The ancient Egyptians had over 100 Gods, each one had its own role to play in their life, symbolized a specific entity and had a different appearance. Some gods and goddesses took part in creation, some brought the flood every year, some offered protection, and some took care of people after death. Religion was of great importance to Ancient Egyptians, it touched every aspect of their life. The Egyptians lived in fear of the malicious spirits and their god’s dissatisfaction that is why they believed that it was essential to worship and adore these gods and goddesses in order to have a good and smooth life and afterlife.
Ra is the God of the Sun and is known as the King of the Gods. His symbol is a Falcon crowned with sun disk. In his boat he named the “Barque of Millions of Years,” he sailed across the heavens. It was said that at the end of each day, Ra died and began his journey through the Underworld as the moon lit the light above. The boat would continue to sail through 12 doors, which would represent 12 hours, and then Ra would be born again. He was the greatest of the Gods, and had a secret name that no one knew but himself. But as he started to grow older, in a way he would drool and Isis would collect the drool and turned it into a snake. She then put the snake in Ra’s path so when he would come across it, it would bite him. No one could heal him. Isis made a deal with him that if he told her his secret name; she would have enough power to heal him. He would not give up his name, until, the pain was so excruciating he gave up the name. So Isis acquired some of the magical powers Ra.
Horus is one of the most famous ancient Egyptian gods, he was the god of the sky. He ascended across the Earth and its tenants. Just like most Egyptian Gods, Horus was identified in many different forms, but he was always accompanied with the falcon symbol. It was said that in all forms Horus was still known as the patron saint of the existing pharaoh and that the pharaoh was frequently referred to as the ‘Living Horus’.
Horus brought Upper and Lower Egypt together as one when he slayed Seth, the evil god of Upper Egypt in revenge for his father and also brother, Osiris. After that, each pharaoh was manifestation as Horus, “the ruler of two lands.” There are several version of the mythology of Horus, in the original stories, he was believed to be the son of Ra and that the eyes of the original Horus were the sun and moon. But in the newer stories, associations to a Horus Egyptian falcon god imply he was the son of Geb and Nut. The most well-known version declares that one of the several Horus immortals was in fact the son of Osiris.
In this version, Horus’ parents were Osiris and Isis. And before Horus’ birth, Osiris was murdered by his competitor and also brother, Seth. When Horus found out later, he was determined to get revenge. He tried to avenge his father with a war that lasted for eighty years. In one plot, it is said that Seth extracted Horus’ eye, which led to Horus’ reference with his one eyed symbol.
Hathor is the goddess of joy, motherhood and love. She looked after women and was also the goddess of dancing and music. Dead women were classified with Hathor just as men were classified with Osiris. But Hathor didn’t only have one side; she was also the destructive sun goddess, the Eye of Ra, known as Sekhmet. Mankind chuckled and joked about Ra, so Ra sent down Sekhmet in fury. He wanted to penalize mankind, but Sekhmet started to murder the men and drink their blood. Ra was getting worried and so he dyed some beer red to give the appearance of blood. Sekhmet saw the beer and drank it, mistaking it for blood, and then she fell asleep. And when she awoke, Ra had influenced her to stop the annihilation.
Geb is an Earth God, and Nut was the Sky Goddess. As the starry sky was Nut’s body, which extended from the horizons, Geb was the Earth which lay underneath her. When it is daytime, Geb and Nut are segregated until the hours are passed and they come together to form the night. Although Ra was married to Nut, Nut was secretly in love with Geb. Ra had found out and had told Nut she could not give birth to his children 360 days of the year. Miserable, Nut went to Thoth, the God of Wisdom, to seek out help. Thoth took some light from the moon, and managed to make 5 new days, so we now have 365 days a year. On those 5 days, Nut had given birth to 5 children.
Osiris is the God of Death; his symbol is always a bearded man in white mummy wrappings. He is wearing the White Crown of Upper Egypt and his skin is green to show vegetation. He is holding the crook and the flail to generally represent absolute power. Osiris’s brother Seth is the God of storm and violence, and of course the desert. When Osiris ruled Egypt, he taught his men to farm. His brother Seth had such hatred for him and always wanted to kill him. So one day he had an idea, and made a casket with the exact measurements of Osiris. Then he invited everyone to have a great feast, and at the feat he brought the casket out. He told everyone he would give it the one who fit inside of it. Everyone tried, but the only one who fit inside it was Osiris. So when Osiris was inside the box, Seth and his friends sealed it tightly and tossed it in the Nile. When Isis, Osiris’s Wife, found out about what Seth had done, she severely explored everywhere to find her husband’s body, but had no luck. Finally some children had released the information of where Osiris’s body was. Isis hid the body. Seth was afraid she might reincarnate Osiris because Isis was a powerful magician. Seth found the body and tore it to pieces. He dispersed it across the Nile, but Isis, determined, went to go find all the missing pieces. Every time she had found a piece of Osiris, she had buried it with a Shine. There are several shines of Osiris all over Egypt! Osiris was now the King of the Dead and every Egyptian wished to accompany him in their new life.
There are so many Gods with so many different stories. Egyptian’s worship each one for a different thing. Egyptians are fearful of some Gods. However, there are others that are loved and appreciated. Stories of Gods have been passed down from generation to generation. Some stories are just tall tales, but some are true. Egyptians sometimes twist the words around to make it sound more interesting. So listen inventively, but don’t believe everything you hear!