Egyptian Mythology Timeline

Egyptian Mythology Timeline

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  • c. 4000 BCE

    Depictions of gods and afterlife on walls of Egyptian tombs.

  • c. 3200 BCE

    Hieroglyphic script developed in Egypt.

  • c. 2560 BCE

    The Great Pyramid of Giza is constructed by Pharaoh Khufu (Cheops).

  • c. 2500 BCE

  • c. 1550 BCE - 1070 BCE

What Were the Ancient Egyptian Creation Myths?

The ancient Egyptians, like all literate cultures, developed a written cosmogony that explained how the world was created. The Egyptians believed that their gods and goddesses played significant roles in the creation of the physical world and later humanity. At first glance, ancient Egyptian cosmogony does not seem very different than those of other cultures. A closer examination reveals that the Egyptian system had one very notable difference than all others – there were three creation myths.

The three ancient Egyptian creation myths corresponded to the cities where they originated: Hermopolis, Memphis, and Heliopolis. Each of these cities also represented a critical deity – Amun, Ptah, and Atum, respectively – and a specific way in which creation took place. To modern people, it may seem strange and contradictory that the ancient Egyptians had three seemingly disparate creation myths. Still, it was all quite logical and keeping with the complex Egyptian view the universe.

Egyptian Cosmogony and Cosmology

Unlike many other literate pre-modern cultures, such as the Greeks and Romans, the early ancient Egyptians had few narrative myth cycles and none that related to cosmogony or cosmology. The Egyptians did have creation myths, but they were not written in a narrative style as others in other cultures. The Egyptian creation myths are mentioned in fragments from a number of different Egyptian texts, most notably the Pyramid Texts, the Coffin Texts, and the Book of the Dead. These three texts consist of collections of “utterances” and “spells” that were intended to send a deceased person into the afterlife successfully. although they also make mention of the creation of the universe and the gods that were involved. [1]

It was not until the New Kingdom (c. 1550-1069 BC) when the Egyptians began to write myths in a narrative form and it was not until the Ptolemaic and Roman Periods (332-Christian Era) when the collections of disparate spells and mentions of creation in the older texts were transferred into a narrative. [2]

The non-narrative nature of early Egyptian creation myths is certainly interesting, but a fascinating aspect of Egyptian cosmogony was the simultaneous existence of three creation myths. It was once believed that the plurality of creation myths was the result of the three cities being “cult centers” of three major gods: the god of a particular city and his accompanying myth took precedence over all others to his followers. However, the other gods and goddesses were not necessarily ignored. This view still holds sway with some Egyptologists.

Most now believe, based on studies of the ancient Egyptian concept of time, that the ancient Egyptians simply viewed the three myths as different perspectives of creation and that there was no intellectual contradiction to see all three versions taking place simultaneously. [3]

The Hermopolitan Creation Myth

The oldest of the three Egyptian creation myths was the Hermopolitan myth, which was named for the city from where it originated: Khemnu, or more commonly known by its Greek name, Hermopolis. According to the Hermopolitan myth, life began in the primeval waters, which birthed the Ogdoad, or eight original deities. The eight original deities were grouped in male-female pairs and included: Nun and Naunet, Heh and Heuhet, Kek and Kauket, and Amun and Amaunet. The details of the physical creation itself are a bit vague in the Hermopolitan myth and instead focus on the “numinous and mysterious force of the divine creative power.” [4]

The most important god of the Hermopolitan creation myth was Amun, who was known as the “Hidden One,” indicating the numinous and mysterious force mentioned by Tobin. Amun grew in importance during Egypt’s Middle Kingdom (c. 2055-1650 BC) until he became the national god during the Eighteenth Dynasty (c. 1550-1295 BC) of the New Kingdom. Amun’s attributes as a creator god were later combined with more martial elements, which was indicative of the period. [5] Where the creation in the Hermopolitan myth was somewhat enigmatic and connected to a mysterious force, creation according to the Memphis myth was the result of intellect.

The Memphite Creation Myth

Memphis (Egyptian “Mennefer”) served as Egypt’s political capital for much of its history, and it was also the primary cult center of the god Ptah. Like Amun, Ptah was depicted in human form, but instead of wearing a feather crown, he was shown wearing a simpler skull cap. In many ways, Ptah was the most logical choice of all creator gods, as he was the god of metal workers and craftsmen. [6] Although Ptah was known to work with his hands, his act of creation was accomplished through thought and speech. The so-called “Memphite Theology” is articulated fully in a hieroglyphic text known as the Shabaqa Stone. The Shabaqa Stone is named for the Nubian king who ruled over Egypt in the Twenty-Fifth Dynasty (ruled 716-702 BC) and is dated to 710 BC, but is believed by most Egyptologists to be a copy of a Nineteenth Dynasty, or possibly even an Old Kingdom original. [7] The creation account of the text reads:

“There took shape in the heart there took shape on the tongue the form of Atum. For the very great one is Ptah, who gave [life] to all the gods and their kas through his heart and through this tongue, in which Horus had taken shape as Ptah, in which Thoth had taken shape as Ptah.” [8]

The Heliopolitan Creation Myth

The third and probably the most important of all the Egyptian cosmogonies were the Heliopolitan creation myth. The Heliopolitan myth was developed early in pharaonic history in the city of Heliopolis (Egyptian “Iunu,” biblical “On”), which was the cult center of the sun-god Atum. There are plenty of references in the Pyramid Texts to Atum and the Heliopolitan version of creation.

Theologically speaking, the Heliopolitan myth was the most straightforward and concrete of the cosmogonies, as it involved Atum emerging from a primordial mound and then creating the first four generations of male-female pairs, which became known as the Ennead. Creation in this myth, therefore, was the result of pure will and is a process with a definite beginning and end. How Atum created the Ennead is described in numerous “Utterances” of the Pyramid Texts as both physical and sexual.

“Atum is he who (once) came into being, who masturbated in On. He took his phallus in his grasp that he might create orgasm by means of it, and so were born the twins Shu and Tefenet. May they put the King between them and set the King among the gods in front of the Field of offerings.” [9]

Atum then created Geb (earth) and his consort Nut (sky) before creation Osiris (Underworld/kingship) and Isis (Magic/Queenship) and Seth (Chaos) and Nephthys (Queenship). The Heliopolitan mythic cycle is considered to have been completed by the end of the Fifth Dynasty (2494-2345 BC). [10] However, its influence resonated throughout all periods of Egyptian history.

Elements of the Heliopolitan myth permeated Egyptian theology for centuries, namely, in three primary ways. First, the idea of the afterlife was implied in the Heliopolitan myth through Osiris. The cult of Osiris increased in importance and popularity as Egyptian history progressed, eventually eclipsing Atum and the solar-cult on many levels. The idea of divine kingship was also inherent in the Heliopolitan myth. Osiris was the original god of kingship, and after Seth slew him, the position passed to his son Horus, who became a substitute for his father in the Heliopolitan myth. [11] Atum was also directly associated with kingship in a number of the Utterances from the Pyramid Texts and art was also depicted in human form, usually wearing the Double Crown of Egyptian kingship. [12]

Finally, the Heliopolitan cosmogony had a profound influence on ancient Egyptian solar theology. Atum’s solar and generative attributes are depicted in texts and art as life-giving, both in the creation and daily life. Eventually, Atum began to be associated with another sun-god, Re, in a syncretic union. The Pyramid Texts describe Re as the rising sun and Atum as the setting sun, with the two traveling together on the “Solar Barque” through the nighttime hours.

“My father ascends to the sky among the gods who are in the sky he stands at the Great Polar Region and learns the speech of the sun-folk. Re finds you on the banks of the sky as a waterway-traveller who is in the sky: ‘Welcome, O you who have arrived,’ say the gods. He sets his hand on you at the zenith of the sky ‘Welcome, O you who know your place,’ say the Ennead. Be pure occupy your seat in the Bark of Re, row over the sky and mount up to the distant ones row with the Imperishable Stars, navigate with the Unwearying Stars, receive the freight of the Night-bark.” [13]

By the New Kingdom, Re was one of the most important gods in the Egyptian pantheon and had even eclipsed Atum at Heliopolis. [14] Despite Atum being subsumed by Re, for all of the reasons discussed above, the Heliopolitan myth remained the most essential cosmogony throughout ancient Egyptian history.


The ancient Egyptians had a world view that may seem quite strange and complicated to modern people. The Egyptians believed in three different creation myths and apparently never had any difficulty reconciling their simultaneous existence. An examination of the Hermopolitan, Memphite, and Heliopolitan creation myths reveals that each was valid to the ancient Egyptians because they represented three different manners of creation – inherency, mind and speech, and the sun – respectively.

Our List of the Top 15 Interesting Facts About Ancient Egypt

A civilization that flourished for approximately 3000 years had to be rich, well developed, vast and inspiring. And the ancient Egyptians were all this and more. To get better acquainted with this, we have assembled a list of the most amazing aspects of ancient Egypt.

From arts and entertainment, to religion and law, all the way to war and science - we will delve deeper into the most astonishing achievements of one of the world’s most amazing ancient civilization. Of course, it is difficult to put 3 millennia into a single article, but it should be enough to give you an idea that there are a lot of truly interesting facts about ancient Egypt, and that it definitely bears a passionate study.

Egyptian Mythology Timeline - History

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At the beginning, there were five different religious groups of people in Egypt. Each groups had different beliefs, and were based in different places.

Group Location Chief God
Ennead Heliopolis Atum (also called Atum-Ra) [2]
Ogdoad Hermopolis Thoth.
Anuket triad
Chons triad
Nefertem triad
Ptah (This is not normal because the gods were not connected before the triad was made). [2]

During the history of Egypt, the beliefs changed with the leader. When someone rose in power, their belief system rose as well. The new beliefs would combined with the beliefs that were already there. This happened even after the end of the ancient Egyptian civilization as it is known today. An example of this might be the New Kingdom. During its time, the gods Ra and Amun, became Amun-Ra. Joining to create one god is usually referred to as syncretism. [4]

The Egyptians believed that in the beginning, the universe was filled with the dark waters of chaos. The first god, Re-Atum, came from the water. Re-Atum spat and this created the gods Shu (god of air) and Tefnut (goddess of moisture). The world was created when Shu and Tefnut gave birth to two children: Nut (goddess of the sky) and Geb (god of the Earth). Humans were created when Shu and Tefnut went walking in the darkness and got lost. Re-Atum sent his eye to find them. After finding them, his tears of joy turned into people.

Nut and Geb had sex. When Shu heard about this, he did not want them to be together. He became the air between the sky and ground. He also said that the pregnant Nut could not give birth. Nut begged Thoth to help. Thoth gambled with the moon-god Khonsu. He won five more days to be added to the 360-day year. Nut had one child on each of these days: Osiris, Isis, Set, Nephthys, and Horus-the-Elder.

Osiris was the king of Egypt. His brother, Seth, murdered him and became the king. After killing him, Seth tore the body of Osiris into pieces. Isis rescued the pieces. She wanted to bury the pieces under the temple. After Seth became king, he was fought by Horus, Osiris's son. Seth lost and was sent to the desert. Seth became the god of horrible storms. Osiris was mummified by Anubis and became God of the dead. Horus became the new king. In ancient Egypt, it was believed that the pharaohs were Horus's descendants.

The ancient Greeks believed that Egyptian gods and goddesses were the descendants of their gods and goddesses. In ancient Greek Mythology, when the titan Typhon was set free, all of the Greek gods (except for Hermes and Zeus) fled to Egypt. In Greece, many of the gods made themselves turn into animals to hide themselves from Typhon. [5]

Egypt had a developed view of the afterlife with rituals for preparing the body and soul for a peaceful life after death. Beliefs about the soul and afterlife focused mainly on preserving the body. This was because they believed that the ka (a part of a person's soul that was depicted as a bird with a persons head) was still living in the body after death and it was important for the ka to be reunited with the ba, the spirit or soul to form the akh. This meant that embalming and mummification were done, in order to preserve the person's identity in the afterlife. Originally the dead were buried in reed coffins in the hot sand, which caused the remains to dry quickly, and then were buried. Later, they started constructing wooden tombs, and the long process of mummification was developed by the Egyptians around the 4th Dynasty. All soft tissues were removed, and the cavities washed and packed with natron, then the outer body was buried in natron as well. The heart was the only organ left within the body as it was believed the heart had to be weighed in the underworld to see if the person was worthy of a peaceful afterlife. The other organs were placed in 'canopic jars' which had seals depicting the heads of the Gods that guarded the intestines: Imsety,an Egyptian man who guards the liver, Hapi, a baboon who guards the lungs, Duamutef, a jackal who guards the stomach and Qebehsenuef, a falcon who guards the intestines.

After coming out of the natron, the bodies were coated inside and out with resin to preserve them, then wrapped with linen bandages, embedded with religious amulets and talismans. In the case of royalty, this was usually then placed inside a series of nested coffins. The outer layer of the coffins was a stone sarcophagus. Other creatures were also mummified, sometimes thought to be pets of Egyptian families, but more likely they represented the gods. They left the heart in place because they thought it was the home of the soul.

The Book of the Dead was a series of almost two hundred spells represented as texts, songs and pictures written on papyrus. They were individually customized for the dead. They were buried along with the dead to make their passage into the underworld easier. After working their way through lakes of fire, spitting cobras, demon jackals and giant bugs their soul is led into a hall of judgment in Duat by Anubis (god of mummification) and the deceased's heart, which was the record of the morality of the owner, is weighed against a single feather representing Ma'at (the concept of truth, and order). A heart that weighed less than the feather was considered a pure heart. This resulted in a good outcome. A heart heavy with guilt and sin from one's life weighed more than the feather, and so the heart would be eaten by Ammit (Eater of Hearts)–part crocodile, part lion, and part hippopotamus. If the outcome was good, the dead are taken to Osiris, god of the afterlife, in Aaru, but the if the out come was bad, the demon Ammit destroyed their heart which killed the soul. The person would then be placed in a special place with food just out of reach of their hands. If they ever got the food, demons would put them into a hole to make it harder for them. The Greeks wrote a myth about a King who was forced to do the same thing but he was imprisoned in a lake. Whenever he bent his head to have some water, the lake would drain away only to bring the water back when he stopped trying. There was also food above his head on a tree and whenever he reached out for it the branch would move away.

A short time of monotheism (Atenism) happened when Akhenaten (Amenhotep IV) was pharaoh. He focused the religion on the Egyptian sun god Aten. The Aten is usually shown as a sun disk with rays coming out of all sides. Akhenaten built a new capital at Amarna with temples for The Aten. Akhenaten's religion only lasted until his death. The old religion was quickly restored by Tutankhamun, Akhenaten's son by his wife Kiya.

While most historians say this period is monotheistic, some researchers do not. They say that people worshipped the royal family as gods who got their divine power from the Aten. In one picture, Akhenaten is shown with his wife Nefertiti with three of their 6 daughters sitting under the beams of the Aten. This point of view is mostly ignored by the historians. Some researchers say that Akhenaten or some of his viziers were Moses or Joseph (Bible) from the Bible.

After the fall of the Amarna dynasty, the original Egyptin pantheon was the main religion, until the development Coptic Christianity and later Islam, even though the Egyptians continued to have relations with the other monotheistic cultures (the Hebrews). Egyptian mythology put up surprisingly little resistance to the spread of Christianity. This is sometimes explained by saying that Jesus was originally a syncretism based mainly on Horus, with Isis and her worship becoming Mary.

Gender through the Ages

These are just some of the examples too. In Native American cultures, many tribes share the concept of Two Spirit, a third state of being that is considered essential in communicating between the physical and spiritual world. They are revered individuals in their communities.

Even the Aztecs, a ridged society in and of itself, had a god that was both male and female, each simply being a different aspect of the same god. They were a maize god, called Centeotl and Chicomecoátl, the former being the male pronoun, the latter the female.

Be it a god with multiple genders, a third gender, or no gender at all, it’s clear the pantheons of the ancient world had far more transgender representation than was previously assumed. But while that’s an interesting concept, it doesn’t stop there. A culture’s religious beliefs are a reflection of their ideals as a society.

While today’s religious practices may seem fixed, continuous reinterpretation and investigation is continuously underway, and many churches are opening up to the idea of transgender identity. What is clear is that transgender people have always existed and will always continue to do so. Sometimes the world, and how we interpret it through religion, just needs some time to catch up.

In the beginning, before there was any land of Egypt, all was darkness, and there was nothing but a great waste of water called Nun. The power of Nun was such that there arose out of the darkness a great shining egg, and this was Re.

Now Re was all-powerful, and he could take many forms. His power and the secret of it lay in his hidden name but if he spoke other names, that which he named came into being.

"I am Khepera at the dawn, and Re at noon, and Atum in the evening," he said. And the sun rose and passed across the sky and set for the first time.

Then he named Shu, and the first winds blew he named Tefnut the spitter, and the first rain fell. Next he named Geb, and the earth came into being he named the goddess Nut, and she was the sky arched over the earth with her feet on one horizon and her hands on the other he named Hapi, and the great River Nile flowed through Egypt and made it fruitful.

After this Re named all things that are upon the earth, and they grew. Last of all he named mankind, and there were men and women in the land of Egypt.

Then Re took on the shape of a man and became the first Pharaoh, ruling over the whole country for thousands and thousands of years, and giving such harvests that for ever afterwards the Egyptians spoke of the good things "which happened in the time of Re".

But, being in the form of a man, Re grew old. In time men no longer feared him or obeyed his laws. They laughed at him, saying: "Look at Re! His bones are like silver, his flesh like gold, his hair is the colour of lapis lazuli!"

Re was angry when he heard this, and he was more angry still at the evil deeds which men were doing in disobedience to his laws. So he called together the gods whom he had made - Shu and Tefnut and Geb and Nut - and he also summoned Nun. Soon the gods gathered about Re in his Secret Place, and the goddesses also. But mankind knew nothing of what was happening, and continued to jeer at Re and to break his commandments. Then Re spoke to Nun before the assembled gods: "Eldest of the gods, you who made me and you gods whom I have made: look upon mankind who came into being at a glance of my Eye. See how men plot against me hear what they say of me tell me what I should do to them. For I will not destroy mankind until I have heard what you advise."

Then Nun said: "My son Re, the god greater than he who made him and mightier than those whom he has created, turn your mighty Eye upon them and send destruction upon them in the form of your daughter, the goddess Sekhmet."

Re answered: "Even now fear is falling upon them and they are fleeing into the desert and hiding themselves in the mountains in terror at the sound of my voice."

"Send against them the glance of your Eye in the form Sekhmet!" cried all the other gods and goddesses, bowing before Re until their foreheads touched the ground.

So at the terrible glance from the Eye of Re his daughter came into being, the fiercest of all goddesses. Like a lion she rushed upon her prey, and her chief delight was in slaughter, and her pleasure was in blood. At the bidding of Re she came into Upper and Lower Egypt to slay those who had scorned and disobeyed him: she killed them among the mountains which lie on either side of the Nile, and down beside the river, and in the burning deserts. All whom she saw she slew, rejoicing in slaughter and the taste of blood.

Presently Re looked out over the land and saw what Sekhmet had done. Then he called to her, saying: "Come, my daughter, and tell me how you have obeyed my commands."

Sekhmet answered with the terrible voice of a lioness as she tears her prey: "By the life which you have given me, I have indeed done vengeance on mankind, and my heart rejoices."

Now for many nights the Nile ran red with blood, and Sekhmet's feet were red as she went hither and thither through all the land of Egypt slaying and slaying.

Presently Re looked out over the earth once more, and now his heart was stirred with pity for men, even though they had rebelled against him. But none could stop the cruel goddess Sekhmet, not even Re himself: she must cease from slaying of her own accord -and Re saw that this could only come about through cunning.

So he gave his command: "Bring before me swift messengers who will run upon the earth as silently as shadows and with the speed of the storm winds." When these were brought he said to them: "Go as fast as you can up the Nile to where it flows fiercely over the rocks and among the islands of the First Cataract go to the isle that is called Elephantine and bring from it a great store of the red ochre which is to be found there."

The messengers sped on their way and returned with the blood-red ochre to Heliopolis, the city of Re where stand the stone obelisks with points of gold that are like fingers pointing to the sun. It was night when they came to the city, but all day the women of Heliopolis had been brewing beer as Re bade them.

Re came to where the beer stood waiting in seven thousand jars, and the gods came with him to see how by his wisdom he would save mankind.

"Mingle the red ochre of Elephantine with the barley-beer," said Re, and it was done, so that the beer gleamed red in the moonlight like the blood of men.

"Now take it to the place where Sekhmet proposes to slay men when the sun rises," said Re. And while it was still night the seven thousand jars of beer were taken and poured out over the fields so that the ground was covered to the depth of nine inches -- three times the measure of the palm of a man's hand-with the strong beer, whose other name is "sleep-maker".

When day came Sekhmet the terrible came also, licking her lips at the thought of the men whom she would slay. She found the place flooded and no living creature in sight but she saw the beer which was the colour of blood, and she thought it was blood indeed -- the blood of those whom she had slain.

Then she laughed with joy, and her laughter was like the roar of a lioness hungry for the kill. Thinking that it was indeed blood, she stooped and drank. Again and yet again she drank, laughing with delight and the strength of the beer mounted to her brain, so that she could no longer slay.

At last she came reeling back to where Re was waiting that day she had not killed even a single man.

Then Re said: "You come in peace, sweet one." And her name was changed to Hathor, and her nature was changed also to the sweetness of love and the strength of desire. And henceforth Hathor laid low men and women only with the great power of love. But for ever after her priestesses drank in her honour of the beer of Heliopolis coloured with the red ochre of Elephantine when they celebrated her festival each New Year.

So mankind was saved, and Re continued to rule old though he was. But the time was drawing near when he must leave the earth to reign for ever in the heavens, letting the younger gods rule in his place. For dwelling in the form of a man, of a Pharaoh of Egypt, Re was losing his wisdom yet he continued to reign, and no one could take his power from him, since that power dwelt in his secret name which none knew but himself. If only anyone could discover his Name of Power, Re would reign no longer on earth but only by magic arts was this possible.

Geb and Nut had children: these were the younger gods whose day had come to rule, and their names were Osiris and Isis, Nephthys and Seth. Of these Isis was the wisest: she was cleverer than a million men, her knowledge was greater than that of a million of the noble dead. She knew all things in heaven and earth, except only for the Secret Name of Re, and that she now set herself to learn by guile.

Now Re was growing older every day. As he passed across the land of Egypt his head shook from side to side with age, his jaw trembled, and he dribbled at the mouth as do the very old among men. As his spittle fell upon the ground it made mud, and this Isis took in her hands and kneaded together as if it had been dough. Then she formed it into the shape of a serpent, making the first cobra -- the uraeus, which ever after was the symbol of royalty worn by Pharaoh and his queen.

Isis placed the first cobra in the dust of the road by which Re passed each day as he went through his two kingdoms of Upper and Lower Egypt. As Re passed by the cobra bit him and then vanished into the grass. But the venom of its bite coursed through his veins, and for a while Re was speechless, save for one great cry of pain which rang across the earth from the eastern to the western horizon. The gods who followed him crowded round, asking: "What is it? What ails you?" But he could find no words his lips trembled and he shuddered in all his limbs, while the poison spread over his body as the Nile spreads over Egypt at the inundation. When at last he could speak, Re said: "Help me, you whom I have made. Something has hurt me, and I do not know what it is. I created all things, yet this thing I did not make. It is a pain such as I have never known before, and no other pain is equal to it. Yet who can hurt me?-for none knows my Secret Name which is hidden in my heart, giving me all power and guarding me against the magic of both wizard and witch. Nevertheless as I passed through the world which I have created, through the two lands that are my special care, something stung me. It is like fire, yet is not fire it is like water and not water. I burn and I shiver, while all my limbs tremble. So call before me all the gods who have skill in healing and knowledge of magic, and wisdom that reaches to the heavens."

Then all the gods came to Re, weeping and lamenting at the terrible thing which had befallen him. With them came Isis, the healer, the queen of magic, who breathes the breath of life and knows words to revive those who are dying. And she said:

"What is it, divine father? Has a snake bitten you. Has a creature of your own creating lifted up its head against you? I will drive it out by the magic that is mine, and make it tremble and fall down before your glory."

"I went by the usual way through my two lands of Egypt," answered Re, "for I wished to look upon all that I had made. And as I went I was bitten by a snake which I did not see -- a snake that, I had not created. Now I burn as if with fire and shiver as if my veins were filled with water, and the sweat runs down my face it runs down the faces of men on the hottest days of summer."

"Tell me your Secret Name." said Isis in a sweet, soothing voice. "Tell it me, divine father for only by speaking your name in my spells can I cure you."

Then Re spoke the many names that were his: "I am Maker Heaven and Earth." he said. "I am Builder of the Mountains. I am Source of the Waters throughout all the world. I am Light and Darkness. I am Creator of the Great River of Egypt. I am the Kindler of the Fire that burns in the sky yes, I am Khepera in the, morning, Re at the noontide, and Tum in the evening."

But Isis said never a word, and the poison had its way in the veins of Re. For she knew that he had told her only the names which all men knew, and that his Secret Name, the Name of Power, still lay hidden in his heart.

At last she said: "You know well that the name which I need to learn is not among those which you have spoken. Come, tell me the Secret Name for if you do the poison will come forth and you will have an end of pain."

The poison burned with a great burning, more powerful than any flame of fire, and Re cried out at last: "Let the Name of Power pass from my heart into the heart of Isis! But before it does, swear to me that you will tell it to no other save only the son whom you will have, whose name shall be Horus. And bind him first with such an oath that the name will remain with him and be passed on to no other gods or men."

Isis the great magician swore the oath, and the knowledge of the Name of Power passed from the heart of Re into hers.

Then she said: "By the name which I know, let the poison go from Re for ever!"

So it passed from him and he had peace. But he reigned upon earth no longer. Instead he took his place in the high heavens, traveling each day across the sky in the likeness of the sun itself, and by night crossing the underworld of Amenti in the Boat of Re and passing through the twelve divisions of Duat where many dangers lurk. Yet Re passes safely, and with him he takes those souls of the dead who know all the charms and prayers and words that must be said. And so that a man might not go unprepared for his voyage in the Boat of Re, the Egyptians painted all the scenes of that journey on the walls of the tombs of the Pharaohs, with all the knowledge that was written in The Book of the Dead, of which a copy was buried in the grave of lesser men so that they too might read and come safely to the land beyond the west where the dead dwell.

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Furry characteristics in Egyptian mythology [ edit ]

Egyptian art offered early examples of chimera-creatures of varying sorts. A notable chimeric deity was the demon Ammit, a creature depicted with the head of a crocodile, the front part of her body like a lion or leopard, and her back part in the form of a hippopotamus. While not a worshiped goddess, she was one of the most feared deities in Egyptian culture, for she represented divine retribution in the afterlife.

Another popular creature was the griffin (or gryphon). In Ancient Egypt, the griffin was depicted with a slender, feline body and the head of a falcon. Early statues depict them with wings that are horizontal and parallel along the back of the body. During the New Kingdom, griffins were included in depictions of hunting scenes. Divine figures depicted as griffins in Egyptian mythology included Sefer, Sefert, and Axex.

Yet another furry chimera from Ancient Egypt is the sphinx, an image of a recumbent lion with the head of a ram, of a falcon or of a person, invented by the Egyptians of the Old Kingdom.

The Ancient Egyptian Astronomers and the Stars

Ramesses II, Valley of the Kings (Creative Commons)

There is little doubt that the great Egyptian buildings were based upon the stars the Great Pyramid is aligned with the cardinal points, and many temples are aligned along the axis of the rising midwinter sun, signifying to Egyptians that they should begin to prepare for planting in the spring. The Great Pyramid of Giza is filled with astronomical significance, based largely upon religious beliefs but with its roots in astrological phenomena. Within the Great Pyramids are southern facing airshafts that point to the star Sirius, with its significance in marking the start of the Egyptian year, and to Orion, associated with death and rebirth, another recurring theme in Egyptian mythology. In addition, the north-facing air shafts point to the circumpolar stars, called ‘The Immortals’ by Egyptians, because they never set.

There are other theories concerning the pyramids, namely that they were located to reflect the constellation Orion, with the three pyramids at Giza representing the belt of Orion. As with the Neolithic astronomy, this is largely conjectural and all that we can safely say is that the Egyptians built their monuments to reflect the cardinal directions and important times of year.

This trend continued in the Valley of the Kings, where Rameses II built his huge Temple of Abu Simbel to ensure that sunlight only penetrated the inner sanctum on the 20th of October and the 20th of February, with one of these days believed to be the anniversary of his coronation.

Egyptian Hieroglyphic Writing

Hieroglyphic symbols are pleasing to the eye everyone wants to see their name in hieroglyphs. But understanding the ancient script is difficult and, unless you’re interested in the finer points of Egyptian religion, make tedious reading (the contents of hieratic papyri are far more fascinating). However, gaining some understanding of the hieroglyphic writing system can be fun as well as instructive. With a bit of study it is possible to quickly gain enough knowledge to recognise the names of pharaohs – useful if you are planning a trip to Egypt.

Watch the video: Miscellaneous Myths: SekhmetThe Eye of Ra (July 2022).


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