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TEMPLES and gods of ancient EGYPT

TEMPLES and gods of ancient EGYPT
Over a period of 5000 years, the ancient provinces of Egypyt and the
route of the Nile have been modified several times, but we want to give
the reader some real feeling of this ancient civilization, which is not only
an important cradle of humanity, but also the place where monotheism
Direct acces to geographicals maps :
Maps of Lower and Middle Egypt
Maps of Upper Egypt
1. The CITIES and gods of the ancient provinces or districts of LOWER
(also called "the Kingdom of the North," or the DELTA of the NILE).
District 01 - MEMPHIS : the goddess Mennefer.
a/ First HENOU, a falcon god seen on the prow of the boats of the
dead going towards the next life.
b/ "SOKARIS", a precursor of Osiris, was represented as a man
enveloped in a shroud , and was in charge of guarding the
necropolis of Saqqarah. His female partner Sokaret was also seen
in some funeral rituals.
c/ This was the city of the creation god PTAH, his
companion SEKHMET the lioness, (a powerful and dangerous
goddess), and of their son NEFERTOUM, (the Lotus flower that
the sun god Re smells each morning), represented as a lion.
District 02 - LETOPOLIS: ancient city near Heliopolis :
a/ LETOPOLIS, where the god KERTY was worshipped as a
reclining ram; (occasionally he would change into the form of
a shepherd.) In other cities, he was represented as a lion or a bull.
b/ Also the city of the Falcon god MEKHENTYIRTY, whose right
eye was the Sun and the left the Moon. He was later assimilated to
be the god HAHOERIS, (Horus the Great).
District 03 - KOHM el-Hisn : temple to the cow goddess Sekhathor.
District 04 - NAUCRATIS
District 05 - BUTO and SAIS :
a/ BUTO (Tell el-Farein) was the home of a cult to the cobra
goddess OUADJYT, who was the partner of the great god HORUS.
Buto or LETO was the city formed by combining Pe and Dep.
According to Herodotus, Buto was famous during Persian times
for its oracles.
b/ SAIS : Here reigned the creation goddess NEITH, the queen of
lower Egypt, who wore a red crown. Represented as a woman
carrying a bow and arrows, she was the mother of the crocodile
god Sobek.
District 06 - XOIS/ Pa Khasouou :
This was a swampy area, where wild bovid animals roamed.
Greco-Roman remains have been found here.
District 07 - DAMANHOUR :
City consecrated to the god HORUS, symbolized by the solar disk
surrounded by wings and two uraeus.
District 08 - PITHOM : Cult of the main divinity ATOUM
District 09 - BUSIRIS :
Cult of the ancient ram god ANDJTY (who wore two feathers on
his head); and later there were ceremonies of the last branch of
the Osiris cult, which the famous Pillar- Djed symbolized by a
trunk of a pruned tree.
District 10 - ATHRIBIS :
The god KHENTYKHETY, a crocodile, was accompanied by the big
black bull KEMOUR, who was to become an expression of Osiris
as a funeral god.
District 11 - LEONTOPOLIS :
The lion god MAHeS of the Middle Empire. In this same city, the
god SHOU, the great god of the air and the son of Re, married his
sister TEFNOUT, and they were worshipped in the shape of two
lions sitting back to back.
District 12 - SEBENNYTOS (Sammanoud, the holy calf). Birthplace of
District 13 - HELIOPOLIS (to the north of present-day Cairo).
This was the city of the sun, and worshipped :
a/ Re the sun god, assimilated the sacred bull MNEVIS (Apis)
b/ the creation god ATOUM and his two
wives, IOUSAAS and NEBETHETEPET, who formed the feminine
aspect when Atoum created the world by his desire. Nebethetepet
was progressively associated with the great goddess Hathor.
District 14 - SILE
District 15 - HERMOPOLIS el-Baqlieh
District 16 - MENDES :
The god Banebdjedet, ( Ba, the Lord of Mendes) was a ram
god associated with the fish goddess Hatmehyt.
District 17 - BALAMOUN
District 18 - BUBASTIS :
The cat Goddess BASTET had two aspects: one beneficent, where
she was a protector of the home and embodied serenity, and
another more dangerous aspect as a lioness.
District 19 - TANIS :
(or the ancient city of AVARIS), which would become the capital
under the second intermediate period of the Hyksos invaders.
District 20 - QANTIR or Pi-Ramses :
Here they worshipped the falcon god SOPDOU (a principal
divinity), partner to the goddesses Khensit, (Uraeus aspect),
and Shesemtet, who was one of the four dangerous faces of the
goddess HATHOR. These three divinities watched over the eastern
borders of the country to prevent hostile invasions.
2. CITIES and divinities of the districts of MIDDLE EGYPT :
District 22 - LISHT :
Residential city of the XIIè dynasty. To the west was the step
pyramid of Snefrou, and those of Amenemhat I and Sesostris I, as
well as several mastabas.
District 21 - ancient city of ATFIH :
(or Aphroditopolis), paid homage to the goddess Bat, (later
assimilated as the great nurturing goddess HATHOR), the first of
the sacred cows.
District 20 - The FAYUM :
Three ancient cities bordered the great lake Moeris (which
contained 3% salt). The lake was surrounded by marshes full of
crocodiles. Soknopaiou or Qasr El Salvador El-Sagha, was
dedicated to the god Sobek, and to the lesser gods Karanis and
To the south of Lake Moeris (in Egyptian Pa-yom: the sea), was
located the large city of CROCODILOPOLIS, which
became Medinet el-Fayum, then Arsinoe. Here are the ruins of
a mysterious labyrinth, which probably inspired the legend of the
Minotaur of Crete.
District 19 - HERACLEOPOLIS :
This was the Egyptian capital under the XIth dynasty. Even though
certain cults worshipped Hathor, Somtous, Bebon and Nehebkaou,;
the chief divinity was the ram god HERYSHEF.
District 18 - OXYRHYNCHOS - Nothing remains of this city today.
District 17 - CYNOPOLIS :
Here the chief god was the funeral divinity ANUBIS (which was a
black dog, and son of the white cow Hesat) He was the guardian of
all the necropoles of Egypt.
District 16 - BENI-HASSAN :
Here is the temple of Ramses II, and also an underground cave
dedicated to the lioness goddess PAKHET, the terrifying
daughter of Re.
District 15 - HERMOPOLIS : Great religious city of the ancient times
(before Thebes).
This city was built on a hill (which had existed from primeval
times) where the 3 great myths of creation were born :
a/ first myth which mentioned the OGDOADES or creation gods:
Noun and his partner Nanner= infinite primeval waters,
Heh and his partner Héhet= the Cosmos,
Temenou and Temenet, (who were replaced by AMON and
Amaunet, )
Niou and his companion Niout who personified the void.
b/ Thot sends his exotic bird (probably an IBIS), to a hill where it
laid a cosmic egg, the universe!
c/ The birth of Re in the calyx of a lotus flower, which was also
the source of primeval waters. As the sun disappears and is born
again every evening, the lotus flower opens in the morning and
closes again at night.
At Hermopolis they also worshipped: OUNOUT, the goddess with
the face of the Uraeus, and NEHEMETAOUY the companion of
the god THOT, while in the NEW EMPIRE they worshipped:
the SHEPES god, called "the venerable", represented as a celestial
entity of light who materialized on earth as a man with a solar
disk on his head.
Close to Hermopolis is the solar city AKHENATON (today TELL
EL-ARMANA,) the former capital of KING Amenophis IV or
District 14 - MEIR and KOUSSIA (CUSAE) : The necropolis of the nobles
of the district.
District 13 - ASSIOUT- LYCOPOLIS :
where they worshipped an old dog black who buried the bones of
the dead! Tombs of Djefahapi, of Itybi and his son Kheti.
District 12 - ABOUHIG - Aboutig, where there were warehouses (of
District 11 - ANTAEOPOLIS (Now Qaou el-Kebir = the high mountain):
In a huge temple (now gone), they venerated the lioness goddess
MATIT, who was replaced by the falcon god NEMTY.
District 10 - TAHTA (Djaroukha) :
In this city Aménophis III gave his wife TIYI a large palace
surrounded by 80 hectares of agricultural land and an artificial lake
with sluices to irrigate the land.
District 09 - AKHMIN - PANAPOLIS (or APOU) - Family of three gods :
the god MIN of fertility, (also venerated at Coptos near Thebes),
represented by a standing man with an erect phallus.
the fierce lioness goddess " REPIT" (also honored on the island of
Philae in the form of a uraeus), became assimilated to APERETISET,
(the former goddess companion of MIN, with the hairstyle of
Hathor). Min and RepiT form a triad with their child KOLANTHES.
District 08 - THIS : (capital of the district)
This city was under the protection of divine pair of gods ONOURIS,
and of the lioness goddess MEHYT, who like Tefnout
embodies the eye of Re or abundance.
* ABYDOS (near This) venerated KHENTY-IMENTY, the black
funeral dog that Osiris had replaced during the ancient empire.
Thus Abydos became the capital of the revived cult of the god
District 07 - HEOU or DIOSPOLIS PARVA :
Cult of the ancient goddess BAT, who had a woman's face and
decorated ears, but the horns of a cow. Assimilated with Hathor
during the first dynasties.
District 06 - DENDEREH (Tentyris) :
Sanctuary of HATHOR the cow goddess, who was assimilated as
Isis during the old kingdom. As for the temples consecrated to
Horus and IHY, there is nothing remaining of them, except the
door of the sanctuary of IHY, (son of Horus.)
District 05 - COPTOS - MIN :
The ancient fertility god with an erect phallus. The statue to him at
Coptos is identical to that in the city of Akhmin, on the road
toward the Red Sea. His cult dates back to archaic times and is
devoted to the Moon.
District 04 - THEBES - the great religious capital of Egypt :
- KARNAK, the site of the biggest sanctuary devoted to AMON
(who was partner to Re, the sun god) .He married the goddess
MOUT, who had a temple here from the beginning of the New
Empire. She was mother, wife and daughter of Amon, and
she conceived a son named Khonsou, who became assimilated
with the Moon. Her head was covered with the skin of a vulture,
(or she was represented as a lioness). She is associated, in legend
and myth, with the goddess Lointaine, who used to run away in
order to bring the floods necessary for the germination of the
- LUQSOR or Luxor. It is in this city, situated three km from Karnak,
that AMON (in the form of Amenemope) came every year during
the feast of the Opet to visit and unite with the mother goddess
IPET (or Amonet), who became the mother of OSIRIS.
- ERMANT or HERMONTIS - Former capital of the IVth district,
built on the western bank of the Nile, where they erected a great
temple to the war god MONTOU, who had the head of a falcon.
His apogee was during the XIIth dynasty, succeeding the bull god
Montou's feminine partner was Tjenenet, who was replaced
by Ounyt and Rattaouy (two divine forms of Re). In the New
Empire, this warrior god was replaced by the great god Amon.
On the west bank of the Nile, the thebain priests came at new year
to celebrate the cult of Amon-Re and the coming of the floods,
which were so necessary at sowing time. King Ramses III
constructed his millions years castle here.
The great thebain necropolis had the name of Khefe : ( one who
stands before his master!)
The goddess protector of this necropolis, (situated west of Thebes)
was named MERESGER, and she appeared in the shape of a
snake or an Uraeus. In the Valley of the queens, she became the
companion of Ptah.
District 03 - MO'ALLA (H) : (The centre of the ancient cities)
Here was honored HEMEN, the god who was half-man, half-falcon.
The Texts on the Pyramids show him hunting hippopotami with a
harpoon, in order to destroy the forces of chaos.
- ESNA where one venerated the two great divinities KHNOUM
and NEITH.
Khnoum was a great creation god who moulded human beings
from clay on a potter's wheel: he had two wives : Nebetou, (the
goddess of the oases, who gave him a son: Heka),
and MENHYT, the fierce lioness goddess who appeared also as
the distant goddess, (the daughter of Re). NEITH was a creation
goddess descended from Sais, (of the delta) whose cult traveled
the Nile during the Old Kingdom, as far as Esna.
- KOMIR -There was a temple dedicated to NEPHTHYS, (sister of
Osiris and Isis), and this was shared by ANOUKIS, the wife and
daughter of Khnoum.
A mythical city located beside NEKHEB, where the god Horus ruled,
with the ancient vulture goddess Nekhbet.
- ELKAB or NEKHEB was in pre-dynastic times dedicated to the
worship of the Great white wild cow : SEMATOURET, who became
the mother of the Pharaoh, the latter symbolically becoming a
young bull! The cult of the goddess Sematouret was gradually
replaced by that of the vulture goddess Nekbet. Her nest was
made of three wild lilies, which grew abundantly in the Valley of
the Nile at this time.
- at EDFOU, they worshipped the falcon god HAOERIS, also
called HORUS the Great. At Heliopolis, he was considered to be
the 5th child of Geb and of Nout. At Edfou he fought the enemies
of the sun, while at KOM OMBO he became the spouse of the
goddess Tasenetneferet, the sister associated with the myth of the
distant flooding.
- also at EDFOU, there was an ancient cult to the scorpion
goddess HEDEDET, who was replaced by Isis and Selquit (the
scorpion goddess who watched over the sarcophagi).
District 01 - KOM OMBO (Ombos) :
The crocodile god Sobek shared a temple with the solar falcon
god : Haroeris.
- Elephantine Island and the carriers of granite (from Aswan). Cult
of the cobra goddess SATIS.
- Sehel Island : the goddess ANOUKIS, of Elephantine (from her
hairstyle, we surmise she was probably of African origin).
Sometimes she is Satis' daughter, sometimes the wife of the god
- Philae Island - The god MANDOULIS was represented in two
1. as a lion from lower Nubia.
2. as a young man, whose companion was the cobra goddess
OUADJYT or Satis, the goddess of Elephantine. In the New
Empire, this island had an important temple in honor of
thegoddess Isis. When the island was flooded by the Aswan
dam, UNESCO transferred the temple to the island of
- 1st cataract or falls : Here was the great goddess SATIS, (who
wore the white crown of Upper Egypt). It was decorated with two
antelope horns. With ANOUKIS, they were among the group
surrounding the great local god KNOUHM, (of Esna), who had
long been considered a god of creation.
Philae Island
Divinities of the Plateaux of NUBIA
The Nubian falcon god who was assimilated to Horus. He had the
form of a lion during the ancient Empire.
This Nubian god, according to a legend, took the form
of ONOURIS / SHOU, brought back the distant, and united with
her on the island of Philae.
Following the example of Bubastis and Leontopolis (two cities
situated in the Nile delta), Nubia returned to the cult of
the lion during the third intermediate period, (-1080 to -655),
this animal being their symbol of strength against foreign
In KALABSHA, the lion god of Lower-Nubia sometimes appeared
as a child, or sometimes as an adult in the company of the cobra
goddess OUADJYT (from Buto), or of Satis, goddess of the first
cataract of Nile.
The Ten Great Egyptian Versions of Creation
The creation and origin of the world (at least of our planet) always
intrigued the primitive tribes of all continents. In Egypt , we found belief
in ten creation gods, who were supposed to have dragged the world
out of the primordial chaos. Besides all these beliefs and primitive myths
there may have been many others which were less known and existed in
the provinces in predynastic period.
1. The god "ATOUM of Heliopolis" and Pithom (The Nile Delta)
At Heliopolis, (Leontopolis of the 13th district), ATOUM, whose name
means "He who is and is not" - was a god who floated in the waters of
the Noun.
The texts of the Pyramids show him as a pharaoh wearing the 2
crowns of Upper and Lower Egypt. Then, despite the primitive idea that
he exclusively created the world, the following eras gave him two
female partners, the goddesses TEMET (one of the 4 faces of Hathor)
and IOUASSAS, who gave birth to the first couple SHOU and TEFNOUT.
In ancient times, at Pithom, (the 8th district ), Atoum was considered to
be "the great Lord of the Universe." The priests later associated him
with Re, the source of life and light, who could predict the number of
years each would pharaohs reign, as the fruit of the tree of eternity
(called ISHED), where all parted lovers would find each other again one
The Descendants of the Supreme God : ATOUM-RE :
2. The Goddess NEITH of Sais (5th district of the Nile)
NEITH had the form of a woman wearing the red crown of Lower Egypt.
She was the precursor of Diane. In her hands she held a bow and arrows.
Like ATOUM, she was a hermit goddess who created the world using 7
words or 7 arrows.
Replacing the Cow-Goddesses HESAT and METHYER she created the
sun along with Sobek, the master of the marshes. Finally she was
associated with DOUAMOUTEF, one of the four sons of Horus. She
watched over the funeral vase containing the entrails of the dead.
3. The God PTAH of MEMPHIS (the district on the border of the 2
He was thought to be the god who initiated life; he had conceived the
world in his heart before creating it in fact. In the Old Kingdom, he
borrowed many virtues from the preceding god ATOUM without
completely replacing him.
He is presented as a man wrapped in a case, with a skull-cap on his head.
In his hands he held the Egyptian cross symbol, the ANKH- the symbol
of eternity, and also the sceptre Ouas of the gods.
Already worshipped at Dei el-Medineh, near the valley of the queens. His
cult probably started before the building of Memphis, where be became
the principal god. Beginning with the 3rd Dynasty, PTAH was at first
associated with Sokar, (the ancient mummified falcon god), then with
Osiris, to blend together the three divine acts: of creation,
metamorphosis and rebirth.
4. OGDOADE of Hermopolis (15th district of Middle Egypt)
This was a strange compendium of gods: 2 couples of serpents and 2
couples of frogs who had left the waters of the Noun. This god
personified the elements of creation: infinite liquid, primordial obscurity,
and the fertility from the floods, which fertilized the soil and brought
along with it reptilians and amphibians from the high Plateau. The clergy
of Thebes could only surmise that humanity came from snakes (who had
grown feet!) The hidden god Amon of Thebes replaced the Ogdoade.
5. The God THOT of Hermopolis (15th district of Middle Egypt)
This curious god, with the head of a pointed beaked Ibis, held the sun
on his head, succeeded the Ogdoade at Hermopolis. Considered in
ancient times to be the great god of wisdom and science, he was the
master of words and writing. He created the world by the WORD and
became beside Osiris the judge of souls. In Memphis in the Old Kingdom
he was thought of as the tongue of PTAH, and becoming the "guardian
of truth".
Linked to the myth of flooding, he accompanied SHOU, taking the form
of a monkey, to be better able to catch the runaway Tefnout, who had to
return to Heliopolis to rejoin his father Re and bring the flood waters
which the country so much needed.
6. The god HERYSHEF of Heracleopolis (20th district of Middle Egypt)
This name means "he who is on the lake".Presented as a man with the
head of a ram, he wore the 2 crowns of Upper and Lower Egypt. These
were the symbols of his royal power which he exercised mainly during
the time of the Middle Kingdom when his city was chosen as the capital
of the Kingdom.
He was considered to be a local creation god and (with the god Min of
Coptos), and brought fertility and reproduction.
7. The god MONTOU of Ermant near Thebes (4th district of Egypt)
Usually represented a man with a falcon’s head (with the sun on his
forehead) he was the god of war. He was a local creation god and his
cult continued until the period of the Old Kingdom, when he was
gradually replaced by AMON : the invisible, omnipresent god.
8. The goddess METHYER or Mehytouret of Esna (3rd district of
Upper Egypt)
This ancient goddess was represented as a primeval cow floating on the
waters of the Noun, symbolizing life leaving the waters. Like the goddess
Neith, who succeeded her, she also gave birth to the sun. She protected
the sun by placing it between her horns, which were curved into the
shape of a lyre.
9. The goddess NEKBET of Elkab ou Nekheb (3rd district of Upper
Just like the goddess Neith, the creation goddess of Elkab created the
world using 7 words or 7 arrows. She was a white vulture who
extended her wings to protect the pharaoh. Sometimes she was
represented as perched on a nest held up by large flowers. She held in
her claws the Ouas, the sceptre of the gods.
10. The god KHNOUM of Elephantine (1st district of Upper Egypt)
This ancient god was presented as a man (with the head of a ram) seated
before a potter’s wheel. He was making two small human beings from
the clay with his hands! His companions were sometimes the
goddess SATIS, (wearing the white crown of Upper Egypt with 2
antelope horns), and sometimes the gazelle goddess ANOUKIS, whose
cult was supplanted by that of NEPHTYS, (the sister of Osiris and SET).
SATIS was believed to be the goddess of fertility and love. She was
thought to be able to purify (with the help of her Uraeus) the bodies of
the first pharaohs as they reached the entrance to the kingdom of the
dead. Later, (as the Greek goddess Diana), SATIS became the goddess of
The Ancient Egyptian Gods
During the pre-dynastic period (from around 4000 BC to 3300 BC),
animals were used as mascots to symbolize each district in the South and
North. Their effigies were engraved on the top of columns and their
standards were carried in front of the great ritual and royal processions.
Children usually find real (and toy) animals to be submissive and ready
friends, and one could consider the ancient Egyptian period to be the
childhood of our civilization. The Egyptians were very respectful towards
animals and nature. In them they saw the cycle of
life, protection, obedience to the mysterious laws of nature, an
example of community living. This being a way to stand up for the
protection of the younger members and sometimes of the entire group.
According Grik Hornung (The Gods of Egypt, the One and the Many).
" In the animal cults we find a tendency for the gods to help people
broaden their minds in so many ways. One could be an Ibis or a crocodile
and all sorts of different animals according to one’s whim.
The many different images of God seemed to make him more accessible
to the people so their problems were more easily felt by Him. The
individual animals were not the gods but could metamorphose into
them, so that the image and spirit of each god could move towards
them and into them. "
Like the ancient hunters, the Egyptians (unlike the Hindus) ate a lot of
meat, which they cooked in large pots. The Hebrews missed this during
their long exodus journeying toward the future land of Israel.
In the 3rd dynasty they developed (due to the openness of spirit of King
Djeser), the idea of rebirth and of " life after death ". The hope spread
among the people of being reborn beside their king in another world
beyond the stars.
RE, ATOUM, PTAH, ISIS and OSIRIS would replace the numerous small
local deities whom the people had honored since ancient times without
really understanding what they represented.
When these divine incarnations of animals were replaced by the second
plan and new images of god appeared, animals only had a
symbolic value as sacrifices to please the gods.
The faithful would buy an animal from the priests, who would immolate
the animal, mummify it and bury it in a special cemetery where
several million Ibis and several thousand bulls have been found buried.
They are perfectly preserved due to their complete mummification.
Just as the Hebrews sent a scapegoat each year into the desert bearing
their sins, the Egyptians tried to escape the wrath of their gods by
sacrificing animals and thus obtaining redemption from their sins.
Since Vatican II, many churches have been renovated to emphasize the
essential points. The presence of God in his house. According to hearsay,
there are 133 saints called Peter, 79 called Felix, 77 Mary, 63 Thomas, 55
Paul, 50 William, 42 Joseph etc. We have a lot of choice!
But who can blame a devotee for praying to a saint or statue when the
prayer is essentially a transference of thought and hope to contact with
another spirit and another world?
1. Gods in the form of bulls
APIS The sacred bull of Memphis considered to be a manifestation of
the god PTAH and also of the sun. He was usually represented
with the sun between his horns and his cult had a resurgence
before the first dynasty. He symbolized fertility and was directly
connected with the phenomenon of the annual floods.
BOUKHIS This name was given by the Greeks to the ancient sacred bull of
HERMONTHIS (Ermant) in Upper Egypt. At first he represented
the " luminous Ba of abundance " a link between gods and
human beings.
Also the Egyptians of the third intermediate period had a sacred
bull god named Montou. In the Delta, .Montou was represented
as Horus with the head of a falcon. In Ermant the head became
that of a bull on the body of a man. These sacred bulls were to
the people truly living statues, dedicated to abundance, and were
embalmed and buried at their deaths at Boupheton .
KEMOUR He was the bull god of ATHRIBUS, the capital of the 10th district
of the Delta, where he was often associated with the dead king
KHANOUTEF The sacred bull of Thebes (Ouaset).
MNEVIS The sacred bull of Heliopolis, symbolized the sun god Re’
s force and life. This beast had spurs on his body and tail, and was
selected according to certain rigid criteria, to be considered an
avatar or earthly incarnation of the sun god.
He lived in the courtyard of the temple surrounded by several
heifers, a privilege he also had much later at Thebes. On his death,
he was buried in a necropolis especially reserved for the sacred
bulls, who were embalmed as high dignitaries of the realm.
TJAIPESEF A bull who symbolized the divine aspect of the pharaoh.
2. The Primeval Cow-goddesses of Ancient Times
BAT The ancient goddess of the Delta of the Nile, who became
assimilated with the Mother goddess of the East. With her
feminine face, (with the ears and horns of a cow) she was shown
engraved on the Stone of King Narmer of the first dynasty at
Hieraconpolis. Later she was assimilated with the goddess Hathor
IHET a primeval goddess of creation (associated with Methyet) since
they both were believed to have floated in the primeval waters at
the Creation of the World, and giving birth to the sun, which she
protected by placing between her horns.
HATHOR The female divinity whose name means "the home of Horus"
because she lived in the warmth of the sun. She was given 4
attributes, some favorable, some dangerous. She was the goddess
of love, music and happiness.
In the form of a cow she welcomed the dead into the next world to
take them to the spirit world. Like the bull god APIS she carried the
sun between her horns.
HESAT She was a goddess in the form of a white cow venerated
at AFITH or Aphroditopolis. She was the mother of the god
ANUBIS (a man with the head of a dog, who takes away the earthly
body when it reaches the next world.) She was also the mother of
MNEVIS. Her milk was believed to have the power to cure
wounds, even those of the god Horus who was wounded
defending his mother. Horus was healed by one drop of her milk.
The primeval cow who according to certain Egyptian
cosmogonies floated on the waters of the Noun at the creation of
the world. She embodied the invigorating forces in the
liquid which gave birth to terrestrial life. One cannot help
wondering about the source of these legends, as we now believe
that life did in fact start in water and later moved on to dry land.
NEITH The great goddess of Sais. She created the sun and was believed
to be one of "the aspects" of the goddess HESAT (along with
METHYER.) She was often portrayed as a woman carrying a bow
and arrow and wearing the red crown of Lower Egypt. At Sais, she
was believed to be a creator of the world.
NOUT Another primeval goddess embodying the sky. She was
the daughter of SHOU and Tefnout and was often represented
as a cow (according to the Book of the Sky Cow).
The nurturing cow of the third district of Lower Egypt,
was associated with Isis and Hathor during the time of the
pharaohs and became the companion of Horus and Apis.
SHENTAIT She was the recumbent cow goddess who held the sun between
the horns. Her name means "the widow" and this brings her closer
to the story of Isis. Isis figuratively joined together the pieces of
her husband to revive him, whereas SHENTAIT gave birth to the
body to give him back his life. These two myths are very similar but
they originate from opposite ends of the Dark Age. Thus we can
surmise that the Egyptians remembered portions of the myths
from the period when the 10 Atlantean kings governed and
educated the whole Mediterranean basin.
3. The Ram Gods of Egypt
ANDJTY The God of the town of Busiris in the eastern Delta. He was
represented as a criocephalic , that is with the body of a man and
the head of an animal. Even though they kept his image, his cult
was gradually replaced by that of Osiris.
BA He is the hieroglyphic for "ram" which means "the soul". In
certain drawings, rams symbolized the souls of Osiris and
Re, united as one god in the form of a ram’s head.
BENEBDJEDET His name means "the soul of Mendes". This ram god was
strangely enough associated in that city with the goddess
Hatmehyt who was represented as a fish or more particularly as a
dolphin, who helped to find the remains of Osiris when they were
scattered in the water.
HERYSHEF - (the one who guards his lake) This ancient ram god of Heracleopolis was considered in ancient
times to be a creation god. He appeared as a man wearing an
Egyptian tunic wearing on his ram’s head the crown Atef. This
was adorned with ostrich feathers and with 2 suns resting on the 2
rams’ horns. This probably represented a former king of Upper
Egypt, who was honored in the 9th and 10th dynasties, during the
first intermediate period. One should note that Osiris had the
same kind of crown.
KERTY The reclining ram god of Letopolis. (He was also represented as a
bull, a lion or a mummy, symbolizing the nocturnal sun and the
voyage of souls). Later he was assimilated as the falcon god Horus
the Great (says Hahoeris).
KNOUHM The ram god and Lord of Elephantine in Upper Egypt. He was
also an ancient local creator god who made 2 small dolls out of
clay on his potter’s wheel and brought them to life. He was
represented with the body of a man with a ram’s head and
horizontal horns.
His cult spread throughout Egypt but particularly at Esna and at
Antinopolis, where he was associated with the frog goddess
Hequet, (who produced and protected the newborn creatures
emerging from the primeval water.) Starting at the fifth dynasty,
the priests of Heliopolis believed him to be the sun god under
the name of KNOUHM-Re but Amon replaced him at the
beginning of the New Kingdom.
APEDEMAK A war God of the period of the Decline, deified for his courage,
and represented by a man with the head of a lion, (originally from
AKER A lion with the head of a man (androcephalic) who personified
the depths of the earth where the sun travelled between sunset
and its reappearance at dawn, while Geb represents the soil in
contact with air.
MAHES In the original sense, this name meant natural, wild physical
strength, which the predynastic Pharaohs professed to have, in
order to dominate, kill or capture their enemies. Later, this name
merely meant all the lion gods.
MANDOULIS This lion god was venerated at Philae and in Lower Nubia. He
was represented under the double aspect of an adult lion and a
young man, symbolizing the fullness and perpetual renewal of life.
His wives were the cobra goddess Ouadjyt or a form of the
goddess Satis.
5. The Egyptian LIONESS goddesses
MATTIT The war goddess of 12th District of Upper Egypt, represented as a
dangerous lioness. She was gradually replaced by the falcon god
Nemty, who was in turn assimilated as the god Horus.
MEHYT The lioness goddess of THIS and companion of Onouris. Her
name means " the one who is complete (in beauty and in fervour) ".
Guardian of the borders, she watched over the capital of the first
dynasty. She also had the name of MENTIT.
MENHYT The lioness goddess of ESNA, in the 3rd District of Upper Egypt.
She was the companion of Khnoum and the mother of the god
Heka (the luminous being who personified the magical). Always
looking cheerful, she was assimilated with the local goddess
Nebetou, the lady of the Oases.
PAKHET This lioness goddess was thought to be one of the daughters of
Re and was one of the circle of dangerous goddesses. She was
honored in an underground cave above Tell el-Amarna atSpeos
REPIT At first, the name of the goddess lioness was only an epithet of
some sacred pictures, however the goddess had for a long time
been known as her dangerous aspects: as a lioness at
Akhmim (9th district), and as a dangerous cobra (uraeus) on the
island of Philae. Associated in the IIth S. with the god MIN of
fertility, she became the mother of the young god Kolanthes.
Repit took the form of the mother Aperetiset, shown with the
hairstyle of Hathor.
SEKHMET The great goddess of Memphis, companion of the god PTAH,
the man covered in a tight sheath. Their son was the young lion
Nefertoum. Sekhmet, which means "the powerful", embodied the
dangerous rays of the sun at its zenith.
She could at the same time bring death and illness, or in her good
aspects heal the sick, who appealed to her by: "reciting the
litanies" at the New Year to keep away danger and the illnesses
caused by the flooding.
TEFNOUT This goddess, daughter of Re, the wife and sister of the lion
SHOU, she embodied light and the rays of the sun. In the form of a
fierce lioness, she left her father Re, embodying the myth of the
Runaway, leaving to live in the desert of Nubia. Her return is part
of the ancestral myth of the flooding, coinciding with the New
Year (mid July).
The Egyptian gods could take all kinds of forms, and even intermarry to
produce forms which were completely different.
6 - a) The pre-dynastic FALCON gods
Many nations have adopted the emblem of the royal eagle, but the
Egyptians adopted the emblem of the falcon in very ancient times. We
will study the two FALCONS " Horus ", the second of whom became the
son of Osiris and Isis: the symbol of royal strength.
This god war falcon is shown in a boat, and he reigned in the
province of 12th district of Upper Egypt. Nicknamed " the claw ",
the adepts of his ancient cult gave him a twin brother : the falcon
god Nemty (the name means: one who journeys), who by contrast
with his twin is usually represented perched on a shield.
ASH This god is probably one of the most ancient of the falcon gods,
coming from the oases near the Libyan deserts. Presented as a
man with the head of a falcon, he was later associated
withSETH of Ombos (the one that killed his brother Osiris).
MEKHENTYIRTY This falcon god had taken the place of the ram god Kerty (the
symbol of the setting sun), at Letopolis, and the clergy of
Heliopolis assimilated him with the god HAROERIS, or Horus (the
MONTOU This god was presented as a man with a falcon's head, adorned
with two feathers and a solar disk decorated with two uraeus
(cobras). In the year 2050BC four sanctuaries were erected
at ERMANT so that he could ensure the protection of the people.
NEPHTHYS This goddess was the sister of Isis, of Osiris and Seth (and also the
wife of Seth! ) She was venerated at Komir in Upper Egypt in the
form of a milan, (a royal falcon with a forked tail).
HEMEN The falcon god of Mo'Allah, HEMEN was a very ancient divinity
mentioned in the first texts of the pyramids. He was a
mythological war god who fought against the forces of primordial
HORUS of the city of Pe (which became Bouto) in Lower Egypt. This is a very old city where
they worshipped the falcon Horus : Horus-Amset and
Horus-Hapy, associated with the cobra goddess OUADJYT.
Most of these gods were seen in religious processions with the
head of a dog in order to show their royal divinity.
HORUS - The ancient or the GREAT, or Haroeris -
Venerated from Damanhour to Heliopolis, then in all the Valley of
Nile where he was considered to be an aspect of the sun and the
5th child of the creation gods : Geb and Nout. Avery ancient god
who in some ways inspired the image of Horus the younger, the
son of Isis and Osiris. This great bird of Egypt, long believed to be
the Lord of sky, was in the first dynasties considered to be the
image of the resplendent SUN at its zenith.
SOPDOU Guardian of the 20th province of the Delta, he appears in the
shape of a warrier falcon with two feathers on his head. Partner to
Khensit, the daughter of Re and at SHESEMTET, the companion
of Re, who both appear in the shape of Uraeus.
SOKAR The ancient divinity whose cult spread to the region of Memphis,
he was shown in the shape of a mummified falcon. With his boat
named Henou, he led the souls into the hereafter. He was replaced
by the god PTAH.
6 - b) The falcon aspects of HORUS as the son of Isis
HARPOCRATE or Horus as a child -
Seated on the knees of his mother, his head on his mother's breast
(picture taken from texts in the pyramids). On becoming
adolescent, he was stung by a scorpion, but Isis healed it.
HORAKHTYDivinity of Heliopolis representing the sun at its zenith. He was
a man with a head of falcon, surmounted by solar disk and two
uraeus. This was Horus at the height of his power, and he was
worshipped with Atoum-Re of the 5th dynasty.
HORSAISIS, "the son of Isis"Part of the Osirian mythology, his mother queen Isis had revived
her husband. It was this child who was the forerunner of
Harpocrate whose cult developed during the New Empire.
HORNEDJITEF This is the Horus who takes care of his father (Osiris). Associated
with the resurrection of his father, he inherits the great and vital
principles of his father.
A man with the head of a falcon, partner to the goddess Selqit
who watches over the entrails of the dead, he is with Amset,
Douamoutef and Hapy, one of the four faces of HORUS in
charge of watching over the liver, the stomach, the lungs and the
entrails of the bodies having undergone the process of
7. The Vulture Gods
The city of Elkab (or Nekheb) honored the goddess NEKHBET, who was
represented by a white vulture perched on three lilies or three stylized
lotus flowers. She holds in her claws the insignia of royalty, recalling the
ancient period when the South was an independent kingdom fighting
with the kingdom of North.
In Egyptian Antiquity, Nekhbet was invoked under the name of the
goddess "SHETAT". Locally she was considered to be a creation
goddess, who created the world pronouncing seven words and
launching seven arrows.
Remember that Isis will take also the aspect of a vulture to fly over the
dead body of Osiris and spiritually impregnate him.
8. Canine divinities in Egyptian mythology
Here is a very ancient divinity whose the cult already was there
between the years 4000BC and 3000BC. He is represented also on
King AHA's tablet from the first dynasty, where we are shown his
feast and his function of mummifier to prepare the dead for their
journey into the beyond. His cult remained very important up to
fifth dynasty : (toward 2500BC), when he was
progressively replaced by Osiris. However, he remained the big
dog, who guarded the necropoles.
The Texts of the Pyramids call him the fourth son of Re, and the
father of the goddess of "freshness KEBEHOUT". Sent by Re, he
helped Isis to gather the dispersed pieces of the body of Osiris,
which he embalmed. When embalming, the Chief of the priests
wore the mask of Anubis during the rituals and of funerals of the
Anubis is a Hellenist form : Inpou (the young dog) or Anpou. His
title is "the one that is on the mountain and watches over the
home of the dead". He was to be honored for a long time in his
temple of Cynopolis in Middle Egypt.
A red dog (sometimes a monkey), assimilated with Seth (the
wicked brother of Osiris) for his aggressiveness and sexual
KHENTYIMENTY A black dog adored from ancient times at ABYDOS, his name
means "the one who is the chief of the Occident," (the Occident
being comparable to the West, where the sun disappears). This
was the place where they buried the dead and the animals. This
master of Abydos was progressively replaced in this city by
OSIRIS, and the city became the most important place of
Egyptian pilgrimage, where all believers went at least once in
his life!
OUPOUAOUT A divinity of ASSIOUT, represented also as a black dog with one
or two uraeus between his paws. His name means "the one who
opens the ways" (for the corteges of processions). Like the two
other canines his personality was diminished by that of
Osiris from the Old Kingdom and he had only a representative
local role.
9. The SNAKE gods
Snakes were considered by the Egyptians to be either benevolent or
harmful, however in the group of harmful snakes some gods (usually
feminine), had two faces which could express good or bad.
In the category of the benevolent snakes, the Egyptian had adopted
some kinds of snakes (grass-snakes, blindworms and other innocuous
reptiles) as pets for their houses, (as well as other more familiar animals),
since they got rid of the mice and rats who caused real devastation in the
granaries and transmitted infectious illnesses.
But the Egyptians had such knowledge of dangerous snakes like the
asps and cobras, that they raised them (with care) to set them free at
night into enemy camps, or introduced them into the heart of the
pyramids in order to protect the treasures of the dead kings from that
which they considered the biggest crime: the profanation and pillage of
the royal tombs.
The Egyptians honored the Uraeus, the symbol of royal authority,
represented by a cobra raised up on his tail, ready to bite. This menacing
image inspired fear and respect reminding all that Pharaoh had: "the
right over life and death" for each one of his subjects.
a. Mythology of the dangerous snakes :
As in the Genesis, one finds the myth of a very artful, diabolical
original snake who threatens constantly the balance of creation,
and tries to corrupt royalty. He compromises the salvation of
human souls by inspiring them to do acts of wickedness.
The existence of this mythical, malevolent snake goes back far into
the pre-dynastic period, his emblem was also recovered on the
tomb of king of Ankhitifi of the 11th dynasty who was buried in
the necropolis of Mo'Allah (3rd district). It is around this period
that Abraham came to Egypt.
Like a mythological monster, the snake goes out in the night to
upset the boat of the sun, which must be born again in the
morning in the east. And not succeeding, he sets traps in the path
of departed souls.
APEP The snake of chaos (probably derived from Apophis) and BUTO
an ancient winged cobra goddess venerated at Pe and Dep in the
delta of Nile, which became Bouto: the capital of the ouadjyt.
She was the companion of the falcon god SOPDOU of the 20th
district. She was an ancient dangerous goddess who manifested
herself as the Uraeus. Considered to be a daughter of Re, her
name is seen in the some of the first texts in the Pyramids.
OGDOADE Strange assembly of eight divinities composed of two couples of
frogs and two couples of female snakes who left the waters of
the Noun at Hermopolis from a primeval egg! The first
couple NOUN and NOUNET represented the liquid infinity, the
second KEK and KEKOUT : the primordial obscurity, the
third HEH and HEHET: spatial infinity, the fourth
couple, TEMENOU and TEMENET, who personified the void, were
replaced by : AMON and AMONET.
The clergy of Thebes not could accept this explanation of the
universe, so they modified it in the first dynasties. They attributed
creation to the two primitive forms of the invisible god AMON :
the god KEMATEF (the one who accomplished the time) created
the earth with the aid of his son: the IRTO snake (the one that
created the Earth). They took from the Ogdoade the function of
creation gods. Once they had accomplished their work, they fell
asleep at Djame, and AMON (the Supreme hidden
divinity) succeeded them at Memphis then at Thebes.
OUADJYT Name of the cobra goddess who patronized of the city
of BOUTO in the Delta of Nile, where she was the associate of
Horus of Pe. The goddess is represented as a cobra with her head
upright. She held the OUAS against her, (the scepter of the hand
of the gods) and a solar disk. She probably was a very ancient god
of fertility, whose image has been assimilated to the uraeus.
There is a strange resemblance in the letters and consonnance
between OUAS, OUADJYT and the OUDJA, the latter meaning
"the eye of Horus", which was pulled out by Seth during his fight
with Horus, who won, recovered his eye, and gave of his
benevolence to the two kingdoms of the reunified Egypt.
b. Myths of the benevolent snakes :
ICHNEUMON Like the mongoose, he was a natural adversary of snakes. Also he
was a protector of solar divinities, and by extension, he was
supposed to fight all the enemies of the cosmos.
MEHEN Contrary entity of Apophis. He represented the benevolent snake,
a guardian angel of the boat of the sun mainly against his rival the
diabolic Apophis. To better protect the gods Osiris and Re (who
hid until the dawn), Mehen surrounded the tabernacle which
contained the two divinities with his coils, and helped them to
travel towards the west, where the sun gods would be born again
in the morning.
MERESGER The lord of the necropolis of Thebes who appeared either in the
shape of an Uraeus, or in a hybrid shape composed of a snake's
body in three coils, surmounted by a woman's head with her hair
covered with a veil.
NEHEBKAOU Nicknamed "the one that brings the kas", (the spiritual invisible
forces of the divinities and also of every individual) .He was thus a
benevolent snake who is to counted among the primeval gods.
Creator of the sun, his parents were GEB and the snake
goddess Renenoutet, (who personified destiny). Her role was to
bring to souls after death the "Kas" necessary for obtaining a
favorable final judgement.
RENENOUTET A cobra goddess, who with her son Nepri (god of the
crops) watched over the granaries. A temple was consecrated to
her at Medinet el-Fayoum. She personified destiny and success.
SOMTOUS " The one that united" - This slogan had often been associated
with the name of Horus, in particular at HERACLEOPOLIS and at
DENDARA where the son of Isis embodied the reunification of the
two kingdoms. He was usually represented by a cobra standing
erect on his tail.
10. The ancient SCORPION gods
An ancient scorpion goddess venerated in the 2nd district of
Upper Egypt, she protected the people against animal bites.
Associated with the scorpion goddess Selqit, she gradually lost her
influence to the great goddess Isis.
SELQIT This scorpion goddess protected the sarcophaguses and funeral
vases containing the parts of the body for mummification. A
benevolent goddess, she nursed the dead and used her magic
powers to heal those that were stung by scorpions. From the 5th
dynasty on, she was assimilated as the goddess protector Isis.
TABITHET An ancient scorpion goddess, she was assimilated as the mother of
Horus the ancient.
11. Ancient divinities: CROCODILES and HIPPOS
The man with the head of crocodile, considered by the inhabitants
of el-Fayoum as a primeval divinity, was associated with the sun
under the name of SOBEK-Re, with his mother, the goddess Neith.
Despite IPET's ungainly appearance, (as a hippopotamus), the
god Amon came once a year to the temple of Luxor to unite with
this ancient mother goddess, to ensure the renewal of the cycles
of life. Assimilated to NOUT, she became the mother and nurse of
Even though initially the hippos were considered to be good
animals that one hunted at one's own his risk, after the New
Kingdom, they had become bothersome because of their rapid
increase in numbers, and also their loud piercing cries prevented
the people from sleeping at night. In the period of the Decline, the
wicked Seth was assimilated to be a hippo.
TAOURET His name means "the Huge"; this composite god had the paws
of a lion, a crocodile's back, a hippo's form, and was a curious
mixture in the people's minds of gods of ancient times......almost
Like our demons, his aspect inspired fear, especially at the time of
the trial of souls, where this monster waited on the banks of Maat
and Anubis to seize souls who had been judged unworthy. He
then threw them into the pastures as fodder. That's why he was
nicknamed "the devouror".
Despite their uninspiring aspects, the supersticious people
thought of Taouret and Ipet as aggressive, kind and strong
mothers, who watched over childbirth and protected small
Egypt during the Archaic and Pre-dynastic Periods
The small Egyptian states were regrouped at around 5.000BC into two
large kingdoms: one being the Kingdom of the Delta, which celebrated
the god Horus (the ancient); and the other the Kingdom of the Valley of
Nile, which worshipped Kom Ombo, and at Hierakonpolis, the god
Set. But during the IVth millenium BC., the Kingdom of the North took
over the South, Horus ousted Set, and the pre-dynastic Pharaohs reigned
over a united Egypt.
The years 4 500BC to 3 300BC are called the Magdalean, which
corresponds to the "three ages of the Pre-dynastic period " of Egypt:
Ancient (4500 to 4000BC), Middle (4000 to 3500BC), and Recent
(3500 to 3300BC)
We shall only concern ourselves briefly with these three ages : since
except for some potteries, some frescos of hunting and of wars between
the cities or mini-kingdoms of the Nile, the head of a knife and the
"Stone of Palerme" (on which many drawings are missing), the
information we gain from them of Neolithic culture is sparse and doesn't
describe their daily life or their spiritual concerns.
The main zones of political influence during
the Recent Egyptian Pre-dynastic period were
1. Bouto, the administrative capital of the Delta, created by
combining two former cities: Pe and Dep
2. Region of Fayoum: GERZEH (Gerzean), 3500BC to 3200BC,
(situated in Middle Egypt at about 60 to 90 km from
3. Regions of Thebes, (formerly NAGADA), This and Abydos.
4. Cities of Hierakonpolis and Elkab
5. The ancient cities of KOM-OMBO and Elephantine.
However on parts of the so-called "Stone of Palerme", the scientists
have counted at least "twenty five kings", who already had ruled in the
two kingdoms of Upper and Lower Egypt before the advent of the
first royal official dynasty.
The paintings in tomb N°100 of Hierakonpolis, like those on the knife of
Gebel el Arak, show pictures of boats without sails or oars, some of lions,
of dogs, and especially of wars between two peoples of identical
appearance (except for their styles of hairdressing). This doesn't bring
much information on the mystical part of Egyptian life or of their belief in
a new life after death on this earth...
The main divinities honored in the ancient period
The " main divinities" in the ancient popular cults and on the royal
weapons of the times, are :
1. The god Ra or Re of Heliopolis- representing the solar star
2. The goddess BAT of the 7th district of Upper Egypt. She had the
body and face of a woman, with the ears and horns of a cow.
3. The god falcon Horus the Ancient (not to be confused with the
son of Osiris), an example of a Pharaoh who stays with his people.
4. The mythical snake Apophis who tried to disrupt creation.
5. The god Set, adopted by the kingdom of the South (This-Abydos),
represented by a fierce red dog: the bebon god.
6. The god MIN of fertility (a man with an erect phallus).
7. The two lions Shou (life) and Tefnout, of Heliopolis, who are part
of the myth of the floods.
EGYPT during the dynastic period : 3 500 to 3 300BC
According to the "Stone of de Palerme," there were ten Pharaohs who
had already ruled over a united Egypt, before the FIRST Official
DYNASTY, (and there were as many precursors to them), they wore the
two crowns of royalty :
the white crown (a mitre) of Upper and Middle Egypt,
the red outside crown symbolizing the delta of the Nile (Lower
Egypt). The two crowns united constitute the pschent.
Around the year 3 500BC, there was a new schism : the king of North,
called Biti, (in hieroglyphics, bee), protected by the cobra goddess
Ouadjet, took the red crown and moved to Bouto. Thus the king of
South, Nesout, (which means the reed), protected by the vulture
goddess Nekbet of El-Kab, took the white crown and moved to
Bouto became the political capital of the Delta, and Letopolis became
the religious capital of the North; this city the Greeks later gave the name
of Heliopolis.
Here in order are the seven Pharaohs who reigned during dynasty zero,
classified in 1982 by the Egyptologist Kaiser-Dreyer:
Names of the Pharaohs of "dynasty zero" who reigned
before the year 3 200BC, and whose tombs were recovered :
1. HORUS, whose serekh or seal was surmounted by two falcons
(name incomplete)
2. NY-HOR (unclear to read, royal seal found at Tarkhan)
3. HAT-HOR (unclear to read, royal seal found at Tourah)
4. IRY-RO (reading deciphered by Heck 1987)
5. KA (reading deciphered by Heck 1987)
The chronology of these first kings is very difficult to state definitely.
These dates are the object of numerous debates fueled by a lack of
irrefutable evidence. Did King Narmer (3185 to 3125BC) directly succeed
the king Scorpion, as some scolars want us to believe ? Was it because of
the inauguration of the State religion that Narmer was classified as the
first king of the first dynasty ? (Several kings before him had also ruled
over a united Egypt)
Why does the club of king Scorpion have no sacred mention, when that
of king Narmer shows him seated on his throne before a god (which is a
human silhouette without a face, like a MUMMY), maybe SOKAR or
It is possible that some precursors of the kingdom of Imhotep already
visited the court of Egypt and began religious instruction of the king 400
years before Imhotep ! But the multitude of ancient Egyptian gods may
have prevented the acceptance of the new concepts imposed by
According to the archaeological evidence at our disposal, we find
probably at this period that the gods and goddesses took on in the
Egyptian mind a HUMAN appearance, without relinquishing the
myriad of composite divinities : mid human, mid animal.
This summary of the pre-dynastic era is needed to understand the
incredible reforms which at that time transformed the culture, religion
and civilization of the first country in the world to discover (long before
the Bible was written and before the birth of the Patriarchs), the
existence of The ONE Invisible GOD.
Religious spirit grew thanks to the influence of Pharaoh Djeser,
who without destroying the former divinities, gradually decreased
their importance and offered the country a new concept of religion, 700
years before the message of Abraham.
In fact, the Pharaoh retained the beautiful Sarah in his harem, and
Abraham frequented the royal court ?
One can also summarize and compare this new religion to the Ten
Commandments given by Moses to the Hebrews!
Also, was not Moses the adopted son of Pharaoh ? His education must
have been planned by the Egyptian priests, holders of the wisdom of
their predecessors ?
There is a strange resemblance between the codes of life and the
written wisdom of the kings and ministers of the VIth dynasty and the
civil and religious code of Moses given orally a thousand years later !
Why did God want the Hebrew people to stay in Egypt and become an
example of life and a spiritual model which would subsequently inspire
numerous religions ?
The history of religious life in Egypt had many declines (especially in the
New Kingdom), where many kings, forgetting the rules and laws of their
ancestors, grew arrogant, and constructed huge statues and palaces in
the heart of the forbidden necropoles ! Then they required that the
people worship them as ALL POWERFUL beings. But God has many
ways of working, and He was to choose other people to teach humanity
about Him.
The message of the Eternal being perpetual, a lot of people would be
given the mission of spiritually leading humankind, and in Egypt two
men (comparable to the two Hebrew prophets Moses and Elijah) stand
out thanks to their intelligence and knowledge: the first was
called IMHOTEP - the vizier of king Djeser, and the
second : AMENHOTEP (son of Hapou) the architect and the physician
of Amenophis III.
Egyptian drawings of pre-dynastic times
The knife of Gebel el-Arak of Hierakonpolis (Vandier 1952)
The handle of this knife, on show in the Louvre shows us some scenes of
hunting and war. Who is the Pharaoh who is holding two lions with his
naked hands ? Has this something to do with the primordial egg
guarded by the dog god SETH ? Just as the message carved on the club
of the Scorpion king shows us " the absence of the great divinity ".
However, on the other side of the knife we see scenes of war on the
banks of the Nile and a city bound like a prisoner, above which floats
some bodies who look insentient.
The knife of Gebel el-Arak belonged to a Pharaoh of Upper Egypt who
probably lived around 3 500BC., and like the tablets made of stone, are
decorated with the symbols of the god Min of fertility, or with some
precursors of the goddess Hathor. Most these artifacts have been found
in tombs beside the bones of the dead. Their presence attests therefore
that their was some belief in rebirth in the western Protodynastic era,
continuing the customs of Neanderthal man (150 000BC to 35 000BC),
who buried their dead with their favorite weapons and some supplies (!)
for his long journey into the unknown world !
The club of the pre-DYNASTIC king SCORPION (Vandier 1952)
The fragments of this club, which goes back to 3 300 BC, represent four
scenes from the life of the pre-DYNASTIC royal Egyptians :
In the upper part a parade of figurines who were mascots of the various
districts of Upper Egypt brandish a stick on which is a big fish hanging by
the tail. This probably alludes to a victory of king Scorpion over the
kingdom of fishers of the Delta.
On the left of the central part a slave threatens a bound captive with his
stick , while beside him some Egyptian women, (maybe those belonging
to the harem of the Pharaoh) braid their hair with large flowers of a
stylized lotus. At the center, king Scorpion (identified by his emblem),
crowned with the white mitre of Upper Egypt and holding a hoe, receives
from one of his subjects a tray of grains symbolizing the harvest, and the
peasant has a goose whose neck is at the same level. Behind them there
is a second person carrying a vase of grapes or fruit.
In the lower part of the club one can see a man climbing a wall while his
kneeling companion carries on his head a large wooden jar surmounted
by a huge bee, (the symbol of the defeated Lower Egypt.) Even though it
is incomplete, this pre-dynastic tableau shows us the life and the (lack of
a belief system, as shown on the royal weapons of king SCORPION). This
indicates that religion had very little importance at that time.
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