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Egyptian FAQ

Egyptian FAQ Part I - Stuff You Should Know About the Gods
Compiled by Shawn C. Knight 

Release 9311.09


Herein I have placed short summaries explaining the functions of many
of the more important gods worshiped in Ancient Egypt.

If anyone can suggest any additions, modifications, clarifications,
etc. please feel free to contact me by Email at .
Also, if anyone catches any typos, let me know.  Typos in the names of
gods may or may not be corrected, depending upon whether (upon
consulting my sources, grammars, dictionaries, etc.) they're actually
typos!  If some fact is blatantly wrong, please contact me with a
reference, and I will see if I can find some further information on
the subject.  In such cases, we may be considering two different
versions of the myth, in which case I will add the variant information
as such to the FAQ.

If anyone can suggest any additions, modifications, clarifications,
etc. please feel free to contact me by Email at .
Also, if anyone catches any typos, let me know.  Typos in the names of
gods may or may not be corrected, depending upon whether (upon
consulting my sources, grammars, dictionaries, etc.) they're actually
typos!  If some fact is blatantly wrong, please contact me with a
reference, and I will see if I can find some further information on
the subject.  In such cases, we may be considering two different
versions of the myth, in which case I will add the variant information
as such to the FAQ.


The bulk of this material is to be found, in a more comprehensive and
scholarly form, in Sir E. A. Wallis Budge's _The Gods of the
Egyptians; or, Studies in Egyptian Mythology_ (Dover, New Tork, 1969
ed. reprinted paperback from original London 1904 printing).  However,
much of it is collected from various other sources which I have read
during the course of my nearly 15 years as an amateur Egyptologist.

If you want a bibliography, I will start by recommending all the works
of Mr. Budge; particular titles include _Egyptian Magic_, _Osiris and
the Egyptian Resurrection_, _The Egyptian Book of the Dead_, and
_Egyptian Language_.

Those particularly interested in the language of Ancient Egypt should
be aware also of Budge's _An Egyptian Hieroglyphic Dictionary_.  For
the most highly interested students (with sufficient time, interest,
and background in linguistics) I cannot overly recommend Sir Alan
Gardiner's _Egyptian Grammar_, latest reprinting 1988, contact Oxbow
Books if interested but be forewarned: my copy, the absolute prize of
my book collection, cost $80 if I recall correctly.  (I keep my copy
right next to Crowley's _Magick in Theory and Practice_ and
Blavatsky's _Isis Unveiled_.)


The following people are due special thanks for their efforts in
getting this FAQ out and making it as good as it can be made:

Morrighan Danu, Miriam D. Guzman, and Gwen Schmidt, for their love and support.
Tyagi Nagasiva and others for requesting gods to make more work for me :)
Steve Cranmer, for helpful suggestions and revisions.

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.  He is represented in
five forms: (1) a man, enthroned; (2) a frog-headed man (as a
primordial deity); (3) a cobra-headed man; (4) an ape; (5) a lion.
His sacred animals were the goose and the ram, though he was not
depicted as them.

Up to Dynasty XII Amen was unimportant except in Thebes; but when the
Thebans had established their sovereignty in Egypt, Amen became a
prominent deity, and by Dynasty XVIII was termed the King of the Gods.
His famous temple, Karnak, is the largest religious structure ever
built by man.  According to E.A.Wallis Budge's _Gods of the
Egyptians_, Amen by Dynasy XIX-XX was thought of as "an invisible
creative power which was the source of all life in heaven, and on the
earth, and in the great deep, and in the Underworld, and which made
itself manifest under the form of Ra."

Amen was self-created, according to later traditions; according to the
older Theban traditions, Amen was created by Thoth as one of the eight
primordial deities of creation (Amen, Amenet, Heq, Heqet, Nun, Naunet,
Kau, Kauket).

During the New Kingdom, Amen's consort was Mut, "Mother," who seems to
have been the Egyptian equivalent of the "Great Mother" archetype.
The two thus formed a pair reminiscent of the God and Goddess of other
traditions such as Wicca.

SEE ALSO Amen-Ra, Mut, Thoth.


A composite deity, invented by the priests of Amen as an attempt to
link New Kingdom (Dyn. XVIII-XXI) worship of Amen with the older solar
cult of the god Ra.

SEE ALSO Amen, Ra.

Amset (Imsety, Mestha, GD: 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.

SEE ALSO Four Sons of Horus, Isis.

Anubis (Anpu, GD: Ano-Oobist)

Anubis (the Greek corruption of the Egyptian "Anpu") was the son of
Nephthys: by some traditions, the father was Set; by others, Osiris.
Anubis was depicted as a jackal, or as a jackal-headed man; in
primitive times he was probably simply the jackal god.  Owing to the
jackal's tendency to prowl around tombs, he became associated with the
dead, and by the Old Kingdom, Anubis was worshipped as the inventor of
embalming, who had embalmed the dead Osiris, thus helping preserve him
in order to live again.  Anubis was also worshipped under the form
"Wepuat" ("Opener of the Ways"), sometimes with a rabbit's head, who
conducted the souls of the dead to their judgement, and who monitored
the Scales of Truth to protect the dead from deception and eternal

SEE ALSO Nephthys, Osiris, Set.

Bast (Bastet)

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).

She was also worshiped as the consort of Ptah-seker-ausar; and is
joined with Sekhmet and Ra (a very unusual combination of male and
female deities) to form Sekhmet-bast-ra, also worshiped as
Ptah-seker-ausar's spouse, and viewed as a deity of the destructive,
purifying power of the sun.

SEE ALSO Ptah, Ra, Sekhmet.


A deity of either African or Semitic origin; came to Egypt by Dynasty
XII.  Depicted as a bearded, savage-looking yet comical dwarf, shown
full-face in images (highly unusual by Egyptian artistic conventions).
Revered as a deity of household pleasures such as music, good food,
and relaxation.  Also a protector and entertainer of children.
However, many texts point to the idea that Bes was a terrible,
avenging deity, who was as swift to punish the wicked as he was to
amuse and delight the righteous.

Duamutef (GD: 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.

SEE ALSO Four Sons of Horus, 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

SEE ALSO Amset, Duamutef, Hapi, Isis, Neith, Nephthys, Qebhsenuef, and

Geb (Seb)

The god of the earth, son of Shu and Tefnut, brother and husband of
Nuit, and father of Osiris, Set, Isis, and Nephthys.  In the earliest
stages of Egyptian history his name was Geb; in later forms of the
language it became Seb, but the old pronunciation has become so common
in popular works on the subject that it is used herein.  His sacred
animal was the goose, and he was often referred to as the "Great
Cackler".  He is generally represented as a man with green or black
skin - the color of living things, and the color of the fertile Nile
mud, respectively.  It was said that Seb would hold imprisoned the
souls of the wicked, that they might not ascend to heaven.

Hadit: SEE Hor-behedet.

Hapi (GD: Ahephi)

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.

The name Hapi, spelled identically in mostbut not all cases, is also
the name of the god who was the personification of the River Nile,
depicted as a corpulent man (fat signifying abundance) with a crown of
lilies or papyrus stems.

SEE ALSO Four Sons of Horus, Nephthys.

Hathor (Het-heru, Het-Hert)

A very old goddess of Egypt, worshiped as a cow-deity from earliest
times.  The name "Hathor" is the Greek corruption of the variants
Het-Hert ("the House Above") and Het-Heru ("the House of Horus").
Both terms refer to her as a sky goddess.  The priests of Heliopolis
often referred to her as Ra's consort, the mother of Shu and Tefnut.
Like Isis, Hathor was considered by many to be the goddess "par
excellence" and held the attributes of most of the other goddesses at
one time or another.  Like Isis and Mut, Hathor was a manifestation of
the "Great Mother" archetype; a sort of cosmic Yin.

She had so very many manifestations that eventually seven important
ones were selected and widely worshiped as the "Seven Hathors": Hathor
of Thebes, Heliopolis, Aphroditopolis, Sinai, Momemphis,
Herakleopolis, and Keset.

The Greeks identified her with Aphrodite, and this is not too far off,
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.

SEE ALSO Isis, Mut, Ra, Shu, Tefnut.


A composite deity in Crowley's quasi-Egyptian mythology; composed of
Ra-Hoor-Khuit and Hoor-par-kraat.  Apparently without basis in
historical Egyptian mythology, but the name, translated into Egyptian,
means something approximating "Horus and Ra be Praised!"

SEE ALSO Ra-Hoor-Khuit, Hoor-pa-kraat.

Hor-akhuti (Horakhty)

"Horus of (or in) the Horizons," one of the most common titles of
Horus, especially when in his function as a solar deity, emphasizing
his reign stretching from one horizon to the other.

SEE ALSO Horus, Ra, Ra-Hoor-Khuit.

Hor-behedet (HADIT)

A form of Horus worshipped in the city of Behdet, shown in the
well-known form of a solar disk with a great pair of wings, usually
seen hovering above important scenes in Egyptian religious art.  Made
popular by Aleister Crowley under the poorly transliterated name
"HADIT", the god appears to have been a way of depicting the
omnipresence of Ra and Horus.  As Crowley says in _Magick in Theory
and Practice_, "the infinitely small and atomic yet omnipresent point
is called HADIT."  This is a good expression of the god - seen almost
everywhere, yet at the same time small and out-of-the-way.


Hor-pa-kraat (Horus the Child, GD: Hoor-par-kraat)

Horus, the son of Isis and Osiris, distinguished from Horus the Elder,
who was the old patron deity of Upper Egypt; but the worship of the
two gods became confused early in Egyptian history and the two
essentially merged.  Represented as a young boy with a child's
sidelock of hair, sucking his finger.

The Golden Dawn attributed Silence to him, presumably because the
sucking of the finger is suggestive of the common "shhh" gesture.


Horus (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.

As Horus the Elder, he was also the patron deity of Upper (Southern)
Egypt from the earliest times; initially, viewed as the twin brother
of Set (the patron of Lower Egypt), but he became the conqueror of Set
c. 3000 B.C.E. when Upper Egypt conquered Lower Egypt and formed the
unified kingdom of Egypt.

SEE ALSO Hor-pa-kraat, Horus the Elder, Isis, Osiris, Set.

Horus the Elder (Her-ur, Aroueris)

Horus, the patron god of Upper Egypt from time immemorial;
distinguished from Horus the Child (Hor-pa-kraat), who was the son of
Isis and Osiris; but the two gods merged early in Egyptian history and
became the one Horus, uniting the attributes of both.

SEE ALSO Hor-pa-kraat, Horus.

Isis (Auset)

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.

Isis was responsible for protecting Horus from Set during his infancy;
for helping Osiris to return to life; and for assisting her husband to
rule in the land of the Dead.

Her cult seems to have originally centered, like her husband's, at
Abydos near the Delta in the North (Lower Egypt); she was adopted into
the family of Ra early in Egyptian history by the priests of
Heliopolis, but from the New Kingdom onwards (c. 1500 BC) her worship
no longer had any particular identifiable center, and she became more
or less universally worshiped, as her husband was.

SEE ALSO Amset, Hor-pa-kraat, Horus, Nephthys, Osiris, Ra, Set.

Khephra (Keper)

The creator-god, according to early Heliopolitan cosmology; considered
a form of Ra.  The Egyptian root "kheper" signifies several things,
according to context, most notably the verb "to create" or "to
transform", and also the word for "scarab beetle".  The scarab, or
dung beetle, was considered symbolic of the sun since it rolled a ball
of dung in which it laid its eggs around with it - this was considered
symbolic of the sun god propelling the sphere of the sun through the
sky.  In later Heliopolitan belief, which named the sun variously
according to the time of the day, Khephra was the nighttime form of
the sun.


Khonsu (Chons)

The third member (with his parents Amen and Mut) of the great triad of
Thebes.  Khonsu was the god of the moon.  The best-known story about
him tells of him playing the ancient game "senet" ("passage") against
Thoth, and wagered a portion of his light.  Thoth won, and because of
losing some of his light, Khonsu cannot show his whole glory for the
entire month, but must wax and wane.

SEE ALSO Amen, Mut, Thoth.

Ma'at (Ma)

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.
All civil laws in Egypt were held up to the "Law of Ma'at", which
essentially was a series of old conceptions and morals dating to the
earliest times in Egypt.  A law contrary to the Law of Ma'at would not
have been considered valid in Egypt.


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.

SEE ALSO Amen, Qetesh.

Mut (GD: Auramooth)

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.

SEE ALSO Amen, Khonsu.

Neith (Net, Neit, GD: 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.

SEE ALSO Duamutef, Ma'at.

Nephthys (Nebt-het)

The sister and wife of Set, and sister of Isis and Osiris; also the
mother (variantly by Set or by Osiris) 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.

SEE ALSO Hapi, Horus, Isis, Osiris, Set.

Nuit (Nut)

The goddess of the sky, daughter of Shu and Tefnut, sister and wife of
Geb, mother of Osiris, Set, Isis, and Nephthys.  Described by Crowley
in his _Magick in Theory and Practice_ thus: "Infinite space is called
the goddess NUIT."  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.  Her
relationship to HADIT is an invention of Crowley's with no basis in
Egyptology, save only that Hadit was often depicted underneath Nuit -
one finds Nuit forming the upper frame of a scene, and the winged disk
Hadit floating beneath, silently as always.  This is an artistic
convention, and there was no marriage between the two in ancient
Egyptian legend.

SEE ALSO Geb, Hor-behedet (Hadit), Shu.

Osiris (Ausar)

The god of the dead, and the god of the resurrection into eternal
life; ruler, protector, and judge of the deceased, and his prototype
(the deceased was in historical times usually referred to as "the
Osiris").  His cult originated in Abydos, where his actual tomb was
said to be located.

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.

Osiris ruled the world of men in the beginning, after Ra had abandoned
the world to rule the skies, but he was murdered by his brother Set.
Through the magic of Isis, he was made to live again.  Being the first
living thing to die, he subsequently became lord of the dead.  His
death was avenged by his son Horus, who defeated Set and cast him out
into the desert to the West of Egypt (the Sahara).

Prayers and spells were addressed to Osiris throughout Egyptian
history, in hopes of securing his blessing and entering the afterlife
which he ruled; but his popularity steadily increased through the
Middle Kingdom.  By Dynasty 18 he was probably the most widely
worshiped god in Egypt.  His popularity endured until the latest
phases of Egyptian history; reliefs still exist of Roman emperors,
conquerors of Egypt, dressed in the traditional garb of the Pharaohs,
making offerings to him in the temples.

SEE ALSO Anubis, Geb, Horus, Isis, Nephthys, Ra, Set.

Pharaoh (deified kings)

From earliest times in Egypt the pharaohs were worshipped as gods: the
son of Ra, the son of Horus, the son of Amen, etc. depending upon what
period of Egyptian history and what part of the country is being
considered.  It should be noted that prayers, sacrifices, etc. to the
pharaohs were extremely rare, if they occured at all - there seems to
be little or no evidence to support an actual cult of the pharaoh.
The pharaoh was looked upon as being chosen by and favored by the gods
his fathers.  The pharaoh was never regarded as the son of any
goddesses, but rather as the son of the Queen his mother, fathered by
the god, incarnate as his earthly father.  (A few seeming exceptions
to this include a sculpture of Pharaoh Tutankhamen being embraced by
his "parents" Amen and Mut, but the intent here seems to be to compare
the king with their son Khonsu, rather than to actually claim that Mut
was his mother.)

SEE ALSO Amen, Khonsu, Mut.


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.  Other versions of the myths state that he worked under
Thoth's orders, creating the heavens and the earth according to
Thoth's specifications.

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).  He was often worshiped in conjunction with the gods Seker
and Osiris, and worshiped under the name Ptah-seker-ausar.

SEE ALSO Osiris, Seker, Thoth.

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.

SEE ALSO Four Sons of Horus, 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.

SEE ALSO Hathor, Min.


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 falon-god represented the loftiness of
the skies.  Ra is represented either as a hawk-headed man or as a

Owing to the fact that the sun was a fire, the Egyptians realized that
in order to travel through the waters of Heaven and the Underworld, it
required a boat, and so Ra was depicted as traveling in a boat.
During the day the boat was a great galley called Madjet ("becoming
strong") and during the night, a small barge called Semektet
("becoming weak").

During dynastic Egypt Ra's cult center was Annu (Hebrew "On", Greek
"Heliopolis", modern-day "Cairo").  In Dynasty V, the first king,
Userkaf, was also Ra's high priest, and he added the term "Sa-Ra (Son
of Ra)" to the titulary of the pharaohs.

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.  In later periods (about Dynasty 18
on) Osiris and Isis superseded him in popularity, but he remained "Ra
netjer-aa neb-pet" ("Ra, the great God, Lord of Heaven") whether
worshiped in his own right or, in later times, as half of the Lord of
the Universe, Amen-Ra.

SEE ALSO Amen, Amen-Ra, Geb, Horus, Isis, Nephthys, Nut, Osiris, Set,
Shu, Tefnut.

Ra-Hoor-Khuit (Ra-Hor-akhuti)

"Ra, who is Horus of the Horizons."  An appelation of Ra, identifying
him with Horus, showing the two as manifestations of the singular
Solar Force.  The spelling "Ra-Hoor-Khuit" was popularized by Aleister
Crowley, first in the Book of the Law (Liber AL vel Legis).

SEE ALSO Hor-akhuti, Horus, Ra.

Seb: SEE Geb.


A god of light, protector of the spirits of the dead passing through
the Underworld en route to the afterlife.  Seker was worshiped in
Memphis as a form of Ptah or as part of the compound deities
Ptah-seker or Ptah-seker-ausar.  Seker was usually depicted as having
the head of a hawk, and shrouded as a mummy, similar to Ptah.



A lioness-goddess, worshiped 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.  She was worshiped with Bast and Ra as a compound deity,
Sekhmet-bast-ra, and was considered the consort of Ptah-seker-ausar.

SEE ALSO Bast, Ptah, Ra, Seker.

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.  She is also
depicted as binding up demons that would otherwise threaten Ra, and
she sent seven of her scorpions to protect Isis from Set.

She was the protectress of Qebhsenuef, the son of Horus who guarded
the intestines of the deceased.  She was made famous by her statue
from Tutankhamen's tomb, which was part of the collection which toured
America in the 1970's.

SEE ALSO Isis, Qebhsenuef, Ra, Set.


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).

Set was the brother of Osiris, Isis, and Nephthys, and husband of the
latter; according to some versions of the myths he is also father of

Set is best known for murdering his brother and attempting to kill his
nephew Horus; Horus, however, managed to survive and grew up to avenge
his father's death by establishing his rule over all Egypt and casting
Set out into the lonely desert for all time.

In the 19th Dynasty there began a resurgence of respect for Set, and
he was seen as a great god once more, the god who benevolently
restrained the forces of the desert; but this was short-lived and by
around Dynasty 20 or 21 Set became once more dreaded as the god of

SEE ALSO Anubis, Horus, Isis, Osiris, Nephthys.


The god of the atmosphere and of dry winds, son of Ra, brother and
husband of Tefnut, father of Geb and Nuit.  Represented in hieroglyphs
by an ostrich feather (similar to Ma'at's), which symbol he is usually
shown wearing on his head.  He is generally shown standing on the
recumbent Geb, holding aloft his daughter Nuit, separating the two.
It was said that if he ever ceased to interpose himself between earth
and sky, life would cease to be on our world - a very accurate
assessment, it would seem.  The name "Shu" appears to be related to
the root "shu" meaning "dry, empty."  Shu also seems to be a
personification of the sun's light.  Shu and Tefnut were also said to
be but two halves of one soul, perhaps the earliest recorded example
of "soulmates."

SEE ALSO Geb, Nuit, Ra, Tefnut.


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 name "Tefnut" probably
derives from the root "teftef", signifying "to spit, to moisten" and
the root "nu" meaning "waters, sky."

SEE ALSO Geb, Nuit, Ra, Shu.

Thoth (Tahuti)

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 worshiped 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 Aleister
Crowley, is often referred to as the "Book of Thoth".

SEE ALSO Amen, Ma'at.

Egyptian FAQ Part II - Frequently asked Questions (per se)
Compiled by Shawn C. Knight 

Release 9311.09


Herein I have placed a few frequently asked questions, and their
answers, concerning ancient Egyptian mythology.

If anyone can suggest any additions, modifications, clarifications,
etc. please feel free to contact me by Email at .
Also, if anyone catches any typos, let me know.  Typos in the names of
gods may or may not be corrected, depending upon whether (upon
consulting my sources, grammars, dictionaries, etc.) they're actually
typos!  If some fact is blatantly wrong, please contact me with a
reference, and I will see if I can find some further information on
the subject.  In such cases, we may be considering two different
versions of the myth, in which case I will add the variant information
as such to the FAQ.
* In Liber AL, there are some Egyptian names that look funny. What's
the deal?

Crowley, it seems, tried as much as possible to use the original
Egyptian pronounciations of divine names, rather than use their
popular Greek corruptions.  Some of these (e.g. Hadit) have since been
revised in the light of better knowledge of Egyptian, but his attempt
was in general a good one.

* Was there any Egyptian gematria?

Put simply, no.  If there was a standard order used by the Egyptians
for their alphabet, it has been lost.  And unlike Hebrew, but like
English, the symbols used to express numbers in Ancient Egyptian were
not used for letters.

However, since the phonetics of Egyptian closely parallel Hebrew, it
is possible to transliterate Egyptian names and phrases into the
Hebrew alphabet for gematric computations much more readily than

* What's the deal with all these 'hyphenated' gods like Amen-Ra,
Ra-Hoor-Khuit, Ptah-Seker-Ausar, etc.?

Most hyphenated gods' names are explained thusly:

In ancient Egypt, different cities often had completely different
conceptions of cosmology.  As the influence of a city grew, so often
did the influence of its mythos.  It became necessary to reconcile
different gods who served similar roles, and so the priests took the
enlightened viewpoint that the "gods" were merely one entity
manifesting under different names and/or forms.  The one entity was
referred to by a compound name, such as Amen-Ra or Ptah-Seker-Ausar.

However, some hyphenated gods' names are merely hyphenated to make
them easier to read, for example, Her-nedj-tef-f, from the Egyptian
words Her "Horus", nedj "avenger", tef "father", and -f "his", thus
"Horus, the avenger of his father."

In the case of Ra-Hoor-Khuit, we have both explanations in force: Ra
"Ra", Hoor "Horus", khuit "of the horizons", thus "Ra, who is like
Horus of the Horizons".


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