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Myth and Religion in Ancient Egypt. Like all cultures, there is a creation myth in the religion of Ancient Egypt At first there was nothing but chaotic oceans, and out of this chaos magically rose wet ground where the sun god Amon -Re (AKA Atum , Ra) appeared out of nothing.

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Myth and Religion in Ancient Egypt

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creation myth

Like all cultures, there is a creation myth in the religion of Ancient Egypt

  • At first there was nothing but chaotic oceans, and out of this chaos magically rose wet ground where the sun god Amon-Re (AKA Atum, Ra) appeared out of nothing
Creation Myth

It’s pretty boring here. I should make some babies or something.

creation myth1

Since there was nothing, Amon-Re produced the first divine couple:

Shu was god of air and Tefnut was goddess of moisture

Creation myth
creation myth2

Shu and Tefnut then had twins, Geb (god of earth) and Nut (goddess of the sky)

Geb and Nut wanted to marry each other, and Amon-Re got upset; he ordered Shu to raise Nut into the sky which divided the heavens and earth

Creation myth
creation myth3

Despite being separated, Geb and Nut had kids anyway (why not right?): Osiris (god of the earth and vegetation), Isis (goddess of female fertility), Seth (god of the desert), Nephthys (goddess of the dead)

This group of nine gods (Amon-Re, Shu, Tefnut, Geb, Nut, Osiris, Isis, Seth, and Nephthys) are known as the Ennead of Egypt and were worshipped all over the civilization

Creation myth
creation myth4

Osiris because the first pharaoh of Egypt, and his brother Seth became jealous; Osiris and Isis had a child of their own, Horus

Seth decided it would be a good idea to kill Osiris and cut him into little pieces, so he did that and became pharaoh himself

Isis was distraught and searched around for the pieces of Osiris; when he was restored to life he became god of the dead

Creation myth
creation myth5

Horus soon overthrew Seth and became pharaoh himself, which transformed him into god of the sky and heaven

Nephthys and Seth had their own child too, Anubis, who became guide to the afterlife and was an important figure in embalming rituals

Creation myth
religious beliefs

Since the Ancient Egyptians didn’t have modern science to figure out why things worked the way they did, they used a religious system to explain everything

They ended up with a polytheistic religion which had over 80 deities representing everything from the sun (Amon-Re) to the creation of humans (Khnum)

Individual towns even had their own gods to worship, and even individual households worshipped their own gods

Religious beliefs
religious beliefs1

The gods were, for the most part, anthropomorphic (had human bodies with animal heads)

The animals represented the qualities of the god

Religious beliefs
religious beliefs2

Ancient Egyptians believed Khnum made babies on his pottery wheel and placed them inside their mothers’ wombs

  • Khnum also created the ka (soul) and ba (personality) of humans
    • The ka lived in the heart until death when it separated from the body, the ba lived in the greater body and left at death too
    • If the body was properly preserved, the ka and the ba could be restored to the dead
Religious beliefs
religious beliefs3

In addition to worshipping gods, Ancient Egyptians worshipped their dead ancestors

So, they took great care in maintaining the tombs of their ancestors and kept busts of them in their homes

Religious beliefs
religious practices

There were temples for the high-ranking citizens to worship gods at with priests

Ordinary folk just worshipped gods at home or at small shrines, but were still able to attend religious festivals

Religious practices
religious practices1

Since there were so many gods, religious cults developed and were devoted to specific gods and even pharaohs

For example, Amenophis I was the first pharaoh to be buried in the Valley of the Kings and people made shrines to him in their homes and along the Nile.

Religious practices
religious practices2

By the time of the New Kingdom, citizens were using oracles to communicate with the gods

Citizens also wore amulets as a way to combat evil

Religious practices
religious practices3

The Ancient Egyptians were quite superstitious as shown by their use of amulets and oracles, but also because certain days of the week and times of day were thought to be lucky

Dreams were thought to tell the future and many people even recorded their dreams in books

Religious practices
the afterlife

The most lasting concept that the Ancient Egyptians gave us is that of the afterlife

Because of this, there was an intense ritual surrounding the preparation of the body, or mummification, as well as the storage of the body.

The Afterlife
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