Reaching back as far as 3000 BCE and continuing even into the Greco-Roman period, ancient Egypt is a rich source of mythology. The Egyptians were polytheistic. Polytheistic means they believed in many different gods and goddesses. There are around 2,000 known Ancient Egyptian Gods and Goddess.
However, some of them were much more prominent than others. The most important ones are the 10 gods and goddesses listed here. Their cults were widespread throughout Egypt and had their own priesthoods.
Some of them have very complex and confusing stories, which we will explore in more detail below. There are also many less significant gods and goddesses, like Sekhmet’s husband, who are not listed here.
The popularity of a given god could fluctuate over time and between areas of the country. At different points in history, the importance of one or another deity might even decline to the point where they became insignificant. Even so, there were a few gods that stood out above all the rest. Because of their universal significance to both commoners and Pharaohs alike. These include:
- Ptah (the god of craftsmen)
- Osiris (the god of the afterlife and death)
- Isis (the goddess of motherhood)
- Ra (the sun god), Anubis (the god of mummification)
- Amun (who had many different manifestations).
Osiris is the king of the ancient Egyptian Gods in the cosmological hierarchy. He was the first child of Nut and Geb and the husband of Isis, who became the most revered goddess in Egypt. In some myths, he is the brother of Seth. At first, Osiris was a god of vegetation, and then he became the king of the gods. He was revered as a judge of the dead who would weigh the hearts of the deceased against his scale.
Osiris’s jealous brother Seth killed him, put his corpse into a casket, and drowned it. His devoted wife Isis found his body, and with the help of her sister Nephthys, she brought him back to life. Osiris then descended to the underworld, becoming its ruler, and appointed his son Horus to rule in his place on earth.
Isis (also known as Mut-Netier) was the “Mother of the Gods.” She was famous as Eset, which means “Goddess of the Throne.” Isis is the wife of Osiris, the ruler of the underworld, and the mother of Hours, the falcon sky god.
Due to the Osiris myth and her genuine concern for other gods, she became the most potent and well-known goddess in Egyptian mythology. She appeared to them after she passed away to lead them to paradise. She was portrayed as having a tail and a throne on her head.
Isis was one of the final gods of the ancient Egyptians who was still revered. She was associated with the Greek goddess Aphrodite during the Greco-Roman era.
Other names for Seth include Set, Setekh, Suty, and Sutekh. He was Osiris’s evil brother, Geb and Nut’s son, and the ancient Egyptian god of chaos, darkness, and violence. He is portrayed as a man with an unidentified animal head. The Greeks frequently referred to him as a Typhonian since they connected him to the god Typhon. He has also been portrayed as a pig, a donkey, and a hippopotamus. Most other gods hated Seth because he killed his brother and took the Egyptian throne.
Many researchers today believe that the Seth animal is a mythological composite and that there was never such an animal.
Ptah is the creator-god of Memphis and the patron of craftsmen. He is the personification of the creative force that brought everything into being. As the god of artisans, he was also considered present in every creative process. He was often depicted as a bearded man wearing a crown or a rectangular headdress. He is shown holding a staff and a piece of papyrus; in some images, he has a shen or feather on his head. Ptah was the patron god of Memphis, the first capital of Egypt, where he was revered as the creator of the world. Peopl*e believed that he had made everything, including the gods, and had given humans their skills and professions.
Neith was the ancient Egyptian goddess of creation, procreation, destruction, and weaving. She was not a primary deity. Neith was thought to be present in every creative process. She was associated with weaving, but she was also associated with destruction. In some myths, like those of Osiris and Set, she is the one who destroys the world. Neith was considered to be a virgin goddess. She was one of the oldest deities in Egypt.
Her cult center was in the city of Sais, and she was associated with the nearby lake. There is some evidence that she was originally a deity of the Semitic people in the Nile Delta. But she became an essential goddess in the Egyptian pantheon.
Mars (also known as Hora) was the Egyptian god of war and hunting. When the Egyptians began to engage in warfare, they chose this god as their patron. His image was carried into battle and was believed to be present in every battle. Some images of Mars show him as a young man wearing a crown with horns or as a hawk or lion.
Mars was associated with the desert and the south and depicted as a person of colour. He was thought to bring destruction and was associated with the hot weather of summer. He was also the patron god of hunters.
Horus or Hora Horus was the god of the sea and of water, and he was associated with the inundation of the Nile. In some myths, he is the son of Osiris and Isis. In other myths, he is the son of Nut. He was thought to have sailed the Nile with his “Eye of Ra,” symbolising the sun.
Horus suffered an eye injury when he was young, and after the injury, he sailed the Nile wearing a blue crown. Horus was from the eastern side of Egypt, and in some myths, he is the brother of Set. In some myths, Horus brought life to the land through flooding of Nile, which brought water and fertility to the land.
Sekhmet was the warlike lion-headed goddess of healing, who was believed to bring pestilence and disease when she was angry. In some myths, she is the daughter or wife of Ptah. She was depicted as a lioness-headed woman wearing a headdress with a sun disk and feathers.
Sekhmet was associated with the breath of life that brought healing to people. She received offerings from people who were sick, and she was thought to cure them. Sekhmet was also the patron of doctors, who were known as the “Followers of the Goddess.”
Bastet, or Basteen Bastet, was the goddess of protection. He was associated with wild cats, particularly the lion and the desert sand cat. She was also associated with fertility and the solar disk. In some myths, she is the daughter of Re, the sun god. In other myths, she is the wife of Ptah. She was thought to bring prosperity and health to people.
She was also the patron of artists. Bastet was associated with the eastern side of Egypt. She was depicted as a woman with a cat’s head or a cat dressed as a woman. She was associated with the rising sun and was depicted with a solar disk on her head. Bastet was the protector of people and their homes. She was believed to bring prosperity and health to people. She was also associated with artistry, as many artists used images of cats in their work.
Through this article, we explored the ancient Egyptian Gods and Goddess, who ruled the world of the pharaohs, and how their stories are still relevant today. Many gods can be connected to modern concepts, such as the goddess Bastet, a symbol of protection and fertility. Egyptian mythology is incredibly complex. You can discover fascinating stories thousands of years old by exploring them.