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Egyptian Mythology

The Nile plays an important part in Egyptian mythology.  The creatures that lived along the river became linked with many gods and goddesses.   Although each area had its preferred protective god or goddess, the story of creation was essentially the same -  Re arose from the ocean of chaos, created Shu and Tefnut who gave birth to Geb and Nut who gave birth to Osiris and Isis, Set and Nepthys.  The following provides a brief description and illustrations of the "Ennead of Great Gods" and others mentioned in the journal.
Amun in Feminine Form Amun became the supreme god and was one of a triad of divinities worshipped In Thebes (Luxor) during its rise to power in the new kingdom. The name translates as "that which is hidden (or not seen)".  The  god could assume both masculine and feminine forms.
Anubis - Typical Carved Basalt Bust Anubis is shown as a jackal headed god.   He conducted the dead into the other world and guarded their tombs, invented the funeral rituals and embalmed Osiris. He was the patron of embalmers and known as the "Lord of the Mummy Wrappings".
Atum, First of the Gods Atum was the first local god of Heliopolis, and as a counterpart to Re, he personified the sun from sundown to sunrise.  His name comes from a root which means 'not to be' and 'to be complete'.  He is always represented with a man's head, wearing the double crown of the Pharaohs. Unmarried, Atum was supposed to have fathered the first divine couple without the aid of a wife.
Bastet - Bastet (Bast) is shown as a woman with a cat's head.  She was considered the embodiment of joy, the daughter of Re and goddess of the delta - the cat symbolized fertility and strength. (Bast protected Re from the snake-god Apep.)
Bes, Dwarf Patron of Childbirth Bes was always depicted as a strangely mutated dwarf.  He was the patron god of childbirth.
Geb, Earth god Geb was the Earth god and often shown with his wife, Nut. A goose (the symbol of his name) sometimes is sitting on his head.  He was considered to be the father of the Osirian gods.
Hapi Hapi was the "spirit of the Nile" and the rising waters of the Nun (source of all life).
Hathor (from Hatshepsut's Temple) Hathor represents the wife and consort of Horus, goddess of joy and music when she appears in the form of a cow (her sacred animal). She lives in the tree of heaven and in her incarnation as Isis she tended peoples souls so it is said that from the time a baby is born she knew what will happen in the course of its entire life.
Horus Horus the "Sun God" was the mythical first pharaoh, son of Isis and Osiris. As a solar god he was represented as falcon headed god. His hieroglyph (a falcon on a perch) stands for the idea of god. His incarnation may be as Haroeris (Horus the Great, son of Re and brother of Set), Behdety (in the form of a winged solar disk), Harakhtes (Horus who is on the horizon) refers to his daily travel from east to west, and as Harmakhis he personifies resurrection.
Isis was the consort of Osiris and considered the ideal woman, wife, and mother. (She was later worshipped all over the Roman world.)  She is called the great enchantress because she has magic powers,  is the goddess of medicine, and taught the people how to farm.
Khepri (Khepera) is the scarab headed god personified by the rising sun and was the god of transformation. His name means beetle and "he who becomes" because  it was believed that beetles renewed themselves (they arise from their own substance and are reborn of themselves).
Khnum, the ram headed god was the creator of life who fashioned mankind on his potter's wheel.  He  endowed individuals with the "Ka" or spirit.
Ma'at was the goddess of universal order and harmony, depicted with a feather on her head. As the goddess of truth and justice, she weighed the heart of the dead against her feather.
Min Min was the god of fertility always represented with an erect phallus, his right arm bent and holding a whip.

Mut was the primary goddess protector of Thebes (Luxor).  She was also the consort of Amun

Nekhbet was the vulture goddess and protectress of Upper Egypt. (Wadjet is her counterpart in Lower Egypt.)
Nepthys was called the "sister of Isis" (who was sister to Osiris, Horus and Set). She was particularly known for taking part in the ritual protection and resurrection of Osiris, after he was murdered by his brother Set.
Nun is chaos, the primordial ocean of creation, the beginning of all plants and animals. Called the 'Father of the Gods,'  he was mostly an intellectual concept with no temples or worshippers. He is often shown standing in water and holding the gods he created along his arms.
Nut embodied the sky. As wife of Geb, she was mother to Re and would swallow the solar disk every evening and give birth to it each morning. In one of the creation tales, she and Geb were one until Shu split them apart.  Geb became Earth and she became Sky.   Known as the mother goddess she gave birth to Isis, Osiris, Horus, Set and Nephthys.
Osiris was originally the nature god who protected the spirit of plants from harvest until spring growth. After being murdered and cut into pieces by his brother Set, being rescued by Nepthys, put back together by Isis and fathering Horus, he became regent of the World of the Dead.

Ptah was the patron god of Memphis where he was believed to be the creator of all things. He began as a thought and eventually became solid so that he could create all the gods and goddesses.

Re (Ra) was the sun god associated with Horus who often assumed the form of a falcon. His name is interpreted as meaning 'creator', the sun, or lord of the sky. He "created" the "eight Great Gods" - according to the story, he was known as Atum while in the chaos of Nun.  When he transformed in to Re, he created Shu and Tefnut who gave birth to Geb and Nut who gave birth to Osiris and Isis, Set and Nepthys.  All creatures were created by Re's tears. When he became old, it was said that Re ended the warring between neighbors along the Nile because he did not want mankind to perish.
Sekhmet is the warlike lion headed goddess who unleashes her anger in the last five days of the year. As the Mighty One she destroys the enemies of Re and defends the divine order of things. She is also depicted with a crocodile head or as the eye of Re (a burning sun).
Set (Seth) was the brother of Osiris and personification of the spirit of evil, in eternal opposition to the spirit of god. He was forceful and careless and is often shown as a hippopotamus like man (his war image) or a a normal man with white skin and red hair.
Shu supports the sky and is god of the air. His name, literally means "to raise" or hold up and he is represented in human form with an ostrich feather (the ideogram for his name) on his head.

Sobek, the crocodile god is symbol of fertility and creator.  His temple in Kom Ombo was famed for its medical knowledge and was a significant stop on the Nile for those in need of surgical assistance, psychiatric and obstetric care.


Taweret (Tauret)  was called "the Great One".  She is the hippopotamus goddess of childbirth, mothers and children.  Her hippopotamus body has a crocodile's tail, lion's legs and woman's breasts.  It is her duty to protect pregnant women.
Tefnut is the goddess of moisture, rain, and dew and is considered to be the  symbol of creation and female side of Shu. She protected her father (Re) and pharaohs so was usually seen with the Aten on her lion's head.
Toth/Thoth was the god of wisdom and knowledge, patron of scribes, and recorder of the Judgement of the Dead. He is alternately shown in human form with the head of an ibis (as keeper of the divine archives) or as a dog headed ape.  He was commonly known as a moon god.

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