Ancient Egyptian Gods From the beginning of Egypt, religion has played an important role of how their society functions. Their complex system of polytheistic beliefs and rituals were the main focus of their community. Gods ruled every aspect of life from agriculture, weather, art, science, to family, and the universe itself. Religion came about once humans started questioning their surroundings and purpose on earth, and the answers to those questions were the mysterious deities who controlled the universe. When the Egyptians want the explanations, the deities fulfill their needs. The main focus of their religion was towards the Gods themselves; for they ruled the universe (Horning, 320).
Deities, or Gods, are phenomena of nature that were a divine force that controlled a part of human life or society. The goal of religion is to praise these divine power in return them for human advantage. Which also grants them an enteral life in the underworld. Different rituals were performed; and prayers recited in order to please the Gods. It was also often seen that Pharaohs were looked at like human Gods. Therefore they were praised as much as other deities if not more in some cases. The king acted intermediately between the Gods and Egypt’s people. After the pharaoh died he was put to rest fully deified, and well prepared for his journey in the afterlife (Lamy, 55). An important God that is a reoccurring deity seen through Egypt history is Osiris. He is the ruler of the Underworld. Legend has it the Osiris was an Egyptian pharaoh who was murdered by his jealous brother, Set. His wife, Isis, then tried to resurrect her husband but then realize he could no longer dwell in reality. Even though he was a God, no one, not even a God, is allowed to live more than once. Due to that he then became the ruler of the Underworld. In the afterlife, Osiris sits on his throne and is praised by the souls were granted eternal life in the underworld. It has been noted that Osiris became the God who passed final judgment on the dead. He was worshiped widely throughout Egypt, although the main location of the temple built for him is located in Abydos (Lamy, 13).
Isis, Osiris’ husband, is the oldest deity in the history of Egypt. She was referred to as the “Great Protector”, for her job was to guard her people. “There, in the beginning was Isis. Oldest of the old, she was the goddess from whom all Becoming arose…In all her great and wonderful works she was a wiser magician and more excellent than any other god (Witt, 15).” She was also known for her healing powers. They were so strong she was able to reincarnate her husband, and even cast a spell on Ra. Since she was so powerful, she was viewed as an equal counterpart to her husband, Osiris. Isis is depicted wearing a headdress of a throne, which represents her power and connection to the pharaoh. The pharaoh is depicted as her child, and he sat on the throne she provided. By doing this, the king then took on, and was viewed with the power of a God. Isis had many temples built specifically to worship her. The locations of these temples varied from all over Egypt to Pompeii and Rome (Witt, 13-20). Another important Egyptian deity is Ra, the God of the sun. He represented creation and power. The Egyptians viewed the sun similar to the way the viewed the Nile, strong, powerful, and a main part in the creation of Egyptian’s society. The sun represented light, warmth, and growth, all necessary for the development of Egypt. Which is why Ra was believed to be the creator of the world. “Ra has placed the king on the earth of the living for ever and eternity, in order to judge humankind, to satisfy the gods…(Witt, 21).” Ra was also closely connected to the pharaoh. While Ra was the creator of the universe, the king ruled Egypt. The kings erected pyramids aligned to the rising and setting of the sun dedicated to Ra. This deity was shown with the head of a hawk,