Updated: Feb 20
Egyptian Mythology is the collection of myths and beliefs held by the ancient Egyptians concerning the nature of the universe and the cult practices performed to ensure the continuity of the gods and the natural world.
These myths often revolved around the gods and goddesses of ancient Egypt and their relationships with each other and with the humans who worshipped them. The ancient Egyptians believed that their gods controlled the forces of nature and the fates of humans, and that proper worship and offerings could appease the gods and bring good fortune.
Egyptian mythology was an important part of ancient Egyptian religion and culture and has had a lasting influence on Western culture.
10 Gods and Goddesses in Ancient Egyptian Mythology
Egyptian mythology is a complex and rich body of stories and beliefs that evolved over thousands of years in ancient Egypt. It tells the stories of gods and goddesses, pharaohs and common people, and explains the creation of the world, the cycles of nature, and the afterlife. The gods and goddesses of ancient Egypt were believed to have supernatural powers and were invoked in rituals and prayers for protection, prosperity, and fertility.
The most important gods in Egyptian mythology include Ra, the sun god, Osiris, the god of the afterlife, and Amun, the king of the gods. The pharaohs, who were considered the living embodiment of the gods, played a central role in the myths and were believed to have a special connection to the gods. The myths and beliefs of ancient Egypt were deeply ingrained in the daily lives of the people, and were reflected in the art, architecture, and religion of the ancient civilization.
Egyptian mythology also contains many allegorical stories and themes that convey universal truths and moral lessons. For example, the story of Osiris and Set's struggle for the throne of Egypt is often seen as an allegory for the struggle between order and chaos, and the importance of balance and harmony in the world.
Many of the myths also contain allegorical elements related to the cycles of nature, such as the flooding of the Nile and the annual rebirth of the land, and can be seen as a reflection of the ancient Egyptians' deep connection to the natural world. The stories of the gods and goddesses also convey universal truths about the human experience, such as the importance of family, love, and sacrifice.
Overall, Egyptian mythology is not only a collection of stories and beliefs, but also a reflection of the ancient Egyptians' understanding of the world and their place within it.
1. Amun | King of the Gods
"The kingdom of heaven is within you, and whosoever shall know himself shall find it”
Amun, also known as Amen or Ammon, was one of the most powerful and important gods in ancient Egyptian religion. He was the god of the sun, air, and fertility and was considered the king of the gods. According to ancient Egyptian mythology, Amun was originally a local god of Thebes, but over time his cult grew and he became the patron god of the city. He was often depicted as a man with a headdress of ram's horns and a sun disk, symbolizing his connection to the sun and sky.
He was considered a powerful god of creation and was often invoked in rituals and prayers for protection, prosperity, and fertility. Amun was also considered the hidden god, and his name was often combined with that of other gods to emphasize his power and presence.
2. Osiris | God of the Underworld
“In the beat of a heart, the suck of a breath, you are the universe."
Osiris, the god of the afterlife and regeneration, was one of the most revered gods in ancient Egypt. He was the firstborn son of the earth god Geb and the sky goddess Nut and was the brother of the gods Set, Horus, and Isis. According to ancient Egyptian mythology, Osiris was known as the "good king" and brought civilization and agriculture to Egypt, teaching the people the arts of irrigation and cultivation.
However, his jealous brother Set killed him, dismembered his body and scattered the pieces across Egypt. Isis, his devoted wife, collected the pieces and with the help of magic, brought him back to life. Osiris then became the ruler of the underworld and the judge of the dead, where the souls of the deceased would go to be judged and ultimately granted eternal life. His cult was widely popular and his festivals were celebrated annually, where people would recreate the search for the pieces of Osiris's body
3. Sekhmet | Goddess of War & Healing
“Undertaking magical work should not a hasty decision."
Sekhmet was a powerful and feared goddess in ancient Egyptian religion. She was the goddess of war, plague, and healing, and was depicted as a lioness or a woman with the head of a lioness.
According to ancient Egyptian mythology, Sekhmet was created by the sun god Ra to punish humanity for their disobedience. She was said to have a fierce temper and was known to be bloodthirsty, destroying anyone who dared to challenge the gods.
However, her power was also used for good, as she was considered a powerful protector and was invoked to protect the pharaohs in battle and to heal the sick. She was also associated with the sun and was said to have the power to control the desert heat.
Her festival was celebrated annually, where rituals were performed to appeased her and to make sure she wouldn't unleash her wrath on the people. Sekhmet was a complex goddess and her power was both feared and revered by the ancient Egyptians.
4. Thoth | God of the Sacred
“As above, so below, as within, so without, as the universe, so the soul…”
Thoth was an important god in ancient Egyptian religion, known as the god of wisdom, writing, and knowledge. He was often depicted as a man with the head of an ibis or a baboon and was associated with the moon.
According to ancient Egyptian mythology, Thoth was considered the inventor of writing, hieroglyphs and was also the scribe of the gods, responsible for recording and interpreting the will of the gods.
He was also considered the patron of scribes and was often invoked by scholars and students for inspiration and knowledge.
Thoth was also considered a judge of the dead in the afterlife, he was responsible for the weighing of the heart ceremony, where the heart of the deceased was weighed against the feather of truth, to determine whether the deceased had led a righteous life and was worthy of entering the afterlife. He was also the mediator between the gods and the pharaohs.
5. Ra | God of the Sun
"The sun will shine in your life once again"
Ra, also known as Re, was the ancient Egyptian god of the sun and one of the most powerful and important gods in ancient Egyptian religion. According to ancient Egyptian mythology, Ra was the creator of the world and the father of all the gods.
He was often depicted as a man with the head of a falcon and a sun disk on his head, symbolizing his connection to the sun. Ra was considered the ruler of the sky and the earth, and his daily journey across the sky in his solar bark was seen as
a representation of the cycle of life, death and rebirth.
The Egyptians believed that Ra's journey through the underworld during the night was a time of judgment, where the souls of the deceased were judged by the god Anubis, and the righteous were allowed to join Ra in his journey through the sky. Overall, Ra was considered the creator of the world, the ruler of the sky and the earth and one of the most powerful and important gods.
6. Anubis | The God of the Dead
“If your Heart is pure, I will set your Soul free”
Anubis was the ancient Egyptian god of mummification and the afterlife, known as the protector of the dead and the guide of souls. He was often depicted as a man with the head of a jackal or a man with a jackal head and a black coloration, symbolizing his role as a guide and protector of the dead.
According to ancient Egyptian mythology, Anubis was the son of the god Osiris and the goddess Nephthys.
He is responsible for the weighing of the heart ceremony, where the heart of the deceased was weighed against the feather of truth, to determine whether the deceased had led a righteous life and was worthy of entering the afterlife. Overall, Anubis was considered a powerful god of mummification and the afterlife, known as the protector of the dead and guide of souls. His cult was widely popular and respected throughout ancient Egypt and his temple was one of the most important religious sites in ancient Egypt.
7. Bastet | Goddess of Protection
“The cat's sophisticated personae are masks of an advanced theatricality."
Bastet was an ancient Egyptian goddess of cats, protection, and fertility. She was often depicted as a woman with the head of a lioness or a lioness, symbolizing her connection to the feline world.
According to ancient Egyptian mythology, Bastet was the daughter of the sun god Ra and was considered a protector of the pharaohs and the people of Egypt. Bastet was considered the goddess of domesticity and was
associated with childbirth, fertility, and motherhood.
She was also known as the goddess of joy and music and was often depicted playing musical instruments such as the sistrum, a musical rattle that was used in her rituals. Her cult was particularly popular in the city of Bubastis, where her temple was a major religious and cultural centre. her festivals were celebrated annually, where people would come to her temple to pay homage and to ask for her protection.
8. Horus | God of the Sky
"If you want to see the Truth... you must be brave enough to look"
Horus was an ancient Egyptian god of the sky, kingship, and protection. He was often depicted as a man with the head of a falcon or a falcon-headed man, symbolizing his connection to the sky.
According to ancient Egyptian mythology, Horus was the son of the god Osiris and the goddess Isis, and was considered the rightful heir to his father's throne. The mythology of Horus is one of the most complex and well-known in ancient Egyptian religion.
Horus was involved in a legendary struggle for the throne of Egypt with his uncle, the god Set, who had killed Osiris and seized the throne. Eventually, Horus emerged victorious, avenging his father's death and reclaiming the throne for himself, becoming the ruler of Egypt.
Horus's cult was popular throughout Egypt, and his temple at Edfu was one of the most important religious sites in ancient Egypt, where the annual festival of Horus was celebrated. It was believed that Horus's power could be harnessed through rituals and prayers and many temples were dedicated to him where people would come to receive protection and blessings.
9. Set | God of Disorder
"In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder a secret order"
Set, also known as Seth, was an ancient Egyptian god of chaos, war, and the desert. He was often depicted as a man with the head of a strange animal, usually a donkey or aardvark, symbolizing his association with the desert.
According to ancient Egyptian mythology, Set was the brother of the god Osiris, and was considered the god of the desert and the god of chaos.
He was said to have killed his brother Osiris out of jealousy and seized the throne, becoming the ruler of Egypt. However, Osiris's son Horus eventually defeated Set in a legendary struggle for the throne, avenging his father's death and reclaiming the throne for himself. Set's cult was not as popular as the other gods, and he was often considered an antagonist.
He was associated with the god of evil, chaos and darkness, and his name was often invoked in curses and spells. He was also associated with the god of foreigners, and he was considered the patron of the Asiatics, and the god of the Hyksos, a people of foreign origin who ruled Egypt for a period of time.
10. Isis | Goddess of Healing
"I am what is, what hath been, what shall be"
Isis was an ancient Egyptian goddess of motherhood, fertility, and magic. She was often depicted as a woman wearing a throne-shaped headdress and holding a sceptre, symbolizing her role as a powerful queen. According to ancient Egyptian mythology, Isis was the wife of Osiris, the god of the afterlife, and the mother of Horus, the god of the sky. She was considered a goddess of motherhood and fertility, and was often invoked for protection during pregnancy and childbirth.
Isis was also considered a goddess of magic and was associated with healing and rejuvenation. She was known for her ability to bring the dead back to life and was considered the protector of the dead and the goddess of the afterlife.
She was also associated with the goddess of nature, and was believed to have the power to control the Nile floods, which were seen as a source of fertility and renewal.
Popular Figures in Egyptian Mythology
Cleopatra | The Queen of Egypt
"I will not be triumphed over"
Cleopatra was the last active pharaoh of ancient Egypt and one of the most famous figures of ancient history. She was a member of the Ptolemaic dynasty, which was of Greek origin and ruled Egypt after the death of Alexander the Great.
Cleopatra came to the throne at the age of 18 and ruled jointly with her father and later her brothers. She was known for her intelligence, political acumen, and charm. Cleopatra was fluent in several languages, including Greek, Egyptian, and was known for her beauty and charisma. She had several relationships with powerful Roman leaders, most notably Julius Caesar and Mark Antony. These relationships were strategic and politically motivated to protect Egypt's independence and strengthen her position as pharaoh. Cleopatra's rule ended with the arrival of Octavian, who defeated her forces and annexed Egypt as a province of Rome in 30 BC. Cleopatra and Mark Antony, who had become her lover, committed suicide soon after. Her death marked the end of the Ptolemaic dynasty and the pharaonic era of ancient Egypt.
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