PAGE 1

THE GODS AND GODDESSES OF ANCIENT EGYPT

Animated Eye of Horus Right
Art TV Logo
Animated Eye of Horus Right

 

ART, MUSIC & MYTH COME TOGETHER IN THIS VIVID PRESENTATION, SURE TO CAPTURE YOUR IMAGINATION!

ARTWORK COPYRIGHT: CHRISTOPHER TEMARES , MUSIC: 'TRIPELEXIR,' SLIDESHOW: JK LAWRENCE!

Pic 42cS

DOUBLE CLICK IMAGE TO WATCH "THE BOOK OF COMING FORTH BY NIGHT" SLIDESHOW!!!

 

 

ALL ARTWORK AND SCRIPT COPYRIGHT: CHRISTOPHER TEMARES

 

Ausar (Osiris)

 

AUSAR (OSIRIS):


Ausar, whom the scholars of ancient Greece bestowed the more commonly known name Osiris, was to the ancient Egyptians the Lord of the Underworld, Judge of the Dead par excellence'. Although no definite image of 'Ausar' has yet been discovered from the earliest periods of Egypt's dynastic history, the concepts He later engendered so vastly must have been very ancient. The earliest reference to the iconography which ultimately defined His identity appears upon a plaque dedicated to the Royal Chancellor, Hemaka during the reign of the 1st Dynasty king, Den/Semti Hesepti. Here, the king is represented as performing a sort of ritual dance before 'The God at the Top of the Stairs' who is seated within a shrine wearing the Double Crown and vested in a long robe indicative of the Heb Sed ritual or the swathings of a mummy. The god holds the flail which would later become one of Ausar's most commonly rendered symbols.
The Pyramid Texts which appear during the late Old Kingdom period reveal that while the solar god, Re of Heliopolis was the predominant deity during that time, the King had begun to identify with the Risen Osiris and that Osiris had become to the Underworld what Re had become to the material world.
No other god exerted such influence over the the ancient Egyptians as did Osiris, who was revered by both the Royalty and the common people who found in Him the hope for eternal life through the god's own mythical resurrection from the dead. Prior to the worship of Osiris, immortality was a phenomenon avowed only to those of Royal rank. Thus, Osiris proletarianized the concept which must have had a profound effect upon the workings and thought of Egyptian society.
Consequentially, the Priesthood of Heliopolis were wise to bestow the attributes of many of Egypt's most significant gods unto Him, including those of Re.
His most significant influence, however, was inherited from the Lower Egyptian god of the 9th district city (Busiris), Andjety who, it is believed, may have been a deified king whom presided over the waters. The backbone of Osiris known as the Djed column was one of the icons which originally symbolized this god. And it is from Andjety whom Osiris usurped the Shepherd's Crook and Flail.
In later dynasties Osiris figured as the predominant deity in the various recensions of 'The Book of the Dead'. This obviously had a tremendous impact on the scribal trade since it had become conducive to every individual's hope for spiritual 'salvation' to be buried with a copy of the text as an assurance for eternal life in the hereafter.
Osiris was the son of the Earth god, Geb (or Seb) and the Sky goddess, Nuet along with His sister/wife, Isis and their siblings Set and Nephthys. It was the myth of Osiris' death at the hand of His brother, Set which did much to consolidate the power of the Heliopolitan Priesthood and thus ostracize the the native worshipers of the ancient rain maker.
The name 'Osiris' is in itself an enigma, and it is probable that even the ancient Egyptians themselves were as perplexed as are we in the 21st Century as to the original meaning of the name.
The word, USR, meaning 'strength', perhaps leads some scholars to figure the name as 'Strength of the Eye'. The word USR, however, was utilized in the spelling of the god's name at a much later date than what is attributable to the original meaning.
The earliest known spelling of the name consisted of a throne, 'AS' placed over the rendering of an eye, 'ARES'.
'AS' was the name given to His wife, ASet or Isis which translates basically as 'She of the Throne'. 'Ares' means 'to make' or 'to manifest'.
Since at least as far back as the Unification of Upper and Lower Egypt, the significance of the matrilineal line of kings as well as the symbolic unification itself through a Southern price's marriage to a Northern female ruler demonstrates the divine function of Woman's role in the establishment and longevity of each succeeding 'Dynasty' or ruling family.
Thus, it seems sufficient to conclude that Osiris, that is, Ausar, can be correctly translated as 'Manifestation of the Throne'.

 

O
O

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Isis

ISIS

Observation of the texts and testimonials of all periods clearly confirm that the goddess Isis held a most unique and exalted position in the minds of the Egyptians from the earliest times to the latest. The influence She rendered unto these cultures in Her realm and those religions which followed is obvious to the wise and demonstrates the preeminent position She held in the hearts of worshipers and in the minds dreamers the world over since the time of Her first appearance.
Much of what we know, however, about the goddess who is amongst those most frequently mentioned, no references are known with certainty concerning Her attributes in origin. But long before Her name occurred in the 6th Dynasty Pyramid Texts, Her divine aspects were already well recognized and established by the Priesthood of Heliopolis between the 3rd and 4th millennium B.C.E. The functions She performed in connection with the dead were quite defined, and were identical in fact to the duties She engaged in the Graeco-Roman period tens of centuries later. Her role as mother to the ‘anointed’ survived far beyond.
The symbol of Her name reads as Ast, or Iset, the ancient Egyptian word meaning throne(as does Her brother/husband Ausar’s) in the feminine. And as are Her brothers Ausar and Set, and Her sister Nebt-het, She is the offspring of Geb and Nuet.
As the wife as Osiris (Ausar), Isis was, most likely, originally worshiped as a river goddess in the Delta region of Egypt. Indeed kings of the 30th Dynasty placed Her temples in the city of Hebyt in the 12th nome of Northern Egypt. The religious significance the priests of Heliopolis recognized in the rising of the Nile in connection to the rising of the Sothic star thus endowed Isis a celestial role very early on. But it was Her prevalence as protectress and creatress which throughout History proved to be Her most renowned attribute.
As the sister/wife of Osiris, Her auspicious functions in the funerary texts of later periods engendered Her subsequent adoration as the cult extended to the nobility and the common classes. Generally speaking, such intercourse with the divine was a prerequisite allocated exclusively to the King and Priesthood. Isis bequeathed to both the Royalty and Plebeian the promise of inviolable justice and the aspiration for a hopeful afterlife. She was the benevolent mother of every living thing, plant and animal, great or small. She personified the faithful wife and loving mother, and in this capacity the Egyptians exalted Her most.
In context to some of Egypt’s earlier more cosmically vested goddesses, the characteristics of Isis perhaps seem somewhat limited by comparison. As Her popularity increased, however, She gradually absorbed their attributes, thus merging with goddesses such as Renunet, Sepet, Bastet, the foreign goddess Astarte, and most significantly, the goddess Hathor.
An attempt to here describe in detail all the functions She procured, the various allegories She appeared in, would be an exercise in futility without the completion of many chapters, but to name only a few of Her most reputable qualities seems a more reasonable endeavor.
As the sister and devoted wife of Osiris, She was the ‘Mighty one of Magical Words’(Urt-Hekau), who assisted not only is His resurrection, but who mothered His son, Horus, through a magnificent act of immaculate conception. As protectress of the infant Horus, She was thus recognized as mother of the King, that is, Lady of the Throne, as her name signifies.
As the goddess of magic, myth relates how she obtained the mystical name of the Sun god RE by fashioning a serpent from His spittle mixed with earth. This she placed in His path and inevitably He was bitten. In this way She was able to coax from Him the secret word of his identity, and with the magical utterances given to Her by the god Thoth, She was able to reanimate Osiris and consequentially conceive Her son, Horus.
The significance of these stories make obvious the relevance of Her semblance as both woman and goddess to the Egyptians. For most of Egypt’s history, there is no evidence of Isis being soley connected to any particular locality, nor does there seem to have been any temple specifically dedicated to Her per se’ until later dynasties. Rather, She was incorporated into the shrines and temples of other divinities whose functions and attributes She syncretized with. In the 21st Dynasty there was the Chapel of Isis dedicated to ‘Mistress of the Pyramid’ in Giza later to be reconstructed in the 26th Dynasty.
Ptolemies Philadelphus and Euergetes 3 completed one of the most important temples of Isis in Egypt, the Iseion in Sebennytos (Hebyt), began by Nectanebo in the 30th Dynasty, which set the standard for what is commonly accepted as ‘classical’ Egyptian temple art. In the Roman Period shrines were dedicated to Her in Dendera by Augustus. Her most famous temple was on the island of Philae where She was identified with a myriad of other goddesses in the form of ‘Isis of Many Manifestations.’
So widely was the goddess venerated in Her own country and abroad, it is worth noting the temple dedicated to Her in the city of Byblos where She was identified with the goddess Astarte, even in the Philosophic environment of Greece and the pragmatic climate of the Roman Empire where liberal curiosity and a zeal for the exotic proved a fertile sanctuary for the promulgation of Her cultus. The worship of Isis was further dispersed through the various trade routes and expansionism of worldly commerce.
In Greece She was identified with Demeter, Selene, Hera and particularly, because of Her congruity with Hathor, She was recognized as Aphrodite. So widespread was the cult of Isis, She became the center point of the Mystery Religions. The writer Apuleius left a detailed description of the initiatory rites contained in liturgies of this growing denomination. Evidence of Her veneration has also been found in places as far as Mesopotamia and Britain. Needless to say, She eventually became more popular than Osiris Himself and long after Egypt and so called Pagan Rome had reached their culmination of power, the worship of Isis still prevailed, especially amongst those Eastern peoples who beheld in Her the symbol of their own divine mother, the Virgin Mary.
Isis with Her son Horus was easily identified with the Madonna and Child icon so revered by the Christians. It is without a doubt that Christianity borrowed many of its religious protocols from the Egyptian goddess in those centuries and that its progress was due mainly to the fact that the new religion closely resembled it in all its essentials. In its close proximity to Nubia, the Temple of Isis flourished on the island of Philae on into the 5th century of the common era when at last it was closed and ‘converted’ by the Christian emperor, Justinian.

 

 

 

Nephthys

NEPHTHYS

Though seldom mentioned by most enthusiasts of popular occult knowledge, the goddess Nebt-het (Nephthys) remains one of the most important and unique personalities of the ancient Egyptian pantheon.
In describing, therefore, Her various attributes, it is worthy to mention the absence of any temple dedicated to Her by Her worshipers even though nearly every temple contained shrines in Homage to Her, as Mistress of the House.
Nebt-het was the daughter of the Sky goddess Nuit and the earth god Geb (sometimes spelled Seb). She was the wife of her brother Set, and the faithful sister of both Isis and her husband/brother Osiris. Nebt-het was also mother of Anubis, although the religious proper seems to have preferred Osiris, rather than Set, as the more appropriate progenitor, for Anubis indeed was god of the necropolis.
Nebt-het translates as ‘Lady of the House,’ and it is commonly supposed that this refers to the Night sky at Twilight while her sister Isis personifies the Dawn. As an aspect of Venus, this planet is visible primarily at sunrise or sunset most auspiciously.
Another view is that Lady or Mistress of the House refers to the birth-chamber, the womb wherein all conception takes place... an obvious and natural attribute She and Her sister Isis would have inherited from their mother, Nuit.In pondering the allusion put forth that Nebt-het was prone to extramarital affairs in her career, it should be also be reckoned that She Herself was born of an illicit affair between the Sky goddess and Her paramour, the Earth god.
It is Her sister Isis, who from the earliest of times, is more visibly active in History as Mother of the King, the Horus. She was devoted wife, mother and ultimately, great Heroess.

To conclude that Isis was the embodiment of such perceptive and visibly active attributes, Nebt-het must have represented the invisible occurrences which accommodate existence, a ‘House’ in which to dwell. The fact that the name of Isis signifies ‘Throne’ and Nebt-het signifies ‘House’ substantiates this conclusion.
On a transcendent level, all things which ‘are’ exist by virtue as what they ‘are not’... that all ‘happenings’ imply all which ‘happens not.’

The most celebrated aspect of Nebt-het, the wife of Set, was the faithful and self-less manner in which she befriended Isis, helping the widowed goddess to collect the scattered limbs of Osiris, to reassemble him, and ultimately to assist is His resurrection.
She also assists in the rising of the living sun-god RE. ‘Lady, Great of Magical Words of Power’ was one of Her many titles as was ‘Lady of Limits.’
‘As fashioner of the Body,’ She was named Nebt-Khat, which further demonstrates the conclusion previously stated that Her functions were more than what was made obvious, an unspoken but solemnly observed phenomenon.
If the goddess Isis was the manifestation of shining beauty to the ancient Egyptians, it can be said that Nebt-het represented the Allure of Mystery which so enthralled them.

 

 

 

 

Set

SET

The most well known attributes of the god whom Plutarch referred as Set, was the son of the sky goddess, Nu-et and the brother of Osiris, Isis, and His consort/wife/sister, Nephthys. Much has been written concerning the legend of Set’s slaying of His brother Osiris in His attempt to usurp the throne of Egypt’s kingship. Here, Set is made to assume a multiplicity of nefarious attributes which the Egyptians later came to detest.
According to myth, upon His ‘becoming,’ Set tore from a wound in his mother’s side which He had inflicted in a violent act of un-natural birth. The Greeks equated Him with the storm god, Typhon, and the Semitic invaders of Dynasties 13-16 recognized Him as their own thunder god, Baal, Set’s affinity and popularity amongst these foreign invaders only provoked the Egyptians to further reject Him. His notorious reputation in the mythology of Heliopolis, therefore, must be recognized as the interpretation of a priesthood which in no insignificant way profited from this deity’s vilification. For at this point in Egypt’s history, Set was already quite ancient and His original attributes had obviously been long forgotten.
Legend had always accommodated dramas which ‘ritualized’ the conflict of the North and South thus establishing the iconography of Unification. More than 3,000 years after the period of Narmer, the first reputed king of Upper and Lower Egypt, the dispute still ensued, and by that time Set had come to represent evil incarnate.
This was not always the case, however. For in the earliest times, Set was a storm god in Southern Egypt and was perhaps the greatest god of all.

His worship existed in the town of Kom-Ombos, a cult center near the Nile’s outlet at the Wadi Hammamat. It has been concluded that He was invoked by the ‘shaman’ of the pre-dynastic Naqada culture as a sort of Rain Maker. An ivory fetish object from El-Amra depicts a menacing hooded figure whose head-dress seems to anticipate the White Crown of Southern Egypt.
The animal which Set is personified by remains an enigma and has been assumed to be a red or black pig, an ass, an ant eater, a camel, but no definite conclusion has been made.

It could be that the animal had become extinct through time or Man’s hostility, although many other creatures have been attributed as Setian: the ibex, the hippopotamus, crocodile, various snakes, scorpions, leopards, and other mythological animals.

All creatures (including the Human animal) whose skin or hair was red were considered Setian in nature, and there is some speculation that the early breed of hunting dog may have been one of His primary animals.
It must be understood that around the time the Nile valley began to offer an affordable climate for the settlement of tribes around 10,000 B.C.E., to the pilgrims, Egypt was a virtual Garden of Eden and without a doubt, Humanity was in a much more intimate state of harmony with the other creatures that dwelled therein.

Of particular interest is a large green ceremonial kohl palette recovered in Gabalayn, Upper Egypt in safe keeping at the Ashmoleum Museum, Oxford which depicts a variety of creatures both real and mythical engaged in hunting and ritual. On the obverse side, in the lower left corner of the palette, an anthropomorphic Set is depicted amongst the entire parade enthusiastically playing a flute, and here we have a very ancient representation of the Lord of Beasts, quite similar in aspect to Cerrenos and Pan of much later times, a sort of Pied Piper.

In the earliest periods of Egypt’s evolution, even while the Ubaid ancestors of Sumeria had been developing the complex pantheon of the first city-states, many of the gods and goddesses were being propitiated in their original celestial forms and attributes long before the sun cults of Heliopolis had emerged….perhaps because the paths of the stars were such an important observation to those people who knew the trade routes already hundreds, if not thousands, of years in the making.

Set, was the god of Meskhet, the star of the Northern Heavens which to the Egyptians was ‘The Thigh of the Great Bear’.
In the 2nd Dynasty, King Perabsen assumed the iconography of Set as his title to sovereignty, and Pepi of Dynasty 6 referred to Set in his sacred texts as ‘One who supports the Heavens and assists the king’s ascension:’
“Homage to Thee, O divine Ladder! Homage to Thee, O divine Ladder of Set! Stand Thou upright!”
Set’s name is written in such a way which the determinative pictograph portrays a stone or brick. This may insinuate some connection with ‘Masons’ that might have existed in the desert regions at that time.

A Southern goddess, Septet, or Sat, coincidentally has a determinative in her name which the root value means ‘to shoot’, as does the name of the Northern goddess, Neith.

In a scene from the temple of Tuthmoses III, the god is depicted teaching the youthful prince the use of the bow in connection with the goddess, Neith. The words of one Egyptian poet praise Set as ‘that noble and imperious hound whose swiftness is as one with the sharp arrow, more powerful than the gods.’

In the 19th Dynasty, Set is included in the coronation rituals of the kings, the first whose name is Seti. But, after this, the ancient god’s reputation becomes at last demonized in the heart and mind of the common Egyptian. More and more He becomes equated with the gods of Palestine and Syria, a fact which becomes obvious in those civilizations’ iconographies.
To the Hebrews, the god of the Northern Heavens is none other than Baal-Xaphon, and amongst the settlers of Syria, He is Bar-Rumau, or Bel-Rimmon. To the Semites as a whole this was translated as Ba-Al Ram, written in the Biblical texts as Baalim.
The myth and ritual concerning these underworld storm gods in comparison to the attributes of Set are unquestionably similar and each seems quite efficient in illuminating the ‘inner mysteries’ of the other.
Volumes could be written on this matter.
While many of the gods of the Egyptian pantheon are passive in the state of their iconography, Set is always rendered as an active deity; At one moment, a humorous trickster, at another moment a violent and unpredictable force of unfettered chaos.
In a time when all the gods shared a common affinity with one another, before the age of Duality, Set was the first Rebel, the original ‘Free Thinker’, a progenitor of individuality.
He is the god of the Left Hand Path, the sinister, the one deity who through his own self-guidance and refusal to accept the dictates of the status quo, has become the father of all invention and the master of every forbidden discovery.

 

Setgebelein
Setdjinn

 

 

 

HORUS

From the most remote period in the history of ancient Egypt, the falcon was regarded in the highest esteem as the personification of the cosmic powers which the dwellers of the Nile called 'Heru' and which may be roughly translated to mean 'Who is above' or 'The Distant One'. Early on, because the name 'Hor' was also utilized as the word for 'Face', the concept soon evolved that Heru became explicated to mean 'Face of Heaven'. It was reckoned, therefore, that the eyes of the god were in fact the Sun and Moon by day and night respectively.
The falcon was perhaps the first animal to be so ubiquitously worshiped in Egypt (besides the unidentified animal which represented the native god, Set) and many falcon gods existed there. As time progressed, many of these gods came to be assimilated to epitomize the god, Heru, whom the Greeks pronounced 'Horus'.
That Horus had very soon become identified with the king is confirmed by representations rendered upon the testimonials of Predynastic rulers, specifically those of Scorpion and Narmer, the latter which depicts the monarch subduing 'The Marsh Dwellers'. The 'Turin Canon' describes these rulers as 'The Followers of Horus', and throughout Egypt's long and enduring history, no other god was as widely venerated.
By the 1st Dynasty, the kings' names were rendered within a Serekh, the stylized symbol of a house which contained the the ruler's Horus name. Just as the king upon his burial had become an Osiris, each living successor to the throne was recognized as the renewed Horus, and the mythical cycle of the Egyptian universe began anew.

Horus
Thus, Horus elucidates the concept which repeatedly dramatizes the king's earthly function as the undying Sun which, through the battle waged against the forces of darkness, rises again on the Eastern horizon bringing light and victory to the Two Lands, Upper and Lower Egypt. The king as Horus also represents the victory over the rebellious enemies of Egypt evocative of the mythical battle between Horus, the avenger of His father Osiris, and his executioner, the god, Set.
While the iconography of the triumphant king was standardized and 'set in stone' since the reign of King Narmer, the myth may have been further promulgated during the period of Perabsen who, in the 2nd Dynasty, assumed a Set name rather than a Horus name, but was later ousted by his successor, Kha-Sekhem(ui).
As Uniter of the Two Lands, Horus is thus depicted wearing the Double Crown of Northern and Southern Egypt.
As Horus' role as both a solar god and as the earthly son of Isis and Osiris, He was able to consolidate the legitimacy of both the Priesthoods of Re and of Osiris during the end of the Old Kingdom allowing both theogonies to exist side by side simultaneously.
Horus was worshiped in various forms: Horus, the original sky god revered in the Predynastic 'city' of Nekhen (Hierakonpolis), the Sun god Re Horakhty of Heliopolis, Hor-em-Akhet (Horus on His Horizon) who later became identified as the Great Sphinx of Giza. As Horus of Behdety, He was worshiped at Kom Ombos and Edfu, where His followers were known as Mesnet, that is, The Blacksmiths. As Heru-Ur, He was Horus the Elder or 'The Great' while likewise He was reckoned as Heru-pa-Khrat (Harpocrates), Horus the Child.
From the Northernmost parts of the Delta region in archaic times to as far South as Nubia as late as the Greco-Roman Period, Horus was perhaps the most popularly venerated deity of all of ancient Egypt. His widespread reverence also recognized Him as a healer as is demonstrated by the many 'medicine plaques' which have survived. His image as the Winged Disc also influenced the religious symbolism of cultures as far away from Egypt as Assyria and Persia.
His most common forms, however, were either that of a falcon or a man with the visage of a falcon.
Much contradictory speculation has lead to the debate of the origins of Horus, some preferring to conclude that 'The Distant One' may have entered Egypt from the East and that His battle against the god, Set illustrates an archaic example of His victory over, and subsequent 'domestication' of the native dwellers of the Nile.
Whatever may be the case, Horus had become the God of Kings prior to the 1st Dynasty and His supremacy endured until the very end of Egypt's ancient days.

 

 

 

 

Imy-ut

 

ANUBIS (ANPU):


Anubis, whom the ancient Egyptians called by the name of Anpu, was universally acknowledged as god of the dead par excellence' from the earliest times predating the worship of Osiris and that of the company which comprised the gods of Heliopolis. Since the very beginning of their occupation in the region, the dwellers along the Nile were prone to bury their dead on the fringes of the Western Desert. There they must have observed the numerous dogs, wolves and jackals which prowled about the cemeteries scavenging amongst the graves, and it is from this where Anubis most certainly inherited the image by which He was originally worshiped as 'Khenti Amentiu', that is 'The Foremost of Westerners' in the form of a canine variously identified as a hybrid of one or more of these aforementioned species.
Like the god, Set, who according to some mythological traditions may have been His father, the animal's identity remains a mystery and is perhaps one which is extinct or was deliberately portrayed enigmatically.
In the Mastaba tombs of the Old Kingdom, inscriptions carved into the walls offer prayers to Tepy-Dejudef, 'One Who is Upon His Hill', a clear evocation of the image of the god whom presides from the heights of the desert cliffs which overlook the necropolis, guarding the ancient burials.
By the arrival of the 4th Dynasty, the practice of embalming the deceased king becomes a significant observation and it can be thus presumed that the Priesthood of Anubis has at this point assumed a very distinctive and prominent position. Anubis Imyut, 'Who is in the Place of Embalming', refers to the the god in His role as Master of Per-Uabet, the ritual tent where the king's body is swathed and anointed for burial and where his internal organs are to be removed and placed in 'canopic' jars for preservation.
5th and 6th Dynasty Pyramid Texts, specifically those of King Unas, establish the fact that the role of Anubis becomes secondary to that of Osiris as Lord of the Dead, but He nonetheless retains His function as divine guide of the Underworld:


"Get thee onward, O Anubis! For Unas standeth with the Spirits.
Onward into the Underworld! Onward to the Osiris!"


By the Middle Kingdom and thereafter, it is Anubis who swathes the deceased Osiris in the linens woven by Isis and Nephthys. The ritual, which includes certain magical utterances, is thus executed so efficiently and eloquently, that the body ultimately resists the destructive ravages of time and decay.
The New Kingdom Theban Recension of 'The Book of Coming Forth' elaborates the function of Anubis as master of the balance wherein the heart of the deceased is weighed against the Feather of Maat in the Hall of Judgement before the Osiris who presides as Magister.
Anubis also performs the ritual of 'The Opening of the Mouth' which is enacted to awaken the senses of the deceased or likewise his or her Ka statue wherein the soul shall on occasion venture to manifest.
By the Roman Period, Anubis becomes integrated with the god, Horus. His functions, as well as being funerary, are also military. For He is reckoned as 'Master of the Nine Bows', a reference based upon the the ethnically differentiated enemies of Egypt which He endeavors to overthrow and defeat.
Alas, the exact meaning or root from which the name of Anubis derives is unknown, but has been variously linked with a verb meaning 'to putrefy', or a descriptive noun interpreted as 'King's Son' or 'Royal Child'. It may also be derived from a word once utilized to mean 'Desert Hound' in Predynastic times.
Anubis' parentage proves to be as obscure as His name and original identity. One myth describes Him as the son of Nephthys by the sun god, Re while in other instances He is regarded alternatively as the offspring of either Osiris or Set in consort with the same goddess. Yet another tradition suggests that the bovine goddess, Hesat is His mother. Bastet, too, has also been bestowed this particular attribute.
Because of His association with the often war-like god, Upuat, Opener of the Way, and who is His shadow double in many respects, there is ample reason to conclude that the mother of Anubis is none other than the goddess, Neith. For Neith, too, is known as ' The Opener of Ways' and is also attributed to weaving the linen bandages for the deceased king. Her associations with Nephthys and Set are auspicious in this regard.
Anubis was venerated universally by the ancient Egyptians, but the epicenter of His cultus was located in the city of Cynopolis in the 17th nome district of Upper Egypt.
A shrine and sanctuary necropolis known by the Romans as The Anubeion also existed near east of the city of Saqqara.
He was also worshiped in the precincts of Abtu (Abydos) and Asyut, the 8th and 13th nomes of Upper Egypt.

 

 

Djehuti (Thoth)

 

DJEHUTI (THOTH):


The god, Thoth, whom the ancient Egyptians called 'Djehuti', was from His earliest inception revered as a lunar deity which appeared both as a man with the visage of an ibis or less often as a dog headed ape. While the former manifestation became more common during dynastic times, the latter form seems to have been worshiped by the dwellers along the Nile prior to Egypt's Unification. The ibis appears on slate palettes during the Pre-Dynastic period, but the earliest direct reference to Djehuti occurs in The Pyramid Texts in His funerary role as a companion to the sun god, Re, and as a helper to the deceased king during his journey across the Heavens. Subsequently, the lunar deity whom has been incorporated into the solar cult also identifies with the Osiris.
Later inscriptions and those writings which comprise The Book of the Dead refer to Djehuti as the Divine Scribe and Master of Magical Words. He presides, along with the god, Anubis, over the scales of the balance in the Judgement Hall where the king's heart is to be weighed against the Feather of Maat before the enthroned Osiris. Thus, He acts as arbiter of both gods and men.
In His lunar capacity, He is Lord of the City of Eight, Khemenu (Hermopolis), the modern El-Ashmunein. Here He presides over the Ogdoas, the eight primordial gods and goddesses of Creation, Himself being the ninth to make up the complete company (paut) of deities.
The consolidation of His lunar and solar roles attributed unto Him such innumerable powers… Divine Mathematician, Measurer and Counter of Stars, Lord of Time,etc. The Greeks would later identify Him with the god, Hermes Trimegistos (Thrice Great).

 

 

Sokar

SOKAR

Incomparatively early times, the god Sokar was apportioned to that part of the underworld allocated to the inhabitants of the area comprising the district of Memphis. He was the tutelary lord of the necropolis in the city of Saqqara, so called by the Arabs and more than likely named after the god.
The city of Memphis itself has for the most part disappeared completely, its great monuments having been quarried for its stone by the Christian and Moslem populations which superseded in the following centuries. The oldest name of the city was Ineb- Hedj, ‘City of the White Wall’, pertaining to the fortified residence originally built there.
The area was obviously chosen by the kings of the 1st Dynasty as their capital due to its strategic location on the borders of Upper and Lower Egypt in its traditional terminology. In the Middle Kingdom it was known as Ankh- Tawy, ’That Which Binds the Two Lands’, and from the earliest times, its importance as a religious and administrative center lent it much cultural significance.
Presumably, Sokar was already established during Pre- Dynastic times as Lord of the Underworld in the city of Restau south of Giza which had its counterpart in the mythological land of the dead as is described in later funerary texts.
Hor- Aha, reputed second king of the 1st Dynasty, had already reckoned the creator god, Ptah, as supreme architect and god of Memphis who merged with Sokar to form the god, Ptah- Sokar. The forms in which the double god are represented illustrate that Sokar was the older god of that region. Even at this time, Sokar identified with Osiris in His capacity as god of the dead, and also with the solar deity, Atum, god of the sun in the West well before the worship of RE had developed.

A compelling article of proof of the god’s importance in antiquity is found on an ebony tablet, now in the British Museum, rendered for the royal chancellor, Hemaka, during the reign of King Den which depicts the early ruler dancing before Sokar in His appearance as Osiris. In the upper register of the tablet, ‘The God at the Top of the Stairs’ is portrayed seated within His shrine. In the register underneath, the King is shown drawing along the unmistakable Arc of Sokar known by the Egyptians as the Hennu Boat. Unlike the ordinary boats represented in various funerary documents of that time, one end is much higher than the other and terminates in a distinctly rendered gazelle head, or perhaps an oryx, a subtle indication of Setian influence which places its iconographical origin at a very early date. In the center of the boat is a coffer surmounted by the head of a winged hawk which presumably contains a fetish image or body of the dormant sun god, Af. The barque itself rests upon a framework sledge provided with runners.
On the great festival days of Sokar, which took place in the fourth month of the Spring (Akhet) Season, the boat was placed upon its sledge at the first rising of the sun under the supervision of the official High Priest of Memphis, the Ur- Kherp- Hem, ‘Great Chief of the Hammer’. It was the duty of the High Priest to perform this ritual and to lead the procession of his colleagues whose solemn function ordained them to draw the loaded sledge around the sanctuary, thus affecting the sun’s revolution as well as those other celestial bodies in its company.

This ceremony assisted the King in an inaugural rite of hoeing the Earth, of digging the first ditch or canal as it was reckoned, perhaps as the First King had done in ‘Harnessing the Nile’ and ‘Reclaiming the Land for His City.’
This awe inspiring formality obviously expounded a considerable amount of religious significance to the Egyptians who held the office of the King so relevant in His role as Divine Shepherd and personification of resurrection.
As Lord of the Underworld par excellence, Sokar is perhaps most distinguished in His appearance in the New Kingdom funerary compositions known as ‘The Book of What is in the Underworld’, the earliest version which comes from the tombs of Tuthmosis 3 and Amenhotep 2 (1479-1401 B.C.E.), and which seem to be inspired by other literary traditions of the 5th Dynasty Pyramid Texts.
‘The Book’ is best described as a manual spiritual instruction which illustrates the twelve stage transformational journey through the Abyss of the Imhat Necropolis. At a certain point in the passage, inscriptions and references relegate to constant themes of ‘hidden’ and ‘mysterious’ and are composed in an enigmatic terminology that so far has defied translation.
The illustrated version eventuates the sun god, RE, who in the form of Af, sails in His solar boat, Sektet over the stream of Osiris attended by ‘the Guardians of His Cycle’ and across the region of Khatra when alas He arrives at the Domain of Sekhemus, the hidden circle of Amentet wherein dwell the divine slaughterers and demons of contrition. It is a quite different realm than that which is behind Him, for it hath neither river nor fields and He is thus obliged to make His journey across the foreboding sand valley of Restau, the Province of Sokar, on the back of a fire breathing snake.
At the nadir of the descent into the Netherworld, in the Fifth Hour, Sokar emerges from between the wings of a three headed serpent whose tail terminates in the head of a deity named ‘Flesh of Sokar’ or ‘He on His Sand.’ Out of the mound where this occurs, called ‘Night’, a woman emerges whose name is ‘Flesh of Isis.’
It is worth noting that the Land of Sokar, as it is delineated in the texts, is surrounded by a wall of sand and at each end it is flanked with a human headed sphinx reminiscent of the double god, Aker, the allegorical deities of ‘Yesterday and Today’. That the darkest part of the Underworld in fact exists outside the realm of time is not an impractical conclusion considering the esoteric tonality this particular segment of the texts seem to articulate. Whatever the case may be, Sokar’s domain certainly appears to have been an early precursor to the concept of a Christian Hell while its expressed themes of metamorphosis and transformation convey the very formulas that would later inculcate the essential theories of Medieval Alchemy.
Sokar indeed is verifiably recognized as the personification of the inert powers of darkness, the vestigial fire present at the nadir, the deepest part of the Sun’s nocturnal journey. As god of the dead, He is mummified.... yet in keeping with His solar nature, He is depicted with the visage of a hawk. He is called ‘the Great God Who Resteth Upon the Darkness’ identified as Smam- Ur, the Soul of Geb, the Earth God, and as such might well be represented as Set. In other forms, He resembles the dwarf god, Ptah, or perhaps, Besu.. The most impressive surviving example of Him is the falcon headed, silver coffin of King Sheshonq found at Tanis.
Outside the context here described, amulets of Sokar are not common except for several unique examples of squatting falcon figures, but it is quite likely that at some point in the early period of Egypt’s history, shrines dedicated to Him must have been quite numerous.

 

 

 

 

*** THE GODS AND GODDESSES OF ANCIENT EGYPT PAGE TWO