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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 XVIII he was probably the most widely worshipped 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, Horus, Isis, Nephthys, 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.
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 Imhotep).
|Qebehsenuf (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 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
falon-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 superceded 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
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 Horus, Ra.
Rewritten and reformatted from the
original "Frequently Asked Questions and Information about Egyptian
Mythology", 8 May 1994 revision, by Shawn C. Knight.
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