Ancient Egyptian Deities
It is well known that ancient Egyptian civilization was rich in culture and very articulate in their eloquence.
We all have grown up being fascinated by listening to stories about the Pyramids, a historic creation, also considered among the seven wonders of the world. For most of us, Egyptian history was confined to the Pyramids, the Sphinx of Giza, Mummies, and various intriguing tales about the Pharaohs. However, there is a lot more to its history than just those old captivating stories that we have all heard or read in our childhood. And that is from where most of us developed this keen zest to further explore the bountiful and magnanimous history of the Egyptians. Apart from its cultural heritage and amazing historic creations Egypt also possesses a very compelling religious history. Before the advent of Christianity and finally Islam, Egyptians worshipped innumerable Gods and Goddesses. Egyptians firmly believed in the concept of the afterlife. To them, every individual that died entered a new life where some of them came back as the divine spirits to govern the universe. Each God and Goddess dominated a unique and exclusive capability which they used to rule the Earth. In this article, we shall explore some very enthralling and interesting facts associated with the Egyptian deities.
The Nine primeval Egyptian deities
Here are some facts and stories affiliated with some of them. How their journey of being the divine supreme beings of the universe unveiled and unfolded.
The story of Isis and Oris
Isis happens to be one of the most significant deities from the pre and post dynastic era. Her story is discoursed about as the story of a female role model among the Egyptians. As per the old myths, she was the daughter of the God of earth Geb and the Goddess of sky Nut. She is acclaimed in history as a magical healer who cured the sick and brought the deceased to life. Orisis was her husband with whom she shared an exemplary bond. The priests from an ancient city of Egypt, Heliopolis coined the story of Isis and Orisis.
Isis was an admirable queen who loved her husband Orisis a lot. She taught the women of her country how to do knitting, bake food, and brew beer. Her brother and brother in law Seth was jealous of Orisis and the love he and his sister Isis had for each other in matrimony. (Yes this was an incestual marriage). One day his jealousy drove him crazy and he decided to murder his brother in cold blood to occupy his position as the king in Egypt. Seth somehow captured and trapped Osiris in a coffin and threw it into the river Nile. Nobody knew where Orisis had vanished to so after waiting for a significant time they allowed Seth to claim as the rightful king of Egypt. Isis did not give up and continue looking for her husband until she found the coffin Seth had concealed him in. When Seth found out that Orisis’ body had been discovered he got enraged and furiously cut it into pieces and scattered those pieces around. Isis transformed herself into a bird, and with the help of their sister Nephthys, found and reunited the parts of her dead husband’s body, then magically made his body whole again.
But he was a mummy. She had intercourse with the mummy of her husband and 9 months later had a son whom she named Horus. Orisis after fulfilling his purpose returned to the underworld as the God of resurrection. Isis hid with her son Horus, raised him alone until he was old enough to avenge his father’s death and claim back his throne.
Amun is regarded in ancient history as the God of the sun and air. Some scriptures also call him the hidden God or the hidden one. Amun was considered as one of the most powerful gods of ancient Egypt. He happens to be one of the 9 major Gods that birthed the innumerable other Gods that carried on the lineage of their ancestral Gods. However, some myths consider him the omnipotent sovereign who was the first-ever God and was not reproduced by any parent Gods. Owing to this vindication he is also remembered in history as the God of fertility. During the era of the New Kingdom period in Egypt, was when he gained the reputation of the monotheist deity. Other gods and goddesses were even considered mere aspects of Amun during this time.
Anubis is commemorated in history as the God who devised and concocted the concept of mummifying in ancient Egypt. Acquiring such an important position in Egyptian history, it’s not astounding at all that Anubis is one of the 9 major Gods of ancient Egyptian mythology. Anubis started to gain immense popularity in the per-dynastic era. Legend has it that Anubis was a canine-like supreme being who was formed to cosmetically control the actions of some pesky jackals that dug up old bodies. He wanted those dead bodies to reach their afterlife in an honored way so he introduced the notion of mummifying the dead. We can see figures of Anubis on the royal tombs until today.
At first, Anubis was associated with Ra and Hesat as their son. However, in the Middle Kingdom, when Osiris gained popularity as the God of resurrection/death the myth of Anubis of being Orisis’ son was re-envisioned. This theory increased Anubis’ popularity by manifolds.
Geb and Nut
Geb and Nut were a divine couple as per the ancient history. Geb was the God of Earth while Nut was the goddess of the sky. They were both the children of Shu and Tefnut who also happened to be siblings. These two controlled the winds, Shu governed dry air while Tefnut was the goddess of the corrosive wind. Geb and Nut bore four children together Orisis, Isis, Seth, and Nephthys. (We have already read their story above)
Geb controlled all the activities of the earth and guided the dead to heaven. He offered them food and drink. There is also a very dark and grave tale associated with Geb that how he fell in love with his own mother Tefnut and after the death of his father Shu, raped his mother in Memphis. Despite this disturbing tale he was still a very popular God of his time as per the myth. It is also said that every time Geb would laugh the earth would have to bear jolts of an earthquake.
Now coming towards Nut, she was the goddess of the sky who controlled the cloud formation and rain. Legend says that Nut was the goddess who would give birth to the Sun every day. Later on the day, she would swallow the sun again making it dark, then the next morning she would give birth to the sun again and morning would occur.
Apart from the 9 primeval Gods and Goddesses mentioned in this piece of writing and apart from some of the stories discussed here, there happen to be millions of other such divine deities probed, scrutinized, and discussed in the ancient Egyptian mythology. This article might have shed light on a handful of them but there is still a lot more in history for our readers to discover and explore.