Ancient Egyptian deities

Ancient Egyptian deities

Table of contents

  1. Sky Goddess Nut
  2. Sun God Ra
  3. The God Aten
  4. The god Horus
  5. The God Anubis

The ancient Egyptian civilization is known to be greatly influenced by religion in all aspects of their lives, as it was considered the greatest motivator and influencer on them. The religion of the ancient Egyptians had five basic rules: Gods (Deities), places of worship, worshipers, mediators between gods and worshipers (priests), rites and rituals.

The ancient Egyptian deities were divided into three sections

  • Cosmic deities: they used to express natural phenomena, such as the sun god, the moon god, the sky god, and so on, including the god Ra.
  • Official deities: These deities belonged to one specific territory or province.
  • Minor deities: a mixture of official and cosmic deities.

Sky Goddess Nut

The ancient Egyptians considered the sky a god, called it “Nut” and worshiped it, they imagined it in several forms, as if it were an old woman who extends one hand to the east and the other to the north, and that the air god lifts her up, or that it is in the form of a large cow standing in space on 4 legs with its head towards the west and the earth between its four legs. It was associated with them as the one who performs what is called the oriental birth, which means the birth of the sun, and that this sun lives for only one day and then dies again so that Nut rebirth it again, and this theory of the ancient Egyptians proved that death leads to birth, and birth leads to death, this was their belief of the sun at that time. In one of the inscription written by the ancient Egyptians to glorify the sky goddess Nut, they depicted her as a large woman embracing the earth with both hands. For the ancient Egyptians, the sky was the first cosmic phenomenon they knew, in addition to the sunrise and sunset, the appearance of the moon, its color change, and the movement of clouds, so they deified and worshiped it.

Sun God Ra

The ancient Egyptians believed that the sun or the god Ra is the one who created everything surrounding them, including creatures, gods, beings of the underworld, and others, as they called it by other names.

  • Khepri: in the morning.
  • Ra: in the middle of the day.
  • Atum: at sunset.

The name Ra means (creative making ability), he was considered the greatest of the Egyptian gods among the ancient Egyptians due to the great position of the sun in their hearts, therefore, he was worshipped throughout the ancient Egyptian state, specifically in “Heliopolis”.

The god Ra was a human body holding a symbol of life in his hand, he had the head of a falcon and above his head a sun disk with a snake revolving around it, the reason for choosing the head of the falcon is due to the fact that the falcon is a bird that flies higher than any other bird.

The ancient Egyptians believed that the god Ra had two boats, one coming in it and the other leaving in it, which means sunrise and sunset. In other beliefs, because of the oriental birth that was carried out by the sky goddess “Nut”, they imagined the god Ra in the form of a golden calf born from his mother, “Nut”.

One of the reasons that led to the ancient Egyptians deifying the sun was that the inhabitants of the agricultural lands and farmers considered it to be the one that granted their lands fertility and gave them many benefits, the highland peoples also sanctified the sun due to their fear and terror from it, and some worshiped it because they saw that it had clear authority and power to rule and force the moon and stars to hide in the morning.

The God Aten

It was a heavenly being, and its name means (the disk of the sun), there is a connection between the god Ra and the god Aten, as Aten is the embodiment of the god Ra.

King Akhenaten, immediately after the beginning of his rule, declared that Aten was the only god and forced everyone to worship him and prohibiting them from worshiping any other god. He also changed his name from Amenhotep IV to Akhenaten, which means the living soul of the Aten.

The shape of Aten was a disk of the sun with arrows or lines hanging from it, each of which ended with a human hand, as an expression that it is the one who gives life and prosperity to those who worship it. The seat of the worship of Aten was the city of Akhetaton, located in Tel el-Amarna, which was established by King Akhenaten, announced to be the new capital instead of Thebes during the reign of Akhenaten, and the seat of worship of the only god in this era, “Aten.”

The god Horus

The god Horus was known as the son of Isis and Osiris, as according to the famous myth saying that Osiris was killed by his brother Seth because of his greed for power, Isis tried to bring Osiris back to life and during that period she became pregnant with her son Horus. She disguised herself among ordinary people as a poor woman until her son, Horus, grew up, indeed, Horus returned and fought his uncle Seth and was able to regain power from him, in one of the battles between them, Seth was able to cut off one of Horus’ eyes, so the god Horus is referred to as the eye.

Horus was the god of the sky, as they considered him in ancient Egyptian mythology to be the protector of the royal dynasty and the defender of rights and order due to his confrontation with his uncle Seth.

The God Anubis

Anubis was initially the god of the dead, before Osiris was killed by his brother Seth, until Osiris became the god of the dead and Anubis turned into the god of mummification. According to the myth of Isis and Osiris, when Isis tried to bring Osiris back to life, Anubis wrapped him in white gauze, and for this reason he was known as the god of mummification.

Anubis had several names, including

  • The first of the westerners, or the chief of the western highlands, because he was the first to meet the dead, and that the western part of the Nile River was designated for the burial of the dead.
  • The master of wrapping the mummy, due to his association with mummification.
  • Heart counter.
  • The Dog who Swallows Millions.
  • Master of secrets.
  • Prince of the Court of Justice.

Anubis was in the form of a human body with the head of an animal (a jackal).

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