independent goddess for so long. Bata was, in some respects, connected to the Ba, an aspect of the soul, and so Hathor gained an association with the afterlife. It was said that, with her motherly character, she greeted the souls of the dead in the underworld, and proffered them with refreshments of food, and of drink. She was also sometimes described as mistress of the acropolis. The assimilation of Bata, who was associated with the sistrum, a musical instrument, brought with it an association with music. In this form, Hathor's cult became centred in Dendera and was led by priests who were also dancers, singers, and other entertainers. Hathor's temple at Dendera contains an image, that has come to be known as the Dendera Light, which some have controversially claimed may be a depiction of an electric lamp. Hathor also became associated with the menat, the turquoise musical necklace often worn by women. The protector and sponsor of dancers, Hathor was associated with percussive music, in particular the sistrum. Her traditional votive offering was two mirrors, the better with which to see both her beauty and your own. Hathor's image, specifically her head, was traditionally used to decorate sistrums and mirrors. Thus when gazing at one's own reflection in the mirror, you would see Hathor looking back, from underneath one's own face, serving as foundation and support, perhaps as role model and goal. This imagery was standard and ubiquitous, it also commonly decorates architectural columns, however one is forced to ask, how would one know it was Hathor? Usually by the cow ears but even more consistently by the hair-do.
Hathor's hair is dressed in so characteristic a fashion that the style now bears her name: archaeologists have dubbed it the "Hathor hair-do." This style is utterly distinctive and perhaps surprisingly modern to our eyes. It is not the heavily bejeweled, elaborately braided hair so commonly depicted in other ancient Egyptian imagery. Rather it is simplicity in the extreme: a simple flip, often parted down the middle. The 'do wouldn't have looked at all out of place on a French or English mod girl pop singer of the early to mid '60's- a Marianne Faithfull perhaps or Francoise Hardy. It is a simple hairstyle, a hairstyle one can conceivably maintain by oneself, without extensive wigs, servants or leisure time. It is very much an equalizing hairstyle. Ironically, then, it is a hairstyle most commonly seen in the depiction of deities, especially beautiful love goddesses, perhaps demonstrating the intensity of their self-confidence. While other ancient Egyptian hairstyles are instantly recognizable even today as solely Egyptian, the Hathor hair-do seems to have set an international style, in particular traveling all over the Middle East. Other goddesses are depicted wearing this style, in fact it seems to have become the goddess hairstyle, favored by all the most fashionable deities.
Spiral Hair at bottom - Sacred Geometry - Golden Ratio A hymn to Hathor says: Thou art the Mistress of Jubilation, the Queen of the Dance, the Mistress of Music, the Queen of the Harp Playing, the Lady of the Choral Dance, the Queen of Wreath Weaving, the Mistress of Inebriety Without End. Essentially, Hathor had become a goddess of Joy, and so she was deeply loved by the general population, and truly revered by women, who aspired to embody her multifaceted role as wife, mother, and lover. In this capacity, she gained the titles of Lady of the House of Jubilation, and The One Who Fills the Sanctuary with Joy. The worship of Hathor was so popular that more festivals were dedicated to her honour that any other Egyptian deity, and more children were named after this goddess than any other. Even Hathor's priesthood was unusual, in that both men, and women, became her priests. Bloodthirsty Warrior The Middle Kingdom was founded when Upper Egypt's Pharaoh,
Mentuhotep II, took control over Lower Egypt, which had become independent during the First Intermediate Period by force. This unification had been achieved by a brutal war that was to last some 28 years, but when it ceased, calm returned, and the reign of the next Pharaoh, Mentuhotep III, was peaceful, and Egypt once again became prosperous. A tale, from the perspective of Lower Egypt, developed around this.In the tale, Ra (representing the Pharaoh of Upper Egypt) was no longer respected by the people (of Lower Egypt) and they ceased to obey his authority, which made him so angry that he sent out Sekhmet (war goddess of Upper Egypt) to destroy them, but Sekhmet was so bloodthirsty that she could not be stopped. Ra pours blood-coloured beer on the ground, tricking Sekhmet, who thinks it to be blood, into drinking it, which makes her stop the slaughter, and become loving, and kind. The form that Sekhmet had become by the end of the tale was identical in character to Hathor, and so a cult arose, at the start of the Middle Kingdom, which dualistically identified Sekhmet with Hathor, making them one goddess, Sekhmet-Hathor, with two sides. Consequently, Hathor, as Sekhmet-Hathor, was sometimes depicted as a lioness. Sometimes this joint name was corrupted to Sekhathor (also spelt Sechat-Hor, Sekhat-Heru), meaning (one who) remembers Horus (the uncorrupted form would mean (the) powerful house of Horus. However, the two goddesses were so different, indeed almost diametrically opposed, that the identification did not last. Wife of Thoth Thoth and Hathor depicted as primal
deities When Horus was identified as Ra, under the name Ra-Herakhty, Hathor's position became unclear, since she had been the wife of Ra, but mother of Horus, whose wife was Isis. Many attempts to solve this gave Ra-Herakhty a new wife, Ausaas, to solve this issue around who Ra-Herakhty's wife was. However, this left open the question of how Hathor could be his mother, since this would imply that Ra-Herakhty was a child of Hathor, rather than a creator. In areas where the cult of Thoth was strong, Thoth was identified as the creator, leading to it being said that Thoth was the father of Ra-Herakhty, thus Hathor, as the mother of Ra-Herakhty, was in this version referred to as Thoth's wife. Since Ra-Herakhty was, in this version of the Ogdoad cosmogeny, depicted as a young child, often referred to as Neferhor, when considered the wife of Thoth, Hathor was often depicted as a female nursing a child. Since Thoth's wife had earlier been considered to be Seshat, Hathor began to be attributed with many of Seshat's features. Since Seshat was associated with records, and with acting as witness at the judgement of souls, these aspects became attributed to Hathor, which, together with her position as goddess of all that was good, lead to her being described as the (one who) expels evil, which in Egyptian is Nechmetawaj also spelt Nehmet-awai, and Nehmetawy). Nechmetawaj can also be understood to mean (one who) recovers stolen goods, and so, in this form, she became goddess of stolen goods. Outside the Thoth cult, it was considered important to retain the position of Ra-Herakhty (i.e. Ra) as self-created (via only the primal forces of the Ogdoad). Consequently, Hathor could not be identified as Ra-Herakhty's
mother. Hathor's role in the process of death, that of welcoming the newly dead with food and drink, lead, in such circumstances, to her being identified as a jolly wife for Nehebkau, the guardian of the entrance to the underworld, and binder of the Ka. Nethertheless, in this form, she retained the name of Nechmetawaj, since her aspect as a returner of stolen goods was important to society, and so considered worth noting. Later Years When the Ennead and the Ogdoad were combined, when Ra and Atum were identified as one another, Hathor, as the daughter of the combined Atum-Ra, was sometimes confused with Tefnut. Consequently, the tale, a metaphor for an historic drought, in which Tefnut had fled Egypt after an argument with her husband (Shu), but is persuaded to return, became occasionally transformed into one in which Hathor had an argument with Ra, and fled, later returning. The aspect of the story in which Tefnut turned into a cat and attacked those who went near, neatly fitted with the tale in which Hathor was said to have been Sekhmet, contributing to the frequency with which the tale occurred featuring Hathor rather than Tefnut. Beliefs about Ra himself had been hovering around the identification of him, a sun god, with Horus, who by this time was also a sun god, in the combined form Ra-Herakhty, and so for some time, Isis had intermittently been considered the wife of Ra, since she was the wife of Horus. Consequently, Hathor became identified with Isis, and since this identification was much simpler than that of Horus and Ra, it was more strongly, and more permanantly made. In this form, which, technically, is really Isis, Hathor's mother was consequently Nuit, and she was sometimes even described as being the wife of Horus, leading to a level of confusion, in which Horus, as Hathor's son, was also his own father. This form of Horus was known as Horus-Bedhety, referring to Bedhet, where the view was most commonly held, or as Ihy, referring to his aspect as a sistrum player, since he was the son of Hathor, who was by now associated with the sistrum. When Horus assimilated with Anhur, to
become Arsnuphis, so Hathor was occasionally Anhur's mother as well. Nethertheless, when Ra subsequently assimilated Amun, into Amun-Ra, it was sometimes said that Hathor, as a cow, was married to Sobek, or rather to a generic crocodile-god, since Sobek had become thought of as merely a manifestation of Amun. Shortly afterwards, Hathor became fully merged into Isis, whose cult was much stronger. Hathor Outside the Nile Hathor was worshipped in Canaan in the 11th century BC, which at that time was ruled by Egypt, at her holy city of Hazor, which the Old Testament claims was destroyed by Joshua (Joshua 11:13, 21). The Sinai Tablets show that the Hebrew workers in the mines of Sinai about 1500 BC worshipped Hathor, whom they identified with the goddess Astarte. Some theories state that the golden calf mentioned in the bible was meant to be a statue of the goddess Hathor (Exodus 32:4-32:6.), although it is more likely to be a representation of the 2 golden calves set up by Rehoboam, an enemy of the levite priesthood, which marked the borders of his kingdom. The Greeks also loved Hathor and equated her with their own goddess of love and beauty, Aphrodite. Some ancient texts refer to a serpent of light residing in the heavens. This is believed to have been inspired by the Milky Way (a similar allusion to the ouroboros).
In general, the Egyptian gods and Egyptian religion did not travel. The ancient Egyptians were insular, not overly interested in importing or exporting deities. Eventually Isis would become the great exception, with temples in Rome, and throughout Europe, Africa and Asia, as far away as the British Isles. Hathor was her trailblazing predecessor. Beyond the traditional borders of Egypt and Nubia, Hathor was worshipped throughout Semitic West Asia, beloved particularly in the city of Byblos. She was also adored as far afield as what is modern Ethiopia, Somalia and Libya. The seed of what would be universally beloved within Isis also existed within Hathor. Their appeal transcends national or ethnic boundaries: Hathor perhaps embodies the wishes of those who long for life to be generously benevolent and abundant, while Isis embodies the hopes of those who wish for mercy and kindness. Hathor was associated with turquoise, malachite and the metals gold and copper. [alchemy of consciousness] Her demeanor glows with consistent confidence and sunny, good health. Hers is a warm, sensual beauty not aloof or remote. Although she ruled
the perfumer's trade in general, Hathor was especially connected with the fragrance of myrrh, which was exceedingly precious to the ancient Egyptians and which on a spiritual level embodied the finest qualities of the feminine. In Mesopotamia, the beautiful and stylish, ever youthful if fierce, Ishtar dresses her hair this way. So do the beautiful Western Semitic love and war goddesses, Anat and Astarte, who would eventually achieve great popularity in ancient Egypt, perhaps the only foreign deities to do so. They would become incorporated into Egyptian mythology, serving as the designated consolation prize brides for Seth, in the face-saving compromise that concludes his loss to Horus. Anat and Astarte, the ancient equivalent of hot foreign babes, of course wear only the most stylish of hairdos. Technically, we have no way of actually knowing where this hair-do originated or with whom. However, Hathor's influence remains so consistent that no matter where an ancient goddess plaque is dug up, if she's wearing that flip, she is automatically described as wearing the Hathor hair do. What the goddesses who wear this style have in common with Hathor beyond celestial beauty is a willingness to boldly battle on behalf of justice, their families and followers. Ishtar, Anat and Hathor: these images of beauty are not passive or vain but action-oriented brave women, perhaps so confident of their inherent beauty that elaborate adornment becomes only necessary for their own pleasure, not as a needed demonstration. Hathor took on an uncharacteristically destructive aspect in the legend of the Eye of Ra. According to this legend, Ra sent the Eye of Ra in the form of Hathor to destroy humanity, believing that they were plotting aganist him. However, Re changed his mind and flooded the fields with beer, dyed red to look like blood. Hathor stopped to drink the beer, and, having become intoxicated, never carried out her deadly mission. Therefore 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 - Sirius - 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. The sun disc reresents the creational light - the word Re - Ra - meaning ray of light. Her image could also be used to form the capitals of columns in Egyptian architecture. Her principal sanctuary was at Dendera, where her cult had its early focus, and where it may have had its origin. At Dendera, she was particularly worshipped in her role as a goddess of fertility, of women, and of childbirth. At Thebes she was regarded as a goddess of the dead under the title of the 'Lady of the West', associated with the sun god Re on his descent below the western horizon. The Greeks identified Hathor with Aphrodite who was Venus (as in Hathors from Venus). Hathor Wikipedia
My friend Irene at the Temple of Hathor at Dendera
Frog headed Goddess of creation and childbirth To the Egyptians, the frog was a symbol of life and fertility, since millions of them were born after the annual inundation of the Nile, which brought fertility to the otherwise barren lands. Consequently, in Egyptian mythology, there began to be a frog-goddess, who represented fertility, named Heqet (also Heqat, Hekit, Heket etc, more rarely Hegit, Heget etc.), written with the determinative frog. Heqet was usually depicted as a frog, or a woman with a frog's head, or more rarely as a frog on the end of a phallus to explicitly indicate her association with fertility. She was often referred to as the wife of Khnum. The beginning of her cult dates to the early dynastic period at least. Her name was part of the names of some high-born Second Dynasty individuals buried at Helwan and was mentioned on a stela of Wepemnofret and in the Pyramid Texts. Early frog statuettes are often
thought to be depictions of her. She was worshipped in the areas where the Ogdoad cosmogony had gained favour, and so, like most deities belonging to this world view, except for the eight members of the Ogdoad themselves, she was considered a child of Ra. After Ra became Atum-Ra, it was sometimes said that as the bringer of life to the newborn, she had to be the wife of Shu, who had fathered Nut and Geb, and his first wife was Tefnut. Later, as a fertility goddess, associated explicitly with the last stages of the flooding of the Nile, and so with the germination of corn, she became associated with the final stages of childbirth. This association, which appears to have arisen during the Middle Kingdom, gained her the title She who hastens the birth. Some claim that - even though no ancient Egyptian term for "midwife" is known for certain - midwives often called themselves the Servants of Heqet, and that her priestesses were trained in midwifery. Women often wore amulets of her during childbirth, which depicted Heqet as a frog, sitting in a lotus. As goddess of the last stages of birth, she was considered the wife of Khnum, who formed the bodies of new children on his potter's wheel. When the Legend of Osiris and Isis developed, it was said that it was Heqet who breathed life into the new body of Horus at birth, as she was the goddess of the last moments of birth. As the birth of Horus became more intimately associated with the resurrection of Osiris, so Heqet's role became one more closely associated with resurrection. Eventually, this association lead to her amulets gaining the phrase I am the resurrection, and consequently the amulets were used by early Christians. Finally, as the legend of Osiris' resurrection grew increasingly stronger, she became ever more aligned with Isis, and eventually becoming an aspect of her.
Horus - He Who is Above
The falcon-headed Sky God Horus is the god of the sky, and the son of Osiris, the creator (whose own birth was thought due to the Ogdoad). Horus became depicted as a falcon, or as a falcon-headed man, leading to Horus' name, (in Egyptian, Heru), which meant The distant one.
Horus was also sometimes known as Nekheny (meaning falcon), although it has been proposed that Nekheny may have been another falcon-god, worshipped at Nekhen (city of the hawk), that became identified as Horus very early on. In this form, he was sometimes given the title Kemwer, meaning (the) great black (one), referring to the bird's color. Identities - Mekhenti-irry (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. - Haroeris (Horus the Elder) An early form of Horus - God of light. His eyes represented the sun and moon. He was the brother of Osiris and Seth. Sometimes he was the son, or the husband of Hathor. - Horus Behudety In the form of Horus of Edfu, he represented the midday sun. This Horus was worshipped in the western Delta and later, as his cult spread south into Upper Egypt, a cult center was established in Edfu. Horus of Edfu fights a great battle against Seth and an army of conspirators. He is pictured as a winged sun-disk or as a hawk headed lion.
- Ra-Harakhte (Horus of the two horizons) - He was identified with Ra and the daily voyage of the sun from horizon to horizon. The two deities combined to become Ra-Harakhte. He was represented as a falcon or a falcon-headed man wearing the solar disk and double crown or the uraeus and the atef crown. - Harmakhet (Horus in the Horizon) In this form he represented the rising sun and was associated with Khepri. He was also considered to be the keeper of wisdom. He was sometimes pictured as a man with a falcon's head, or a falcon headed lion. But his most recognizable form is that of a sphinx, or as a ram-headed sphinx. - Harsiesis (Horus son of Isis) This Horus was the son of Isis and Osiris. He was conceived magically after the death of Osiris and brought up by Isis on a floating island in the marshes of Buto. The child was weak and in constant danger from the scheming of his wicked uncle Seth, who sent serpents andmonsters to attack him. But his mother, Isis was great in themagical arts and she warded off this evil by using a spellagainst creatures biting with their mouths and stinging withtheir tails, and the young Horus survived and grew. - Harendotes (Horus the avenger of his father) - Har-pa-Neb-Taui (Horus Lord of the Two Lands) - Harpokrates (The infant Horus) As a child he represented the new born sun and was often pictured being suckled by Isis. he was usually represented as a seated child, sucking his thumb, his head was shaved except for the sidelock of youth. Even as a child, he wore the royal crown and uraeus As Horus was the son of Osiris, and god of the sky, he became closely associated with the Pharaoh of Upper Egypt (where Horus was worshipped), and became their patron. The association with the Pharaoh brought with it the idea that he was the son of Isis, in her original form, who was regarded as a deification of the Queen. It was said that after the world was created, Horus landed on a perch, known as the djeba, which literally translates as finger, in order to rest, which consequently became considered sacred. On some occasions, Horus was referred to as lord of the djeba (i.e. lord of the perch or lord of
the finger), a form in which he was especially worshipped at Buto, known as Djebauti, meaning (ones) of the djeba (the reason for the plural is not understood, and may just have been a result of Epenthesis, or Paragoge). The form of Djebauti eventually became depicted as an heron, nevertheless continuing to rest on the sacred perch. Just as a precaution: a great deal of the following information is incorrect. For example, Isis has always been Horus' mother and never his wife. Osiris has always been Horus' father and Horus is not both Horus and Osiris. The relation between the story of Jesus and the story of Horus is the fact that Horus' story is the story of the REAL first immaculate conception. The story goes as follows: Seth (brother of Osiris) was jealous of Osiris and fought him to the death. After he killed Osiris he cut his body up into 14 pieces and spread the pieces throughout Egypt. Isis (Osiris' wife) found out that her husband was killed and she searched egypt looking for his body parts. She found all but one (his penis) and using her magic she put his body together and buried him, during the process of putting him back together she became impregnated with her son Horus. She gave birth to Horus who became the god of the sky and later avenged his fathers death by killing his uncle Seth.
Sun God Since Horus was said to be the sky, it was natural that he was rapidly considered to also contain the sun and moon. It became said that the sun was one of his eyes and the moon the other, and that they traversed the sky when he, a falcon, flew across it. Thus he became known as Harmerty - Horus of two eyes. Later, the reason that the moon was not as bright as the sun was explained by a tale, known as the contestings of Horus and Set, originating as a metaphor for the conquest of Lower Egypt by Upper Egypt in about 3000BC. In this tale, it was said that Set, the patron of Lower Egypt, and Horus, the patron of Upper Egypt, had battled for Egypt brutally, with neither side victorious, until eventually the gods sided with
Horus. As Horus was the ultimate victor he became known as Harsiesis (Heru-ur, and Har-Wer, in Egyptian), meaning Horus the Great, but more usually translated as Horus the Elder. Meanwhile, in the struggle, Set had lost a testicle, explaining why the desert, which Set represented is infertile. Horus' right eye had also been gouged out, which explained why the moon, which it represented, was so weak compared to the sun. It was also said that during a new-moon, Horus had become blinded and was titled Mekhenty-er-irty (he who has no eyes), while when the moon became visible again, he was re-titled Khenty-irty (he who has eyes). While blind, it was considered that Horus was quite dangerous, sometimes attacking his friends after mistaking them for enemies. Ultimately, as another sun god, Horus became identified with Ra as Ra-Herakhty, literally Ra, who is Horus of the two horizons. However, this identification proved to be awkward, for it made Ra the son of Hathor, and therefore a created being rather than the creator. And, even worse, it made Ra into Horus, who was the son of Ra, i.e. it made Ra his own son and father, in a standard sexually-reproductive manner, an idea that would not be considered comprehensible until the hellenic era. Consequently Ra and Horus never completely merged into a single falcon-headed sun god. Nevertheless the idea of making the identification persisted, and Ra continued to be depicted as falcon-headed. Likewise, as Ra-Herakhty, in an allusion to the Ogdoad creation myth, Horus was occasionally shown in art as a naked boy, with a finger in his mouth, sitting on a lotus with his mother. In the form of a youth, Horus was referred to as Neferhor (also spelt Nefer Hor, Nephoros, and Nopheros), which, in the Egyptian language, means beautiful Horus (i.e. youthful Horus).In an attempt to resolve the conflict, Ra-Herakhty was occasionally said to be married to Iusaaset, which was technically his own shadow, having previously been Atum's shadow, before Atum was identified as Ra, in the form Atum-Ra, and thus of Ra-Herakhty when Ra was also identified as a form of Horus. In the version of the Ogdoad creation myth used by the Thoth cult, Thoth
created Ra-Herakhty, via an egg, and so was said to be the father of Neferhor.
Conqueror of Set During the overthrow of the hated Hyksos, foreign rulers over Egypt, Set became demonised by the nationalistic fervour, as he had been chosen by the Hyksos as their favourite god. The previous brief enmity between Set and Horus, in which Horus had ripped off one of Set's testicles, was revitalised as a tale representing the conquest over the Hyksos. Since by this time, Set was considered to have been gay, Set is depicted as trying to prove his dominance, by seducing Horus (with the line how lovely your backside is) and then having intercrural intercourse with him, in which Set takes the top role. However, Horus places his hand between his thighs and catches Set's semen, then subsequently cut the hand off, throwing it in the river, so that he may not be said to have been inseminated by Set. Subsequently, Horus secretly masturbates, and deliberately spreads his own semen on some lettuce, which was Set's favourite food (the Egyptians thought that lettuce was phallic, since Egyptian lettuce was hard, long, and released a milk substance when rubbed). After Set has eaten the lettuce, they go to the gods to try to settle the argument over the rule of Egypt. The gods first listen to Set's claim of dominance over Horus, and call his semen forth, but it answers from the river, invalidating his claim. Then, the gods listen to Horus' claim of having dominated Set, and call his semen forth, and it answers from inside Set. In consequence, Horus is declared the ruler of Egypt.
Brother of Isis When Ra assimilated Atum into Atum-Ra, Horus became considered part of what had been the Ennead. Since Atum had had no wife, having produced his children by masturbating, Hathor was easily inserted as the mother of the previously motherless subsequent generation of children. However, Horus did not fit in so easily, since if he was identified as the
son of Hathor and Atum-Ra, in the Ennead, he would then be the brother of the primordial air and moisture, and the uncle of the sky and earth, between which there was initially nothing, which was not very consistent with him being the sun. Instead, he was made the brother of Osiris, Isis, Set, and Nephthys, as this was the only plausible level at which he could meaningfully rule over the sun, and over the Pharaoh's kingdom. It was in this form that he was worshipped at Behdet as Har-Behedti (also abbreviated Bebti). Since Horus had become more and more identified with the sun, since his identification as Ra, his identification as also the moon suffered, so it was possible for the rise of other moon gods, without complicating the system of belief too much. Consequently, Chons became the moon god. Thoth, who had also been the moon god, became much more associated with secondary mythological aspects of the moon, such as wisdom, healing, and peace making. When the cult of Thoth arose in power, Thoth was retroactively inserted into the earlier myths, making Thoth the one whose magic caused Set and Horus' semen to respond, in the tale of the contestings of Set and Horus, for example. Thoth's priests went on to explain how it was that there were 5 children of Geb and Nuit. They said that Thoth had prophecied the birth of a great king of the gods, and so Ra, afraid of being usurped, had cursed Nuit with not being able to give birth at any point in the year. In order to remove this curse, Thoth proceeded to gamble with Chons, winning 1/72nd of moonlight from him. Prior to this time in Egyptian history, the calendar had had 360 days, and so 1/72 of moonlight each day corresponded to 5 extra days, and so the tale states that Nuit was able to give birth on each of these extra days, having 5 children. The Egyptian calendar was reformed around this time, and gained the 5 extra days, which, by coincidence, meant that this could be used to explain the 5 children of Nuit.
Son of Osiris When Isis became identified as Hathor (i.e. Isis-Hathor), Isis became the
mother of Horus, rather than his wife, and so, in his place, as Isis had become regarded as one of the Ennead, she was seen as the wife of Osiris. However, it had to be explained how Osiris, who as god of the dead, was dead, could be considered a father to Horus who was very much not considered dead. This led to the evolution of the idea that Osiris needed to be resurrected, and so to the Legend of Osiris and Isis, a myth so significant that everything else paled in comparison. As the son of Isis, Horus was referred to as Har-sa-Iset (Harsiesis in Greek), literally meaning Horus, son of Isis. There were also titles that differentiated between this form of Horus as an adult, and him as a child, specifically, Harpocrates (Har-Pa-Khered in Egyptian), meaning Horus the child, and Har-nedj-itef, meaning Horus, saviour of his father, i.e. a reference to Horus' actions against Set once Horus had become an adult. Since he had been the son of Hathor, a fertility goddess, the idea that a major event about Horus was when he was a child, Horus sometimes depicted as a fertility god, holding a cornucopia, although it was much more common for him to be shown as being nursed by Isis (more accurately Isis-Hathor, who was depicted as Isis, but with Hathor's horns). In the New Kingdom, Anhur, a war god, gained the title Saviour, due to the feelings of the benefits of going to war to assert your own freedom, and so he became conflated with Horus, who shared both these characteristics, as the warrior against Set, with the title Saviour of his father. The identification of Anhur as Horus, referred to as Horus-Anhur, was given a new name during the Egyptian period of dominance over Nubia, when the kushites named him as Arensnuphis (also Arsnuphis, Harensnuphis), Ari-hes-nefer in Egyptian, meaning something along the lines of Horus of the beautiful house.In a certain few areas, Horus was identified as the son of Banebdjed, who was an obscure version of Osiris, technically his Ba, worshipped in Mendes, and consequently also the son of Hatmehit, the local chief goddess of Mendes who had become considered Osiris' wife. Horus became very popular during the time of the Roman Empire, in his form as a child, where he was depicted riding a goose or ram (symbols of
Thoth and Banebdjed respectively).Since Horus was sometimes identified as Ra, Isis assimilated the mythos of Neith, Ra's mother. Consequently, Horus sometimes took on the aspects of the tale that Ra exhibited, to have been the son of Neith, who remained a virgin, as a result of Kneph's creative act of breathing Horus' life into her via an ankh. Kneph was connected to the Ba, and became identified with Banebdjed, both being depicted as ram-headed, and consequently this tale became viewed as Osiris, the most important god (at this time), causing Isis to become pregnant, while she still remained a virgin, by breathing Horus' soul into her.
Mystery Religion Since Horus, as the son of Osiris, was only in existence after Osiris's death, and because Horus, in his earlier guise, was the husband of Isis, the difference between Horus and Osiris blurred, and so, after a few centuries, it came to be said that Horus was the resurrected form of Osiris. Likewise, as the form of Horus before his death and resurrection, Osiris, who had already become considered a form of creator when belief about Osiris assimilated that about Ptah-Seker, also became considered to be the only creator, since Horus had gained these aspects of Ra. Eventually, in the Hellenic period, Horus was, in some locations, identified completely as Osiris, and became his own father, since this concept was not so disturbing to Greek philosophy as it had been to that of ancient Egypt. In this form, Horus was sometimes known as Heru-sema-tawy, meaning Horus, uniter of two lands, since Horus ruled over the land of the dead, and that of the living. Since the tale became one of Horus' own death and rebirth, which happened partly due to his own actions, he became a life-death-rebirth deity. In the time of Christ the term "son of god" had come to mean the bearer of this title was the father god himself as well as his own son incarnated on earth. Horus was Osiris the father who incarnated as Horus the son.By assimilating Hathor, who had herself assimilated Bata, who was
associated with music, and in particular the sistrum, Isis was likewise thought of in some areas in the same manner. This particularly happened amongst the groups who thought of Horus as his own father, and so Horus, in the form of the son, amongst these groups often became known as Ihy (alternately: Ihi, Ehi, Ahi, Ihu), meaning sistrum player, which allowed the confusion between the father and son to be side-stepped. The combination of this, now rather esoteric mythology, with the philosophy of Plato, which was becoming popular on the mediterranean shores, lead to the tale becoming the basis of a mystery religion. Many Greeks, and those of other nations, who encountered the faith, thought it so profound that they sought to create their own, modelled upon it, but using their own gods. This lead to the creation of what was effectively one religion, which was, in many places, adjusted to superficially reflect the local mythology although it substantially adjusted them. The religion is known to modern scholars as that of Osiris-Dionysus.
Horus and Jesus A connection between Jesus and Horus-Osiris is frequently raised by critics of the historicity of Jesus, who argue that he was a mythical figure. Superficially, the death and resurrection of Horus-Osiris, and Horus' nature as both the son of Osiris and Osiris himself, appear to be a template for the idea that this occurred in Jesus. Deeper similarities between Horus and Jesus, which are not at all obvious to those who are not completely familiar with ancient Egyptian mythology and linguistics, have been said by some to mean that certain elements of the story of Jesus were embellishments, which were copied from the Horus as syncretism. Indeed, according to a few more radical scholars, Jesus was copied from Horus wholesale, and made into a Jewish teacher. In particular, it is said that Horus is the basis for the elements assigned to the M Gospel (the bits in Matthew which are not in the Q Gospel or Mark) and the L Gospel (the bits in Luke which are not in the Q gospel or Mark),
especially the infancy narratives.
Neith's nativity The nativity sequence itself stands out for comparison with the nativity of Ra, whose mother became thought of as Neith, who had become the personification of the primal waters of the Ogdoad. As the primal waters, from which Ra arose due to the interaction of the ogdoad, Neith was considered to have given birth whilst remaining a virgin. As the various religious groups gained and lost power in Egypt, the legend altered, and, when the cult of Thoth sought to involve themselves in the story, it was said that Thoth's wisdom (which he personified) meant that he foretold the birth of Ra to Neith. Since the later legends had other gods in existence at Ra's birth, it was said that they acknowledged Ra's authority by praising him at his birth. Later, the tale evolved so that the god Kneph was present, who represented the breath of life, which brought new life to things. This was partly to do with the assertion, of the small cult of Kneph, that Kneph was the creator, although it was more accurate to say that Kneph was the personification of the concept of creation of life itself. As a creator, Kneph became identified as the more dominant creator deity Amun, and when Amun became Amun-Ra, so Kneph gained Hathor as a wife. Many of the features look similar to the nativity of Jesus at first glance, such as the continued virginity, lack of father, annunciation, birth of god, and so forth, but others do not. There is much that is more subtle. Although many deities, and indeed people, were referred to as beloved, it was a title which was most frequently applied to Neith, indeed it became something of an alternative name. The word used, in this context, for beloved, is Mery in Egyptian. Meanwhile, Kneph was said by Plutarch to have been understood by the Egyptians in the same way as the Greeks understood pneuma, meaning spirit, and so it was that Neith became pregnant by the actions of the holy spirit, like Mary does in the Christian story. Thoth himself was identified by the Greeks, due to his association with
healing, as Hermes, and consequently, in the hellenic era, Thoth was considered the messenger of the gods. This role was taken by the Archangel Michael in Jewish thought, and so if the Christians copied the tale, it would have been Michael, not Gabriel, who made the annunciation to Mary. Much criticism of this similarity is leveled at the fact that Neith is a goddess, and not a human mother. However, Pharaohs often attributed tales of divinity to themselves, and their families, and so divine birth stories for themselves were common. Nethertheless, the tale was essentially about Neith rather than the queens of pharaohs, until that is, Amenhotep III applied it to his wife and the birth of his son, whom was consequently identified as Horus, as after the amalgamation of the gods Ra and Horus, the tale became one of Horus too. The significance of Amenhotep making the identification is both that it became a tale of the birth of Akhenaten, who left such an impression that, as the gods evolved further, the tale became remembered as being one of the birth from a human mother of a human son, who was nevertheless divine. References and Links
Abydos: Complete cemetery to the falcon-shaped god Horus February 4, 2002
Archaeologists unearthed an important cemetery of god Horus, one of the ancient Egyptian trinity that comprises Osiris and Isis, and dates back to the Ptolemaic era. This is the first time a complete cemetery of the falcon shaped god Horus was unearthed. The find includes tombs in which big oval earthenware sarcophagi were found with linen-wrapped embalmed falcons inside them, some of which had gold-plated dark green and black masks covering the heads. A number of intact falcon eggs were also found, in addition to a treasure trove outside the tombs representing a scarab pushing one of these eggs forward as told by the ancient Egyptian legend of creation. Traces of gold were found on the remains of human skeletons gathered haphazardly and also on the skulls, teeth, fingers and toes as well as an incomplete bronze statuette of god Horus in the sitting position, a group of amulets, bronze vessels and a god hat-hor-shaped pestle previously restored with lead, he noted.
Mythology and Metaphysics
The Eye of Horus
The Wedjat was later called The Eye of Horus
An ancient Egyptian symbol of protection and royal power from the Gods.
Seven different hieroglyphs are used to represent the "eye" (human body parts). One is the common usage of the verb: to do, make, or perform. The other frequently used hieroglyph is the Wedjat, a sacred eye symbol that gives a mummy the ability "to see again", called the Eye of Horus after his cult rose to prominence as the son of Hathor. Hathor, mother of Horus and later wife of Ra,
showing her sacred eye inherited from Wedjat
depicted in the Papyrus of Ani When you study the mythologies of ancient civilizations, you realize they are all designed by the same geometric blueprint that follows into humanity's current timeline. In the physical we find duality on all levels, especially in the pantheons of creational forces linked to one another. We further find the pattern of creation and destruction ... repeating in the cycles of time ... embracing the human experience. Designing the gods and goddesses falls into the same categories of duality - good and bad light and dark - forever seeking balance and the return to full consciousness. Always we find Gods who came from the sky (higher frequency) and those that came from the sea of creation (collective unconsciousness). Their creation myths speak to us about a beginning and an end for Earth, giving rise to something greater. We are reaching the end of the current programmed experience. Reality is a holographic projection seen through
the eye of consciousness in time. The eye is a metaphor for the place of creation through which all things emerge as consciousness and are experienced and archived as it moves to the next. The Egyptian Pantheons of major and minor gods and goddesses follow the pattern along with animal representations that link to destruction and rebirth - birds, cats, aquatic beings who create or destroy. In truth, one soul played the roles of all the gods. That souls also played the god roles in all of the ancient civilizations as told in their creation myths. Who they are and what they symbolize are all part of the myth, math, metaphor and magic of realities. Horus is linked with the eye of time (Hours). He is also part of the ancient mystery school teachings - sometimes referred to as the Right Eye of Horus Mystery Schools which hold the truth about reality. These teachings were allegedly encoded by Isis and Osiris - left behind with their priests in Egypt to be passed down through the millennia until the time was right for consciousness to awaken. Many believe these are the same souls who were the priests in Atlantis. The Eye of Horus and the Eye of Ra or God are one and the same. Golden Alchemy - Evolution of Consciousness in the Illusion of
36 around 1
Horus - Hours Time and Synchronicity Pyramids Above and Below create the hourglass
Thoth Thought Consciousness
Emerald Tablets of Thoth Sacred Geometry Thoth and Horus are the same soul - bird headed gods - metaphors for 'flight' spiraling evolution of consciousness through the alchemy of time.
More Bird Headed Beings
God of learning and medicine. His name means 'The One Who Comes in Peace'.
Imhotep was a vizier, wizard, and the first architect and physician known by name to written history. As the story goes, he was the son of Ptah, his mother was sometimes said to be Sekhmet, who was often said to be married to Ptah, since she was the patron of Upper Egypt. Very little has survived about the details of his life, though numerous statues and statuettes of him have been found. Some show him as an ordinary man who is dressed in plain attire. Others show him as a sage who is seated on a chair with a roll of papyrus on his knees or under his arm.
Later, his statuettes show him with a god like beard,
standing, and carrying the ankh and a scepter.
Inscription with the names of Netjerikhet (Djoser) and
Imhotep Imhotep also served as chancellor to the pharaoh and high priest of the sun god Ra at Heliopolis. He was said to be a son of Ptah, his mother being a mortal named Khredu-ankh. He was revered as a genius and showered with titles. The full list of titles is: • Chancellor of the King of Lower Egypt, • First after the King of Upper Egypt, • Administrator of the Great Palace, • Hereditary nobleman, • High Priest of Heliopolis, Builder, • Sculptor and Maker of Vases in Chief Master Architect As the Pharaoh Djoser's Vizier, he designed the Step Pyramid at Saqqara in Egypt around 2630-2611 BC, during the Third Dynasty. The Step Pyramid Complex remains today one of the most brilliant architecture wonders of the ancient world and is recognized as the first monumental stone structure.
As a builder, Imhotep is the first master architects who we know by name. He may have had a hand in the building of Sekhemkhet's unfinished pyramid, and also possibly with the establishment of the Edfu Temple, but that is not certain. James Henry Breasted says of Imhotep: "In priestly wisdom, in magic, in the formulation of wise proverbs; in medicine and architecture; this remarkable figure of Zoser's reign left so notable a reputation that his name was never forgotten. He was the patron spirit of the later scribes, to whom they regularly poured out a libation from the water-jug of their writing outfit before beginning their work." Medicine - Healing Imhotep is credited as the founder of Egyptian medicine, and as author of the Edwin Smith papyrus, in which more than 90 anatomical terms and 48 injuries are described. The Edwin Smith Papyrus was probably written around 1700 BC but may perhaps go back to texts written around 1000 years earlier. He may have also founded a school of medicine in Memphis, a part of his cult center possibly known as "Asklepion, which remained famous for two thousand years. All of this occurred some 2,200 years before the 'Western Father of Medicine Hippocrates' was born. Two thousand years after his death, his status was raised to that of a god. He was linked to Asclepius by the Greeks. As he was thought of as the inventor of healing, he was also sometimes
said to be the one who held Nuit (deification of the sky) up, as the separation of Nuit and Geb (deification of the earth) was said to be what held chaos back. Due to the position this would have placed him in, he was also sometimes said to be Nuit's son. In artwork he is also linked with Hathor, who was the wife of Ra, -- Maat, which was the concept of truth and justice, and Amenhotep son of Hapu, who was another deified architect.
Imhotep is one example of the "personality cult" of Kemet, whereby a learned sage or otherwise especially venerated person could be deified after death and become a special intercessor for the living, much as the saints of Roman Catholicism. About 100 years after his death, he was elevated as a medical demigod. In about 525, around 2,000 years after his death, he was elevated to a full god, and replaced Nefertum in the great triad at Memphis. In the Turin Canon, he was known as the "son of Ptah". Imhotep was, together with Amenhotep, the only mortal Egyptians that ever reached the position of full gods. He was also associated with Thoth, the god of wisdom, writing and learning, and with the Ibises, which was also associated with Thoth.
We are told that his main centers of worship were in the Ptolemaic temple to Hathor atf Dier el-Medina and at Karnak in Thebes, where he was worshipped in conjunction with Amenhotep-Son-of-Hapu, a sanctuary on the upper terrace of the temple at Deir el-Bahari, at Philae where a chapel of Imhotep stands immediately in front of the eastern pylon of the temple of Isis and of course, at Memphis in Lower (northern) Egypt, where a temple was erected to him near the Serapeum. At Saqqara, we are told that people bought offerings to his cult center, including mummified Ibises and sometimes, clay models of diseased limbs and organs in the hope of being healed. He was later even worshipped by the early Christians as one with Christ. The early Christians, it will be recalled, adapted to their use those pagan forms and persons whose influence through the ages had woven itself so powerfully into tradition that they could not omit them. He was worshiped even in Greece where he was identified with their god of medicine, Aslepius. He was honored by the Romans and the emperors Claudius and Tiberius had inscriptions praising Imhotep placed on the walls of their Egyptian temples.
He even managed to find a place in Arab traditions, especially at Saqqara where his tomb is thought to be located. Imhotep lived to a great age, apparently dying in the reign of King Huni, the last of the dynasty. His burial place has not been found but it has been speculated that it may indeed be at Saqqara, possibly in an unattested mastaba 3518.
Isis is the feminine archetype for creation - the goddess of fertility and motherhood. She has gone by many names and played many roles in history and mythology - as goddess and female creator. Her name literally means female of throne, i.e. Queen of the throne. Her original headdress was an empty throne chair belonging to her murdered husband, Osiris. As the personification of the throne, she was an
important source of the Pharaoh's power. Her cult was popular throughout Egypt, but the most important sanctuaries were at Giza and at Behbeit El-Hagar in the Nile delta. The hieroglyph for her name originally used meant (female) of flesh, i.e. mortal, and she may simply have represented deified, real, queens. The most commonly used name for this deity, Isis, is a Greek corruption of the Egyptian name; and its pronunciation as eye-sis is a further corruption by English speakers. The true Egyptian pronunciation is unknown, as Egyptian hieroglyphs only recorded consonants, and left out most of the vowels. The Egyptian hieroglyphics for her name are commonly transliterated as jst; as a convenience, Egyptlogists pronounce that as ee-set. Other symbols linked with her include the tat, knot or buckle, and the sustrum (rattle)
Titles In the Book of the Dead, Isis was described as She who gives birth to heaven and earth, knows the orphan, knows the widow, seeks justice for the poor, and shelter for the weak. Some of Isis' many other titles were: • Queen of Heaven, • Mother of the Gods,
• The One Who is All, • Lady of Green Crops, • The Brilliant One in the Sky, • Her Latin name was Stella Maris, or Star of the Sea, • Great Lady of Magic, • goddess of magic, fertility, nature, motherhood, • underworld Mistress of the House of Life, • She Who Knows How To Make Right Use of the Heart, • Light-Giver of Heaven, • Lady of the Words of Power, • Moon Shining Over the Sea. Isis later had an important cult in the Greco-Roman world, with sanctuaries at Delos and Pompeii. To the Greeks she was known as Demeter - to the Romans as Ceres - though she played other goddess roles in all ancient civilizations. The symbol of Isis in the heavens was the star Sept (Sirius), which was greatly beloved because its appearance marked not only the beginning of a new year, but also announced the advance of the Inundation of the Nile, which betokened renewed wealth and prosperity of the country. Isis was regarded as the companion of Osiris, whose soul dwelt in the star Sah - Orion.
She was the light-giver at this season of the year and was called Khut.
As the mighty earth-goddess her name was Usert. As the Great Goddess of the Underworld she was Thenenet. As the power which shot forth the Nile flood, she was Sati, and Sept. As the embracer of the land and producer of fertility by her waters she was Anqet. As the producer and giver of life she was Ankhet. As the goddess of cultivated lands and fields she was Sekhet. As the goddess of the harvest she was Renenet. As the goddess of food which was offered to the gods, she was Tcheft, and lived in the Temple of Tchefau. As the great lady of the Underworld, who assisted in transforming the bodies of the blessed dead into those wherein they were to live in the realm of Osiris, she was Ament - the "hidden" goddess. As Ament she was declared to be the mother of Ra. In this last capacity she shared with Osiris the attribute of 'giver of life,' and she provided food for the dead as well as for the living. At a comparatively early period in Egyptian history Isis had absorbed the attributes of all the great primitive goddesses, and of all the local goddesses such as Nekhebet, Uatchet, Net, Bast, Hathor, etc., and she was even identified as the female counterpart of the primeval abyss of water from which sprang all life. It is manifestly impossible to limit the attributes of Isis, for we have seen that she possesses the powers of a water goddess, an earth goddess, a corn goddess, a star goddess, a queen of the Underworld, and a woman, and that she united in herself one or more of the attributes of all the goddesses of Egypt known to us. Origins Her origins are uncertain but are believed to come from the Nile Delta; however unlike other Egyptian deities she did not have a centralised cult at any point throughout her worship. First mentions of Isis date back to the 5th dynasty, but her cult became prominent late in Egyptian history, when it began to absorb the cults of many other goddesses. It eventually spread outside Egypt throughout the Middle East and Europe, with temples to her built as far away as the British Isles. Pockets of her worship remained in
Christian Europe as late as the 6th century. Priesthood Little information on Egyptian priests of Isis survives; however it is clear there were both male and female priests of her cult throughout her early history. By the Graeco-Roman era, all priestesses of Isis are female. Many of them were healers and midwives, and were said to have many special powers, including dream interpretation and the ability to control the weather by braiding or combing their hair, the latter of which was because the ancient Egyptians considered knots to have magical power. Worship - Temples Most Egyptian deities started off as strictly local, and throughout their history retained local centers of worship, with most major cities and towns widely known as the hometowns to their deities. However, no traces of local Isis cults are found; throughout her early history there are also no known temples dedicated to her. Individual worship of Isis does not begin until as late as the 30th dynasty; until that time Isis was depicted and apparently worshipped in temples of other deities. However, even then Isis is not worshipped individually, but rather together with Horus and Osiris. Temples dedicated specifically to Isis become wide-spread only in the Roman times. By this period, temples to Isis begin to spread outside of Egypt. In many locations, particularly Byblos, her cult takes over that of worship to the Semitic goddess Astarte, apparently due to the similarity of names and associations. During the Hellenic era, due to her attributes as a protector, and mother, and the lusty aspect originally from Hathor, she was also made the patron goddess of sailors. Throughout the Graeco-Roman world, Isis becomes one of the most significant of the mystery religions, and many classical writers refer to her temples, cults and rites. The cult of Isis rose to prominence in the Hellenistic world, beginning in the last centuries BC, until it was eventually banned by the Christians in the 6th century. Despite the Isis mystery cult's growing popularity, there is evidence to suggest that the Isis mysteries were not altogether welcomed by the ruling classes in Rome. Her rites were considered by the princeps
Augustus to be "pornographic" and capable of destroying the Roman moral fibre. Tacitus writes that after Julius Caesar's assassination, a temple in honour of Isis had been decreed; Augustus suspended this, and tried to turn Romans back to the Roman gods who were closely associated with the state. Eventually the Roman emperor Caligula abandoned the Augustan wariness towards Oriental cults, and it was in his reign that the Isiac festival was established in Rome. According to Josephus, Caligula himself donned female garb and took part in the mysteries he instituted, and Isis acquired in the Hellenistic age a "new rank as a leading goddess of the Mediterranean world." Roman perspectives on cult were syncretic, seeing in a new deity merely local aspects of a familiar one. For many Romans, Egyptian Isis was an aspect of Phrygian Cybele, whose orgiastic rites were long naturalized at Rome, indeed she was known as Isis of Ten Thousand Names. In the Golden Ass (1st century), Apuleius' goddess Isis is identified with Cybele. Temples to Isis were also built in Iraq, Greece, Rome, even as far north as England where the remains of a temple were discovered at Hadrian's Wall. At Philae her worship persisted until the 6th century, long after the wide acceptance of Christianity.
The Isis Temple on Philae was built in the 30th Dynasty on an island in the Nile - originally faced a neighboring island, Biga, which was reserved for the priesthood of Osiris and was believed to be the first land to have emerged from the primordial chaos as well as supposedly being one of the burial places of Osiris.
Looking out from the temple sanctuary, or Holy of Holies, where the goddess resides. The sanctuary was thought to be the source of the waters of life and was once separated from the rest of the temple by a curtain.
Looking out from the temple sanctuary, or Holy of Holies, where the goddess resides. The sanctuary was thought to be the source of the waters of life and was once separated from the rest of the temple by a curtain.
The first pylon (the wall surrounding the entrance) is 18 metres high and
45 metres wide. The base stones represent the stones which appear as the waters of life recede.The small door in the west section of the pylon leads to the Birth House. At right angles to the pylon is the Gate of Ptolemy. The main portal in the center dates from Nectanebo II.
The second pylon shows pharoah (Neos Dionysos) offering sacrifice to Horus and Hathor; in the smaller scenes (above) he offers a wreath to Horus and Nephthys and incense before Osiris, Isis and Horus. Associations Because of the association between knots and magical power, a symbol of Isis was the tiet/tyet (meaning welfare/life), also called the Knot of Isis, Buckle of Isis, or the Blood of Isis. The tiet in many respects resembles an ankh, except that its arms curve down, and in all these cases seems to represent the idea of eternal life/resurrection. The meaning of Blood of Isis is more obscured, but the tyet was often used as a funerary amulet made of red wood, stone, or glass, so this may have simply been a description of its appearance. The star Spica (sometimes called Lute Bearer), and the constellation which roughly corresponded to the modern Virgo, appeared at a time of year associated with the harvest of wheat and grain, and thus with fertility gods and goddesses. Consequently they were associated with Hathor, and hence with Isis through her later conflation with Hathor. Isis also assimilated Sopdet, the personification of Sirius, since Sopdet, rising just before the flooding of the Nile, was seen as a bringer of fertility, and so had been identified with Hathor. Sopdet still retained an element of distinct identity, however, as Sirius was quite visibly a star and not living in the
underworld - Isis being the wife of Osiris, king of the underworld. In the duality of our reality - Isis represents our feminine aspects - creation - rebirth - ascension - intuition - psychic abilties - higher chakras - higher frequency virbations - love and compassion. She is the Yin energies - the mother nurturer - the High Priestess - the Goddess of all mythological tales - to other female icons in the mythologies of creation. She is the essence of the feminine energy which is part of us all. Isis - the iris of the eye - the eye of Horus Isis linked with Sirius - eye of Ra and the source of creation. Osiris - 'O'=completion of the work of Isis of this level.
The Osiris Legend
This myth is filled with metaphors based on the creational patterns of Sacred Geometry. You must read beyond what is given to understand the true meaning. The Legend of Osiris is one of the most ancient myths in Egypt, and it was central to the ancient Egyptian state religion. The myth establishes Osiris' position as god of the dead and lord of the underworld, and Horus' (and thus all the pharaohs) right to kingship. It also demonstrates the powers and duties of the other major gods as well as setting up the Great Adversary, Set also known as Seth. Yet oddly enough, we have yet to find
a complete version of the story. What we have has been cobbled together over many years from many different documents and sources. According to Niel Gaiman the legend is one of the Great Stories. The Great Stories are part of the core human experience and never change except in the most superficial ways. They defy any attempts to rewrite them with drastic changes, always returning to their original forms. The setting might be modified depending on who's telling it, the characters have different names, but fundamentally, it's still the same story. A version of the Osiris myth exists in every culture: the just king murdered by his cruel brother, only to be avenged by the prince who follows in his father's footsteps. Sometimes the dead king is rewarded for his upright ways and gains great reward in the next life. We find its echoes in nearby civilizations such as the Greeks and Romans, in far-off Japan and China, in Christianity, even in Shakespeare, where the avenging prince is named Hamlet. In the beginning, there was the mighty god Ra and his wife Nut. Nut was in love with the god Geb. When Ra found out about this union he was furious. In his rage, he forbid Nut to have children on any of the 360 days that currently made up the year. Nut was very sad. She called on her friend, Thoth, to help her. He knew that Ra's curse must be fulfilled, but he had an idea. Thoth engaged the moon goddess, Silene, in a wager. At the time, Silene's light (the moon) rivaled the light of Ra (the sun). Thoth was victorious, he was rewarded with one seventh of Silene's light. This is why the moon now wanes each month. Thoth took this light and added five days to the calender, bringing the year from 360 days to 365. This gave Nut 5 days on which she could have children, while at the same time obeying Ra's commandment. On the first of these days, Nut gave birth to Osiris. On the second day Horus was born, Seth on the third, Isis the fourth, and Nephthys on the fifth day. At the time of Osiris' birth, a loud voice was heard all over the world, saying, "The lord of all the Earth is born." Osiris grew and became a mighty king. He went about the job of civilizing his people. He taught them agriculture and animal husbandry. He gave them a code of laws to live by and showed them the proper ways in which
to worship the gods. Egypt became a mighty land under his kind and gentle rule. His subjects gladly worshiped the ground on which he walked. When Egypt was civilized, Osiris left to bring his teachings to other lands. While Osiris was away, he left his wife, Isis, in charge. She ruled the country in the same fashion. But Osiris had an enemy, his bitter and jealous brother, Seth. Seth began scheming against the great king. He aligned himself with Aso, the queen of Ethiopia, and 72 other conspirators. But nothing could be done while Isis ruled the country, her authority was unquestionable. Upon Osiris' return, an evil plot was put into motion. Seth secretly acquired the measurements of Osiris and began having a wonderfully decorated box built to fit those measurements. When the box was finished, Seth had a great feast to which he invited Osiris and the 72 conspirators. Having absolutely no evil in him, Osiris suspected nothing.
When the feasting was done, Seth had the box brought out. He offered it as a gift to anyone whom the box fit. One at a time they tried to fit into the box until it was Osiris' turn. He layed in the box suspecting nothing. The
conspirators slammed the lid, nailed it closed, and poured molten lead in the seam to seal his fate. They threw the great chest into the Nile river. Osiris was never seen again, walking in the land of the living. Isis was not afraid of Seth. She searched all of the Nile for the box containing her beloved husband. Finally she found it, lodged in a tamarisk bush that had turned into a mighty tree, for the power of Osiris still was in him, though he lay dead. She tore open the box and wept over the lifeless body of Osiris. She carried the box back to Egypt and placed it in the house of the gods. She changed herself into a bird and flew about his body, singing a song of mourning. Then she perched upon him and cast a spell. The spirit of dead Osiris entered her and she did conceive and bear a son whose destiny it would be to avenge his father. She called the child Horus, and hid him on an island far away from the gaze of his uncle Seth. She then went to Thoth who knows all secrets, and implored his help. She asked him for magic that could bring Osiris back to life. Thoth, lord of knowledge, who brought himself into being by speaking his name, searched through his magic. He knew that Osiris' spirit had departed his body and was lost. To restore Osiris, Thoth had to remake him so that his spirit would recognize him and rejoin. Thoth and Isis together created the Ritual of Life, that which allows us to live forever when we die. But before Thoth could work the magic, cruel Seth discovered them. He stole the body of Osiris and tore it into 14 pieces, scattering them throughout Egypt. He was sure that Osiris would never be reborn. Yet Isis would not despair. She implored the help of her sister Nephthys, kind Nephthys, to guide her and help her find the pieces of Osiris. Long did they search, bringing each piece to Thoth that he might work magic upon it. When all the pieces were together, Thoth went to Anubis, lord of the dead. Anubis sewed the pieces back together, washed the entrails of Osiris, embalmed him wrapped him in linen, and cast the Ritual of Life. When Osiris' mouth was opened, his spirit reentered him and he lived again.
Yet nothing that has died, not even a god, may dwell in the land of the living. Osiris went to Duat, the abode of the dead. Anubis yielded the throne to him and he became the lord of the dead. There he stands in judgment over the souls of the dead. He commends the just to the Blessed Land, but the wicked he condemns to be devoured by Ammit. When Seth heard that Osiris lived again he was wroth, but his anger waned, for he knew that Osiris could never return to the land of the living. Without Osiris, Set believed he would sit on the throne of the gods for all time. Yet on his island, Horus, the son of Osiris and Isis, grew to manhood and strength. The depiction of the seated holding or suckling the child Horus
is reminiscent of the iconography of Mary and Jesus. Many believe Mary, mother of Jesus, was an incarnation of Isis. Set sent many serpents and demons to kill Horus, but he defeated them. When he was ready, his mother Isis gave him great magic to use against Seth, and Thoth gave him a magic knife. Horus sought out Seth and challenged him for the throne. Seth and Horus fought for many days, but in the end Horus defeated Seth and castrated him. But Horus, merciful Horus, would not kill Seth, for to spill the blood of his uncle would make him no better than he. Seth maintained his claim to the throne, and Horus lay claim himself as the son of Osiris. The gods began to fight amongst another, those who supported Horus and those who supported Set. Banebdjetet leaped into the middle and demanded that the gods end this struggle peacefully or Maat would be imbalanced further. He told the gods to seek the council of Neith. Neith, warlike though wise in council, told them that Horus was the rightful heir to the throne. Horus cast Seth into the darkness where he lives to this day. And so it is that Horus watches over us while we live, and gives guidance to the Pharaoh while he lives, and his father Osiris watches over us in the next life. So it is that the gods are at peace. So it is that Set, wicked Seth,
eternally strives for revenge, battling Horus at every turn. When Horus wins, Maat is upheld and the world is at peace. When Seth wins, the world is in turmoil. But we know that dark times do not last forever, and the bright rays of Horus will shine over us again. In the last days, Horus and Seth will fight one last time for the world. Horus will defeat Seth forever, and Osiris will be able to return to this world. On that day, the Day of Awakening, all the tombs shall open and the just dead shall live again as we do, and all sorrow shall pass away forever. It is said that this battle of good verses evil still rages, but some day, Horus will be victorious and on that day, Osiris will return to rule the world. The Osiris Legend and Precession The Osiris Legend and the Tree of Life Magic Isis was a magician, possibly the archetype for the high priestess of the tarot. She learned her magic from Thoth, although according to some legends she obtained her powers from Ra himself by tricking him into revealing his name to her, thus acquiring his full magical knowledge. In order to resurrect Osiris for the purpose of having the child Horus, it was necessary for Isis to learn magic, and so it was that Isis tricked Ra (i.e. Amun-Ra/Atum-Ra) into telling her his "secret name", by getting a snake to bite and poison him, so that he would use his "secret name" to survive. This aspect becomes central in magic spells, and Isis is often implored to use the true name of Re while performing rituals. By the late Egyptian history, Isis becomes the most important, and most powerful magical deity of the Egyptian pantheon. Magic is central to the entire mythology of Isis; arguably more so than any other Egyptian deity.In consequence of her deeply magical nature, Isis also became a goddess of magic. The prior goddess to hold the quadrupole roles of healer, protector of the canopic jars, protector of marriage, and goddess of magic, Serket, became considered an aspect of her. Thus it is not surprising that Isis had a central role in Egyptian magic spells and ritual, especially those of protection and healing. In many spells, she is also completely even merged with Horus, where invocations
of Isis are supposed to automatically involve Horus' powers as well. Depictions In art, originally Isis was pictured as a woman wearing a long sheath dress and crowned with the hieroglyphic sign for a seat, sometimes holding a lotus, as a sycamore tree. After her assimilation of Hathor, Isis' headdress is replaced with that of Hathor: the horns of a cow on her head, and the solar disc between them. She was also sometimes symbolised by a cow, or a cow's head. Usually, she was depicted with her son, the great god Horus, with a crown and a vulture, and sometimes as a kite bird flying above Osiris's body. Isis is most often seen holding only the generic ankh sign and a simple staff, but is sometimes seen with Hathor's attributes, the sistrum rattle and the crescent moon shaped menat necklace. Isis is often depicted with a throne on her head and with wings, meaning ascension, linked with the Phoenix the female bird of resurrection. Isis Wikipedia Isis Egypt Tour
Kek (Masculine) and Kauket (Feminine)
The Egyptians believed that before the world was formed, there was a watery mass of dark, directionless chaos. In this chaos lived the Ogdoad of Khmunu (Hermopolis), four frog gods and four snake goddesses of chaos. These deities were Nun and Naunet (water), Amun and Amaunet (invisibility), Heh and Hauhet (infinity) and Kek and Kauket (darkness). The chaos existed without the light, and thus Kek and Kauket came to represent this darkness. They also symbolized obscurity, the kind of obscurity that went with darkness, and night. The Ogdoad were the original great gods of Iunu (On, Heliopolis) where they were thought to have helped with creation, then died and retired to the land of the dead where they continued to make the Nile flow and the sun rise every day. Because of this aspect of the eight, Budge believe that Kek and Kauket were once deities linked to Khnum and Satet, to Hapi Nile gods of Abu (Elephantine). He also believed that Kek may have also been linked to Sobek. Kek
Kek (Kuk, Keku) means darkness. He was the god of the darkness of
chaos, the darkness before time began. He was the god of obscurity, hidden in the darkness. The Egyptians saw the night time, the time without the light of the sun, as a reflection of this chaotic darkness. The characteristics of the third paid of gods, Keku and Kauket, are easier to determine, and it is tolerable certain that these deities represent the male and female powers of the darkness which was supposed to cover over the primeval abyss of water; they have been compared by Dr. Brugsch with the Erebos of the Greeks. - The Gods of the Egyptians, E. A. Wallis Budge As a god of the night, Kek was also related to the day - he was called the "bringer-in of the light". This seems to mean that he was responsible for the time of night that came just before sunrise. The god of the hours before day dawned over the land of Egypt. This was the twilight which gave birth to the sun. Kauket The feminine of the god Kek, Kauket (Keket) was a much more obscure goddess than her husband. She was a snake-headed woman who ruled over the darkness with her husband. Her name also meant darkness, as did her husband's name, but with a feminine ending. O you eight chaos gods, keepers of the chambers of the sky...The bnbn [phoenix] of Ra was that from which Atum came to be as ... Kek, darkness... I am the one who begot the chaos gods again, as Heh, Nun, Amun, Kek. I am Shu who begot the gods. - Coffin Text, Spell 76 Kauket was the feminine to Kek's masculine, more of a representation of duality than an actual goddess, so she was even less of a deity than Kek, and much more of an abstract. She was, though, also related to the day - she was the "bringer-in of the night". This seems to show her to be the goddess of the night, just after sunset. The goddess of the the hours of the evening, as night covered Egypt, and the sun had disappeared. This was the twilight which turned into the darkness of night.
Sun-god creator in the form of a scarab beetle. The word kheper (or hprr) means scarab, and as the animal was associated with life and rebirth. Literally the word means "he who is coming into being". Like Atum, Khephir was a self-created god. The scarab lays its eggs in a ball of dung and rolls it to hide in a safe place. From this unlikely substance the Egyptians observed new life emerging, seemingly from the Earth. Hence he was a god of creation. Early in Egyptian history the beetle also came to represent the soul rising from death - resurrected, transcendent, fully formed and ready
to make its journey and face its judgment in order to live in the Afterlife. By the New Kingdom (1539-1070 BC), the funerary texts from the papyri portray a scaraboid form as the most powerful symbol of life's victory over death. Similarly, 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. As a deity closely associated with resurrection, Khephir was believed to be swallowed by his mother, Nut each evening and passed through her body to be reborn each morning. Therefore he is also closely associated with Ra and Atum. Later funerary texts combine Khephra (scarab) with Atum (ram) into a ram-headed beetle, a portrayal of the supreme god overseeing the cycle of life and death (and Afterlife). Egyptologists believe that there was probably a colossal stone scarab on a plinth at most if not all Egyptian temples. In this configuration Phephir represented the temple as the Primeval Mound from which the sun-god emerged to begin the process of cosmogony. The word Khepri was also often used in the titulary of the king. 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 jeweler'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. As an amulet, the scarab representation of Khephir was by far the most important. It might be viewed as being similar to a cross for a Christian. There were ornamental scarabs, heart scarabs, winged scarabs, marriage scarabs, lion hunt scarabs and many other such amulets.
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 symbolized architecturally the concept that the temple was the site where the sun-god first emerged to begin the creation of the cosmos.
Potter God of the Inundation Silt and Creation Ram headed God - Lord of the Cataract God of fecundity and creation from the Cataract area.
Khnum (Khenmew, Khnemu, Khenmu, Chnum), from the Egyptian 'unite', 'join' or 'build', was an ancient deity of fertility, water and the great potter who created children and their ka at their conception. He was mentioned in the pyramid texts and the pyramid builder Khufu's name was actually 'Khnum-Khufu' meaning 'Khnum is his Protector'. His cult was popular before the cult of Ra eclipsed it. The next pyramid builders were his son and grandson who added 'Ra' to their names - Khafra and Menkaura. Khnum was possibly even a predynastic god. The Egyptians believed that he was the guardian of the source of the Nile who was originally a Nile god, but who became a helper of Hapi. His role changed from river god to the one who made sure that the right amount of silt was released into the water during the inundation. In working with the silt, the very soil that the ancient Egyptian potters used, he became the great potter who not only molded men and women, but who molded the gods themselves and the world. He was depicted as a ram, ram-headed man or as a full male with the horns of a ram who wears a plumed white crown of Upper Egypt. In early times he was shown as the first domesticated ram, the Ovis longipes palaeoaegyptiacus, with long corkscrew horns growing horizontally outwards from his head. This species died out, though even so he was still depicted as that breed of sheep until much later in Egyptian history.
Eventually he was shown as the Ovis platyra (the type of ram associated with Amen) with horns curving inward towards his face. Sometimes he was shown with four ram heads, aligning him with the sun god Ra, the air god Shu, the earth god Geb and Osiris, lord of the dead. In his four headed form, he was known as Sheft-hat. The Egyptians believed that the ram was a very potent animal, and thus Khnum was linked to fertility.
Considered to be the ba of Ra - this might be an Egyptian pun on the fact that the ram was also called ba - he helped Ra travel through the underworld each night on the Solar Barque. In the pyramid texts (Utterance 300), the barque was referred to as the "Ikhet Barque which Khnum made", so not only did he defend the barque, but Khnum was thought to have created it as well. In this form he was often called Khnum-Ra and wears the sun disk of Ra. Originally a water god, Khnum was often pictured by the Egyptians as the source of the Nile. On temple walls, he was sometimes shown as holding a jar, with the precious water flowing out of it. He was also believed to be a guardian of the waters in the underworld. He is mentioned as a protective deity of the dead. Many heart scarabs have a similar versions of one of the spells from The Book of the Dead to protect the deceased against a negative judgement in the Halls of Ma'at.
O my heart ... Do not stand up against me as a witness! Do not create opposition against me among the assessors! Do not tip the scales against me in the presence of the Keeper of the Balance! You are my soul which is in my body, The god Khnum who makes my limbs sound. When you go forth to the Hereafter, My name shall not stink to the courtiers who create people on his behalf. Do not tell lies about me in the presence of the Great God! - Heart scarab spell, translation by Thomas J. Logan The ram-headed god was 'Lord of the Cataract' a god of the yearly inundation and the fertile black soil that came with the flood. Khnum was also seen as a fertility god because of his association with the fertile silt. Pottery was created out of the soil of the Nile, and it was believed that he created the first humans - and the gods - on his potter's wheel with this silt. In Iunyt (Esna) it was believed that it was he who molded the First Egg from which the sun hatched, and thus was a creator god who was 'Father of the Fathers of the Gods and Goddesses, Lord of Created Things from Himself, Maker of Heaven and Earth and the Duat and Water and the Mountains'. The vast majority of the pottery was manufactured from either Nile silts or marl clays, the two primary raw materials used in Egyptian pottery making ... Marl clays and Nile silts were usually not used for the same pot types. For example, cooking pots, cups, platter bowls, ring stands, Tell el-Yehudiyah ware juglets, black and red polished juglets, beakers, and certain groups of jars were produced mostly from Nile silts ... platter bowls formed of marl clay were usually slipped red to provide the desired exterior look of a Nile silt; a carinated bowl manufactured from silt might be slipped white to resemble a marl clay. - Ethnicity, Pottery, and the Hyksos at Tell El-Maskhuta in the Egyptian Delta, Carol A. Redmount
The Famine Stele at Sehel island tells of a dream that Djoser supposedly had. Egypt had been going through a seven year drought and a temple had been built to Khnum in the hopes that the famine would end: When I was asleep, my heart was in life and happiness. I found the god standing. I caused him pleasure by worshiping and adoring him. He made himself known to me and said: "I am Khnum, your creator, my arms are around you, to steady your body, to safeguard your limbs. I bestow on you ores with precious stones existing since antiquity that were not worked before to build temples, rebuild ruins, sculpt chapels for his master. I am master of creation. I have created myself, the great ocean which came into being in past times, according to whose pleasure the Nile rises. For I am the master who makes, I am he who makes himself exalted in Nun, who first came forth, Hapi who hurries at will; fashioner of everybody, guide of each man to their hour. I am Tatenen, father of Gods, the great Shu living on the shore. The two caves are in a trench below me. It is up to me to let loose the well. I know the Nile, urge him to the field, I urge him, life appears in every nose. As one urges to the field .......... I will make the Nile swell for you, without there being a year of lack and exhaustion in the whole land, so the plants will flourish, bending under their fruit. Renenutet is in all things everything will be brought forth by the million and everybody ...... in whose granary there had been dearth. The land of Egypt is beginning to stir again, the shores are shining wonderfully, and wealth and well-being dwell with them, as it had been before.
Then I awoke happy, my heart was decided and at ease. I decreed this order to the temple of my father Khnum. Royal sacrifice for Khnum-Re, lord of the cataract, first of Nubia, as reward for what you favour me with. I make you a gift of your western shore by the mountain of the dusk and your eastern shore by the mountain of dawn, from Elephantine to ...... with twelve auroras on the eastern and western shores, with the plants, with the harbours with the river and with every settlement on these auroras. - Famine Stele at Sehel
As potter, he was thought to mould the body of a child, and it's ka before birth. He was called the 'Father of Fathers and the Mother of Mothers'. He was also the one who gave health to the child after it was born. In the story of Raddjedet's triplets, the birth related goddesses Isis, Nephthys, Meskhenet and Heqet disguised themselves as female musicians with Khnum as their porter. After each child was "rushed forth", the umbilical cord had been cut and the destiny had been pronounced, Khnum was the one who "gave health" to each child. So not only did Khnum create the child and its double, but he was thought to also give it health at birth. Hatshepsut was one pharaoh who encouraged the belief that Khnum, at Amen's request, created her and her ka: Amen-Ra called for Khnum, the creator, the fashioner of the bodies of
men. "Fashion for me the body of my daughter and the body of her ka," said Amen-Ra, "A great queen shall I make of her, and honour and power shall be worthy of her dignity and glory." "O Amen-Ra," answered Khnum, "It shall be done as you have said. The beauty of your daughter shall surpass that of the gods and shall be worthy of her dignity and glory." So Khnum fashioned the body of Amen-Ra's daughter and the body of her ka, the two forms exactly alike and more beautiful than the daughters of men. He fashioned them of clay with the air of his potter's wheel and Heqet, goddess of birth, knelt by his side holding the sign of life towards the clay that the bodies of Hatshepsut and her ka might be filled with the breath of life. - Hatshepsut's Mortuary Temple
His cult was centered on the island of Abu (Elephantine) at Swentet (Aswan) where he had been worshiped since the Early Dynastic period. In the New Kingdom he was worshiped there as head of a triad with his wife Satet (a fertility goddess of the Nile and purifier of the dead) and daughter Anuket (a huntress goddess of the first cataract near Swentet, 'The Embracer'). There is a Greco-Roman temple for him at Iunyt (Esna) where he was given two consorts, Menhit (a lion headed war goddess, 'She Who Slaughters') and Nebtu (a local goddess of the oasis, 'The Guilded One') - one goddess became a form of the other - and a son called Hike (god of magic, 'He Who Activates the Ka'). He was also linked to the war-like creator goddess Neith at Iunyt (Esna). In Her-wer (Antinoe) he was thought to be the husband of Heqet, the frog
goddess who gave the newly created being the breath of life before the child was placed to grow in the mother's womb. Khnum was a ram god of the Nile, a god of silt, fertility and a potter god of creation. He was a god of the sun, a protector of the dead and protector of Re on the solar barque. This god was an ancient god, popular from early times through to the Greco-Roman period who was thought to have created the pharaoh's form and soul on his potters wheel. From a local god of the Nile to a deity connected with childbirth, Khnum was the 'Father of Fathers and the Mother of Mothers' of the pharaoh.
Maahes (also spelled Mihos, Miysis, Mios, Maihes, and Mahes) was an ancient Egyptian lion-headed god of war,whose name means "he who is true beside her". He was seen as a lion prince, the son of the goddess
Bast in Lower Egypt and of Sekhmet in Upper Egypt and shared her natures. His father was told to be a human unnaware of Bastet's/Sekhemet's intentions to conceive. Maahes was a deity associated with war and weather, and was considered the protector of matrilineality and of the high priests of Ammon, as well as that of knives, lotuses, and devouring captives. His cult was centred in Taremu and Per-Bast. He is first mentioned in the New Kingdom, and some Egyptologists have suggested that Maahes was of foreign origin; indeed there is some evidence that he may have been identical with the lion-god Apedemak worshipped in Nubia and Egypt's Western Desert. As a lion-god and patron, he was also considered the son of Re and of Bast, the feline war goddess and patron of Lower Egypt as well as Sekhmet, the lioness war goddess and patron of Upper Egypt. Since his cult was centred in Per-Bast (Bubastis in Greek) or in Taremu (Leontopolis in Greek), he was more known as the son of Bast. As he became a tutelary deity of Egypt, his father was said to be the chief male deity at the time - either Ptah, or Ra who had by this time already merged with Atum into Atum-Ra. In his role of son of Ra, Maahes fought the serpent Apep during Ra's daily night voyage. Considered to have powerful attributes, feline deities were associated with the pharaohs, and became patrons of Egypt. The male lion hieroglyphic was used in words such as "prince", "mashead", "strength", and "power". He was also known as "the lion Egyptian headed god of war".
He was pictured as a man with the head of a male lion, occasionally
holding a knife and wearing the double crown of Egypt, or the atef crown. Sometimes Maahes was identified with Nefertem and was shown with a bouquet of lotuses near him, but he also was depicted as a lion devouring a captive. His name begins with the hieroglyphs for the male lion, although in isolation it also means (one who can) see in front. However, the first glyph also is part of the glyph for Ma'at, meaning truth and order and so it came to be that Maahes was considered to be the devourer of the guilty and protector of the innocent. Some of the titles of Maahes were Lord of Slaughter, Wielder of the Knife, and The Scarlet Lord. Maahes was rarely called by his name and came to be referred to, somewhat misleadingly, as "Lord of Slaughter." The "Lord of Slaughter" terminology was adopted during the Persian and later Roman periods when foreign conquerors met with fierce resistance from Maahes chiefs and their supporters. Cambyses ill-fated army which intended to destroy the Maahes Caste and their High Priest of Amen, the Oracle at Siwa, vanished in the desert during a sudden sand storm. The Maahes were known as Lord of the Storm and Lord of the Powerful KA in reference to legends giving them powers to control the weather.
Maat is depicted as a tall woman wearing a crown surmounted by a huge ostrich feather. Her totem symbol is a stone platform or foundation, representing the stable base on which order is built. Maat or Mayet, thought to have been pronounced as was the Ancient Egyptian concept of truth, balance, order, law, morality, and justice who is sometimes personified as a goddess regulating the stars, seasons, and the actions of both mortals and the deities, who set the order of the
universe from chaos at the moment of creation. Later, as a goddess in other traditions of the Egyptian pantheon, where most goddesses were paired with a male aspect, her masculine counterpart was Thoth and their attributes are the same. Like Thoth, she was seen to represent the Logos of Plato. After the rise of Ra they were depicted as guiding his Solar Barque, one on either side. After her role in creation and continuously preventing the universe from returning to chaos, her primary role in Egyptian mythology dealt with the weighing of souls that took place in the underworld, Duat. Her feather was the measure that determined whether the souls (considered to reside in the heart) of the departed would reach the paradise of afterlife successfully. Ma'at as a Principle Ma'at as a principle was at least partially codified into a set of laws, and expressed a ubiquitous concept of correct from wrong characterized by concepts of truth and a respect for, and adherence to, this divine order believed to be set forth by her at the time of the world's creation. This divine order was primarily conceived of as being modeled in various environmental, agricultural, and social relationships. In addition to the importance of the Ma'at, several other principles within Ancient Egyptian law were essential, including an adherence to tradition as opposed to change, the importance of rhetorical skill, and the significance of achieving impartiality, and social equality. Thus, to the Egyptian mind, Ma'at bound all things together in an indestructible unity: the universe, the natural world, the state, and the individual were all seen as parts of the wider order generated by Ma'at! During the Greek period in Egyptian history, Greek law existed alongside that of the Egyptian law, but usually these laws favored the Greeks. When the Romans took control of Egypt, the Roman legal system which existed throughout the Roman empire was imposed in Egypt. The underlying concepts of Taoism and Confucianism resemble Ma'at at times. Many of these concepts were codified into laws, and many of the concepts often were discussed by ancient Egyptian philosophers and officials who referred to the spiritual text known as the Book of the Dead.
Later scholars and philosophers also would embody concepts from the wisdom literature, or seboyet. These spiritual texts dealt with common social or professional situations and how each was best to be resolved or addressed in the spirit of Ma'at- it was very practical advice, and highly case-based, so that few specific and general rules could be derived from them. Ma'at as a Goddess The goddess Ma'at was the goddess of harmony, order, and truth represented as a young woman, sitting or standing, holding a scepter in one hand and an ankh in the other. Sometimes she is depicted with wings on each arm or as a woman with an ostrich feather on her head. Because it also was the pharaoh's duty to ensure truth and justice, many of them were referred to as Meri-Ma'at (Beloved of Ma'at). Since she was considered as merely the concept of order and truth, it was thought that she came into existence at the moment of creation, having no creator and made the order of the entire universe from the pandemonium. When beliefs about Thoth arose in the Egyptian pantheon and started to consume the earlier beliefs at Hermopolis about the Ogdoad, it was said that she was the mother of the Ogdoad and Thoth the father. In Duat, the Egyptian underworld, the hearts of the dead were said to be weighed against her single Shu feather, symbolically representing the concept of Ma'at, in the Hall of Two Truths. A heart which was unworthy was devoured by the goddess Ammit and its owner condemned to remain in Duat. The heart was considered the location of the soul by ancient Egyptians. Those people with good, (and pure), hearts were sent on to Aaru. Osiris came to be seen as the guardian of the gates of Aaru after he became part of the Egyptian pantheon and displaced Anubis in the Ogdoad tradition.
The weighing of the heart, pictured on papyrus, (in the Book of the Dead, typically, or in tomb scenes, etc.), shows Anubis overseeing the weighing, the lioness Ammit seated awaiting the results so she could consume those who failed. The image would be the vertical heart on one flat surface of the balance scale, and the vertical Shu-feather standing on the other balance scale surface. Other traditions hold that Anubis brought the soul before the posthumous Osiris who performed the weighing. Ma'at was commonly depicted in ancient Egyptian art as a woman with outstretched wings and a "curved" ostrich feather on her head or, sometimes, just as a feather. These images are on some sarcophagi as a symbol of protection for the souls of the dead. Egyptians believed that without Ma'at there would be only the primal chaos, ending the world. It was seen as the Pharaoh's necessity to apply just law, following Ma'at. Ma'at themes found in Book of the Dead and Tomb Inscriptions One aspect of ancient Egyptian funerary literature which often is mistaken for a codified ethic of Ma'at is Chapter 125 of the Book of the Dead, often called the 42 Declarations of Purity or the Negative Confession. These declarations varied somewhat from tomb to tomb, and so can not be considered a canonical definition of Ma'at. A section of the Egyptian Book of the Dead written on papyrus Weighing of the Heart in Duat using the feather of Ma'at as the measure in balance
Rather, they appear to express each tomb owner's individual conception of Ma'at, as well as working as a magical absolution (misdeeds or mistakes made by the tomb owner in life could be declared as not having been done, and through the power of the written word, wipe that particular misdeed from the afterlife record of the deceased). Many of the lines are similar, however, and they can help to give the student a "flavor" for the sorts of things which Ma'at governed·essentially everything from the most formal to the most mundane aspect of life. Many versions are given on-line, unfortunately seldom do they note the tomb from which they came or, whether they are a collection from various different tombs. Generally, they are each addressed to a specific deity, described in his or her most fearsome aspect.
In early Egyptian mythology, Mafdet (also spelled Maftet) is depicted as a woman with the head of a cheetah. Her name means (she who) runs swiftly. She is present in the Egyptian pantheon as early as the First Dynasty. Mafdet was the deification of legal justice, or rather, of execution. Thus she was also associated with the protection of the king's chambers and other sacred places, and with protection against venomous animals, which were seen as transgressors against Ma'at. Since venomous animals such as scorpions and snakes are killed by felines, Mafdet was seen as a feline goddess, although it is uncertain whether alternately, she also was meant to be a cat, a mongoose, or a leopard. In reflection of the manner in which these animals kill snakes and she was given titles such as, slayer of serpents. In art, Mafdet was shown as a feline, a woman with a feline head, or a feline with the head of a woman, sometimes with braided hair which ended in the tails of scorpions. At times she was shown with a headdress of snakes. She also was depicted as a feline running up the side of an executioner's staff. It was said that Mafdet ripped out the hearts of wrong-doers, delivering them to the pharaoh's feet, in a similar manner as domestic
cats who present people with rodents or birds that they have killed or maimed. During the New Kingdom, Mafdet was seen as ruling over the judgment hall in Duat where the enemies of the pharaoh were decapitated with Mafdet's claw. Her cult was eventually replaced by that of Bast, another cat-goddess, a lioness warrior who was seen as the pharaoh's protector, but her cheetah imagery continued in association with the pharaohs including personal items and the bed upon which their mummies were placed. Mafdet as the bed upon which a mummy of
a pharaoh is being attended to by
Manulis was a sun god of Lower (northern) Nubia. He is usually depicted wearing a crown of ram horns surmounted by high plumes, sun disks and cobras. His name in Egyptian inscriptions is "Merwel" but the Greek version, as found in the text known as the "Vision of Mandulis" is used almost universally. Mandulis was often depicted wearing an elaborate headdress of ram's horns, cobras and plumes surmounted by sun discs. He was sometimes shown in the form of a hawk, but wearing a human head.
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 as his close companion. But it is in the temple of Kalabsha (now moved to a location 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 Egyptain pantheon placed in his company. From the "Vision of Mandulis" we find the unforced equation of this Nubian solar deity to Egyptian Horus and to the Greek Apollo.
In Ancient Egypt, Mehen is both what appears to be a mythological character snake-god and a game. Texts, which do not currently appear to be descriptions of a game, indicate that Mehen was considered to be a snake-god who either coils around Apep to protect Ra from him, during his journey through the night, or instead coils protectively around Ra and his boat, a form in which he is often depicted. Mehen was consequently sometimes merged, in depictions, with Set, who also, originally, was
considered to protect Ra, and thus was shown as a serpent-headed man with a spear, standing in Ra's boat.
Mehen Snake Board
Queen Nefertari playing Senet The precise relationship between character and Mehen game is unknown. It is not known whether the game derives from the mythological character, or the character derives from the game, nor is it known whether the character was considered to be anything other than the game.
It is known that the board depicts a game rather than acts as a religious fetish due to studies of paintings in tombs and game boards and equipment found. Currently, the rules and methods for playing are completely unknown, although a program available here contains a guess at how it may have been played. Also none of the associated objects fit neatly within the segments of the snake.
In Egyptian mythology, Menhit (also spelt Menchit) was originally a foreign war goddess. Her name depicts a warrior status, as it means (she who) massacres. When included among the Egyptian deities, she became the female counterpart of Anhur. It was said that she had come from Nubia with Anhur who had been her counterpart and husband there. Due to the aggressive attributes possessed by and hunting methods used by lionesses, most things connected to warfare in Egypt were depicted as leonine, and Menhit was no exception, being depicted as a lioness-goddess. She also was believed to advance ahead of the Egyptian armies and cut
down their enemies with fiery arrows, similar to other war deities. In the 3rd Nome of Upper Egypt, particularly at Esna, Menhit was said to be the wife of Khnum and the mother of Heka. As the centre of her cult was toward the southern border of Egypt, in Upper Egypt, she became strongly identified with Sekhmet, who was originally the lion-goddess of war for Upper Egypt, after unification of the two Egyptian kingdoms, this goddess began to be considered simply another aspect of Sekhmet.
n Egyptian mythology, Meretseger (also spelt Mertseger), meaning 'she who loves silence', was a cobra-goddess, who was originally a
personification of the dangers of the desert. Since the first syllable of her name is the same as that in the word pyramid, it became thought that she lived on top of (or was) the pyramid-shaped mountain which overlooked the Valley of the Kings, where the pharaohs' tombs were located. This localisation ultimately prevented her becoming anything more than a local deity, and when the valley ceased being in use, so she also, ceased being worshipped. As a cobra, she spat poison at anyone who tried to vandalise or rob the royal tombs. She was also the patron deity of the many workers who built these tombs, and punished those workers who committed crimes, but healed those who repented. In art she was portrayed as either a coiled cobra, or as a woman-headed cobra, or rarely as a triple headed cobra, where one head was that of a cobra, one of a woman, and one of a vulture.
In Ancient Egyptian mythology, Meskhenet, (also spelt Mesenet, Meskhent, and Meshkent) was the goddess of childbirth, and the creator of each child's Ka, a part of their soul, which she breathed into them at the moment of birth. She was worshipped from the earliest of times by Egyptians. In ancient Egypt, women delivered babies while squatting on a pair of bricks, known as birth bricks, and Meskhenet was the goddess associated with this form of delivery. Consequently, in art, she sometimes was depicted as a brick with a woman's head, wearing a cow's uterus upon it. At other times she was depicted as a woman with a symbolic cow's uterus on her headdress. Since she was responsible for creating the Ka, she was associated with fate. Thus later she sometimes was said to be paired with Shai, who became a god of destiny after the deity evolved out of an abstract concept. It was said that Meskhenet was present at the birth of triplets, and foretold in their fates, that they would each be pharaohs - the triplets in question were Sahure, Userkaf, and Neferirkare Kakai, who were the first pharaohs in the fifth dynasty (although Userkaf was not the sibling of the other two, but their father).
Meskhenet also was believed to be the earliest wife of Andjety the god of rebirth in the underworld. Andjety appears to have been worshipped since pre-dynastic times at Andjet, and is thought by most Egyptologists to be the god who eventually became Osiris.
Meskhenet was a goddess who presided at child birth. In her form of a tile terminating in a female head (called in the Book of the Dead "cubit-with-head") she represents one of the bricks upon which women in ancient Egypt took a squatting position to give birth. Her presence near the scales in the hall of the Two Truths, where the dead person's heart is examined and weighed to ascertain suitability for the Egyptian paradise, is there to assist at a symbolic rebirth in the Afterlife. Her symbol of two loops at the top of a vertical stroke has been shown to be the bocornuate uterus of a heifer. In addition to ensuring the safe delivery of a child from the womb, Meskhenet takes a decision on its destiny at the time of birth. In the Papyrus Westcar the goddess helps at the birth of the future first three kings of the 5th Dynasty. On the arrival of Userkaf, Sahure and Neferirkare into the arms of Isis, she approaches each child and assures it of kingship. Similarly she is the force of destiny that assigns to a scribe promotion among the administrators of Egypt. A hymn in the temple of Esna refers to four "Meskhenets" at the side of the creator god Khnum, whose purpose is to repel evil by their incantations.
Meskhenet as a birth brick
In ancient Egypt, where child mortality was high, Egyptians called upon the help of their gods through magical objects, like birth bricks, and special ritual practices during childbirth. The Egyptian birth brick was associated with a specific goddess, Meskhenet, sometimes depicted in the form of a brick with a human head. On the newly discovered birth brick, the main scene shows a mother with her newborn boy, attended on either side by women and by Hathor, a cow goddess closely associated with birth and motherhood.
Ithyphallic God of Fertility
Min is an Ancient Egyptian god whose cult originated in predynastic times (4th millennium BC). He was represented in many different forms, but was often represented in male human form, shown with an erect penis which he holds in his left hand and an upheld right arm holding a flail. As Khem or Min, he was the god of reproduction; as Khnum, he was the creator of all things, "the maker of gods and men".
As a god of fertility, he was shown as having black skin to reflect the fertile black mud of the Nile's inundation. His cult was strongest in Coptos and Akhmim (Panopolis), where in his honour great festivals were held celebrating his ³coming forth² with a public procession and presentation of offerings. His other associations include the eastern desert and links to the god Horus. Flinders Petrie excavated two large statues of Min at Qift which are now in the Ashmolean Museum and it is thought by some that they are pre-dynastic.
Although not mentioned by name a reference to 'he whose arm is raised in the East' in the Pyramid Texts is thought to refer to Min. His importance grew in the Middle Kingdom when he became even more closely linked with Horus as the deity Min-Horus. By the New Kingdom he was also fused with Amen in the deity Min-Amen-kamutef (Min-Amen - bull of his mother). Min's shrine was crowned with a pair of bull horns. As the central deity of fertility and possibly orgiastic rites Min became identified by the Greeks with the god Pan. One feature of Min worship was the wild prickly lettuce Lactuca virosa and Lactuca serriola of which is the domestic version Lactuca sativa which has aphrodisiac and opiate qualities. He also had connections with Nubia. However, his main centers of worship were Qift (Coptos) and Akhmim (Khemmis). As a god of male sexual
potency, he was honoured during the coronation rites of the New Kingdom, when the Pharaoh was expected to sow his seed - generally thought to have been plant seeds, although there have been controversial suggestions that the Pharaoh was expected to demonstrate that he could ejaculate - and thus ensure the annual flooding of the Nile. At the beginning of the harvest season, his image was taken out of the temple and brought to the fields in the festival of the departure of Min, when they blessed the harvest, and played games naked in his honour, the most important of these being the climbing of a huge (tent) pole. In Egyptian art, Min was depicted as wearing a crown with feathers, and often holding his penis erect in his left hand and a flail (referring to his authority, or rather that of the Pharaohs) in his upward facing right hand. Around his forehead, Min wears a red ribbon that trails to the ground, claimed by some to represent sexual energy. The symbols of Min were the white bull, a barbed arrow, and a bed of lettuce, that the Egyptians believed to be an aphrodisiac, as Egyptian lettuce was tall, straight, and released a milk-like substance when rubbed, characteristics superficially similar to the penis. Even some war goddesses were depicted with the body of Min (including the phallus), and this also led to depictions, ostensibly of Min, with the head of a lioness. Min usually was depicted in an ithyphallic (with an erect and uncovered phallus) style. Christians routinely defaced his monuments in temples they co-opted and Victorian Egyptologists would take only waist-up photographs of Min, or otherwise find ways to cover his protruding penis. However, to the ancient Egyptians, Min was not a matter of scandal - they had very relaxed standards of nudity: in their warm climate, farmers, servants, and entertainers often worked partially or completely naked, and children did not wear any clothes until they came of age. In the 19th century, there was an alleged erroneous transcription of the Egyptian for Min as ("khem"). Since Khem was worshipped most significantly in Akhmim, the separate identity of Khem was reinforced, Akhmim being understood as simply a corruption of Khem.
In Ancient Egyptian religion, Monthu was a falcon-god, of war. Monthu's name, shown in Egyptian hieroglyphs to the right, is technically transcribed as mntw. Because of the difficulty in transcribing Egyptian, it is often realized as Menthu, Montju, Ment, Month, Montu, Monto, Mentu, Mont or Minu'thi. Monthu was an ancient god, his name meaning nomad, originally a manifestation of the scorching effect of the sun, Ra, and as such often appeared under the epithet Monthu-Ra. The destructiveness of this characteristic lead to him gaining characteristics of a warrior, and eventually becoming a war-god. When Thebes gained prominence, and thus its patron god Amun became more significant, changing his wife to Mut, Monthu was chosen as the necessary child to satisfy Mut's strong maternal desire to adopt, since he represented strength, virility, and victory. Because of the association of raging bulls with strength and war, Monthu
was also said to manifest himself in a white bull with a black face, which was referred to as the Bakha. Egypt's greatest general-kings called themselves Mighty Bulls, the sons of Monthu. In the famous narrative of the Battle of Kadesh, Ramesses II was said to have seen the enemy and "raged at them like Monthu, Lord of Thebes". In Ancient Egyptian art, he was pictured as a falcon-headed or bull-headed man who wore the sun-disc, with two plumes on his head, the falcon representing the sky, and the bull representing strength and war. He would hold various weaponry, including scimitars, bows and arrows, and knives in his hands. During the New Kingdom, large and impressive temples to Monthu were constructed in Armant. In fact, the Greek name of the city of Armant was Hermonthis, meaning the land of Monthu. Earlier temples to Monthu include one located adjacent to the Middle Kingdom fortress of Uronarti below the Second Cataract of the Nile, dating to the nineteenth century BCE. Mentuhotep, a name given to several pharaohs in the Middle Kingdom, means "Menthu is satisfied". Throughout the world in ancient times, man worshipped the sun. We find monuments to the sun gods all over the world, but in Egypt we really begin to get a feel for just how the sun dominated early theology. In Egypt, at various locations and apparently somewhat independently, the worship of the sun developed with gods of various names. So many of Egypt's deities were associated with the sun in some way that it is difficult to identify them, and their various forms became very complex. Montu, who we generally identify as an ancient war god in Egypt, actually originated in the form of a local solar god in Upper (southern) Egypt, apparently at Hermonthis (City of the Sun). His worship seems to have been exported to Thebes during the 11th Dynasty. Because of this god's association with the successful King Nebhepetre Montuhotep I (or II, same king), who ruled during Egypt's 11th Dynasty, Montu (Mentu) achieved the rank of state god. Montuhotep I reunited Upper and Lower Egypt after the chaos of the First Intermediate Period. His association with Montu is obvious from his name, which means,
"Montu is satisfied". However, by the 12th Dynasty, Montu became subordinated to Amun, another deity who probably originated in Upper Egypt, and would later be known as the "King of Gods". It was during this period that Montu's role in Egyptian religion took on the true attributes of a war god. Montu's veneration as a war god can be traced originally to the Story of Sinuhe, where Montu was praised by the tale's hero after he defeated the "strong man" of Retjenu. By the New Kingdom, 18th Dynasty pharaohs, some of whom followed a very military tradition, sought specifically to emulate Montu. For example, the Gebel Barkal Stele of Tuthmosis III, often referred to as the Napoleon of Egypt, describes the king as "a valiant Montu on the battlefield". Later in the New Kingdom, he became so personally identified with the Ramesses II that a cult statue bearing the king's throne name, Usermaare Setepenre, with the epithet, "Montu in the Two Lands", was venerated in Ramesses II's honor during his lifetime. When kings such as Ramesses II are referenced as "mighty bulls", they are claiming the association with Montu as his son. On the flip side, Montu had a connection with Egyptian households and was probably considered a protector of the happy home. He was often cited in marriage The Temple of Karnak, Sanctuary of Montu documents. One document from Deir el-Medina invokes the rage of a husband to his unfaithful wife with, "It is the abomination of Monthu." Montu was honored with cult centers in a number of locations. Specifically, he was worshipped at four sites within the Theban region. The cult centers included Armant (ancient Greek Hermonthis), southwest of modern Luxor (ancient Thebes) on the west bank of the Nile, Medamud (ancient Madu) northeast of Luxor, Tod (ancient Greek Tuphium), southwest of Luxor on the eastern bank, and at Karnak which is just northeast of modern Luxor. Most of these cult centers appear to have been established during the Middle Kingdom, with the exception of Karnak. There, the earliest monument dates from the New Kingdom, and specifically to the reign of Amenhotep III. A hymn from an Armant Stele says of him, "the raging one who prevails
over the serpent-demon Nik," and the one "who causes Re to sail in his park and who overthrows his serpent enemy". Therefore, it is perhaps not surprising that the ancient Egyptian warships were The Remains of the Temple of Montu at Medamud equipped with figures of a striding Montu holding maces or spears. Each of these statues were styled as a god of one of his four primary cult centers. Montu is commonly depicted as a man with the head of a falcon surmounted by a solar disk. He wears the double uraeus behind which two tall plumes extend vertically. Later, he became associated with the Bull Cults such as Buchis at Armant, and so he is depicted with the head of a bull and a plumed, solar headdress. Another bull sacred to Montu was also worshipped at Medamud. Like a number of other deities, Montu also became associated with Re in the form of Montu-Re. He was also paired with the solar Atum of Lower Egypt, and in this guise, was often depicted escorting the king into the presence of Amun. Other documentary evidence Columns of different types at the Ptolemy VII temple of Montu at Medamud suggests that he was also sometimes paired with Set (Seth), perhaps acting as a controlled divine aggressor to balance Set's chaotic attributes. Montu is also sometimes accompanied by one of his consorts in ancient scenes. Three are known, consisting of Tjenenet, Iunyt and Rettawy ( or Raettawy). Rettawy is the female counterpart of Re, and is depicted like Hathor as a cow with a sun disk surmounting her head. Through Rettawy, Montu is connected with Horus and thus the king, for their son was Harpocrates (Horus the child). Montu's worship survived for many years, and he was eventually considered by the Greeks to be a form of their war god, Ares.
Mut depicted as a woman wearing the double crown plus a royal vulture headdress, associated with Nekhbet
Mother Goddess of the New Kingdom
Wife of Amen, Vulture Goddess The 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. She was said to be the consort of Amun, and their son was the moon-god Khonsu.
The three formed a sort of heavenly family for their people. Each year a festival would be held celebrating the marriage of Amun and Mut. The high priest of Amun would lead a procession from Karnak to the temple at Luxor. Mut (Maut) was the queen of the gods at Waset (Thebes), arising in power with the god Amen. She came to represent the Eye of Ra, the ferocious goddess of retribution and daughter of the sun god Ra. Originally a local goddess, probably from the delta area, she became a national goddess during the New Kingdom and was adored at one of the most popular festivals at the time - the Festival of Mut.
She was either depicted as a woman, sometimes with wings, or a vulture, usually wearing the crowns of royalty - she was often shown wearing the double crown of Egypt or the vulture headdress of the New Kingdom queens. Later she was shown as woman with the head of a lioness, as a cow or as a cobra as she took on the attributes of the other Egyptian goddesses. The ancient Egyptian link between vultures and motherhood lead to her name being the ancient Egyptian word for mother - mwt In Southern Africa, the name for an Egyptian vulture is synonymous with the term applied to lovers, for vultures like pigeons are always seen in pairs. Thus mother and child remain closely bonded together. Pairing,
bonding, protecting, loving are essential attributes associated with a vulture. Because of its immense size and power and its ability to sore high up in the sky, the vulture is considered to be nearer to God who is believed to reside above the sky. Thus the qualities of a vulture are associated with Godliness. On the other hand the wide wingspan of a vulture may be seen as all encompassing and providing a protective cover to its infants. The vulture when carrying out its role as a mother and giving protection to its infants may exhibit a forceful nature whilst defending her young. All these qualities inspired the imagination of the Ancient Egyptians. They adopted what seemed to them at the time to be motherly qualities, the qualities of protecting and nurturing their young. - Ma-Wetu, The Kiswahili-Bantu Research Unit for the Advancement of the Ancient Egyptian Language
Mut took over the position of the original wife of Amen - Amaunet, the invisible goddess - during the Middle Kingdom and rose to power when the New Kingdom rulers took up the worship of Amen. The pharaohs moved to Waset, making it their capital, and so the worship of the local Waset gods spread throughout the land. As Amen became the god of the pharaohs, Mut became their symbolic mother and was identified with the queens. Their adopted son was Khonsu, the moon god, and the three were worshiped as a triad at Waset and at the Temple of Amen at Ipet-Resyt
(Luxor). Originally their adopted son was Montu, the god of war, but he was dropped in favor of the moon god, possibly because the shape of Mut's sacred lake was in the shape of a crescent moon. During the Festival of Mut in Waset, a statue of the goddess was placed on a boat and sailed around the small crescent shaped sacred lake at her temple at Ipet-Isut (Karnak). In a yearly matrimonial ceremony during the New Year festival, Amen traveled from his temple at Ipet-Resyt down to Ipet-Isut to visit her. Originally this was for the fertility goddess Ipet (Taweret), as a way of ensuring fertility for the coming year. Unas hath had union with the goddess Mut, Unas hath drawn unto himself the flame of Isis, Unas hath united himself to the blue water lily... - Pyramid Text of Unas There was also a composite deity called "Mut-Isis-Nekhbet, the Great Mother and Lady" who was shown as a winged goddess with leonine feet, an erect penis and three heads - a lion head wearing Min's headdress, a woman's head wearing the double crown of Egypt and a vulture's head wearing the red crown of Lower Egypt. In The Book of the Dead, a spell was spoken over a statue of her. The statue had her with three heads - one of the heads was that of a lioness wearing a headdress of two tall plumes, a human head wearing the double crown, and the third being the head of a vulture, again wearing the headdress of two plumes - as well as wings, an erect penis and the paws of a lion. This spell was to protect the dead from being disturbed, and it linked her to Bast, Sekhmet and the sun. In this form she was called both Mut, but addressed as Sekhmet-Bast-Ra. When she started to take over the positions of other goddesses, her name was linked to the older goddess' - such as Mut-Temt, Mut-Wadjet-Bast and Mut-Sekhmet-Bast-Menhit. She also started to take on the aspects and attributes of Isis, such as Mut's form of Mut-Isis-Nekhbet. She seems to have also taken the attributes of even the sky goddess Nut, mother of the five deities - Osiris, Horus the Elder, Set, Isis and Nephthys. I have given unto thee the sovereignty of the father Geb, and the goddess Mut, thy mother, who gave birth to the gods, brought thee forth as the first-born of five gods, and created thy beauties and fashioned thy
members. - The Book of the Dead When Amen was assimilated with Ra, becoming Amen-Ra, Mut took on the title the Eye of Ra, a form associated with Hathor and Sekhmet, among others. The Eye was usually shown as a lioness, representing the fierce heat of the sun, and so Mut was given the form of a lion headed woman. She was then thought to be the daughter of Ra, yet she was also "Mother of the Sun in Whom He Rises" - she was thought to be the mother of mothers, and thus could be both the mother and daughter of the sun god. The 'Mistress of Isheru' (the sacred lake around her temple) had a large temple mostly built by Amenhotep III. The earliest parts of the temple, though, were built by pharaohs Hatshepsut and Thothmose III. Later rulers such as Rameses II, Rameses III and King Taharqa of the Kushite 25th Dynasty added to the Mut Precinct, expanding the precinct and rebuilding the temple. (Rameses II's wife, Nefertari, was called Nefertari Merytnmut 'Nefertari, Beloved of Mut'.) The temple of Mut continued to prosper during the Ptolemaic period, right through to the conquest of Egypt by Rome in about 30 BC. By the late Roman period, the temple of Mut was no longer in use, and started to fall into disrepair.
The temple, Hut-Mut hwt-mwt ,was situated to the south of the great temple of Amen-Ra, with an avenue of sphinxes approaching her temple. She was worshiped there as "Mut, the Great Lady of Isheru, the Lady of Heaven, the Queen of the Gods". Mut was believed to have existed since primeval times, existing along side Nun, the primeval waters. This was probably due to her replacement of Amaunet, one of the primeval Ogdoad - the great eight - who lived in the waters. In her temple she was depicted
in the form black basalt statues, showing Mut as the Eye of Ra, Sekhmet. The precinct of Mut lies about 100 yards south of the precinct of Amen to which it is oriented, and covers an area of about twenty acres. The focal point of the complex is the temple of Mut itself, surrounded on three sides by a lake called the Isheru, a term used to describe sacred lakes specific to precincts of goddesses who can be leonine in form. The Mut Precinct's Isheru, fed probably by an underground spring, is the largest in Egypt that is preserved. The Mut expedition also uncovered a gate in an early western enclosure wall that bares traces of a possible graffito of Senmut, an important official under Hatshepsut, and the cartouches of Thothmose III (perhaps replacing Hatshepsut's cartouche), an Amarna period effacement of the name of Amen, and an inscription by Seti I recording the restoration of the gate. Despite the evidence of early 18th Dynasty activity at the site, many publications continue to identify the Mut temple as a work of Amenhotep III, primarily because of the many statues of the goddess Sekhmet found at the site that bear his name. However, it is now thought that the Sekhmet statues bearing the king's name were originally erected in his funerary temple on the west bank of the Nile. They were probably brought to the Mut Precinct during 19th Dynasty when Mut and Sekhmet became more closely associated and rituals involving both with the Isheru first appear to have gained prominence. - The Precinct of The Goddess Mut
She was also worshiped in Djannet (Tanis), Zau (Sau, Sai, Sais), the Oases of Kharga and Dakhla. Her followers believed her as the great mother, the one who created and brought forth everything that existed. This was probably why she was sometimes depicted with male parts - she was not just one who gave birth to life, she was one who conceived life itself. She was "Mut, Who Giveth Birth, But Was Herself Not Born of Any". Another reason why Mut may have been seen as being able to have conceived by herself was the ancient Egyptian believe that there were no male griffon vultures (the vulture of the Egyptian goddesses and royalty). (This vulture (Gyps fulvus) has no significant markings between the female and the male of the species.) They believed that this bird conceived with the wind. The great mother goddess of the New Kingdom, Mut replaced or assimilated many of the Egyptian goddesses. She became a great, all-in-one goddess of the capital city, and her popularity spread. Although possibly a local goddess from the delta, she was married to Amen, replacing his original wife. She came to represent the mother of the pharaoh, the royal crown being her symbol, and firmly established her place with the rulers of Thebes. From there, she became one of Egypt's great goddesses, worshiped through the land from the New Kingdom well into Roman times. Both male and female, her followers believed her to be the one who created and gave birth to all.
Lord of the Sunrise In Egyptian mythology, Nefertem (also Nefertum, Nefer-Tem, Nefer-Temu) was originally just the young Atum (his name means beautiful Atum, i.e. youthful Atum), at the creation of the world, who had arisen from the primal waters, in the Ennead cosmogeny. Since Atum was a solar deity, Nefertum represented sunrise, and since Atum had arisen from the primal waters in the bud of an Egyptian blue water-lily, Nymphaea caerulea, Nefertum was associated with this flower. (This flower is widely used in Egyptian art, religion and literature. In much of the literature about ancient Egypt, it is called the "(blue) lotus". However, the true lotus, Nelumbo nucifera, is not found in Egypt until the time of the Persian invasion, when it was introduced as a food crop.) Later, as time wore on, Atum became assimilated into Ra (as Atum-Ra), and so it came to be that people regarded Nefertum as a separate deity.
Some of the titles of Nefertem were "He Who is Beautiful" and "Water-Lily of the Sun", and a version of the Book of the Dead says, "Rise like Nefertem from the blue water lily, to the nostrils of Ra, and come forth upon the horizon each day." As the power of Memphis grew, their chief god, Ptah, was said to be the original creator, and thus of all the other gods, including any lesser creators, who create the remaining gods having first being created by Ptah. Consequently, the creator aspect of Atum-Ra, namely Nefertum, came to be merely the son of Ptah, rather than the creator proper. As son of Ptah, it was said that either Sekhmet, or Bast (whichever was considered wife of Ptah), was his mother. As a god now only associated with the highly aromatic blue water-lily rather than creation, he became a god of perfume and luck.
In art, Nefertum is usually depicted as a beautiful young man having blue water-lily flowers around his head. As the son of Bast, he also sometimes has the head of a lion or is a lion or cat reclining. Nefertem was associated both with the scent of the blue water-lily flower and its supposed narcotic effect (widely presumed, but yet untested scientifically). The ancient Egyptians often carried small statuettes of him as good-luck charms.
In Egyptian mythology, Nehebkau (also spelt Nehebu-Kau, and Neheb Ka) was originally the explanation of the cause of binding of Ka and Ba after death. Thus his name, which means (one who) brings together Ka. Since these aspects of the soul were said to bind after death, Nehebkau was said to have guarded the entrance to Duat, the underworld. was one of the more important glyphs in his name, and although it was technically a variation on the glyph for two arms raised in prayer, it also resembles a two-headed snake, and so Nehebkau became depicted in art
as a snake with two heads (occasionally with only one). As a two-headed snake, he was viewed as fierce, being able to attack from two directions, and not having to fear as much confrontations. Consequently sometimes it was said that Atum, the chief god in these areas, had to keep his finger on him to prevent Nehebkau from getting out of control. Alternately, in areas where Ra was the chief god, it was said that Nehebkau was one of the warriors who protected Ra whilst he was in the underworld, during Ra's nightly travel, as a sun god, under the earth.
When he was seen as a snake, he was also thought to have some power over snake-bites, and by extension, other poisonous bites, such as those of scorpions, thus sometimes being identified as the son of Serket, the scorpion-goddess of protection against these things. Alternatively, as a snake, since he was connected to an aspect of the soul, he was sometimes seen as the son of Renenutet, a snake-goddess, who distributed the Ren, another aspect of the soul, and of the earth (Geb), on which snakes crawl. Ka is also the Egyptian word for phallus, and so as the somewhat difficult to interpret (one who) harnesses together phalluses, he was often depicted in an Ithyphallic manner (still as a snake).
Nit (Net, Neit, Neith) was the predynastic goddess of war and weaving, the goddess of the Red Crown of Lower Egypt and the patron goddess of Zau (Sau, Sai, Sais) in the Delta. In later times she was also thought to have been an androgynous demiurge - a creation deity - who had both male and female attributes. The Egyptians believed her to be an ancient and wise goddess, to whom the other gods came if they could not resolve their own disputes. It is thought that Neith may correspond to the goddess Tanit, worshipped in north Africa by the early Berber culture (existing from the beginnings of written records) and through the first Punic culture originating from the founding of Carthage by Dido. Ta-nit, meaning in Egyptian the land of Nit, also was a sky-dwelling goddess of war, a virginal mother goddess and nurse, and, less specifically, a symbol of fertility. Her symbol is remarkably similar to the Egyptian ankh and her shrine,
excavated at Sarepta in southern Phoenicia, revealed an inscription that related her securely to the Phoenician goddess Astarte (Ishtar). Several of the major Greek goddesses also were identified with Tanit by the syncretic, interpretatio graeca, which recognized as Greek deities in foreign guise the deities of most of the surrounding non-Hellene cultures. A Hellenistic royal family ruled over Egypt for three centuries, a period called the Ptolemaic dynasty until the Roman conquest in 30 A.D. Neith was a goddess of war and of hunting and had as her symbol, two crossed arrows over a shield. Her symbol also identified the city of Sais. This symbol was displayed on top of her head in Egyptian art. In her form as a goddess of war, she was said to make the weapons of warriors and to guard their bodies when they died. Her name also may be interpreted as meaning, water. In time, this meaning led to her being considered as the personification of the primordial waters of creation. She is identified as a great mother goddess in this role as a creator. Neith's symbol and part of her hieroglyph also bore a resemblance to a loom, and so later in the history of Egyptian myths, she also became goddess of weaving, and gained this version of her name, Neith, which means weaver. At this time her role as a creator changed from being water-based to that of the deity who wove all of the world and existence into being on her loom. As a goddess of weaving and the domestic arts she was a protector of women and a guardian of marriage, so royal woman often named themselves after Neith, in her honour. Since she also was goddess of war, and thus had an additional association with death, it was said that she wove the bandages and shrouds worn by the mummified dead as a gift to them, and thus she began to be viewed as a protector of one of the Four sons of Horus, specifically, of Duamutef, the deification of the canopic jar storing the stomach, since the abdomen (often mistakenly associated as the stomach) was the most vulnerable portion of the body and a prime target during battle. It was said that she shot arrows at any evil spirits who attacked the canopic jar she protected. In the late pantheon of the Ogdoad myths, she became identified as the
mother of Ra and Apep. When she was identified as a water goddess, she was also viewed as the mother of Sobek, the crocodile. It was this association with water, i.e. the Nile, that led to her sometimes being considered the wife of Khnum, and associated with the source of the River Nile. She was associated with the Nile Perch as well as the goddess of the triad in that cult center. As the goddess of creation and weaving, she was said to reweave the world on her loom daily. The Greek historian, Herodotus (c. 484-425 BC), noted that the Egyptian citizens of Sais in Egypt worshipped Neith and that they identified her with Athena. The Timaeus, a Socratic dialogue written by Plato, mirrors that identification with Athena. Plutarch (46 - 120 A.D.), said the temple of Neith (of which nothing now remains) bore the inscription: I am All That Has Been, That Is, and That Will Be. No mortal has yet been able to lift the veil that covers Me. In much later times, her association with war and death, led to her being identified with Nephthys (and Anouke or Ankt). Nephthys became part of the Ennead pantheon, and thus considered a wife of Set. Despite this, it was said that she interceded in the kingly war between Horus and Set, over the Egyptian throne, recommending that Horus rule. Anouke, a goddess from Asia Minor was worshiped by immigrants to ancient Egypt. This war goddess was shown wearing a curved and feathered crown and carrying a spear, or bow and arrows. Within Egypt, she was later assimilated and identified as Neith, who by that time had developed her aspects as a war goddess. In art, Neith sometimes appears as a woman with a weavers¹ shuttle atop her head, holding a bow and arrows in her hands. At other times she is depicted as a woman with the head of a lioness, as a snake, or as a cow. Sometimes Neith was pictured as a woman nursing a baby crocodile, and she was titled "Nurse of Crocodiles". As the personification of the concept of the primordial waters of creation in the Ogdoad theology, she had no gender. As mother of Ra, she was sometimes described as the "Great Cow who gave birth to Ra".
A great festival, called the Feast of Lamps, was held annually in her honor and, according to Herodotus, her devotees burned a multitude of lights in the open air all night during the celebration. There also is evidence of an resurrection cult involving a woman dying and being brought back to life that was connected with Neith.
Generally depicted as a woman, Nit was shown either wearing her emblem - either a shield crossed with two arrows, or a weaving shuttle - or the Red Crown of Lower Egypt. Nit was probably linked with the crown of Lower Egypt due to the similarities between her name, and the name of the crown - nt . Similarly, her name was linked to the root of the word for 'weave' - ntt (which is also the root for the word 'being'). She was also often shown carrying a bow and arrows, linking her to hunting and warfare, or a sceptre and sceptre and the ankh sign of life. She was also shown in the form of a cow, though this was very rare.
In late dynastic times there is no doubt that Nit was regarded as nothing but a form of Hathor, but at an earlier period she was certainly a
personification of a form of the great, inert, primeval watery mass out of which sprang the sun god Ra... - The Gods of the Egyptians, E. A. Wallis Budge
As the mother of Ra, the Egyptians believed her to be connected with the god of the watery primeval void, Nun. (Her name might have also been linked to a word for water - nt - thus providing the connection between the goddess and the primeval waters.) Because the sun god arose from the primeval waters, and with Nit being these waters, she was thought to be the mother of the sun, and mother of the gods. She was called 'Nit, the Cow Who Gave Birth to Ra' as one of her titles. The evil serpent Apep, enemy of Ra, was believed to have been created when Nit spat into the waters of Nun, her spittle turning into the giant snake. As a creatrix, though, her name was written using the hieroglyph of an ejaculating phallus - - a strong link to the male creative force a hint as to her part in the creation of the universe. According to the Iunyt (Esna) cosmology the goddess emerged from the primeval waters to create the world. She then followed the flow of the Nile northward to found Zau in company with the subsequently venerated lates-fish. There are much earlier references to Nit's association with the primordial flood-waters and to her demiurge: Amenhotep II (DynastyXVIII) in
one inscription is the pharaoh 'whose being Nit moulded'; the papyrus (Dynasty XX) giving the account of the struggle between Horus and Set mentions Nit 'who illuminated the first face' and in the sixth century BC the goddess is said to have invented birth. - A Dictionary of Egyptian Gods and Goddesses, George Hart There is confusion as to the Emblem of Nit - originally it was of a shield and two crossed arrows. This was her symbol from the earliest times, and she was no doubt a goddess of hunting and war since predynastic times. The symbol of her town, Zau, used this emblem from early times, and was used in the name of the nome of which her city was the capital. The earliest use of this Emblem was used in the name of queen Nithotep, 'Nit is Pleased', who seems to have been the wife of Aha "Fighter" Menes of the 1st Dynasty. Another early dynastic queen, Mernit, 'Beloved of Nit', served as regent around the time of king Den. Her most ancient symbol is the shield with crossed arrows, which occurs in the early dynastic period... This warlike emblem is reflected in her titles 'Mistress of the Bow... Ruler of Arrows'. - A Dictionary of Egyptian Gods and Goddesses, George Hart
The later form of the Emblem is what some people believe to be a weaving shuttle. It is possible that the symbols were confused by the Egyptians themselves, and so she became a goddess of weaving and other domestic arts. It was claimed, in one version of her tale, that she created the world by weaving it with her shuttle.
She was linked to with a number of goddesses including Isis, Bast, Wadjet, Nekhbet, Mut and Sekhmet. As a cow, she was linked to both Nut and Hathor. She was also linked to Tatet, the goddess who dressed the dead, and was thus linked to preservation of the dead. This was probably due to being a weaver goddess - she was believed to make the bandages for the deceased. She might have also been linked to Anubis and Wepwawet (Upuaut), because one of her earliest titles was also 'Opener of the Ways'. She was also one of the four goddesses - herself, Isis, Nephthys and Serqet - who watched over the deceased as well as each goddess protecting one of the four sons of Horus. Nit watched over the east side of the sarcophagus and looked after the jackal-headed Duamutef who guarded the stomach of the dead. Also, during the earliest times, weapons were placed around the grave to protect the dead, and so her nature of a warrior-goddess might have been a direct link to her becoming a mortuary goddess. Her son, other than the sun god Ra, was believed to be Sobek, the crocodile god. She was regarded as his mother from early times - the two were mentioned as mother and son in the pyramid of Unas - and one of her titles was 'Nurse of Crocodiles'. She was also regarded, during the Old Kingdom, as the wife of Set, though by later times this relationship was dropped and she became the wife of Sobek instead. In Upper Egypt she was married to the inundation god, Khnum, instead.
"Give the office of Osiris to his son Horus! Do not go on committing these great wrongs, which are not in place, or I will get angry and the sky will topple to the ground. But also tell the Lord of All, the Bull who lives in Iunu (On, Heliopolis), to double Set's property. Give him Anat and Astarte, your two daughters, and put Horus in the place of his father."
A woman with the head of a vulture
The goddess Nekhbet is usualy represented as a vulture, as a woman with the head of a vulture or as a woman wearing the Atef-crown. The Atef-crown resembles the White Crown of Upper Egypt, but it is flanked by two feathers and sometimes stands on two flat ram's horns. She can only be represented simply wearing the White Crown. Her primary cult centres are located in the ancient cities of Nekheb (Elkab) and Nekhen (Hierakonpolis), situated across each other on both banks of the Nile in the South of Upper-Egypt. Her name means "the one of Nekheb". Her most important epithet "the White One of Nekhen" relates her to Hierakonpolis. She is the personification of the White Crown of Upper Egypt, and as such, she is associated with her Lower-Egyptian counterpart, Uto. Both goddesses are often represented together, crowning the king. By extension, she is not only the goddess of the White Crown, but also the patron goddess of Upper-Egypt. It is thus not surprising to find Nekhbet,
along with Uto, in the Two Ladies name of the royal titulary. As a vulture-goddess, Nekhbet is the goddess of heaven, sometimes related to the sun when she is called "the Eye of Re" and other times to the moon. She is also the protectress of the king and of the non-royal deceased. As such, she is represented as a vulture extending one wing to the front, the other to the ground, flying above the person she is protecting. In Egyptian mythology, Nekhbet (also spelt Nechbet, and Nekhebit) was an early predynastic local goddess who was the patron of the city of Nekheb, her name meaning of Nekheb. Ultimately, she became the patron of Upper Egypt and one of the two patron deities for all of Ancient Egypt when it was unified. She was seen as a goddess who had chosen to adopt the city, and consequently depicted as the Egyptian white vulture, a creature that the Egyptians thought only existed as females (not knowing that, lacking sexual dimorphism, the males are identical). They were presumed to be reproducing via parthenogenesis. Egypt¹s oldest oracle was the shrine of Nekhbet at Nekheb, the original necropolis or city of the dead. It was the companion city to Nekhen, the religious and political capital of Upper Egypt at the end of the Predynastic period (c. 3200·3100 BC) and probably, also during the Early Dynastic Period (c. 3100-2686 BC). The original settlement on the Nekhen site dates from Naqada I or the late Badarian cultures. At its height, from about 3400 BC, Nekhen had at least 5,000 and possibly as many as 10,000 inhabitants. The priestesses of Nekhbet were called muu (mothers) and wore robes of vulture feathers. Later, as with Wadjet, she became patron of the pharaohs, in her case becoming the personification of Upper Egypt. The images of these two primal goddesses became the protecting deities for all of Egypt. In art, Nekhbet was depicted as the white vulture (representing purification), always seen on the front of pharaoh¹s double crown along with Wadjet. Nekhbet usually was depicted hovering, with her wings spread above the
royal image, clutching a shem symbol (representing infinity, all, or everything), frequently in both of her claws. As patron of the pharaoh, she was sometimes seen to be the mother of the divine aspect of the pharaoh, and it was in this capacity that she was Mother of Mothers, and the Great White Cow of Nekheb (depicted as having very large breasts). The vulture hieroglyph was the uniliteral sign used for the glottal sound including words such as mother, prosperous, grandmother, and ruler. In some late texts of the Book of the Dead, Nekhbet is referred to as Father of Fathers, Mother of Mothers, who hath existed from the Beginning, and is Creatrix of this World. When pairing began to occur in the Egyptian pantheon, giving most of the goddesses a husband, Nekhbet was said to become the wife of Hapy, a deity of the inundation of the Nile. Despite the early and constant association with being a good mother, in late myths she even was stated to have to adopt children.
Goddess Nekhbet, staff, with Shen ring Nekhbet grew to become patron of Upper Egypt, a guardian of mothers and children, and one of the nebty (the 'two ladies') of the pharaoh. "She of Nekhb", named after the town Nekhb (El Kab) , was a local goddess who, with the rise of the pharaohs, became the great goddess of all of Upper Egypt, while the other 'lady', Uatchet (Uatch-Ura, Wadjet), became
goddess of Lower Egypt. These two goddesses were linked closely together due to the Egyptian idea of duality - there must be a goddess for both of the Two Lands. Nekhbet became Upper Egypt (the south) personified.
She was depicted as a woman wearing the crown of Upper Egypt or the vulture headdress, a woman with the head of a vulture, as a full snake or as a full vulture with the White Crown on her head, her wings spread in protection while holding the shen (shn) symbol of eternity in her talons. She was often shown with Uatchet, who was shown as an identical goddess - either as a woman or a snake - wearing the crown of Lower Egypt.
Nekhbet crown of Upper Egypt Nekhbet was given the title the 'White Crown', and depicted with this crown, because of her link with the rulership of Upper Egypt. By dynastic times, she was more a personification than an actual goddess and so Nekhbet was often used (with Uatchet) as a heraldic device around the sun disk or the royal name and were part of the royal insignia. The earliest found representation of the nebty title was in the reign of Anedjib, a pharaoh of the 1st Dynasty. From the 18th Dynasty onwards, she began to be represented as protecting the royal women in the form of one of the twin uraei on the headdresses of the queens. Nekhbet (right) and Uto (left) crown the King.
Temple of Horus at Edfu. Linked to the pharaoh and the crown, she often appears in war and offertory scenes, in vulture form hovering over the head of the pharaoh, holding the shen symbol and the royal flail. Yet she also is shown sometimes as a divine mother of the pharaoh, suckling him herself. It was in her mothering role that she was known as the 'Great White Cow of Nekhb', where she was described as having pendulous breasts. She was seen as the pharaoh's own protective goddess, right from his birth until his death. It was mostly during the later times that she was venerated as a goddess of birth, specialising in the protection and suckling of both the gods and the pharaohs. Unlike Heqet and Taweret, she was never a popular goddess of the people due to her very close association with rulership. It was only during the New Kingdom that the people started worshiping her as a protector of mothers and children as well as being the goddess of childbirth. Until then, she had strictly been a protector of the pharaoh. Nekhbet was thought to be the wife of Hapi, in his Upper Egyptian aspect. She was also linked to Horus in his role of god of Upper Egypt. Due to her vulture form, she was linked to the goddess Mut, the mother goddess and wife of Amen. Both Mut and Nekhbet were a particular type of vulture - the
griffon vulture (Gyps fulvus). It was the griffon vulture that was usually related to the goddesses and to royalty.
Yet she also had a fierce side, as most Egyptian protective deities did. She was linked to war and combat. In many war scenes, it is she who hovered above the pharaoh, protecting him from his enemies. In the story of Horus and Set, when Horus is trying to find and rout the followers of Set, Horus pursued them in the form of a burning, winged disk, attended by both Nekhbet and Uatchet as crowned snakes, one on each side of him. In this form, she was given the title 'Eye of Ra', and was thus linked to the other goddesses who took this title - Bast, Tefnut, Sekhmet, Hathor, Isis, and her 'twin' in duality, Uatchet. A temple of Nekhbet was built at Nekhb, along with the temple's birth house, smaller temples, the temple's sacred lake and some early cemeteries. It is possible that it was first built during the Early Period, but major building projects were started during the 18th Dynasty. The remains of the temple, though, belong to the works of the pharaohs of the 29th and 30th Dynasties. Nekhbet was venerated at this temple, inside the town of Nekhb itself, throughout most of Egypt's long history. From local goddess of a predynastic town to the goddess of Upper Egypt, Nekhbet became one of Egypt's symbols. From the personal protector of the pharaoh and she who bestowed the white crown to the pharaoh, she became the symbol of rulership in ancient Egypt. And from the wet nurse of pharaoh to the guardian of mothers and infants, she took on the role of protector, she moved from the pharaoh's own goddess to one who looked after mothers and children through the whole land. She was worshiped as a goddess as well as being the personification of the south, the vulture goddess who was one half of a manifestation of the idea of duality that was a basis of ma'at for as long as the pharaohs ruled Egypt. She was
more than just a goddess - she was half of the land of Egypt itself.
Daughter of Nut and Geb.
Sister of Osiris, Isis, and Seth. Wife of Seth, mother of Anubis. In Egyptian mythology, Nephthys is the Greek form of an epithet (correctly spelled Nebet-het, and Nebt-het, in transliteration from Egyptian hieroglyphs). Nephthys, therefore, is a member of the Great Ennead of Heliopolis, a daughter of Nut and Geb. Nephthys was the divine corresponding "power" (or completion) of her sister, Isis and, in a somewhat lesser fashion, the sister-wife of Set. Nephthys is occasionally regarded as the mother of the funerary-deity Anubis. Nephthys apparently was known in a wide spectrum of ancient Egyptian temple theologies and cosmologies as the "Useful Goddess" or the "Excellent Goddess". In this sense, late ancient Egyptian temple texts prove to be pointedly accurate depictions of a far more nuanced goddess, one who represented divine assistance and protective guardianship on a multitude of levels. A more certain understanding in regard to this divinity has been hampered necessarily due to the fragmented aspect of ongoing efforts to document and publish specific temple (and other inscriptional) discoveries, excavations, and theologies, along with relatively few concerted attempts to draw various and disparate strands of evidence into some form of cohesive whole. In this regard, the work of E. Hornung has proved to be revelatory, along with the work of several noted scholars. Perhaps most interestingly for our current consideration, Nephthys was not at all restricted to the purely passive or formless status so often accorded to her by various commentators. On the contrary, Nephthys quite often is featured as a rather ferocious and dangerous divinity, capable of incinerating the enemies of the Pharaoh with her fiery breath. As the primary "nursing mother" of the incarnate Pharaonic-god, Horus, Nephthys also was considered to be, de facto, the mightiest nurse of the reigning Pharaoh himself. Though many goddesses could arbitrarily assume this role, depending upon the local setting, Nephthys was ostensibly and nationally, irreplaceable in this function. It is important, within this framework, to appreciate the potency of the Osirian Royal-Mortuary-Deity cults (and their
primacy) in understanding exactly how the chief Osirian deities exercised enormous influence in widespread, fundamentally crucial temple rituals and practices from Dynasty V and beyond. Certainly with the coming of the New Kingdom Ramesside Pharaohs, in particular, one witnesses a royal lineage enamored of Mother Nephthys, as is attested in various stelae and a wealth of inscriptions at Karnak and Luxor. Nephthys was a member of that great city's Ennead - just as she was in Heliopolis - and her altars were present in the massive complex. An inherited reverence for protective qualities made Nephthys a goddess of notable flexibility who did not, as is often stated, live constantly in the shadow of her great sister, Isis. Moreover, Nephthys was one of the few national goddesses to serve as tutelary divinity of her own district, or nome, in Ancient Egyptian history. Indeed, Upper Egyptian Nome VII and its city, Hwt-Sekhem, were considered (at least by Greco-Roman times) to be the unique fiefdom of Nephthys.
Etymology Nephthys is a goddess of undetermined origin, but contrary to many erroneous claims, her ancient Egyptian name did not mean "Lady of the
House," as if referring to an ordinary human home. She was not in any way to be identified with some notion of a "housewife," nor as the primary lady who ruled the common domestic household. This is a pervasive and egregious error, oft-repeated, in very many commentaries concerning this deity. Rather, her name means quite specifically, Lady of the [Temple] Enclosure. This title (which seems to be more of an epithet, rather than a goddess-name) likely indicates the association of Nephthys with one particular temple or some specific aspect of the Egyptian temple that is now partially lost to modern understanding. We do know, from a wealth of sources (cf. P. Wilson, above), that (along with her sister Isis) Nephthys represented the temple pylon or the great flagstaff heralding the Divine Dwelling. Due to her very streamlined role as a protective entity, we may even consider the simplest explanation in which Nephthys truly lives-up to her unique epithet and is to be identified with the fundamentally protective temple enclosure-wall itself. All other efforts to determine the exact origin of this goddess remain speculative. To reiterate, her name seems to be an epithet masking the original, sacred name of this divinity (whatever it was). Sacred names were kept secret. She may well have been artificially created by Heliopolitan theologians to serve as a counterpart or doppelganger of Isis, but the specific nature of her epithet "Mistress of the [Temple] Enclosure" mitigates against this, and the idea remains speculative. Function By the time of the Fifth Dynasty Pyramid Texts, Nephthys appears as a goddess of the Heliopolis cosmic family. She is the counterpart, or twin, of Isis and, in more surprisingly cursory fashion, features as an almost nominal companion of the war-like deity, Set. As sister of Isis and especially Osiris, Nephthys is a blatantly protective goddess who symbolized the transitional death experience, just as Isis represented the transitional birth experience. In the funerary role, Nephthys often was depicted as a kite or falcon, or as a woman with falcon wings, usually outstretched as a symbol of her protective
proclivities. She was, almost without fail, depicted as crowned by the hieroglyphics signifying her name, which were a combination of signs for the sacred temple enclosure (hwt), along with the sign for neb, or mistress (Lady), atop the enclosure. In the Pyramid Texts Nephthys is unquestionably a great, ubiquitous, and yet enigmatic presence. Normally she appears in potent congress with her sister, Isis, as a fortifying entity. She is one of the Nine Great Ones of Heliopolis. Nevertheless, she also turns up as the companion of Set in a few key passages. Because Set represented the stark aridity of the desert in ancient Egypt, he was generally viewed as a sterile deity in myth and in temple cult. Therefore, Nephthys was, in most districts, seen as a childless entity as well. Myths that portray Nephthys as the mother of Anubis are either latecomers to the body of ancient Egyptian lore or vague allusions. Nephthys's early association with the kite or the Egyptian hawk (and its piercing, mournful cries) evidently reminded the ancients of the lamentations usually offered for the dead by wailing women. In this capacity, it is easy to see how Nephthys could be associated with death and putrefaction in the Pyramid Texts. Even so, in the Pyramid Texts, Nephthys possesses attributes of an ominous nature that make of her personality something occasionally unique, in comparison to Isis. Indeed, the hair of Nephthys is compared, in one curious passage, to the strips of linen that enshroud the deceased Pharaoh's mummy. These "tresses," however, are not considered to be bonds. On the contrary, they appear as life-giving and temporary impediments from which the Pharaoh is encouraged to "break free" and ascend to the afterlife. It is no great leap (in terms of symbolism) to see that the "tresses of Nephthys" here assume a role very much akin to the chrysalis-shell that simultaneously immobilizes and yet protectively transforms the caterpillar before it bursts forth into new life. To be certain, there is absolutely no overt comparison, in the Pyramid Texts, between this function of Nephthys and the chrysalis, but the symbolism is one that may merit further exploration of Nephthys's unique domain, since the aforementioned passage is one of only eight (in the Pyramid Texts) wherein this goddess
appears independent of her complementary power, Isis. Whatever the scenario, Nephthys was clearly viewed (in the above-noted example) as a morbid-but-crucial force of heavenly transition, ie., the Pharaoh becomes strong for his journey to the afterlife by breaking free from Nephthys. The same divine power could be applied later to all of the dead, who were advised to consider Nephthys a necessary companion. According to the Pyramid Texts, Nephthys, along with Isis, was a force before whom demons trembled in fear, and whose magical spells were necessary for navigating the various levels of Duat, as the region of the afterlife was termed. It should here be noted that Nephthys was not necessarily viewed as the polar opposite of Isis, but rather as a different reflection of the same reality: eternal life in transition. Thus, Nephthys was also seen in the Pyramid Texts as a supportive cosmic force occupying the night-bark on the journey of Ra, the majestic sun god, particularly when he entered Duat at the transitional time of dusk, or twilight. Isis was Ra's companion at the coming of dawn. The union between the Two Sisters cannot be overemphasized. At the same time, their distinct polarities cannot be dismissed. Nephthys and Set Though it commonly has been assumed that Nepthys was married to Set, recent Egyptological research has called this into question. Levai notes that while Plutarch¹s De Iside et Osiride mentions the deity's marriage, there is very little specifically linking Nephthys and Set in the original early Egyption sources. She argues that the later evidence suggests that: while Nephthys¹s marriage to Seth was a part of Egyptian mythology, it was not a part of the myth of the murder and resurrection of Osiris. She was not paired with Seth the villain, but with Seth¹s other aspect, the benevolent figure who was the killer of Apophis. This was the aspect of Seth worshiped in the western oases during the Roman period, where he is depicted with Nephthys as co-ruler. The Saving Sister of Osiris Nephthys plays an important role in the rudimentary Osirian myth-cycle (as
delineated in the Pyramid Texts) and even more so in the temple cults that steadily arose across the length and breadth of ancient Egypt from this particular body of myth. It is Nephthys who appears as the force of dual completion, assisting Isis in gathering and mourning the dismembered portions of the body of Osiris, after his murder by the envious Set. These acts of "gathering" and "mourning" were not mere pedantic motifs, much in the same way that Osiris's role as a scattered corpse cannot be seen as an entirely passive or meaningless divine emblem. On the contrary, these acts on the part of Nephthys and Isis were inordinately powerful and effectual: the "gathering" and "mourning" were efforts that genuinely altered the chasm between Life and Death - these acts energized and empowered "The God" (Osiris), and hence the complete life-cycle of the Nile, for the preservation of the very balance between Order and Chaos. Why Nephthys was so firmly entrenched in Osirian loyalties (when she also is clearly associated with Set) is a conundrum. Her original prerogatives may indeed, have been sequestered within the framework of a sort of power-dyad with Isis for the ritual gathering, unification, and magical resurrection of Osiris, but the ancient Egyptian lore masters apparently were not afraid of contrast. Nephthys is the companion of Set, yet she also is the interested, reliable, and devoted "Saving Sister of the God [Osiris]", who completes the resurrectional equation with Isis. (In a most basic fashion, the abundant information regarding the Osirian myth-cycle, whether from the Pyramid Texts, the Metternich Stela, or the musings of Plutarch, and such, should be considered as pertinent sources for the first three portions of this article). Thereafter, Nephthys also serves as the primary nursemaid and watchful guardian of the infant Horus, often in the absence of (or in apposition to) Isis herself. It is no small matter that the above-mentioned sources (including the Pyramid texts) refer to Isis as the "birth-mother" and to Nephthys as the "nursing-mother" of the totemic Pharaonic deity (Horus). Above all else, the magical power of Nephthys was viewed as the necessary fulfillment of the power of Isis, and vice versa. Interestingly,
though Nephthys was attested as one of the four "Great Chiefs" ruling in the Osirian cult-center of Busiris, in the Delta (cf. The Book of the Dead, Theban Recension), she appears to have occupied only an honorary position at the holy city of Abydos. No cult is attested for her there, though she certainly figured as a goddess of great importance in the annual rites conducted, wherein two chosen females or priestesses played the roles of Isis and Nephthys and performed the elaborate Lamentations of Isis and Nephthys - an almost liturgical collection of songs that formed a crucial part of a sort of Passion Play in honor of the God. There, at Abydos, Nephthys joined Isis as a mourner in the hallowed cenotaph shrine known as the Osireion (cf.Byron Esely Shafer, Dieter Arnold, Temples in Ancient Egypt, p.112, 2005). Moreover, these "Festival Songs of Isis and Nephthys" were ritual elements of many such Osirian rites in major ancient Egyptian cult-centers. Without doubt, in fundamental ancient Egyptian myth and temple cult, it is only as a duo that the "Two Sisters" (Isis and Nephthys) are equipped to reunite, reconstitute, and resurrect the body of Osiris. Thereafter, both goddesses (or one in place of the other) are called upon to protect fiercely and nurture the Osirian mummy (along with the child Horus) in various temples and ostensibly in the life-cycle of the Pharaoh. Within such cultic framework, the magical powers of Isis and Nephthys were seen as a primary, united force keeping chaos at bay. As part of this indispensable protective dyad, Nephthys was essential to the maintenance of ma'at, or "balance," for the good of temple, town, kingdom, and royal household. As a chief mortuary goddess (along with Isis, Neith, and Serqet), Nephthys was one of the protectresses of the sacred Canopic jars and of the genii Hapi, in particular. Hapi (one of the Sons of Horus) guarded the embalmed lungs and, as his Mistress, Nephthys was a goddess capable of delivering the "breath of life" to the deceased via her wings. Thus, we find Nephthys endowed with the epithet, "Nephthys of the Bed of Life," ( cf. tomb of Tuthmosis III, Dynasty XVIII) in direct reference to her regenerative priorities on the embalming table. In the city of Memphis, Nephthys was duly honored with the title "Queen of the Embalmer's Shop," and there associated with the dog-headed god Anubis as patron.
Nephthys' greatest role was clearly as the stalwart companion and reflection of her sister Isis. Because of the power shared between the two sisters, Egyptologist Claude Traunecker reminds us that "...it is indeed not astonishing that the ancient Egyptians had recourse to Nephthys". In an abundance of temple texts and inscriptions, Nephthys quite often was described as a youthful, nubile, and exceedingly beautiful goddess attributes which would facilitate her later identification with Hathor (or perhaps proceed from that identification). While intrinsically related to Isis in almost every aspect, Nephthys yet retained certain qualities that differentiated her from her sister: she was, seemingly deliberately, the more intangible, unpredictable half of the dyad. At the same time, Nephthys was considered a festive deity whose rites (in various locales) could mandate the liberal consumption of beer. In various reliefs at Edfu, Dendera, and Behbeit, Nephthys is depicted receiving lavish beer-offerings from the Pharaoh, which she would "return", using her power as a beer-goddess "that [the pharaoh] may have joy with no hangover." Elsewhere at Edfu, for example, Nephthys is a goddess who gives the Pharaoh power to see "that which is hidden by moonlight." This fits well with more general textual themes that consider Nephthys to be a goddess whose unique domain was darkness, or the perilous edges of the desert. Rarely, Nephthys could appear as one of the goddesses who assists at childbirth. One ancient Egyptian myth (preserved in the beloved Papyrus Westcar) recounts the story of Isis, Nephthys, Meskhenet, and Heqet as traveling dancers in disguise, assisting the wife of a priest of Amun-Re as she prepares to bring forth sons who are destined for fame and fortune. This "fairy godmother" role would not, however, prove to be a prominent motif in the general perception of Nephthys; she remained a deity far more associated with the final stages of life than with its beginnings. Even so, Nephthys's healing skills and status as direct counterpart of Isis, steeped, as her sister in "words of power," are evidenced by the abundance of faience amulets carved in her likeness, and by her presence in a variety of magical papyri that sought to summon her famously altruistic qualities to the aid of mortals.
Cults of Nephthys Contrary to the majority of commentators, Nephthys was not a neglected goddess in ancient Egypt who possessed no temple, nor worship of her own. As Chief Counterpart of Isis, member of the Great Ennead, and mighty guardian of Osiris and Horus, Nephthys was considered to be a rather formidable member of the wider pantheon. Within the realm of myth and temple cult, ancient Egyptian deities ultimately were defined by the company they kept and, in this case, Nephthys was undeniably a very major divinity. She was one of the few deities known and revered by all Egyptians, in virtually all territories. Relatively recent archaeological excavations corroborate ancient papyri and temple texts, shedding new light upon this heretofore underrated goddess. For example, the Ramesside Pharaohs were particularly devoted to Set's prerogatives and, in the 19th Dynasty , a temple of Nephthys called the "House of Nephthys of Ramesses-Meriamun" was built or refurbished in the town of Sepermeru, midway between Oxyrhynchos and Herakleopolis, on the outskirts of the Fayyum and quite near to the modern site of Deshasheh. Here, as Papyrus Wilbour notes in its wealth of taxation records and land assessments, the temple of Nephthys was a specific foundation by Ramesses II, located in close proximity to (or within) the precinct of the enclosure of Set. To be certain, the House of Nephthys was one of fifty individual, land-owning temples delineated for this portion of the Middle Egyptian district in Papyrus Wilbour. The fields and other holdings belonging to Nephthys's temple were under the authority of two Nephthys-prophets (named Penpmer and Merybarse) and one (mentioned) wa'ab priest of the goddess. While certainly affiliated with the "House of Set," the Nephthys temple at Sepermeru and its apportioned lands (several acres) clearly were under administration distinct from the Set institution. The Nephthys temple was a unique establishment in its own right, an independent entity. According to Papyrus Wilbour, another "House of Nephthys of Ramesses-Meriamun" seems to have existed to the north, in the town of Su, closer to the
Fayyum region. Interestingly, yet another (probably contemporaneous) temple of Nephthys seems to have existed in the town of Punodjem. The Papyrus Bologna records a complaint lodged by a prophet of the temple of Set in that town regarding undue taxation in his regard. After making an introductory appeal to "Re-Horakhte, Set, and Nephthys" for the ultimate resolution of this issue by the royal Vizier, the prophet (named Pra'emhab) laments his workload. He notes his obvious administration of the "House of Set" and adds: "I am also responsible for the ship, and I am responsible likewise for the House of Nephthys, along with a heap of other temples." While the House-of-Nephthys in (ostensibly) Punodjem is not explicitly said to be a foundation of Ramesses II, it may be that Ramesses II founded a series of "temples of Nephthys" (as consort of Set) in order to complement the larger establishments dedicated to her spouse, much in the same way that the smaller temple of Nefertari at Abu Simbel was complementary to (and a dependency of) the "Great Temple" at Abu Simbel. In the roster provided by Papyrus Wilbour, no other divine-consort boasted a land-owning temple of their own within any particular town dominated by a male god. Apparently, Nephthys was deemed quite important enough to merit her own independent sanctuaries. In any event, as "Nephthys of Ramesses-Meriamun," the goddess and her shrine(s) were under the particular endorsement of Ramesses II. The foundations of the Set and Nephthys temples at Sepermeru finally were discovered and identified in the 1980s, and the Nephthys temple was no mere chapel - rather, it was a notable, self-sustaining temple complex within the Set enclosure. Likewise, there can be little doubt that a cult of Nephthys existed in the temple and great town of Herakleopolis, north of Sepermeru. A near life-sized statue of Nephthys (currently housed in the Louvre) boasts a curiously altered inscription. The basalt image originally was stationed at Medinet-Habu, as part of the cultic celebration of the Pharaonic "Sed-Festival," but obviously was transferred at some point to Herakleopolis and the temple of Herishef therein. The cult-image's inscription originally pertained to "Nephthys, Foremost of the Sed [Festival]
in the Booth of Annals" (at Medinet-Habu), but was re-inscribed or re-dedicated to "Nephthys, Foremost of the [Booths of] Herakleopolis." This sort of opportunistic transfer of various cult images from one locale to another was not uncommon in ancient Egypt, and the installation of a cult statue of Nephthys at the temple of Harishef in Herakleopolis would have been fitting, since Nephthys already was a goddess with her own shrines in the immediate vicinity (i.e Sepermeru, Su, Punodjem). Moreover, a "prophet of Nephthys" is indeed attested for the town of Herakleopolis in the 30th Dynasty. Chief Goddess of Nome VII Nephthys also was, in Egyptian mythology and temple rites, oft-considered the unique protectress of the Sacred Phoenix, or the Bennu Bird. This role may have stemmed from a specialized and early association in her native Heliopolis, which was renowned for its "House of the Bennu" temple. In this role, Nephthys was given the name "Nephthys-Kheresket," and a wealth of temple texts from Edfu, Dendara, Philae, Kom Ombo, El Qa'la, Esna, and others corroborate the late identification of Nephthys as the supreme goddess of UE Nome VII, where another shrine existed in honor of the Bennu. Nephthys also was the goddess of the "Mansion of the Sistrum" in Hwt-Sekhem (Gr. Diospolis Parva), the chief city of Nome VII. There, Nephthys was the primary protectress of the resident Osirian relic, of the Bennu Bird, and of the local Horus/Osiris manifestation, the god Neferhotep. Indeed, a priest of "Nephthys of Hwt", Diospolis Parva, is mentioned in the Book of the Dead preserved at the Louvre in Paris. This Book of the Dead belonged to the mummy of a Theban-based priest named, Nes-Min. Another member of cult personnel, a male "Dancer of Nephthys", also is recorded for a Nome VII temple in Papyrus Moscou. Even more interesting, perhaps, we find that a female cult staff-member called the "hairdresser of Nephthys" (i.e. of her sacred image in the temple naos) is noted in the 30th Dynasty. This indicates that the overall cult of Nephthys must have been relatively elaborate in Diospolis Parva, particularly after the Late Period. As patron goddess of her own nome, this should not surprise the contemporary observer.
Though Nephthys was unquestionably the chief totemic goddess of Nome VII's district, city, and temple, it should be noted that she reigned there in a "first among equals" capacity connected with the usual Osirian college, and likewise through a close identification of her personality with that of Hathor, who reigned in nearby Dendera. In Hout-Sekhem and its nome, Nephthys (particularly in her guise as Kheresket) appears to have served as preeminent "Mistress" of the various Osirian ceremonies, much in the way that Isis served in such singular capacity at Behbeit, in the Delta. Moreover, the presence of Nephthys is not at all attested in association with Diospolis Parva until the Late Period and Greco-Roman times, leading us to believe that her particular prominence (though indisputable) was something of an innovation. It is important to mention that the goddess Anukis appears to have served as a cultic "bridge" to the eminence of Nephthys in her later incarnation as main tutelary and "protective" goddess of the region. Related to this last aspect, there is at least one surviving temple of Nephthys at Komir in Upper Egypt, between Esna and El Kab. In this town, Nephthys was associated with the goddess Anukis. At Komir, Nephthys was honored especially for her role as the chief protectress of the standard Osirian relic residing at nearby Esna. The ruined sanctuary at Komir preserves two niches - one for Nephthys and one for Anukis, while the rear exterior wall of the temple preserves an elaborate "Hymn to Nephthys" from the Roman Emperor Antoninus Pius. In this hymn, the Emperor notes that Nephthys is the "Mistress of many festivals...who loves the day of festival, the goddess for whom men and women play the tambourine." There, too, Nephthys is called, "The very great Nephthys...Queen of human beings...Mistress of Drunkenness." She is identified closely with her alter-ego, Seshat, particularly as the entity who "establishes order for all the gods." This idea of Nephthys as the goddess who "organizes," or "makes whole" the entire divine pantheon is an ancient epithet stemming from the Pyramid Texts themselves. This epithet reinforces and elaborates upon the particularly unique (and enigmatic) role of Nephthys as a decidedly "Useful" cosmic force, one who apparently, acts for the organizational benefit of all deities. During the
great Osirian festivals at Esna, associated with the temple of Khnum, it was specifically the cult-image of Nephthys that made the "journey" as official ambassador of Komir. Most astonishing of all, the extant inscriptions of the Nephthys temple (and particularly her "hymn") at Komir make absolutely no mention of Isis whatsoever, despite references to a multitude of associated deities, including Osiris and Horus. This occurrence leads the observer to ponder the possibility that Nephthys was indeed a theologically specialized "alter ego" of Isis from the very beginning, or whether, in specific locales where the Two Sisters were not working in congress (as usual), the need to exalt Nephthys led to a determined effort to "oust" her greater sister from the scene entirely. As cited above (Traunecker), Nephthys was a goddess of much more clout than previously understood; in certain districts (Nome VII) she potentially could supersede her sister, though this was, by far, the exception rather than the proverbial "rule." Nevertheless, the association of Nephthys with Anukis extends beyond Komir to the First Cataract region near Aswan and Philae, where the resident divine triad composed of Khnum, Satis, and Anukis was identified with (and superseded by) Osiris, Isis, and Nephthys around the Late Period. There was also a cult of Nephthys at Qaw El Kebir or Antaeopolis, where the goddess was worshipped in the rather large temple as the companion of the warrior deity Antiwey, a fusion of Horus and Set. A "prophet of Nephthys" is attested for this town by the Chicago Stela and though the massive Greco-Roman sanctuary was washed away by a flood in the 19th century, a noteworthy painted relief of Nephthys and "Antaeus" can still be found etched into the cliffside quarries near the site. At Mo'Alla, Nephthys was worshipped as the consort of another war-like god, Hemen. In contrast to her general perception as a childless divinity, Nephthys gave birth to Hemen's daughter in this cult locale. There exist other toponyms in various papyri and temple inscriptions that allude to possibly unique cult-towns of Nephthys (e.g. "Nephthys of Ihy," "Pr-Nephthys"), but such examples cannot at this time be considered
verifications of cult. It merits note, however, that Nephthys was one of the chief deities at Edfu, where she was the object of her own festival day called, "The Heart of Nephthys Rejoices". The national Festival of Nephthys was held on her birthday - the last of the five "epagomenal" days at the end of the Egyptian calendar. Nephthys, meanwhile, was a particularly dangerous goddess at Edfu, and, in her form of "Merkhetes," was associated with the lioness-goddesses Mehyt and Sekhmet. Nephthys' fiery breath is one of the forces that serves to protect the sanctuary of this great complex. There exists a chapel at Edfu dedicated to the triad of Mehyt, Nephthys, and Nekhbet. Nephthys also is associated at Edfu with the goddess Seshat, Mistress of the Temple Library and Keeper of Royal Annals. Based upon this evidence (and testimony dating from as early as the Pyramid Texts), we may entertain the likelihood that Seshat was indeed a derivative "form" of Nephthys (or vice-versa). Elsewhere, we discover from inscriptions at Behbeit that Queen Berenike considered herself the "priestess of Isis and of Nephthys" (cf. Forgeau, above). Again, the union of the Two Sisters as powerful and almost inseparable complementary forces is underscored, both in the realm of myth and in the more crucial, daily domain of temple cult. Basically, Nephthys was everywhere. Even considering the late aspect of her prominence in places such as Hwt-Sekhem, she was a goddess who could, within the history of ancient Egyptian religion, merit New Kingdom temples and shrines of her own, and patronize her own district (Nome VII), which is all the more intriguing, given the clear superiority of her sister, Isis. The relationship between the Two Sisters is thus worthy of further, deeper inspection and study. Unique instances of cult being noted, it must nevertheless be remembered that Nephthys was most widely and usually worshipped in ancient Egypt as part of a consortium of temple deities. Therefore, it should not surprise us that her cult images could likely be found as part of the divine entourage in temples at Kharga, Kellis, Deir el-Hagar, Koptos, Dendereh, Philae, Sebennytos, Busiris, Shenhur, El Qa'la, Letopolis, Heliopolis, Abydos, Thebes, Dakleh Oasis, and indeed throughout Egypt.
In most cases, Nephthys found her typical place as part of a triad alongside Osiris and Isis, or Isis and Horus, or Isis and Min, or as part of a quartet of deities. It is perhaps, in this way that Nephthys best fulfilled her role as an important national deity whose ideal function was to provide powerful assistance to her associates in a great variety of temple cults - a truly "Useful" and "Excellent" goddess, as her primary epithets reflect.
Nun, Nu, Naunet
In Egyptian mythology, Nu is the deification of the primordial watery abyss. In the Ogdoad cosmogony, the name nu means "abyss". Nu, being a concept, was viewed as not having a gender, but also had aspects that could be represented as female or male as with most Egyptian deities. Naunet (Nunet) is the female aspect, which is the name Nu with a female gender ending. The male aspect, Nun, is displayed with a male gender ending. As with the other three four primordial concepts of the Ogdoad, Nu's male aspect was depicted as a frog, or a frog-headed man. In Ancient Egyptian art, Nun also appears as a bearded man, with blue-green skin, representing water.
Naunet is represented as a snake or snake-headed woman. As with the other Ogdoad concepts, Nu did not have temples or any center of worship. Even so, Nu was sometimes represented by a sacred lake, or, as at Abydos, by an underground stream.
Nu is depicted with upraised arms holding a "solar bark" (or barque, a boat). The boat is occupied by eight deities, with the scarab deity Khepri standing in the middle surrounded by the seven other deities. Other groupings include Naunet and Nun, Amaunet and Amun, Hauhet and Heh, and Kauket with Kuk. Nu Wikipedia
The Egyptians believed that before the world was formed, there was a watery mass of dark, directionless chaos. In this chaos lived the Ogdoad of Khmunu (Hermopolis), four frog gods [metaphors: biogenetic experiment] and four snake [DNA] goddesses of chaos. These deities were Nun (Nu) and Naunet (water), Amun and Amaunet (invisibility), Heh and Hauhet (infinity) and Kek and Kauket (darkness). It was from Nun that Ra (or Amun, another of the Ogdoad who became prominent Middle Kingdom onward, and joined with the sun god as Amen-Ra) created himself, rising up on the first piece of land - the primeval
mound (Benben) out of the lotus blossom, born from the world egg, or as a bnw-bird who then found and landed on the mound. In another story, it was Thoth who awoke from Nun and sang the unnamed four frog gods and snake goddesses who then continued Thoth's song to keep the sun travelling through the sky. The First Time then began and Ra was thought to have created the universe, including his children - other gods. He brought Ma'at - order - to chaos. Nun was thought to be the father of Ra, who was known as the father of the gods. Your offering-cake belongs to you, Nun and Naunet, Who protects the gods, who guards the gods with your shadows. - Pyramid Text 301 One story says that Ra's children, Shu and Tefenet, went to explore the waters of Nun. After some time, Ra believed that they were lost, and sent the his Eye out into the chaos to find them. When his children were returned to him, Ra wept, and his tears were believed to have turned into the first humans. Nun then became the protector of the twin deities, protecting them from the demons in his waters. Later on, it was Nun who suggested that Ra sent out his Eye to destroy the humans who were in contempt of the sun god. Finally, it was on Nun's orders that Nut turned into a solar cow, and carried Ra up into the sky after the sun god had grown old and wearied of life on earth. Nun was thought to exist both outside the universe and as part of every body of water from the Nile to temple pools. The Nile itself was thought to flow from Nun's primordial waters. He was thought to play a part in the rituals involved in laying out the foundation for new temples. Nun was also thought to continue to exist as subsoil water beneath the earth and as the source of the annual flooding of the Nile River. The god was shown as either a frog-headed man, or as a bearded blue or green man, similar in appearance to Hapi, but wearing the palm frond (symbolising long life) on his head, and holding another in his hand. He was also shown rising up out of a body of water, carrying the solar barque
in his up stretched hands. Though Nun was a being of chaos, he was thought to have a beneficial side rather than the serpent of chaos, Apep, Ra's enemy. The Egyptians believed that Apep had been created when the goddess Neith spat into Nun - her spittle turned into the serpent-demon. The god of chaos didn't have a priesthood, nor any temples that have been found, and was never worshiped as a personified god. Instead, he was represented at various temples by the sacred lakes symbolising the chaotic waters before the First Time. At Abydos, he is represented by an underground water channel at the Osireion. The Ogdoad were the original great gods of Iunu (Heliopolis) where they were thought to have helped with creation, then died and retired to the land of the dead where they continued to make the Nile flow and the sun rise every day. Iunu was thought to have been the site of the primeval mound by the priests of the city, and they had a sacred lake known as 'The Sea of Two Knives' and an island known as 'The Isle of Flames'. The lake, attached to a temple, represented Nun's waters, and the island was believed to be the primeval mound itself. Ra was thought to have come into the world out of the giant lotus which grew on the mound: Out of the lotus, created by the Eight, came forth Ra, who created all things, divine and human. In Hikuptah (Men-nefer, Memphis), Nun was linked to the creator god, Ptah, and known as Ptah-Nun. Thus both Ptah and Nun were thought to be the father of the sun god Atem, and also thought to be more powerful than the god. He was the 'Heart and the Tongue of the Ennead' (the one of intelligence who had the power to command), and thus the one who was in control, with the sun god being placed a step below the creator god of Hikuptah. The priests of Waset (Thebes, Modern Luxor), on the other hand, declared that Waset was the site of the Nun's water, and the rising of the primeval mound. Amun, the creator god of Waset, was originally one of the Ogdoad and became the most powerful god of the area. They believed that Amen changed from the invisible chaos deity into the primeval mound.
In this form, he created the other gods. He created the lotus, which opened to reveal the child form of Amun-Ra, who then finished the creation of the world. Nun, although he was a powerful force, was thought to have been inert until Amen awoke him from torpor, and used his chaotic waters to create the universe. Naunet Naunet (Nunet), on the other hand, is more obscure than her husband. She was thought to be a snake-headed woman who presided over the watery chaos with Nun. Her name was exactly the same as Nun's, in hieroglyphs, but with the feminine ending for a goddess. In Hikuptah, she was imagined to be the mother of the sun god, as Nun was the father, combined with Ptah, creator god of the city. The Egyptians of Khmunu believed that the world was surrounded by mountains that helped support the sky, but at their feet was Naunet. They imagined that Ra appeared from these mountains, being reborn daily from the watery abyss. Naunet was the feminine to Nun's masculine, more of a representation of duality than an actual goddess, so she was even less of a deity than Nun, and more of an abstract. One day, it was believed that the waters of Nun would eventually inundate the whole world, and once again the universe would become the primordial waste of Nun's chaotic waters.
Nut - Nuit
In Egyptian mythology, Nuit or Nut was the sky goddess. She is the daughter of Shu and Tefnut and was one of the Ennead. The sun god Re entered her mouth after the sun set in the evening and was reborn from her vulva the next morning. She also swallowed and rebirthed the stars. She was a goddess of death, and her image is on the inside of most sarcophagi. The pharaoh entered her body after death and was later resurrected. In art, Nuit is depicted as a woman wearing no clothes, covered with stars and supported by Shu; opposite her (the sky), is her husband, Geb (the Earth). With Geb, she was the mother of Osiris, Horus, Isis, Set, and Nephthys.
During the day, Nut and Geb are separated, but each evening Nut comes down to meet Geb and this causes darkness. If storms came during the day, it was believed that Nut had some how slipped closer to the Earth. Nut is the barrier separating the forces of chaos from the ordered cosmos in this world. Her fingers and toes were believed to touch the four cardinal points or directions. The sun god Re was said to enter her mouth after setting in the evening and travel through her body during the night to be reborn from her vulva each morning. She was shown in Egyptian artwork as a dark, star-covered naked woman, holding her body up in an arch, facing downwards. Her arms and legs were imagined to be the pillars of the sky, and hands and feet were thought to touch the four cardinal points at the horizon. Far underneath her lay the earth god, Geb, sometimes ithphallyic, looking up at his sister-wife. She was also described as a cow goddess, taking on some of the attributes of Hathor. Geb was described as the "Bull of Nut" in the Pyramid Texts. As a great, solar cow, she was thought to have carried Ra up into the heavens on her back, after he retired from his rule on the Earth. At other times, she was just portrait as a woman wearing her sign the particular design of an Egyptian pot on her head. She gives birth to the sun in the east and swallows the sun in the west. In one myth Nut gives birth to the Sun-god daily and he passes over her body until he reaches her mouth at sunset. He then passed into her mouth and through her body and is reborn the next morning. Another myth
described the sun as sailing up her legs and back in the Atet (Matet) boat until noon, when he entered the Sektet boat and continued his travels until sunset. As a goddess who gave birth to the son each day, she became connected with the underworld, resurrection and the tomb. She was seen as a friend to the dead, as a mother-like protector to those who journeyed through the land of the dead. She was often painted on the inside lid of the sarcophagus, protecting the dead until he or she, like Ra, could be reborn in their new life. In the Book of the Dead, Nut was seen as a mother-figure to the sun god Ra, who at sunrise was known as Khepera and took the form of a scarab beetle (at noon he was Ra at his full strength, and at sunset he was known as Tem (Temu, Atem) who was old and weakening): Homage to thee, O thou who hast come as Khepera, Khepera the creator of the gods, Thou art seated on thy throne, thou risest up in the sky, illumining thy mother [Nut], thou art seated on thy throne as the king of the gods. [Thy] mother Nut stretcheth out her hands, and performeth an act of homage to thee.... The Company of the Gods rejoice at thy rising, the earth is glad when it beholdeth thy rays; the people who have been long dead come forth with cries of joy to behold thy beauties every day. Thou goest forth each day over heaven and earth, and thou art made strong each day by thy mother Nut.... Homage to thee, O thou who art Ra when thou risest, and who art Tem when thou settest in beauty. Thou risest and thou shinest on the back of thy mother [Nut], O thou who art crowned the king of the gods! Nut welcometh thee, and payeth homage unto thee, and Maat, the everlasting and never-changing goddess, embraceth thee at noon and at eve.... The gods rejoice greatly when they see my beautiful appearances from the body of the goddess Nut, and when the goddess Nut bringeth me forth.
She was also called on to help the deceased in one of the spells of the Book of the Dead: The Chapter of snuffing the air, and of having power over the water in Khert-Neter. The Osiris Ani saith:- Hail, thou Sycamore tree of the goddess Nut! Give me of the [water and of the] air which is in thee. I embrace that throne which is in Unu, and I keep guard over the Egg of Nekek-ur. It flourisheth, and I flourish; it liveth, and I live; it snuffeth the air, and I snuff the air, I the Osiris Ani, whose word is truth, in [peace]. There were many festivals to Nut through the year, including the 'Festival of Nut and Ra' and the 'Feast of Nut'. But, despite being a protector of the dead, she was a personification of the sky - a cosmic deity - and no temples or specific cult centers are linked to her. She was thought to be the mother of five children on the five extra days of the Egyptian calendar, won by Thoth - Osiris who was born on the first day, Horus the Elder on the second, Set on the third, Isis on the fourth, and Nephthys the last born on the fifth day. The days on which these deities were born were known as the 'five epagomenal days of the year', and they were celebrated all over Egypt: 1. Osiris - an unlucky day 2. Horus the Elder - neither lucky nor unlucky 3. Seth - an unlucky day 4. Isis - a lucky day, "A Beautiful Festival of Heaven and Earth." 5. Nephthys - an unlucky day
Sometimes NUT appears in the form of a cow whose body forms the sky and heavens. Nut in this form represents the Great Kau (Cow), the Great Lady who created all that exists - the Cow whose udder gave forth the Milky Way. In the form of a great cow her eyes represent the sun and the moon. She is pictured as a giant sow, suckling many piglets. These piglets represented the stars, which she swallowed each morning before dawn. Other cows goddesses include Seshat and Hathor.
Nut - Egyptian Solar Disc On the Southern section of this image - Nut has ten solar disks running along her body, as well as one at her mouth and another one at the birth canal between her legs painted with the image of Khepri (the god of coming into being). No disks are depicted on the northern facing Nut because the sun is always seen to traverse the southern part of the sky in Egypt.
God of Resurrection, The Underworld and The Judge of Dead Patron of: the Underworld, the dead, past Pharaohs, agriculture (old form), fertility (old form) First child of of Geb and Nut Brother of Seth, Nephthys, and Isis who was also his wife. Father of Horus by Isis Father of Anubis by Nephthys Osiris (Asar, Aser, Ausar, Ausir, Wesir, or Ausare) was an Egyptian god,
usually called the god of the Afterlife. Osiris is one of the oldest gods for whom records have been found; one of the oldest known attestations of his name is on the Palermo Stone of around 2500 BC. He was widely worshiped until the suppression of the Egyptian religion during the Christian era. The information we have on the myths of Osiris is derived from allusions contained in the Pyramid Texts (ca. 2400 BC), later New Kingdom source documents such as the Shabaka Stone and the Contending of Horus and Seth, and much later, in narrative style from the writings of Greek authors including Plutarch and Diodorus Siculus.
Osiris was not only a merciful judge of the dead in the afterlife, but also the underworld agency that granted all life, including sprouting vegetation and the fertile flooding of the Nile River. The Kings of Egypt were associated with Osiris in death - as Osiris rose from the dead they would, in union with him, inherit eternal life through a process of imitative magic.
By the New Kingdom all people, not just pharaohs, were believed to be associated with Osiris at death if they incurred the costs of the assimilation rituals. Osiris was at times considered the oldest son of the Earth god, Geb, and the sky goddess, Nut as well as being brother and husband of Isis, with Horus being considered his posthumously begotten son. He was later associated with the name Khenti-Amentiu, which means 'Foremost of the Westerners' a reference to his kingship in the land of the dead.
Osiris was usually depicted as a green-skinned (green was the color of rebirth) pharaoh wearing the Atef crown, a form of the white crown of upper Egypt with a plume of feathers to either side. Typically he was also depicted holding the crook and flail which signified divine authority in Egyptian pharaohs, but which were originally unique to Osiris and his own origin-gods, and his feet and lower body were wrapped, as though already partly mummified. The wrapped depiction takes us to Amphibious Gods.
Anubis, Thoth, Osiris and Ma'at - Funerary Scene Weighing of the Feather
The All Seeing Eye
It's all about death and
Early Mythology When the Ennead and Ogdoad cosmogenies became merged, with the identification of Ra as Atum (Atum-Ra), gradually Anubis (Ogdoad system) was replaced by Osiris, whose cult had become more significant. Anubis was said to have given way to Osiris out of respect, and, as an underworld deity. Anubis was Set's son in some versions, but because Set became god of evil, he was subsequently identified as being Osiris' son. Abydos, which had been a strong centre of the cult of Anubis, became a centre of the cult of Osiris. Because Isis, Osiris' wife and sister, represented life in the Ennead, it was considered somewhat inappropriate for her to be the mother of a god associated with death such as Anubis, and so instead, it was usually said that Nephthys, the other of the two female children of Geb and Nut, was his mother. Father of Horus
Later, when Hathor's identity (from the Ogdoad) was assimilated into that of Isis, Horus, who had been Isis' husband (in the Ogdoad), became considered her son, and thus, since Osiris was Isis' husband (in the Ennead), Osiris also became considered Horus' father. Attempts to explain how Osiris, a god of the dead, could give rise to Horus, who was thought to be living, led to the development of the Myth of Osiris and Isis, which became a central myth in Egyptian mythology. The myth described Osiris as having been killed by his brother Set who wanted Osiris' throne. Isis briefly brought Osiris back to life by use of a spell that she learned from her father. This spell gave her time to become pregnant by Osiris before he again died. Isis later gave birth to Horus. As such, since Horus was born after Osiris' resurrection, Horus became thought of as representing new beginnings, and vanquished Set. This combination, Osiris-Horus, was therefore a life-death-rebirth deity, and thus
associated with the new harvest each year. Afterward, Osiris became known as the Egyptian god of the dead, Isis became known as the Egyptian goddess of the children, and Horus became known as the Egyptian god of the sky. Ptah-Seker (who resulted from the identification of Ptah as Seker), who was god of re-incarnation, thus gradually became identified with Osiris, the two becoming Ptah-Seker-Osiris (rarely known as Ptah-Seker-Atum, although this was just the name, and involved Osiris rather than Atum). As the sun was thought to spend the night in the underworld, and subsequently be re-incarnated, as both king of the underworld, and god of reincarnation, Ptah-Seker-Osiris was identified. Ram God
Since Osiris was considered dead, as god of the dead, Osiris' soul, or rather his Ba, was occasionally worshipped in its own right, almost as if it were a distinct god, especially so in the Delta city of Mendes. This aspect of Osiris was referred to as Banebdjed which literally means The ba of the lord of the djed, which roughly means The soul of the lord of the pillar of stability.
One of his symbols is the djed pillar.
The djed, a type of pillar, was usually understood as the backbone of Osiris, and, at the same time, as the Nile, the backbone of Egypt. The Nile, supplying water, and Osiris (strongly connected to the vegetation) who died only to be resurrected represented continuity and therefore stability.
The Great Pyramid Osiris was linked to the constellation Orion (Sahu in Egyptian). Osiris, Pyramids of the Giza Plateau, Belt Stars of
Orion As Banebdjed, Osiris was given epithets such as Lord of the Sky and Life
of the (sun god) Ra, since Ra, when he had become identified with Atum, was considered Osiris' ancestor, from whom his regal authority was inherited. Ba does not, however, quite mean soul in the western sense, and also has to do with power, reputation, force of character, especially in the case of a god. Since the ba was associated with power, and also happened to be a word for ram in Egyptian, Banebdjed was depicted as a ram, or as Ram-headed. A living, sacred ram, was even kept at Mendes and worshipped as the incarnation of the god, and upon death, the rams were mummified and buried in a ram-specific necropolis. As regards the association of Osiris with the ram, the god's traditional crook and flail are of course the instruments of the shepherd, which has suggested to some scholars also an origin for Osiris in herding tribes of the upper Nile. The crook and flail were originally symbols of the minor agricultural deity Anedijti, and passed to Osiris later. From Osiris, they eventually passed to Egyptian kings in general as symbols of divine authority. In Mendes, they had considered Hatmehit, a local fish-goddess, as the most important deity, and so when the cult of Osiris became more significant, Banebdjed was identified in Mendes as deriving his authority from being married to Hatmehit. Later, when Horus became identified as the child of Osiris (in this form Horus is known as Harpocrates in Greek and Har-pa-khered in Egyptian), Banebdjed was consequently said to be Horus' father, as Banebdjed is an aspect of Osiris. In occult writings, Banebdjed is often called the goat of Mendes, and identified with Baphomet; the fact that Banebdjed was a ram (sheep), not a goat, apparently overlooked. Mythology
The cult of Osiris (who was a god chiefly of regeneration and re-birth) had a particularly strong interest toward the concept of immortality. Plutarch recounts one version of the myth surrounding the cult in which Set (Osiris' brother) fooled Osiris into getting into a box, which he then shut, had sealed with lead, and threw into the Nile (sarcophagi were based on the box in this myth). Osiris' wife, Isis, searched for his remains until she finally found him embedded in a tree trunk, which was holding up the roof of a palace in Byblos on the Phoenician coast. She managed to remove the coffin and open it, but Osiris was already dead. She used a spell she had learned from her father and brought him back to life so he could impregnate her. After they finished, he died again, so she hid his body in the desert. Months later, she gave birth to Horus. While she was off raising him, Set had been out hunting one night, and he came across the body of Osiris. Enraged, he tore the body into fourteen pieces and scattered them throughout the land. Isis gathered up all the parts of the body, less the phallus which was eaten by a fish thereafter considered taboo by the Egyptians, and bandaged them together for a proper burial. The gods were impressed by the devotion of Isis and thus resurrected Osiris as the god of the underworld. Because of his death and resurrection, Osiris is associated with the flooding and retreating of the Nile and thus with the
crops along the Nile valley. [Spine of Egypt] Diodorus Siculus gives another version of the myth in which Osiris is described as an ancient king who taught the Egyptians the arts of civilization, including agriculture. Osiris is murdered by his evil brother Set, whom Diodorus associates with the evil Typhon ("Typhonian Beast") of Greek mythology. Typhon divides the body into twenty six pieces which he distributes amongst his fellow conspirators in order to implicate them in the murder. Isis and Horus avenge the death of Osiris and slay Typhon. Isis recovers all the parts of Osiris body, less the phallus, and secretly buries them. She made replicas of them and distributed them to several locations which then became centres of Osiris worship. The tale of Osiris becoming fish-like is cognate with the story the Greek shepherd god Pan becoming fish like from the waist down in the same river Nile after being attacked by Typhon . This attack was part of a generational feud in which both Zeus and Dionysus were dismembered by Typhon, in a similar manner as Osiris was by Set in Egypt. Osiris was viewed as the one who died to save the many, who rose from the dead, the first of a long line that has significantly affected man's view of the world and expections of an afterlife. Passion and Resurrection Scholars such as E.A. Wallis Budge have suggested possible connections or parallels of Osiris' resurrection story with those found in Christianity: "The Egyptians of every period in which they are known to us believed that Osiris was of divine origin, that he suffered death and mutilation at the hands of the powers of evil, that after a great struggle with these powers he rose again, that he became henceforth the king of the underworld and judge of the dead, and that because he had conquered death the righteous also might conquer death. In Osiris the Christian Egyptians found the prototype of Christ, and in the pictures and statues of Isis suckling her son Horus, they perceived the prototypes of the Virgin Mary and her child."
Plutarch and others have noted that the sacrifices to Osiris were gloomy, solemn, and mournful... and that the great mystery festival, celebrated in two phases, began at Abydos on the 17th of Athyr (November 13) commemorating the death of the god, which is also the same day that grain was planted in the ground. ³The death of the grain and the death of the god were one and the same: the cereal was identified with the god who came from heaven; he was the bread by which man lives. The resurrection of the God symbolized the rebirth of the grain.' The annual festival involved the construction of 'Osiris Beds' formed in shape of Osiris, filled with soil and sown with seed. The germinating seed symbolized Osiris rising from the dead. An almost pristine example was found in the tomb of Tutankhamun by Howard Carter. The first phase of the festival was a public drama depicting the murder and dismemberment of Osiris, the search of his body by Isis, his triumphal return as the resurrected god, and the battle in which Horus defeated Set. This was all presented by skilled actors as a literary history, and was the main method of recruiting cult membership. According to Julius Firmicus Maternus of the fourth century, this play was re-enacted each year by worshippers who ³beat their breasts and gashed their shoulders.... When they pretend that the mutilated remains of the god have been found and rejoined...they turn from mourning to rejoicing.² (De Errore Profanorum). Worship of Osiris
Osiris was worshipped widely throughout all of Egypt, and his cult center was Abydos. The cult of Osiris continued up until the 6th century AD on the island of Philae in Upper Nile. The Theodosian decree (in about 380 AD) to destroy all pagan temples and force worshipers to accept Christianity was not enforced there.The worship of Isis and Osiris was allowed to continue at Philae until the time of Justinian. This toleration was due to an old treaty made between the Blemyes-Nobadae and Diocletian. Every year they visited Elaphantine and at certain intervals took the image of Isis up river to the land of the Blemyes for oracular purposes before returning it. Justinian would not tolerate this and sent Narses to destroy the sanctuaries, with the priests being arrested and the divine images taken to Constantinople. References: Wikipedia
Gods in the Flesh - Part One Thunderbolts - March 17, 2008
Statues depicting the Egyptian god Osiris from 664 - 332 BCE. Gods in the Flesh - Part Two
Thunderbolts - March 19, 2008
In Egyptian mythology, Pakhet, meaning "She who Tears" (also spelt Pachet, Pehkhet, Phastet, and Pasht) is considered a synthesis of Bast and Sekhmet, ancient deities in the two Egypts who were similar lioness war deities, one for Upper Egypt and the other for Lower Egypt. The range of the two cults met at the border between north and south, near al Minya (now known as Beni Hasan), and here the similarity of the goddesses led to a new form arising in the merged cultures. Origin and Mythology She is likely to be a more ancient regional lioness deity, Goddess of the Mouth of the Wadi, related to those which hunted in the wadi, near water at the boundary of the desert. Another title is She Who Opens the Ways of the Stormy Rains, which probably relates to the flash floods in the narrow valley, that occur from storms in the area. By the time Pakhet appeared in the Egyptian pantheon, during the Middle Kingdom, Bast came to be considered less as a fierce lioness, becoming more gentle, as a domesticated cat could be. Consequently, Pakhet's character lay somewhere between the later gentleness of Bast and the ferocity of Sekhmet. Her strength was considered an inner, rather than outer, quality, while retaining all the potential capabilities of the war goddess, if needed. As with Bast and Sekhmet, she also is associated with Hathor and
thereby, is a sun deity as well, wearing the solar disk as part of her crown. It became said that rather than a simple domestic protector against vermin and venomous creatures, or a fierce warrior, she was a huntress, perhaps as a wildcat, who wandered the desert alone at night looking for prey, gaining the title, Night huntress with sharp eye and pointed claw. While this desert aspect led to her being associated with desert storms, as was Sekhmet. She also was said to be a protector of motherhood, as was Bast. In art, she was depicted as a feline-headed woman, or as a feline, often depicted killing snakes with her sharp claws. The exact nature of the feline varied between a desert wildcat, which was more similar to Bast, or a lioness, resembling Sekhmet. Temples near al Minya Her most famous temple was an underground, cavernous shrine that was built by Hatshepsut near al Minya, among thirty-nine ancient tombs of Middle Kingdom nomarchs of the Oryx nome, who governed from Hebenu, in an area where many quarries exist. This is in the middle of Egypt, on the east bank of the Nile. A location on the east bank is not traditional for tombs, the west was, but the terrain to the west was most difficult. A more ancient temple to this goddess at the location is known, but has not survived. Hatshepsut is known to have restored temples in this region that had been damaged by the Hyksos invaders. Its remarkable catacombs have been excavated. Great numbers of mummified cats have been found buried there. Many are thought to have been brought great distances to be buried ceremonially during rituals at the cult center. Some references associate this goddess as, Pakhet-Weret-Hekau, (Weret Hekau meaning "she who has great magic"), implying the association with a goddess such as Hathor or Isis. Another title found is, Horus Pakht, the presence of many mumified hawks at the site would further the association with Hathor who was the mother of Horus, the hawk, the pharaoh, and the sun. Her hunting nature led to the Greeks, who later occupied Egypt for three hundred years, identifying Pakhet with Artemis. Consequently, this underground temple became known to them as, Speos Artemidos, the Cave of Artemis, a name that persists even though the goddess is not
Egyptian. The Greeks attempted to align the Egyptian deities with their own, while retaining the traditions of the Egyptian religion. Next, Egypt was conquered by the Romans, just after 30 AD, and they retained many of the Greek names. Christians and other religious sects occupied some parts of the site during the Roman Empire period. Arab place names were established after the 600s. Hatshepsut and her daughter Neferure have been identified as the builders of a smaller temple dedicated to Pakhet nearby, which was defaced by subsequent pharaohs. It was completed during the reign of Alexander II and now is called, Speos Batn el-Bakarah.
Creation through Consciousness
Amphibious Gods Ptah fashioned the universe through harmonics and thought. He helped the dead on their travels through the afterlife allowing them to transform into his divine figure. He allowed the dead to be like the living after death with the Opening of the Mouth ceremony. The Apis bull was his sacred animal, more of a representation of his soul on earth who gave fertility and rebirth
to the people.
The bull's main sanctuary was near the temple of Ptah in Mennefer, near the bull's embalming house where he became linked to Osiris after death. Herodotus wrote that the Apis bull was conceived from a bolt of lightning, it was black with a while diamond on his forehead, the image of a vulture on his back, double hairs on his tail and a scarab mark under his tongue. The lightning was thought by the Egyptians to be Ptah in the form of a celestial fire, who mated with a heifer. With a creation god as his father, the bull was believed to be a fertility symbol. The heifer that produced the bull was venerated as a form of the goddess Isis. There was only one Apis bull at a time, and the cult of the Apis bull started at the beginning of Egyptian history. While alive, the bull was known as the 'Spokesman' of Ptah and his 'Glorious Soul'. Ptah was worshipped throughout all of Egypt, his cult centers were Memphis and Heliopolis. In Egyptian mythology, Ptah (also spelt Peteh) was the deification of the
primordial mound in the Ennead cosmogony, which was more literally referred to as Ta-tenen (also spelled Tathenen), meaning risen land, or as Tanen, meaning submerged land. It was said in the Shabaka Stone, that it was Ptah who called the world into being, having dreamt creation in his heart, and speaking it, his name meaning opener, in the sense of opener of the mouth. Indeed the opening of the mouth ceremony, performed by priests at funerals to release souls from their corpses, was said to have been created by Ptah. Atum was said to have been created by Ptah to rule over the creation, sitting upon the primordial mound. In Memphis, Ptah was worshipped in his own right, and was seen as Atum's father, or rather, the father of Nefertum, the younger form of Atum. When the beliefs about the Ennead and Ogdoad were later merged, and Atum was identified as Ra (Atum-Ra), himself seen as Horus (Ra-Herakhty), this led to Ptah being said to be married to Sekhmet, at the time considered the earlier form of Hathor, Horus', thus Atum's, mother. Since Ptah had called creation into being, he was considered the god of craftsmen, and in particular stone-based crafts. Eventually, due to the connection of these things to tombs, and that at Thebes, the craftsmen regarded him so highly as to say that he controlled their destiny. Consequently, first amongst the craftsmen, then the population as a whole, Ptah also became a god of reincarnation. Since Seker was also god of craftsmen, and of reincarnation, Seker was later assimilated with Ptah becoming Ptah-Seker.
Ptah-Seker gradually became seen as the personification of the sun during the night, since the sun appears to be reincarnated at this time, and Ptah was the primordial mound, which lay beneath the earth. Consequently, Ptah-Seker became considered an underworld deity, and eventually, by the Middle Kingdom, become assimilated by Osiris, the lord of the underworld, occasionally being known as Ptah-Seker-Osiris. The origin of Ptah's name is unclear, though some believe it to mean 'opener' or 'sculptor'. As a god of craftsmen, the later is probably correct. He was a patron of the arts, protector of stonecutters, sculptors, blacksmiths, architects, boat builders, artists and craftsmen. His high priest was given the title 'Great Leader of Craftsmen', and his priests were probably linked to the different crafts. Ptah's importance may be discerned when one learns that "Egypt" is a Greek corruption of the phrase "Het-Ka-Ptah," or "House of the Spirit of Ptah."
In art, he is portrayed as a bearded mummified man, often wearing a skull cap, with his hands holding an ankh, was, and djed,, the symbols of life, power and stability, respectively. It was also considered that Ptah manifested himself in the Apis bull. In the Memphite theology, Ptah is the primal creator, the first of all the gods, creator of the world and all that is in it. He is the artificer, the creator god, according to the priests of Memphis, the ancient capitol of Egypt. Ptah is not created, but simply is. The Egyptians believed that Ptah was a god who created everything from
artifacts to the world egg to the other deities themselves. The Opening of the Mouth ceremony was believed to have been devised by him. Opening of the Mouth Ceremony
When an ancient Egyptian died, he was not buried into the ground, mourned and then forgotten. Nor was his grave simply visited at certain times and some token words spoken over it, so that once again he is forgotten until next visit. The ancient Egyptians believed that ritual existed which would bring sensory life back to the deceased¹s form, enabling it to see, smell, breathe, hear, and eat, and thus partake of the offering foods and drinks brought to the tomb each day. Priests would recite hymns such as this one, for Pa-nefer: "Awake!..May you be alert as a living one, rejuvenated every day, healthy in millions of occasions of god sleep, while the gods protect you, protection being around you every day." Once the deceased was rejuvenated back with all his senses, he could also interact and watch over the family members, affecting their lives. Letters have been found attesting to the continued contact, or at least, belief in the continued contact, between deceased and living. Letters such as this one, from the scribe Butehamun to his deceased wife Ikhtay, where he asks her to intercede with the Lords of Eternity on his behalf. "If you can hear me in the place where you are ... it is you who will speak with a good speech in the necropolis. Indeed I did not commit an abomination against you while you were on earth, and I hold to my behavior."
The Opening of the Mouth ceremony was an important ritual in both funerary and temple practice. It originated as a ritual to endow statues with the capacity to support the living ka, and to receive offerings. It was performed on cult statues of gods, kings, and private individuals, as well as on the mummies of both humans and Apis bulls. It was even performed on the individual rooms of temples and on the entire temple structure. The effect of the ritual was to animate the recipient (or, in the case of a deceased individual, to re-animate it). The ritual allowed the mummy, statue, or temple, to eat, breathe, see, hear and enjoy the offerings and provisions performed by the priests and officiants, thus to sustain the ka or soul spark - spirit. The earliest Old Kingdom textual references to the ceremony date to the early 4th dynasty, to the Palermo Stone and the decoration of the tomb of the royal official Metjen. At this time, the ritual seems to have been performed solely to animate statues, rather than to re-animate the deceased. Marriages and Children Ptah was married to either Bast, Sekhmet or Wadjet. His union with Bast was thought to have produced a lion-headed god called Mihos, while Nefertem was his son by either Sekhmet or Wadjet. Different towns believed that Ptah was married to their goddess, and thus the confusion with his family ties. Mennefer had a triad consisting of Ptah, Sekhmet and Nefertem. The architect of the Saqqara Step Pyramid, Imhotep, after he became deified, came to be regarded as the son of Ptah. As father and creator of the gods, the deities he created first were Nun and Naunet and the nine gods of the Ennead. The nine were Atum, Shu, Tefnut, Geb, Nut, Osiris, Isis, Set, and Nephthys who were considered to be both the teeth and lips of the mouth of Ptah and the semen and the hands of Tem. He was linked to two other Mennefer gods - Ta-tenen and Sokar. Ta-tenen (known as Ptah-Ta-tenen when the two were combined) was an earth god connected with the primeval mound as it rose from the waters of Nun while Sokar was a god of the necropolis. This reinforced Ptah's aspects of a god of creation and a god of the dead. Ptah-Sokar was also connected
with Osiris, and known as Ptah-Sokar-Osiris. Statues of the three-in-one god showed a mummiform man wearing the sun disk, corkscrew ram horns and long plumes or the atef crown. These statues often contained a copy of spells from The Book of the Dead.
In one of his many forms, Ra has the head of a falcon and the sun-disk of Wadjet resting on his head.
Ra (pronounced as Rah, and sometimes as Ray) is an ancient Egyptian sun god. By the fifth dynasty he became a major deity in ancient Egyptian religion, identified primarily with the mid-day sun, with other deities representing other positions of the sun. Ra changed greatly over time and in one form or another, much later he was said to represent the sun at all times of the day. The chief cult centre of Ra first was based in Heliopolis (ancient Inunu) meaning "City of the Sun." In later Egyptian dynastic times, Ra was merged with the god Horus, as Re-Horakhty (and many variant spellings). When his worship reached this position of importance in the Egyptian pantheon, he was believed to command the sky, the earth, and the underworld. He was associated with the falcon, the symbol of other sun deities who protected the pharaohs in later myths. After the deities were paired with pharaohs, the children of Hathor were considered to be fathered by Ra. Although not the contemporary view, E. A. Wallis Budge (1857-1934) claims that Ra was the one god of Egyptian monotheism, of which all other deities were aspects, manifestations, phases, or forms. Ra should be pronounced as 'rei'; hence the alternative spelling Re rather than Ra. The meaning of Ra's name is uncertain, but it is thought if not a word for 'sun' it may be a variant of or linked to 'creative'. As his cult arose in the Egyptian pantheon, Ra often replaced Atum as the father, grandfather, and great-grandfather of the deities of the Ennead, and became a creator of the world. Up until the mid-twentieth century, theories of Egyptologists postulated that the Heliopolis priesthood established this pesedjet at Heliopolis in order to place their local sun-god Ra above all other deities such as Osiris. Many Egyptologists now question this. It appears almost certain, rather, that the Great Ennead - the nine deities of Atum, Geb, Isis, Nut, Osiris, Nephthys, Seth, Shu, and Tefnut - first appeared during the decline of Ra's cult in the sixth dynasty, and that after introduction of the new pesedjet the cult of Ra soon saw a great resurgence until the worship of Horus gained prominence. Afterward worship focused on the syncretistic solar deity Ra-harakhty (Ra, who is Horus of the Two Horizons). During the Amarna Period of the
eighteenth dynasty, Akhenaten introduced worship of another solar deity Aten. The deified solar disc represented his preferred regional deity as he attempted to lessen the influence of the temple of Atum. He built the Wetjes Aten (Elevating the Sun-disca) temple in Annu. Blocks from this temple later were used to build walls to the medieval city of Cairo and are included in some of the city gates. The cult of the Mnevis bull, an embodiment of Ra, had its centre here and established a formal burial ground for the sacrificed bulls north of the city. In the later myths Ra was seen to have created Sekhmet, the early lioness war goddess who becomes Hathor, the cow goddess after she has sufficiently punished mankind as an avenging Eye of Ra.
This changes the themes of much earlier myths into aspects of his and he is often said to be the father of both, and brother, to the god Osiris. Afterward nearly all forms of life supposedly were created only by Ra, who called each of them into existence by speaking their secret names and eventually humans were created from Ra's tears and sweat, hence the Egyptians call themselves the "Cattle of Ra." Symbolism Ra shared many of his symbols with other solar deities, in particular Horus, usually depicted as a falcon. In artwork Ra primarily is depicted as a man wearing a pharaoh's crown (a sign of his leadership of the deities) and the wadjet sun disk above his head. Often he had a falcon's head, as does Horus. In later myths about Ra, the sun is portrayed differently according to the position of the sun in the sky. This was an early theme in Egyptian myths, with different names assigned
to the sun depending upon its position in the sky. At sunrise he was the young boy Khepri, at noon the falcon-headed man Harakhty, and at sunset the elder Atum. This constant aging was suggested by some later Egyptians as the reason Ra stayed separate from the world and let Osiris or Horus rule in his place. This idea often is coupled with the myth in which Isis is able to trick an elderly Ra, having ruled on earth as a human pharaoh, into revealing his secret name, and thus the secret of his power. Ra subsequently lost his power, resulting in the cult of Isis and Osiris to rise in importance. The Bennu bird (Phoenix) is Ra's ba and a symbol of fire and rebirth. The wadjet sun disk, also shown as the hieroglyphic Ankh, symbolizes the life given by the sun. Obelisk represents the rays of the sun and was worshiped as a home of a solar god. Pyramids, aligned east to west, Falcon; Bull; a cobra commonly seen wrapped around the sun disk, the form of the goddess Wadjet, who often was depicted as an Egyptian cobra, an animal thought only to be female and reproducing through parthenogenesis. Some traditions relate that the first wadjet was created by the goddess Isis who formed it from the dust of the earth and the spittle of Atum. The uraeus was the instrument with which Isis gained the throne of Egypt for her husband Osiris. As the sun, Ra was thought to see everything. Together with Atum, Ra was believed to have fathered Shu and Tefnut who in turn bore Geb and Nut. These in turn were the parents of Osiris, Isis, Set (also known as Seth), and Nephthys. All nine made up the Heliopolitan Ennead. Mythology For the Egyptians, the sun represented light, warmth, and growth. This made sun deities very important to Egyptians, and it is no coincidence that the sun came to be the ruler of all. In his myths, the sun was either seen as the body or Eye of Ra. Journey of Re traveling through the Underworld in his solar barque,
a journey he undertakes every night
Primordial Serpent and Sun
Boat Ra was thought to travel in a sun boat (The Boat of the Millions) to protect its fires from the primordial waters of the underworld it passed through during the night. Ra traveled in the sun boat with various other deities including Set and Mehen who defended against the monsters of the underworld, and Ma'at who guided the boat's course. The monsters included Apep, an enormous serpent who tried to stop the sun boat's journey every night by consuming it. The Ra myth saw the sunrise as the
rebirth of the sun by the goddess Nut and the sky, thus attributing the concept of rebirth and renewal to Ra and strengthening his role as a creator god.
In the Pyramid Text, Re is perpetually resurrected in the mornings in the form of a scarab beetle, Khepri, which means the Emerging One. He rides on the primordial waters, called Nun, in his sacred bark (boat) along with a number of other deities across the sky, where at sunset he becomes Atum, the "All Lord". At sunset, he is swallowed by the goddess Nut, who gives birth to him each morning again as Khepri. Therefore, the cycle continued with birth, life and death.
Marriages Early in his myths Ra was said to be married to Hathor and they were the parents of Horus. Later his myths changed Hathor into Ra's daughter. This featured prominently in the myth often called The Story of Sekhmet, in which Ra sent Hathor down to punish humanity as Sekhmet. Ra had 4 children: Nut (sky) - Shu - Tefnut - Geb (Earth) Nut and Geb created 4 children: Set- Osiris - Isis - Nephthys Isis and Osiris created - Horus
Composites As with most widely worshiped Egyptian deities, Ra's identity was often confused with others as different regional religions were merged in an attempt to unite the country. Amun Re Amun was a member of the Ogdoad, representing creation energies with Amaunet, a very early patron of Thebes. He was believed to create via breath, and thus was identified with the wind rather than the sun. As the cults of Amun and Ra became increasingly popular in Upper and Lower Egypt respectively they were combined to create Amun-Ra, a solar creator god. The name Amun-Ra is reconstructed). It is hard to distinguish exactly when this combination happened, but references to Amun-Ra appeared in pyramid texts as early as the fifth dynasty. The most common belief is that Amun-Ra was invented as a new state deity by the (Theban) rulers of the New Kingdom to unite worshipers of Amun with the older cult of Ra around the eighteenth dynasty. Atum-Ra Atum-Ra (or Ra-Atum) was another composite deity formed from two completely separate deities, however Ra shared more similarities with Atum than with Amun. Atum was more closely linked with the sun, and was also a creator god of the Ennead. Both Ra and Atum were regarded as the father of the deities and pharaohs, and were widely worshiped. In older myths, Atum was the creator of Tefnut and Shu, and he was born from ocean Nun.
Atum Ra Ra-Horakhty In later Egyptian mythology, Ra-Horakhty was more of a title or manifestation than a composite deity. It translates as "Ra (who is) Horus of the Horizons". It was intended to link Horakhty (as a sunrise-oriented aspect of Horus) to Ra. It has been suggested that Ra-Horakhty simply refers to the sun's journey from horizon to horizon as Ra, or that it means to show Ra as a symbolic deity of hope and rebirth.
Osiris and Re-Horakhty Khepri and Khnum Khepri was a scarab beetle who rolled up the sun in the mornings, and was sometimes seen as the morning manifestation of Ra. Similarly, the ram-headed god Khnum was also seen as the evening manifestation of Ra. The idea of different deities (or different aspects of Ra) ruling over different times of the day was fairly common, but variable. With Khepri and Khnum taking precedence over sunrise and sunset, Ra often was the representation of midday when the sun reached its peak at noon. Sometimes different aspects of Horus were used instead of Ra's aspects. In Thelema's Liber Resh vel Helios, Ra represents the rising sun, with Hathor as the midday sun and Tum as the setting sun. Ptah Ra rarely was combined with Ptah; the sun "crosses" over Ptah in the underworld before Ptah is reborn, thus there would be no sun-ray when this happens. Other combinations can and do exist: The rising sun with sun ray, the noon sun with sun ray, and sitting sun with sunray. But as per the Memphite creation myth he was often said to
be Ptah's first creation, through his divine will, especially when associated with Atum or Amun. Worship His local cult began to grow from roughly the second dynasty, establishing Ra as a sun deity. By the fourth dynasty the pharaohs were seen to be Ra's manifestations on earth, referred to as "Sons of Ra". His worship increased massively in the fifth dynasty, when he became a state deity and pharaohs had specially aligned pyramids, obelisks, and solar temples built in his honor. The first Pyramid Texts began to arise, giving Ra more and more significance in the journey of the pharaoh through the underworld. The Middle Kingdom saw Ra being increasingly combined and affiliated with other deities, especially Amun and Osiris. During the New Kingdom, the worship of Ra became more complicated and grand. The walls of tombs were dedicated to extremely detailed texts that told of Ra's journey through the underworld. Ra was said to carry the prayers and blessings of the living with the souls of the dead on the sun boat. The idea that Ra aged with the sun became more popular with the rise of The New Kingdom. Eventually, during the reign of Akhenaten (mid 1350s-1330s), the worship reached the level of "uncompromising monotheism" Many acts of worship included hymns, prayers, and spells to help Ra and the sun boat overcome Apep. Though worship of Ra was widespread, his cult center was in Heliopolis in Lower Egypt. Oddly enough, this was the home of the Ennead that was believed to be headed by Atum, with whom he was merged. The Holiday of 'The Receiving of Ra' was celebrated on May 26 in the Gregorian calendar. Though Re lived on in various forms into the Greco-Roman period, his worship gradually deteriorated during the fist millennium. This decline was probably due to the weakening of the kingship under various foreign rulers. Though he continued to be a part of Egyptian theology, he was no longer a part of the peoples living faith. Devotion to Re became more and more limited to priests of the temple.
The rise of Christianity in the Roman empire caused an end to worship of Ra by the citizens of Egypt, and as Ra's the popularity suddenly died out, the study of Ra became purely for academic knowledge even among the Egyptian priests.
In the News ... A Case for Mistaken Identity Thunderbolts - December 26, 2007 Ra was often lauded as "Lord of the Circles" and as "he who entereth [or liveth] in the circle." He was described as "the sender forth of light into his circle" and as the "Governor of [his] circle."
Goddess of divine retribution, vengeance, conquest and war. In Egyptian mythology, Sekhmet (also spelled Sachmet, Sakhet, Sekmet, Sakhmet and Sekhet; and given the Greek name, Sacmis), was originally the warrior goddess of Upper Egypt. She is depicted as a lioness, the fiercest hunter known to the Egyptians. It was said that her breath created the desert. She was seen as the protector of the pharaohs and led them in warfare. Her cult was so dominant in the culture that when the first pharaoh of the twelfth dynasty, Amenemhat I, moved the capital of Egypt to Itjtawy, the
centre for her cult was moved as well. Religion, the royal lineage, and the authority to govern were intrinsically interwoven in Ancient Egypt during its approximately three thousand years of existence. Sekhmet also is a solar deity, often considered an aspect of the Goddesses Hathor and cats Bast. She bears the solar disk, and the Uraeus which associates her with Wadjet and royalty. With these associations she can be construed as being a divine arbiter of Ma'at (Justice, or Order), The Eye of Horus and connecting her with Tefnut as well. Upper Egypt is in the south and Lower Egypt is in the delta region in the north. As Lower Egypt had been conquered by Upper Egypt, Sekhmet was seen as the more powerful of the two warrior goddesses, the other, Bast, being the similar warrior goddess of Lower Egypt. Consequently, it was Sekhmet who was seen as the Avenger of Wrongs, and the Scarlet Lady, a reference to blood, as the one with bloodlust. She also was seen as a special goddess for women, ruling over menstruation. Unable to be eliminated completely however, Bast became a lesser deity and even was marginalized as Bastet by the priests of Amun who added a second female ending to her name that may have implied a diminutive status, becoming seen as a domestic cat at times. Sekhmet became identified in some later cults as a daughter of the new sun god, Ra, when his cult merged with and supplanted the worship of Horus (the son of Osiris and Isis, who was one of the oldest of Egyptian deities and gave birth daily to the sun). At that time many roles of deities were changed in the Egyptian myths. Some were changed further when the Greeks established a royal line of rulers that lasted for three hundred years and some of their historians tried to create parallels between deities in the two pantheons. Her name suits her function and means, the (one who is) powerful. She also was given titles such as the (One) Before Whom Evil Trembles, the Mistress of Dread, and the Lady of Slaughter. Sekhmet was believed to protect the pharaoh in battle, stalking the land, and destroying the pharaoh's enemies with arrows of fire. An early Egyptian sun deity also, her body was said to take on the bright glare of the midday sun, gaining her the title Lady of Flame. It was said that death
and destruction were balm for her warrior's heart and that the hot desert winds were believed to be her breath. n order to placate Sekhmet's wrath, her priestesses performed a ritual before a different statue of the goddess on each day of the year. This practice resulted in many images of the goddess being preserved. It is estimated that more than seven hundred statues of Sekhmet once stood in one funerary temple alone, that of Amenhotep III, on the west bank of the Nile. Sekhmet also was seen as a bringer of disease as well as the provider of cures to such ills. The name "Sekhmet" literally became synonymous with physicians and surgeons during the Middle Kingdom. In antiquity, many members of Sekhmet's priesthood often were considered to be on the same level as physicians. She was envisioned as a fierce lioness, and in art, was depicted as such, or as a woman with the head of a lioness, who was dressed in red, the colour of blood. Sometimes the dress she wears exhibits a rosetta pattern over each nipple, an ancient leonine motif, which can be traced to observation of the shoulder-knot hairs on lions. Tame lions were kept in temples dedicated to Sekhmet at Leontopolis. To pacify Sekhmet, festivals were celebrated at the end of battle, so that the destruction would come to an end. During an annual festival held at the beginning of the year, a festival of intoxication, the Egyptians danced and played music to soothe the wildness of the goddess and drank great quantities of beer ritually to imitate the extreme drunkenness that stopped the wrath of the goddess - when she almost destroyed humankind. This may relate to averting excessive flooding during the inundation at the beginning of each year as well, when the Nile ran blood-red with the silt from upstream and Sekhmet had to swallow the overflow to save humankind. In 2006, Betsy Bryan, an archaeologist with Johns Hopkins University excavating at the temple of Mut presented her findings about the festival that included illustrations of the priestesses being served to excess and its adverse effects being ministered to by temple attendants. Participation in the festival was great, including the priestesses and the
population. Historical records of tens of thousands attending the festival exist. These findings were made in the temple of Mut because when Thebes rose to greater prominence, Mut absorbed the warrior goddesses as some of her aspects. First, Mut became Mut-Wadjet-Bast, then Mut-Sekhmet-Bast (Wadjet having merged into Bast), then Mut also assimilated Menhit, another lioness goddess, and her adopted son's wife, becoming Mut-Sekhmet-Bast-Menhit, and finally becoming Mut-Nekhbet. These temple excavations at Luxor discovered a "porch of drunkenness" built onto the temple by the queen Hatshepsut, during the height of her twenty year reign. In a later myth developed around an annual drunken Sekhmet festival, Ra, by then the sun god of Upper Egypt, created her from a fiery eye gained from his mother, to destroy mortals who conspired against him (Lower Egypt). In the myth, Sekhmet's blood-lust was not quelled at the end of battle and led to her destroying almost all of humanity, so Ra tricked her by turning the Nile red like blood (the Nile turns red every year when filled with silt during inundation) so that Sekhmet would drink it. However, the red liquid was not blood, but beer mixed with pomegranate juice so that it resembled blood, making her so drunk that she gave up slaughter and became an aspect of the gentle Hathor. After Sekhmet's worship moved to Memphis, as Horus and Ra had been identified as one another under the name Ra-Herakhty - when the two religious systems were merged and Ra became seen as a form of Atum, known as Atum-Ra - so Sekhmet, as a form of Hathor, was seen as Atum's mother as Hathor had been the mother of the sun, giving birth anew to it every day. She then was seen as the mother of Nefertum, the youthful form of Atum who emerged in later myths, and so was said to have Ptah, Nefertum's father, as a husband when most of the goddesses acquired counterparts as paired deities. Although Sekhmet again became identified as an aspect of Hathor, over time both evolved back into separate deities because the characters of the two goddesses were so vastly different. Later, as noted above, the creation goddess Mut, the great mother, gradually became absorbed into the identities of the patron goddesses, merging with Sekhmet, and also
sometimes with Bast. Sekhmet later was considered to be the mother of Maahes, a deity who appeared during the New Kingdom period. He was seen as a lion prince, the son of the goddess. The late origin of Maahes in the Egyptian pantheon may be the incorporation of a Nubian deity of ancient origin in that culture, arriving during trade and warfare or even during a period of domination by Nubia. During the Greek occupation of Egypt, note was made of a temple for Maahes that was an auxiliary facility to a large temple to Sekhmet at Taremu in the delta region (likely a temple for Bast originally), a city which the Greeks called Leontopolis, where by that time, an enclosure was provided to house lions.
In Tibet Sekhmet is known as Senge Dong-ma, lion-headed dakini, "Guardian of the Secret Tantric Teachings". She is called Simhavaktra, in India where she also has a male reflection in the lion-headed incarnation of Vishnu, Narasimha. Pure shakti, she is doubtless a close relative to lion-mounted Durga, "Keeper of the Flame". Another Egyptian name for Sekhmet is Nesert, the flame. In the ancient Near East she was called Anat, Ashtoreth and Astarte.
Sekhmet from the temple of Mut at Luxor, granite, 1403-1365 BC
The warrior goddess Sekhmet, shown with her sun disk and cobra crown
Limestone fragment from the valley of Sneferu (Dynasty IV) at Dahshur
Golden Royalty and Alchemy
As with the Goddess Isis, Sekhmet seems to have been reinvented in the twentieth century. Although she is still regarded as a powerful force, to be approached with respect and caution, we can perceive a 'watering down' of her aspects. In Ancient Egypt she was dangerous and ferocious, the bringer of plagues and retribution, the fire of the sun God's eye. This was no benign figure, who could be adored and worshipped as a gentle mother. Today many women view Sekhmet as a source of strength, independence and assertiveness, and commune with her frequency when these attributes need to be augmented or instilled. To some Sekhmet has become the symbol of the modern woman. She is approached as a healer, bringer of justice and as a guardian or protector, but the emphasis has shifted. It seems a natural progression that Sekhmet has transformed from what was almost a force of chaos into an icon of immanent female
Seshat, The Scribe
Seshat is the feminine consort/counterpart/wife/child of Thoth the Scribe, he who wrote the story/program of humanity's journey through time. She is a Magician, as is Isis, Thoth, Hermes, etc. Seshat bore the title 'Egyptian Fairy Godmother'. Her magic wand, with its seven pointed star, was the symbol which represented the source of all creative ideas, consciousness. Her powers of cause and effect for any affectation were legendary before the founding of Egypt.
Seshat was the essence of cosmic intuition, creating the geometry of the heavens alongside Thoth. In Egyptian mythology, Seshat was originally the deification of the concept of wisdom, and so became a goddess of writing, astronomy, astrology, architecture, and mathematics.
As reality is based on duality, one could consider Seshat the feminine aspect of Thoth. The Egyptians believed that she invented writing, while Thoth taught writing to mankind. She was known as 'Mistress of the House of Books', indicating that she also took care of Thoth's library of spells
and scrolls. She is the patron of libraries and all forms of writing, including census and accounting work. Seshat was the only female that has been found (so far) actually writing. Other women have been found holding a scribe's writing brush and palette - showing that they could read and write, but these women were never shown in the act of writing itself. As goddess of writing, she was seen as a scribe, and record keeper, and her name itself means (she who) scrivens (i.e. she who is a scribe). The name Sashet, Seshet or Sesheta means
'The Female Scribe', 'Sesh" meaning scribe. She was an architect building by the measurements of sacred geometry.
She wears a leopard skin dress. The symbol over her head is a seven-pointed star or a rosette above which is a pair of inverted cow's horns suggesting a crescent moon. Her headdress was also her hieroglyph which may represent either a stylized flower or seven pointed star on a standing goddess that is
beneath a set of down-turned horns. The horns may have originally been a crescent, linking Seshat to the moon and hence to her spouse, the moon god of writing and knowledge, Thoth. Safekh-Aubi (Sefekh-Aubi) is a title that came from Seshat's headdress, that may have become an aspect of Seshat or an actual goddess. Safekh-Aubi means 'She Who Wears the Two Horns' and relates to the horns that appear above Seshat's head.
In art, she was depicted as a woman, with a stylized papyrus plant above her head, symbolizing writing, since the Egyptians wrote on a material derived from papyrus. The plant, her symbol, was shown having 6 spurs from the tip of the central stem, making it resemble a 7 pointed star. After the association with Thoth, who had originally been a moon god, the stylized papyrus was shown surmounted by a crescent moon, which, over time, degenerated into being shown as two horns arranged to form a crescent shape between them. When the crescent symbol had degenerated into the horns, she was sometimes known as Safekh-Aubi, meaning (she who) wears the two horns. Usually, she is also shown holding a palm stem, carrying notches to denote the recording of the passage of time. She is frequently dressed in a leopard-skin, a symbol of funerary priests, because the pattern of the
skin represents the stars, both a symbol of eternity, and associated with the moon. From the Second Dynasty onwards, she helped ritualized laying of the foundations of temples and the ceremony known as the stretching of the cord (referring to the mason's line used to measure out the limits of the building). She was known as Mistress of the House of Architects. She was personal god of the king, aiding and assisting him. She was said to record all of his preceedings and his accomplishments. As the divine measurer and scribe, she was believed to appear to assist the pharaoh in both these practices. It was she who recorded, by notching her palm, the time allotted to him by the gods for his stay on earth, and during the New Kingdom, she was involved in the pharaoh's jubilee festival - the Sed festival. She also assisted the pharaoh in the stretching the cord ritual, as well as recording the speeches the pharaoh made during crowning, and the inventory of foreign captives and goods gained in military campaigns.
The Pyramid Texts reference Seshat as 'The Female Scribe' and 'The Lady of the House'. Nephthys is also referred to in the Pyramid Texts as 'Seshat, Foremost of Builders'. Some call Seshat the Egyptian goddess of the dead, daughter of Geb and Nut, sister of Isis, Osiris and Seth. According to one tradition, she was also the mother of Anubis by Osiris. Her principal sanctuary was at Heliopolis. Along with Isis, she was one of
the guardians of the corpse of Osiris. Depicted in human form wearing a crown in the form of the hieroglyph for house. Sometimes depicted as a kite guarding funeral bier of Osiris. No temple has ever been found in her name. But in a temple constructed during Hatshepsut's reign, queen Hatshepsut is shown directing Thoth to speak to Seshat to get the answers to his questions. On the Slab Stela of Prince Wep-em-nefret, from the Fourth Dynasty, he is mentioned as the 'Overseer of the Royal Scribes', 'Priest of Seshat'. Supposedly at a later time, the priesthood of Thoth took over the priesthood of Seshat.
"Seshat, Great Lady of the House of Books, also known as Sefkhet-abwy, the Silicon Goddess, the Glass Cat and Our Lady of Mathematics. Among the Inner Sphere superintelligences there exist an archetypal attractor, Seshat, providing a shared interface to trans-singularity mathematical and notational understanding."
In Ancient Egyptian mythology, Set (also spelled Seth, Sutekh or Seteh) is an ancient god, who was originally the god of the desert, Storms, Darkness, and Chaos. Because of the developments in the Egyptian language over the 3,000 years that Set was worshipped, by the Greek period, the 't' in Seth was pronounced so indistinguishably from th that the Greeks spelled it as (Seth). The exact translation of Set is unknown for certain, but is usually considered to be either (one who) dazzles or pillar of stability, one connected to the desert, and the other more to the institution of monarchy. Seth was the god of the desert, and necessary chaos. Set also was viewed as immensely powerful and carried the epithet, "His Majesty",
shared only with Ra. Another common epithet was, of great of strength, and in one of the Pyramid Texts it states that the king's strength is that of Set. As chief god, he was patron of Upper Egypt (in the South- upstream), where he was worshiped, most notably at Ombos. The alternate form of his name, spelled Setesh, and later Sutekh, designates this supremacy, the extra sh and kh signifying majesty. In art, Set was mostly depicted as a mysterious and unknown creature, referred to by Egyptologists as the Set animal or Typhonic beast, with a curved snout, square ears, forked tail, and canine body, or sometimes as a human with only the head of the Set animal. It has no complete resemblance to any known creature, although it does resemble a composite of an aardvark, a donkey, and a jackal, all of which are desert creatures. The main species of aardvark present in ancient Egypt additionally had a reddish appearance due to thin fur, which shows the skin beneath it). In some descriptions he has the head of a greyhound. The earliest known representation of Set comes from a tomb dating to the Naqada I phase of the Predynastic Period (circa 4000 BC·3500 BC), and the Set-animal is even found on a mace-head of the Scorpion King, a Protodynastic ruler. The Was ("power") scepters represent the Set-animal. Was scepters were carried by gods, pharaohs, and priests, as a symbol of power, and in later use, control over the force of chaos (Set). The head and forked tail of the Set-animal are clearly present. Was scepters are often depicted in paintings, drawings, and carvings of gods, and remnants of real Was scepters have been found constructed of faience or wood. Conflict between Horus and Set The myth of Set's conflict with Horus, Osiris, and Isis appears in many Egyptian sources, including the Pyramid Texts, the Coffin Texts, the Shabaka Stone, inscriptions on the walls of the temple of Horus at Edfu, and various papyrus sources. The Chester Beatty Papyrus No. 1 contains the legend known as The Contention of Horus and Set. Classical authors also recorded the story, notably Plutarch's De Iside et Osiride. These myths generally portray Osiris as a wise king and bringer of civilization, happily married to his sister, Isis. Set was envious of his
younger brother, and he killed and dismembered Osiris. Isis reassembled Osiris' corpse and another god (in some myths Thoth and in others Anubis) embalmed him. As the archetypal mummy, Osiris reigned over the Afterworld as judge of the dead. Osiris' son Horus was conceived by Isis with Osiris' corpse, or in some versions, only with pieces of his corpse. Horus naturally became the enemy of Set, and many myths describe their conflicts. In some of these myths Set is portrayed as Horus' older brother rather than uncle. The myth incorporated moral lessons for relationships between fathers and sons, older and younger brothers, and husbands and wives. It has also been suggested that the myth may reflect historical events. According to the Shabaka Stone, Geb divided Egypt into two halves, giving Upper Egypt (the desert south) to Set and Lower Egypt (the region of the delta in the north) to Horus, in order to end their feud. However, according to the stone, in a later judgment Geb gave all Egypt to Horus. Interpreting this myth as a historical record would lead one to believe that Lower Egypt (Horus' land) conquered Upper Egypt (Set's land); but, in fact Upper Egypt conquered Lower Egypt. So the myth cannot be simply interpreted. Several theories exist to explain the discrepancy. For instance, since both Horus and Set were worshiped in Upper Egypt prior to unification, perhaps the myth reflects a struggle within Upper Egypt prior to unification, in which a Horus-worshiping group subjected a Set-worshiping group. What is known is that during the Second Dynasty, there was a period in which the King Peribsen's name or Serekh - which had been surmounted by a Horus falcon in the First Dynasty - was for a time surmounted by a Set animal, suggesting some kind of religious struggle. It was ended at the end of the Dynasty by Khasekhemwy, who surmounted his Serekh with both a falcon of Horus and a Set animal, indicating some kind of compromise had been reached. Regardless, once the two lands were united, Seth and Horus were often shown together crowning the new pharaohs, as a symbol of their power over both Lower and Upper Egypt. Queens of the 1st Dynasty bore the title "She Who Sees Horus and Set." The Pyramid Texts present the
pharaoh as a fusion of the two deities. Evidently, pharaohs believed that they balanced and reconciled competing cosmic principles. Eventually the dual-god Horus-Set appeared, combining features of both deities (as was common in Egyptian theology, the most familiar example being Amun-Re). Later Egyptians interpreted the myth of the conflict between Set and Osiris/Horus as an analogy for the struggle between the desert (represented by Set) and the fertilizing floods of the Nile (Osiris/Horus). Savior of Ra As the Ogdoad system became more assimilated with the Ennead one, as a result of creeping increase of the identification of Atum as Ra, itself a result of the joining of Upper and Lower Egypt, Set's position in this became considered. With Horus as Ra's heir on Earth, Set, previously the chief god, for Lower Egypt, required an appropriate role as well, and so was identified as Ra's main hero, who fought Apep each night, during Ra's journey (as sun god) across the underworld. He was thus often depicted standing on the prow of Ra's night barque spearing Apep in the form of a serpent, turtle, or other dangerous water animals. Surprisingly, in some Late Period representations, such as in the Persian Period temple at Hibis in the Khargah Oasis, Set was represented in this role with a falcon's head, taking on the guise of Horus, despite the fact that Set was usually considered in quite a different position with regard to heroism. This assimilation also led to Anubis being displaced, in areas where he was worshiped, as ruler of the underworld, with his situation being explained by his being the son of Osiris. As Isis represented life, Anubis' mother was identified instead as Nephthys. This led to an explanation in which Nephthys, frustrated by Set's lack of sexual interest in her, disguised herself as the more attractive Isis, but failed to gain Set's attention because he was infertile. Osiris mistook Nephthys for Isis and they had conceived Anubis resulting in Anubis' birth. In some later texts, after Set lost the connection to the desert, and thus infertility, Anubis was identified as Set's son, as Set is Nephthys' husband. In the mythology, Set has a great many wives, including some foreign Goddesses, and several children. Some of the most notable wives
(beyond Nephthys/Nebet Het) are Neith (with whom he is said to have fathered Sobek), Amtcheret (by whom he is said to have fathered Upuat though Upuat is also said to be a son of Anubis or Osiris), Tawaret, Hetepsabet (one of the Hours, a feminine was-beast headed goddess who is variously described as wife or daughter of Set), and the two Canaanite deities Anat and Astarte, both of whom are equally skilled in love and war two things which Set himself was famous for. Set in the Second Intermediate and Ramesside Periods During the Second Intermediate Period, a group of Asiatic foreign chiefs known as the Hyksos (literally, "rulers of foreigns lands") gained the rulership of Egypt, and ruled the Nile Delta, from Avaris. They chose Set, originally Lower Egypt's chief god, the god of foreigners and the god they found most similar to their own chief god, as their patron, and so Set became worshiped as the chief god once again. When Ahmose I overthrew the Hyksos and expelled them from Egypt, Egyptian attitudes towards Asiatic foreigners became xenophobic, and royal propaganda discredited the period of Hyksos rule. Nonetheless, the Set cult at Avaris flourished, and the Egyptian garrison of Ahmose stationed there because part of the priesthood of Set at Avaris. The founder of the nineteenth dynasty, Ramesses I came from a military family from Avaris with strong ties to the priesthood of Set. Several of the Ramesside kings were named for Set, most notably Seti I (literally, "man of Set") and Setnakht (literally, "Set is strong"). In addition, one of the garrisons of Ramesses II held Set as its patron deity, and Ramesses II erected the so-called Four Hundred Years' Stele at Pi-Ramesses, commemorating the 400 year anniversary of the Set cult in the Delta. Set also became associated with foreign gods during the New Kingdom, particularly in the Delta. Set was also identified by the Egyptians with the Hittite deity Teshub, who was a storm god like Set. Demonization of Set Set was one of the earliest deities, with a strong following in Upper Egypt. Originally highly regarded throughout Kemet as the god of the desert, a political faction inspired an initial disparaging of Set's name and reputation. Kemet was originally split into two kingdoms: Upper ruled by
Horus (and later Ra), Lower by Set. Set's followers resisted a unification of the Upper and Lower kingdoms of Egypt by the followers of Horus/Ra (with the followers of Osiris and Isis). This political split was echoed in the Osiris & Isis myth, and subsequent battle with Horus. The followers of Horus thus denigrated Set as chaotic and evil. By the 22nd Dynasty, Set was equated with his old enemy, Apep, and his images on temples were replaced with those of Sobek or Thoth. Most modern popular misconceptions of Set come from Plutarch's secondary source interpretations of Set (via the writings of Herodotus et al.), long after Set's demonization (circa 100 A.D., Roman Period in Egypt). Set was further demonized immediately after the Hyksos Period, the evidence from the Nineteenth Dynasty proves that this is a more complex picture. Some scholars date the demonization of Set to after Egypt's conquest by the Persian ruler Cambyses II. Set, who had traditionally been the god of foreigners, thus also became associated with foreign oppressors, including the Achaemenid Persians, Ptolemaic dynasty, and Romans. Indeed, it was during the time that Set was particularly vilified, and his defeat by Horus widely celebrated. Set's negative aspects were emphasized during this period. Set was the killer of Osiris in the Myth of Osiris and Isis, having hacked Osiris' body into pieces and dispersed it so that he could not be resurrected. If Set' ears are fins, as some have interpreted, the head of the Set-animal resembles the Oxyrhynchus fish, and so it was said that as a final precaution, an Oxyrhynchus fish ate Osiris' penis. In addition, Set was often depicted as one of the creatures that the Egyptians most feared, crocodiles, and hippopotami. The Greeks later linked Set with Typhon because both were evil forces, storm deities, and sons of the Earth that attacked the main gods. Nevertheless, throughout this period, in some outlying regions of Egypt Set was still regarded as the heroic chief deity; for example, there was a temple dedicated to Set in the village of Mut al-Kharab, in the Dakhlah Oasis.
Temples Set was worshipped at the temples of Ombos (Nubt near Naqada) and Ombos (Nubt near Kom Ombo), at Oxyrhynchus in upper Egypt, and also in part of the Fayyum area. More specifically, Set was worshipped in the relatively large metropolitan (yet provincial) locale of Sepermeru, especially during the Rammeside Period. There, Seth was honored with an important temple called the "House of Seth, Lord of Sepermeru." One of the epithets of this town was "gateway to the desert," which fits well with Seth's role as a deity of the frontier regions of ancient Egypt. At Sepermeru, Set's temple-enclosure included a small secondary shrine called "The House of Seth, Powerful-Is-His-Mighty-Arm," and Ramesses II himself built (or modified) a second land-owning temple for Nephthys, called "The House of Nephthys of Ramesses-Meriamun.". There is no question, however, that the two temples of Seth and Nephthys in Sepermeru were under separate administration, each with its own holdings and prophets. Moreover, another moderately sized temple of Seth is noted for the nearby town of Pi-Wayna. The close association of Seth temples with temples of Nephthys in key outskirt-towns of this milieu is also reflected in the likelihood that there existed another "House of Seth" and another "House of Nephthys" in the town of Su, at the entrance to the Fayyum. Perhaps most intriguing in terms of the pre-Dynasty XX connections between temples of Set and nearby temples of his consort Nephthys is the evidence of Papyrus Bologna, which preserves a most irritable complaint lodged by one Pra'em-hab, Prophet of the "House of Seth" in the now-lost town of Punodjem ("The Sweet Place"). In the text of Papyrus Bolgona, the harried Pra'em-hab laments undue taxation for his own temple (The House of Seth) and goes on to lament that he is also saddled with responsibility for: "the ship, and I am likewise also responsible for the House of Nephthys, along with the remaining heap of district temples". It is unfortunate, perhaps, that we have means of knowing the particular theologies of the closely connected Set and Nephthys temples in these districts·it would be interesting to learn, for example, the religious tone of
temples of Nephthys located in such proximity to those of Seth, especially given the seemingly contrary Osirian loyalties of Seth's consort-goddess. When, by Dynasty XX, the "demonization" of Seth was ostensibly inaugurated, Seth was either eradicated or increasingly pushed to the outskirts, Nephthys flourished as part of the usual Osirian pantheon throughout Egypt, even obtaining a Late Period status as tutelary goddess of her own Nome (UU Nome VII, "Hwt-Sekhem"/Diospolis Parva) and as the chief goddess of the Mansion of the Sistrum in that district. Yet, it is perhaps most telling that Seth's cultus persisted with astonishing potency even into the latter days of ancient Egyptian religion, in outlying (but important) places like Kharga, Dakhlah, Deir el-Hagar, Mut, Kellis, etc. Indeed, in these places, Seth was considered "Lord of the Oasis/Town" and Nephthys was likewise venerated as "Mistress of the Oasis" at Seth's side, in his temples esp. the dedication of a Nephthys-cult statue). Meanwhile, Nephthys was also venerated as "Mistress" in the Osirian temples of these districts, as part of the specifically Osirian college. It would appear that the ancient Egyptians in these locales had little problem with the paradoxical dualities inherent in venerating Seth and Nephthys as juxtaposed against Osiris, Isis & Nephthys. Further study of the enormously important role of Seth in ancient Egyptian religion (particularly after Dynasty XX) is imperative. The power of Seth's cult in the mighty (yet outlying) city of Avaris from the Second Intermediate Period through the Ramesside Period cannot be denied. There he reigned supreme as a deity both at odds and in league with threatening foreign powers, and in this case, his chief consort-goddesses were the Phoenicians Anat and Astarte, with Nephthys merely one of the harem.
Shezmu, alts. Shesmu, Schezemu, Schesmu, Shesemu, Shezmou, Shesmou, Sezmu, Sesmu, is the ancient Egyptian demonic God of execution, slaughter, blood, and wine. Like many of the gods of Ancient Egypt, Shezmu was of a complex nature. He had qualities of both light and darkness, but this was not the reason that he was known as a 'demon'. To the Egyptians, demons were not necessarily evil in nature. Often they were quite helpful. Instead, the term Œdemon¹ was given to Shezmu because he was one of the lesser deities, and due to his relation to The Underworld. Though he wasn¹t as popular as many of the others, he was quite important. Shezmu was the demonic god of red wine, slaughter, and sometimes perfumes or oils. The link between blood and the crimson color of wine is clear. Shezmu was known to destroy wrongdoers, gruesomely putting their heads in winepresses to remove the blood. He was known as the 'Executioner of Osiris'. Shezmu followed the commands of The God of The Dead, and therefore was sometimes given the title ŒSlaughterer of Souls¹. He initially seems to be a fierce underworld deity, but Shezmu was quite helpful to the dead. Although he was a harsh executioner of the wicked, he was also a great protector of the virtuous. Shezmu offered red
wine to those who had passed on. Other than wine, he was in charge of earthly objects such as embalming oils, and perfumes. Among the gods, his job was to use the bodies and blood of the dead to create sustenance for Unas. Osiris was the one who ordered the use of the wicked one¹s blood to be turned to wine. He was sometimes given the title ŒDemon of the Wine Press¹. On a darker note, Shezmu¹s affinity with the color red linked him to evil. Crimson was a feared and hated color among the Egyptians. Not only is it the universal color of blood, and therefore death, but it was the color of the god of chaos, Seth. Since it was also the color of the setting sun, red was associated with the coming darkness and the reign of Apophis the serpent demon. Like many other Egyptian deities, Shezmu was sometimes depicted as a man or a man with the head of a falcon. To link him further with blood and destruction, he took the form of a man with a leonine head. This perhaps was a bridge between him and Sekhmet, the goddess of vengeance. Furthermore, he is associated with Nefertem through both his appearance and the connection with perfumes. Shezmu seemed to be both represented as a great evil and an entity of good. In many places he is held in high regards by the god Osiris, and is worshipped as a protector god. However, he was also feared as the unyielding punisher of the damned. His greatest cult was centered in Faiyum, but his worshippers were also widely distributed in Dendera and Edfu. Due to its color, red wine became strongly identified with blood, and thus Shezmu was identified as lord of blood. Since wine was seen as a good thing, his association with blood was considered one of righteousness, making him considered an executioner of the unrighteous, being the slaughterer of souls. When the main form of execution was by beheading, it was said that Shezmu ripped off the heads of those who were wicked, and threw them into a wine press, to be crushed into red wine, which was given to the righteous dead. Beheading was commonly carried out by the victim resting their head on a wooden block, and so Shezmu was referred to as Overthrower of the Wicked at the Block. This violent aspect lead to depiction, in art, as a
lion-headed man, thus being known as fierce of face. In later times, Egyptians used the wine press for producing oils instead of wine, which was produced by crushing under foot instead. Consequently, Shezmu became associated with unguents and embalming oils, and thus the preservation of the body, and of beauty.
Shu (Su) was the god of dry air, wind and the atmosphere. He was also related to the sun, possibly as an aspect of sunlight. He was the son of the creator god, father of the twin sky and the earth deities and the one who held the sky off of the earth. He was one of the gods who protected
Ra on his journey through the underworld, using magic spells to ward off Ra's enemy, the snake-demon Apep. As with other protector gods, he had a darker side - he was also a god of punishment in the land of the dead, leading executioners and torturers to kill off the corrupt souls. His name might be derived from the word for dryness - shu, the root of words such as 'dry', 'parched', 'withered', 'sunlight' and 'empty'. His name could also mean 'He who Rises Up'.
He was generally depicted as a man wearing an ostrich feather headdress, holding a sceptre and the ankh sign of life. Sometimes he is shown wearing the sun disk on his head, linking him to the sun. Occasionally, when shown with his sister-wife Tefnut, he is shown in lion form and the two were known as the "twin lion gods". At other times, he was shown with the hind part of a lion as his headdress, linking him to his leonine form. Mostly, he was shown with his arms raised, holding up the goddess Nut as the sky, standing on the body of Geb. One story says that Shu and Tefnut went to explore the waters of Nun. After some time, Ra believed that they were lost, and sent the his Eye out into the chaos to find them. When his children were returned to him, Ra wept, and his tears were believed to have turned into the first humans. Shu was created by asexually or by spitting, the first born of the sun god. He seems to be more of a personification of the atmosphere rather than an actual god.
That is my daughter, the living female one, Tefnut, who shall be with her brother Shu. Life is his name, Order is her name. [At first] I lived with my two children, my little ones, the one before me, the other behind me. Life reposed with my daughter Order, the one within me, the other without me. I rose over them, but their arms were around me. - Spell 80, Coffin Texts As a god of the wind, the people invoked him to give good wind to the sails of the boats. It was he who was the personification of the cold northern winds; he was the breath of life - the vital principle of all living things. His bones were thought to be clouds. He was also called to 'lift up' the spirits of the dead so that they might rise up to the heavens, known as the 'light land', reached by means of a giant 'ladder' that Shu was thought to hold up. ...Shu, the 'space', the light cavity in the midst of the primordial darkness. Shu is both light and air, and as the offspring of god he is manifest life. As light he separates the earth from the sky and as air he upholds the sky vault. -Myth and Symbol in Ancient Egypt, R. T. Rundle Clark
Despite being a god of sunlight, Shu was not considered to be a solar deity. He was, though, connected to the sun god as one who was thought to bring Ra (and the pharaoh) to life each morning, raising the sun into the sky. During his travels through the underworld, he protected Ra from the snake-demon Apep, with spells to counteract the serpent and his followers. He participated in the judgement of the deceased in the Halls of Ma'ati as the leader of aggressive, punishing beings who were to eliminate the ones not worthy of the afterlife. The chapter of not perishing and of being alive in Khert-neter: Saith Osiris Ani: "Hail, children of: Shu! Hail, children of Shu, [children of] the place of the dawn, who as the children of light have gained possession of his crown. May I rise up and may I fare forth like Osiris." The chapter of not going into the block: Saith Osiris Ani: "The four bones of my neck and of my back are joined together for me in heaven by Ra, the guardian of the earth. This was granted on the day when my rising up out of weakness upon my two feet was ordered, on the day when the hair was cut off. The bones of my neck and of my back have been joined together by Set and by the company of the gods, even as they were in the time that is past; may nothing happen to break them apart. Make ye [me] strong against my father's murderer. I have gotten power over the two earths. Nut hath joined together my bones, and [I] behold [them] as they were in the time that is past [and I] see [them] even in the same order as they were [when] the gods had not come into being in
visible forms. I am Penti, I, Osiris the scribe Ani, triumphant, am the heir of the great gods." The Book of the Dead, Chapters XLVI and XL He also was believed to hold up Nut, the sky goddess and his daughter, above his son the earth god Geb. Without Shu holding the two apart, the Egyptians believed that there would be no area in which to create the life they saw all around them. The Egyptians believed that there were also pillars to help Shu lift up the sky - these pillars were on the four cardinal points, and were known as the 'Pillars of Shu'. Shu hath raised thee up, O Beautiful Face, thou governor of eternity. Thou hast thine eye, O scribe Nebseni, lord of fealty, and it is beautiful. Thy right eye is like the Sektet Boat, thy left eye is like the Atet Boat. Thine eyebrows are fair to see in the presence of the Company of the Gods. The Speech of Anubis (from the Papyrus of Nebseni) The Egyptians believed that Shu was the second divine pharaoh, ruling after Ra. Apep's followers, though, plotted against him and attacked the god at his palace in At Nub. Despite defeating them, Shu became diseased due to their corruption, and soon even Shu's own followers revolted against him. Shu then abdicated the throne, allowing his son Geb to rule, and Shu himself returned to the skies. I am Shu. I draw air from the presence of the Light-god, from the uttermost limits of heaven, from the uttermost limits of earth, from the uttermost limits of the pinion of Nebeh bird. May air be given unto this young divine Babe. [My mouth is open, I see with my eyes.] -The Chapter of Giving Air in Khert-Neter (From The Book of the Dead) There are no known temples to Shu, but despite Akenaten's distaste for the gods of Egypt, he and Nefertiti used Tefnut and Shu for political purposes. They depicted themselves as the twin gods in an apparent attempt to elevate their status to that of being a living god and goddess, the son and daughter of the creator, on earth. Akenaten, not the monotheist that most believe him to be, put out the belief that Shu lived in
the sun disk. At Iunet (Dendera), though, there was a part of the city known as "The House of Shu" and at Djeba (Utes-Hor, Behde, Edfu) there was a place known as "The Seat of Shu". He was worshiped in connection with the Ennead at Iunu, and in his lion form at Nay-ta-hut (Leontopolis).
Shu was the husband of his twin, the goddess Tefnut, son of the sun god Atem-Ra and father to the earth god Geb and the sky goddess Nut. As such, he was one of the gods of the Ennead. Shu was identified with the Meroitic god Arensnuphis, known as Shu-Arensnuphis. He was also identified with the war god Onuris, known as Onuris-Shu. His links with Onuris are probably because the two gods had wives who took the form of a lioness (Mehit was the wife of Onuris), and both gods were thought to have brought their consorts back from Nubia. In Shu's case, when Tefnut went off in anger to Nubia, Ra sent both him and Thoth to get her, and they found her in Begum. Thoth began at once to try and persuade her to return to Egypt. In the end Tefnut (with Shu and Thoth leading her) made a triumphant entry back into Egypt, accompanied by a host of Nubian musicians, dancers and baboons. Egypt's second divine ruler, Shu was one of the great Ennead. A god of the wind, the atmosphere, the space between the sky and the earth, Shu was the division between day and night, the underworld and the living world. He was a god related to living, allowing life to flourish in Egypt with his breath of life. He was the bridge between life and death, both a protector and a punisher in the afterlife. To the Egyptians, if there was no Shu, there would be no life - Egypt existed thanks to Shu.
Sobek (also called Sebek, Sochet, Sobk, Sobki, Soknopais, and in Greek, Suchos) was the deification of crocodiles, as crocodiles were deeply feared in the nation so dependent on the Nile River. Egyptians who worked or travelled on the Nile hoped that if they prayed to Sobek, the crocodile god, he would protect them from being attacked by crocodiles. The god Sobek, which was depicted as a crocodile or a man with the head of a crocodile was a powerful and frightening deity; in some Egyptian
creation myths, it was Sobek who first came out of the waters of chaos to create the world. As a creator god, he was occasionally linked with the sun god Ra. Most of Sobek's temples were located "in parts of Egypt where crocodiles were common." Sobek's cult originally flourished around Al Fayyum where some temples still remain; the area was so associated with Sobek that one town, Arsinoe, was known to the Greeks as Crocodilopolis or 'Crocodile Town.' Another major cult centre was at Kom Ombo, "close to the sandbanks of the Nile where crocodiles liked to bask." Some temples of Sobek kept pools where sacred crocodiles were kept: these crocodiles were fed the best cuts of meat and became quite tame. When they died, they were mummified and buried in special animal cemeteries. In other areas of Egypt, however, crocodiles were dealt with by simply hunting and killing them. Gradually, Sobek also came to symbolize the produce of the Nile and the fertility that it brought to the land; its status thus became more ambiguous. Sometimes the ferocity of a crocodile was seen in a positive light, Sobek in these circumstances was considered the army's patron, as a representation of strength and power. Sobek's ambiguous nature led some Egyptian to believe that he was a repairer of evil that had been done, rather than a force for good in itself, for example, going to Duat to restore damage done to the dead as a result of their form of death. He was also said to call on suitable gods and goddesses required for protecting people in situation, effectively having a more distant role, nudging things along, rather than taking an active part. In this way, he was seen as a more primal god, eventually becoming regarded as an avatar of the primal god Amun, who at that time was considered the chief god. When his identity finally merged, Amun had become merged himself with Ra to become Amun-Ra, so Sobek, as an avatar of Amun-Ra, was known as Sobek-Ra. In Egyptian Art, Sobek was depicted as an ordinary crocodile, or as a man with the head of a crocodile. When considered a patron of the pharaoh's army, he was shown with the symbol of royal authority - the uraeus. He was also shown with an ankh, representing his ability to undo evil and so
cure ills. Once he had become Sobek-Ra, he was also shown with a sun-disc over his head, as Ra was a sun god. In myths that appear extremely late in Egyptian history, Sobek is credited with catching the four sons of Horus in a net, as they emerged from the waters of the Nile in a lotus blossom. This motif derives from the birth of Ra in the Ogdoad cosmogony, and the fact that as a crocodile, Sobek is the best suited to collecting items upon the Nile.
The Egyptian god Tatenen, sometimes written as Tatjenen, symbolizes the
emergence of silt from the fertile Nile after the waters of the inundation recede. The meaning of his name is uncertain but may possibly mean "the rising earth" or "exalted earth". He is usually depicted as entirely human (though with the beard of a god) in appearance, though he may be shown wearing a twisted ram's horn with two tall plumes (ostrich feathers), sometimes surmounted with sun disks, on his head. However, his face and limbs are often painted green in order to represent his connection as a god of vegetation. Furthermore, he could also be a she. One papyrus in the Berlin Museum calls Tatenen "fashioner and mother who gave birth to all the gods". While we are not entirely certain of his origin, he may likely have been an originally independent deity at Memphis. He also seems to have had some close associations in Middle Egypt near modern Asyut. However, at Memphis he seems to have been a deity of the depths of the earth, presiding over its mineral and vegetable resources, though even as early as the Old Kingdom he had become entwined with Ptah as "Ptah of the primeval mound", viewed as a manifestation of that well known deity of Egypt's capital. Hence, we find him in an important role associated with the creation of the world as formulated on the 25th Dynasty (Nubian) Shabaka Stone of Memphite theology. How he became associated with the Egyptian concept of creation is unsure, but several theories have been put forward. One theory holds that he was the counterpart at Memphis of the idea of the "high sand" or primeval mound (benben) of the Heliopolis theology. Other theories hold that: - Tatenen was the arable land that was reclaimed at Memphis from papyrus swamps through irrigation projects. - He was a very specific piece of land at Memphis, submerged by the annual flood that, after it receded, reappeared. - Tatenen was a personification of Egypt and an aspect of Geb, the earth god. Regardless, as a creator god (Ptah Tatenen) he held the title, "father of the gods" and was thus both the source and ruler of all gods. Ptah as Tatenen is the one who begat the gods and from whom all things proceeded. Thus,
we find in the "Hymn to Ptah": "Hail to thee, thou who art great and old, Ta-tenen, father of the gods, the great god from the first primordial time who fashioned mankind and made the gods, who began evolution in primordial times, first one after whom everything that appeared developed, he who made the sky as something that his heart has created, who raised it by the fact that Shu supported it, who founded the earth through that which he himself had made, who surrounded it with Nun [and] the sea, who made the nether world [and] gratified the dead, who causes Re to travel [thither] in order to resuscitate them as lord of eternity (nhh) and lord of boundlessness (td), lord of life, he who lets the throat breathe and gives air to every nose, who with his food keeps all Mankind alive, to whom lifetime, [to be more precise] limitation of time and evolution are subordinate, through whose utterance one lives, he who creates the offerings for all the gods in his guise the great Nun (Nile, in this case), lord of eternity, to whom boundlessness is subordinate, breath of life for everyone who conducts the king to his great seat in his name, 'king of the Two Lands'." Of course, it must be noted that this hymn is specifically directed to Ptah as Tatenen. But in this guise he seems to have created everyone. Even Imhotep, after his deification, was also associated with Tatenen through Ptah. In a small temple dedicated to this great thinker of ancient Egypt, we find Imhotep described as "threat one, son of Ptah, the creative god, made by Tatenen, begotten by him and beloved by him..."
Though Tatenen is most closely associated with Ptha, we do find assimilation with other gods, including Osiris, Sokar in their function as earth deities, and later with Khnum. Also, in the Books of the Netherworld he is closely associated with Re. During the New Kingdom he became particularly important, taking on a protective role towards the royal dead, guarding the kings and their family in their path through the Underworld. For example, in the tomb of Amunhirkhopshef in the Valley of the Queens, on the West Bank of Thebes (modern Luxor), Ramesses III, the father of Amunhirkhopshef is depicted in a scene where he asks Tatenen to look after his young son. In fact, in the Book of Gates, Tatenen personifies the entire area of the netherworld, protecting the deceased in the Beyond. He is able to rejuvenate the sun on its nocturnal journey. In the Litany of Re, however, another Underworld book, he is listed as the personification of the phallus of the dead king.
In Egyptian mythology, Taweret (also spelt Taurt, Tuat, Taueret, Tuart, Ta-weret, Tawaret, and Taueret, and in Greek, "Thoeris" and Toeris). Her name means One Who is Great. When paired with another deity, she became the demon-wife of Apep, the original god of evil. Since Apep was viewed as residing below the horizon, and only present at night, evil during the day then was envisaged as being a result of Taweret's maleficence. As the counterpart of Apep, who was always below the horizon, Taweret was seen as being the northern sky, the constellation roughly covering the area of present-day Draco, which always lies above the horizon. Thus Taweret was known as mistress of the horizon, and was depicted as such on the ceiling of the tomb of Seti I in the Valley of the Kings. In their art, Taweret was depicted as a composite of all the things the Egyptians feared, the major part of her being hippopotamus, since this is what the constellation most resembled, with the arms and legs of a
lioness, and with the back of a crocodile. On occasion, later, rather than having a crocodile back, she was seen as having a separate, small crocodile resting on her back, which was thus interpreted as Sobek, the crocodile-god, and said to be her consort. Early during the Old Kingdom, the Egyptians came to see female hippopotamuses as less aggressive than the males, and began to view their aggression only as one of protecting their young and being good mothers, particularly since it is the males that are territorially aggressive. Consequently, Taweret became seen, very early in Egyptian history, as a deity of protection in pregnancy and childbirth. Pregnant women wore amulets with her name or likeness to protect their pregnancies. Her image could also be found on knives made from hippopotamus ivory, which would be used as wands in rituals to drive evil spirits away from mothers and children.
In most subsequent depictions, Taweret was depicted with features of a pregnant woman. In a composite addition to the animal-compound she was also seen with pendulous breasts, a full pregnant abdomen, and long, straight human hair on her head. As a protector, she often was shown with one arm resting on the sa symbol, which symbolized protection, and on occasion she carried an ankh, the symbol of life, or a knife, which would be used to threaten evil spirits. As such a protector, Taweret also was given titles reflecting a more positive nature, including Opet (also spelt Ipet, Apet, and Ipy), meaning harem, and Reret (also spelt Rert, Reret, seen as the offspring of Nut). As the hippopotamus was associated with the Nile, these more positive ideas of Taweret allowed her to be seen as a goddess of the annual flooding of the Nile and the bountiful harvest that it brought. Ultimately, although only a household deity, since she was still considered the consort of Apep, Taweret was seen as one who protected against evil by restraining it. When Set fell from grace in the Egyptian pantheon, as a result of being favoured by the (xenophobically) hated Hyksos rulers, he gradually took over the position of Apep, as the god of evil. With this change away from Apep, Taweret became seen only as the concubine of Set. She was seen as concubine rather than wife, as Set already was married to the extremely different goddess, Nephthys, to whom no parallels could be drawn. It then was said that Taweret had been an evil goddess, but changed her ways and held Set back on a chain. As the goddess of motherhood, Taweret was eventually assimilated into the identity of Mut, the great-mother goddess. In Egyptian astronomy, Taweret was linked to the northern sky. In this role she was known as Nebetakhet, the Mistress of the Horizon - the ceiling painting of the constellations in the tomb of Seti I showed her in this capacity. She was thought to keep the northern sky - a place of darkness, cold, mist, and rain to the Egyptians - free of evil. She was shown to represent the never-setting circumpolar stars of Ursa Minor and Draco. The seven stars lined down her back are the stars of the Little Dipper. She
was believed to be a guardian of the north, stopping all who were unworthy before they could pass her by. In all of the ancient Egyptian astronomical diagrams there is one figure which is always larger than all the rest, and most frequently found at the center of what appears to be a horizontal parade of figures. This figure is Taweret "The Great One", a goddess depicted as a pregnant hippopotamus standing upright. It is no mystery that this figure represents a northern constellation associated, at least in part, with our modern constellation of Draco the dragon. In the Book of the Dead Taweret, the 'Lady of Magical Protection', was seen as a goddess who guided the dead into the afterlife. As with her double nature of protector and guardian, she was also a guard to the mountains of the west where the deceased entered the land of the dead. Many of the deities relating to birth also appear in the underworld to help with the rebirth of the souls into their life after death. She was thought to be the wife of a few gods, mostly because of her physical characteristics. She was linked to the god Sobek, because of his crocodile form. Occasionally Taweret was depicted with a crocodile on her back, and this was seen as Taweret with her consort Sobek. Bes, because the Egyptians thought they worked together when birthing of a child, was thought to be her husband in earlier times. At Thebes, she was also thought to be the mother of Osiris, and so linked to the sky goddess Nut. Another part of this theology was that it was Amen, who became the supreme god rather than Ra, who was the father of Osiris. It was believed that Amen came to Taweret (called Ipet at this particular time) and joined with her to ensure the renewal of the cycle of life. Ipet herself had become linked with the original wife of Amen, Amaunet (invisibility). It was at Karnak that she was believed to have given birth to Osiris. In later times, Ipet was assimilated by Mut who took her place as the wife of Amen and mother goddess. Plutarch described Taweret as a concubine of Set who had changed her ways to become a follower of Horus. In this form, she was linked to the goddess Isis. It was thought that the goddess kept Set's powers of evil fettered by a chain. This is probably because she was a hippo goddess
while Set was sometimes seen as a male hippo. The male hippopotamus was seen by the Egyptians as a very destructive creature, yet the female hippopotamus came to symbolise protection. This is probably why Set was, in later times, regarded as evil while Taweret was thought to be a helpful goddess, deity of motherhood and protector of women and children.
Tefnut (Tefenet, Tefnet) was the lunar goddess of moisture, humidity and water who was also a solar goddess connected with the sun and dryness (more specifically, the absence of moisture). She was the daughter of the creator god, mother of the twin sky and the earth deities and the 'Eye
of Ra' as well as a creative force as the 'Tongue of Ptah'. Her name itself is related to water - tf is the root of the words for 'spit' and 'moist'. Her name translates to something like 'She of Moisture'. Tefnut was generally shown as a woman with a lion's head, or as a full lioness. She was occasionally shown as a woman, but this is rare. She was shown with the solar disk and uraeus, linking her with the sun. She was often shown holding a sceptre and the ankh sign of life. Related to moisture, she was also linked to the moon, as were other deities of moisture and wetness. She was originally thought to be the Lunar Eye of Ra and thus linked to the night sky as well as to dew, rain and mist. As with other water deities, she took on some form of a goddess of creation. As the 'Tongue of Ptah', she was one of the gods in Mennefer (Hikuptah, Memphis) who helped Ptah - that city's main god - with creation by carrying out his will. Yet in the cities of Iunu (On, Heliopolis) and Waset (Thebes) she was more of a female form of her husband-brother Shu, whose main task was to start the sexual, creative cycle and give birth to Shu's children. Atem is he who masturbated in Iunu. He took his phallus in his grasp that he might create orgasm by means of it, and so were born the twins Shu and Tefnut. - Pyramid Text 1248-49 Tefnut and Shu - god of dry air - were the children of Atem (a form of the sun god Ra), who in turn created the twins Nut and Geb. Originally, though, rather than being paired with Shu, she had been paired with a god called Tefen. Other than his name, little is known about this Tefen. It seems, though, that he and Tefnut were linked together in connection with the goddess Ma'at: "Tefen and Tefnut have weighed Unas and Ma'at has listened, and Shu has born witness." - Pyramid Text of Unas During the Middle Kingdom Tefnut became connected to Ma'at, and as such this goddess is sometimes seen assisting Shu in his task of holding Nut above Geb. More often he is alone in the task. "O Amen-Ra, the gods have gone forth from thee. What flowed forth from thee became Shu, and that which was emitted by thee became Tefnut ... thou was the lion god of the twin lion gods (Shu and Tefnut)." - The Gods of the Egyptians, E. A. Wallis Budge One story says that Shu and Tefnut went to explore the waters of Nun. After some time, Ra believed that they were lost, and sent the his Eye out into the chaos to find them. When his children were returned to him, Ra wept, and his tears were believed to have turned into the first humans. Not only was the sun god her father, but she also took on the aspect of the sun - no longer the moon - as the 'Eye of Ra', the 'Lady of the Flame' and the 'Uraeus on the Head of all the Gods':
Tefnut was thought to have been the upset goddess who fled into Nubia, taking all of her water and moisture with her. Egypt soon dried, and the land was in chaos while in Nubia, Tefnut turned herself into a lioness and went on a killing spree in her anger at her father, from whom she had fled. Eventually Ra decided that he missed her, and wanted her back. Ra sent Thoth and Shu to get her, and they found her in Begum. Thoth began at once to try and persuade her to return to Egypt. In the end Tefnut (with Shu and Thoth leading her) made a triumphant entry back into Egypt, accompanied by a host of Nubian musicians, dancers and baboons. She went from city to city, bringing back moisture and water (the inundation), amid great rejoicing, until finally she was reunited with her father, and restored to her rightful position as his Eye. This story also explains how the goddess of moisture could also be the goddess of dryness, heat and the negative aspects of the sun. The people believed that without her water, Egypt could dry and burn in the sun. So she took on the form of a lion - as did the other goddesses with the 'Eye of Ra' title - and was also strongly linked to the sun. As the 'Eye of Ra' she was also linked to Bast, Sekhmet, Hathor, Isis, Wadjet and Nekhbet. This story is very similar to another tale of the 'Eye of Ra', where Sekhmet slaughters mankind before getting drunk, returning to heaven and turning into the sweet goddess Hathor. At Iunet (Dendera) there was a portion of the city named after her - "The House of Tefnut" . She was worshiped in connection with the Ennead at Iunu, and in her lion form at Nay-ta-hut (Leontopolis). Despite Akenaten's distaste for the gods of Egypt, he and Nefertiti used Tefnut and Shu for political purposes. They depicted themselves as the twin gods in an apparent attempt to elevate their status to that of being a living god and goddess, the son and daughter of the creator, on earth. Akenaten was not a monotheist - despite raising the Aten above all other gods, and attempting to quash the worship of some other deities, Akenaten did not drop all links with other deities. Ra, Shu, Tefnut, Thoth, Ptah and Hathor were still prominent gods in Akenaten's religion. Tefnut was both the Left (moon) and the Right (sun) Eyes of Ra, representing both heavenly sources of light that the ancient Egyptians saw, and thus she was a goddess of both the sun and dryness, and the moon and moisture. She was one of the original deities - one of the Ennead - in the various versions of creation, and she was the first mother, according to these stories. Even though she was not as popular as her daughter Nut, or her granddaughters Nephthys or Isis, the Egyptians knew that without her, Egypt would descend into chaos. It is no wonder that they equated her with the goddess Ma'at.
Tefnut (Tefenet, Tefnet) was the lunar goddess of moisture, humidity and water who was also a solar goddess connected with the sun and dryness (more specifically, the absence of moisture). She was the daughter of the creator god, mother of the twin sky and the earth deities and the 'Eye of Ra' as well as a creative force as the 'Tongue of Ptah'. Her name itself is related to water - tf is the root of the words for 'spit' and 'moist'. Her name translates to something like 'She of Moisture'. Tefnut was generally shown as a woman with a lion's head, or as a full lioness. She was occasionally shown as a woman, but this is rare. She was shown with the solar disk and uraeus, linking her with the sun. She was often shown holding a sceptre and the ankh sign of life. Related to moisture, she was also linked to the moon, as were other deities of moisture and wetness. She was originally thought to be the Lunar Eye of Ra and thus linked to the night sky as well as to dew, rain
and mist. As with other water deities, she took on some form of a goddess of creation. As the 'Tongue of Ptah', she was one of the gods in Mennefer (Hikuptah, Memphis) who helped Ptah - that city's main god - with creation by carrying out his will. Yet in the cities of Iunu (On, Heliopolis) and Waset (Thebes) she was more of a female form of her husband-brother Shu, whose main task was to start the sexual, creative cycle and give birth to Shu's children. Atem is he who masturbated in Iunu. He took his phallus in his grasp that he might create orgasm by means of it, and so were born the twins Shu and Tefnut. - Pyramid Text 1248-49 Tefnut and Shu - god of dry air - were the children of Atem (a form of the sun god Ra), who in turn created the twins Nut and Geb. Originally, though, rather than being paired with Shu, she had been paired with a god called Tefen. Other than his name, little is known about this Tefen. It seems, though, that he and Tefnut were linked together in connection with the goddess Ma'at: "Tefen and Tefnut have weighed Unas and Ma'at has listened, and Shu has born witness." - Pyramid Text of Unas During the Middle Kingdom Tefnut became connected to Ma'at, and as such this goddess is sometimes seen assisting Shu in his task of holding Nut above Geb. More often he is alone in the task. "O Amen-Ra, the gods have gone forth from thee. What flowed forth from thee became Shu, and that which was emitted by thee became Tefnut ... thou was the lion god of the twin lion gods (Shu and Tefnut)." - The Gods of the Egyptians, E. A. Wallis Budge One story says that Shu and Tefnut went to explore the waters of Nun. After some time, Ra believed that they were lost, and sent the his Eye out into the chaos to find them. When his children were returned to him, Ra wept, and his tears were believed to have turned into the first humans. Not only was the sun god her father, but she also took on the aspect of the sun - no longer the moon - as the 'Eye of Ra', the 'Lady of the Flame'
and the 'Uraeus on the Head of all the Gods':
Tefnut was thought to have been the upset goddess who fled into Nubia, taking all of her water and moisture with her. Egypt soon dried, and the land was in chaos while in Nubia, Tefnut turned herself into a lioness and went on a killing spree in her anger at her father, from whom she had fled. Eventually Ra decided that he missed her, and wanted her back. Ra sent Thoth and Shu to get her, and they found her in Begum. Thoth began at once to try and persuade her to return to Egypt. In the end Tefnut (with Shu and Thoth leading her) made a triumphant entry back into Egypt, accompanied by a host of Nubian musicians, dancers and baboons. She went from city to city, bringing back moisture and water (the inundation), amid great rejoicing, until finally she was reunited with her father, and restored to her rightful position as his Eye. This story also explains how the goddess of moisture could also be the goddess of dryness, heat and the negative aspects of the sun. The people believed that without her water, Egypt could dry and burn in the sun. So she took on the form of a lion - as did the other goddesses with the 'Eye of Ra' title - and was also strongly linked to the sun. As the 'Eye of Ra' she was also linked to Bast, Sekhmet, Hathor, Isis, Wadjet and Nekhbet. This story is very similar to another tale of the 'Eye of Ra', where Sekhmet slaughters mankind before getting drunk, returning to heaven and turning into the sweet goddess Hathor. At Iunet (Dendera) there was a portion of the city named after her - "The House of Tefnut" . She was worshiped in connection with the Ennead at Iunu, and in her lion form at Nay-ta-hut (Leontopolis). Despite Akenaten's distaste for the gods of Egypt, he and Nefertiti used Tefnut and Shu for political purposes. They depicted themselves as the
twin gods in an apparent attempt to elevate their status to that of being a living god and goddess, the son and daughter of the creator, on earth. Akenaten was not a monotheist - despite raising the Aten above all other gods, and attempting to quash the worship of some other deities, Akenaten did not drop all links with other deities. Ra, Shu, Tefnut, Thoth, Ptah and Hathor were still prominent gods in Akenaten's religion. Tefnut was both the Left (moon) and the Right (sun) Eyes of Ra, representing both heavenly sources of light that the ancient Egyptians saw, and thus she was a goddess of both the sun and dryness, and the moon and moisture. She was one of the original deities - one of the Ennead - in the various versions of creation, and she was the first mother, according to these stories. Even though she was not as popular as her daughter Nut, or her granddaughters Nephthys or Isis, the Egyptians knew that without her, Egypt would descend into chaos. It is no wonder that they equated her with the goddess Ma'at.
God of the Moon, Magic and Writing
The Key of Life Thoth's other names include Djehuty, Jehuti, Tahuti, Tehuti, Zehuti, Techu, or Tetu, Lord of the Khemenu. One of Thoth's titles, "Three times great, great" was translated to the Greek (Trismegistos) making Hermes Trismegistus. Thoth was considered one of the more important deities of the Egyptian pantheon, often depicted with the head of an Ibis. His feminine counterpart was Seshat. His chief shrine was at Khemennu, where he led the local pantheon, later renamed Hermopolis by the Greeks (in reference to him
through the Greeks' interpretation that he was the same as Hermes) and Eshmunen in Coptic. He also had shrines in Abydos, Hesert, Urit, Per-Ab, Rekhui, Ta-ur, Sep, Hat, Pselket, Talmsis, Antcha-Mutet, Bah, Amen-heri-ab, and Ta-kens. Thoth and Seti at Abydos
Thoth and the Eye of
He was considered the heart and tongue of Ra as well as the means by which Ra's will was translated into speech. He has also been likened to the Logos of Plato and the mind of God (The All). Thoth, like many Egyptian gods and nobility, held many titles. Among these were "Scribe of Ma'at in the Company of the Gods," "Lord of Ma'at," "Lord of Divine Words," "Judge of the Two Combatant Gods," "Judge of the Rekhekhui, the pacifier of the Gods, who Dwelleth in Unnu, the Great God in the Temple of Abtiti," "Twice Great," "Thrice Great,"" and "Three Times Great, Great." Thoth has been involved in arbitration, magic, writing, science and the judging of the dead. In the Egyptian mythology, he has played many vital and prominent roles, including being one of the two deities (the other being Ma'at) who stood on either side of Ra's boat. In the underworld, Duat, he appeared as an ape, A'an, the god of equilibrium, who reported when the scales weighing the deceased's heart against the feather, representing the principle of Ma'at, was exactly even.
Depictions of Thoth In art, Thoth has been depicted in many ways depending on the era and on the aspect the artist wished to convey. Thoth was usually depicted with the head of an ibis, deriving from his name, and the curve of the ibis' beak, which resembles the crescent moon. Sometimes, he was depicted as a baboon holding up a crescent moon, as the baboon was seen as a
nocturnal, and intelligent, creature. The association with baboons led to him occasionally being said to have as a consort Astennu, one of the (male) baboons at the place of judgment in the underworld, and on other occasions, Astennu was said to be Thoth himself.
He also appears as a dog faced baboon or a man with the head of a baboon when he is A'an, the god of equilibrium. In the form of A'ah-Djehuty he took a more human-looking form. These forms are all symbolic and are metaphors for Thoth's attributes. The Egyptians did not believe these gods actually looked like humans with animal heads . For example, Ma'at is often depicted with an ostrich feather, "the feather of truth," on her head , or with a feather for a head.
Thoth on his throne Cairo Museum: Thoth, Sobek and Wadjet ... remind one of penguins. Letter X = Above and
Thoth and Seshat
The Tree of Life
Thoth was thought to be scribe to the gods, who kept a great library of
scrolls, over which one of his wives, Seshat (the goddess of writing) was thought to be mistress. He was associated by the Egyptians with speech, literature, arts, learning. He, too, was a measurer and recorder of time, as was Seshat. Many ancient Egyptians believed that Seshat invented writing, while Thoth taught writing to mankind. She was known as 'Mistress of the House of Books', indicating that she also took care of Thoth's library of spells and scrolls. Seshat is the Goddess of Libraries
all forms Writing
and the Measurement of Time.
Thoth The Scribe
Thoth became credited by the ancient Egyptians as the inventor of writing,
and alphabets (ie. hieroglyphs) themselves. He was also considered to have been the scribe of the underworld, and the moon became occasionally considered a separate entity, now that Thoth had less association with it, and more with wisdom. For this reason Thoth was universally worshipped by ancient Egyptian Scribes. [Thoth the Scribe, wrote the story of our reality then placed it into grids for us to experience and learn through the alchemy of time and consciousness.] Thoth became credited as the inventor of the 365-day (rather than 360-day) calendar, it being said that he had won the extra 5 days by gambling with the moon, then known as Iabet, in a game of dice, for 1/72nd of its light (5 = 360/72). When the Ennead and Ogdoad systems started to merge, one result was that, for a time, Horus was considered a sibling of Isis, Osiris, Set, and Nephthys, and so it was said that Hathor/Nuit had been cursed against having children during the (360) day year, but was able to have these five over the 5 extra days won by Thoth.
Thoth was a master magician The Egyptians credited him as the author of all works of science, religion, philosophy, and magic. The Greeks further declared him the inventor of astronomy, astrology, the science of numbers, mathematics, geometry, land surveying, medicine, botany, theology, civilized government, the alphabet, reading, writing, and oratory. They further claimed he was the true author of every work of every branch of knowledge, human and divine. Egyptologists disagree on Thoth's nature depending upon their view of the Egyptian pantheon. Most Egyptologists today side with Sir Flinders Petrie that Egyptian religion was strictly polytheistic, in which Thoth would be a separate god. His contemporary adversary, E. A. Wallis Budge, however, thought Egyptian religion to be primarily monotheistic where all the gods and goddesses were aspects of the God Ra, similar to the Trinity in Christianity and devas in Hinduism. In this view, Thoth would be the aspect of Ra which the Egyptian mind would relate to the heart and tongue.
His roles in Egyptian mythology were many. Thoth served as a mediating power, especially between good and evil, making sure neither had a decisive victory over the other. The ancient Egyptians regarded Thoth as One, self-begotten, and self-produced. He was the master of both physical and moral (ie. Divine) law, making proper use of Ma'at. He is credited with making the calculations for the establishment of the heavens, stars, Earth, and everything in them. Compare this to how his feminine counterpart, Ma'at was the force which maintained the Universe. He is said to direct the motions of the heavenly bodies. Without his words, the Egyptians believed, the gods would not exist. His power was almost unlimited in the Underworld and rivaled that of Ra and Osiris.
Mythology Thoth has played a prominent role in many of the Egyptian myths. Displaying his role as arbitrator, he had overseen the three epic battles between good and evil. All three battles are fundamentally the same and belong to different periods. The first battle took place between Ra and Apep, the second between Heru-Bekhutet and Set, and the third between Horus, the son of Osiris, and Set. In each instance, the former god represented order while the latter represented chaos. If one god was seriously injured, Thoth would heal them to prevent either from overtaking the other. Thoth was also prominent in the Osiris myth, being of great aid to Isis. After Isis gathered together the pieces of Osiris' dismembered body, he gave her the words to resurrect him so she could be impregnated and bring forth Horus. When Horus was slain, Thoth gave the formulae to resurrect him as well. Similar to God speaking the words to create the heavens and Earth in Judeo-Christian mythology, Thoth, being the god who always speaks the words that fulfill the wishes of Ra, spoke the words that created the heavens and Earth in Egyptian mythology.
This mythology also credits him with the creation of the 365 day calendar. Originally, according to the myth, the year was only 360 days long and Nut was sterile during these days, unable to bear children. Thoth gambled with Khonsu, the moon, for 1/72nd of its light (360/72 = 5), or 5 days, and won. During these 5 days, Nut gave birth to Kheru-ur (Horus the Elder, Face of Heaven), Osiris, Set, Isis, and Nepthys. In the Ogdoad cosmogony, Thoth gave birth to Ra, Atum, Nefertum, and Khepri by laying an egg while in the form of an ibis, or later as a goose laying a golden egg. Thoth in the Book of the Dead
Thoth also went by the name of Tehuti,
the ruler of Atlantis
was originally the deification of the moon in the Ogdoad belief system. Initially, in that system, the moon had been seen to be the eye of Horus, the sky god, which had been semi-blinded (thus darker) in a fight against Set, the other eye being the sun. However, over time it began to be considered separately, becoming a lunar deity in its own right, and was said to have been another son of Ra. As the crescent moon strongly resembles the curved beak of the ibis, this separate deity was named Djehuty (i.e. Thoth), meaning ibis. Thoth became associated with the Moon, due to the Ancient Egyptians observation that Baboons (sacred to Thoth) 'sang' to the moon at night. The Moon not only provides light at night, allowing the time to still be measured without the sun, but its phases and prominence gave it a significant importance in early astrology/astronomy. The cycles of the
moon also organized much of Egyptian society's civil, and religious, rituals, and events. Consequently, Thoth gradually became seen as a god of wisdom, magic, and the measurement, and regulation, of events, and of time. He was thus said to be the secretary and counselor of Ra, and with Ma'at (truth/order) stood next to Ra on the nightly voyage across the sky, Ra being a sun god. Thoth became credited by the ancient Egyptians as the inventor of writing, and was also considered to have been the scribe of the underworld, and the moon became occasionally considered a separate entity, now that Thoth had less association with it, and more with wisdom. For this reason Thoth was universally worshipped by ancient Egyptian Scribes. Many scribes had a painting or a picture of Thoth in their "office". Likewise, one of the symbols for scribes was that of the ibis. During the late period of Egyptian history a cult of Thoth gained prominence, due to its main centre, Khnum (Hermopolis Magna), also becoming the capital, and millions of dead ibis were mummified and buried in his honor. The rise of his cult also led to his cult seeking to adjust mythology to give Thoth a greater role. Thoth was inserted in many tales as the wise counsel and persuader, and his association with learning, and measurement, led him to be connected with Seshat, the earlier deification of wisdom, who was said to be his daughter, or variably his wife. Thoth's qualities also led to him being identified by the Greeks with their closest matching god Hermes, with whom Thoth was eventually combined, as Hermes Trismegistus, also leading to the Greeks naming Thoth's cult centre as Hermopolis, meaning city of Hermes. It is also viewed that Thoth was the God of Scribe and not a messenger. Anubis was viewed as the messenger of the gods, as he travelled in and out of the Underworld, to the presence of the gods, and to humans, as well. Some call this fusion Hermanubis. It is in more favor that Thoth was a record keeper, and not the messenger. In the Papyrus of Ani copy of the Egyptian Book of the Dead the scribe proclaims "I am thy writing palette, O Thoth, and I have brought unto thee thine ink-jar. I am not of those who work iniquity in their secret places; let not evil happen unto me." Chapter
XXXb (Budge) of the Book of the Dead is by the oldest tradition said to be the work of Thoth himself. There is also an Egyptian pharaoh of the Sixteenth dynasty of Egypt named Djehuty (Thoth) after him, and who reigned for three years.
Center of Worship During the late period of Egyptian history a cult of Thoth gained prominence, due to its main centre, Khnum (Hermopolis Magna), in Upper Egypt also becoming the capital, and millions of dead ibis were mummified and buried in his honor. The rise of his cult also lead to his cult seeking to adjust mythology to give Thoth a greater role, including varying the Ogdoad cosmogony myth so that it is Thoth who gives birth to Ra/Atum/Nefertum/Khepri, as a result of laying, as an ibis, an egg containing him. Later it was said that this was done in the form of a goose - literally as a goose laying a golden egg. The sound of his song was thought to have created four frog gods and snake goddesses of the Ogdoad who continued Thoth's song, helping the sun journey across the sky.
Thoth was the 'One who Made Calculations Concerning the Heavens, the Stars and the Earth', the 'Reckoner of Times and of Seasons', the one who 'Measured out the Heavens and Planned the Earth'. He was 'He who Balances', the 'God of the Equilibrium' and 'Master of the Balance'. 'The Lord of the Divine Body', 'Scribe of the Company of the Gods', the 'Voice of Ra', the 'Author of Every Work on Every Branch of Knowledge, Both Human and Divine', he who understood 'all that is hidden under the heavenly vault'. Thoth was not just a scribe and friend to the gods, but central to order - ma'at - both in Egypt and in the Duat. He was 'He who Reckons the Heavens, the Counter of the Stars and the Measurer of the Earth'.
42 Books of Thoth
Thoth as Hermes in ancient Greece complied the Hermetic Text referred to him as Kore Kosmu. What he knew, he carved on stone [mataphor of physical plane] then hid most of the information. The sacred symbols of the cosmic elements he hid away using the secrets of Osiris, keeping and maintaining silence, that younger ages of the cosmic time clock might seek them out. Thoth was said to have succeeded in understanding the mysteries of the heavens and to have revealed them by inscribing them in sacred books which he then hid here on Earth, intending that they should be searched for by future generations but found by those of the bloodline. Some of these sacred books are referred to as the 42 Books of Instructions or the 42 Books of Thoth which describe the instructions for achieving immortality plus 2 more books kept separately. The dating of the books is somewhere between the third century BC and the first century AD. Their influence has been tremendous on the development of Western occultism and magic. Neo-pagan witchcraft contains many rituals and much esoteric symbolism based upon Hermetic writings. According to one legend Hermes Trismegistus, who was a grandson of Adam and a builder of the Egyptian pyramids, authored the books. But, more probably the books were written by several succeeding persons. According to legend, the books were initially written on papyrus. A chronicler of pagan lore, Clement of Alexandria, stated thirty-six  of
the Hermetic books contained the entire Egyptian philosophy; four  books on astrology; ten  books called the Hieratic on law, ten  books on sacred rites and observances, two  on music, and the rest on writing, cosmography, geography, mathematics and measures and training of priests. Six  remaining books concerned medicine and the body discussing diseases, instruments, the eyes and women. Most of the Hermetic books - along with others - were lost during the burning of the royal libraries in Alexandria. The surviving books were secretly buried in the desert where they are presently located. A few initiates of the mystery schools, ancient secret cults, allegedly know their location. What remains of the surviving Hermetic lore has been passed down through generation and published in many languages. Most important of all are three works. • The most important and oldest is The Divine Pynander. It consists on 17 fragments all in one work. Within these fragments are many of the Hermetic concepts, including the was divine wisdom and the secrets of the universe were revealed to Hermes and the way in which Hermes established his ministry to spread this wisdom throughout the world. The Divine Pynander apparently was revised during the first centuries AD but lost none of its meaning due to incorrect translations. • Poimmandres or The Vision is the second book of The Divine Pynander and perhaps the most famous. It relates Hermes' mystical vision, cosmogony, and the secret sciences of the Egyptians as to culture and the spiritual development of the soul. • The third work - Hermes Trismegistus is the wisdom of the Hermetica - the Emerald Tablets of Thoth. It's all about alchemy, time and consciousness. Thoth, Time, Thought, Geometry and Reality
Reality is myth, math, and metaphor. It is a consciousness computer experiment in time and illusion created by thought consciousness. The name Thoth means 'Thought' and 'Time'. Thoth was the master architect who created the blueprint of our reality based on the patterns of sacred geometry or 12 around 1. It is here, in the duality - duat - underworld - chaos - void - place of creation 'outside the box' of our experience - reflected in gods and goddesses, the landscapes of Egypt including the pyramids and temples - that we experience until we evolve in the alchemy of time and consciousness. Thoth's Chamber Fibonacci
Thoth created a grid program of experience - electromagnetic in nature to allow for the bipolar aspects of linear time and illusion. Thoth constructed a pyramidal shaped vehicle which personifies the nature of reality. He placed half above - "As is Above" in the nonphysical and half below "As is Below" thus creating the sands of time - the hourglass - the X Box - at the center of the planet where it all began and will all evolve at Zero Point a time or place where all comes into balance.
Thoth was the 'god of the equilibrium' and considered depictions of him as the 'Master of the Balance' to indicate that he was associated with the precession of the equinoxes - a time when the day and the night were balanced.
Thoth and the Pyramids In one role or another Thoth played a crucial part in the design
orientation and mythology
of many famous ziggurats
pyramids and temples.
Thoth and Hidden Knowledge
It is written in several ancient texts that Thoth wrote a major work of scriptural importance that would one day be found.
Thoth allegedly wrote books in which he set forth fabulous knowledge of magic and incantation then concealed them in a
Thoth in Other Famous God Roles Sumer: Enki among other creational forces depicted in myths about reality as a biogenetic experiment with extraterrestrial connotations
Mesoamerica: Quetzalcoatl Inca Viracocha Rome: Mercury The Messenger Greece: Hermes Weights and Measures, Travel Celtic: Merlin the Magician and Storyteller Atlantis Chiquitet, Tehuti,Zep Tepi Persia Zarathustra or Zoroaster - Z The list of roles this soul played is endless from all mythological gods, religious figures, famous people in science and history, creational forces including alien gods, etc. According to a very old Masonic tradition, the Egyptian god Thoth played a major part in preserving knowledge of the mason craft and transmitting it to mankind after the flood. Our reality is a Masonic Program - Mother Sound - Creation by Harmonics - Symbolized by the Pyramid and the Eye the Dollar Bill and the collapse of the economy at the end of time.
Look into notes on this.
Andrew Rutledge Feb 22, 2011 10:00 PM