Ancient Egyptian Religion. Presented by Kane McKenzie and Matthew Lavallee. Seth the Almighty. Art and Symbolism.
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Ancient Egyptian Religion Presented by Kane McKenzie and Matthew Lavallee Seth the Almighty
Art and Symbolism To all of the ancient Egyptians, not one piece of art was ever considered to be not religious. Everything they made or drew was to depict either a god or an act in which was being performed for a god. Every piece of scripture was made to have specific meaning to it. Egyptian art was intended to reveal hidden material and spiritual laws of nature. The spiritual life could not be understood by logic, facts, or intellectual reasoning alone, it needed a language that was represented with symbols, allegory, and mythology so that it’s hidden truth could be found. Egyptian art is nothing but a series of manifold and interrelated symbols carefully and deliberately constructed to communicate certain natural laws and universal principals in a visual, pictorial form. To merely say that the Egyptians had a pictured language and a keen practice in art is more than enough to set off someone who has spent their life trying to unravel the teachings of these people, because it’s not just that, it’s a symbol for their lives and their culture carefully crafted upon a thin piece of papyrus.
Creation Story of the Gods In the beginning there was only Nun, the dark waters of chaos. From those waters rose a hill and a flower. From this flower arose Ra, the Sun God.The hill was called Ben-Ben and atop the hill stood Atum. Atum let out a cough and spat out Shu and Tefnut, the god of air and the goddess of moisture. Shu and Tefnut had two children by the names of Geb, god of the Earth, and Nut, the god of the sky. Shu lifted up Nut so that she became a canopy over top of Geb. Nut and Geb had four children by the names of Osiris, Isis, Seth, and Nephthys. Osiris was the king of the earth and Isis the queen. Osiris was a good king and ruled over the earth for many years, but Seth became jealous over Osiris and eventually killed Osiris. Osiris went to the underworld and Seth became the new king of the Earth. Osiris and Isis had one son by the name of Horus. Horus battled against Seth and reclaimed the throne. Horus was now the king of the Earth and Osiris king of the underworld.
Major Tenets and Beliefs The ancient Egyptian religion is based off of a polytheistic belief, except for during the reign of Akhenaton. The Egyptians had as many as 2000 gods and goddesses. The ancient Egyptians had no word for religion in their language because for the people of Egypt there were no perceived differences between sacred and mundane actions. Every action was viewed as an earthly symbol for a specific divine activity, be that plowing or playing games. The Egyptian faith was based on a collection of ancient myths, natural warship, and innumerable deities. Their beliefs start at the core of most beliefs, the start of the world, this story for them starts with the primordial waters and the sun god Ra. From Ra came the other gods and from them even more. These gods were portray with the torso of a human and the head of either a human or an animal. Each god was given a divine duty and this was their life.
Afterlife beliefs The belief in rebirth after death was the primary driving force behind their funeral practices. Death was nothing but a temporary interruption to someone's life. The Egyptians believed that the only way to enter the afterlife was to preserve the bodies of the dead. The rich began burying their dead within tombs using the art of artificial mummification. The Egyptians believed that a persons spirit lived on after their death. There were two types of spirits they believed were released from a persons body, the “Ka”, the life force of the person, and the “Ba”, the characteristics of the person(personality). The Egyptians afterlife was seen as a perfect existence in an ideal reality of Egypt. It was a place of complete bliss, and peace. Before a person could make it to this afterlife of pure enlightenment, they first had to pass through the land of the underworld, ruled by the god Osiris. This place was one of danger and filled with various tests to identify the worthy.
Ritual Worship The Ancient Egyptian had many different gods, meaning that there was a different prayer and different ritual for each of the gods. There were many books of worship but the most popular among them being the Book of Coming also known as the book of the Dead. There has been no single papyrus of the complete text but there are many separate pieces that were later put together. There are 192 known books within the Book of the Dead. A close correlation to the Book of the Dead would be to the Christians Holy Bible, being that it was their main book of religious worship. The Rituals consisted mainly of small offerings to the gods and pharaohs at temples (the Pharaohs were seen as living gods among the people). The animals represented in the drawings of the gods were honored extensively because the Egyptians thought that if they did these acts they would be pleasing the gods who wore their faces.
Major Information Points • There was no single Holy book for the Egyptians such as the Bible or the Koran • As the culture of the ancient Egyptians developed many of their ancient gods were absorbed into new gods. • The most famous religious cult in ancient Egypt was the Ennead of Heliopolis (A company of nine gods)(Atum, Geb, Isis, Nephthys, Nut, Osiris, Set, Shu and Tefnut) • The ancient Egyptians did not worship many animals, the depiction of a god or goddess as an animal was a identification device to convey the symbols and attributes of the deity • The pyramids were believed to be a sort of “Stargate” leading to heaven and eternal life. • The Book of the Dead was a work commissioned by an ancient scribe called Ani (Safe Passage)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0I-3TxjNVgk A British exhibit focusing on the Book of the Dead follows ancient Egyptians' journey from death to the afterlife. This shows the very premise behind the Egyptian’s beliefs. An extraordinarily famous scripture of Osiris balancing the heart of Hunifer to the feather of Ma’at. This was to symbolize that he had not been out weighed by his greed. If he failed he would be fed to Ammit the demon.
References http://www.isismoontemple.com/temple07beliefs.html http://www.ancientegypt.co.uk/gods/story/main.html http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/180764/Egyptian-religion