EGYPTIAN GODS and GODDESSES
(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 by the priests of Hermopolis. His sacred animals were
the goose and the ram.
Up to the Middle Kingdom Amen was merely a local god 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
Budge, Amen by Dynasty 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.” Addition-lly, Amen appears to have been the protector of any pious devotee
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. Their child was the moon god Khons.
See also Amen-Ra, Khons, Mut, Thoth.
A composite deity, devised by the priests of Amen as an attempt to link New
King- dom (Dyn. XVIII-XXI) worship of Amen with the older solar cult of the god
Ra. In a union of this sort, the deities are said to indwell one another – so
we have the power represented by Amen manifesting through the person of Ra (or
vice versa). This sort of relationship is common among Egyptian gods,
particularly among cosmic or national deities. It is an example of how the
Egyptian gods are viewed, as Morenz puts it, of having “personality but not
See also Amen, Ra.
(Imsety, Mestha; Golden Dawn, 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
See also Four Sons of Horus, Isis.
(Anpu; Golden Dawn, Ano-Oobist)
Anubis (Greek, from Egyptian Anpu) was the son of Nephthys: by some traditions,
the father was Set; by others, Osiris. (And by still other traditions his
mother was Isis.) Anubis was depicted as a jackal, or as a jackal-headed man;
in primitive times he was probably simply the jackal god.
Owing perhaps to the jackal’s tendency to prowl around tombs, he became assoc-
iated 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. His task became to glorify and preserve all the
Anubis was also worshipped under the form Upuaut (“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 the
second death in the underworld.
See also Nephthys, Osiris, Set.
In Upper Egypt, around Elephantine, Anuket was worshipped as the companion
(generally the daughter) of Khnum and Sati. Her sacred animal was the gazelle.
She was believed to be the dispenser of cool water, and wore a feathered crown
on her human head.
See also Khnum, Sati.
An early deity, probably the best known Egyptian deity represented only as an
animal, and never as a human with an animal’s head. Apis was most closely
linked with Ptah, and his cult center was Memphis. He was primarily a deity of
fertility. He was represented as a bull crowned with the solar disk and uraeus-
serpent. A sacred Apis bull was kept in Memphis, and there is a great mass
burial of Apis bulls, the Serapeum, located there.
See also Ptah.
The sun itself, recognized first in the Middle Kingdom, and later becoming an
aspect of the sun god. In the reign of Amenhotep IV during Dynasty XVIII, Aten
was depicted as a disk with rays, each ray terminating in a human hand and
bestowing symbols of “life” upon those below. Aten was declared the only true
deity during this period, but the worship of Amen and the other deities was
restored by Amenhotep IV’s successor Tutankhamen. Morenz believes the name
“Aten” was pronounced something like “Yati” during the height of its cult.
A primordial creator god, worshipped as the head of the Heliopolitan family of
gods. Father of Shu and Tefnut, and in later times believed to be one with the
sun god Ra.
See also Ra.
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 viewed as the beneficent side of the lioness-goddess Sekhmet. See also
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.
(Tuamutef; Golden Dawn, Thmoomathph)
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.
A serpent goddess of the Delta, a symbol and protrectress of Lower Egypt, the
counterpart of Nekhbet in Upper Egypt, worn as part of the king’s crown.
See also Nekhbet.
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 Selket. See also Amset, Duamutef, Hapi,
The god of the earth, son of Shu and Tefnut, brother and husband of Nut, and
father of Osiris, Set, Isis, and Nephthys. Sacred animal and symbol was the
goose. 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 Geb would hold imprisoned the souls of the wicked, that they might
not ascend to heaven. Note Geb is masculine, contrasting with many other
traditions of Earth being female.
See also Nut.
See Horus of Behedet.
(Golden Dawn, 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 with different hieroglyphs, in most but 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 (Upper
Nile) or papyrus plants (Lower Nile).
See also Four Sons of Horus, Nephthys.
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. She was frequently equated with Isis. She was worshipped at Edfu as
the consort of Horus. At Thebes, she was considered the goddess of the dead.
She was also the patron of love, dance, alcohol, and foreign lands.
See also Isis.
(Hor-pa-kraat; Golden Dawn, Hoor-par-kraat)
“Horus the Child”, the son of Isis and Osiris as a little suckling child,
distinguished from Horus the Elder, who was the patron deity of Upper Egypt.
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. See also Horus.
A primordial goddess with the head of a frog, worshipped as one of the Eight
Gods at Hermopolis, and seen as the consort of Khnum at Antinoe.
See also Khnum.
A composite deity in Crowley’s quasi-Egyptian mythology; composed of Ra-Hoor-
Khuit and Hoor-par-kraat. The name, translated into Egyptian, means something
approximating “Horus and Ra be Praised!” Of course, this could simply be
another corruption due to the inferior Victorian understanding of the Egyptian
language, and it is possible Crowley had something entirely different in mind
for the translation of the name.
See also Ra-Horakhty, Harpocrates.
One of the most important deities of Egypt. As the Child, Horus is the son of
Osiris and Isis, who, upon reaching adulthood, avenges his father’s death, by
defeating and castrating his evil uncle Set. He then became the divine
prototype of the Pharaoh.
As Heru-Ur, “Horus the Elder”, he was 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. 3100 B.C.E. when
Upper Egypt conquered Lower Egypt and formed the unified kingdom of Egypt.
See also Isis, Osiris, Set.
Horus of Behedet
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 Horus. As Crowley says in Magick in Theory and
Practice, “the infinitely small and atomic yet omnipresent point is called
See also Horus.
Imhotep was the architect, physician, scribe, and grand vizier of the IIIrd
Dynasty pharaoh Zoser. It was Imhotep who conceived and built the Step Pyramid
at Sakkara. In the Late Period, Imhotep was worshipped as the son of Ptah and a
god of medicine, as well as the patron (with Thoth) of scribes. The Greeks
considered him to be Asklepios.
See also Ptah, Thoth.
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
(Harpocrates), 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 Horus, Osiris.
The creator-god, according to early Heliopolitan cosmology; assimilated with
Atum and 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.
See also Ra.
Appearing as a ram-headed human, Khnum was worshipped most at Antinoe and
Elephantine. He was another creator-god, represented as fashioning human beings
on his pottery wheel. His consort was variously Heqet, Neith, or Sati.
See also Sati.
The third member (with his parents Amen and Mut) of the great triad of Thebes.
Khons was the god of the moon. The best-known story about him tells of him
playing the ancient game senet (“passage”) against Thoth, and wagering a portion
of his light. Thoth won, and because of losing some of his light, Khons cannot
show his whole glory for the entire month, but must wax and wane. The main
temple in the enclosure at Karnak is dedicated to him.
See also Amen, Mut, Thoth.
Considered the wife of Thoth and the daughter of Ra by various traditions,
Maat’s name implies “truth” and “justice” and even “cosmic order”, but there is
no clear English equivalent. She is an anthropomorphic personification of the
concept Maat and as such has little mythology. Maat was represented as a tall
woman with an ostrich feather (the glyph for her name) 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.
See also Thoth.
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-f (“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.
(Mentu, Men Thu)
The principal god of Thebes before the rise of the Amen cult; appeared as a
falcon-headed man and often united with Horus. Primarily a war god.
(Golden Dawn, Auramooth)
The wife of Amen in Theban tradition; the word mut in Egyptian means “mother”,
and she was the mother of Khonsu, the moon god.
See also Amen, Khons.
The youthful son of Ptah and Sekhmet, connected with the rising sun; depicted as
a youth crowned with or seated upon a lotus blossom.
See also Ptah.
(Net, Neit; Golden Dawn, Thoum-aesh-neith)
A very ancient goddess of war, worshiped in the Delta; revered as a goddess of
wisdom, identified with Athena by the Greeks; in later traditions, the sister of
Isis, Nephthys, and Selket, and protectress of Duamutef, the god of the stomach
of the deceased. Mother of the crocodile god Sobek.
See also Sobek.
Upper Egyptian patron goddess, represented as a vulture in iconography, and
often part of the crown of the pharaoh, along with her Lower Egyptian
See also Edjo.
The youngest child of Geb and Nut. 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 Isis, Osiris, Set.
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 Nut – one finds
Nut 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 Egyptian myth.
See also Geb, Shu.
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
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 XVIII
he was probably the most widely worshipped god in Egypt. His popularity endured
until the latest phases of Egyptian history; relief’s 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, Horus, Isis, Nephthys, Set.
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 occurred 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.
Worshipped in Memphis from the earliest dynastic times (c.3100 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
worshipped in conjunction with the gods Seker and Osiris, and worshipped under
the name Ptah-seker-ausar.
He was said to be the husband of Sekhmet and the father of Nefertum (and later
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 Selket.
See also Four Sons of Horus, Selket.
Originally believed to be a Syrian deity, Qetesh was a 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 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 falcon-god
represented the loftiness of the skies. Ra is represented either as a hawk-
headed man or as a hawk. In order to travel through the waters of Heaven and
the Underworld, Ra was depicted as traveling in a boat.
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 one aspect of
the Lord of the Universe, Amen-Ra.
See also Amen-Ra, Horus.
“Ra, who is Horus of the Horizons.” An appellation 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 Horus, Ra.
The goddess of Elephantine, and the consort of Khnum. Together with their
companion Anuket, dispenser of cool water. Represented with human head, the
crown of Upper Egypt, and the horns of gazelles.
See also Anuket, Khnum.
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.
See also 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, closely linked with the
See also Bast, Ptah.
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 petitioned to
save the lives of innocent people stung by scorpions; she was also viewed as a
helper of women in childbirth. She is depicted as binding up demons that would
otherwise threaten Ra, and she sent seven of her scorpions to protect Isis from
She was the protectress of Qebehsenuf, 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
See also Isis.
A Ptolemaic period god, devised by the Greeks from Osiris and Apis. Supposedly
the consort of Isis, god of the afterlife and fertility. Also physician and
helper of distressed worshippers. Never obtained much following from the native
Egyptian population. His cult center was Alexandria.
See also Apis, Osiris.
In earliest times, Set was the patron deity of Lower (Northern) 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
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 Anubis.
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, castrating Set, and casting him
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 and protected Egypt from foreigners.
See also Anubis, Horus, Isis, Nephthys, Osiris.
The god of the atmosphere and of dry winds, son of Ra, brother and husband of
Tefnut, father of Geb and Nut. Represented in hieroglyphs by an ostrich feather
(similar to Maat’s), which he is usually shown wearing on his head. He is
generally shown standing on the recumbent Geb, holding aloft his daughter Nut,
separating the two.
The name “Shu” is probably 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
See also Tefnut.
The crocodile-god, worshipped at the city of Arsinoe, called Crocodilopolis by
the Greeks. Sobek was worshipped to appease him and his animals. According to
some evidence, Sobek was considered a fourfold deity who represented the four
elemental gods (Ra of fire, Shu of air, Geb of earth, and Osiris of water). In
the Book of the Dead, Sobek assists in the birth of Horus; he fetches Isis and
Nephthys to protect the deceased; and he aids in the destruction of Set.
Feminine Egyptian name for the star Sirius, which very early meshed with Isis
(being the consort of Sahu-Osiris, which was Orion). Also associated with
See also Hathor, Isis.
The goddess of moisture and clouds, daughter of Ra, sister and wife of Shu,
mother of Geb and Nut. 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 Shu.
The god of wisdom, Thoth was said to be self-created at the beginning of time,
along with his consort Maat (truth), or perhaps created by Ra. At Hermopolis it
was said that from Thoth were produced eight children, of which the most
important was Amen, “the hidden one”, who was worshiped in Thebes as the Lord of
the Universe. The name “Thoth” is the Greek corruption of the original Egyptian
Tahuti. 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. He served as the messenger of the gods, and was thus equated by
the Greeks with Hermes.
Thoth served in Osirian myths as the vizier (chief advisor and minister) of
Osiris. He, like Khons, is a god of the moon, and is also the god of time,
magic, and writing. He was considered the inventor of the hieroglyphs.
See also Amen, Maat.
A hippopotamus goddess, responsible for fertility and protecting women in
childbirth. Partner of Bes.
See also Bes.