Ancient Egyptian gods and goddesses, collectively known as the neteru, form a large part ofEgypt’s rich history. Although many of these deities have been overtaken by modern religions, some of today’s Egyptians still hold them in high regard along with a number of people throughout the African Diaspora. Some historians have documented more than 1,400 Egyptian gods and goddesses, most of which were believed to exist in the natural form. It was a great taboo to annoy any of them.
Since the list is so long, we have prepared a list of the top six most-worshiped Egyptian gods and goddesses. Although today, many of these deities are known by Greek alterations of the older names, this list refers to them as nearly to the way their worshipers did, accompanied by the artwork they created to represent themselves and their gods and goddesses.
Considered the sun’s deity, Ra was one of the most-worshiped ancient Egyptian gods. He was the king of other gods and the patron of the pharaoh. Egyptians described Ra as the creator and often depicted him with the head of a hawk. Many temples were built to honor him. According to Egyptian mythology, Ra wept and from his tears came man. While some followers of his cult believed that Ra was self-created, those who followed the deity Ptah believed he created Ra.
Historians say Ausar (called Osiris by the Greeks) was the god of the afterlife, underworld and the dead. To symbolize this, he was frequently displayed in a mummified state with green skin. He was also considered merciful and giver of life in the underworld, which made him one of the most worshiped ancient Egyptian gods. It is said that Ausar was the son of Geb and Nut and brother to Set, Nephthys, Auset and Haroeris. He fathered two male deities, Heru (Horus) and Inpu (Anubis).
Commonly adored as the ideal mother and wife, Auset was also considered the patroness of nature and magic. History records that Auset was largely worshiped by the downtrodden – mostly slaves, sinners and artisans – but she was also a friend of the wealthy, pharaohs and maidens. She was the daughter of Geb and Nut, making her the sister of her husband Ausar, whose body she reconstructed after their brother, Set, killed and dismembered him. Popularly known as Isis, her worship extended to the Roman Empire, England and Afghanistan.
Perhaps one of the oldest ancient Egyptian gods, Heru (or Horus) was most recognizable by his falcon head, representing focus, vision and far sight. Initially recorded as the national god of Nekhen in Upper Egypt (in the southern part of Egypt), Heru was the god of the sky, war and hunting. Many Egyptians believed that he was magically conceived by Auset after his father Ausar was murdered. Ruling pharaohs were commonly regarded as the true manifestation of Heru in life and Ausar in death.
Believed to be the power mediator between good and evil, Tehuti (Thoth) was considered one of the most unusual ancient Egyptian gods. Some historians claim he was the son of Ra, while others believe he created himself through the power of language. He is said to be the inventor of magic and writing, the teacher of man, messenger for other gods and divine record-keeper. In his hands, Tehuti is believed to have carried life and power.
Ma’at the Egyptian goddess personified truth, balance, morality, justice, order and harmony. She was believed to have power over seasons, stars and how people and other gods behaved. Ma’at was the daughter of another prominent deity called Duat, who determined whether souls of the dead would reach paradise successfully. Egyptian pharaohs used Ma’at’s emblems to emphasize their authority in upholding the rule of law.
One of her most recognized emblems is the feather, which would be used by the gods to judge a newly-deceased person’s heart, or moral deeds. Ma’at is also associated with a moral code known as the 42 Negative Confessions – if a person’s conduct did not violate her code, their heart would be lighter than her feather, granting them access to the afterworld.
Extracted From: Face2faceAfrica