Egyptian mythology refers to the characteristics of animism, fetishism and magic that dominated ancient Egypt. A sense of monotheism is present within Egyptian mythology. Ra the "One or One One" is a lot like what "the Muslim means today when he says, 'There is no god but God.'" The monotheism is not the same as what Christianity would believe in. There was a point at which the Sun-god had no "no counterpart, no offspring, and no associate" but the ancient theologians of Egypt later allow Osiris to usurp the "position of the god of the day;".
The mythological concepts of one god within ancient Egypt actually has to do with an overarching god of many gods. Complexities of this grand Egyptian polytheism of hundreds of cult-gods and sacred animals are found in the relationship between the natural world and divine will. This resulted in "local spirits" manifesting in accord with the "magico-religious ritual" sociology of ancient Egypt much like pixies or fairies capture the Western mind. There also underlies all of ancient Egyptian mythology a political theocratic system where by rulers attempt to usurp divine powers into their own political will. Coupled with Babylonian influence it is considered the root of modern astrology. The stars, sun, moon, seasons, weather, etc were all revered within ancient Egypt. This is because man was, as is still true today, dependent upon nature. During the ancient near east, society depended heavily upon agriculture. Crops would or would not grow based on water that at times would or would not flood the lands. Ancient Egypt culture was seen dependent upon those many interconnected natural elements each seen as a unique divine force or god. The superior forces became deified by Egyptians and likewise those deities were personified within kingships such as Pharaoh. So intimate was the relationship between god and man within Egyptian society that some of the most revered rulers were seen to have a genealogical connection with the divine. A history formed into an Egyptian canon of writings, essentially mythology that is very much intertwined with nature and humanity as it is with the divine.
|“||Horus the Aged, Ra, and Osiris were names which the Egyptians gave to the sun at different times in their history; the sun was their god 'One', and they never faltered in their allegiance to him, and in this respect they may be said to have been monotheists.||”|
Earth began as Nu. Nu being a way to describe a watery chaos, of which receded and land formed. The first god, a sun-god, to appear was Atum (creator of earth and the universe), literally dirt, land or earth is being worshiped, deified by Egyptians when fertile land becomes seen when Nile River waters recede. Considered asexual and thus bisexual as Egyptians considered any sexual orientation to be of acceptance, Atum, "spit up his son (Shu) and vomited up his daughter (Tefnut)" according to myth. Shu representing air and life while Tefnut represents rain and order. Separation occurs between the Father (Atum) and his children (Shu and Tefnut) and when reunion happened, Atum cried and birthed many men from the ground when the tears hit.
Shu and Tefnut give birth to Geb of which the Pharaoh's earthly throne is decided upon. Also born is Nut, or goddess of the sky or atmosphere that separates earth and Nu. Geb and Nut birth Osiris, Isis, Seth, and Nephthys, Osiris being one of the more significant gods within the ancient Egyptian religion.
The Great Ennead
The Great Ennead is a ruling divine council consisting of Atum, Shu and Tefnut, Geb and Nut, Osiris, Isis, Set (Seth) and Nephthys. Intercession by other lesser gods was heard as well. The council is worshiped in the ancient city of Heliopolis. It was consulted by Horus and Seth in which The Great Ennead mediated the war between them.
|“|| Shu, Son of the Creator, was the first to speak: "Right should rule might. Mighty Seth hath force on His side, but Young Horus hath Justice. We shalt do Justice unto Horus by proclaiming, 'Yes! Ye shalt have the throne of Thy Father!'"
Thoth, Lord of Wisdom, spake unto the Ennead, "This is right a million times!"
Isis gave a great cry of Joy. She begged the North Wind to change direction Westward to whisper the news unto Osiris.
Lord Shu declared, "Giving the Throne unto Horus seems right to the whole of the Ennead! Thoth shalt give the Royal signet ring to Horus. We shall crown Him with the White Crown!"
And, to this, Seth proclaimed, "It is I who slay the Enemy of Re daily. It is I Who stand in the prow of the Bark of Millions of Years, and no other God can do it. It is I who should recieve the office of Osiris!"
Many of the significant deities of ancient Egypt mythology were in fact bi-sexual. They were both male and female.
Born from Geb and Nut, Osiris and Isis then sexually reproduce a god-son named Horus. Osiris was murdered by Seth (or Set), god of the desert, in which Horus becomes the avenger and battles.
- Main Article: Horus
Horus is the falcon headed god-son of Osiris and Isis, a figure of the ancient Egyptian religious myths most popular during Predynastic period through to Greco-Roman times, essentially 3000 BC to around 300 AD. Horus is one of the most important deities during ancient Egypt. The Pharaoh became Horus in life while becoming Osiris in death. Attaining rights from gods by making the lineage of Horus that of humanity, from the children of Atum, associates divinity with Pharaoh. As this union between seats of human power and the divine seats of power increases through a society embracing it, and Egyptian concept of divine kingship inevitably became attributed to Pharaoh, the earthly ruler on behalf of the divine will of gods.
- E. A. Wallis Budge, From Fetish To God In Ancient Egypt (Dover Publications 1988), pg. 5
- E. A. Wallis Budge, From Fetish To God In Ancient Egypt (Dover Publications 1988), pg. 9
- The Ancient Egyptian Culture Exhibit - Egyptian Mythology Minnesota State University
- Ancient Egypt: The Mythology
- E. A. Wallis Budge, From Fetish To God In Ancient Egypt (Dover Publications 1988), pg. 8
- Theology WebSite Etext Index - Egyptian Myth: The 80 Years of Contention Between Horus and Seth
- Sacred Texts: Ancient Egypt By Internet Sacred Text Archive
- The Major Egyptian Books of the Underworld by Jimmy Dunn