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Idea of God
Evolution of Mummification
Coffins & Sarcophagi
Creation Myths
Deity List


Through numerous clues and findings, it is evident that the Ancient Egyptians went through a phase known as animism or animatism. This is the belief in which one believes that nearly all objects in the universe have a soul and a personality just like humans. What brought about such a belief? It all started with the experience of a dream or the "phenomenon of sleep." This "phenomenon" caused Egyptians to conclude that all humans possess another self or a living palimpsest (that is, a being inside another being, which exists at the same time as the other, yet is hidden). It was with the notion of another self that the Egytians further concluded that it would continue to exist after death, which is the foundation of the Egyptians' belief in an Afterlife, an idea that other modern religions share.

It is possible to prove that the Ancient Egyptians believed in the possession of a "soul" or animism. For example, the Ancient Egyptians had a name for "soul" (the ba), which artists depicted as a human-headed bird. The association of a bird to the soul is rather interesting in that, to the Ancient Egyptians, birds had a magical power that humans did not: flight. It has also been in very recent times that humans have been obsessed with flight: the Wright Brothers and others like them, for example. To the Egyptian, the ability of flight allowed birds to soar as high as the realm of the gods. It is evident that, from the bird, the Egyptians developed the notion of the "winged spirit" or "winged god," thus the appropriateness of the place of the ba in Egyptian religion. Other winged creatures appearing in Egyptian religion include the scarab, the beetle connected with the rising sun and rebirth; the sun, an astral and ubiquitous image that signified life, among other things; and the falcon, a bird of prey whose image personified Ra, Hewer, Horus, and Horus of Edfu.

One can further conclude that the Ancient Egyptians believed in animism due to their worship of the tree (tree worship is a branch of animistic belief). One example of the significance of the tree in the Ancient Egyptian religion is its existence in the myth of the death of Osiris. In this tale, Osiris, after his brother Seth locked him in a chest and threw him out to sea, was wound inside the trunk of a tree, which provided a vessel for the dead ruler in which he could be reborn. In another example, the new reigning ruler had his or her name written on the leaves of an acacia tree, making the new ruler's name last forever. The latter example shows that the acacia tree was a thing that possessed a magical character that allowed it to forever keep intact the legacy of whoever's name was written on its leaves.

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Idea of God

The Ancient Egyptians' concept of "god" can be described in the following ways: the word with which they used to describe "god" and a prospective description proposed by some Egyptologists and archeologists. In terms of the former, the Ancient Egyptians referred to god, or any deity, as ntr (Egyptian for "god"). The word "god" can be linked to its description because scholars have observed that the hieroglyphic symbol that represents ntr is an axe-head let into a long wooden handle. Some believe that this hieroglyph resembles, in outline, a roll of yellowish cloth: the lower part being bound or laced over; the upper part appearing as a flap at the top, probably for unwinding.

The term "god" should not be confused with the Christian God, as they are not the same thing: the latter is One Entity, whereas the former could refer to any number of gods or a male or female ruler. This is also a comparison between monotheism (Christian) and polytheism (Egyptian). What is more, at any given moment, year, or changing of rulers, the changing of the primary god in Ancient Egypt occurred, whereas the Christian God will remain the only One, forever.

Where the Christian God is responsible for everything, a whole slew of Egyptian gods were charged with the gradation of the earth's moods (weather, astrological occurrences, et cetera). In addition, it was possible for the Egyptians to appease the gods in hopes of manipulating a god's decision of what the weather would be on any given day. This relationship is non-existent between the Christian God and Its
* followers: the Christian God is not to be manipulated, as It is omnipotent. That is to say, with the Egyptians' rapport with their gods comes a far more personal interaction between the two, whereas the rapport between the Christian God and Its believers is limited to worship and is impersonal, though one could certainly "talk" with God. One can also certainly ask God to make a cloudy day sunny, but one would not offer God anything to appease It to make this happen.

It is also known that the gods of Ancient Egypt occupied the same plane as did the Ancient Egyptians: the Ancient Egyptians believed that the spirits of the gods lived in statues rendered in their images (effigies) and that when they prayed to an image of a god on a wall or to a statue, they were praying to the god him or herself. However, a tête-à-tête with a god was limited to priests, who were charged with bathing, clothing, nourishing, and caring for the god whose spirit resided in the statue.
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Fetishism also played a role in the Ancient Egyptian religion. "Fetishism" is a term applied to the use of objects of various sizes and compositions that one regards as possessing consciousness, volition (freewill), and supernatural qualities. It is apparent that fetishism played a part in the ancient religion because many Egyptian gods were depicted as carrying the fetishes with which the Egyptians associated them. For example, Hathor was often depicted holding a sistrum, a musical instrument whose handle was often made in her image (a cow's head). Tauweret was often, if not always, shown leaning against a tyet amulet of protection, which supported her role as a protectress. Egyptian artists showed often Ptah as holding a was-djed-ankh staff, which personified what his godly duty was: a powerful (was) creator of life (ankh) who was also in charge of keeping stability (djed) in the world. Osiris was more often than not shown holding the crook (a short shepherd's staff) and flail (a sort of three-stringed whip) across his chest, the same exact items living rulers held when they were depicted. The crook was a symbol for leadership, in terms of the rapport between the shepherd and his flock. An Egyptian ruler was responsible for instilling peace among his people, watching over their wellbeing. The flail was a symbol for power and dominance, in terms of the rapport between a farmer and his or her work animals, where whipping an ox led it forward to better produce a land ready for planting crops. Osiris was leader over all the gods, guiding them in their difficult decisions, and was the most powerful over any, as he was the god of the entire Underworld, the father of the gods, and the original ruler of the living.

Amulets are prime examples of evidence of fetishism in the Ancient Egyptian religion. Each was closely associated with a certain deity. For exampole, Isis and Tauweret were linked to the tyet amulet of protection, Osiris to the djed pillar amulet of strength, Ptah to the was-djed-ankh scepter, Horus to the wadjet eye, and Ra the was scepter.

The Egyptians considered it good luck to anyone--dead or living--who wore them. Wives gave their battle-bound husbands a wadjet eye amulet attached to a string to give them the protection of Horus, who could heal the soldier if ever he became wounded. A pregnant woman might wear the tyet amulet to protect her from miscarriage or complications during childbirth. Mothers might tie a necklace from which dangled an amulet in the likeness of Bes (protector of children) in hopes that this mischievous deity would protect their son or daughter from evil. A person's mummified body might be, and often was, adorned with amulets in the shape of the ankh and/or a scarab made of feldspar to instill life into the person in the Hereafter or protect the dead person's heart from betraying them during Osiris' judgment, after which they would be sent to their fate (a life in the Hereafter or in the belly of the Eater of Souls, Ammit).

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Totemism is defined as the recognition, exploitation, and adjustment of the imaginary mystic relationship of the individual to the supernatural powers or spirits which surround them (Spence, Ancient Egyptian Myths and Legends, 8). In engaging in such a form of religion, one placed an animal atop a totem or a perch, which was regarded as the deity under whose protection a certain region of peoples were placed. According to such an idea, one was not permitted to slaughter or harm any such sacred animal. This "ism" is another aspect associated with the Ancient Egyptian religion. However, totemism is very questionable as a correct description of the aforementioned party's religion. It is clear that the Ancient Egyptians held animals in high regard, but it is not certain whether they worshipped them because of some god-like association or because of the simple fact that they were animals. It is further apparent that there is proof of the existence of totemism in Ancient Egyptian religion. For exampmle, Bast(et) was first worshipped in cat form, which was originally a cat totem. In addition, Sobek represented and was worshipped in crocodile form, near Crocodilopolis ("Shedet" in Egyptian, now called Medinet El-Fayoum).

From the above examples, it is plain to see that the Egyptians considered animals as divine and as "totems" that matured to divinities or gods. Furthermore, the gods themselves, with the aid of magic, could transform themselves into the animals with which they were closely associated. Therefore, with respect to this ability, totemism can be associated with the ancients' religion. In addition, it is evident that in certain areas of Egypt (called nomes, which were places where Egyptians worshipped animal deities), the Egyptians did not eat the animals that they worshipped. From the definition of totemism, one can gather that the Ancient Egyptian religion was a reflection of this form of religion, at least in regards to the belief in not killing certain worshipped animals.

The abovementioned is totemism in its earliest form when the Egyptians practiced it during the Pre-Dynastic Era, before unification. The prime example of totemism during Dynastic Egypt occurred at Bubastis, the area to which the Ancient Egyptians made a pilgrimage and paid respect to Bastet. The high reverence of this goddess was evident at Bubastis because thousands of cats resided there and each day one or more of these sacred cats was sacrificed in honor of the cat goddess.

By the 300s B.C.E.
**, totemism in Dynastic Egypt dissipated.

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The process of mummification is probably the most known aspect of Ancient Egyptian religion. Mummification was a religious ritual that was connected to many significant occurrences and objects. For one thing, the seventy days during which this whole process took followed the same amount of time during which the Dog Star Sothis disappeared and reappeared after its first appearance in the sky, which hailed the Ancient Egyptian new year. Keeping the heart within the body refers to the Ancient Egyptian belief that the seat of knowledge was in the heart and not in the brain. The linen wrapped around the body was symbolic of the way in which Osiris was buried, connecting the deceased with this god. Anubis' presence throughout the process of mummification supports this his duty of protection over the dead. The shape of the adze (a wooden axe-like tool) that was held up to the mummy's mouth was similar to the shape of Ursa Major, which was, to the Ancient Egyptians, the leg of Set, the brotherly foe of Osiris. The "opening of the mouth" ceremony was one that reflected what Horus performed on his father Osiris after the former died.

However, the process of mummification with which most are familiar is but one way to preserve the body of a dead person, though the intentions remained the same throughout the generations of Ancient Egyptian religion: in order to live forever, one had to preserve the dead person's body. Starting in Pre-Dynastic times, the Ancient Egyptians buried their dead beneath the sand and included with the body a mat under which the dead body rested in the fetal position (which refers to the belief that one was born and should die in the same position). Also buried with the dead were a few trinkets the decedent used during life and several jars of food to ensure provisions in the Afterlife. The sands preserved the body well, acting as a de-moisturizer, which left the body in a leathery state. Years later, mummification followed the same burial procedures, but with the inclusion of a wooden box, later a stone container, inside which one placed the dead person's body. This proved fatal to the corpse: the sands, no longer touching the body, left it to rot; preservation was not possible. Having realized this, the ancients developed a different method of burial while maintaining the use of a box inside which one placed a corpse in order to protect it from desecration by animals and keeping in mind the power of preservation that sand had on a corpse. After much evolution, mummification became for what it is most known: the method of embalment.

According to Herodotus, there were three ways to prepare the body for mummification, which depended on to what social class one belonged. The least costly was to bring one's dead family member's body to an embalmer, who took a few days to flush away the innards of the corpse with a liquid that disintegrated everything inside. The embalmer then handed back the body to the family who buried it in their own fashion. The mediocre way of mummification was similar to the cheap way, with the inclusion of the embalmer preparing the dead person for burial, rather than the family. The last, most well-documented and known was the most expensive way of mummification, which only the wealthy could afford.

This process of mummification went as follows:
First, the body was taken to a "place of purification" (ibu in Ancient Egyptian). The location of the ibu was probably on the west bank of the Nile because it was believed that just as the sun descended into the underworld behind the western horizon, so did the dead.

Photo caption: A modern-day mummification: a doctor piles natron salt over a corpse.

The initial cleansing of the naked corpse had both a ritual and a practical importance: just as the cult statue in a temple was washed each morning and just as Ra was cleansed in the waters of Nun each morning before being "reborn" at dawn, so was the body of the decedent. To cleanse the body, the embalmer used a solution of natron (ntryt in Ancient Egyptian), which was a naturally occurring salt that occurred in ancient times and led to the first stage of preservation. The salt was extremely useful in the embalming process because it acted as a mild antiseptic and was an effective dehydrator, which dried out the body while leaving it flexible.

Photo caption: An x-ray showing the path of a hooked tool when dicing the brain during mummification (a modern-day corpse).

It is at this point that the purified body was removed to the actual place of embalmment (the wbt or pr nfr, in Ancient Egyptian), which would have been under a tent or an enclosure housing a tent or a booth. The chief embalmer was called "He who Controls the Mysteries" or hry sshta. He would have worn a jackal mask during the rituals of the embalming process, imitating Anubis, the god of embalming. His side-kick was called "God's Seal-Bearer" (called htmu ntjr in Egyptian), which is similar to the title held by the priests of Osiris. Once in the embalming house or tent, the body was stretched out on four wooden blocks on which was placed a wooden board, creating a table. The first body part to be preserved was the face; it would have been coated with molten resin. During Dynasty XVIII, the brain was removed and tossed out, but still included in the burial, as everything had to be with the body in order to ensure the decedent's entry into the Hereafter, even if the Egyptians considered the brain as stuffing for the head, a vestigial object. The following is the way the brain was extracted: one took a sharp poker, shoved it up the nose of the deceased, scrambled things about a bit and ripped and scrapped it all out through the nostrils. If that did not work or if there still remained brain bits inside the skull, then a hole was drilled into the back of the head of the corpse and then one extracted the rest of the brains (Tutankhamun's skull has this trait in the back of his head). To fill the void of the skull, sawdust, resin, or resin-soaked linen was stuffed inside to aid in keeping the skull's shape.

The eyes were then pushed in and then inserted into the sockets was a clove of garlic, a plant with antiseptic qualities, which was also a form of protection over evil, according to Egyptian belief. Over the garlic, a bit of linen was placed. The marriage of linen and garlic created a mound underneath the lids, which gave the appearance of a person just closing his or her eyes to repose.

The viscera were the next to be embalmed: a slit in the side with a flint stone allowed the embalmer to pull out the organs and embalm them with palm and date wine and other fragrances such as myrrh. The lungs, upper and lower intestines, liver, and stomach were individually wrapped in linen and then placed with the body or in canopic jars, depending on the period. The Fours Sons of Horus (Hapi, Imsety, Duamutef, and Qebesehnuef) were responsible for containing within them an assigned organ. What is more, each Son of Horus had one of the goddesses of the four cardinal directions protecting them: Nephthys, goddess of the North, guarded the lungs, which were placed inside the ape-headed canopic jar (Hapi); Isis, goddess of the South, guarded the liver, which was placed inside the human-headed canopic jar (Imsety); Neith, goddess of the West, guarded the upper intestines and the stomach, which were placed inside the jackal-headed canopic jar (Duamutef); and Selket, goddess of the East, guarded the lower intestines, which were placed inside the hawk-headed canopic jar (Qebesehnuef).

Once the body and the viscera were preserved, the embalmers wrapped around the corpse yard upon yard of linen. Each finger, toe, arm, leg, and length of the body was wrapped with a specially sized strip of linen. During the wrapping of each limb and appendage, a lector priest chanted a prayer specific to the limb or appendage that the embalmer wrapped. The lector priest had a very important job, as chanting the right prayers in the correct order and at the correct time increased the the dead person's chances of enter the Afterlife with ease. The embalmer who wrapped the body in linen also had an important duty other than to wrap the right member with the correct strip of linen: the embalmer was also in charge of wrapping within the bandages chapters from the Book of the Dead. These chapters needed also to be installed in the right place on the body. At other times, the chapters from the Book of the Dead were inscribed on the appropriate bandage. If a person was rich enough, he or she could also have his toes and fingers capped with gold-foil in the shape of fingertips and toes.

After the seventy days of preparation and mummification of a corpse, the body was placed in a coffin or in a series of coffins [see
Coffins and Sarcophagi for more information]. From then on, the mourning process took into effect.
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Evolution of Mummification

Dynasty III

At this time, mummification as we know it was in its infancy; therefore, no mummies have survived from this dynasty. Prior to Dynasty III, "natural mummies" (that is, bodies that were buried within the naturally preserving, dry, and hot sand) were common. These natural mummies were usually positioned curled up, like a fetus, ready to be born again in the next world.

Dynasty IV

Mummies during this period begin to show abdominal evisceration, an incision of the lower torso, through which embalmers pulled out a corpse's innards. In addition to this technique, embalmers employed another: stretching out the mummified corpses, rather than style it in a fetal position, as was the popular way to position a body during the Pre-Dynastic Period. The reason embalmers stretched out the body was because of the compatibility of this positioning with evisceration. In a fetal position, abdominal evisceration is unsuited.

Dynasty V

Bandaging of mummies from Dynasty v was of a very careful sort, inside and out. For example, embalmers exercised internal packaging with resin soaked bandages for such mummies. In some cases, embalmers in charge of bandaging a corpse bandaged limbs separately (legs, arms, fingers), preserving the contours of the mummy's body. At times, the preservation of the head was done by using plaster, which embalmers used to model the dead person's features, and paints, which embalmers used to bring life and expression into the lifeless corpse. Like Dynasty IV mummies, evisceration was a continued technique, but it was not yet widespread because it was a new element in mummification.

Dynasty VI

As in Dynasty v, embalmers modeled the corpse--the entire body or just the head--with plaster. In addition to plaster, embalmers used resin-impregnated linen to wrap the body of a mummy. Similar also to Dynasty V, the faces of mummies from Dynasty VI were recreated to resemble the way it looked in life. The organs of Dynasty VI mummies were wrapped in cloth and then usually placed in a niche located in the burial chamber.

First Intermediate Period (Dynasties IX, X, XI)

Mummies from the First Intermediate Period were carefully bandaged, at least from the outside they look rather decent. However, the inside of these mummies are in poor condition. In general, painted cartonnage masks were placed over the heads of these mummies.

Dynasty XI

Dynasty XI mummies still evinced having been eviscerated, which was, at this time, becoming more frequent in mummification. It was also at this point that embalmers started using natron salt to preserve the body and its organs. In addition to water, fats from the corpse were eliminated, a process called saponification. Also at this time, it was clearly visible that there were three different qualities of mummification, as described by Herodotus: the version the rich could afford (full-out mummification), for what the middle class could pay (insertion of some liquid through the body cavity and then bandaging of the corpse), and what the poor could attain (insertion of liquid through the body cavity).

Dynasty XII

Like mummies from Dynasties V and VI, the faces of Dynasty XII mummies were greatly preserved. However facial painting was no longer in fashion, as funerary masks took the place of facial painting on some if not all Dynasty XII mummies. Some Dynasty XII mummies' noses and eyes were stuffed to retain life-like contouring. Funeral masks from this period were made of stuccoed cloth, were glided, painted yellow (a color that represented the skin color of gods), and were adorned with artificial beards and/or mustaches, which was passing decoration (that is, mustachers were). Launched also during this period was the inclusion of amulets placed on the mummy, but this new element was infrequent. Although not all mummies prior to Dynasty XII were stretched out (mummies placed in the fetal position still occurred), it was now a rule that mummies were buried in an anthropoid style. However, the Egyptians did not abandon totally placing the stretched-out mummy on its side, as was the way fetal-positioned mummies were placed. Mummies from this dynasty could also be placed on their sides and stretched out or on their sides and curled up.

Second Intermediate Period (Dynasties XIV, XV, XVI, XVII)

During the Second Intermediate Period, the period of the Hyksos invasion into Egypt, Hyksos kings were not mummified; therefore, mummies from these Dynasties are non-existent. It was during this period that servants of the Hyksos kings were sacrificed in front of the places of burial of these foreign kings, as anthropological evidence has shown. Human sacrifices during this time were reminiscent of Pre Dynastic sacrifices. However, instead of being a ceremonious offering as it was to the Hyksos, Pre- Dynastic sacrifices--the killing of the kings' servants and officials--served to furnish the king with otherworldly help in the Hereafter, as he or she had during life.

Dynasty XVIII

Dynasty XVIII mummies carry on the tradition of abdominal evisceration launched in Dynasty IV, yet there ia a difference between the two: Dynasty IV mummies evince vertical abdominal incisions, at the level of the left hypochondrium, near the lower ribs, whereas some Dynasty XVIII mummies have an abdominal incision parallel to the left iliopubic line, between the lower abdomen and the groin. Excerebration (removal of the brain) at this time was almost systematic; the brain of these mummies was usually taken out via the ethmoidal cavity (a bone found at the base of the cranium and the root of the nose). The arm positions typical of Dynasty XVIII mummies are the following: placed along the body, palms touching the sides; hands covering the private area (classical positioning for men); or arms crossed over the chest or hands clutching the shoulders (the Osirian position).

Dynasties XXI-XXV

This span of time saw the use of beaded shrouds--actual beaded nets draped over or painted on the outside of the mummy bandages. Such an object was used not only as an outer decoration but also as a sort of hanger, a display, on which the mummy's amulets could be hung.

Dynasties XXI-XXII

Typical of mummies from these dynasties are the inclusion of artificial eyes and skin painted yellow or red (women were usually painted yellow; men were typically red). In addition, Dynasty XXI and XXII mummies appear puffy, especially about the face, a result of subcutaneous packing--sawdust, clay, sand, and resin soaked linen were usual contents stuffed within mummy bandages. Embalmers stuffed the aforementioned materials--used in combination--through incisions in the mouth, arms, neck, back, and/or the evisceration incision. This was a widespread technique. Unlike preceding dynasties, mummies during Dynasties XXI and XXII tend not to have buried with them organ-filled canopic jars. Rather, the mummies' organs were embalmed, as they were prior to this time; were accompanied by four amulets representing the Four Sons of Horus; and then put back into the body cavity (these are called "canopic packets," even though the organs are not in such vessels). False canopic jars instead of the other sort (in which organs were placed) were buried with the mummy. Like their real counterparts, false canopic jars had the same function as those in which organs had been to be placed prior to this, save that fake jars were not hollowed out like the real ones--there might have been a small pit an inch or two deep carved out, but that was about it.

Dynasty XXV

Just as Dynasty XXI and XXII mummies had their organs embalmed and buried with them (in canopic packets), so had Dynasty XXV mummies, with a small difference: during this time, instead of putting the organs back into the mummified body, the embalmed organs were placed next to or between the legs of the corpse. Even though there have been cases where the mummified organs were put into canopic jars, it was a rare practice during this period. The appearance of mummies from this dynasty, compared to prior dynasties, changed during Dynasty XXV: Pre-Dynasty through Dynasty XXV mummies are called "white mummies" and mummies dating after Dynasty XXV are called "black mummies." The latter epithet stems from the observance that the mummies' bodies seem to have been coated with a black substance, which was a brittle coating that the Egyptian embalmers used as an antiseptic. The application of this material made the corpses rigid. Not only did embalmers use this black substance on mummified bodies, but also they used it to soak the linen that swathed the cadaver.

Graeco-Roman Period

The technique of mummification was fairly unchanged during the Graeco-Roman Period. The process of making a "black mummy" became widespread among nearly all social classes, from the upper echelons of society to the lower. The black color of the mummified remains came from bitumen (earlier theories of mummification included the corpses being dipped in bitumen, a completely erroneous hypothesis) or vegetal products such as cedar oil--the black color was the result of a chemical change. Similar to Dynasty XXV mummies, Graeco-Roman mummies are typically puffy, a result of overstuffing. This technique of packing materials within the mummies' bandages was an effort made to bring back life to the now dead person. Despite the rather unflattering look of most of these mummies, they are well preserved. However, not all Graeco-Roman Era mummies are well conserved (that is, on the inside). Evidence has shown that some mummies were prepared in haste, probably due to the increase in population, and there are frequent incidences where body parts are detached. What is more, and especially evident throughout lower class mummies who have fairly decent exteriors, their interior--the mummified corpse, that is--was nothing but bones, human or animal (in terms of the latter, the embalmers essayed to create the illusion that a person was within the bandages). Probably the most distinguishable characteristic of mummies of this period is gilding. Most of the Graeco-Roman mummies have gilded bodies, heads, hands, feet, and occasionally lids, lips, and nails. The final trait of these mummies is all in the way their arms are placed. The general arm position is both appendages placed at the sides, elongated. For young mummified boys, their hands are fixed over their private area, covering it. Sometimes, adult mummies' arms are crossed over the chest, in the Osirian style, or were arranged in the shape of a backwards four (the right arm is at the side, while the left arm is bent at the elbow to form a right angle over the torso). Hypocephali diskes were placed under the head. Such objects were disks made of stuccoed cloth, papyrus, or bronze and were decorated with many themes such as the celestial cow (Hathor), the Four Sons of Horus, or the four-headed ram (Amun-Ra).

Ptolemaic-Roman Period

Ptolemaic-Roman mummies exhibit the following attributes: narrow bandages, woven in intricate designs; colored bandages of white, black, and shades of red, sometimes embellished with gilded stucco; exterior bandaging of good quality; an interior composed of recycled materials such as shredded tunics, old linen, and boat sails; and amulets wrapped up within the mummy bandages.
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Coffins and Sarcophagi

Dynasties I and II

The dead were buried in the fetal position and were laid to rest in the preserving sand, in or without baskets. Burying the dead in the fetal position signified the position in which people were born. It was also in this position that a person would die in order to be reborn into the Afterlife. Buried with the decedent were large pots and/or square crates in which were housed personal affects and provisions for the dead person to use in the Hereafter. At this time, there was no difference in the way rich and common folk were buried. The only anomoly was the quantity and quality of what was buried with the corpse. A prime example of a mummy from this period is "Ginger," a commoner who was buried beneath the hot sands and whose name derives from the mummy's color.

Dynasties III through X

The dead were buried in the a stretched out position (due to the advent of extracting organs) and were laid to rest in a rectangular coffin, where there were wadjet eyes painted or carved on the east-side--the direction of the living--of the coffin, so the deceased could see through the coffin. Food offerings were often painted on the inside of the coffin to provide the deceased with nourishments in the Hereafter. The Ancient Egyptians believed that the power of an image was just as good as the real thing. Furthermore, painting images rather than including them in the burial was an efficient way to save space.

Dynasties XI through XIII

The coffins of the deceased from the higher stratum of society were provided with coffin texts and maps of the Afterlife, which were painted on the interior walls and base of the decedent's coffin, which were composed of well-cut planks of timber that had to be imported because Egyptian wood was not durable. These planks of wood were rectangular in form and were placed inside yet another rectangular coffin of the same material.

Dynasty XIII

From Dynasty XIII to Dynasty XVI, coffins took on an anthropoid shape, which were made of cartonnage (layers of linen, stiffened with plaster). Cartonnage was a material used by low class people because it was cheap, as opposed to Lebanese wood or solid gold, which were expensive materials. Sometimes the cartonnage was gilded if one could afford it. Then, this anthropoid coffin was placed inside an outer wooden coffin, similar to the trend launched during Dynasty XI.

Dynasty XVII

During this time, coffins were still in the anthropoid shape, but with an added feature: the surface of the coffins was painted with a feather pattern, which embodied the protective wings of Isis or the sky goddess, Nut.

Dynasty XVIII

The use of anthropoid coffins continued, but they were designed in the following ways: the arms were carved in high relief and crossed over the chest; some coffins had molded beards, at the end of which was a curled tip, like the one worn by Osiris; the surface was covered with depictions of deities such as the goddesses of the four cardinal directions (Nephthys, Neith, Isis, and Selket representing north, east, south, and west, respectively), Osiris' sisters (Nephthys and Isis), the sky goddess Nut, or others; and bands of hieroglyphic extracts from funerary texts acted as decoration. Tutankhamun's innermost coffin and Tjuya's coffin are good examples from this period.

Dynasty XIX through Dynasty XXI

It was fashionable to bury the dead inside a nest of anthropoid-shaped wooden coffins and inside a stone sarcophagus. The decoration of the coffins continued to be decorated in the style of Dynasty XVIII and could vary in material: wood, cartonnage, gilded, or solid gold.

Dynasty XX through Dynasty XXII

This overlapping period was the start of the painting of the sky goddess Nut on the inside of the coffin, rather than on the outside.

Dynasty XXII

This dynasty saw the introduction of the wooden footboard, which was attached to the innermost coffin, made of cartonnage. The coffin(s) maintained anthropoid shape.

Dynasty XXI through Dynasty XXVI

Particularly eminent of these dynasties was the adornment of the mummy with two red leather straps that crossed over the chest, resembling a pair of braces. On the mummy was also a shroud of blue faience beads, on which could be attached protective amulets. In very rare instances (for it had to be imported from the east) the use of silver as material for creating coffins was done (i.e. Psusennes I's coffin is made of silver with hints of gold).
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When one thinks of Ancient Egypt, one of the first things that comes to mind are the amulets, which are talismans that have protective characteristics that the dead or the living wear or carry on them. Those that were worn by the living were incorporated into items of jewelry. When one died, these amulets were often included in the burial. Those that were worn by the dead were called funerary amulets and were positioned in specific places on the dead body, held in place by mummy wrappings or on a beaded shroud. In order to remember where a certain amulet was placed and at what point during the embalming process one should place them, the embalmers referred to the pages of the Coffin Texts and the Book of the Dead, which were the same thing only the texts were written on different materials (coffins versus papyrus, respectively). Within these texts were detailed instructions on this particular subject. Some were wrapped up in the bandages, while others were temporarily in contact with the body. Images of the amulets themselves could be drawn on the wrappings as well (remember: images were considered powerful and similar to the real thing). For either instance, the magic of the amulets took effect. Also contained in the Book of the Dead was information on of what materials each amulet should be made, if they should be strung, and with what string one should use to thread a certain amulet.

The number of amulets on a dead body appears to denote various amounts of protection. In other words, the more one had within their wrappings, the more protection the amulet provided to the wearer. It has been discovered that there could be as many as several hundred amulets on a body! The most ubiquitous and highly important amulets were the heart scarab, the wadjat-eye (or the "Eye of Horus"), the djed-pillar amulet, the tyet amulet, the wadj-amulet, and the golden vulture collar. The heart scarab was a protective amulet of the heart, which was rather large and was wrapped in the mummy bandaging over the deceased's heart. The materials the Egyptians used to create this amulet were those of various green- and dark-colors, including the following: glazed stearite, schist, feldspar, hematite, and obsidian. The heart scarab had Chapter 30 from the Book of the Dead written on it, which were instructions to the heart of the dead person to deny any of the wrongdoings that the decedent may have committed during his or her life on earth (this was done when it came time for the Judgment before Osiris and the tribunal of gods). Along with the heart scarab amulet, heart-shaped amulets could be placed inside the wrappings of the mummy to ensure that the heart remained in the decedent's body until the Weighing of the Heart Ceremony. According to Chapter 29B of the Book of the Dead, these amulets should be made of cornelian, a salmon-colored material, a color similar to that of the heart.

Another important amulet was the wadjat-eye or the "Eye of Horus." It was probably used more than any other amulet placed on a mummy. The shape of this amulet is denoted in the title: an eye. This amulet was placed atop the incision typically cut in the left side of the dead person's abdomen, from where one extracted the internal organs. It is said that Horus presented his healed eye to his dead father, Osiris, in hopes of bringing him back to life. His gift worked. The wadjat-eye amulet represented healing, strength, and perfection because of its associate with this Egyptian myth.

The djed-pillar amulet (top left of the picture) was representative of Osiris. Actually, it was said to have represented his backbone, which represented stability. Some also believe that the djed-pillar originally represented a stylized tree trunk with the branches chopped off. Whatever its significance, this amulet, according to Chapter 155 in the Book of the Dead, was to be strung with a fiber of sycamore and placed at the throat of the deceased on the day of burial. Yet another amulet associated with Osiris was the staircase amulet, representative of the stepped platform where his throne stood.

The amulet that was symbolized the blood or the girdle of Isis was the tyet-amulet, which was in the form of a knot or a tampon. In terms of the latter form, the tyet amulet may have represented the tampon that was inserted into Isis when she was pregnant in order to prevent miscarriage or to prevent her evil brother, Seth, from harming her unborn son, Horus. According to Chapter 156 of the Book of the Dead, this amulet was to be made of red jasper, a color that further supports it symbolizing blood.

The wadj-amulet, according to Chapters 159 and 160 of the Book of the Dead, was to be made of green feldspar. This is rather interesting because, in Ancient Egyptian, wadj means "green". This amulet took the shape of a single stem and flower of a papyrus plant and was representative of eternal youth, something that was ensured to any dead person who wore this amulet.

The golden vulture collar, according to Chapter 157 of the Book of the Dead, was to be placed at the throat of the deceased, just like the djed-pillar amulet. It is interesting that the Egyptians considered an amulet in the shape of a vulture because they associated the vulture with the goddess Isis, a protective mother goddess, usually depicted with large encircling vultures' wings. On the heads of some statues of Egyptian kings, the wings of Isis are carved, illustrating that Isis is protecting the king.

(Taken from Ancient Egypt: an Illustrated Reference [...], 410): Other amulets included the headrest amulet, to ensure the head of the deceased would be eternally raised up, reflecting the path of the sun; the animal-headed was-scepter amulet, which granted wellbeing and prosperity; the mason's plummet amulet, which guaranteed perpetual equilibrium; and the carpenter's square amulet, which guaranteed eternal righteousness.

Tiny amulets depicting deities were also considered protective objects. Some examples of such are that of Selket, the scorpion goddess, and Anubis, the jackal-headed god of mummification. In addition, tiny amulets of the parts of the body were used in order to ensure that, if and when a part of the mummified body become suddenly detached, the decendent, in the Afterlife, would be able to use a body part amulet as a substitute. These amulets could also be used to endow the deceased with whatever action or sense each part represented: the foot amult provided the ability to walk and the hand amulet gave its wearer tactile movements and actions.

The following is not exactly an amulet, but is similar in function to body part amulets: reserve heads. These were considered a type of funerary equipment that was used to serve as a substitute head for the deceased person, if ever the real one became detached after burial (by tomb robbers or by other circumstances). One could also use animal-shaped amulets to give the deceased person that particular animal's characteristics: the virility of a bull or a ram, the speed of a hare, and so on. One famous mummy who almost needed a reserve head was that of Tutankhamun's. During analysis of his mummy by Howard Carter's team, the gentlemen wanted to separate the head from the funeral mask. Because the skull adhered to the inside of the mask with dried resin (a sort of glue), the team had difficulties. This is what ended up happening: Tut's head was separated from his body.
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Creation Myths

For each major cult center in Egypt, there was a creation myth. It is practically impossible to decipher which creation myth was highly believed and at what time each came about. However, in each story, there is a self-engendered "higher being" (more or less equivalent to God of Christian religion) who commences with first creating the gods and goddesses, followed by humankind. Each of the deities mentioned in each of the stories relate to the historical and geographical areas where the myths were developed.

The Creation Myth of Memphis

Ptah was the self-engendered creator god to whom the Ancient Egyptians referred as the "father of the gods from whom all life emerged." He brought the universe into being by conceiving all aspects of it in his heart and then speaking his thoughts out loud. First he created the other deities, and then towns with shrines in which to house them. He provided wood, clay, the spirits or divine power (ka) of the deities, and offerings to be made for them forever. All things, including all people and animals, were brought into being by Ptah who declared their names.

The Creation Myth of Elephantine

The creator god of Elephantine was Khnum, a ram-headed deity. Using his potter's wheel, he created the universe by modeling out clay the other gods, as well as all of humankind (both Egyptians and all those who spoke other languages), fish, birds, reptiles, plants, and other animals. He paid extreme attention to the molding of the human figure, permitting the blood to flow over the bones and stretching the skin meticulously over the body. He took special care with the installation of the respiratory and digestive systems, the vertebrae, and the reproductive organs. Afterwards, he ensured the continuation of the human race by watching over conception and labor.

The Creation Myth of Hermopolis Magna

The fundamental factors necessary for the creation process were arranged in four male-female pairs: primordial water (Nun and Naunet); air or hidden power (Amun and Amaunet); darkness (Kuk and Kauket); and formlessness or infinity, interpreted as flood force (Huh and Hauhet). Modern scholars refer to these divine personifications of the basic elements of the cosmos as the Ogdoad (Greek for "group of eight;" in Egyptian it is called khmun). The four male gods were all frog-headed and the four goddesses were snake-headed. At some point the eight elements interacted to create a burst of energy, allowing creation to take place. There are two versions of the events that follow in this creation myth:

1) A primeval mound of earth (the Isle of Flame, in this case) rose up out of the primordial water. The god Thoth, in the form of an ibis, placed a cosmic egg on the mound of earth. The egg cracked, hatching the sun, which immediately ascended into the sky.

2) A lotus flower, divinely personified as the deity Nefertem, bobbed on the surface of the primordial waters when the lotus' petals opened, releasing from its center the sun. On this occasion the sun was identified as Horus.

The Creation Myth of Heliopolis

Before anything existed or creation took place, there was darkness and endless and lifeless water, divinely personified as Nun. A mound of fertile silt emerged from this watery chaos. The self-engendered solar creator god Atum (meaning "the All" or the "Complete One") appeared upon the mound. By sneezing he was able to spit out the deities Shu (the divine personification of air) and Tefnut (moisture). Now that a male-female pair existed, they were able to procreate more conventionally. The results of their union were two deities: Geb, also spelled Keb (the earth), and Nut (the sky). These two were forcibly separated from each other by their father Shu, who lifted Nut up to her place above the earth at Atum's demand because he did not want to have to compete with her divine children in being worshipped. The Ennead (in Greek it means "group of nine;" the Egyptians called it pesedjet) of Heliopolis included these deities: Atum ("the Bull of the Ennead"), Shu, Tefnut, Geb, and Nut. It is completed by the offspring of the two latter gods (Geb and Nut): Osiris, Isis, Seth, and Nephthys (Horus the Elder is not included in the group).
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Deity List

Using the list: there are two boxes situated side-by-side. The one on the left lists the names of Egyptian deities, on which you can click. When you click on any deity's name, the second box to the right will direct you to that deity's description. You may have to use the scroll bar for the second box containing deity profiles, as some of the descriptions are long. You can use the scroll bar or the alphabet at the top for the box on the left to find the deity about whom you'd like to know more. The list of deities is in alphabetical order for you convenience.

A List of 203 Egyptian Deities


Regular Type = Egyptian Name
[Type in brackets] = Other Forms of Deity
= Click On This For A Picture



Aah Tehuti/Tehuti [Thoth]



Afra [Ra]






Ament(et)/Iment(it)/Imentet/ Amenty


Amsu [Ptah-Sokar-Asar]











Anqet/Anquet [Anukis/Anuket]



Apet [Tauret/Taweret]


Apuat/Upuaut [Wepwawet or Anpu]




Asar-Hap/Asar-Hapi~~SERAPIS or OSIRIS-APIS



Ashtoreth/Ashtaroth [Ishtar, Isis, or Isis-Hathor]





Banebjedet/Ba'eb Djet








Djehuty [Thoth]



Edjo [Wadjet]













Hedjwer [Baba]












Horakhty/Horakhte [Horemakhet/Horus the Elder]

Horbehudti [Horus the Elder]

Hor-nubti [Horus the Elder]

Horu-sema-tawy [Hor or Horus the Child]

Horus the Child

Horus the Elder

Horus the Younger

Hor-wer [Horus the Elder]



Hudet [Ra]







Ishtar [Asthoreth]

Isis [Ashtoreth; Khut; Sati; Usert]









Khut [Isis]







Mau-Taui [Thoth]










Montu [Buchis]








Nebetu'u [Hathor]




Nefer-Hor [Ptah]




Nehem Auit

Nehes [Ra]





Neser [Sekhmet]

Nubti~~SETH or TYPHO/TYPHON [Sutekh]



Ptah [Tatenen/Tenen]





Ra/Re' [Nehes; Hudet; Afra]


Ra-Asar~~RA-OSIRIS [Afra]





Reret [Tauret/Taweret]






Sati [Isis]



Sekhmet [Neser]






The Seven Hathors

The Seven Wise Ones












Sopdet/Sopdu~~SOTHIS/SIRIUS [Hathor]

Sutekh~~SETH [Nubti]
Tatenen/Tenen [Ptah]

Taweret/Taueret [Reret; Apet]







Thoth [Djehuty]



Two Companions of the Heart


Usert [Isis]


Wadjet [Edjo]



Wepwawet [Apuat]





Aah was a deity who supposedly represented the moon. He was associated with Thoth, Osiris, and Khonsu and was often linked with these three gods: accompanying Thoth, he was Thoth-Aah or Aah-Tehuti and linked to Osiris, he was called Osiris-Aah or Asar-Aah. As Thoth-Aah, he appeared as a crescent moon resting on a Thoth pedestal resting on a boat and as Asar-Aah/Osiris-Aah, he appeared as the moon crescent and solar disk on the head of Asar/Osiris. During early Egyptian religion, A'ah seems to have been far more important in his role of a lunar god than any of these three--after all "A'ah" is the Ancient Egyptian word for "moon" (his name also means "collar," "to embrace," and "defender"). Despite his being mentioned in the Book of the Dead as "the moon god [...] the dweller of the gods," his popularity faded and he became a shadowy figure later in his divine life.

A'ah ruled over the 360 day lunar calendar, which makes up the year.

In another version of the birth of Osiris, Horus, Isis, Nephthys, and Seth, Thoth played a dice game with A'ah (in the other version, he played with Silene, who was a moon goddess), won enough lunar light to make five extra days, and inserted them into the month of July (the month when the Egyptian New Year begins). These extra days allowed Nut to give birth to her five children, for Re had cursed her so that should could never give birth on any day of the year. Since these extra days were not included in his curse, Nut gave birth to Osiris, Horus, Isis, Nephthys, and Seth. The year has comprised of 365 days ever since.

Aah Tehuti/Tehuti

Aah Tehuti was the name of Thoth when he was represented as a moon-god; Thoth's original importance was that of a moon-god. In this form, Aah Tehuti was human headed. As Aah Tehuti, Thoth became the new moon, signaling the beginning of time, a numeric element that was generally attached to Thoth anyway, he being the measurer, particularly during the Judgment of Osiris. With various astrological elements being the ancients' primary way to measure time, it is no surprise that they considered the moon as the great regulator of the seasons, the great measurer of primitive life. Thoth in the form of Aah Tehuti follows this way of thinking. Furthermore, as a moon-god, Aah Tehuti (Thoth) had a minor connection with moisture and is alluded to in Chapter XCV of the Book of the Dead as a rain- and thunder-god.

The eyes of Thoth (Aah Tehuti) represented the full moon as those of Ra did the afternoon sun. To make matters worser, the moon represented the left eye of Ra, often called "the black eye of Horus" (conversely, "the white eye" is the sun), which refers to the cold half of the year when the rays of the sun are weak.


Abtu was one of many friendly and sacred deities who helped and protected Ra on his endless daily journey through the sky, from east to west and from dawn to dusk, and nightly voyage through the underworld, traveling ad infinitum in the opposite direction. Abtu was one of two pilot fish [Ant (also spelled "Anet") was his twin] who swam on one side (the front, in some cases) of the solar barque of Ra, alerting him of any forthcoming dangers (e.g. the serpent Apep).

Abtu is referred to in the Book of the Dead, but should not be confused with another reference with the same name in said text, which happens to be what the Greeks called (and what moderns refer to as) Abydos, capital of the eighth nome of Upper Egypt, seat of the worship of Osiris (per asar in Egyptian), terminus of the sun's daily course through the sky, and entrance into the underworld through a gap in a mountain (called peq in Egyptian). The last two make the difference between the place and the deity a hard one to decipher.


The Afa were very minor gods of heaven, their name meaning "pleasing," which may or may not have any significance attached to them. Like the Utennu, not much is known about their heavenly roles.


Afra is a variant of the amalgamated god, Ra-Osiris (Ra was the sun god and Osiris was the lunar god). When the sun was in the second part of Duat--called Urnes--it was called Afra. In this part of Duat, the gods of the first section of Duat departed from Afra and did not see him until the next night. At this point, Afra traveled east to the Mountains of the Sunrise. He passed through the Realm of Sokar; he met with Isis in the seventh hour; he passed over a series of lakes in the tenth and the eleventh hours; and finally, he entered the tail and exited through the mouth of the great serpent, Ankh-neteru, at the twelfth hour. At the moment Afra left the mouth of this serpent, he transformed into Kheper and represented the rising of the morning sun.


Aker was perhaps the earliest known god of the earth (probably even earlier than the famed Geb). He was the deification of the horizon and his appearance reflected this attribute:

In his earliest form, he symbolized the borders between each day, originally depicted as a narrow strip of land with lion or human heads flanking back-to-back either side of it. At a later date, the heads became full-figured lions, sitting up in the same position as his early form: facing away from each other and separated by the hieroglyphic symbol for "horizon," the one lion representing "yesterday" (sauf or sef in Egyptian) and the other "tomorrow" (dua or duau). It is interesting that Aker was represented as two lions facing back to back, separated by a spit of land, because the sun reaches its peak in the zodiac of Leo, a lion. The Egyptians also referred to Aker as Ruti. In Egyptian it meant "two lions", which is represented in the number of lions that comprise this deity.

The Egyptians associated Aker with the earth, the east, and the west horizons of the Underworld, where they were considered the guardian of the ingress and egress of this place. Aker was the opener of the portal to this domain for the sun's nightly voyage. The dead were said to have needed Aker's permission to enter the Underworld and those whose death was unfortunate were fortunate to receive an annulment from AKer of that which caused them to die (e.g. the extraction of poisons from the body if the decedent died at the hand of snakes or scorpions).

Aker was not only an important figure in the Otherworld, but also to the world of the living: in the same manner of his otherworldly duties, statues of Aker guarded the entrances to tombs and palaces, protecting those within from evil and malevolent spirits and beings.

He is most commonly found on a mummy's pillow or head rest in the form of a human, holding the headrest on his back.

Despite his apparent importance, Aker did not belong to any cult center, but his worship spanned until well into the Graeco-Roman era.


Originally identified as the concept for air, essence, and hidden power, Amaunet was later reverred as a significant goddess of these elements, representing them in the Ogdoad cosmogony with her male counterpart, Amun. She appears entirely as a cobra snake or as a snake-headed woman.

The Egyptians also reverred her as one of the many creator deities (in this instance, she is unusual, as most creator deities are gods, not goddesses). Like her male collegues of creation, she was sometimes considered a self-engendered deity, one who needed no one to procreate, a special feature of snakes, her theophany.

She was closely associated with Iusaaset (the shadow of Atum, the deity with which Amun was identified as he and Amaunet obtained greater roles in Egyptian religion) and was therefore regarded as the mother of creation, mother and grandmother of the gods, and owner of the Tree of Life. The Tree of Life was an acacia tree, found at the desert's edge, was one that promoted the emergance and return of life, and supported Amaunet's role as a mother-goddess: the Egyptians believed that the acacia was the oldest tree in existance, that it was located close to and north of Heliopolis, the birthplace of the gods. Its strength, hardiness, medical properties, and edibility were elements that made its importance that much greater.

Even though Amaunet achieved the role of wife to Amun, she was later displaced by Mut. Without a husband, she became associated with the moon and was sometimes represented in tombs, coffins, and sarcophagi in this role.

The main cult center to which she belonged was at Hermopolis Magna (Khmun, in Ancient Egyptian, which means "eight-town," referring to the Ogdoad, which consisted of four pairs of male-female counterparts).


Amenhotep appears in the form of a man, which is not surprising, given he was a mortal before his divine role. He was first introduced into royal history when he played "stand-in" for Tuthmosis V (son of Amenhotep III) who was supposed to be involved in his father's first heb sed, but unexpectedly died just before, leaving the job to the high official of Amenhotep III. As time went on, Amenhotep son of Hapu proved even more useful to king Amenhotep III: he became the king's wise counselor, vizier, chief intelligence of the king's reign, and "scribe of recruits" during this ruler's archictectural programmes, which surpassed in quantity those of the monuments of the Old Kingdom builders. His highest achievement was the quarrying and transportation from Gebel el-Ahmar in the north in order to construct two colossal statues of the king, the modern name of which is "the Colossi of Memnon." A rewards for his great achievements here and elsewere, he received the honor of being interred in his own mortuary temple, next to that of Amenhotep III at Kom el-Hetan.

When Amenhotep son of Hapu became a minor god--this occurring well into the Ptolemaic Period--he was revered as a sage, magician, and holy man. Because he had connections with Thebes, his cult center was located there. His statues at Karnak show the extent to his popularity at this time: they are worn smooth, most likely the end result of thousands of pilgrims' hands touching it in the hopes of coming into contact with him. One of the reasons people flocked to his statues at Karnak is his main role as deity was in healing.


Amen-Ra was an amalgamated god between two solar deities: Amun/Amen and Ra/Re. It was during Dynasty XVIII at Thebes when he received his start. Here, he was worshipped with his great female counterpart, Mut. At this moment, he was considered the general source of life and the universe, the "unknown" creator god, the king of the gods, and the maker of men. Amen-Ra was probably the Egyptians' first attempt at creating a monotheistic religion before Akhenaten and his god, the Aten. One theory is that, during the transition between rulers who revered Amun (such as those between Tuthmosis I, Hatshepsut, and Tuthmosis II) and rulers who revered Ra (like Amenhotep II and his son, Tuthmosis IV), this amalgamation occurred in order to unite both the north, from where Ra originated, and the south (Heliopolis), from where Amun originated. This was also an union between Karnak and Luxor temples, where rulers who followed Ra and those who followed Amun reverred their gods, respectively.

In addition, Amen-Ra represented all characteristics of all the gods combined, except of Osiris; it was almost as if Osiris--the god of the dead--was ignored.

The goose was said to have been sacred to and one of the forms of the amalgamated god.


Originally, Amentet was the first region of the Place of Reeds, which was a metaphysical place through which the deceased had to pass before becoming one with the gods. This region was ruled over by Menquet and was inhabited by the souls that lived off earth-offerings. Furthermore, the Egyptians believed that Amenit or Amentet was the name of the place where the sun set, the west bank of the Nile, where cemetaries and tombs are located and where the Egyptians believed the entrance to the land of the dead was situated. Even the later Christian Egyptians (Copts) used a word similar to "Amenti" ("Amend", which in Greek translates to "Hades"), to which they linked all the ideas their heathen ancestors associated with the Amenti of the Book of Coming Forth By Day (the Egyptian Book of the Dead). Amenti might have also been the name of a small district in Egypt, but it is without funeral or mythological importance.

"Amentet" was also the name given to the Underworld, the place where Re traveled during the night. This word might have meant "hidden one," which makes its connotation slightly confusing because this was the name of Amun, the male counterpart of a goddess whose name is very similar to Amentet's: Amaunet. According to one source, "Hidden One" further signified the meaning of the concept of air, which was an element that Amaunet embodied. Despite this confusing relation between the two goddesses, they should not be considered as one-in-the-same, as they are two separate entities.

In time, Amentet ("She of the West") became a goddess of the Afterlife, the personification of the Land of the West (in Ancient Egyptian, "Amenty" or "imnty"), the location where the souls of the dead dwelt, and the entrance into the Underworld. In addition, she was the goddess who took care of and guided the dead, standing at the entrance to the land of the dead, ready to welcome them to their Afterlife and provide for their regeneration/rebirth in this mystical place. One of the ways she made life after death a welcoming place was supplying the dead with food (like bread, an ancient and modern Egyptian staple) and water. Perhaps, it was best to have her play hostess to these souls, as she could see a great proportion of the gates to the Underworld because of where she dwelt: in an acacia tree (called the Tree of Life), on the edge of the desert. In depictions, there is often a goddess, half hidden behind the leaves of a tree, at the entrance to these gates who welcomes the dead with food and drink, the provision of which make the receiving decedent a "friend of the gods," following after them, never returning to the land of the living. This goddess is Amentet.

Given her ability to regenerate and allow dead souls to be reborn into the Afterlife by providing them with food and water, the Egyptians also revered her as a goddess of fertility and rebirth. In this representation, she was linked with other goddesses of fertility and rebirth like Hathor, Isis, Nephthys, Nit, Mut, and Nut. It was said that she was the daughter of Hathor and Horus, which is of significance in that she represented the setting sun, whereas Re-Horakhty (a form of Horus) represented the rising sun. She even became a composite deity, Hathor-Amentet, where her role was that of a solar goddess of the west with the ability to regenerate and welcome the newly dead. In this role, she was often depicted with the goddess of the east, Iabet, and was Re-Horakhty's partner. She might have had another male counterpart, as is evident in the Book of the Earth, where appear two male deities who welcome the sun. They are called iabtht and amntht; therefore Amenteth may have been Amentet's consort or at the very least, the male personification of the west.

Being a goddess of the dead, her likeness was found in tombs and on coffins. How she was depicted was very significant to her multiple attributes: she was most often illustrated as being a beautiful woman, carrying a scepter and an ankh in her hands. The ankh represented life, something that Amentet provided to the dead souls whom she welcomed into the Afterlife, giving them provisions to promote their rebirth. She also wore a headdress comprised of two uneven poles (the longer of which was attached to her head, affixed to it by a headband); topped by a semi-circle; sometimes topped by either a hawk and feather, or just a hawk. The base of this headdress (two uneven poles, topped by a semi-circle) was the hieroglyphic symbol for the west, the standard of the west. Not only was this symbol employed for "west," but also derivatives like "western," and even words like "right" or "right hand." One of the elements that rest on the pedestal, a hawk, makes her connection to Re-Horakhty obvious, as does the feather (the normal ornament of Libyans that they fixed in their hair) because it too was the sign for the word "western," and the symbol that represented the goddess Ma'at, another deity to which Amentet was linked.

She was also depicted as a winged goddess, which linked her to Isis and Nephthys, who were sometimes seen as two kites, beating wind (or the breath of life) into a dead person, the most famous of such an action being chronicled in the myth of Osiris, where they bring him back to life after his having been killed by Seth.

Given her strong rapport with the west, it is no wonder she was worshiped in the western areas of the Delta; she was originally the goddess of the Libyan province to the west of Lower Egypt. The Ancient Egyptians also worshiped her at Hikuptah (Memphis or Mennefer), Abtu (Abydos), and in the Ipet-Resyt (Luxor)/Ipet-Isut (Karnak) region of Egypt.


Ammit is a goddess who appears in the form of many animals combined, which include the head of a crocodile, the front part of a panther or a lion and the caboose of a hippopotamus. The main cult center to which she belonged was at Thebes. She is the "Devourer of the heart at Judgment." You had better be good or she will eat your heart!


Amsu was a variant of Ptah-Sokar-Asar during Dynasty XXI. He was also part of a triune group with the goddess Qadesh and the god Reshpu.


Amun is a god who appears in any of the following forms: a man with a double-plumed headdress, a ram or ram-headed man, a goose, or a frog-headed man. The cult centers to which he belonged were the Temple of Karnak at Thebes and Hermopolis Magna. His was known as the "King of gods." Just as Amaunet represented primeval essence and hidden power, so did Amun. During the New Kingdom, Amun became the head of the state pantheon. Later on, he united with Ra to create the deity Amun-Ra. He was also combined with the fertility god, Min, to form the god Amun-Min or Amun Kamutef ("Bull of his Mother"). Amun's name means "the Hidden One" and one of his epithets is "mysterious of form." He was known at one point--during Dynasty XI--as the consort of the vulture mother-goddess, Mut. Khonsu, the lunar deity, was their offspring.


Anat is a goddess who is in the form of a woman with a lance, axe, and shield. She also wore a tall crown surmounted by feathers. She did not belong to any cult centers. She represented war and Syria-Palestine. As a goddess of war, she was believed to protect the king in battle. Anat is a prime example of the Egyptian acceptance of foreign deities into their pantheon of gods (remember, she represented Syria-Palestine and not Egypt). Like other benign goddesses, she held the titles "Mother of All the Gods" and "Mistress of the Sky." At some point and time, she was considered the consort of Seth or the fertility god Min.


Anedjti was a form of Osiris and was absorbed into the Osirion cult at Abydos. In this form, Osiris was a fertility god, united with Khentiamenti in agricultural celebrations.


On(o)uris (his Greek name) or Anhur (his Egyptian name) was a representative of the creative powers of humans. He was also an Ancient Egyptian warrior/hunter god of the sun god Ra. His name means "Sky-bearer" and in his depictions he carries a spear, dresses in an embroidered robe, and wears a four-plume headdress. Physically, he was depicted as a muscular man with a beard; he would have to be muscular to be a warrior, wouldn't he? Being a warrior god, and in honor of him, mock-battles were performed at his festivals. What is more, Onuris was considered the warrior aspect of Ra; with his connection to Ra Onuris was also considered to be another solar deity. It was because of his solar connection as well as because of his martial powers that he was addressed as the "Savior." He was called this especially during the New Kingdom. Onuris was also the patron against enemies and pests, which was an extention of his warrior attributes. From the New Kingdom, to its decline, to the later periods of Pharaonic Egypt, Onuris was worshipped at Abydos in conjunction with Shu, the personification of air. Onuris also had a cult center at This.


Anti was one of many friendly deities who assisted Ra on his nightly journey through the sky. Anti was one of two pilot fish who swam on either side of the solar boat of Ra. In another form--that of a falcon--he probably served the same purpose, as he was considered a guardian deity in this form.

In addition, he was a local god of Middle Egypt, especially on the East side of the Nile, near Badari, where he was its patron deity.

The Greeks called Anti Antaeus and they considered him the patron of the Greek location Antaeopolis, what is called Qau today.

Evidence of Anti came from a tomb in Badari: it is a Dynasty II copper jug that bears the title "priest of Anti-hotep." Such evident illustrates his importance to this area and during this period. It further shows that he had a cult and loyal priests.

Another place where he was revered, other than at Badari, was at the 12th Nome of Egypt. Here, he had a temple dedicated to him.


Anpu (called Anubis in Greek) was an Egyptian god in the form of a jackal or a man with a jackal head. Priests who prepared bodies for burial and conducted burial ceremonies were believed to have imitated Anubis by wearing jackal masks. He is associated with cemeteries and embalming. He was the one to whom the Ancient Egyptians prayed in order to ensure the survival of the deceased in the Afterlife. Anubis assisted in the Judgment of the Dead and accompanied the dead to the throne of Osiris for the widely known ritual of the Weighing of the Heart. He had many names including "foremost of the westerners," "he who is upon his mountain," "Lord of the Sacred land," "the one presiding over the god's pavilion," and "he who is the place of embalming."


Anquet was another name for Anuket, who was another of Isis' forms when she was the goddess of fertile waters, cultivated lands and fields, th harvest and food, and forces that make for growth and nourishment. Therfore, Anquet was responsible for the launch of the spring season.


Antwey was a falcon god of obscure origin who most likely was worshiped during the Old Kingdom or before that, as royal marks from this period, especially from the 5th province of Upper Egypt, have the same form as he does: that of two falcons.

In addition, Antwey was probably another form of Seth; he had definitely become an Ancient Greek god, called Anataios. According to the Greeks, he was the king of Libya whom Hercules slew. In this form, Antwey (or Anataios) was associated with Horus (another deity revered by both the Egyptians and the Greeks) who appeared in the form of a falcon.


Anuket is a goddess in the form of a woman with a tall plumed headdress and a papyrus sceptre (it could also have been the was sceptre, according to some depictions). The main cult center to which she belonged was at Elephantine. She was the goddess of the Nile cataracts. She was also a hunter goddess.


Apet was the counterpart of Tauret, thus she was also a hippopotamus goddess who was worshipped at Thebes. She was considered the mother of Osiris.


Apep (or Apophisis) was a god who appears in the form of a serpent. He was associated with the Underworld and chaos and was the enemy of the sun god, Ra. Actually, Apep tried to prevent Ra from bringing the sun into the sky, so he and Ra duked it out every day. Despite Apep's attempts, Ra always seems to win.


Apuat was another form of Anubis. In other instances, Apuat was another name for Anubis or Wepwawet, another jackal-headed god. Nonetheless, he aided in guiding the dead through the Underworld.

Anubis was considered the opener of the northern roads and Apuat the opener of the southern roads. Both deities were thus referred to as the "Opener of the Ways." Also, Anubis represented the summer solstice and Apuat represented the winter solstice. When together, their eyes came to represent the four quarters of heaven and earth and the four seasons of the year.


Arensnuphis was a god who appeared in the form of a man with a plumed crown. The main cult center to which he belonged was at Philae. He was associated with Nubia and was referred to as the companion of Isis.


Asar is the Egyptian name of Osiris (Osiris is the Greek equivalent). This god was the earliest representation of Osiris who appeared in the form of a man and was the god of agriculture.


Asar-Hap (or Osiris-Apis) was the amalgamated god between Osiris and Apis whose worship spanned Egypt and beyond. The Greeks worshipped him more than the Egyptians did. The former culture gave him the more known name, Serapis. Furthermore, the Greeks identified him with their deity of the Underworld, Hades. Both the Egyptians and the Greeks believed that Osiris-Apis was the male counterpart of Isis.


Ash (or As) was the predecessor of Seth and was worshipped at the beginning of the First Dynasty. During this time, he was revered as a god of the foundations of royal estates. At a later date, he was considered the protecting god of the western desert and of all the oases in the western desert. Being so near Libya, he was occasionally called "Lord of Libya." Because of his connections to the desert regions, he was associated with Seth who also had a role in these areas. What is more, Ash and Seth shared similar physical characteristics. In time, especially during the Old Kingdom, Seth completely replaced Ash.

Being a relatively old deity (he probably dates to Pre-Dynastic times) he was considered the first deity to be depicted in anthropomorphic form with an animal head. Sometimes, Ash appeared as a lion-headed man, at other times as a falcon-headed man, and even as a cobra-headed man. During Dynasty II, under Peribsen, he appeared wearing the white crown of Upper Egypt on an official royal seal of this ruler.


Just as the Shemsu-heru were minor gods of heaven, so were the Ashemu. However, their attributes are unknown.


Ashtoreth was probably another name for Ishtar, the goddess of protection and war, as she was considered a war goddess who was mounted atop a quadriga, driving her horses over her foes and guiding the chariot of the king into battle. Thus, she was revered as "the mistress of horses, lady of the chariot, and dweller in Apollinopolis Magna." Given her epithet, it is easy to tell that she was worshipped during Dynasty XIX when the Hyksos introduced horses into Egypt. Ashtoreth was also considered a moon goddess; she had a connection to the moon god, Aah. Areas where she was worshipped include in the Delta and near the eastern quarter of Tanis; the latter area was dedicated to her.

Because she was a borrowed deity from Semitic Asia, some Egyptians considered her another form of Qadesh, the goddess of sexuality. Because of her connections with such an attribute, she was further connected with and was considered another form of Isis or Isis-Hathor. In depictions, she was lion-headed, illustrating her ferocity.


Astarte was a goddess who was depicted as a naked woman wearing the Atef-crown or bull's horns and riding on a horse. She seems to have been interchangeable with Anat in that she, too, was a goddess of war and represented Syria. She was particularly associated with horses and chariots and was the protector of the king. She was regarded as the daughter of Ra or Ptah and was thought to be one of Seth's consorts.


The Aten, though sometimes considered to be the single god manifested by Akhenaten, was perhaps revered earlier than that. One first sees this deity manifested during the reign of Amenhotep II, the father of Tuthmosis IV and husband of Tiaa. During this time (Dynasty XVIII), the cults of Amun and those of Ra were in a trouble spot: with rulers such as Tuthmosis I, Hatshepsut, and Tuthmosis II revering the god Amun, prime god of the south, and with such succeeding rulers like Amenhotep II and Tuthmosis IV revering the god Ra, prime god of the north at Heliopolis, it was no wonder there was such tension. Some scholars contend that the amalgamation between Amun and Ra was an attempt to unite both the north and south, thus uniting the royal rule and smoothing over the political difference that fell between the transitioning of one god-revering royal family to the next. Yet, other scholars contend that the Aten was a way to unite the two royal families in order to create an easier transition; with the Aten as the main concept of a solar divinity, neither Amun nor Ra would collide with each other in worship. However feasible either theories are, the choice is yours.

The following is one of the first theories of how the Aten appeared in the Ancient Egyptian religion. Despite its seemingly godly start, the Aten was not a god in its own right at first: it was a solar manifestation without a doubt, but it was more the sentient aspect of Ra, an idea that represented this sun god's body and made him, his light, and his energy visible. Some think that the Aten was a representation of all the Egyptian deities, unity them under one symbol, the solar disc, that it was an attribute to mother and father figure gods and to the deities who had the responsibility of the fertility of the universe, as seen with the Aten's connection with Shu (light) and his twin sister-consort, Tefnut (air), two deities that some believe Akhenaten and his wife, Nefertiti, represented, respectively.

The earliest of documents bearing reference to this new force in the ancient world, as an independent manifestation of solar divinity, appears on a scarab beetle inscribed with hieroglyphs, which belonged to Tuthmosis IV, that records the celebration and welcome to Egypt of a Mitannian tribe and perhaps a princess or two. The last of the phrases written on the bottom of the scarab reads "...in order to make the inhabitants of foreign lands like subjects to the rule of the Aten forever." Here, the hieroglyph that represents the Aten is a sort of solar disc, which is similar to the symbol with which one associates Ra. Over time, the Aten became no longer a representation of an idea, but of an image with characteristics becoming of Ra, the distinguishing difference between the two given by the Aten's mantra: "Ra-Horakhty who rejoices on the horizon in his name of Shu"--light--"which is the sun disc"--the Aten.

One of the first images of the Aten come in the form of a falcon that was crowned by a solar disc encircled by a snake, much like Ra. Such an image appeared during the first years of Akhenaten when his nomen was still Amenhotep IV and when depictions of him were those common during Amenhotep III's reign--slender in body, childish of face, and without any apparent deformities--at the temple of Karnak: here a sandstone block depicts two scenes, where the Aten is present in his solar disc-crowned falcon form at the left of Amenhotep IV who wears the khepresh helmet of war.

Perhaps the most luminescent site of the change between Amenhotep IV to Akhenaten--and thus the change between the Aten as an embodiment of Ra to the Aten as the one and only true god--appears in the Theban tomb of Ramose, Amenhotep III's vizier. Here one sees Amenhotep IV depicted in the style common to the age, beneath the montra of the Aten, to the right of his own cartouche that reads "A-men-hotep, ruler of his dominion." There is another depiction of Amenhotep and the Aten that gives one reason to believe that both the current ruler and this embodiment of Ra were going through dramatic changes: here, Amenhotep IV is depicted in the Amarna style of grotesque exaggeration and appears below the Aten, no longer represented as a falcon wearing a solar disc nor bearing his mantra and the Aten appears as a solar disc, from whose orb arms extend, grasp, and hold before Amenhotep IV and Nefertiti's nose the hieroglyphic symbols of "life" and "dominion." What is more, like the king himself, the Aten's many epithets are encased within cartouches, an honor only bestowed upon a ruler and his queen, but never a deity--not even Amun, Ra, or Amun-Ra had that luxury! One can tell that this is an early representation of the Aten, as Amenhotep IV's name within his cartouches read "A-men-hotep," but contain an added "god-ruler of his dominion," which hints at Amenhotep IV's philosophy: if the king was the embodiment of a god, then so this god was also a ruler.

And it was this philosophy that led to the Aten's participation in certain celebrations of which no other deity has ever had the pleasure, in particular, the king's hed sed festival, a royal jubilee that made more solid the king's right to rule, a rejuvenation of the king's power. When Amenhotep IV, who now has changed his name to Akhenaten, moved to el-Amarna, he decorated a few of the walls within the city of Aketaten with images of the Aten. Here, the Aten was worshipped by only the royal family and through the royal family the people worshipped the Aten.

Even though the Aten remained in depictions after Akhenaten's death, discreetly appearing in depictions of Tutankhamun, the divinity and all that represented Akhenaten and his philosophies were literally effaced from Egyptian history. Only remnants remain of this deity and the heretic king who revered it more than any other.


Atum was a god in the form of snake or a man with a nemes headdress or the Double Crown of Upper and Lower Egypt. The main cult center to which he belonged was at Heliopolis. He represented totality and the sun and was known as the self-engendered creator god who rose from the primordial waters of chaos, Nun, in order to bring the elements of the cosmos into being. His name means "the All". He was the head of the Ennead and held the title of "Lord of the Limits of the Sky." He was regarded are a solar deity and later on was united with Ra in order to form the combined deity, Ra-Atum. Atum was associated with kingship and was believed to lift the dead king from his pyramid to the stars. Later on in his "career," he became the protector of not only the king but to all dead people on their journey to the Afterlife. Animals that were sacred to Atum include the following: the lion, bull, mongoose, lizard, and the dung beetle (or scarab).


Baal was the Ancient Egyptian god of the sky and storms and was associated with Syria. He was seen in the form of a man with a pointed beard and a horned helmet, holding a cedar tree and a club or a spear.


Baba was the god of aggression and virility, especially those of the king. He represented the male reproductive organ that symbolized the bolt of heaven's doors or the mast of the Underworld boat. He was is the form of a baboon. When he was at the height of his most ferociousness, he was believed to murder humans and feed on their insides. He was believed to be able to ward off snakes and to control darkness and turbulent waters.


Banebjedet--Ba-eb Djet, the Ancient Egyptian name for the sacred ram of Mendes, Mendes being the Grecian alternative to Ba-eb Djet; the name was further derived to Banaded--was the god of virility and of the sky. His theophany and his appearance, the sacred ram of Mendes--where his cult center was located--was sought after and then tested for its fitness to see if it could serve as the representation of Ra, of Osiris, and of Ptha. For Osiris, this sacred animal was considered the house of Osiris' soul. Later, Ba-eb Djet became a symbol of the god Amun. To ward off evil, Ba-eb Djet was kept in the temple of Mendes; apparently, Thoth recommended this practice. Ba-eb Djet's appearance was, then, that of a ram with large curved horns and wore an elaborate crown consisting of the uraeus. It was this imatge that was depicted in statues and reliefs; Ba-eb Djet was a popular subject for such illustrations.


Bastet was the Ancient Egyptian cat-goddess. She appeared in the form of either a cat or a cat-headed woman. The main cult center to which she belonged was at Bubastis. Although she was a local deity, she was held in great respect among the kings of Egypt. Like Hathor and Sekhmet--the lioness goddess--she was regarded as the daughter of the sun god Ra. Being cat-like, she embodied both the gentle and the fierce aspects of a feline. During the Later Period, the cat was thought to be the protector of motherhood, thus Bastet became one of the honorary mothers of kings. In the earliest representations of Bastet--say the 2nd Dynasty-- she was depicted with the head of a lioness. The Later Period depicted her depicted as a woman with the head of a cat, accompanied by her kittens. In addition, she was often shown carrying a sistrum, thus linking her with Hathor.


Bat was the Ancient Egyptian goddess of fertility and represented the stars. She appeared as a being with a human head, cow's ears and horns and the body in the shape of a necklace counterpoise. She was a popular deity in Upper Egypt.


Be'by was another frightful monster who was responsible for devouring the guilty person who did not pass the test of the weighing of their heart. Some believe that Ammit, the Devourer of the West, was responsible for this duty; this may be so, but Ammit was also responsible for protecting Anubis, who kept track of the scale that held the feather of Ma'at and the heart of the decedent.


Benu was the god of rebirth and represented the sun. He appeared in the form of a heron or a stork, wearing a plumed headdress; he sometimes appeared without the headdress. The main cult center to which he belonged was at Heliopolis. As a sacred bird of Heliopolis, the benu was closely associated with the solar deities Ra and Atum, and with the obelisk and benben stone.


Bes was a leonine dwarf, with lion's ears and mane, and a tail. Although he is listed here, among the names of the gods, he is probably better described as a spirit or a benevolent demon rather than a god or a deity. As pictured left, he often wore a feathered headdress and an animal pelt over his back, and held a sa amulet of protection. He could be seen either as a jovial or as a ferocious character. He was the god of the household and childhood. He was often depicted playing musical instruments and bobbing around, especially during childbirth.


Buchis was an Ancient Egyptian god who was the manifestation of Ra and Osiris. He appeared in the form of a bull. The main cult center to which he belonged was at Armant.


Djehuty was another name for Thoth, the god of scribes and of writing.


Dua was a lion god who guarded and protected Ra when he entered the darkness of the Underworld. At the other end, when Ra exited the darkness into light, Aker stood waiting. Liker Aker, Dua was a lion who stood next to another lion. However, unlike Aker, the other lion of Dua was called Sef. Where Dua represented "tomorrow," Sef represented "yesterday."


Duamutef is an Ancient Egyptian god who, in a canopic jar, protects the stomach and the upper intestines of the deceased. The cardinal direction that he represents is the east. He appears with the head of a jackal. Duamutef is also one of the "Four Sons of Horus" and is protected by Neith.


Duoau was a minor god of medicine. He was associated with treatments of eye diseases and was perhaps another for of Weret, the protector of priest-physicians who treated such diseases.


Edjo was another name for Wadjet, the protective cobra goddess who appeared on the uraeus.


Geb is the Ancient Egyptian god of the earth and of fertility. Because he personified both aspects, he was often depicted as green and was visualized with plants growing out of him. He was often depicted underneath the arched body of the sky-goddess Nut--his sister and consort. Geb and Nut are the offspring of Shu and Tefnut and were lovers, forcibly separated by their parents. He appears in the form of a man and sometimes in ithyphallic form. In addition, he is often depicted with a white-fronted goose on his head or wearing the Red Crown of Lower Egypt. The main cult center to which Geb belongs is as Heliopolis. In fact, he is one of the nine members of the Ennead of Heliopolis. However great Geb seems, he also has a dark side: he was considered able to trap the dead in his body. Earthquakes were described as the "laughter of Geb".


Ha was the Ancient Egyptian god of fertility and of the desert regions, much like Min. Throughout most of Ancient Egyptian periods, the ancients considered Ha as the defender of Egypt's borders and of the throne. Thus, he was also a protection god. In the latter part of dynastic Egypt, the ancients honored Ha in the seventh Nome of Lower Egypt.


Hap was a bull quite like Apis; actually, Hap was the Egyptian name for the Grecian Apis. He was revered as a personification of a god. He was the earliest form of bull-worship in Egypt, dating to the Second Dynasty, perhaps even to the First Dynasty, thanks to Menes, the first king of Egypt.


Hapi was the Ancient Egyptian god of the Nile inundation. He appeared in the form of a man with pendulous breasts and rolls of fat that emphasized his connection with fecundity. In addition, he wore aquatic plants on his head as a headdress. The main cult centers to which he belonged were at Gebel el-Silsila and Aswan.


Hapy (different from Hapi) was the Ancient Egyptian god of the north and protected the lungs of the deceased. In canopic form, he had the head of a baboon. Nephthys was the protector over this canopic jar. Hapy was also one of the "Four Sons of Horus".


Harsaiset was the most popular form of Horus and meant "Horus, the son of Isis."


Hatemehit was the female counterpart of the sacred ram of Mendes, Ba'eb Djet.


Hathor's name means "the House of Horus". She was the Ancient Egyptian goddess of love, fertility, sexuality, music, dance, alcohol, sky, turquoise, and faience and of Byblos. As the goddess of the sky, she was regarded as a vast cow who straddled the heavens, with her four legs representing the four cardinal points (north, east, south and west). She was considered a mother goddess, especially of the kings and more specifically of Horus (the king was representative of Horus). She appeared in the form of a cow or a woman with cow's ears. Her headdress could either be those with horns with a sun disc in between or with a falcon on a perch. The main cult centers to which she belonged was at Dendera (during the Old Kingdom) and Deir el-Bahri. An emblem of her cult at Dendera was the sistrum or rattle. Some of her titles include "Lady of the West", "Lady of the Western Mountain", "Lady of Byblos", "Lady of Turquoise" and "Lady of Faience". Sometimes, Hathor is identified with the Eye of Re', while at other times, she is associated as the sun god's daughter.


Hatmehyt was the Ancient Egyptian fish-goddess. The main cult center to which she belonged was at Mendes, near the Delta. Her name means, "She Who is in Front of the Fish". She appeared in the form of a Lepidotus fish--common in the Nile--or as a woman with a fish on her head.


Hau was an Underworld serpent against whom Osiris battles on his way through the second part of the Duat, called Urnes.


Hauhet was the Ancient Egyptian goddess of formlessness, flood force and of primeval waters. The cult center to which she belonged was at Hermopolis Magna. Hauhet appeared in the form of a woman with a snake for a head. In the creation myth of Hermopolis, Hauhet was one of the fundamental elements (primeval waters) that were necessary for creation. Her male counterpart was Huh.


Hehu formed a union with his consort, Hehut. Both personified fire, one element necessary for creation.


Hehut was the consort of Hehu. Both personified fire, an element needed for creation.


Heka was a deity who personified divine magic. Not much is known about this deity, except for Heka's attributes being one of three powers Pharaoh was purported to possess; the other two--divine knowledge and divine utterance--were respectively personified by Sia and Hu.


Heket was the Ancient Egyptian goddess of childbirth. She appeared in the form of a frog-headed woman or entirely anthropomorphically as a frog. The main cult center to which she belonged and where she was worshipped was at Qus. She, at one time believed to be the consort of Khnum, acted as the divine midwife and was said to attend royal births.


Hemetch was a serpent deity, rather a demon, from Ancient Egyptian mythology. Along with Apophis or Apep and other Netherworld demons, Hemetch waited to attack the decedents who trekked through Tuat or the Underworld. However, thanks to the plethora of incantations provided in the even more plethoric mortuary texts, the dead could recite words that would protect him or her from Hemetch and his many minions.

Evidence of this serpent deity's existence comes from the depictions in the pyramid of Wenis, one of the Fifth Dynasty rulers.


Heneb was the Ancient Egyptian god of grain and of agriculture. He was a relatively ancient god, appearing as a prominent figure during the earlier periods of dynastic Egypt. However, once Osiris came on to the scene, Heneb's divine role became non-existent; Osiris assumed popularity and became Egypt's prime patron of harvests and grains, along with other minor deities with the same associations.


Henkhisesui was one of the four wind deities who was represented in the Egyptian and the Greek pantheon. Henkhisesui represented the East wind and appeared in either of the following forms: in anthropomorphic shape with the head of a ram or as a ram-headed beetle with wings.


Henmemet were souls of heaven that waited in the wings to become human beings. Their attributes are also unclear, but we do know that the ancients believed that they lived upon grains and herbs.


Heptet was an Ancient Egyptian goddess who the ancients believed to be one of the cow nurses of Osiris, during the mystical ceremonies of his rebirth or resurrection. In addition to her cow form, she was also depicted as a woman with the head of a bearded snake.


Herishef was an Ancient Egyptian god who represented primeval force, the sun (solar) and was considered a creator. He appeared in the form of a long-horned ram and wore an Atef-crown with a sun disc for a headdress. The main cult center where he was worshipped was at Herakleopolis.


Horakhty was the Ancient Egyptian name for Horus when he was called "Horus of the Two Horizons." He later merged with Ra at Heliopolis where his original identity was replaced by his identity of Ra-Horakhty.


Horbehudti was the name given to Horus of Edfu or Horus the Elder when he was worshipped at Edfu as the war captain of Ra, the chief destroyer of the enemies of the sun god, and the sole force of good against that of evil. This name especially appears in texts of Eduf, where he was originally the equivalent of Ra, but was later considered a separate god.


Hor-Nubti was another name for Horus the Elder. It was Hor-Nubti who was considered the one to vanquish Seth, foiling his plan to take the throne.


Horu-Sema-Tawy was one of Horus' epithets after he successfully slew Seth. The name means "Horus, Unifier of the Two Lands." Afterward, he established the authority of his father, Osiris, over all sacred realms and launched the cycles of the sun.

Horus the Child

Horus the Child was the younger version of Horus, son of Isis and Osiris. As Horus the Child, the god was depicted as a young boy, wearing the side-lock of youth, standing on crocodiles and holding snakes in either hand. Such a depiction illustrates his ill fates that he had with his uncle Seth, who tried to kill him many times so that he could take his brother's--Osiris'--place at the throne. During the contending between Horus the Child and Seth, snakes and scorpions bith the former, while he hides from Seth, in the marshes. His is later cured of the poisons thanks to the milk of Hathor.

Horus the Elder

Horus the Elder was a god not to be confused with Horus the Child, with Horus, or with Horus the Younger. Horus the Elder was the son of Geb and of Nut and was born on the second day upon the year.

The ancients considered his as the face of day, whereas Seth was the face of night. He was also considered one chief form of the sun god Ra.

Horus the Elder had many epithets, including the Greek Harmachis, but Horus of Edfu is a more appropriate and nice distinction between the other three Horus' and Horus the Elder. The confusion, especially between this god and Horus the Child, is further complicated when one considers their rapport with Seth. However, it seems that Horus the Elder fought many battles with Seth, whereas Horus the Child was actually responsible for vanquishing Seth. Being connected with Edfu, it was only right that his place of worship was here. At Edfu, he was revered as "Lord of the Forge-city" where he carried out the work of a blacksmith.

Horus the Younger

Horus the Younger was a form of Horus who was the son of this god [who was the son of Isis and Osiris] and the hippopotamus goddess Rat-Tauit. Horus the Younger represented the earliest rays of the rising sun. The Greeks called Horus the Younger Harpocrates to distinguish him from Horus the Elder. It should be noted that Horus the Younger should not be confused with Horus the Child, as the latter was the younger version of Horus, the son of Isis and Osiris.


Hor-Wer was another name for Horus the Elder, which means "Horus the Great." It was Hor-Wer who represented the sky and whose eyes were the moon and the sun.


Hraf-hef was not really a deity, rather a divine being. His role was of ferryman of the celestial Lake of Eternity of the Lake of Tuat--the Underworld. He appeared mostly in mortuary myths and texts. Another role he played was that of one of the Forty-two Judges in the Judgment Halls of Osirs, where the Osiris and his companions judged the decedent, either allowing or rejecting his or her entrance to the Afterlife. His role as one of these Forty-two Judges was to be convinced of the decedent's righteousness and worth. In order to assure his convincing, priests provided the dead with litanies; magical ointments were also used in tombs to provide as much protection at it could muster against the hotheaded ferryman. Those spells that worked best were those from the collection of Net Spells.


Hu was the Ancient Egyptian god of divine utterance (this probably means "the word of god") and authority. He appeared in the form of a man. In the photo--above--Hu is the second person, going from left to right. The person to the left of Hu is the deceased king who also steers the boat. Although it was difficult to find a picture of Hu, this does not mean that he was not important to the Ancient Egyptians. In fact, he was considered the creator of the soul of Osiris as well as of the sun, using his breath to create each. What is interesting about Hu is his likeliness was said to be that of the Great Sphinx's. Whehter or not this is true, the reasons behind this theory seem valid. Another theory of the likeliness of the Great Sphinx is that it represents Djedefre, the brother of the 4th Dynasty king, Khafre. While both theories are valid, I certainly will not impose either of them upon you. Instead, as the Greek historian of the mid-fifth century BCE, Herodotus, had done in his work "The Histories", I will allow you to view both theories, and then choose from the two whichever you deem most true:

*Click here for theory 1
**Click here for theory 2


Hudet--or "Splendor"--was the winged form of Ra; in some instances he was a winged disc. In this form, the god would strike at evil demons. Hudet was incorporated into the cult at Edfu.


Huh or Heh was the Ancient Egyptian god of formlessness, flood force, and infinity. Not only did he represent these aspects, but also that of air. Sometimes Huh was identified with Shu and was a god of the wind who was linked to the four pillars that held up the sky. He appeared in the form of either a man or a frog-headed man, holding and/or wearing on his head a notched palm-rib--the hieroglyph representing "year"). The main cult center to which he belonged was at Hermopolis Magna. His consort was the snake-headed goddess Hauhet and one of the elements necessary for creation to take place in the creation myth of Hermopolis Magna. Huh was also one of the eight gods of the Ogdoad of Khmunu (~Hermopolis). In addition, he was believed to hold up the solar barque of Ra and raise it up into the sky at the end of its voyage through the Underworld.


Hu-zayui was the god who represented the West wind and who appeared with the other wind deities in the Egyptian and the Grecian pantheon. Hu-zayui appeared as a serpent-headed man with wings.


Ihy was the Ancient Egyptian god of music and dancing. He appeared in the form of a child, holding a sistrum and wearing the "side-lock of youth". The main cult center to which he belonged was at Dendera. He was the son of Hathor, who is also associated with the sistrum.


His name means "the One Who Comes in Peace". Some of his other titles include "Chancellor of the King of Lower Egypt", "First One Under the King", "Administrator of the Great Mansion", "the High Priest of Heliopolis", "the Chief Sculptor", "Chief Carpenter," and "Hereditary Noble" (whew! I am out of breath ;) ). The main cult centers where he was worshipped were at Memphis and Thebes. Before becoming a god, Imhotep was the architect of the Step Pyramid of King Djoser and was this king's vizier. Among his other talents were those of doctor, scribe, sage, poet, astronomer, and chief minister. Although there are not a lot of facts about Imhotep, there are some theories about his life on earth. He was born in a suburb of Memphis or came from the village of Gebelein (south of ancient Thebes), his father was Kanofer and was an architect as well (it must run in the family), his mother was Khreduonkh who came from a province of Mendes, and his wife was named Ronfrenofert.

His resting place is yet unknown, though, some believe it is located at Saqqara. During a dig here, a team of archeologists accidentally found a cemetery of sacred animals.


Imsety was an Ancient Egyptian god, in canopic form. The stopper atop the canopic jar representative of Imsety is in the form of a human head. Imsety protected the liver of the deceased and represented the south. Isis was protector over this canopic jar. He was also one of the "Fours Sons of Horus" (Horus the elder that is). According to legend, Imsety, along with the three other sons of Horus--Duamutef, Hapy and Qebehsenuef--was born from a lotus flower and was a solar god who was associated with creation. Furthermore, Sobeck retrieved the four sons of Horus from the chaotic waters of Nun because of the orders set forth by Ra. Anubis--god of mummification gave Imsety and his brothers the funerary duties of mummification, the Opening of the Mouth and the burial of Osiris and of all men.


Ipy was a benign Ancient Egyptian goddess of magical protection and was considered a protective and nourishing deity. She dominate form was that of a hippopotamus as well as that of a crocodile (the tail on her back--sometimes an entire crocodile rested on her back), a human (her arms) and a lion (her legs and paws). Sometimes she was depicted with an enlarged belly like that of a pregnant woman and with large pendulous breast. The main cult center at which she was worshipped was Thebes, where she was believed to personify this city. Here, her temple, slightly west of the Temple of Khonsu, was part of the Karnak complex. It was at this complex that one believed she gave birth to Osiris.

Ipy's name means "harem" or "favored place". In certain texts--namely in funerary papyri--she was called "Mistress of Magical Protection". She is also referred to as "the Great Opet", causing her to become one in the same as Taweret, "the Great One". Some texts even interchange Ipy with Taweret. In addition, she was referred to as the mother of Osiris, thus her appearances in funerary papyri.


Ishtar was an Assyrian goddess of magical protection, sexuality, fertility and healing who the Ancient Egyptians considered one among their own deities. She was considered a goddess of battle. She was depicted as a woman. The main cult center where one worshipped her was at Thebes.


Isis was the Ancient Egyptian goddess of magic and was considered the mother of the kings and of Horus. You may notice that Isis suckling Horus embodies the mother-and-child (Mary and baby Jesus) icon. She appeared in the form of a woman with a throne or a solar disc between cow's horns headdress.

Sometimes, Isis was the personification of a throne. Contextually, the throne represents Isis' name, in hieroglyphs and her lap was considered the Egyptian throne to the kings. As in the picture, Isis can also be seen with gigantic wings that symbolized protection, especially to Pharaoh. She was part of the Ennead of Heliopolis. She was also the consort to Osiris and mother to Horus; in this light, she came to be in the triad of Abydos with them. Concerning her magical characteristic, she was considered able to heal and to transform herself into any guise at will. The main cult center where she was worshipped was at the Island Temple of Philae (on the southern border of Egypt, near Aswan). Her popularity as a goddess did not stop in Egypt; her reputation spread to Syria, Palestine, Greece, throughout the entire Roman Empire just until the start of Christianity. Some of her titles include "the Great White Sow of Heliopolis" and "the Isis-cow which gave birth to the sacred Apis Bull of Memphis".


Jupiter-Ammon was the great oracle of Amen-Ra. The Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians alike traveled to his temple, located in one of the oases of Libya. Those who consulted the oracle--on matters of state affairs or of private business--received wordless responses; these responses would be in the form of nods, pointing, and arm movements. Well known figures of history who paid Jupitor-Ammon a visit include Alexander the Great, Hannibal, and Lysander.


Kauket--or Keket--was the Ancient Egyptian goddess of darkness and obscurity. Well, she represented duality more than she did a goddess, but was considered one nonetheless. On the other hand, she could also be related to the day in that she brought in the night in place of the day. Essentially, she was the goddess of the night, just after sunset. She appeared in the form of a snake-headed human. Above is a picture that shows the four frog gods and four snake goddesses of chaos of the Ogdoad of Khmunu. One of the snake-headed goddess in the picture is Kauket.

Kauket's consort was Kek--or Kuk--and both played a role in the creation myth of Hermopolis Magna, with which she is associated.


Kebawet was an Ancient Egyptian goddess during the early periods of dynastic Egypt. The ancients called her "cold water libations;" libations were essential elements to eternal bliss in the Underworld, thus Kebawet was essential in the Underworld. Although she had such a role, she was not a very popular deity, so she did not have a cult or any other evince of worship.


Kerh was the male aspect of night and of chaos; he was one aspect of creation. His consort was Kerhet.


Kerhet was the female aspect of night and of chaos; she was one aspect of creation along with her consort, Kerh.


Horakhty was the Ancient Egyptian name for Horus when he Khentiamenti was another name for Osiris when he was revered as the god of agriculture. He was worshipped at Abydos, where he united with the fertility attribute of Osiris named Andjeti. Under the name of Khentiamenti, Osiris was called "Foremost of the Westerners."


Khepri was an Ancient Egyptian solar god who represented sunrise (when the sun first rises from the Underworld). He appeared in the form of a scarab beetle or a man with the head of a scarab beetle. His name means "He Who is Coming Into Being". He was also considered a creator. The scarab beetle that Khepri represents is symbolic because of the observed activities of the scarab beetle: it rolled up it eggs into a dung ball, which, to the Ancient Egyptians, represented the sun, then, when the babies emerged from the ball, one associated their birth to life emerging from the primeval mound. With this, scarabs were representative of spontaneous creation.

Khepri was believed to do just the same as the scarab beetles, only, instead of a ball of dung, he rolled the sun from the Underworld to the eastern sky, thus renewing the sun so as to permit life to thrive on earth.


Khnum was an Ancient Egyptian creator god who was associated with fertile soil. He was also considered the patron deity of potters, of the annual inundation, and of the Nile cataracts. He could be represented as a ram-headed man or as the animal itself (actually, the type of ram that Khnum respresents is the Ovis longipes which is one of the earliest domesticated animals of Egypt). In Ancient Egyptian, "ram" stood for ba. Ba is representative for the concept that is equivocal to "personality"--that which makes each person unique.

As a representative of potters, he was considered the maker of man and of woman, using a potters wheel and fertile soil to create each. In fact, he was the creator in the creation myth of Elephantine. In addition, Khnum helped Ra travel through the Underworld each night on the Solar Barque, which he both defended and created. In this representation of Khnum on the Solar Barque, he was called Khnum-Ra and wore the sun disk of Ra.

The main cult center with which he is associated is on the island of Elephantine, at the first cataract at the southern border of Egypt. Another temple associated with Khnum was located at Esna, where he was consort to Menhyt, a lioness-goddess.


Khonsu is the Ancient Egyptian god of the moon, also known as a lunar deity, who appears in the form of a child wearing a headdress that is composed of a full and crescent moon. He was also usually depicted wearing tight-fitting garments or wrapped in mummy bandages and holding a crook, flail, and scepter. In the late period, he became known as a god of healing, in addition to his lunar association. His name means "wanderer" which most likely is a reference to the wandering of the moon across the sky. In addition, he is the son of Mut and Amun and is part of the Egyptian Pantheon. The cult center where he and his parents were worshipped was located in Thebes, in particular, at the Temple of Luxor. At Karnak to the south, Khonsu had a temple within the temple of Mut that was dedicated to her.


Khut was an aspect of Isis when she was the goddess of light giving at the time of spring.

Khut was also the serpent who encircled the solar disc that Ra wore as a headdress.


Kuk was an Ancient Egyptian frog-headed god who represented the primeval aspects of life as well as darkness. He is also a member of the Egyptian Pantheon. Above is a picture that shows four frog gods and four snake goddesses of chaos of the Ogdoad of Khmunu of Hermopolis. One of the frog-headed gods in the picture is Kuk. The cult center to which he belonged as was worshipped was at Hermopolis Magna. His consort was the snake-headed goddess, Kauket. With his consort, he played a role in the creation myth of Hermopolis Magna.


Maa was a minor god of the senses; he was the god of sight. When depicted, he was of human form with an eye above his head.


Ma'at was the Egyptian goddess of social and religious order, truth, and justice. The form that she took is that of a woman, wearing a headdress consisting of a single ostrich feather. This ostrich feather was not just for ornamentation, but played an important role in the Weighing of the Heart ritual. This ceremony took place before Osiris, the god who brought judgment to the deceased person presented before him. The feather of Ma'at was the object against which the deceased person's heart was weighed; if the heart was heavier than the feather, then Ammit, "the gobbler", would devour it, preventing the deceased from entering the Afterlife. If the heart was lighter or was the same weight as the feather, then the deceased was declared "true of voice" and was allowed to enter the Afterlife. She was also depicted with large wings, as were most female deities.

During the Middle Kingdom, Ma'at was considered the nostril of Ra and during the New Kingdom (by the 18th Dynasty), she was referred to as "daughter of Ra". The term ma'at was the principle that united the Ancient Egyptian society and played a key role in Ancient Egypt religious belief. This term also played a fundamental roll of the reigning king. While Ma'at the goddess represented order, truth and justice, the term ma'at was translated as thus. What is interesting is the term existed before the goddess of the same name. In order to recognize these abstract concepts in their system of beliefs, the ancients personified them, thus, the existence of the term before the goddess.


Mafdet--also known as "the Runner"--was the Ancient Egyptian goddess who became popular starting during the Old Kingdom (the 1st Dynasty). During the New Kingdom, she was known to be the daughter of Amun and Mut. Mafdet was the protector against snakes, scorpions and other dangerous animals. In addition, she was also known to protect against scorpion stings and snakebites, which lead to her role as a mediator in healing rituals for those who were afflicted by such injuries. She was also known to represent power. Her appearance as a panther, or as a panther-headed, women contribute to this representation. In some instances, she wore her hair in braids that sometimes consisted of the snakes that she killed. Yet another example of her representing power was the significance of her claws: the scratch of her claws was known to be lethal to snakes. With this image, her claws became symbolic of the king's harpoon, decapitating the king's enemies in the Underworld.


Mandulis was an Ancient Egyptian solar god who had associations with Lower Nubia. He appeared as a man, wearing a headdress decorated with ram horns, plumes, sun-discs, and cobras. He was worshipped at Kalabsha and at Philae.


Matit was an Egyptian goddess who appeared in the form of a lion. She was a particularly ancient goddess; evidence of this came in the form of jars with her image on them, found in tombs, dating to the Early Dynastic Period. The area where she was known was at Hierankopolis, where her cult center was located. She was also worshipped and had a cult center at Thinis [modern Girga, a city north of Abydos].


Mau or Ma'au when in large form was a deity who lived in the mythical Persea Tree and who guarded Ra during his nightly journey through the Underworld. This deity was responsible for cutting off the head of Apophis--one of the Underworld's demons--when he tried to attack the sun-god.

Now, Mau was also the Egyptian world for cat and thus, the name of the feline deity who the ancients worshipped at Bubastis. In addition, Mau was very sacred to Bast or Bastet--a feline goddess of Bubastis.


Mau-Taui was a guardian deity of the Judgment Hall, where the deceased--whose heart was weighed against the feather of truth and justice of Ma'at--stood before Osiris and his fellow judges.

The ancients considered this deity a theophany--a personification--of the wise Thoth.


Mehen was an Ancient Egyptian god--most noted as the great mystical serpent that appeared in numerous cosmogonic and religious texts. His soul duty was to protect the sun-god Ra when he traveled through the perils of the Underworld. Depictions of Mehen show him coiled around the solar bark of the sun god. In some accounts, he appeared with a head on each end of his body, all the better to bring greater protection to Ra, whose job it was to bring the sun to the sky every morning.


Mehurt was an Ancient Egyptian goddess, appearing in the form of a celestial cow. According to Ancient Egyptian legend, she gave birth to the sky, on of her associations. Another of that which she represented was the spiritual river of the heavens. Therefore, it is only appropriate that her name means "flooding waters" or "great flood." She was also considered a protector of the deceased in various halls of trial and judgment. Even though she was not an overly worshipped goddess, she did have connections with the cult of Isis.


Menhit was an Egyptian war goddess of Hierokonpolis. When depicted, she was of the form of a lioness who sometimes wore the red crown of Lower Egypt. Because she was a war goddess, she was identified with Nit--or Neith--, who was another war goddess of Lower Egypt. In addition, Menhit had connections to Sekhmet; she not only shared similar physical traits, but also she shared a similar duty with Sekhmet. Where Sekhmet was known as "the Powerful One" who was responsible for destroying mankind, Menhit was known as "the slaughterer."

Menhit was said to have had three consorts: Khnum, Montu, and Anhur. In addition, with Khnum, she had a son, Heka. Therefore, she formed a triad and was worshipped with Khnum and with Heka at Latopolis--modern Esna. At Heliopolis, it was said that Heka was the son of Atum and of Menhit. Ancient Egyptian history is not without uncertainties, apparently. Here, she was identified with Isis and with Nit.


Menquet was a presiding goddess of beer; her name was most likely derived from a type of beer or that which housed beer. She also ruled over the first region--called Amentet--of the metaphysical place called the Place of Reeds. Amentet was the place where the souls that lived upon earth-offerings resided.


A particularly ancient diety, Min--his Grecian name--or Men(y)u--his Ancient Egyptian name--was the god and patron of several things. First, he was considered the god of fertility and of generation. As such a deity, he appeared in the form of a semi-mummified man, holding his erect phallus with his left hand; his right hand would be either raised or holding a flail. He was also shown wearing a double plumed headdress with a ribbon streaming at the back. In some eras, he was depicted as a warrior bull god. Attributing to his association to fertility, lettuce and an unidentified shape--most likely a door or lightning bolt, a barbed arrow, or a pair of fossil shells--became emblems of the god and of his cult. The genus of lettuce with which Min was associated was the Lactuca Satura Longifolia, which secreted a milky-white liquid when pressed. This substance was considered to resemble the semen of Min, further considered an aphrodisiac. Such a genus of lettuce was incorporated into the legendary myth of the "Contendings of Horus and Seth." Hathor's mild--representative of the liquid from this lettuce--was said to have healed Horus' eyes after they were gauged out. Further in the story, Isis foils Seth's plan to sexually assault her son, Horus, by getting Horus to soak a head of Seth's favorite snack--lettuce--with his own semen. Upon ingestion, Horus' semen would speak from the belly of Seth, which it did; when the semen spoke from the aforementioned place, it informed the gods of the culprit's plans to shame Horus from his throne. Another of Min's emblems, which was considered sacred to the god, was the cypress tree, under which he was said to have been worshipped.

Yet another duty of Min was patron of the harvest and of travel in the deserts. He was also the protector of the mining regions in the Eastern Desert, where his cult center at Koptos or Coptos was located. Here, he was called the "Lord of the Desert" and Neb-semt, the desert deity.

In addition to his cult center at Koptos, he had a cult center at Akhmim, which the Greeks called Panopolis; the Greeks identified their god Pan with the Egyptians' god Min. Another place where he was appreciated was in the Second Court of the mortuary temple of Ramses III, at Medinet Habu. Here, the festival of Min was celebrated. One particular relief on the rear wall of the North Colonnade shows the aforementioned ruler making an offering to the god; this ritual was connected with the king's coronation, thereafter, white pigeons were released in all directions to spread the news. The festival closes with the ceremonial cutting of the sheaf of corn, which was offered to Min; incense burning was also executed in celebration of the god.

By the New Kingdom, Min was incorporated into the Amun cult; in some areas he merged with the sun god's son--Horus--and was worshipped as Min-Horus. He was also combined with the sun-god himself, forming the amalgamated deity, Amun-Min or Amun-Kamutef, which means "Bull of his Mother." In some eras, Anat--the Syrian-Palestinian and Egyptian goddess of war--was considered the consort of Min. At other times, Min was described as the son of Isis as well as her consort, with Horus as their son.

According to Herodotus, Min was the first legendary king of Egypt who founded Memphis. He was probably representative of Menes, said to have been the first ruler of the First Dynasty--some refer to him as Narmer or Aha.


Meret--or Mert--was a goddess of song and of rejoicing. She was revered as such among the lower class citizens of ancient Egypt; she was not really worshipped among the upper and royal classes, as they praised Isis more than they did Meret. In later periods, she was the goddesses of the 8th hour of night. When depicted, Meret was of human form and wore a headdress consisting of a lotus flower. In addition, she held toward the sky a bowl full of offerings.


Mertseger was an Ancient Egyptian goddess of Western Thebes, appearing in the form of either a cobra or a lion. In cobra-form, she struck fear and respect into the hearts of the local villages of Deir el-Medina because of her supposed ability to cause blindness and venomous stings. Where she is in lion-form, she is even more ferocious, as her responsibility was to chastise evildoers. In order to lift the dreaded consequences of Mertseger's wrath, the evildoer in question was to call upon her name, asking her to forgive them for all the sins they committed. Her area of residence was namely near Western Thebes, at this ancient city's necropolis. Because of her location here, the epithet of "Peak of the West" was given to her. The specific location of her home was said to have been on the rocky spur of Sheik Abd-el-Gurneh. Because of this location--environ of the Theban necropolis--she was given the name of "Lover of Silence." One last sobriquet of hers was "Lady of the Heaven." Both this and "Peak of the West" were name given to her in Egyptian religious texts.


Meskhent was the Ancient Egyptian goddess of childbirth who appeared as two bricks with a human head or as a woman in full glory. Atop this woman's head was a headdress consisting of a certain emblem, which could represent a number of things, including a bicornate uterus or a forked uterus of a cow, two long palm shoots with curved tips or, a peshesh-kaf knife--a flint fishtailed knife used to cut the umbilical cord. The bricks that composed most of her person were representative of the bricks or seats that Egyptian women used during the final stages of childbirth. After an infant was born, Meskhenet--as a goddess of destiny--carried out another of her duties: predetermining the lives of the newly made creatures. In addition, it was on these bricks that their fates were inscribed; sometimes it was over these bricks their fates were recited. Yet another role she played was that of attendant in the Judgment Halls of Osiris, where she supposedly pleaded on behalf of the decedent to allow them into Paradise.


Mnevis, much like Apis, was a revered bull divinity who was the theopany of Ra; he was sacred to Heliopolis, the location of his cult center. Because of his association with Ra, Mnevis was considered a solar deity; he was a sacred bull of the sun god. In addition to this, he was associated with oracles, powers that be, divine persons of wisdom. Because of Mnevis' cult's solar aspects, Akenaten--the heretic king of Dynasty XVIII--allowed ceremonies of the bull to continue during the Amarna Period. When depicted, Mnevis wore a sundisk and a uraeus on its horns. For a mnevis bull to become the sacred theopany of the sun god, it had to be of a black color; without marking, such as spots of a different color, deformities, cuts, and the like; and have tufts of hair on its body and on its tail.

At a provided sanctuary of the mnevis bull, it was mummified; companion cows and calves accompanied it. This is certain, as such bulls were discovered in the area of Heliopolis, which is further evidence of similar respects for the apis and other sacred bulls.


Montu--the theophany of Buchis--was an ancient Theban sun god of war/warfare. Relating to the Horus cult, he had associations with this particular deity (Horus, of course). In fact, both gods were depicted as partial or complete falcon configurations. Thus, it is quite probable to get the two mixed up. In addition to his physical appearance, Montu wore a double-plumed headdress on his head, complete with sun discs.

Two locations where Montu was worshipped were at Karnak--at one of the many temples of this complex--and at Erment (Hermonthis). The Dynasties during which he gained prominence--honored especially by kings--were the 11th and the 18th Dynasties, near the environs of Thebes, in the Upper Kingdom. Thus, it was during these two Dynasties that Thebes was the capital of Egypt. How does this happen? Well, wherever the new ruling family resided or used to reside, the local deities who shared the same location would come into prominence. The conquests and claiming of the ruling family to the throne resulted in the prominence of Montu, as well as of Amun.


Mut was an Ancient Egyptian vulture goddess--the vulture being her theophany. She appeared as a woman with a human head, wearing a double crown and with the feather of Ma'at at her feet. In the Myth of Heliopolis, she took the form of a cow. She was associated with motherhood. In fact, her name means "mother." She was the mother of Khons(u)--actually, she adopted him--and the divine consort or wife of Amun. Together, they made up the Triad of Thebes. How this union came about is found in the myth of her cult at Heliopolis. It was said that she was the sky goddess that took on the form of a cow. When Amun emerged, she allowed him to mount her back, whereupon he rod her to his divine destination. Later, when Mut adopted Khonsu and became the wife to Amun, they formed the sacred Triad of Thebes. There were many places where she, her son, and her consort were worshipped. One of these places was a temple at Thebes, dedicated solely to her, where there was a sacred lake beside it. Boat shrines at the northwestern corner of the Luxor Temple were built for the Theban Triad by Tuthmosis III and Hatshepsut. At the Hypostyle Hall at Luxor--noted for its 32 papyrus-bud columns--on the east wall is a depiction of Amenhotep III making an offering to the triad. In addition, the trio is also seen on reliefs found on the surface of the First Small Hypostyle Hall of the Ramesseum. Here, priests are shown carrying their sacred boats. At the Hypostyle Hall of the mortuary temple of Seti I, the triad was worshipped. They were also worshipped at Tanis at the Great Temple of Amun. There is a smaller sanctuary dedicated to Mut and to Khonsu, beyond the mud brick wall that surrounds the temple. At Karnak, Mut has a temple dedicated to her, which lies south of the complex. It is within her temple that her son's temple is located.

One last mention of the Theban Triad comes in the form of a festival, located near Deir el-Bahri, on the west bank of the Nile. It was said that every year, during the second month of Shomu was a special festival called the Beautiful Feast of the Valley, dedicated to Hathor. Images of the triad show them being carried in their sacred boats from Thebes to various sanctuaries of Hathor, at Deir el-Bahri, as well as to royal mortuary temples on the west bank, to celebrate this festival.


Natch-ura was a goddess and was one of the female companions of Hapi, the Nile god.


Naunet was the snake-headed goddess whose main cult center was located at Hermopolis Magna. In the Creation Myth of Hermopolis, she was one of eight figures who played a role in the creation of the known world (Egypt). She and her male counterpart or partner--Nun--represented the primordial waters.


Nebetu'u was an Ancient Egyptian goddess who the ancients considered a form of Hathor. At Esna, where she was worshipped, she was called "Mistress of the Territory."


Nebhat was a goddess of unknown attributes. She appeared as a dancing girl in myths.


Neb-hut--or the Grecian Nephthys--was an Ancient Egyptian goddess, to whom the desert regions were dedicated. Like other deities, including Neith and Min, her name derived from Greek, meaning, in some eras, "Lady of the mansion" or "Lady of the castle." In Egyptian, her name is Neb-Hut. Her name came from observations of her depictions: she usually appeared as a woman or as a kite--a form of a bird--with a headdress, consisting of the hieroglyphic sign for "palace." Another interpretation or description of her headdress is as follows: a basket on top of an enclosed wall of a large house. With her name deriving from Greek, it is no wonder that she was one of nine members of a divine group whose name derives from Greek as well: the Ennead, associated with the area of Heliopolis. Of course, there is also an Egyptian name for this group: pesedjet. Included in this group, other than Nephthys, was Atum, Shu, Tefnut, Geb, Nut, Osiris, Seth, and Isis. It would not be surprising that this Heliopolian group consisted of relatives. This relation line goes as such: Shu (air) and Tefnut (moisture)--like Adam and Eve of the Christian religion, the first beings who God created--were the offspring of Atum, there only parent; Geb (earth) and Nut (sky) were the offspring of Shu and Tefnut; Osiris, Isis, Seth, and Nephthys were the offspring of Geb and Nut. According to this line of relations, Nephthys was the sister of Seth, but she was also considered his wife. Not in the Ennead was Anubis--the jackal-headed god of embalming--who was considered her son, in later myth. Because of her relation to Anubis, it is only right that she played a part in mortuary customs. For one thing, she was typically associated to the mortuary cult of Osiris, in every era. In addition, one the decedent was mummified and encased in a coffin or in a sarcophagus of any type, Nephthys would hover about his or her head, protecting that area of the coffin. Her sister, Isis, would be in charge of protecting the foot-end of the coffin. In relation to her protecting over a mummy coffin, she was also the protective canopic deity of the baboon-headed canopic deity, Hapy, who guarded over the deceased's mummified lungs.

Another of her characteristics was her skill in magic. Referring to the restoring of Osiris would nicely illustrate this claim. In Lamentations--a literary text, recounting the death and the rebirth of Osiris--Nephthys, with the aide of her sister, Isis, set out to restore their brother, after Seth--their other brother--slew him [see Death of Osiris]. Once they magically pieced Osiris together, they mourned, and then they mummified him. Another reference to Nephthys comes from the origin of the 365 days that make up one year; this is a specific referent to what the Ancient Egyptians called "the days upon the year." It goes as follows: Nut became pregnant by Geb, her consort. Upon learning of this and of the possibility of competition with other gods, Re' cursed Nut, where she would not be able to birth any children on any day of the year, which, at this point, consisted of 360 days. However, on days 361 through 365, Osiris, Isis, Seth, and Nephthys--Nut's previous son, Horus the Elder included--were born; it was thanks to Thoth that their births from Nut were possible. The ancients said that in order for Thoth to do this, he beat the moon in a board game. After, he won enough light to create these additional 5 days, or "days upon the year" or "epagonmenal days" or "days of demons."

Evidences of Nephthys include a depiction of her on the Upper section of the West wall of chamber C of Nefertair's tomb at the Valley of the Queens. This depiction shows Nephthys and Isis in the form of kites, at the head (in Nephthys' case) and at the foot (in Isis' case) of the dead Osiris. According to the Creation Myth of Heliopolis, Nephthys and Isis beat the air with their wings in order to enable Osiris to breathe again.

This same depiction is also found at the tomb of Sennedjem, whose career is not entirely certain, although he was referred to as the "servant in the place of truth," at Deir el-Medina. In this depiction, Nephthys and Isis are shown, beating the air to cause Sennedjem to be restored to life, as they did for Nefertari and for Osiris before him.

There is yet another depiction of this same scene incorporated into an openwork gold cloisonné pectoral of Psusennes I. Again, it was Nephthy's and Isis' job to restore this king's life, so that he may join Osiris in Paradise.

One last depiction of Nephthys--not similar to the three proceeding instances, this time--show her and Isis, flanking Osiris and moving across the Mound of Sokar, during the fifth hour of Ra's journey through the Underworld. This scene was found on a 30th Dynasty sarcophagus, illustrating just how long she (and Isis and Osiris) was worshipped. In addition, to illustrate how long she was worshipped, is should be mentioned that she was part of the ancient worship of Min--a particularly ancient deity, said to have been the first king of Egypt.


Nefer-hor, meaning "Fair of Face," was an Ancient Egyptian god whose other form was of Ptah. Ptah, as Nefer-Hor was worshipped at Memphis--where Ptah was considered its creator. It was not only to Ptah that the name Nefer-hor was given, but to other deities throughout the span of dynastic Egypt.


Nefertem was the Ancient Egyptian god of the sun and was a part of the Egyptian Pantheon. He was the son of the god Ptah and the goddess Sekhmet. In some areas, especially at Heliopolis, he is listed as the son of Bastet. At Buto, he was said to have been the son of the cobra goddess, Wadjet. It was at Buto, as well as at Memphis, that his primary cult centers were located; it was at these two sites that Nefertem was worshipped.

Nefertem most often appeared in the form of a young man. Because in some cases he was the son of Sekhmet, he was sometimes depicted as lion-headed. The headdresses that he wore were various, just as were his parents. In some cases, he wore an open lotus flower crown with feathers and ornaments; he could also be depicted wearing just a lotus headdress; sometimes a blue lotus--Nymphaea Caerulea--was said to have grown out of his head; or his headdress could consist of two plumes and two necklace counterpoises. In some depictions, a staff was included in the ensemble.

Perfumes were sacred to Nefertem; the ancients believed that he brought a fragrant flower to Ra to soothe him during a time of suffereing. This fragrant flower was a lotus blossom--to which he was associated. There are many cases where a reference to Nefertem's connection to the lotus blossom was recounted. For example, in one version of the Creation Myth of Hermopolis Magna, a lotus--divinely personified as Nefertem--bobbed on the surface of the primordial waters. When the petals of the blossom opened, the sun rose from it, representing Horus.

Other accounts of Nefertem can be found in the Lotus Legends--where he plays a cosmogonic role--and in the Pyramid Texts of the Old Kingdom. In this latter record, he was referred to as "the lotus blossom which is before the nose of Ra" [Utterance 266].

Other epithets of Neferetem include "Protector of the Two Lands" or khener tawy, referring to Upper and Lower Egypt, and "Lord of Perfumes," referring to his favor for sweet-smelling things.


Along with Hau, Nehaher was an Underworld serpent who tried to keep Osiris from traveling safely through the Underworld.


Nehbekau was a serpent deity who appeared during the creation of the world. At this moment, he was said to have swum in the watery abyss of chaos, around the solar boat of Ra, with whom he was connected. His role is almost like that of Mehen, only Mehen formed a protective barrier around the solar barque of Ra, when he traveled through the night sky. Because of the protective role of Nehbekau, he was said to watch over both the dead and the living; he was especially useful in protecting the living from snakebites. Because of this, he was used in magic spells and incantations that concerned snakebites. In addition to his role as protector of the dead, he also was said to have united the kas of the dead of humans, of animals, and the like, making them one with each other, thus, the meaning of his name, which was "He Who Unites the Kas."

Nehebkau, just like most of the serpent deities, appeared as a snake. Unlike most serpent deities, he had legs. At other times, he was depicted with wings and with two snakeheads. Sometimes, he was depicted as a snake-headed man wearing the atef crown.

Although Nehebkau did not have an official cult, he did have a festival celebrated in his honor. Such a festival occurred during the fifth month, at the time of the beginning of the cultivation of the soil.

Evidence of this serpent god came from the Book of the Dead, where he is depicted making food offerings to whom he protects--the dead.

Nehem Auit

Nehem Auit was one of the many Ancient Egyptian goddesses associated to Hathor; she was associated with Thoth as well. When depicted, she was of the form of a woman who wore a sistrum headdress; her headdress could also consist of the pillar of Hathor. Just as most of the Ancient Egyptian deities had many epithets, so did Nehem Auit; these epithets included "Deliverer from Violence" and "the One Who Serves the Deprived." Both sobriquets, especially the first, refer to her role as one who had the ability to repel evil spirits as well as curses. In all eras, she was revered as doing such a role and she was most helpful to the living.


Nehes was yet another form of the many sun gods (which one is hard to say). Because of Nehes' association to the sun, he was rightly called "the Awakened One" or "the Awakening", referring to the rise of the sun in the eastern sky. The ancients considered this deity as a companion of Ra, thus he was most likely a form of Ra.


Neith, whose name is Greek for her Egyptian name of Nit, was part of the Egyptian Pantheon and was an Ancient Egyptian goddess of many things. She was considered a creation goddess, being equated to Nun, representative of the primordial waters of chaos; she was the goddess of the North, particularly of Sais and the Delta; she was also patron of the Libyans as well as of weaving. That which concerns the last in the above is the emblem that represented Neith: in later eras, the hieroglyphic symbol--that of two arrows crossed--represented the weaving shuttle. Thus, the ancients considered her as the patron of weaving. She was also considered a funerary goddess, being linked to the linen of mummy bandages--because she was also the goddess of weaving--and being the protector of Duamutef--the jackal-headed canopic jar that carried the small and upper intestines and the stomach. In addition, the ancients considered her a mother goddess and, therefore they called her "Great Cow," as were Mut and Hathor. However, she was most noted as being the goddess of hunting and of war/warfare. Being a goddess of war, the Greeks later identified her with their goddess, Athena. She--Neith, not Athena--was revered as "mistress of the bow...ruler of the arrows." Moreover, these arrows and bows were part of her depictions, as was a shield.

In depictions of Neith, she was of human form and wore the Red Crown of Lower Egypt. In addition, she held a shield with an emblem of crossed arrows as well as held a bow and arrows. In some depictions she also holds a papyri-form scepter.

Her main cult center was at Sais, in the Delta. The span of her who cult was extended through the Delta and the Faiyum regions. During Dynasty XXVI--when Sais was the home of the ruling family and the capital of Egypt--Neith cam into prominence. However, evidence has shown that she was worshipped and had a cult that dated to pre-dynastic times. Evince of this is the finding of objects--dating from the First Dynasty--with her emblem of the shield with crossed arrows. During the Old and Middle Kingdoms of pharaonic Egypt, female High Priests call hemet netjer or "wife of the god" served the cults of Neith. At some of these cult centers, Neith and the triad of which she, her son Sobek and her consort Seth made up were worshipped. However, not at all areas was Sobek considered her son, but in other areas, he was, as statues of her were found with her suckling Sobek. Another area where a statue of Neith was found was at the Valley of the Kings, in Tutankhamun's tomb: protecting one corner of the boy-king's golden shrine is Neith--at the other corners are Selkhet, Isis, and Nephthys.


Nekhbet was an Ancient Egyptian goddess. At times, she was depicted as a woman. She was also in the form of a woman with the head of a vulture or in the form of a vulture with outspread wings. Sometimes, she was depicted wearing the White Atef-crown or the White Crown of Upper Egypt; other times, she was depicted wearing a vulture headdress. Judging by her appearance, it is evident to see that the vulture personifies her. More evidence of Nekhbet, the vulture goddess, appears in mortuary literature, where she is illustrated as taking part in the birth of Osiris and inhabiting the primeval abyss--the waters of chaos of Nun--before creation. She was also incorporated into jewelry: on a pectoral of Princess Meret--daughter of Senusret III--where she is pictured at the top, hovering with outspread wings, above images of the king in the form of flanking griffins, trampling his enemies. She was also found on the pectoral of Tutankhamun. One of a few architectural sites where images of her are found is the Hypostyle Hall of the shrine of Hathor, at Dendera. Here, there is a large ceiling divided into sevenths. It is on the middles band where a scene depicting Nekhbet--wearing the Upper and Lower Crown of Egypt complete with sun discs; this image of her symbolizes the union of Hathor and Horus. On royal reliefs, she was commonly depicted as a vulture, soaring above the head of the king, symbolizing protection--one of her many roles. It was said that she was the patron and guardian of the Upper Kingdom from the earliest eras. In other eras, she was considered the wife of the Nile god. In fact, she was addressed as the "daughter of the sun." In addition to being a guardian, she was also the patron of nature and of childbirth.

Her cult center where she was worshipped was at el-Kab (aka Nekheb), giving her the meaning of her name, "she of Nekheb." At this and at other cult centers, a water lily with a serpent entwined in stems adorned her pictures, referring to her role in creation and in nature.


Nemty was a divine being from the 12th province of Upper Egypt and was a ferryman, much like Hraf-hef. However, Nemty was the ferryman of the river to the life beyond and catered to the gods, whereas Hraf-hef was the ferryman of Tuat--the Underworld--and catered to the souls of the dead.

Because he was identified with Horus, he too was depicted as a falcon-headed man. In addition, Nemty appeared in a boat; this is obvious, as he was a ferryman.

According to one tale, Ra-Horakhty informs Nemty to withhold from permitting all persons who resemble Isis--who is not supposed to attend a special divine meeting at an island called "the Island in the Middle." Hearing of this order, Isis disguises herself as an old woman and tries to board the boat of the ferryman. At first, he does not allow her to board. It is only after Isis offers him a gold ring as payment that Nemty permits her board. When she arrives at the meeting, she puts an end to it, using magic. Because she is there, the gods present know that Nemty disobeyed the demand of Ra-Horakthy. Thus, as punishment, the gods chop off all of his toes.


Neper was the Ancient Egyptian god of the harvest and of grain. Even though he was not a major deity, when depicted, he was of the form of a man. He is a particularly ancient deity, being worshipped during pre-dynastic eras of Ancient Egypt. In later periods, he was incorporated into the cult of Osiris, who was also a harvest and grain god.


Neser was another name for Sekhmet when she personified the destructive heat of the rays of the sun. The name means "flame" and was thus appropriate for Sekhmet in this form.


Originally, Opet was an Ancient Egyptian goddess of eastern Thebes; she was this area's patron goddess. The ancients might have worshipped her here; since there are no hard evidences of a cult center, it is difficult to be certain of this.

On other occasions, [Southern] Opet was the ancient name of Luxor, the area of Thebes in Upper Egypt, where the ancients paid homage to the god Amun, during the New Kingdom.


Pakhet--or Pakht--was an Ancient Egyptian goddess, represented as a lioness. Because of her appearance, the ancients considered her as the huntress of the desert--her original role. Furthermore, she was considered and known for her ferocity against the enemies of Egypt--ferociousness being an obvious characteristic of this type of animal. She was also considered a guardian of both the living and of the dead of Egypt.

By the start of Dynasty XIX, Hapshepsut built a shrine for the lioness goddess, located at Beni Hasan. This shrine was one that the Greeks called Speos Artemidos,thus associating Pakhet with their goddess, Artemis. This shrine is incorporated in the entrance to the wadi in the Eastern desert, near the aforementioned location. The cult center at Beni Hasan was home to female High Priests--called hemet netjer or "wife of the god"--where they served and worshipped the goddess. Further evidences of Pakhet come in the form of statues that guarded the gates of temples and of royal residences of the Egyptian nation.


Dating before the pre-dynastic era, Ptah was the Ancient Egyptian creator god of Memphis and the chief deity of this city, once the first capital of Egypt. Ptah was considered the only true god, the creator of all things divine and human, and the one who the ancients call "the First of the gods." It was said that creation came from his will; when he spoke from his hear, such things came about. In other words, the word of Ptah produced life; the tongue of Ptah announced what his heart experienced. In addition, he was considered the one who created all the cosmogonic groups, such as Amun, Mut, and Khonsu, the Theban triad. Given his role in Egyptian religion, he was more metaphysical than earth-dwelling, much like God of Christian religion.

In his other form as Tatenen, he was revered as the creative urge for the world and for individual works of art, not unlike his original form as Ptah.

Speaking of his connection to works of art, Ptah was considered the patron deity of craftsmen. At Deir el-Medina--a village of craftsmen responsible for creating the tombs of the Valley of the Kings--he was considered an important figure, as he protected these villages. At Memphis, those who watched over these craftsmen were High Priests of his cult and were called the "Great Overseers of Craftsmen" or "Great Masters of Craftsmen;" in Ancient Egyptian, they were called wer kherep hemw. In addition to this patron duty, Ptah was considered the patron of all great architectural monuments, beginning from the Old Kingdom, including the pyramids of Giza.

Ptah was also the source of ethical and moral orders in the world and thus was entitled with "the Lord of Truth." Such a title spanned all eras of dynastic Egypt.

We now know of what Ptah was patron, next is a description of his appearance. From statues and from reliefs of this god, we find him as a semi-mummified man of light complexion, wearing a beaded collar with a menat--sacred to Hathor--, a skull cap, and sometimes holding the was-djed-ankh scepter. The was-djed-ankh scepter was actually a combination of power (was scepter), stability (djed pillar), and life (ankh symbol). It was during the Middle Kingdom and beyond when an additional feature was added to Ptah's appearance: a straight beard.

During the Old Kingdom, Ptah became Ptah-Sokar, merging with Sokar [another funerary deity]; during the Late Period, Ptah merged with Osiris, becoming Ptah-Sokar-Osiris or Ptah-Sokar-Ausar. Not much changed in Ptah's abilities after these mergences other than his renewed connection with the Afterlife. Perhaps this amalgamation among Ptah et al was to modernize an otherwise obscure, relatively old deity.

Since Ptah was a Memphite god, it is no surprise that his main cult center was located here. This Memphis cult center was called hiku-ptah or hwt-ka-ptah, which means "the mansion of the soul of Ptah." What is interesting about this particular cult center is that its Ancient Egyptian name influenced the modern name of "Egypt." In addition, close to his temple, there was a stall where his living-image--the sacred Apis bull--was kept. On its death, the bull was mummified in an embalming house and was given a sacred burial. Ptah was not the only god worshipped at Memphis. In fact, he was part of a triad, along with his consort, the lioness goddess Sekhmet, and his son, the lotus god Neferetem. It was also believed that Imhotep and Astarte were Ptah's offspring. However, they were not part of the Memphite triad.

What is said about the Memphite cult center of Ptah--as it is true for most of the monuments of Ancient Egypt--is that not much is left of the place; it was reduced to a rubble heap during the Arab invasion in the ninth century AD. The location of the ancient site was used as a quarry when Cairo became the new capital of Egypt.

In addition to a cult center at Memphis, he was also honored in the great temple complexes of Amun, at Thebes, modern Luxor. He was also worshipped at Karnak, where he had his own sacred temple along with the many tetmples that were dedicated to other gods. At the Second Hypostyle Hall of Seti I's temple at Abydos, there are suites of rooms dedicated to Ptah's other form, Ptah-Sokar.

Evidences of Ptah and all of his form include wooden, mummiformed, and hawk-headed figures of Ptah, which were placed in tombs as part of the decedent's funerary equipment. Closely associating to these wooden figures is another evidence of Ptah, rather of Ptah-Sokar-Osiris: little hollowed-out Ptah-Sokar-Osiris statuettes, which were similarly designed like a shabti/ushabti. These statuettes were highly regarded as possessing magical powers. Like the hawk-headed wood figures, these were also fashioned of wood, which were then painted and gilded. Inside these statuettes, the ancients placed papyrus rolls, which were then placed in the coffin with the mummified particular.


Ptah-Sokar was an amalgamated god between the creator gods Ptah and Sokar. With this union, this god represented the union of creative powers and of dark chaos. Because Ptah-Sokar was a god of the Underworld, he also had a connection with Osiris. In fact, Ptah-Sokar was another form of Osiris, when he was considered the god of the night sun or the dead sun god.


Ptah-Sokar-Osiris--or Ptah-Sokar-Asar--was a triune deity, an amalgamated deity between Ptah, Sokar, and Osiris or Asar. This deity sprang from Dynasty 21, most likely due to priestly influences.

Ptah-Sokar-Osiris was also considered another form of Osiris, who also took on the attributes of the following deities: Min, the god of fertility; Amsu, the equivalent to this triune deity; and Kheper, the solar god who represented the morning sun. Because of his rapport with Osiris, Ptah-Sokar-Osiris was known as "the triune god of the resurrection."


Qadesh, a Middle Eastern goddess--not to be confused with the Battle of Kadesh, that Ramesses II did not capture, but where he launched an alliance between the Hittite and the Egyptians--was also an Ancient Egyptian deity who appeared in the form of a naked woman, standing on the back of a lion. This minor goddess was associated with sacred ecstasy and sexual pleasure.


Qebehsenuef was the falcon- or hawk-headed canopic deity who was in charge of protecting the mummified lower intestines of the decedent; Selket, in turn, protected this canopic deity. He was just one of four protective canopic deities that made up the group called the "Four Sons of Horus." Because of this deity, it is obvious that he played a role in mortuary rituals. In addition to this mortuary role, he also represented the West cardinal point, associated with the dead and the Afterlife. In the Pyramid Texts of the Old Kingdom, Qebehsenuef, along with his three brothers, was considered a "friend of the king," assisting him into Paradise.

Depictions of the Four Sons of Horus found in temple paintings and in vignettes in the Book of the Dead show them as small-mummified humans, each with his own assigned head.

In some depictions, especially those that show Osiris, illustrate them, standing upon an open lotus blossom.


Originally, a serpent goddess, Qebhet was a deity who the ancients thought of as the daughter of the mortuary god, Anubis. They also considered her as the personification of "cool water," just like Kebawet. Personifying "cool water," she represented one of the vital elements requisite in the mythological eternal paradises, or more likely, in the Afterlife. As far as cult centers go, hers were restricted to just a few Nomes of Egypt. During some periods of dynastic Egypt, Qebhet was associated with various solar and Nile Cults.


Qebui was the minor North wind god who appeared as a four-headed ram with wings.


Ra-Horakhty was an amalgamated god between the sun god Re and Horakhty or Horus of the Two Horizons, also known as Horus the Elder. Ra-Horus was another name for this god. He was worshipped at Heliopolis.


Ra-Asar--or Ra-Osiris--was an amalgamated god between the sun god Ra and the god of the Underworld, Osiris and appeared frequently with the head of a ram. This god was the equivalent of Afra, thus it was he who traveled through the Underworld, making his way through the hours of the night, toward the rising sun. It was at one section of the Duat where Ra-Osiris played an important role: Ra, combined with the ba of Osiris as one god (who "speaks with one mouth"), awakened the dead to renewed life and cared for the blessed and punished the damned. At this section, there were pits of fire into which the pieces of tortured souls were thrown. This was the place of punishment of doomed souls, which was presided by a throng of evil demon gods who superintended the destruction of and the torture upon the bodies of these souls. These demon gods--appearing in human form and representing darkness, fog, wind and other elements of evil--were the enemies of Ra-Osiris. When he approached these pits of fire, he would temporarily stop the torture of the doomed souls, by assaulting the demon gods, using the rays of the sun, thus preventing them from further assaulting the guilty souls. Unfortunately for these souls, they too would be pierced by the rays of light that emanated from Ra-Osiris.

Ra-Osiris is featured in Spell 180 of the Book of the Dead, particularly where it is written in the tomb of Nefertari, of several 19th Dynasty royal officials, and of an anonymous queen who is buried in tomb no. 40 in the Valley of the Queens.


Ra-Tem was an amalgamated god of Heliopolis--where he was worshipped--between the sun gods Ra and Atum.


Rat-Tauit was a hippopotamus goddess who was worshipped at Hermonthis. She was also the mother of Horus the Younger and Horus the Elder.


Renenutet or Renenet was an Ancient Egyptian cobra goddess of harvest and abundance. Closely related to these roles were her associations to vineyards and to winemaking--of which she was a deity. A number of private Theban tombs, dating from the New Kingdom, contain scenes of viticulture, with the presence of small shrines dedicated to her. In addition to the above roles, she was also the goddess of good fortune, fate and of happiness; of fertility; and of nursing and childbirth. Because of the latter in the preceding list, Renenutet was associated with Hathor. Concerning another matter, Renenutet was often associated with Isis, perhaps because both were mother figures or had something to do with childbearing. What is a goddess without a cult center? In Renenutet's case, her cult center was located in the Faiyum regions, far out west; the temple here was erected during the Middle Kingdom.


Renpet, being a popular deity during the late periods of dynastic Egypt, was what the ancients considered the goddess of the year--the Ancient Egyptian year, that is. Not only was Renpet a goddess, but also it was the Ancient Egyptian word for "year." As a goddess, Renpet appeared in the form of a woman, wearing a plethora of symbols relating to crops and harvests.

During some periods of Egypt, the ancients associated her with the solar cult of Sopdu, who was considered what the Greeks called the Dogstar or the star named Sirius. This association was made manifest because Sopdu's role was to signal the coming of the yearly inundation of the River Nile and Renpet was in charge of making the year happen.


Reret was another form of Isis as well as of Tauret. She was especially linked to Tauret because she appeared as a goddess with the head and the body of a hippopotamus. In addition, Reret was considered to have the evil influence of Seth in restraint. Because of this attribute, she was depicted as a woman holding the aspect of darkness binded by a chain. She was also the goddess of the constellation of Draco.


Reshef or Reshep was an Ancient Egyptian god of war. He originated from Syria--he was an Amorite god, but the ancients considered him as on of their own. When depicted, he was of the form of a bearded man who wore the White Crown of Upper Egypt. At the front end of the crown was a gazelle head and at the back was a ribbon. No known cult centers were dedicated to this minor god.


Ret was the Ancient Egyptian goddess of the sun, depicted as a woman who wore horns and, naturally, the solar disk. She was considered the female sun, as opposed to Ra, the male representation of the sun. Because of her connection with Ra, in that they both personify the sun, the ancients believed that she was the consort or divine wife of Ra. In addition, the ancients considered her the mother of all of the gods of the nation. The area where one worshipped her was located at Heliopolis or Hermopolis, where the ancients worshipped Ra as well.


Saa was the god of touch and feeling; he was a god of one of the five senses. In addition, he personified human and divine intelligence. Saa appeared as a human who wore atop his head rising parallel lines, which grew smaller as they ascended upward. He was mentioned in the Theban Recension of the Book of the Dead, where he made an appearance at the Judgment Halls of Osiris. Here, he stands among the gods who are in charge of the weighing of the heart of the decedent. In other instances, he was one among Thoth and other gods who stood upon the solar boat of Ra.


Safekhet was an Egyptian goddess of learning, whose symbol was a palm leaf encircled by upside down horns. The sacred tree in the "Great Hall" of Heliopolis was important to her, as it was on its leaves that she--or Thoth--wrote the names of wealthy monarchs, especially of Pharaoh. This granted the person whose name was written upon the leaf immortality.


Sah was the Ancient Egyptian god who divinely personified the constellation of Orion. From the two shafts that run from the burial chamber of the Great Pyramid, we can see that they are aligned with this constellation. It was in the direction of Orion that the ancients believed the king's ba would go, after he ascended to take his place among the constellation of the kings before him. Thus, it is no wonder that the Ancient Egyptian name for "spiritual body," which was expected to emerge after death and continue to exist throughout eternity, was called sah; it was after embalmment occurred that the mortuary remains became the sah.


Satet was the Ancient Egyptian goddess of the hunt; in depictions, she carries bows and arrows, illustrating her association to the hunt. She was also considered a goddess of fertility; at Aswan, she was associated with Khnum, master potter who created humans from clay. She was also the protector of the Southern border--that which separated Egypt from Nubia. In fact, Upper Egypt was called Ta-Satet or the "Land of Satet;" this section of Egypt may have been dedicated to her. In addition, she was associated with the falling waters of the River Nile. It is near the First Cataract--an area of dangerously rapid waters, infested with sharp rocks and such, making navigation of the Nile almost impossible--and near Aswan that the island of Sehel is located. Covering its grounds are over 200 rock inscriptions, which served as illustrative dedications to cataract and water deities, including Satet, Khnum, and Anuket. Such stones could have been placed here as blessings to sailors on their hazardous journey into Nubia or as thanksgivings for a safe and successful return home. Such inscriptions date from Dynasties 18 and 19. It is by this cataract that her cult center, at Elephantine, was located.

When depicted, Satet was of the form of a woman wearing both cows' horns and a conical crown or wearing a white crown with antelope horns. Again, she often carried bows and arrows.


Sati was another form of Isis when she was represented and revered as the goddess who brought forth spring and caused the flooding of the Nile.


Sati-temui was a terrible serpent deity who dwelled in the fourth region of the Place of Reeds--a metaphysical place composed of seven halls through which the souls of the decedent had to pass in order to be received by a god. This serpent god was said to prey on the dead who dwelled in the Duat.


Sef, along with his partner Dua, was a lion god who guarded and protected over Ra when the sun god began his journey through the Underworld. Sef represented "yesterday;" Dua represented "tomorrow."


Sekhmet-Bast-Ra was an amalgamated deity between the feline goddesses Sekhmet and Bastet, along with the sun god Ra. Bastet was said to typify the mild fertilizing heat of the sun, thus her connection with Ra. Sekhmet and Bastet were both feline goddesses who were polar opposites; Bastet was the gentler side of the pair, whereas Sekhmet was the most vicious. Despite this, they were amalgamated.

Sekhmet-Bast-Ra appeared as a man-headed woman with wings growing from her arms, with two heads of a vulture spring from either side of her neck, and bearing claws of a lion. She was the goddess of the Eastern part of the Delta and was most likely worshipped at Bubastis along with Bastet.


Selket was the Ancient Egyptian scorpion goddes--the scorpion being her theophany. Scorpions played a significant role in Egypt--as they currently do--because they were a menace, contributing to many-a visit to the doctor for treatment of a sting. It should be noted that there were--and are--two kinds of scorpions in Egypt: the darker and harmless Scorpioniae and the paler and poisonous Buthridae.

Selket was a funerary deity as well as a protector over the canopic jar containing the lower intestines, which was guarded by Qebehsenuef. In addition, she represented the west cardinal point. Because she was the guardian of the west, she was depicted as a statues, keeping watch over the west corner of Tutankhamun's golden shrine; Nephthys guards the north, Isis the south, and Neith the east. In addition to her protective capabilities, she protected the decedent's mummy; as an amulet, Selket could protect the mummy.

Another role of Selket's came at the seventh hour of Ra's journey through the Underworld. At this hour, Ra comes face-to-face with Apophis, the serpent demon, whose main goal was to swallow the sun. With Selket's help and of the "Director of Knives," they further prevented Apophis from accomplishing his goal; Selket holds the demon's head and the "Director of Knives" holds its tail. Originally, Selket was associated with the god of primordial waters, Nun, and was worshipped in southern areas of Egypt. Later, she became absorbed into the cult of Horus, where she became one of the guardians of the dead.

When depicted, she was of the form of a woman with a scorpion headdress or she had a scorpion's mid-section and hind quarters, with a woman's head, shoulders, and arms, wearing a headdress with bull's horns and a sun disc. Whichever scorpion is concerned, there were scorpion charmers, during ancient times, who were called kherep selket or "the one who has power over the scorpion goddess;" a Lector Priest or a doctor could also be called such an epithet. The local scorpion charmer, probably a snake charmer as well, cast spells and provided charms to ward off such creatures and cure their bites. This, then, illustrates the intensity of scorpion bites.


Serapis was the Grecian name for the Egyptian Osiris Apis or Asar-Hapi. By the Ptolemaic Period, under Ptolemy I, Serapis became a separate deity who both the Greeks and the Egyptians worshipped. His cult was originally located at Memphis, where he was worshipped as Osiris-Apis. However, during the reign of the aforementioned ruler, the cult of Osiris-Apis was relocated to Alexandria, where also his name was changed to Serapis and his appearance altered as well: he appeared as a matured man with a beard and curly hair, in Hellenistic style, and atop his head was a basket of overflowing goods. The Greeks named his Alexandrian temple Serapaeum. Here, he was revered as a hybrid deity, taking on both Greek and Egyptian attributes of the following deities: Osiris and Apis; Zeus, Helios [Geb], Hades, Askelpios [Imhotep], and Dionysus. Thus, Serapis was a god of the Underworld, of healing, and of fertility. He was also a god who protected sailors.


Seshat was the Ancient Egyptian goddess of measurement of time and of writing; writing was attributed to her, as she was the wife of the god of the scribes, Thoth. In Dynasty XXI art, she was illustrated inscribing the leaves of the ished tree with the names and the titles of the king as well as with the number of years in his reign; the latter illustrates her association with measurement. One particular evince of this can be found at the mortuary temple of Ramses, better known as the Ramesseum. At the First Small Hypostyle Hall, Seshat and Thoth are shown inscribing the name of Ramses on the leaves of the aforementioned sacred tree; seated under this tree is Ramses. Such a depiction illustrated that Ramses was acknowledge as a worthy successor of his predecessors. In addition to that, at the time of the king's coronation, Seshat was depicted writing the names of the current king upon the sacred presea tree, with which she was associated. Further acknowledging "the Mistress of the Books," she was depicted on one particular relief on the southern colonnade at the temple of Hatshepsut, at Deir el-Bahri; she was the divine being who was said to have recorded all wares that Hatshepsut and her entourage brought back with them to Egypt from Punt. In this colorful scene, Seshat keeps accounts of the weight of all the gold from Punt; Horus is in charge of the scales that measure the gold. Illustrating her duties to the measurement of time, temple reliefs from the New Kingdom show her participating in the sed-festival, where she holds a notched palm rib, which symbolized the passing of time.

In some Old Kingdom depictions, Seshat records the number of foreign captives and the quantities of loot that was taken after battles and raids.

In some eras, Seshat was also considered "the Mistess of Architects," probably because of the measurement factor of architecture.

In order to know what Seshat looks like, here is a description: she was depicted as a woman wearing a panther skin robe--closely related to what sem priests wore. She also wore a couple of different headdresses: one consisted of plumes, which identified her as the recorder of deeds; another headdress consisted of a single seven-pointed star on a pole, with or with an arching bow.


Set'em was the Ancient Egyptian god of hearing who appeared in human form, wearing an ear atop his head.

The Seven Hathors

The Seven Hathors, equivalent precursors to the Fates of Greece, were believed to be able to tell the future of a newborn Egyptian child, that they knew the exact moment of death of all Egyptians. It was the predicted hour of death of a person and the luck of ill fortunes connected with this hour that determinded the person's destiny. If the child's destiny looked lousy, then--as it was believed--the Seven Hathors could exchange any price born under unfavorable auspices with a more fortunate child, thus protecting the well-being of the dynasty and the nation. Of what they were in charge, the Seven Hathors illustrate exactly how concerned the ancients were when it came to lucky and unlucky fates of individuals.

The Seve Wise Ones

The Seven Wise Ones were the offspring of Mehurt, the celestial cow goddess; they appeared as seven hawks. Because Mehurt was their mother, they were sometimes called the Seven Wise Ones of Mehurt. The ancients believed that these beings came from the water, from the pupil of the eye of Ra. It was Ptah who created them, with the help of his consort, Sekhmet. When the Seven Wise Ones were born, they flew skyward to join Thoth; together, they presided over learning and letters.


Shai was the Ancient Egyptian goddess or guardian of fate--or shoy. She was yet another deity associated with the mortuary cult and the Judgment Halls of Osiris. Her role here was attendant of the balance upon which the decedent's heart was weighed against the feather of truth and justice of Ma'at.


Shay was an Ancient Egyptian god of destiny. Not too much is known about him; he had no known cult centers.


Shed--a deity worshipped at and originated from Thinis--was an Ancient Egyptian god, later a lord, of the deserts and of Paradise; he took on the form of a young prince, hunting. Those that he hunted include serpents, scorpions, and crocodiles, or all that which the ancients and most of the world's population consider dangerous. Because of this beneficiary role throughout the entire span of dynastic Egypt, the ancients referred to him as "the Savior."


Shehbui was one of four minor wind gods; he represented the South wind. He appeared as a lion-headed man and--like his brother wind gods--he was winged.


Shemsu-heru were special divine beings of heaven, known as the followers of Horus. In heaven, they waited upon Horus, protecting him when protection was needed; they were essential to his welfare.


Shezmu was an Ancient Egyptian god from the Faiyum, were his cult center was located. The ancients considered him an Underworld demon as well as the god of wine and of unguent-oil presses. When depicted he was of the shape of a man. Not much else is known about this deity, as he was a relatively minor god.


Sia was the Ancient Egyptian god--appearing as a man--who personified divine knowledge and intellectual achievement. Throughout the Old Kingdom, Pharaoh was believed to have the divine powers of Sia--which we know is knowledge--, of Hu (divine utterance), and of Heka (divine magic); all of which were believed to be attributed to the creator gods.


Silene was an Ancient Egyptian moon goddess. She comes into play when the sky goddess Nut becomes pregnant and suffers a curse of Ra, one that prevents her from giving birth. Enter Thoth, who challenges Silene to a game of tables. Knowing that she possessed more light than the sun itself, Thoth managed to get her to wager some of it. She did and lost the game. This gave Thoth enough light to create five additional days known as the days upon the year, the birthdays of Osiris, of Horus the Elder, of Seth, of Isis, and of Nephthys--the children of Nut. After Silene loses some of her light to Thoth, her rays became weaker that those of the sun.


Sokar or Seker was another god of Ancient Egypt who had more than one role. He was the god of creation of the Memphite necropolis, which dates from the pre-dynastic period. Because he was a creator god, the Pyramid Texts refer to him as the "maker of royal bones." In addition to his creation capabilities, he was also the god of the earth and of fertility. With this role, Sokar was sometimes depicted as a mound of earth, surmounted by a boat that contained a hawk head; the hawk was his theophany. In this form, he dwelled in the realms of the Underworld; from a 30th Dynasty sarcophagus, we know that Sokar represented the in the fourth and the fifth hours of the night, which was called the "realm of Sokar." Another form of Sokar--the less popular depiction of the god--was that of a large-headed, heavy-limbed pygmy who wore a beetle on his head--no doubt a symbol of creation--, stood on a cabinet--probably to accommodate for his size--, and was surrounded or attended by hawks. In addition to his relation to the hawk, he was considered a funerary deity and was associated with death and the cemetery of Memphis, the location of his cult center; originally, he was the guardian of tombs.

Because of his aforementioned roles, he became of member of a trinity group at Memphis with Ptah and with Osiris, thus forming the Memphite triune deity Ptah-Sokar-Osiris or Ptah-Seker-Asar. Being syncretized with Ptah meant that he and this god shared the same consort, the lioness goddess, Sekhmet. In addition, because of his association with Ptah, he was considered as the creation of Ptha, from whose heart and mind he came. Being syncretized with Osiris meant an influence on his appearance; he took the form of a mummified man wearing a crown of horns, cobras, atef, and sun discs. At times, he was hawk-headed--another appreciation to his theophany.

At his Memphite cult center, which dates before the First Dynasty, he was celebrated. To honor Sokar, devout worshippers strung onionskins or whole onion buds round their necks. Such an object was utilized in the embalming process, to which Sokar was associated, being a funerary god; it was over the eyes and into the ear of the body cavity that the embalmers put onions. Such a step was most likely to contribute to disguise the foul smell of decay, as they are used today, although not for embalming, rather for kitchen smells.

Evidence of Sokar's existence can be found in the form of a collection of litanies dedicated to him, in the Rhind Papyrus, which dates from the 17th Dynasty, during the Second Intermediate Period. An unknown Theban scribe copied this papyrus, which discusses fractions, calculus, and other mathematical knowledge of the era.


Sutekh was an Ancient Egyptian god most often referred to as a form of the god of chaos, Seth. Even though he was not a prominent deity in ancient times, Ramesses II, Pharaoh of the 19th Dynasty, was devout to this god. During the delegation between the Hittites and the Egyptians, Ramesses II called upon Sutekh in hopes of good weather when this delegation came to Egypt to strengthen their coalition.


Tatenen--or Tenen--was an Ancient Egyptian god of vegetation or of the earth and was whom the ancients believed was responsible for the emerging Nile silt from the receding floodwaters. The ancients also believed he emerged from the watery abyss of chaos at the moment of creation. Upon entering the Overworld, he was said to have brought four important insignia with him. These include two staffs to repel the serpent from the great primeval mound; one mace--called the "Great White of the Earth Creator," believed to be endowed with magical powers and considered a deity in its own right--dedicating it to the falcon; and the djed pillar. The latter was a symbol of stability, connected with the cult of Osiris throughout Egypt's history. Because of Tatenen's attribute to the earth, the primeval mound, and the receding of the Nile, he was given two names: "Risen Land"--the meaning of his name--and "Revered One," according to temple texts. In depictions, he was of the form of a man, wearing a double-plumed crown with ram's horns.


Tayet--or Tait--was yet another goddess of linen weaving; the type of linen could have been what the ancients called "byssus." When depicted, she was in the form of a beautiful woman who carried a chest or chests full of mortuary linen. With her mortuary connection, she was said to have aided Isis in wrapping the body of Osiris, after Seth slew him. With this connection to Isis and her association with the cult of Osiris, she was called Isis-Tait. At Akhmin--the center of industry--she was honored, so it is more than likely that she had a cult center here. However, this statement is pure speculation on the part of your Webmistress.


Tenemyt was a presiding goddess of beer; her name was probably derived from the term used for a type of beer jar or beer itself.


To-Remu was a Nubian god of war, who the Egyptians believed fought off all threatening enemies of Egypt, especially during times when Pharaoh was in battle. In addition, he was the protector of sacred places and, during the Greco-Roman era, he became the protector of all magical rituals. He was also the protector of Ra--his father--when he traveled through the night sky. Here, To-Remu helped fight off the evil monsters who obstructed the way. It was also during the Greco-Roman era that he was revered as a god of storms and of winds. On a darker note, he was considered one of the executioners of Osiris.

During the New Kingdom, To-Remu became known and worshipped, especially at Leontopolis--near the 11th Nome of Egypt--as well as at Bubastis, where he had a temple.

Because he was the son of Bastet, he appeared in the form of a lion-headed man who wore the atef crown and who held a knife. Thus, it is no wonder that he was called "Wielder of the Knife." In addition, he was often shown in the midst of devouring the enemies of Egypt.


Typhon or Typho was the Greek form of Seth. What is more, the name of the animal that was sacred to Seth was derived from this Grecian name; the typhonean animal was this animal. It is not clear whether this animal was mythical or not; it was supposedly of a red color and made a sound much like that of a donkey, the animal to which this animal was associated.


Unut was originally a snake goddess, known as "the swift one," but later, she was a hare-headed woman. She came from the 15th province of Upper Egypt and shared a cult center with Thoth at Hermopolis. When she was in the form of a hare, she was worshipped at the cults of Horus and of Ra. She may have been the knife wielding hare who was depicted decapitating Apep, the Underworld serpent responsible for swallowing the sun. Despite this, she was rarely mentioned in texts and was seldom depicted.


Usert was a form of Isis when she was revered as the goddess of the fruitful earth.


Utennu were minor gods of heaven whose roles are little known.


Wasret was a popular deity during the start of Dynasty XII who was a Theban guardian goddess of precious metals, of wealth, of mines, and of treasure. It was at Thebes--what the ancients called waset, a very close resemblance to the name of this goddess--where she was worshipped. Actually, it was at Karnak, at Thebes, where she was worshipped. Here, it was believed that Wasret was the predecessor of Mut, forming a triad with Amon--her consort--and with Khonsu--her son. In other instances, Wasret was said to be another form of Hathor and it was at her shrines that Wasret was worshipped. When depicted, Wasret was most likely of human form, wearing a crown consisting of a was-scepter--a symbol of her name, "the Powerful"--and carrying weapons of some sort.


Wen-nefer was a name for Osiris when he was revered as "the Beautiful One."


Wepwawet was a jackal or a jackal-headed god--sometimes he was described as being a wolf. Because of his appearance, he was assimilated into the cult of Anubis. In fact, both deities look very similar, but Wepwawet was called "the Opener of the Ways," whereas Anubis was called "he who is in the place of embalming" or "Lord of Mummy Wrappings." Wepwawet was considered to be a friend of Osiris and in some myths, he was said to pilot the sun boat as it traveled through the chambers of the night; he might have also been considered a friend of Ra.

At Assiut was a cult center dedicated to Wepwawet and at many Nomes of Egypt, he was honored.

In addition, this god, according to the Pyramid Texts, was said to have "emerged from a tamarisk bush," thus associating him to this sacred tree--also known as a willow; this tree was also associated to Osiris.


Weret was the Ancient Egyptian god of the sky who was often depicted on reliefs playing a harp. As the god of the sky, the ancients considered the sun and the moon as his eyes; when there was no moon, the ancients believed that he was blind. Because of this occurrence of blindness to Weret, the ancients believed to be the protector of priest-physicians who treated ailments of the eye and the patron of blind musicians, who were mostly used to play for the gods because one was not allowed to look directly upon them, thus being blind eliminated this mindset.

Evidences of Weret were found in hymns and litanies, where the ancients referred to him as "the Great One." Although the ancients did not dedicate a cult center to just him, he did share and was identified with cult centers of Thoth and of Horus, in various regions.


Werethekau appeared in two forms. The first was of a lioness with the body of a woman. In this form, she was considered another form of Isis. Werethekau was said to have personified the ability to master supernatural powers and she had the ability to manage witchcraft of all types. Thus, she was called, "She Who is Rich in Magic Spells." In addition, she was said to have been the consort of Ra-Horakhty, who eventually overshadowed the popularity of this goddess. Because of her connection to Ra, she was said to be depicted wearing the insignia of her consort--the sun disc--along with a rearing cobra.

Her other form was that of a cobra. In this form, she possessed all the attributes of herself in lioness form. Coiled bronze snake wands were said to represent Werethekau, whose name, like her epithet, was "Great of Magic."

Werethekau was also another name for the rearing cobra upon royal crowns and headdresses.

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*To avoid labeling God as a man or a woman, I use "It," a neutral pronoun.

**Before Common Era (same as B.C., but is more politically correct).


Hare, John Bruno. Internet Sacred Text Archive. March 9, 1999. Amazon.com. April 22, 2008. <

Oakes, Lorn and Lucia Gahlin. Ancient Egyptian: an illustrated reference.... New York: Hermes House, 2002.

Per Netjer Kemet. 2008. http://www.prntrkmt.org/.

Saunders, Chas and Peter Ramsey. God Checker. 2007. God Checker Inc., Tera-Byte, and Holy Snail. 2008. http://www.godchecker.com/.

Spence, Lewis. Myths and Legends of Ancient Egypt. Kissinger Publishing Company, 1997.

Vendel, Ottar. Agyptische Götter. 2001. IBIS Media. 2008. http://www.nemo.nu/ibisportal/0egyptintro/1egypt/index.htm.

Picture Credit:

Ellison, Taylor Ray. Tree Goddesses of Ancient Egypt. Tour Egypt. 2003. <http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/treegoddess.htm>.
(Picture: Men-Kheper-Re Tuthmosis III suckling a tree goddess).

How to Make a Mummy. National Geographic Society. 2008. <http://www.nationalgeographic.com/tv/mummy/>.
(Pictures: natron covered corpse and x-ray of hook through skull).

Kunsthistorisches Museum. Ägyptisch-Orientalische Sammlung - Ersatzkopf. 2008. <http://www.khm.at/system2.html?/static/page1516.html>.
(Picture: Reserve head).

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