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11 Egyptian gods and goddesses

Ancient Egyptians’ daily life was deeply influenced by the gods and goddesses. Therefore, it is hardly unexpected that the Egyptian pantheon contained more than 2,000 gods.

Isis, Osiris, Horus, Amun, Ra, Hathor, Bastet, Thoth, Anubis, and Ptah are some of the names of the well-known Egyptian gods and goddesses.

While other gods were connected to a particular region or, in certain circumstances, a ritual or position, the more well-known ones became state deities.

For instance, Seshat was the goddess of written words and precise measurements who was overshadowed by Thoth, the more well-known god of writing and patron of scribes.

The goddess Qebhet was a little-known deity who provided cool water to the souls of the deceased as they awaited judgment in the afterlife.

Understanding these gods and their crucial role in every person’s immortal journey led to the development of ancient Egyptian culture.

The Egyptian gods and goddesses developed into a highly humanlike and magical belief system from an animistic one. In addition to being the god of magic and healing, Heka was also the ancient power that enabled the creation and supported both human and divine life.

Heka existed before all other Egyptian gods and goddesses. Heka was a manifestation of heka (magic), which is best understood as natural rules that, to us now, would be regarded as supernatural but, to the Egyptians, were merely the way that the world and the cosmos worked.

There were hundreds of Egyptian gods and goddesses worshipped throughout the history of the country.

It could be challenging to define the traits of specific gods. Most of them had a primary relationship (such as with the sun or the underworld) and a specific form.

However, things may alter as time went on since gods’ status evolved and their evolution reflected changes in Egyptian civilization.

Nevertheless, here is a list of some of the most popular Egyptian gods and goddesses.

  1. Osiris
  2. Isis
  3. Seth
  4. Hathor
  5. Horus
  6. Ptah
  7. Ra
  8. Anubis
  9. Thoth
  10. Amon
  11. Bastet
1. Osiris

One of Egypt’s most revered gods, Osiris, was the deity of the afterlife. He represented the cycle of Nile floods that Egypt depended on for agricultural fertility, as well as death, the afterlife, and resurrection.

History claims that Osiris was an Egyptian monarch who was killed and mutilated by his brother Seth. He had a son called god Horus after his wife, Isis brought his body back to life.

He was shown as a mummified king, dressed in wrappings that only showed his green hands and face.

He was so well-liked in ancient Egypt that people paid to have their bodies buried there, close to his cult center at Abydos.

Apparently, people believed that being close to Osiris on earth would make it easier for them to reach paradise after death.

2. Isis

Isis’s history is quite a mystery. She cannot be associated with a definite location, unlike many other gods, and she is not explicitly mentioned in any of the oldest Egyptian writings.

She soon rose in stature though, rising to the position of most significant Egyptian goddess in the pantheon.

Isis represented the conventional Egyptian ideals of a woman and mother as the loving wife who nurtured their son, Horus, and resurrected Osiris after his murder.

Isis was one of the principal deities involved with funeral rites because she was the wife of the god of the underworld.

Isis served as a divine mourner alongside her sister Nephthys, and she was frequently pictured as providing maternal care to the deceased in the underworld.

Due to her connection to the king, her Egyptian name, Eset, translates to “Goddess of the Throne.” She was also referred to as Weret-Kekau, “The Great Magic,” due to her extraordinary abilities.

Her admiration spread to Greece and eventually to Rome after Alexander the Great conquered Egypt in 331 BCE.

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She was revered in every part of the Roman Empire at the time, from Britain to Europe to Anatolia.

It is thought that images of Mary holding the baby Jesus in Christian art were influenced by images of Isis holding the infant Horus.

3. Seth

The next name on the list of Egyptian gods and goddesses is Seth. Seth represented turmoil, violence, storms, and desolate lands.

He is Osiris’ killer according to the Osiris myth (in some versions of the myth, he tricks Osiris into laying down in a coffin and then seals it shut).

Originally a hero god, Seth expelled the serpent Apep (Apophis) from the sun god’s barge and killed it every night.

His consorts included Taweret, the benevolent, protective goddess of childbirth and fertility, as well as Anat and Astarte, two alien deities who were both linked with battle and fertility.

Although Seth is frequently described as “evil” and did exhibit many negative traits, the ancient Egyptians did not see him as a symbol of evil or darkness.

He was viewed as more of an essential counterbalance to gods like Osiris and Horus, who stood for all that was honorable and good, fertility, vitality, and eternity.

In the Myth of Osiris, Seth kills his brother in order to steal the throne, making him the first killer in history.

Osiris is brought back to life by Isis, but he enters the underworld as the Lord of the Dead since he considered himself incomplete.

Horus, the son of Osiris and Isis, grows up to contend with Seth for the throne. After eighty years of conflict, Set was exiled to the desert, and Horus was recognized as the rightful king.

4. Hathor

According to history, Hathor is one of the Egyptian gods and goddesses that was known many years back.

Hathor was frequently shown as a cow, a woman with a cow’s head, or a woman with a cow’s ear. It was thought that Hathor protected women during childbirth because she represented motherhood and fertility.

Because she was referred to as “the lady of the west,” she also had a strong funerary significance. According to some customs, she would greet the sun as it set each night; similarly, the living hoped to be welcomed into the afterlife.

She served as the goddess of happiness, inspiration, joy, celebration, love, women, women’s health, pregnancy, and intoxication. “The Lady of Drunkenness” is one of her monikers.

She was also referred to as “The Lady of the Sycamore” since it was believed that she resided in sycamore trees.

She served as one of the gods defending Ra’s sun barge from Apep in the afterlife. She was likened to Aphrodite by the Greeks. History also claims that her traits were later absorbed by Isis.

5. Horus

Horus was a sky god linked with battle and hunting, sometimes shown as a falcon or as a man with a falcon’s head.

He represented divine kingship, and in some times and places, the prevailing monarch was seen as a manifestation of Horus.

Horus the Elder, one of the first five gods born at the beginning of creation, and Horus the Younger, the son of Osiris and Isis, are the two avian deities most commonly associated with the name.

Horus the Younger rose to prominence as the Osiris Myth gained in popularity, making him one of Egypt’s most revered deities.

Horus was brought up by his mother in the Delta wetlands following the murder of Osiris by his brother Seth.

When he became an adult, he fought against his uncle for the kingdom and prevailed, bringing peace to the land.

According to one legend, Horus lost his left eye in battle with Seth, but the deity Thoth miraculously restored it.

The loss and restoration of Horus’ left eye provided a mythological explanation for the phases of the moon because the right and left eyes of Horus were connected to the sun and the moon, respectively.

6. Ptah

The leader of a trio of gods worshipped at Memphis was Ptah. The lion-headed goddess Sekhmet, Ptah’s wife, and the god Nefertem, who might have been the couple’s son, made up the other two members of the triad.

When the world was first created, Ptah was the figure that was on the ben-ben’s mound. He is related to the moringa tree, under which, according to an ancient tradition, he preferred to relax.

He was likely an early fertility god. As he was believed to have shaped the earth, he was also the patron god of sculptors, craftspeople, and monument builders.

According to some historians, the Greek word Aiguptos, which is the origin of the name Egypt, may have originated as a misspelling of the name of one of Ptah’s shrines, Hwt-Ka-Ptah.

7. Ra

One of a number of Egyptian gods connected to the sun, Ra was frequently portrayed as having a human body and a hawk’s head.

During his nightly journey through the underworld, where he would have to vanquish the serpent god Apopis in order to rise again, it was thought that he traveled across the sky in a boat each day.

Ra, the supreme lord and creator god who presided over both the living and the dead, is associated with the Giza pyramids.

Ra was one of Egypt’s most revered and well-known deities. Ra’s position remained unaffected even as the god Amun gained popularity; he joined forces with Amun to form Amun-Ra, the supreme god.

8. Anubis

Anubis was involved in funeral customs and afterlife care. He was frequently shown as a jackal or as a man with a jackal’s head.

The Egyptians would have seen jackals scavenging around cemeteries, which is probably how the relationship between jackals and death and funerals came about.

He participated in the ceremony of the Weighing of the Heart of the Soul in the hereafter and directed the souls of the deceased to the Hall of Truth.

He was most likely the first god of the Dead until Osiris assumed that position, at which point he was designated as Osiris’ son.

9. Thoth

Thoth, the deity of writing and wisdom, was sometimes shown as a sacred ibis, a monkey, or as a man with an ibis head.

He was credited with inventing language, the hieroglyphic writing system, and acting as a scribe and advisor to the gods.

Thoth, the god of wisdom, was believed to be familiar with magic and other secrets that the other gods were not.

Although later texts refer to him as the son of Horus, he was likely initially a lunar god and the son of Atum (Ra).

He was referred to as the “Lord of Time” and the “Reckoner of Years” because he recorded the passage of time and, using the powerful magic of his heavenly word knowledge, granted the king a lengthy reign to enable him to uphold order on earth.

He served as the deity of scribes and libraries. Thoth is shown as humanity’s heavenly friend and benefactor who gave them understanding through the gift of written language in every story about him.

10. Amon

Amon was first worshipped locally in the southern city of Thebes before assuming a more significant role at the national level during the New Kingdom (c. 1539–1292 BCE).

Amon, who was a god of the air, was given the name “Hidden One”. He was typically shown as a man with a crown on his head that had two vertical plumes. The ram and the goose were his personal animal emblems.

Originally a minor fertility god, but at some periods he was the supreme ruler of the gods. He was regarded as Egypt’s most potent deity by the time of the New Kingdom, and worship of him was almost exclusively monotheistic.

Even other deities were viewed at this time as just facets of Amun. The most powerful priesthood in Egypt was his. One of Egypt’s most popular attractions today is the enormous Amon-Re temple complex at Karnak.

11. Bastet

The cat goddess Bastet was once depicted as a female with a lion or wild cat-like head. In the first century BCE, she assumed the calmer appearance of a domestic cat.

Later, she was frequently depicted as a seated cat with a regal appearance who occasionally had rings in her ears or nose.

She became linked to the Greek deity Artemis, the moon goddess and divine hunter, during the Ptolemaic era.

She was Hathor’s close friend and the daughter of Ra. One of the most well-liked Egyptian gods in ancient Egypt was Bastet.

She was so widely revered that the Persians took advantage of Egyptian devotion to Bastet to win the Battle of Pelusium in 525 BCE.

They decorated their shields with depictions of Bastet and paraded animals in front of their army, believing that the Egyptians would rather surrender than displease their goddess.

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