There were many gods worshiped by the Egyptians – they firmly believed in an afterlife and the gods played a very important part of this. There are too many to mention here, but today we will focus on three of them.
As we’ve already seen, and from the evidence the pyramids provide us with, we know that the ancient Egyptians believed in the afterlife. When an Egyptian died it was believed that he or she would travel on to the afterlife, prior to this her or she would enter the Hall of the Dead. Here, they would see whether they were good enough to travel on to the afterlife. The god Anubis would have to weigh their hearts to see whether they were lighter than a feather. This test would prove whether or not they were good enough to go on to the afterlife and whether their spirits would live forever.
Anubis had the head of a jackal and was always associated with mummification and the heart and feather test. Anubis had a wife called Anput who was also a goddess, and his daughter Kebechet was a goddess too.
If you have a love of cats then you would have fitted in well in Ancient Egypt. The God Bastet was the goddess of cats, naturally she had the head of a cat, or sometimes she was depicted with the head of a lion. One story has it that Bastet, who was the daughter of Ra, saved him from a snake Apep, who tried to stop the sun god Ra while he travelled across the sky in his ship.
As the Goddess of Cats it was Bastet’s duty to protect all cats. Ancient Egyptians had great respect for these feline creatures as they kept mice and rats at bay. Rats and mice were prime enemies to the Egyptians especially as they ate the grain and caused disease. Cats were so useful that Ancient Egyptians had great respect for them which meant that to kill one would result in death. When a cat died in the family home it was mourned by the entire family. They would often shave their eyebrows as a mark of their grief. Cats were often mummified like humans and mummified cats have been found alongside their owners.
Horus is the best known of all the gods in ancient Egypt. He had the head of a hawk or falcon and was the most powerful god of all. He goes back a long way, as far back as the Dynastic Period.
When Horus was a baby his father Osiris was murdered by Seth. Horus’s mother was Isis and they are supposed to have hidden in some papyrus reeds in the Nile until Horus was an adult. Horus went into battle with Seth as an adult to win back his father’s kingdom. However, during the battle Seth blinded Horus in one eye. Luckily for Horus, Thoth the god of Wisdom healed his eye. The eye of Horus became an amulet with magic powers.
Horus was a god of war and hunting. He was also a great symbol of power and royalty to the pharaohs. Many Ancient Egyptians believed that the pharaoh was Horus, but in human form.
God of fascination
The god of Ancient Egypt holds a great deal of fascination to us today. They were of great importance to the Ancient Egyptians and they may seem strange to those of us who are only accustomed to worshipping one god. However, Egyptians do share some familiarities with Hinduism and other faiths as a polytheistic religion. Evidence of the ancient gods can be seen in pyramids, walls of temples and on pillars. They may no longer be with us, but they are everywhere to remind us of their once powerful hold over Egypt.
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