Ancient Egyptian Gods and Goddesses

Nut, Shu and Geb
Nut, Shu and Geb

Nut, Shu and Geb

Nut was the mother of Osiris, Isis, Seth, and Nephythys, Nut is usually shown in human form; her elongated body symbolizing the sky. Each limb represents a cardinal point as her body stretches over the earth. Nut swallowed the setting sun (Ra) each evening and gave birth to him each morning. She is often depicted on the ceilings of tombs, on the inside lid of coffins, and on the ceilings of temples.

Shu was the husband of Tefnut and the father of Nut and Geb. He and his wife were the first gods created by Atum. Shu was the god of the air and sunlight or, more precisely, dry air and his wife represented moisture. He was normally depicted as a man wearing a headdress in the form of a plume, which is also the hieroglyph for his name.

Shu’s function was to hold up the body of the goddess Nun and separate the sky from the earth. He was not a solar deity but his role in providing sunlight connected him to Ra. Indeed, he was one of the few gods who escaped persecution under the heretic king Akhenaten.

Geb was the father of Osiris, Isis, Seth, and Nephythys, and was a god without a cult. As an Earth god he was associated with fertility and it was believed that earthquakes were the laughter of Geb. He is mentioned in the Pyramid Texts as imprisoning the buried dead within his body.

AmunAmun

Also Known as Amen, Amun, Ammon
Amun was the chief Theban deity whose power grew as the city of Thebes grew from an unimportant village, in the old Kingdom, to a powerful metropolis in the Middle and New Kingdoms. He rose to become the patron of the Theban pharaohs and was eventually combined with sun god, Ra who had been the dominant deity of the Old Kingdom to become Amun-Ra, King of the Gods and ruler of the Great Ennead.

Amun’s name means “Hidden One, Mysterious of Form,” and although he is most often represented as a human wearing a double plumed crown, he is sometimes depicted as a ram or a goose. The implication is that his true identity can never be revealed.

Karnak was Amun’s chief temple, but his fame extended well beyond the boundaries of Egypt. His cult spread to Ethiopia, Nubia, Libya, and through much of Palestine. The Greeks thought he was an Egyptian manifestation of their god Zeus. Even Alexander the Great thought it worthwhile consulting the oracle of Amun.

Anubis

Anubis

Protector of the Dead
Anubis is shown as a jackal-headed man, or as a jackal. His father was Seth and his mother Nephythys. His cult center was Cynopolis, now known as El Kes. He was closely associated with mummification and as protector of the dead. It was Anubis who conducted the deceased to the hall of judgment.

 

Bastet

Bastet

Bastet is depicted as a woman with a cat’s head or simply as a cat. Originally an avenging lioness deity, she evolved into a goddess of pleasure.
Her cult center was in the town of Bubastis in the Western delta. Many cats lived at her temple and were mummified when they died. An immense cemetery of mummified cats has been discovered in the area.

 

BesBes

Unlike the other gods, Bes is represented full face rather than in profile, as a grotesque, bandy-legged, dwarf with his tongue sticking out. He was associated with good times and entertainment, but was also considered a
guardian god of childbirth. Bes chased away demons of the night and guarded people from dangerous animals.

 

HapiHapi

Hapi was not the god of the river Nile but of its inundation. He is represented as a pot-bellied man with breasts and a headdress made of aquatic plants. He was thought to live in the caves of the first cataract, and his cult center was at Aswan.