Egypt, the land of the pharaohs and pyramids. The pharaohs said they ruled the land with the help of the Egyptian gods and goddess. The belief in these gods was so strong that general masses considered the pharaohs to be sent by the gods themselves to rule over them. The center of their religion was the pharaoh, the king of Egypt himself. As he had descended from the gods, he was nothing less than 'God' themselves. People constructed temples and pyramids for these gods and goddess. They had elaborate funeral rituals that helped ease the passage of the souls of the dead pharaohs and his close family pass on to the world of the dead.
The number of Egyptian gods is said to be over 2000. These gods were inspired by the forces of nature. Ancient Egyptian religion is very complex and intriguing. In order to explain the various forces of nature, Egyptian gods were created. They helped explain the existence of life and answered many unsolved or unexplained mysteries of the world. Let us go through the list in the following table and know a bit about these gods that shaped ancient Egypt.
List of Prominent Gods in Ancient Egypt
Amun, the name means the Invisible One. He is depicted as a man who wears two tall plumes on the head. He is said to be the king of gods. He was also known as Amon, Amen and Amum. When spoken of as Amon, he was depicted having a ram, goose and bull as his sacred animals. The great temple of Karnak shows that his status was as the king of the gods and nothing less than that.
Anubis, the ancient Egyptian god of the dead. He was depicted as a jackal or wild dog. These animals were often found in cemeteries scavenging the dead. Thus, Anubis was similar in characterization as a god with a black jackal head and body of a man. He became known as the guardian of the necropolis. He was the first to carry out mummification of Osiris and thus, became the patron god for embalmers. They say, Anubis guided the dead to the Underworld.
Baset, was the goddess of protection. She had a head of a cat and was said to be the daughter of sun god Ra. She was a virgin goddess who was the mother of Mihos. She is said to be identified as Artemis, the divine huntress, goddess of the Greeks.
Bes, was a fat dwarf like god, who often is depicted with his tongue sticking out with a rattle in hand. He is said to be the patron god for home, childbirth, humor, song and dance. He was not like any of the conventional Egyptian gods. There are no temples dedicated for him, but shrines are found in homes with children or pregnant women. He is said to have African or Middle Eastern origins.
Horus, was the prince of gods who was said to have a falcon head. He was said to be the divine protector as well as patron god for pharaohs. He was the son of Isis and Osiris. After Osiris was murdered by god Seth, he was raised by his mother to avenge the death of his father. He fought the battle for 80 years, after which the gods gave in and presented him with the throne of Egypt. He became the idol for young men, who wished to become just and dutiful.
Isis, Queen of Gods, she was depicted as a beautiful women who wore magnificent clothing. She is the oldest deity in ancient Egypt and was said to be the great protector, who maintained peace in the world. She was the daughter of Nut and Geb. She was sister to Osiris, Set and Nepthys. She was also wife of Osiris and his equal counterpart. She is said to be more powerful than Ra and Osiris. She is the goddess of fertility and thus patron goddess for women, children, medicine as well as magic.
Osiris, the Great Ennead, he was the god and judge of the Underworld. He was also said to be the god of resurrection, inundation and vegetation. He passed final judgment over the dead and those who passed his tests could enter the Blessed Land. He was killed by his jealous brother Seth and resurrected by his wife Iris with the help of the Book of Dead.
Egyptian sun god Ra is depicted as the falcon headed man wearing a sun disk on head. He is said to be the creator of the world, the Master of Life. He is also referred to as Re-Horakhty that means, Horus of the Horizon. He was the symbol of creation and connected with the pharaoh. He was the master of the universe and had many temples were built in his honor. He is said to be the head of group of nine gods called the Great Ennead.
Sobek was a male god with the head of a crocodile and body of a man. He was the son of Neith, who became a kind of bodyguard to many gods. He would provide strength and helped them overcome obstacles.
Thoth, a moon god who known as the God of Wisdom. He is said to be the creator of magic, inventor of writing, and messenger of the gods. He is known as the mediator who questions the souls of the dead. He weighs their heart in against the feather of Maat. He wears a lunar crescent on his head and is said to own the book of wisdom.
As you can see, these gods were connected to various natural forces and their powers revolved around them. Ancient Egyptian mythology is a very interesting topic that can be researched and read about all through life. Egyptians were said to have a very strong socio-cultural background and the list shows us how rich their heritage was. Even today, people are fascinated about Egypt, the land of pharaohs. You can still find many mysteries around the ancient temples and pyramids. Hope you have enjoyed reading about some of the Egyptian gods and goddesses in the above paragraphs.