The Egyptian Room
Amen (Amon, Amun, Ammon, Amoun)
Amen’s name means “The Hidden One.” Amen was the patron deity of the city of Thebes from earliest times, and was viewed (along with his consort Amenet) as a primordial creation-deity.
Amset (Imsety, Mestha, Ameshet)
One of the Four Sons of Horus, Amset was represented as a mummified man.
He was the protector of the liver of the deceased, and was protected by the goddess Isis.
Anubis (Anpu, Ano-Oobist)
Anubis (the Greek corruption of the Egyptian “Anpu”) was the son of Nephthys.
Anubis was depicted as a jackal, or as a jackal-headed man; in primitive times he was probably simply the jackal god.
A cat-goddess, worshiped in the Delta city of Bubastis. A protectress of cats and those who cared for cats. As a result, an important deity in the home (since cats were prized pets) and also important in the iconography (since the serpents which attack the sun god were usually represented in papyri as being killed by cats).
A deity of either African or Semitic origin; came to Egypt by Dynasty XII. Depicted as a bearded, savage-looking yet comical dwarf. Revered as a deity of household pleasures such as music, good food, and relaxation. Also a protector and entertainer of children.
Duamutef (Thmoomathph, Tuamutef)
One of the Four Sons of Horus, Duamutef was represented as a mummified man with the head of a jackal. He was the protector of the stomach of the deceased, and was protected by the goddess Neith.
Four Sons of Horus
The four sons of Horus were the protectors of the parts of the body of Osiris, and from this, became the protectors of the body of the deceased. They were: Amset, Hapi, Duamutef, and Qebhsenuef.
They were protected in turn by the goddesses Isis, Nephthys, Neith, and Serket.
The god of the earth, son of Shu and Tefnut, brother and husband of Nuit, and father of Osiris, Set, Isis, and Nephthys.
He is generally represented as a man with green or black skin – the colour of living things, and the colour of the fertile Nile mud, respectively.
One of the Four Sons of Horus, Hapi was represented as a mummified man with the head of a baboon.
He was the protector of the lungs of the deceased, and was protected by the goddess Nephthys.
Hathor (Het-heru, Het-Hert)
A very old goddess of Egypt, worshiped as a cow-deity from earliest times. Like Isis and Mut, Hathor was a manifestation of the “Great Mother” archetype; a sort of cosmic Yin.
The Greeks identified Hathor with Aphrodite, as she represented, in the texts, everything true, good, and beautiful in all forms of woman; mother, wife, sister, and daughter; also the patron of artists of every kind, and of joyful things, festivals, and happiness.
The star Sirius (called by the Egyptians Sepdet) was sacred to her.
One of the most important deities of Egypt. Horus as now conceived is a mixture of the original deities known as “Horus the Child” and “Horus the Elder”. As the Child, Horus is the son of Osiris and Isis, who, upon reaching adulthood, becomes known as Her-nedj-tef-ef (“Horus, Avenger of His Father”) by avenging his father’s death, by defeating and casting out his evil uncle Set.
He then became the divine prototype of the Pharaoh.
Perhaps the most important goddess of all Egyptian mythology, Isis assumed, during the course of Egyptian history, the attributes and functions of virtually every other important goddess in the land.
Her most important functions, however, were those of motherhood, marital devotion, healing the sick, and the working of magical spells and charms. She was believed to be the most powerful magician in the universe, owing to the fact that she had learned the Secret Name of Ra from the god himself.
She was the sister and wife of Osiris, sister of Set, and twin sister of Nephthys. She was the mother of Horus the Child (Hor-pa-kraat), and was the protective goddess of Horus’s son Amset, protector of the liver of the deceased.
The creator-god, according to early Heliopolitan cosmology; considered a form of Ra.
The third member (with his parents Amen and Mut) of the great triad of Thebes.
Khonsu was the god of the moon.
The wife of Thoth, Ma’at’s name means “Truth”, “Justice”, and perhaps even “Tao”.
It cannot readily be rendered into English but “truth” is perhaps a satisfactory translation. Ma’at was represented as a tall woman with an ostrich feather in her hair. She was present at the judgement of the dead; her feather was balanced against the heart of the deceased to determine whether he had led a pure and honest life.
Min (Menu, Amsu)
A form of Amen depicted holding a flail (thought to represent a thunderbolt in Egyptian art)
and with an erect penis; his full name was often given as Menu-ka-mut-ef (“Min, Bull of his Mother”). Min was worshiped as the god of virility; lettuces were offered as sacrifice to him and then eaten in hopes of procuring manhood; and he was worshiped as the husband of the goddess Qetesh, goddess of love and femininity.
The wife of Amen in Theban tradition; seen as the mother, the loving, receptive, nurturing force (similar to Yin) behind all things, even as her husband was the great energy, the creative force (similar to Yang). The word “mut” in Ancient Egyptian means”mother”. She was also the mother of Khonsu, the moon god.
Neith (Net, Neit, Thoum-aesh-neith)
A very ancient goddess worshiped in the Delta; revered as a goddess of wisdom, often identified with Ma’at; in later traditions, the sister of Isis, Nephthys, and Serket, and protectress of Duamutef, the god of the stomach of the deceased.
The sister and wife of Set, and sister of Isis and Osiris; also the mother of Anubis. She abandoned Set when he killed Osiris, and assisted Isis in the care of Horus and the resurrection of Osiris. She was, along with her sister, considered the special protectress of the dead, and she was the guardian of Hapi, the protector of the lungs of the deceased.
The goddess of the sky, daughter of Shu and Tefnut, sister and wife of Geb, mother of Osiris, Set, Isis, and Nephthys. Nut was generally depicted as a woman with blue skin, and her body covered with stars, standing on all fours, leaning over her husband, representing the sky arched over the earth.
The god of the dead, and the god of the resurrection into eternal life; ruler, protector, and judge of the deceased. Osiris was the first child of Nut and Geb, thus the brother of Set, Nephthys, and Isis, who was also his wife. By Isis he fathered Horus, and according to some stories, Nephthys assumed the form of Isis, seduced him thus, and from their union was born Anubis.
Worshiped in Memphis from the earliest dynastic times (c.3000 BC), Ptah was seen as the creator of the universe in the Memphite cosmology. He fashioned the bodies in which dwelt the souls of men in the afterlife. Ptah is depicted as a bearded man wearing a skullcap, shrouded much like a mummy, with his hands emerging from the wrappings in front and holding the Uas (phoenix-headed) scepter, an Ankh, and a Djed (sign of stability).
Qebhsenuef (Kabexnuf, Qebsneuef)
One of the Four Sons of Horus, Qebhsenuef was represented as a mummified man with the head of a falcon.
He was the protector of the intestines of the deceased, and was protected by the goddess Serket.
Originally believed to be a Syrian deity, Qetesh was an important form of Hathor, specifically referred to in the latter’s function as goddess of love and beauty. Qetesh was depicted as a beautiful nude woman, standing or riding upon a lion, holding flowers, a mirror, or serpents. She is generally shown full-face (unusual in Egyptian artistic convention).
She was also considered the consort of the god Min, the god of virility.
Ra was the god of the sun during dynastic Egypt; the name is thought to have meant “creative power”, and as a proper name “Creator”, similar to English Christian usage of the term “Creator” to signify the “almighty God.” Very early in Egyptian history Ra was identified with Horus, who as a hawk or falcon-god represented the loftiness of the skies. Ra is represented either as a hawk-headed man or as a hawk. Ra was father of Shu and Tefnut, grandfather of Nut and Geb, great-grandfather of Osiris, Set, Isis, and Nephthys, and great-great-grandfather to Horus.
The crocodile-god, worshipped at the city of Arsinoe, called Crocodilopolis by the Greeks.
Sebek was worshipped to appease him and his animals.
A god of light, protector of the spirits of the dead passing through the Underworld en route to the afterlife.
A lioness-goddess, worshipped in Memphis as the wife of Ptah; created by Ra from the fire of his eyes as a creature of vengeance to punish mankind for his sins; later, became a peaceful protectress of the righteous.
Serket (Serqet, Selket)
A scorpion-goddess, shown as a beautiful woman with a scorpion poised on her head; her creature struck death to the wicked, but she was also prayed to to save the lives of innocent people stung by scorpions; she was also viewed as a helper of women in childbirth.
Originally, in earliest times, Set was the patron deity of Lower (North) Egypt, and represented the fierce storms of the desert whom the Lower Egyptians sought to appease. However, when Upper Egypt conquered Lower Egypt and ushered in the First Dynasty,
Set became known as the evil enemy of Horus (Upper Egypt’s dynastic god).
The god of the atmosphere and of dry winds, son of Ra, brother and husband of Tefnut, father of Geb and Nuit. Shu and Tefnut were also said to be but two halves of one soul, perhaps the earliest recorded example of “soul mates.”
The goddess of moisture and clouds, daughter of Ra, sister and wife of Shu, mother of Geb and Nuit. Depicted as a woman with the head of a lioness, which was her sacred animal.
The god of wisdom (Thoth is the Greek corruption of the original Egyptian Tahuti), Thoth was said to be self-created at the beginning of time, along with his consort Ma’at (truth). The two produced eight children, of which the most important was Amen, the hidden one, who was worshipped in Thebes as the Lord of the Universe. Thoth was depicted as a man with the head of an ibis bird, and carried a pen and scrolls upon which he recorded all things. He was shown as attendant in almost all major scenes involving the gods, but especially at the judgement of the deceased.
It was widely believed that Thoth invented the magical and hermetic arts, and thus the Tarot deck, especially its revision by Alistair Crowley, is often referred to as the “Book of Thoth”.