Saturday, July 13, 2013

Ancient Egyptian God and Goddess

     The ancient Egyptians were usually polytheistic in nature and believed in more than hundreds of different gods and goddesses.The Egyptian gods and goddesses were mostly, at least partly anthropomorphic,depicted as male and female, sacred animals, humans with heads of animals and fully human who behaved like humans and walked among mortals. Today we will know about some significant Gods and Goddess popular among the ancient Egyptians. 
Osiris, the god of dead was the primary deity and was the leader of the gods on earth. He was the husband of Isis and the father of Horus (and a number of other gods). In his original form he is dressed like the pharaohs wearing an atef crown with ram's horns, and carrying a crook and flail, with his lower body mummified. Osiris, after being murdered by his brother, was brought back to life by his wife Isis. Isis resurrected him with the Ritual of Life, which was later given to the Egyptians so that they could give eternal life to all their dead. The spells and rituals cast by Isis, plus many others given to the people by the gods over the centuries, were collected into The Book of Going Forth by Day, colloquially known as The Book of the Dead. Osiris Worshipped widely throughout all of Egypt, and his cult center was Abydos.

Isis was the great Egyptian goddess, wife of Osiris and mother of Horus. In the Legend of Osiris it is she who travels the world to find all the pieces of his body and it is she who brings him back to life. May be Isis is the oldest deity in Egypt, and certainly the oldest to survive the ages in much the same form. She may also be the most important, for although the other gods were worshipped widely, Isis was worshipped almost universally by all Egyptians. Isis is shown as a beautiful woman in magnificent clothing, sometimes shown wearing the sun disk. She was revered as the great protector, prayed to for guidance, and beseeched for peace in the world. Temples to Isis are found everywhere in Egypt.

Horus was normally considered the son of Osiris and Isis. He was the pharaoh's protector and also patron of young men. His most common form is that of falcon-headed man, but he is also shown as a falcon, a lion with the head of a falcon, or a sphinx. He is also shown as a falcon resting on the neck of the pharaoh, spreading his wings to either side of the pharaoh's head and whispering guidance in his ear. The worship of Horus was brought from the outside by neighboring tribes who invaded and then settled into Egypt. He was the protector and guide to the pharaoh and later pharaohs were believed to be his avatar on earth. Horus was also the patron of young men and the ideal of the dutiful son who grows up to become a just man. He was also known as Har-nedj-itef (Horus the Avenger),Har-Pa-Neb-Taui (Horus Lord of the Two Lands).

Anubis was a funerary god of Egypt who was associated with the mummification and protection of the dead for their journey into the afterlife. He was usually portrayed as a half human, half jackal, or in full jackal form wearing a ribbon and holding a flail in the crook of its arm. Anubis was the god who helped to embalm Osiris after he was killed by Seth. Thus Prayers to Anubis are found carved on the most ancient tombs in Egypt, and his duties apparently are many. He watches over the mummification process to ensure that all is done properly. He conducts the souls through the underworld, testing their knowledge of the gods and their faith. He places their heart on the Scales of Justice during the Judging of the Heart, and he feeds the souls of wicked people to Ammit. Priests often wore a mask of Anubis during mummification ceremonies. Anubis may also have been known as Ienpw, Anpu, Anup, and Wip.

Re was the Egyptian sun god who was ruler of everything and especially associated with the city of the sun or Heliopolis. The early Egyptians believed that he created the world, and the rising sun was, for them, the symbol of creation. The daily cycle, as the sun rose, then set only to rise again the next morning, symbolized renewal and so Ra was seen as the paramount force of creation and master of life. Re was depicted as a man with a sun disk on his head or with the head of a falcon.

Bast refers to a cat goddess of ancient Egyptian religion who was worshipped as early as the Second Dynasty (2890 BC). She was the goddess of warfare in Lower Egypt. Bastet was usually seen as a gentle protective goddess. However, she sometimes appeared with the head of a lioness to protect the king in battle. She was sometimes listed as one of Ra's avenging deities who punish the sinful and the enemies of Egypt. A great temple was built in her honour at Bubastis in the Delta.

Bes was the protector of pregnant women, newborn babies and the family. The ancient Egyptians also believed that Bes protected against snake and scorpion bites. Amulets of Bes were popular at all levels of Egyptian society. Bes may have been an imported Egyptian god, possibly of Nubian origin. Bes is depicted as a dwarf sticking out his tongue, in full frontal view instead of the profile view of most of the other Egyptian gods. Though there are no temples to Bes, and no formal ritual, shrines to him were found in many homes, especially those with children or pregnant women. When a baby laughed or smiled for no apparent reason, it was believed that Bes was somewhere in the room making funny faces.

The Goddess Hathor was a major deity, she was identified with beauty and music. Sometimes she was depicted with a cow's head or just with the ears or horns of a cow. Hathor's cult is unusual; as both men and women were her priests. Many of them were artisans, musicians, and dancers. Music and dance were part of the worship of Hathor like no other deity in Egypt.

The goddess Sekhmet represented war, destruction, and pestilence. Usually portrayed with the head of a lion on a woman's body, she was also associated in another aspect with the cat.

Nut is the Egyptian sky goddess depicted supporting the sky with her back, her body blue and covered with stars. Nut is the daughter of Shu and Tefnut, the wife of Geb, and mother of Osiris, Isis, Set, and Nepthys. She is often shown being held up by Shu and standing over her husband-brother Geb. Nut protects the world from the darkness outside it and all the demonic creatures that dwell in that darkness.

Neith (Nit (Net, Neit) is a pre dynastic Egyptian goddess who is compared with the Greek goddess Athena. She is depicted as a weaver and also as a weapon-bearing war goddess. In the Old Kingdom she was a war deity, invoked as a blessing for weapons, both for the soldier and the hunter.

Nephthys is the head of the household of the gods mother of Anubis. Nephthys is sometimes depicted as a falcon or as a woman with falcon wings. Nephthys was a death goddess as well as being a goddess of women and the house and a companion of Isis.

Set or Seti is the Egyptian god of chaos, evil, war, storms, deserts, and foreign lands, who killed and cut up his older brother Osiris. He is depicted as composite animals. A man with the head of a jackal-like animal. In depictions of his battle with Horus he is often shown as a black pig or hippopotamus. Sometimes he is shown as a crocodile, perhaps a combination of him and the original god of evil, Apep.

Tefnut, a fertility goddess, Tefnut is also the Egyptian goddess of moisture or water. She is the wife of Shu and mother of Geb and Nut. Sometimes Tefnut helps Shu hold up the firmament. Appearance: a woman lying horizontally between the firmament and earth.

Shu was an Egyptian air and sky god who is responsible for holding the sky separate from the earth. Shu is depicted as a man standing with arms raised, usually holding his daughter Nut and standing over his son Geb.

Amun was a local deity of Thebes, later he became the king of Gods. Amun-Ra is the most widely recorded of the Egyptian gods. It was thought that Amun created himself and then his surroundings. Amun-Ra held the position of transcendental, self-created, and creator deity"par excellence", he was the winner of the poor or troubled and central to personal piety. Usually he was depicted as a human body with two plumes on his head. As the chief deity of the Egyptian Empire, Amun-Ra also came to be worshipped outside of Egypt, in Ancient Libya and Nubia, and as Zeus Ammon came to be identified with Zeus in Ancient Greece.

Maat was both the goddess and the personification of truth and justice. Her ostrich feather represents truth. Maat was also personified as a goddess regulating the stars, seasons, and the actions of both mortals and the deities, who set the order of the universe from chaos at the moment of creation. After her role in creation and continuously preventing the universe from returning to chaos, her primary role in Egyptian mythology dealt with the weighing of souls that took place in the underworld, Duat .Her feather was the measure that determined whether the souls (considered to reside in the heart) of the departed would reach the paradise of afterlife successfully.

You will also like to know about the Religious Belief of Ancient Egyptians.

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