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Gods and Goddesses of Egypt

Edfu God Horus

Gods and Goddesses of Egypt

Anyone who has visited or just interested in Egypt will know it is easy to be baffled by the great number of deities in Egyptian mythology. They have a variety of forms and roles and the relationship between them is also complex. If you are planning to visit Egypt and explore the amazing sites and learn more about thousands of years of Ancient Egyptian history, maybe this summary of the main gods and goddesses of Egypt will help you 
Most Ancient Egyptian stories about the creation of the world start with a time when there was nothing but the Waters of Chaos. The stories vary but one describes a blue lotus emerging from the waters with the infant Sun god in its petals. Another tells of a creator god dwelling in the Waters of Chaos before realizing he is lonely. With his thoughts and words he made gods and goddesses and then he created a world with Egypt at its centre and people from his tears.
Each of the main cult centres of Egypt had their own version of the creator god and it is impossible to know which one was favoured over any of the others. This variety made for both interconnected and at the same time seeming contradictions in belief that is Ancient Egyptian religion and the complex representations of the gods and goddesses of Egypt.
1. Horus – The son of Osiris, a sky god connected with the king (his name meaning “He who is above”), is always seen as a partial or complete falcon. One story of Horus tells he had both his eyes gouged out and then regained his sight. His left eye was weaker and so associated with the moon and the right eye with the sun and this healing of his eyesight  led to the belief in the protective and healing powers of the ”Eye of Horus”. This emblem is still used today as a symbol of protection and healing. He was worshipped at the temple at Edfu
2. Osiris – was the brother and husband of Isis, and the brother of Nepthys and Seth. He was also the father of Horus and the god of agriculture particularly of barley and ruler of the dead. He can be depicted as a man with green skin or as a mummified man wearing a white cone-like headdress with feathers.
3. Seth – enemy of Horus and the “wicked” brother of Osiris, god of storms and disorder. There was an important worship centre at Naqada in Upper Egypt traditionally held to be the place of his violent birth to the goddess Nut. He is often shown as a strange combination of a man with an animal’s head and a forked tail, he can also be represented as a pig, donkey or hippopotamus.
4. Isis – wife of Osiris, mother of Horus and mistress of magic and usually seen as a woman with a throne on her head or sometimes with a solar disc between cow’s horns and often with large sheltering wings.  She was worshipped at Abydos and at the temple of Philae. Her magical abilities allowed her to transform herself into different beings, one being the Isis cow that gave birth to the sacred Apis bull at Memphis. Her following spread beyond Egypt and in some places still worshipped today.
5. Thoth – a moon deity and god of writing, counting and wisdom. Often represented as a man with the head of an ibis or completely in the form of the bird and sometimes represented as a baboon. If you visit the tombs in Egypt you can see this god recording important acts such as the “Weighing of the Heart” ceremony after death.
6. Khnum one of the most ancient gods, a ram god who shapes men and their Ba’s (a word that the ancient Egyptians used to mean the physical and moral essence of a person) and Ka’s (spirit) on his potter’s wheel.
7. Hathor goddess of love, birth and death, often depicted with the head of a beautiful woman with cow’s ears or sometimes as a cow headed woman or a cow.
8. Sobek the crocodile god, Lord of the Faiyum. He could appear as a man with a crocodile head or as a crocodile and worshipped at the temple of Kom Ombo.
9. Ra the sun god in his many forms. These forms were sometimes worshipped as separate gods. The rising sun called Khepri and portrayed as a scarab beetle, the noonday sun was Horus, the hawk and the setting sun was Atum seen as a man with a ram’s head.
10. Amun seen as the king of gods, a creator god often linked with Ra, the ancient sun god, and so sometimes known as Amun-Ra. Depicted as a man with a double plumed headdress or as a ram or ram headed. Amun was particularly worshipped at Karnak temple in Luxor.
11. Ptah another creator god and the patron of craftsmen and so an important figure at Deir-el Medina – the workers village just outside the Valley of the Kings in Luxor. He is often seen as a semi-mummified man wearing a skull cap and holding a staff.
12. Sekhmet – her name meaning “the Powerful one”, is rather a ferocious goddess and it is thought that her temple in Karnak temple was full of statues of her – one for every day of the year. She was associated with battles and helped the pharaoh to defeat his enemies.  She is mostly portrayed as a woman with a lioness head often wearing a sun disc to show she was the daughter of Ra.
13. Anubis – god of mummification and funerary rites. One of the most recognised god’s with his jackal head and often featured in in movies and TV series. It is thought that as jackals were often seen around burial sites that this was a god looking over the dead. Anubis was the god who helped to embalm Osiris after he was killed by Seth.
14. Sobek – was the crocodile god and portrayed as one or as a man with the head of a crocodile. He was worshipped at the Kom Ombo temple; in fact half the temple was devoted to Sobek. He was associated with the might of the pharaoh and worshipped in the form of Sobek-Ra as a manifestation of the sun god.

 

On all of our Egypt tours you are accompanied by a degree qualified Egyptologist and we visit all the sites mentioned in this blog so you can learn about the gods and goddesses of Egypt first hand.
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What our clients have to say

I just wanted to drop you a few lines to express just how much Charlie and I enjoyed our trip last week. We returned home yesterday with hundreds of photos and a lifetime of memories.
I cannot thank enough, the Dream Crew, Mahmood and our wonderful guide Ahmed, for their outstanding service; nothing was too much trouble for them and they all worked tirelessly (and seamlessly) to provide exceptional service. It was without fault. Ahmed particularly was incredible, with his extensive knowledge of all things Egyptian and we wish him well with his studies finishing his PhD in Egyptology!
When the boat was caught up in a sandstorm, the crew moved our dining location downstairs to the lounge without it seems, any great effort and ensured our safety at all times. We appreciated this very much. Again, an experience we are very unlikely to every have again. Who would have thought that we would have been caught up on a sandstorm, when on a boat, sailing down the Nile? Despite being forced to moor up for longer than expected, we did not feel that we had missed out on anything and efforts were made to ensure that we made up for lost time too. What a story to tell our Grandchildren! I have been told that this was an exceptionally rare experience which makes it all the more interesting.
We have seen sights which we are not likely to see again and the ‘piece de la resistance’ was being able to go to the valley of the Kings which somehow, I had missed on the itinerary! What an absolute bonus. To be able to get inside some of the tombs and see their magnificent artwork was mind blowing.
Finally, I also wanted to praise the wonderful cook who, despite the small kitchen, produced meal after meal of wonderful food and just how he managed to get 12 plates of food out for serving at the same time, was mind blowing. We’ve been to bigger restaurants who have failed to do that for just a handful of us. The food was wonderful and to be able to get a sample of local Egyptian food to eat, was brilliant. On one occasion, he produced battered fish which was possibly the best we have ever tasted.
All in all, it has been the best holiday we have every had, thanks in no small part, to the wonderful organisation and service provided by everyone on the Dream.
Kind regards,
Susan and Charlie (aka Queen Hatshepsut and Seti I)
Travel Date March 2020

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