Summaries of Notable
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Amen(Amon, Amun, Ammon, Amoun)
Amen's name means "The Hidden One." Amen was the patron deity of the city of
Thebes from earliest times, and was viewed (along with his consort Amenet) as a
primordial creation-deity by the priests of Hermopolis. His sacred animals were
the goose and the ram.
Up to the Middle Kingdom Amen was merely a local god in Thebes; but when the
Thebans had established their sovereignty in Egypt, Amen became a prominent
deity, and by Dynasty XVIII was termed the King of the Gods. His famous temple,
Karnak, is the largest religious structure ever built by man. According to
Budge, Amen by Dynasty XIX-XX was thought of as "an invisible creative power
which was the source of all life in heaven, and on the earth, and in the great
deep, and in the Underworld, and which made itself manifest under the form of
Ra." Additionally, Amen appears to have been the protector of any pious devotee
Amen was self-created, according to later traditions; according to the older
Theban traditions, Amen was created by Thoth as one of the eight primordial
deities of creation (Amen, Amenet, Heq, Heqet, Nun, Naunet, Kau, Kauket).
During the New Kingdom, Amen's consort was Mut, "Mother," who seems to have
been the Egyptian equivalent of the "Great Mother" archetype. The two thus
formed a pair reminiscent of the God and Goddess of other traditions such as
Wicca. Their child was the moon god Khons.
See also Amen-Ra,
(Amon-Re)A composite deity, devised by the priests of Amen as an
attempt to link New Kingdom (Dyn. XVIII-XXI) worship of Amen with the older
solar cult of the god Ra. In a union of this sort, the deities are said to
indwell one another - so we have the power represented by Amen manifesting
through the person of Ra (or vice versa). This sort of relationship is common
among Egyptian gods, particularly among cosmic or national deities. It is an
example of how the Egyptian gods are viewed, as Morenz puts it, of having
"personality but not individuality."
See also Amen,
(Imsety, Mestha; Golden Dawn, Ameshet)One of the Four Sons of Horus,
Amset was represented as a mummified man. He was the protector of the liver of
the deceased, and was protected by the goddess Isis.
See also Four Sons
of Horus, Isis.
(Anpu; Golden Dawn, Ano-Oobist)Anubis (Greek, from Egyptian
Anpu) was the son of Nephthys: by some traditions, the father was Set; by
others, Osiris. (And by still other traditions his mother was Isis.) Anubis was
depicted as a jackal, or as a jackal-headed man; in primitive times he was
probably simply the jackal god.
Owing perhaps to the jackal's tendency to prowl around tombs, he became
associated with the dead, and by the Old Kingdom, Anubis was worshipped as the
inventor of embalming, who had embalmed the dead Osiris, thus helping preserve
him in order to live again. His task became to glorify and preserve all the
Anubis was also worshipped under the form Upuaut ("Opener of the
Ways"), sometimes with a rabbit's head, who conducted the souls of the dead to
their judgement, and who monitored the Scales of Truth to protect the dead from
the second death in the underworld.
See also Nephthys,
AnuketIn Upper Egypt, around Elephantine, Anuket was worshipped as the
companion (generally the daughter) of Khnum and Sati. Her sacred animal was the
gazelle. She was believed to be the dispenser of cool water, and wore a
feathered crown on her human head.
See also Khnum,
ApisAn early deity, probably the best known Egyptian deity represented
only as an animal, and never as a human with an animal's head. Apis was most
closely linked with Ptah, and his cult center was Memphis. He was primarily a
deity of fertility. He was represented as a bull crowned with the solar disk and
uraeus-serpent. A sacred Apis bull was kept in Memphis, and there is a great
mass burial of Apis bulls, the Serapeum, located there.
See also Ptah.
(Aton)The sun itself, recognized first in the Middle Kingdom, and later
becoming an aspect of the sun god. In the reign of Amenhotep IV during Dynasty
XVIII, Aten was depicted as a disk with rays, each ray terminating in a human
hand and bestowing symbols of "life" upon those below. Aten was declared the
only true deity during this period, but the worship of Amen and the other
deities was restored by Amenhotep IV's successor Tutankhamen. Morenz believes
the name "Aten" was pronounced something like "Yati" during the height of its
AtumA primordial creator god, worshipped as the head of the
Heliopolitan family of gods. Father of Shu and Tefnut, and in later times
believed to be one with the sun god Ra.
See also Ra.
(Bastet)A cat-goddess, worshiped in the Delta city of Bubastis. A
protectress of cats and those who cared for cats. As a result, an important
deity in the home (since cats were prized pets) and also important in the
iconography (since the serpents which attack the sun god were usually
represented in papyri as being killed by cats).
She was viewed as the beneficient side of the lioness-goddess Sekhmet. See
BesA deity of either African or Semitic origin; came to Egypt by
Dynasty XII. Depicted as a bearded, savage-looking yet comical dwarf, shown
full-face in images (highly unusual by Egyptian artistic conventions). Revered
as a deity of household pleasures such as music, good food, and relaxation. Also
a protector and entertainer of children.
(Tuamutef; Golden Dawn, Thmoomathph)One of the Four Sons of Horus,
Duamutef was represented as a mummified man with the head of a jackal. He was
the protector of the stomach of the deceased, and was protected by the goddess
See also Four Sons
of Horus, Neith.
EdjoA serpent goddess of the Delta, a symbol and protrectress of Lower
Egypt, the counterpart of Nekhbet in Upper Egypt, worn as part of the king's
See also Nekhbet.
Four Sons of HorusThe four sons of Horus were the protectors of the
parts of the body of Osiris, and from this, became the protectors of the body of
the deceased. They were: Amset, Hapi, Duamutef, and Qebhsenuef. They were
protected in turn by the goddesses Isis, Nephthys, Neith, and Selket. See
(Seb)The god of the earth, son of Shu and Tefnut, brother and husband
of Nut, and father of Osiris, Set, Isis, and Nephthys. Sacred animal and symbol
was the goose. He is generally represented as a man with green or black skin -
the color of living things, and the color of the fertile Nile mud, respectively.
It was said that Geb would hold imprisoned the souls of the wicked, that they
might not ascend to heaven. Note Geb is masculine, contrasting with many other
traditions of Earth being female.
See also Nut.
HaditSee Horus of
(Golden Dawn, Ahephi)One of the Four Sons of Horus, Hapi was
represented as a mummified man with the head of a baboon. He was the protector
of the lungs of the deceased, and was protected by the goddess Nephthys.
The name Hapi, spelled with different hieroglyphs, in most but not all cases,
is also the name of the god who was the personification of the River Nile,
depicted as a corpulent man (fat signifying abundance) with a crown of lilies
(Upper Nile) or papyrus plants (Lower Nile).
See also Four Sons
of Horus, Nephthys.
(Het-heru, Het-Hert)A very old goddess of Egypt, worshiped as a
cow-deity from earliest times. The name "Hathor" is the Greek corruption of the
variants Het-Hert ("the House Above") and Het-Heru ("the House of Horus"). Both
terms refer to her as a sky goddess. She was frequently equated with Isis. She
was worshipped at Edfu as the consort of Horus. At Thebes, she was considered
the goddess of the dead. She was also the patron of love, dance, alcohol, and
See also Isis.
(Hor-pa-kraat; Golden Dawn, Hoor-par-kraat)"Horus the Child", the son
of Isis and Osiris as a little suckling child, distinguished from Horus the
Elder, who was the patron deity of Upper Egypt. Represented as a young boy with
a child's sidelock of hair, sucking his finger. The Golden Dawn attributed
Silence to him, presumably because the sucking of the finger is suggestive of
the common "shhh" gesture. See also Horus.
HeqetA primordial goddess with the head of a frog, worshipped as one of
the Eight Gods at Hermopolis, and seen as the consort of Khnum at Antinoe.
See also Khnum.
Heru-ra-haA composite deity in Crowley's quasi-Egyptian mythology;
composed of Ra-Hoor-Khuit and Hoor-par-kraat. The name, translated into
Egyptian, means something approximating "Horus and Ra be Praised!" Of course,
this could simply be another corruption due to the inferior Victorian
understanding of the Egyptian language, and it is possible Crowley had something
entirely different in mind for the translation of the name.
See also Ra-Horakhty,
(Hor)One of the most important deities of Egypt. As the Child, Horus is
the son of Osiris and Isis, who, upon reaching adulthood, avenges his father's
death, by defeating and castrating his evil uncle Set. He then became the divine
prototype of the Pharaoh.
As Heru-Ur, "Horus the Elder", he was the patron deity of Upper
(Southern) Egypt from the earliest times; initially, viewed as the twin brother
of Set (the patron of Lower Egypt), but he became the conqueror of Set c. 3100
B.C.E. when Upper Egypt conquered Lower Egypt and formed the unified kingdom of
See also Isis,
Horus of Behedet
(Hadit)A form of Horus worshipped in the city of Behdet, shown in the
well-known form of a solar disk with a great pair of wings, usually seen
hovering above important scenes in Egyptian religious art. Made popular by
Aleister Crowley under the poorly transliterated name "Hadit", the god appears
to have been a way of depicting the omnipresence of Horus. As Crowley says in
Magick in Theory and Practice, "the infinitely small and atomic yet
omnipresent point is called HADIT."
See also Horus.
(Imouthis)Imhotep was the architect, physician, scribe, and grand
vizier of the IIIrd Dynasty pharaoh Zoser. It was Imhotep who conceived and
built the Step Pyramid at Sakkara. In the Late Period, Imhotep was worshipped as
the son of Ptah and a god of medicine, as well as the patron (with Thoth) of
scribes. The Greeks considered him to be Asklepios.
See also Ptah,
(Auset)Perhaps the most important goddess of all Egyptian mythology,
Isis assumed, during the course of Egyptian history, the attributes and
functions of virtually every other important goddess in the land. Her most
important functions, however, were those of motherhood, marital devotion,
healing the sick, and the working of magical spells and charms. She was believed
to be the most powerful magician in the universe, owing to the fact that she had
learned the Secret Name of Ra from the god himself. She was the sister and wife
of Osiris, sister of Set, and twin sister of Nephthys. She was the mother of
Horus the Child (Harpocrates), and was the protective goddess of Horus's son
Amset, protector of the liver of the deceased.
Isis was responsible for protecting Horus from Set during his infancy; for
helping Osiris to return to life; and for assisting her husband to rule in the
land of the Dead.
Her cult seems to have originally centered, like her husband's, at Abydos
near the Delta in the North (Lower Egypt); she was adopted into the family of Ra
early in Egyptian history by the priests of Heliopolis, but from the New Kingdom
onwards (c. 1500 BC) her worship no longer had any particular identifiable
center, and she became more or less universally worshiped, as her husband was.
See also Horus,
(Keper)The creator-god, according to early Heliopolitan cosmology;
assimilated with Atum and Ra. The Egyptian root "kheper" signifies several
things, according to context, most notably the verb "to create" or "to
transform", and also the word for "scarab beetle". The scarab, or dung beetle,
was considered symbolic of the sun since it rolled a ball of dung in which it
laid its eggs around with it - this was considered symbolic of the sun god
propelling the sphere of the sun through the sky.
See also Ra.
KhnumAppearing as a ram-headed human, Khnum was worshipped most at
Antinoe and Elephantine. He was another creator-god, represented as fashioning
human beings on his pottery wheel. His consort was variously Heqet, Neith, or
See also Sati.
(Chons)The third member (with his parents Amen and Mut) of the great
triad of Thebes. Khons was the god of the moon. The best-known story about him
tells of him playing the ancient game senet ("passage") against Thoth,
and wagering a portion of his light. Thoth won, and because of losing some of
his light, Khons cannot show his whole glory for the entire month, but must wax
and wane. The main temple in the enclosure at Karnak is dedicated to him.
See also Amen,
MaatConsidered the wife of Thoth and the daughter of Ra by various
traditions, Maat's name implies "truth" and "justice" and even "cosmic order",
but there is no clear English equivalent. She is an anthropomorphic
personification of the concept maat and as such has little mythology.
Maat was represented as a tall woman with an ostrich feather (the glyph for her
name) in her hair. She was present at the judgement of the dead; her feather was
balanced against the heart of the deceased to determine whether he had led a
pure and honest life.
See also Thoth.
(Menu, Amsu)A form of Amen depicted holding a flail (thought to
represent a thunderbolt in Egyptian art) and with an erect penis; his full name
was often given as Menu-ka-mut-f ("Min, Bull of his Mother"). Min was
worshiped as the god of virility; lettuces were offered as sacrifice to him and
then eaten in hopes of procuring manhood; and he was worshiped as the husband of
the goddess Qetesh, goddess of love and femininity.
See also Amen,
(Mentu, Men Thu)The principal god of Thebes before the rise of the Amen
cult; appeared as a falcon-headed man and often united with Horus. Primarily a
(Golden Dawn, Auramooth)The wife of Amen in Theban tradition; the word
mut in Egyptian means "mother", and she was the mother of Khonsu, the
See also Amen,
NefertumThe youthful son of Ptah and Sekhmet, connected with the rising
sun; depicted as a youth crowned with or seated upon a lotus blossom.
See also Ptah.
(Net, Neit; Golden Dawn, Thoum-aesh-neith)A very ancient goddess of
war, worshiped in the Delta; revered as a goddess of wisdom, identified with
Athena by the Greeks; in later traditions, the sister of Isis, Nephthys, and
Selket, and protectress of Duamutef, the god of the stomach of the deceased.
Mother of the crocodile god Sobek.
See also Sobek.
NekhbetUpper Egyptian patron goddess, represented as a vulture in
iconography, and often part of the crown of the pharaoh, along with her Lower
Egyptian counterpart Edjo.
See also Edjo.
(Nebt-het)The youngest child of Geb and Nut. The sister and wife of
Set, and sister of Isis and Osiris; also the mother (variantly by Set or by
Osiris) of Anubis. She abandoned Set when he killed Osiris, and assisted Isis in
the care of Horus and the resurrection of Osiris. She was, along with her
sister, considered the special protectress of the dead, and she was the guardian
of Hapi, the protector of the lungs of the deceased. See also Isis,
(Nuit)The goddess of the sky, daughter of Shu and Tefnut, sister and
wife of Geb, mother of Osiris, Set, Isis, and Nephthys. Described by Crowley in
his Magick in Theory and Practice thus: "Infinite space is called the
Nut was generally depicted as a woman with blue skin, and her body covered
with stars, standing on all fours, leaning over her husband, representing the
sky arched over the earth.
Her relationship to Hadit is an invention of Crowley's with no basis in
Egyptology, save only that Hadit was often depicted underneath Nut - one finds
Nut forming the upper frame of a scene, and the winged disk Hadit floating
beneath, silently as always. This is an artistic convention, and there was no
marriage between the two in Egyptian myth.
See also Geb, Shu.
(Ausar)The god of the dead, and the god of the resurrection into
eternal life; ruler, protector, and judge of the deceased, and his prototype
(the deceased was in historical times usually referred to as "the Osiris"). His
cult originated in Abydos, where his actual tomb was said to be located.
Osiris was the first child of Nut and Geb, thus the brother of Set, Nephthys,
and Isis, who was also his wife. By Isis he fathered Horus, and according to
some stories, Nephthys assumed the form of Isis, seduced him thus, and from
their union was born Anubis.
Osiris ruled the world of men in the beginning, after Ra had abandoned the
world to rule the skies, but he was murdered by his brother Set. Through the
magic of Isis, he was made to live again. Being the first living thing to die,
he subsequently became lord of the dead. His death was avenged by his son Horus,
who defeated Set and cast him out into the desert to the West of Egypt (the
Prayers and spells were addressed to Osiris throughout Egyptian history, in
hopes of securing his blessing and entering the afterlife which he ruled; but
his popularity steadily increased through the Middle Kingdom. By Dynasty XVIII
he was probably the most widely worshipped god in Egypt. His popularity endured
until the latest phases of Egyptian history; reliefs still exist of Roman
emperors, conquerors of Egypt, dressed in the traditional garb of the Pharaohs,
making offerings to him in the temples.
See also Anubis,
(deified kings)From earliest times in Egypt the pharaohs were
worshipped as gods: the son of Ra, the son of Horus, the son of Amen, etc.
depending upon what period of Egyptian history and what part of the country is
being considered. It should be noted that prayers, sacrifices, etc. to the
pharaohs were extremely rare, if they occured at all - there seems to be little
or no evidence to support an actual cult of the pharaoh. The pharaoh was looked
upon as being chosen by and favored by the gods, his fathers.
PtahWorshipped in Memphis from the earliest dynastic times (c.3100 BC),
Ptah was seen as the creator of the universe in the Memphite cosmology. He
fashioned the bodies in which dwelt the souls of men in the afterlife. Other
versions of the myths state that he worked under Thoth's orders, creating the
heavens and the earth according to Thoth's specifications.
Ptah is depicted as a bearded man wearing a skullcap, shrouded much like a
mummy, with his hands emerging from the wrappings in front and holding the Uas
(phoenix-headed) scepter, an Ankh, and a Djed (sign of stability). He was often
worshipped in conjunction with the gods Seker and Osiris, and worshipped under
the name Ptah-seker-ausar.
He was said to be the husband of Sekhmet and the father of Nefertum (and
(Kabexnuf, Qebsneuef)One of the Four Sons of Horus, Qebhsenuef was
represented as a mummified man with the head of a falcon. He was the protector
of the intestines of the deceased, and was protected by the goddess Selket.
See also Four Sons
of Horus, Selket.
QeteshOriginally believed to be a Syrian deity, Qetesh was a goddess of
love and beauty. Qetesh was depicted as a beautiful nude woman, standing or
riding upon a lion, holding flowers, a mirror, or serpents. She is generally
shown full-face (unusual in Egyptian artistic convention). She was also
considered the consort of the god Min, the god of virility.
See also Min.
RaRa was the god of the sun during dynastic Egypt; the name is thought
to have meant "creative power", and as a proper name "Creator", similar to
English Christian usage of the term "Creator" to signify the "almighty God."
Very early in Egyptian history Ra was identified with Horus, who as a hawk or
falon-god represented the loftiness of the skies. Ra is represented either as a
hawk-headed man or as a hawk. In order to travel through the waters of Heaven
and the Underworld, Ra was depicted as traveling in a boat.
During dynastic Egypt Ra's cult center was Annu (Hebrew "On", Greek
"Heliopolis", modern-day "Cairo"). In Dynasty V, the first king, Userkaf, was
also Ra's high priest, and he added the term Sa-Ra ("Son of Ra") to the
titulary of the pharaohs.
Ra was father of Shu and Tefnut, grandfather of Nut and Geb,
great-grandfather of Osiris, Set, Isis, and Nephthys, and
great-great-grandfather to Horus. In later periods (about Dynasty 18 on) Osiris
and Isis superceded him in popularity, but he remained Ra netjer-aa
neb-pet ("Ra, the great God, Lord of Heaven") whether worshiped in his own
right or, in later times, as one aspect of the Lord of the Universe, Amen-Ra.
See also Amen-Ra,
(Ra-Hoor-Khuit)"Ra, who is Horus of the Horizons." An appelation of Ra,
identifying him with Horus, showing the two as manifestations of the singular
Solar Force. The spelling "Ra-Hoor-Khuit" was popularized by Aleister Crowley,
first in the Book of the Law (Liber AL vel Legis).
See also Horus,
SatiThe goddess of Elephantine, and the consort of Khnum. Together with
their companion Anuket, dispenser of cool water. Represented with human head,
the crown of Upper Egypt, and the horns of gazelles.
See also Anuket,
SekerA god of light, protector of the spirits of the dead passing
through the Underworld en route to the afterlife. Seker was worshiped in Memphis
as a form of Ptah or as part of the compound deities Ptah-seker or
Ptah-seker-ausar. Seker was usually depicted as having the head of a hawk, and
shrouded as a mummy, similar to Ptah.
See also Ptah.
SekhmetA lioness-goddess, worshiped in Memphis as the wife of Ptah;
created by Ra from the fire of his eyes as a creature of vengeance to punish
mankind for his sins; later, became a peaceful protectress of the righteous,
closely linked with the benevolent Bast.
See also Bast,
(Serqet, Serket)A scorpion-goddess, shown as a beautiful woman with a
scorpion poised on her head; her creature struck death to the wicked, but she
was also petitioned to save the lives of innocent people stung by scorpions; she
was also viewed as a helper of women in childbirth. She is depicted as binding
up demons that would otherwise threaten Ra, and she sent seven of her scorpions
to protect Isis from Set.
She was the protectress of Qebehsenuf, the son of Horus who guarded the
intestines of the deceased. She was made famous by her statue from Tutankhamen's
tomb, which was part of the collection which toured America in the 1970's.
See also Isis.
SerapisA Ptolemaic period god, devised by the Greeks from Osiris and
Apis. Supposedly the consort of Isis, god of the afterlife and fertility. Also
physician and helper of distressed worshippers. Never obtained much following
from the native Egyptian population. His cult center was Alexandria.
See also Apis,
(Seth)In earliest times, Set was the patron deity of Lower (Northern)
Egypt, and represented the fierce storms of the desert whom the Lower Egyptians
sought to appease. However, when Upper Egypt conquered Lower Egypt and ushered
in the First Dynasty, Set became known as the evil enemy of Horus (Upper Egypt's
Set was the brother of Osiris, Isis, and Nephthys, and husband of the latter;
according to some versions of the myths he is also father of Anubis.
Set is best known for murdering his brother and attempting to kill his nephew
Horus; Horus, however, managed to survive and grew up to avenge his father's
death by establishing his rule over all Egypt, castrating Set, and casting him
out into the lonely desert for all time.
In the 19th Dynasty there began a resurgence of respect for Set, and he was
seen as a great god once more, the god who benevolently restrained the forces of
the desert and protected Egypt from foreigners.
See also Anubis,
ShuThe god of the atmosphere and of dry winds, son of Ra, brother and
husband of Tefnut, father of Geb and Nut. Represented in hieroglyphs by an
ostrich feather (similar to Maat's), which he is usually shown wearing on his
head. He is generally shown standing on the recumbent Geb, holding aloft his
daughter Nut, separating the two.
The name "Shu" is probably related to the root shu meaning "dry,
empty." Shu also seems to be a personification of the sun's light. Shu and
Tefnut were also said to be but two halves of one soul, perhaps the earliest
recorded example of "soulmates."
See also Tefnut.
SobekThe crocodile-god, worshipped at the city of Arsinoe, called
Crocodilopolis by the Greeks. Sobek was worshipped to appease him and his
animals. According to some evidence, Sobek was considered a fourfold deity who
represented the four elemental gods (Ra of fire, Shu of air, Geb of earth, and
Osiris of water). In the Book of the Dead, Sobek assists in the birth of Horus;
he fetches Isis and Nephthys to protect the deceased; and he aids in the
destruction of Set.
SothisFeminine Egyptian name for the star Sirius, which very early
meshed with Isis (being the consort of Sahu-Osiris, which was Orion). Also
associated with Hathor.
See also Hathor,
TefnutThe goddess of moisture and clouds, daughter of Ra, sister and
wife of Shu, mother of Geb and Nut. Depicted as a woman with the head of a
lioness, which was her sacred animal. The name "Tefnut" probably derives from
the root teftef, signifying "to spit, to moisten" and the root nu
meaning "waters, sky."
See also Shu.
(Tahuti)The god of wisdom, Thoth was said to be self-created at the
beginning of time, along with his consort Maat (truth), or perhaps created by
Ra. At Hermopolis it was said that from Thoth were produced eight children, of
which the most important was Amen, "the hidden one", who was worshiped in Thebes
as the Lord of the Universe. The name "Thoth" is the Greek corruption of the
original Egyptian Tahuti. Thoth was depicted as a man with the head of an
ibis bird, and carried a pen and scrolls upon which he recorded all things. He
was shown as attendant in almost all major scenes involving the gods, but
especially at the judgement of the deceased. He served as the messenger of the
gods, and was thus equated by the Greeks with Hermes.
Thoth served in Osirian myths as the vizier (chief advisor and minister) of
Osiris. He, like Khons, is a god of the moon, and is also the god of time,
magic, and writing. He was considered the inventor of the hieroglyphs.
See also Amen,
(Ta-urt)A hippopotamus goddess, responsible for fertility and
protecting women in childbirth. Partner of Bes.
See also Bes.