Egyptian Gods



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Egyptian Gods























Geb is the god of Earth and appears as the color of plants and Nile mud.

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Nut is the goddess of the sky and she appears as a blue figure with golden stars.

winged-nut-

Ra is the god of the sun and he appears as the head of a falcon and a sun disk.

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Hathor is the goddess of music and she appears as horns of a cow and a sun disk.

hathor2

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Sekhmat is the goddess of destruction and she appears with the head of a lion.

sekmet3

By Meghan Seneski and Amanda George








Egyptian Daily

Anubis



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.







She was often closely associated with Hathor (the goddess of joy, music, dance, pregnancy and birth). In this partnership, she was seen as the harsh aspect of the friendly Hathor. A temple was constructed by Amenemhet II to Sekhmet-Hathor at Kom el Hisn (Imau in the western Delta) in which she and Hathor are referred to as the "Mistress of Imau". Imau was situated near a branch of the Nile that has since shifted eastwards, but in ancient times the town was right on the edge of the desert on the route to the Libyan frontier. Clearly it was hoped that Sekhmet would protect the border.

http://www.solidstatelight.com/polyorg/anubis_idol.jpgAnubis


Anubis

Sekhmet


Isis and Osiris



As with much of the ancient Egyptian mythology, there are various versions of the story of Isis and Osiris, but basically it runs as follows.......
Osiris was an earthly ruler, who was popular with his subjects. His brother, Set, was jealous of this popularity and plotted against Osiris.
Set's plans to be rid of his brother started when he secretly obtained his brothers measurements and had a magnificent casket made to fit. This casket was in the form of a human shaped box.
Set then organized a large feast to which Osiris and a number of others (usually given as 72) were invited. At the height of the festivities Set produced the casket and announced that it would be given to whoever it fitted. All the guests tried the casket for size, but none fitted until finally Osiris stepped into the casket.



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The god of wisdom and learning. He was said to be self-created in the beginning along with his consort, the goddess Ma'at (truth). The two produced eight children, the most important being Amon. Alternately depicted as an ibis-headed human, an ibis, or a baboon (or dog-headed ape), perhaps because the grave facial expressions of these creatures suggested thoughtfulness. He carries a pen and scrolls with which he records all things.

Thoth was believed to have filled many roles in the world of the gods. It was believed that he invented writing and was the vizier and official scribe of the afterworld. The Book of the Dead was written by him. He and Ma'at were believed to stand on either side of Re in his boat as he (as the Sun) traveled across the sky. It was thought that they also may have directed the course that the boat took. It was widely believed that Thoth invented the magical and hermetic arts, and thus the Tarot deck is frequently referred to as the "Book of Thoth" He was associated with the moon; as the sun vanished, Thoth tried to dispel the darkness with his light.

Thoth is shown attending all major scenes involving the gods, but most especially at the judgement of the deceased. It is here that he (shown as a dog-headed ape) sits on the top of the balance that weighs the heart of the deceased to determine if it is as light as ma'at. The concept of ma'at is one of truth, justice, and "that which is straight". It may even be related to "cosmic order". The baboon Thoth informs the ibis-headed Thoth when the balance is at equilibrium. The ibis-headed Thoth then makes his report to the other gods who then pass judgement on the deceased.

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Horus

Thoth
















Anubis




More Egyptian Gods



A god of the earth and vegetation, Osiris symbolized in his death the yearly drought and in his miraculous rebirth the periodic flooding of the Nile and the growth of grain. He was a god-king who was believed to have given Egypt civilization.

Osiris was the first child of Nut and Geb, and therefore the brother of Seth, Nephthys, and Isis. He was married to his sister, Isis. He was also the father of Horus and Anubis. These traditions state that Nephthys (mother of Anubis) assumed the form of Isis, seduced him (perhaps with wine) and she became pregnant with Anubis.



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Set immediately slammed the lid closed and sealed the casket shut (with molten lead). The sealed coffin was then thrown into the Nile.


Isis was devastated at the loss of her husband and searched for the casket throughout Egypt and then overseas. She eventually found it where it had come to rest in the roots of a massive tree.
Isis then returned the coffin to Egypt for a proper burial. For safe keeping she concealed it in the marshes beside the Nile.
Unfortunately for Isis Set found the casket while out hunting and was so enraged he chopped the body of Osiris into pieces, and scattered the parts throughout the land of Egypt.
Poor Isis had to then set out again looking for the parts of her husband. Eventually she found all the parts except one and reassembled Osiris and wrapped him in bandages. In some accounts Isis breathed life back into Osiris' body and it was then that Horus was conceived. This was a more magical event that it seems, considering the one part of Osiris Isis couldn't find.
The young Horus then went out to battle his uncle Set and to avenge his father’s death. After a series of fights detailed in 'The contending of Horus and Set' neither god was able to secure an overall victory. Ultimately Osiris was declared king of the underworld, Horus king of the living, and Set ruler of the deserts as the god of chaos and evil.

Set


The earliest representation of Set is that on a carved ivory comb from the Amratian period (Naqada I, 4500BC - 35BC, orthodox dates) and he also appears on the famous Scorpion mace head. His worship seems to have originated in one of the most ancient settlements in the town of Nubt (Kom Ombo), in upper (southern) Egypt. Nubt (near modern Tukh) lies near the entrance to the Wadi Hammammat, the doorway to the eastern desert and its gold deposits, and the city took its name from the word for gold, Nbt (which also means ruler or lord). As a result Set was sometime called "He of gold town". Nubt was the most important of the ancient settlements, and was located close to the site of the Naqqada settlement from which this early culture takes it name. Pre-dynastic worship of Seth was also evident in the 19th and 19th Nomes of Upper Egypt.

At this point in history, Set was clearly associated with Upper Egypt and was a popular and esteemed god. However, by the Third Intermediate Period was associated with the Hyksos (who saw a similarity between Set and Baal) and so became seen as a force for evil. He was then "rehabilitated" during the Nineteenth Dynasty only to be recast as an evil deity by Greek, Roman and Christian theologists.

Set was the black boar who swallowed the moon each month, obscuring its light. He was also identified with the hippopotamus, crocodiles, scorpions, turtles, pigs and donkeys - all animals which were considered to be unclean or dangerous. Some fish were considered to be sacred to Set (most notably the Nile carp and the Oxyrynchus) as they had apparently eaten the penis of Osiris after Set had dismembered the dead king. However, he was most often depicted as a "Set animal" or a man with the head of a "Set animal". The Set animal (sometimes known as a 'Typhonian animal' because of the Greek identification with Typhon) is a dog or jackal like creature, but it is not clear whether it exactly represented an extinct species, or was a mythological beast uniquely associated with Set himself.

In the Osirian mythology he was married to Nephthys, but their marriage was not a happy one. However, Set had many other wives/concubines. According to one myth he lived in the Great Bear, a constellation in the northern sky - an area which symbolized darkness, and death. He was restrained with chains and guarded by his wife Taweret, the hippo goddess of childbirth. He was given the two foreign goddesses Anat and Astarte (war goddesses from the Syria-Palestine area and daughters of Ra) as wives in compensation for Ma´at´s (or Neith´s) ruling that Horus should rule Egypt.

However, he had no children, despite being married to the goddess of childbirth and a Cannanite fertility goddess as well as Nephthys and Neith. This was considered to be very unconventional by the Egyptians. Not only was he infertile, but one of his testicles had been torn off by Horus when Set tore out Horus´ eye. He only ate lettuce, which was sacred to the fertility god Min because it secreted a white, milky substance that the Egyptians linked to semen and he was considered to have odd sexual habits. He was bisexual, and tried (and failed) to rape both Horus and Isis.

Set's battle with Horus (the elder and the child) and Osiris


Although they fought, neither party could win and it was believed that they would continue to fight until the end of time when Ma´at was destroyed and the waters of Nun (chaos) engulfed the world. However, once Set had been recast as an evil entity, the story changed to record that Horus had won their battle, and thus good had triumphed over evil. Some historians have argued that the battle between Set and Horus was a mythological representation of the struggle to unite Egypt under one ruler. According to this theory, the followers of Horus were successful and so Set was pushed into the background.

It is interesting to note that the pharaoh Sekhemhib displayed his name in a serekh topped by a Set animal, not a falcon (representing Horus), while Khasekhemwy´s serekh included both a Set animal and a falcon. This has been taken as evidence that the battle between Upper and Lower Egypt had been won and the ruler wished to appease both factions.

Even as an infant he was dangerous and unpredictable. According to the pyramid texts he ripped himself violently from his mother´s womb instead of being born normally like his siblings. Set was jealous of his brother Osiris. Two reasons are given for this jealousy. The first is that Osiris was made Pharaoh of Egypt after Geb resigned the throne. Set felt that he should have been given this accolade, and wished to usurp the throne. The second reason is that his wife Nephthys tricked Osiris into having sex with her (by disguising herself as her sister Isis, the wife of Osiris), and bore him a son - Anubis. Set was understandably unhappy about the situation but seems to have held his grudge against his (more handsome) brother Osiris rather than his unfaithful wife. Whatever the reason, Set decided that his brother had to die.

He made a great feast, supposedly in honour of Osiris, and offered a beautifully carved chest to whichever guest would fit into it. Of course, the chest was built to fit Osisris, and when he lay down inside it, Set´s followers nailed the lid shut and threw the chest into the Nile. Isis managed to find the chest and bring it back to Egypt. However, Set discovered the chest and dismembered the corpse of his brother, spreading the parts all over the country. Isis and Nepthys began their search for the pieces of Osiris, but his penis could not be found (because it was swallowed by a fish in the Nile). Undaunted, Isis reassembled the pieces and magically conceived her child, Horus. When he grew up he fought with Set, essentially adopting the position of Horus the Elder as the enemy of Set. This of course, added to the confusion between Horus the Elder and Horus the son of Isis and Set´s role changed from being an equal to his brother Horus the Elder, to the evil uncle of his nephew Horus the child.


Set the protector


He was thought to have white skin and red hair, and people with red hair were thought to be his followers. He was associated with the desert (which takes its name from the Egyptian word "dshrt" - the red place). He represented the fierce dry heat of the sun as it parched the land, and was infertile like the desert. Initially he probably represented the desert near Nubt, but soon he represented all deserts and foreign lands, becoming a god of overseas trade. Set had been associated with the desert and foreigners for some time before the Hyksos took over parts of lower Egypt. However, when they took him as their main god, this broke Set´s association with lower Egypt. His name was erased from monuments and his statues destroyed. All of his negative attributes were emphasised and his positive side was ignored.

But Set's fortunes soon changed. The Pharaohs of the Nineteenth Dynasty were from the Delta area where worship of Set was still popular. It is also interesting that both Seti I (who even named himself after Set) and Ramesses II seem to have had red hair. Although Amun was the state god, Set was more highly venerated in the Delta. Ramesses II´s divided his army into four divisions, and named one for Set. When he fought the Hittities he was described as being "like Set in the moment of his power" and "like Seth, great-of-strength". He even named his daughter Bint-Anat (Daughter of Anath, Set´s wife).

The Greeks associated Set with Typhon, the largest monster ever born. Typhon was the son of the Earth and Tartarus (the place of torture in Hades), and thoroughly evil. Both were storm gods associated with the colour red and with pigs (whose meat was considered to be unclean by many cultures including the Egyptians). However, unlike Typhon Set had a protective role and even in his negative aspects the Egyptians understood his place in the world. He was dangerous and unpredictable, but could be a powerful friend. During the Ptolemaic period a temple to both Horus and Sobek (who was often associated with Set as both took the form of a crocodile) was built south of Nubt and named Ombos (now known as Kom Ombos) after the god of the ancient city - Set.

Isis


Isis, the Egyptian goddess of rebirth remains one of the most familiar images of empowered and utter femininity. The goddess Isis was the first daughter of Geb, god of the Earth, and Nut, the goddess of the Overarching Sky. Isis was born on the first day between the first years of creation, and was adored by her human followers. Unlike the other Egyptian goddesses, the goddess Isis spent time among her people, teaching women how to grind corn and make bread, spin flax and weave cloth, and how to tame men enough to live with them (an art form on which many of us would welcome a refresher course!) Isis taught her people the skills of reading and agriculture and was worshipped as the goddess of medicine and wisdom. More than any other of the ancient Egyptian goddesses, Isis embodied the characteristics of all the lesser goddesses that preceded her. Isis became the model on which future generations of female deities in other cultures were to be based.
As the personification of the "complete female", Isis was called "The One Who Is All", Isis Panthea ("Isis the All Goddess"), and the "Lady of Ten Thousand Names".
The goddess Isis, a moon goddess, gave birth to Horus, the god of the sun. Together, Isis and Horus created and sustained all life and were the saviors of their people.

Hathor


Hathor is one of the most ancient Egyptian goddesses. She was known as "the Great One of Many Names" and her titles and attributes are so numerous that she was important in every area of the life and death of the ancient Egyptians. It is thought that her worship was widespread even in the Predynastic period because she appears on the Narmer palette. However, some scholars suggest that the cow-headed goddess depicted on the palette is in fact Bat (an ancient cow goddess who was largely absorbed by Hathor) or even Narmer himself. However, she was certainly popular by the Old Kingdom as she appears with Bast in the valley temple of Khafre at Giza. Hathor represents Upper Egypt and Bast represents Lower Egypt.

She was originally a personification of the Milky Way, which was considered to be the milk that flowed from the udders of a heavenly cow (linking her with Nut, Bat and Mehet-Weret). As time passed she absorbed the attributes of many other goddesses but also became more closely associated with Isis, who to some degree usurped her position as the most popular and powerful goddess. Yet she remained popular throughout Egyptian history. More festivals were dedicated to her and more children were named after her than any other god or goddess. Her worship was not confined to Egypt and Nubia. She was worshipped throughout Semitic West Asia, Ethiopian, Somlia and Libya, but was particularly venerated in the city of Byblos.

She was a sky goddess, known as "Lady of Stars" and "Sovereign of Stars" and linked to Sirius (and so the goddesses Sopdet and Isis). Her birthday was celebrated on the day that Sirius first rose in the sky (heralding the coming innundation). By the Ptolemaic period, she was known as the goddess of Hethara, the third month of the Egyptian calendar.

Hathor was also the goddess of beauty and patron of the cosmetic arts. Her traditional votive offering was two mirrors and she was often depicted on mirrors and cosmetic palettes. Yet she was not considered to be vain or shallow, rather she was assured of her own beauty and goodness and loved beautiful and good things. She was known as "the mistress of life" and was seen as the embodiment of joy, love, romance, perfume, dance, music and alcohol. Hathor was especially connected with the fragrance of myrrh incense, which was considered to be very precious and to embody all of the finer qualities of the female sex. Hathor was associated with turquoise, malachite, gold and copper. As "the Mistress of Turquoise" and the "lady of Malachite" she was the patron of miners and the goddess of the Sinai Peninsula (the location of the famous mines). The Egyptians used eye makeup made from ground malachite which had a protective function (in fighting eye infections) which was attributed to Hathor.

As the "lady of the west" and the "lady of the southern sycamore" she protected and assisted the dead on their final journey. Trees were not commonplace in ancient Egypt, and their shade was welcomed by the living and the dead alike. She was sometimes depicted as handing out water to the deceased from a sycamore tree (a role formerly associated with Amentet who was often described as the daughter of Hathor) and according to myth, she (or Isis) used the milk from the Sycamore tree to restore sight to Horus who had been blinded by Set. Because of her role in helping the dead, she often appears on sarcophagi with Nut (the former on top of the lid, the later under the lid). She occassionally took the form of the "Seven Hathors" who were associated with fate and fortune telling. It was thought that the "Seven Hathors" knew the length of every childs life from the day it was born and questioned the dead souls as they travelled to the land of the dead. Her priests could read the fortune of a newborn child, and act as oracles to explain the dreams of the people. People would travel for miles to beseech the goddess for protection, assistance and inspiration. The "Seven Hathors" were worshiped in seven cities: Waset (Thebes), Iunu (On, Heliopolis), Aphroditopolis, Sinai, Momemphis, Herakleopolis, and Keset. They may have been linked to the constellations Pleiades.

However, she was also a goddess of destruction in her role as the Eye of Ra - defender of the sun god. According to legend, people started to criticise Ra when he ruled as Pharaoh. Ra decided to send his "eye" against them (in the form of Sekhmet). She began to slaughter people by the hundred. When Ra relented and asked her to stop she refused as she was in a blood lust. The only way to stop the slaughter was to colour beer red (to resemble blood) and pour the mixture over the killing fields. When she drank the beer, she became drunk and drowsy, and slept for three days. When she awoke with a hangover she had no taste for human flesh and mankind was saved. Ra renamed her Hathor and she became a goddess of love and happiness. As a result, soldiers also prayed to Hathor/Sekhmet to give them her strength and focus in battle.

Of course, Thoth already had a wife, Seshat (the goddess of reading, writing, architecture and arithmetic), so Hathor absorbed her role including acting as a witness at the judgement of the dead. Her role in welcoming the dead gained her a further husband - Nehebkau (the guardian of the entrance of the underworld). Then when Ra and Amun merged, Hathor became seen as the wife of Sobek who was considered to be an aspect of Amen-Ra. Yet Sobek was also associated with Seth, the enemy of Horus!http://www.crystalinks.com/hathor2.gif

She took the form of a woman, goose, cat, lion, malachite, sycamore fig, to name but a few. However, Hathor's most famous manifestation is as a cow and even when she appears as a woman she has either the ears of a cow, or a pair of elegant horns. When she is depicted as entirely a cow, she always has beautifully painted eyes. She was often depicted in red (the color of passion) though her sacred color is turquoise. It is also interesting to note that only she and the dwarf god Bes (who also had a role in childbirth) were ever depicted in portrait (rather than in profile). Isis borrowed many of her functions and adapted her iconography to the extent that it is often difficult to be sure which of the two goddesses is depicted. However, the two deities were not the same. Isis was in many ways a more complex deity who suffered the death of her husband and had to fight to protect her infant son, so she understood the trials and tribulations of the people and could relate to them. Hathor, on the other hand, was the embodiment of power and success and did not experience doubts. While Isis was merciful, Hathor was single minded in pursuit of her goals. When she took the form of Sekhmet, she did not take pity on the people and even refused to stop killing when ordered to do so.



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Isis

NUT: Goddess of the Sky.

GEB: Macho Earth God, as opposed to all the feminine Earth Mothers out there.

ISIS: Very popular Goddess of Motherhood, Royalty and Family Commitment.

THOTH: Well-known God with the head of an Ibis. He's a good all-rounder for Arts, Science, Music, Astronomy, Speech and Letters. A good egg. Thoroughly recommended.

Osiris is the god of the dead and appears in a white crook and a flail.



osiris

Seth is the god of chaos and the desert and appears with a long curved snout.



seth

SET: God of Chaos. Also handles War, Storms and Deserts.



OSIRIS: Mr. Big of the Underworld. Not a gangster as such but still in charge of the Dead End scenario.

BAST: Daughter of Ra, bast is the cat-headed Goddess of Fertility, Sensuality and Fire Prevention. She also has a flair for avenging wrongs and is feisty enough for the Greeks to have identified her with Artemis.Previously known as Autum, he's the most important Egyptian God. He created himself out of the mound formed by the ogdoad's primordial chaos, and then made Shu and Tefnut to form the world. Now he sails across the sky in his solar boat.

HATHOR: Egyptian Goddess of Happiness, which seems to have been in short supply in that part of the world.

ANUBIS: Egyptian God of the Dead and Lord of Mummy Wrappings. He's the famous funeral God with the black dog's head. But is he a Doberman

or a jackal? No-one really knows for sure. ("Down, Anubis down!" No, it must be a jackal.)
Egyptian gods and goddesses are important to Egyptian history because they believe the god or goddess is in charge of what they name them after.

Many people believe they are related to different gods or goddesses.

Most of the ancient gods or goddesses turn into animals (shape shifters).

The names of the gods and or goddesses are Anubis, Nut, Geb, Isis, Thoth, Set, Osiris, Bast and Hathor.

All gods and or goddesses have powers or control something.

Goddesses are girls.

Gods are boys.

There are ten main gods and goddesses.


Horus is the god of pharaohs and earth and he appears with a head of a hawk with a crown of Egypt.



horus_sm
Isis is the goddess of magic and life and appears with a throne on her head or she is holding a baby.

si381
Thoth is the god of wisdom and he appears in a head of ibis.

thoth
Anubis is the god of the embalming and he appears as the head of a jackal.

relief-anubis
Ma’at is the goddess of justice and she appears with a feather in her hair.

ma%27at
Amun is the god of creation and he appears with as crown of feathers.

220px-amun

Hathor is one of the most ancient Egyptian goddesses. She was known as "the Great One of Many Names" and her titles and attributes are so numerous that she was important in every area of the life and death of the ancient Egyptians. It is thought that her worship was widespread even in the Predynastic period because she appears on the Narmer palette. However, some scholars suggest that the cow-headed goddess depicted on the palette is in fact Bat (an ancient cow goddess who was largely absorbed by Hathor) or even Narmer himself. However, she was certainly popular by the Old Kingdom as she appears with Bast in the valley temple of Khafre at Giza. Hathor represents Upper Egypt and Bast represents Lower Egypt.

She was originally a personification of the Milky Way, which was considered to be the milk that flowed from the udders of a heavenly cow (linking her with Nut, Bat and Mehet-Weret). As time passed she absorbed the attributes of many other goddesses but also became more closely associated with Isis, who to some degree usurped her position as the most popular and powerful goddess. Yet she remained popular throughout Egyptian history. More festivals were dedicated to her and more children were named after her than any other god or goddess. Her worship was not confined to Egypt and Nubia. She was worshipped throughout Semitic West Asia, Ethiopian, Somlia and Libya, but was particularly venerated in the city of Byblos.

She was a sky goddess, known as "Lady of Stars" and "Sovereign of Stars" and linked to Sirius (and so the goddesses Sopdet and Isis). Her birthday was celebrated on the day that Sirius first rose in the sky (heralding the coming innundation). By the Ptolemaic period, she was known as the goddess of Hethara, the third month of the Egyptian calendar.

Hathor was also the goddess of beauty and patron of the cosmetic arts. Her traditional votive offering was two mirrors and she was often depicted on mirrors and cosmetic palettes. Yet she was not considered to be vain or shallow, rather she was assured of her own beauty and goodness and loved beautiful and good things. She was known as "the mistress of life" and was seen as the embodiment of joy, love, romance, perfume, dance, music and alcohol. Hathor was especially connected with the fragrance of myrrh incense, which was considered to be very precious and to embody all of the finer qualities of the female sex. Hathor was associated with turquoise, malachite, gold and copper. As "the Mistress of Turquoise" and the "lady of Malachite" she was the patron of miners and the goddess of the Sinai Peninsula (the location of the famous mines). The Egyptians used eye makeup made from ground malachite which had a protective function (in fighting eye infections) which was attributed to Hathor.

As the "lady of the west" and the "lady of the southern sycamore" she protected and assisted the dead on their final journey. Trees were not commonplace in ancient Egypt, and their shade was welcomed by the living and the dead alike. She was sometimes depicted as handing out water to the deceased from a sycamore tree (a role formerly associated with Amentet who was often described as the daughter of Hathor) and according to myth, she (or Isis) used the milk from the Sycamore tree to restore sight to Horus who had been blinded by Set. Because of her role in helping the dead, she often appears on sarcophagi with Nut (the former on top of the lid, the later under the lid). She occassionally took the form of the "Seven Hathors" who were associated with fate and fortune telling. It was thought that the "Seven Hathors" knew the length of every childs life from the day it was born and questioned the dead souls as they travelled to the land of the dead. Her priests could read the fortune of a newborn child, and act as oracles to explain the dreams of the people. People would travel for miles to beseech the goddess for protection, assistance and inspiration. The "Seven Hathors" were worshiped in seven cities: Waset (Thebes), Iunu (On, Heliopolis), Aphroditopolis, Sinai, Momemphis, Herakleopolis, and Keset. They may have been linked to the constellations Pleiades.

However, she was also a goddess of destruction in her role as the Eye of Ra - defender of the sun god. According to legend, people started to criticise Ra when he ruled as Pharaoh. Ra decided to send his "eye" against them (in the form of Sekhmet). She began to slaughter people by the hundred. When Ra relented and asked her to stop she refused as she was in a blood lust. The only way to stop the slaughter was to colour beer red (to resemble blood) and pour the mixture over the killing fields. When she drank the beer, she became drunk and drowsy, and slept for three days. When she awoke with a hangover she had no taste for human flesh and mankind was saved. Ra renamed her Hathor and she became a goddess of love and happiness. As a result, soldiers also prayed to Hathor/Sekhmet to give them her strength and focus in battle.

Of course, Thoth already had a wife, Seshat (the goddess of reading, writing, architecture and arithmetic), so Hathor absorbed her role including acting as a witness at the judgement of the dead. Her role in welcoming the dead gained her a further husband - Nehebkau (the guardian of the entrance of the underworld). Then when Ra and Amun merged, Hathor became seen as the wife of Sobek who was considered to be an aspect of Amen-Ra. Yet Sobek was also associated with Seth, the enemy of Horus!

She took the form of a woman, goose, cat, lion, malachite, sycamore fig, to name but a few. However, Hathor's most famous manifestation is as a cow and even when she appears as a woman she has either the ears of a cow, or a pair of elegant horns. When she is depicted as entirely a cow, she always has beautifully painted eyes. She was often depicted in red (the color of passion) though her sacred color is turquoise. It is also interesting to note that only she and the dwarf god Bes (who also had a role in childbirth) were ever depicted in portrait (rather than in profile). Isis borrowed many of her functions and adapted her iconography to the extent that it is often difficult to be sure which of the two goddesses is depicted. However, the two deities were not the same. Isis was in many ways a more complex deity who suffered the death of her husband and had to fight to protect her infant son, so she understood the trials and tribulations of the people and could relate to them. Hathor, on the other hand, was the embodiment of power and success and did not experience doubts. While Isis was merciful, Hathor was single minded in pursuit of her goals. When she took the form of Sekhmet, she did not take pity on the people and even refused to stop killing when ordered to do so.

The saving of mankind was commemorated every year on the feast day of Hathor/Sekhmet. Everyone drank beer stained with pomegranate juice and worshipped "the Mistress and lady of the tomb, gracious one, destroyer of rebellion, mighty one of enchantments". A statue of Sekhmet was dressed in red facing west, while Bast was dressed in green and faced east. Bast was sometimes considered to be Sekhmet´s counterpart (or twin depending on the legend), and in the festival of Hathor they embodied the duality central to Egyptian mythology. Sekhmet represented Upper Egypt while Bast represented Lower Egypt.

Sekhmet was closely associated with Kingship. She was often described as the mother of Maahes, the lion god who was a patron of the pharaoh and the pyramid texts (from dynasty five) suggest that the Pharaoh was conceived by Sekhmet. For example, one relief depicts the Pharaoh Niuserre being suckled by Sekhmet. This ancient myth is echoed in the New Kingdom reliefs in the temple of Seti I which depict the Pharaoh being suckled by Hathor whose title is "mistress of the mansion of Sekhmet". Ramesses II (Seti´s son) adopted her as a symbol of his power in battle. In friezes depicting the Battle of Kadesh, Sekhmet appears on his horse, her flames scorching the bodies of enemy soldiers. But, one Pharaoh in particular seems to have had an obsession with Sekhmet. Amenhotep III (father of Akhenaten, Dynasty Eighteen) built hundreds of statues of Sekhmet in the precinct of Mut's temple (known as "Isheru") south of the Great Temple of Amun in Karnak. It is thought that there was one for every day of the year and that offerings were made every day.

Osiris


A god of the earth and vegetation, Osiris symbolized in his death the yearly drought and in his miraculous rebirth the periodic flooding of the Nile and the growth of grain. He was a god-king who was believed to have given Egypt civilization.

Osiris was the first child of Nut and Geb, and therefore the brother of Seth, Nephthys, and Isis. He was married to his sister, Isis. He was also the father of Horus and Anubis. These traditions state that Nephthys (mother of Anubis) assumed the form of Isis, seduced him (perhaps with wine) and she became pregnant with Anubis.

The oldest religious texts refer to Osiris as the great god of the dead, and throughout these texts it is assumed that the reader will understand that he once possessed human form and lived on earth. As the first son of Geb, the original king of Egypt, Osiris inherited the throne when Geb abdicated. At this time the Egyptians were barbarous cannibals and uncivilized. Osiris saw this and was greatly disturbed. Therefore, he went out among the people and taught them what to eat, the art of agriculture, how to worship the gods, and gave them laws. Thoth helped him in many ways by inventing the arts and sciences and giving names to things. Osiris was Egypt's greatest king who ruled through kindness and persuasion. Having civilized Egypt, Osiris traveled to other lands, leaving Isis as his regent, to teach other peoples what he taught the Egyptians.

During Osiris' absence, Isis was troubled with Seth's plotting to acquire both her and the throne of Egypt. Shortly after Osiris' return to Egypt, in the twenty-eighth year of his reign, on the seventeenth day of the month of Hathor (late September or November), Seth and 72 conspirators murdered him. They then threw the coffin in which he was murdered into the Nile, with his divine body still inside.

Isis, with the help of her sister Nephthys, and Anubis and Thoth, magically located Osiris' body. Upon learning the his brother's body was found, Seth went to it and tore it into fourteen pieces and scattered them throughout Egypt. Isis once again found every part of his body, save his phallus (it had been eaten by the now-cursed Nile fish). She magically re-assembled Osiris and resurrected him long enough to be impregnated by him so that she could give birth to the new king Horus.

Seth of course was not willing to surrender the throne of Egypt to the youthful Horus and thus a tribunal of gods met to decide who was the rightful king. The trial lasted eighty years. Eventually through Isis' cunning she won the throne for her son.

Osiris meanwhile had become the king of the Afterlife. He was believed to be willing to admit all people to the Duat, the gentle, fertile land in which the righteous dead lived, that had lived a good and correct life upon earth, and had been buried with appropriate ceremonies under the protection of certain amulets, and with the proper recital of certain "divine words" and words of power. His realm was said to lie beneath Nun, in the northern heavens or in the west.

It is as the King of the Afterlife that Osiris gained his supreme popularity. He was originally a minor god of Middle Egypt, especially in comparison to the gods of Heliopolis and Hermopolis, etc. Noting his increasing popularity, and sensing that Osiris would one day eclipse the adoration of their own gods, the priests of these cities adopted him into their own cosmogonies.

The elements of his story was seen as symbolic of real events that happened in Egypt. With his original association to agriculture, his death and resurrection were seen as symbolic of the annual death and re-growth of the crops and the yearly flooding of the Nile. The sun too with its daily re-birth and death was associated with Osiris. His rivalry with his brother Seth, the god of storms and the desert, was symbolic of the eternal war between the fertile lands of the Nile Valley and the barren desert lands just beyond. The pharaoh of Egypt was called Horus, while his deceased father was the new Osiris.

Several festivals during the year were held in Egypt, in celebration of Osiris. One, held in November, celebrated his beauty. Another, called the "Fall of the Nile" was a time of mourning. As the Nile receded, the Egyptians went to the shore to give gifts and show their grief over his death. When the Nile began to flood again, another festival honoring Osiris was held whereby small shrines were cast into the river and the priests poured sweet water in the Nile, declaring that the god was found again.http://maratray.chez-alice.fr/images/religion/egypte/osiris.jpg

The name "Osiris" is the Greek corruption of the Egyptian name "Asar" (or Usar.) There are several possibilities as to what this name means, "the Strength of the Eye", is one. Another is "He Sees the Throne". The oldest and simplest form of the name is the hieroglyph of the throne over an eye (there are at least 158 versions of the name). At one point the first syllable of the name was pronounced "Aus" or "Us" and may have gained the meaning of the word usr, "strength, might, power". At this time the Egyptians supposed the name to mean something like the "strength of the Eye" (i.e., the strength of the Sun-god Re.)

Another possibility raised by an ancient hymn's author is that the name "Unnefer" (another name by which Osiris was known) comes from the roots un ("to open, to appear, to make manifest") and neferu, ("good things"). The author then wrote these lines in his hymn to the god, "Thy beauty maketh itself manifest in thy person to rouse the gods to life in thy name Unnefer". In any case, even to the ancients, the origin of Osiris' Egyptian name is a mystery.

Osiris was usually portrayed as a bearded, mummified human with green skin and wearing the atef crown. His hands emerge from the mummy wrappings and hold the flail and crook.



icon_aton

Ancient god symbol



Bastet is the goddess of cats and she appears with the head of a cat.

bastet

EGYPT



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




Hathor



Egyptian Gods





Hathor is one of the most ancient Egyptian goddesses. She was known as "the Great One of Many Names" and her titles and attributes are so numerous that she was important in every area of the life and death of the ancient Egyptians. It is thought that her worship was widespread even in the Predynastic period because she appears on the Narmer palette. However, some scholars suggest that the cow-headed goddess depicted on the palette is in fact Bat (an ancient cow goddess who was largely absorbed by Hathor) or even Narmer himself. However, she was certainly popular by the Old Kingdom as she appears with Bast in the valley temple of Khafre at Giza. Hathor represents Upper Egypt and Bast represents Lower Egypt.

Attributes: From very early times Ra was a sun god. He took on many of the attributes and even the names of other gods as Egyptian myths evolved. A good example of this is the god Ra and Amun merging to become Amun-Ra or Ra and Horus combining to become Ra-Harakhte. Since Ra was a god of great antiquity, there are far to many stories connected with him to relate them all. I will relate some that I find interesting, including the legend of Ra and Hathor.




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