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Ancient Egyptian Mythology

Ancient Egyptian Mythology

Ancient Egyptian mythology contains a set of myths that originated in ancient Egypt and explained the activities of gods and goddesses as a side benefit explaining

the world in which they did live. Ancient Egyptians believed the gods and goddesses were responsible for determining life, nature, and society.

When the gods and goddesses passed away, the authority to rule was passed down to the pharaohs.

The ancient Egyptians worshiped many gods and goddesses. Some were humanoid, but many were human and part animals, such as birds, cats, rams, and crocodiles.

Most Egyptian myths revolve around the rule of the dead, the struggle between good and evil, and the cycle of birth and rebirth.
Egypt’s first evidence of gods and goddesses comes from the early dynastic period (3100-2686 BC) and arose from religious beliefs.

Artwork from that period depicts animal and human figures believed to be associated with Egyptian deities, but no one knows for sure. As Egyptian society became more complex,

more evidence of religious activity became evident.

Suppose you are interested in the history of Ancient Egypt and want to learn more about it. In that case, you should take advantage of the Egypt vacation packages we offer to have fun and listen to the mysterious story about ancient Egyptians based on historical facts.

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There were many myths related to the creation of the universe among the ancient Egyptians, and among the most famous of them is the one that says that before creation there was only “Nun”,

and the Nun meant emptiness or absolute emptiness, and there was only a golden egg in this complete emptiness.

The Myth of the Creation of The World

When this egg exploded, the god Atum, considered the ancient Egyptian chief deity, came into being. And when Atum sneezed, the god Chu, considered the god of air, came out,

and from the sneezing spray, Tefnut, the dew goddess, came out.

The journey began with creating the world and universe out of darkness and overwhelming chaos.

Once upon a time, there was nothing but dark, endless water without form or purpose. In this void is Heka (the God of magic), who waited for the moment of creation.

From this watery silence rose a primeval hill known as Ben, on which stood the mighty God Atum (or, in some versions of the myth, Ptah).

Atum looked into nothingness and recognized his loneliness. So, through the agency of magic, he mated with his shadow to produce two children,

Shu (God of air, from whom Atum spat) and Tefnut (goddess of moisture, who vomited corn). Shu gave the early world the principles of life, while Tefnut contributed the principles of order.

Ancient Egyptian Mythology

They left their father, Ali Ben, to find the world. Over time, Atom became worried because his children had been gone so long that they removed his eye and sent it in search of them. While his eye disappeared,

Atum sat alone on the hill amid chaos and contemplating eternity. Shu and Tefnut returned with the Eyes of Atum (later associated with the Eye of Udjat, the Eye of Ra, or the All-Seeing Eye), and their father,

grateful for their safe return, shed tears of joy. These tears, which fell on Ben’s dark, fertile land, begat men and women.

However, these early creatures had nowhere to live, so Shu and Tefnut mated and gave birth to Geb (the earth) and Nut (the sky).

Although Jeb and Nut are brother and sister, they fall deeply in love and are inseparable. Atom found their behavior unacceptable and pushed Nut away from Geb, high in the sky.

The two lovers could see each other forever but could no longer touch.

Nut was already pregnant by Geb but eventually gave birth to Osiris, Isis, Set, Nephthys, and Horus—the five Egyptian deities are often considered the oldest, or at least,

most familiar representations of the dignitaries. Osiris showed himself a thoughtful and wise God and was given the rule of the world by Atum, who then went on to mind his own business.

The Book of the Dead, dating from the Second Intermediate Period, describes how Atum created the world. For the ancient Egyptians,

Ancient Egyptian Mythological Creatures (Animals)

The ancient Egyptians worshiped animals for thousands of years. Dogs were unique because of their ability to hunt and protect, but cats were the most revered.

The Egyptians believed cats were magical ancient Egyptian creatures and brought good luck.

The cats were dressed in fine jewelry and fed with the best foods, and when they died, they were mummified; As a sign of mourning, owners

would shave their eyebrows and mourn their cats so their eyebrows would grow back.

Cats were held in such high esteem that if someone killed a cat, either on purpose or by accident, they were sentenced to death.

Egyptian gods and goddesses could transform themselves into animals, but only a goddess named Bastet could take the form of a cat.

Myth of Osiris

The universe was at the beginning for the ancient Egyptians, only a great liquid chaos, the rising of the Nile mixed with mud, called the Nun. It was from the Noun that Atum,

the sun, was born. Atum begat Chou (the god of breath) and Tefnut (the goddess of humidity). Chou separated heaven from the earth.

Thus was born Nut (the goddess of the sky) and Geb (the god of the earth). From the union of Nut and Geb were born two sons, Osiris and Seth, and two daughters, Isis and Nephthys.

Geb offered power on earth to Osiris, the first pharaoh. He reigned alongside his sister and married Isis.

His rule of kindness, justice, and wisdom drove Seth mad with jealousy. He plotted against his brother. He invited his brother to a big banquet.

Seth then suggested that each of the guests sleep in a magnificent chest. Whoever could measure up to the trunk would win it. Osiris then lies down in the bin: he is his size (Seth’s trap).

The guests all throw themselves on the chest and lock Osiris in it. Seth throws it into the Nile. Thanks to the help of Nephthys, Isis, the sorceress, succeeds in finding her husband’s body and hiding it in a swamp.

Furious, Seth finds out, finds the body, and tears it into thirteen pieces.
With the help of her sister Nephthys and Anubis, Isis finds the pieces scattered all over Egypt, except her sex, eaten by a fish.

They then reconstitute Osiris at the time of a union from which Horus (the god of the pharaohs) was born. Horus defeated Seth in a duel and ruled Egypt. Osiris became the king of the kingdom of the dead.

Note that there was a first quest of Isis, at the end of which she reconstitutes her husband’s body.

 ancient Egyptian mytholog

The Myth of Isis and the Seven Scorpions

The legend says that the god Seth greatly envied his brother Osiris, who was married to the goddess Isis, and had a son with her, Horus. Prey and hated,

Seth tried to separate him, capturing and imprisoning Isis and Horus to harm her brother.
Seeing the situation, the god of wisdom Thot decided to help them, sending his help seven scorpions named Tefen, Befen, Mestat, Matet, Petet, Mestefef, and Tetet, to protect them.

Isis and Horus fled, followed by their mother-in-law, and they made a long journey until they reached the city of Beroe. There they found Ozert, a woman of good standing and great wealth, who asked her for her help and refuge. However, Useret, seeing the presence of the seven scorpions and fearing his attack, closed the door to the goddess and her son.

Isis and Horus continued on their way, exhausted, until finally, they stumbled upon a poor woman who, despite the presence of scorpions, greeted the gods and asked for her help and hospitality.

While her beloved was safe, the scorpions decided to take revenge on Useret for denying her help to Isis. During the night, the Seven joined their Venoms at the tail of Tfen.

He entered the woman’s home and electrocuted her son, making him seriously ill with the poison. In addition to this, it caused a fire.
Users, desperate in his child’s condition, sought help. Her pleas came to Isis, who was in her aid, seeing that the child was not at fault and feeling sorry for Osiris’ attitude.

With the help of her powerful magic, the heavens opened and a rain fell that quenched the flames, then ordered the poison to leave the child’s body. Ibn Usert healed and healed.

Feeling ashamed and deeply grateful, the woman gave her fortune to the goddess and the poor woman who helped her.

Ka’s Journey: Perceiving Death as Death

Once the djet has been made and put away, the dead can start their trip to the afterlife. The deceased person’s ba, or soul, and ka, or life force,

leave the body from which they can return since the djet was saved from going to the kingdom of the dead. But not everyone can go to the realm of the dead, and the deceased must go through many steps.

He must read a formula written in the Book of the Dead in each of them. This book is made of several rolls of papyrus and tells about the journey of the dead into the afterlife.

The story says that the God Thoth wrote it because he was told to cut off the heads of people who stood in the way of the dead getting to the land of the dead.

The Weighing of the Soul is the most prominent part of the Book of the Dead because it is so important.
The Nineteenth Dynasty Hunifer Papyrus, a copy of the Book of the Dead kept in the British Museum in London, shows how the soul rules.

On the left, we see the dead being led by Anubis, the God with the head of a jackal who is the patron saint of mummified people.

Anubis helps the dead person make the change from life to death. In the middle of the papyrus is a balance: on the plateaux, the bottom line is on the plume d’autruche,

which represents the goddess Maat, the price of peace, fairness, and justice. If the dead person’s heart was lighter than a feather,

that meant he was a good person during his life and could go to the kingdom of the dead, where Osiris was waiting to the right of the papyrus.

ancient egyptian mythology

The person who died then becomes Osiris and can start over in the kingdom of the dead.

On the other hand, if the dead person’s heart were heavier than the feathers, the monster Ammit, with a crocodile head at the bottom of the scales, would eat the deceased person.

Horus is responsible for judging the spirit, and Thoth watches what happens. The heart is used to judge the soul because the heart can’t lie. This means that all of the dead person’s mistakes from his life are kept in his heart.

The Egyptians thought death was a way to get to the next life. This design comes from a story in their religion about a man named Osiris. Mummification, the Book of the Dead, and the idea that the soul is in charge show how these beliefs are used daily. Ancient Egyptian funeral customs have been around for as long as Romans can remember, even during the Roman Empire.

The Roman religion took on the gods of the other religions in the empire. The Greek religion is a good example, but the Egyptians also influenced Roman mythology.

So, Isis, the goddess of magic and healing, became part of the Roman pantheon.

Death Myth

Death ceremonies and beliefs were essential to the ancient Egyptians’ lives. Concerns related to death in ancient Egypt were religious.

They constituted an important stage in the life of the pharaoh, brother of the gods, who was to live with the gods in eternal rest after his death. The Egyptians believed that after death,

the deceased’s soul could be reborn and enter the “kingdom of the dead” and eternal rest.
The myth of death can be broken down into two parts:
– the first stage, which is the journey of the deceased to the afterlife with the embalming ceremony;
– the second stage, which corresponds to the judgment of the deceased by the god Osiris when he reaches the Journey to the afterlife

Egyptian Mythology Afterlife

In Egyptian mythology, the body is divided into several entities, including the djet, which corresponds to the body, and the ka, which corresponds to the spiritual double accompanying

the body from the individual’s birth until his death. For the deceased to access the realm of the afterlife through his ka, embalming the djet is necessary.

The rite of embalming was created by Isis, helped by Anubis when she embalmed her husband Osiris to restore him to life.

The statues and offerings alongside the deceased in his sarcophagus make it possible to accompany him to the soul’s judgment.
The Book of the Dead of the Ancient Egyptians, placed at the deceased’s side, was intended to guide him towards the “kingdom of the dead” and prepare him for the judgment of the soul

with the help of collections and spells.

The weighing of the soul (psycho stasis) consists in placing the deceased’s heart on a scale and the other side a feather; if the heart is lighter,

meaning that it is not tainted with sins, the deceased can join the kingdom of the dead. Otherwise, he will be devoured by a monster (most of the time symbolized by the goddess Taouret or by Ammout,

who has a head of a crocodile, a body of a lion, and the hindquarters of a hippopotamus.), and his soul will be lost to all Never.

Osiris only became the god of the realm of the dead after successfully passing the test of soul weighing.

Myth Of Maat, Goddess of Truth, Justice, and Harmony

Ma’at is one of the deities in ancient Egyptian mythology that was considered a symbol of wisdom, justice, and other moral values that help humanity live correctly.
She has considered one of the most important deities as harmony was central to ancient Egypt’s culture and every aspect and was part of all time and space.

She set the stars in the sky and regulated the four seasons; as the wife of Thoth, she is present at the solemn judgment of the dead.
She was later called the “daughter of Ra.” Ma’at also symbolizes the world order. For the ancient Egyptians, the breach of Ma’at was the breach of the world order.

Ancient egyptian mythology

An essential task of the pharaoh was the preservation of Maat. The name Maat or Maa can mean truth in translations.
Presented as a woman wearing ostrich feathers and sitting on her heels, this feather has a special meaning for the deceased,

who has to justify his life before the court of the gods headed by Osiris.
In this Judgment of the Dead, Anubis weighs the heart of the dead on the scales against the feathers of Ma’at.

A light heart has been a symbol of a righteous life since the time of the Pharaohs. Well-known phrases like having a heavy heart or a heart of stone have very ancient origins.
The ancient Egyptians considered the heart to be the seat of the soul and mind – on the other hand; it was believed that the brain had a nasal mucous function only,

which is why it was also removed from the skull of the dead during mummification.
Maat appears as a woman with an ostrich feather on his head.

In Ancient Egyptian mythology, Apis is the God of fertility in the form of a bull with a solar disk; Apis is one of the oldest deities associated with ancient Egyptian mythology.

Memphis was the center of the Apis cult. Initially, Apis was considered the ba (soul) of the God Ptah, the patron saint of Memphis, and the sun god Ra.

The cult of the fertility god Apis dates back to the pre-dynastic era. It probably goes back to the image of the sacred bull,

the patron of fertility, whose veneration was widespread almost throughout the Mediterranean.
The cult of Apis was established in the name of the God Osiris during the Second Dynasty. The second dynasty, like the first, ruled over Memphis but was originally from Upper Egypt Thinis near Abydos,

where the cult of Osiris dominated, and Apis was later dedicated to him.

So, Apis was associated with the cult of the dead by the Egyptian priests and was considered the bull of Osiris. On sarcophagi, Apis was often depicted running with a mummy on his back.

The Egyptians believed that the ritual sacred bull fertilized the fields.

Ancient egyptian mythology

Apis was the most revered of all the sacred animals, and his sect has repeatedly attracted the attention of ancient authors. According to Herodotus, the holy bull Apis should be black with unique white markings on the forehead, a neck silhouette on the back, two tassels on the tail, and a mark in the form of a scarab beetle under the tongue.

The birth of a bull with these signs was a living embodiment of God and was a holiday for the ancient Egyptians.

The priests of Apis in the temple of the God Ptah in Memphis kept them clothed, fed, and revered as a god. The movements of the bull were interpreted by priests who predicted the future.

The death of the sacred bull was considered a great grief for all. They treated him in the same way as with a person: they removed the insides and put them in canopies, and the corpse was embalmed and buried in a massive stone sarcophagus. Granite coffins of sacred bulls weighing up to eighty tons. All but one of the Apis coffins in antiquity were looted. In addition, statues of bulls with a solar disk between the horns were erected.

Under the Ptolemies, Apis, and Osiris were fused into a single god, Serapis. Special ores were built to keep the sacred bulls in Memphis near the temple of Ptah.

The cow that gave birth to Apis was also revered and held in a unique building. The entire country fell into mourning after Thor’s death,

and her burial and selection of a successor were considered essential matters of the state. Apis was mummified and buried according to a particular rite in a special crypt in Serapenium near Memphis.

Who is the Main god in Egyptian mythology?

The myth describes Ra’s fight each night against the “forces of chaos” represented by the serpent Apophis to allow the reappearance of the sun each morning on the “world above.”
Re being considered the god of the sun, among other things, when the sun disappeared each evening over the horizon, crossing the underground Nile aboard a sacred boat,

during this journey, Ra had to thwart the traps of the forces of chaos trying to overturn the boat of the sun god at any time. He is helped in this by the god Seth who, standing at the prow of the solar bark,

throws his arrows at Apophis. The purpose of this journey was the rebirth of the god Re each morning, thus bringing light to the inhabitants of the “world above.”

This rebirth of Ra, represented by the sunrise, was also considered the rebirth of the world and the sign that the god Ra had triumphed over the forces of chaos during his journey.

Mythology takes an important place in ancient Egyptian civilization. It is probably one of the mythologies that include the most significant number of gods. For more than 3000 years,

the Egyptians strove to honor them, erecting temples and making offerings at the feet of the statues.

The exhaustive presentation of these deities is impossible, but the most important are presented here.

  • Ra
  • Horus
  • Isis
  • Osiris
  • Sobek
  • Hathor
  • Amon
  • Anubis
  • Apis
  • Aton
  • Ptah
  • Thoth
  • Mut

you can read more about Gods and Goddess in ancient Egyptian