Ten of The Most Interesting Deities In Egyptian Mythology

Ten of The Most Interesting Deities In Egyptian Mythology

When a person died in ancient Egypt, their spirit would be guided by Anubis, the guardian of the underworld to Osiris who would then pluck their heart out of the body and weigh it against the Feather of Truth. If your heart outweighed the feather, then Ammut would devour your heart and you would be doomed into oblivion. Now, Osiris isn’t an easy man to deal with. He is not a very forgiving god, since he himself was killed by his brother Seth and had to be brought back to life by his wife Isis, then sired Horus who avenged him by defeating Seth. That is how interesting Egyptian gods were.


Amon-Ra or Amen, Amun-Ra or Re, Was the chief god among the Egyptians just like Zeus was for the Greeks. He ruled the sky and the air and was also in charge of all the other deities. Unlike Zeus who was born, Amun created himself and then created the universe. Ra was supposed to be the god of the sun and light but the two were combined into one chief deity between the 16th and 11th century BC. Amun travelled across the sky in a flaming boat during the day and in the world of the dead during the night. He was highly revered and worshipped to near monotheism for the better part of the entire time that Ancient Egypt lasted.


Isis, the Egyptian god of Magic, was one of the last Egyptian deities to be worshipped in the world. She was the sister and also the wife of Osiris. She was portrayed as the perfect Egyptian mother and wife although her powers didn’t stop at magic. She was believed to be the great protector of mothers and children. She was also the comforter of mourners who always took care of loved ones in the underworld. After Seth killed Osiris and chopped him into pieces, she used her magic to mummify him and sired Horus with him. It is believed that paintings of her nursing Horus inspired Christian drawings of Mary carrying baby Jesus. Isis was worshipped all over the world including Great Britain, across Europe and in the Middle East as recently as the early 20th century.


Horus was the divine child, the son of Osiris and Isis whom the Egyptians believed to have been the first divine king of Egypt and hence the father of all pharaohs. He is depicted with a human body and a falcon’s head wearing a crown. Pictures of Horus are still used in Egypt today on planes, restaurants and stadiums. Horus was conceived after Isis mummified Osiris and reanimated him, or before depending on the version of the story you read. Horus’s right eye is the sun while his left is the moon. He fought with Seth to avenge Osiris but Seth plucked out his left eye although it was later replaced by Isis. This myth was used to explain the disappearance and reappearance of the moon.


Osiris was the first-born son of Geb the Earth God and Nut, the sky goddess. He was married to his sister Isis and sired Horus after being reanimated by Isis, or before, accounts vary. The only consistent story about him is that his brother Set or Seth killed him and took his birthright which was the throne of Egypt. Seth dismembered Osiris and scattered his body parts all over Egypt but Isis used her magical powers to recollect them then mummified them. He is therefore depicted with green leaves and other vegetation around him as a mummified god. Having been the first person to die, Osiris became the god of the dead and ruler of the underworld. No one could enter the afterlife without his approval.


Some myths say that Anubis was also the son of Osiris having been born after Nephthys, Osiris’ sister, pretending to be Isis seduced Osiris and sired a son with him. He was depicted as a man with the head of a jackal or a wild dog. He is also referred to as the God of the Dead but only works under Osiris. Anubis was looked at as the chief of embalmers who oversaw the final rites of passage for everyone that died. Anubis also guided the dead to the underworld and was in charge of presenting souls before Osiris to be judged. He wasn’t involved in any scandals of the gods on his own though.


So Seth may have killed Osiris or he may just have fooled him into entering a lead coffin then sealed him up in there, but whatever he did, he became the bad apple of the gods of ancient Egypt. Seth or Set was depicted as the murderer and the antagonist to the divine family of Osiris after the merger of the kingdoms but he was previously looked upon as a hero by the people of Southern Egypt.

Earlier myths state that he saved the sun God Ra from a serpent demon and also provided for the poor. However, after the myth of Osiris took root, Seth was depicted all over Egypt as the monster god of chaos, war, storms, earthquakes, deserts and foreign lands. He was depicted as a man with varying animal parts such as a crocodile’s head, a dog’s mouth, hooved legs and other monstrous parts that archaeologists just call the Seth animal because they cannot be associated with any particularly known animal.


Thoth was one of the most important deities in ancient Egypt because he was the mathematician and record keeper of both the gods and men. He was depicted as a man with the head of an Ibis which signified knowledge. Thoth was the god of art, writing, balance, learning and the moon. He was credited as the man who taught the people how to read, write and keep records. He also kept all the records for the Pharaohs and the gods. One myth states that he protected Isis while she was pregnant with Horus hiding in the marshes of the river Nile. Another one also states that he is the one that healed Horus’ eye after Seth plucked it out as the two fought.


Hathor is one of those mysterious deities from ancient Egypt. Her name means House or Estate of Horus and it may not be her original name. She was also called the Eye of Ra which meant she was his favourite daughter which is why she was linked to Venus. She was the goddess of the sky, believed to accompany her father on his trips on the flaming boat across the sky every day and at night in the underworld.

Hathor was also believed by some to be Horus’ wife which is why most temples of Horus included her worship. Her cults were spread all over Egypt as everyone believed that she was the source of joy, love, fertility and happiness. She was depicted as a cow carrying a dish of food on her head which signifies providence. She also took care of the dead, especially women, comforting and feeding them as they entered the underworld.


No one worshipped this one, but that doesn’t mean she wasn’t adored. Ammit or Ammut was the devourer of the souls of those that didn’t pass the test of the Feather of Truth. After Thoth and Anubis brought a dead person and Osiris delivered his judgement, Ammit would have the chance to eat the evilest ones and they would be doomed to oblivion, wandering forever without purpose. She was seen as the symbol of divine justice and her statues were believed to wade off evil. She was depicted as a human or animal with the head of a crocodile, torso of a leopard and lower body of a hippopotamus.


Geb could be referred to as the All-Father of Egyptian gods. One that could not be challenged. He didn’t get involved in many squabbles either, just stood by and watched things happen. Geb was the God of the Earth and the father of Osiris and his siblings as well as the creator of the throne of Egypt.
The throne was also referred to as the throne of Geb. Egyptians also called the Earth the Earth of Geb. His closest equal was the Greek God of time, Kronos. Geb supported his grandson Horus to ascend the throne over his uncle Seth. It was also believed that Geb’s blessing was essential to the successful reign of any pharaoh.

Author: Gus Barge

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