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Egyptian Gods & Mythology

Egyptian myths were metaphorical

stories intended to illustrate and explain
the gods actions and roles in nature. The
details of the events they recounted could
change as long as they conveyed the
same symbolic meaning, so many myths
exist in different and conflicting versions.
Mythical narratives were rarely written
in full, and more often texts only contain
episodes from or allusions to a larger
myth. Knowledge of Egyptian
mythology, therefore, is derived mostly
from hymns that detail the roles of
specific deities, from ritual and magical
texts which describe actions related to
mythic events, and from funerary texts
which mention the roles of many deities
in the afterlife. Some information is also provided by allusions in secular texts. Finally, Greeks and
Romans such as Plutarch recorded some of the extant myths late in Egyptian history.

Among the significant Egyptian myths were the creation myths. According to these stories, the
world emerged as a dry space in the primordial ocean of chaos. Because the sun is essential to life
on earth, the first rising of Ra marked the moment of this emergence. Different forms of the myth
describe the process of creation in various ways: a transformation of the primordial god Atum
into the elements that form the world, as the creative speech of the intellectual god Ptah, and as an
act of the hidden power of Amun. Regardless of these variations, the act of creation represented
the initial establishment of maat and the pattern for the subsequent cycles of time.







The Legend of Osiris is one of the

most ancient myths in Egypt, and it
was central to the ancient Egyptian
state religion. The myth establishes
Osiris position as god of the dead
and lord of the underworld, and
Horus (and thus all the pharaohs)
right to kingship. It also
demonstrates the powers and duties
of the other major gods as well as
setting up the Great Adversary, Set.
Yet oddly enough, we have yet to
find a complete version of the story.
What we have has been cobbled
together over many years from
many different documents and
sources. What I have presented here
is my own attempt at restructuring
one of the oldest stories in the

It is an old story, but it is one of what

Neil Gaiman calls the Great Stories.
The Great Stories are part of the core
human experience and never change
except in the most superficial ways. They defy any attempts to rewrite them with drastic changes, always
returning to their original forms. The setting might be modified depending on whos telling it, the characters
have different names, but fundamentally, its still the same story. A version of the Osiris myth exists in
every culture: the just king murdered by his cruel brother, only to be avenged by the prince who follows in
his fathers footsteps. Sometimes the dead king is rewarded for his upright ways and gains great reward in
the next life. We find its echoes in nearby civilizations such as the Greeks and Romans, in far-off Japan and
China, in Christianity, even in Shakespeare, where the avenging prince is named Hamlet.

O my brothers and my sisters, gather around me that I may tell the tale of the Before-Time, of the
Golden Age when the gods walked upon the earth with us. Know then that in those ancient days,
long before even the grandfather of our Pharaohs grandfather was born, Osiris the great-
grandson of Ra sat upon the throne of the gods, ruling over the living world as Ra did over the
gods. He was the first Pharaoh, and his Queen, Isis, was the first Queen. They ruled for many ages
together, for the world was still young and Grandmother Death was not as harsh as she is now.
His ways were just and upright, he made sure that Maat remained in balance, that the law was
kept. And so Maat smiled upon the world. All peoples praised Osiris and Isis, and peace reigned
over all, for this was the Golden Age.

Yet there was trouble. Proud Set, noble Set, the brother of Osiris, he who defended the Sun Boat
from Apep the Destroyer, was unsettled in his heart. He coveted the throne of Osiris. He coveted
Isis. He coveted the power over the living world and he desired to take it from his brother. In his
dark mind he conceived of a plot to kill Osiris and take all from him. He built a box and inscribed
it with wicked magic that would chain anyone who entered it from escaping.

Set took the box to the great feast of the gods. He waited until Osiris had made himself drunk on
much beer, then challenged Osiris to a contest of strength. Each one in turn would enter the box,
and attempt, through sheer strength, to break it open. Osiris, sure in his power yet feeble in mind
because of his drink, entered the box. Set quickly poured molten lead into the box. Osiris tried to
escape, but the wicked magic held him bound and he died. Set then picked up the box and hurled
it into the Nile where it floated away.

Egyptian Mythology played out as Obi-Wan Kenobi (who represents OSIRIS

(, is killed by Darth
Vader (who represents SET (
Star Wars: Episode 4 A New Hope (
wars/star-wars-episode-iv-a-new-hope/) (1977)

Set claimed the throne of Osiris for himself and demanded that Isis be his Queen. None of the
other gods dared to stand against him, for he had killed Osiris and could easily do the same to
them. Great Ra turned his head aside and mourned, he did not stand against Set.
This was the dark time. Set was everything his brother was not. He was cruel and unkind, caring
not for the balance of Maat, or for us, the children of the gods. War divided Egypt, and all was
lawless while Set ruled. In vain our people cried to Ra, but his heart was hardened by grief, and
he would not listen.

Only Isis, blessed Isis, remembered us. Only she was unafraid of Set. She searched all of the Nile
for the box containing her beloved husband. Finally she found it, lodged in a tamarisk bush that
had turned into a mighty tree, for the power of Osiris still was in him, though he lay dead.

She tore open the box and wept over the lifeless body of Osiris. She carried the box back to Egypt
and placed it in the house of the gods. She changed herself into a bird and flew about his body,
singing a song of mourning. Then she perched upon him and cast a spell. The spirit of dead Osiris
entered her and she did conceive and bear a son whose destiny it would be to avenge his father.
She called the child Horus, and hid him on an island far away from the gaze of his uncle Set.

She then went to Thoth, wise Thoth, who knows all secrets, and implored his help. She asked him
for magic that could bring Osiris back to life. Thoth, lord of knowledge, who brought himself into
being by speaking his name, searched through his magic. He knew that Osiris spirit had departed
his body and was lost. To restore Osiris, Thoth had to remake him so that his spirit would
recognize him and rejoin. Thoth and Isis together created the Ritual of Life, that which allows us
to live forever when we die. But before Thoth could work the magic, cruel Set discovered them.
He stole the body of Osiris and tore it into many pieces, scattering them throughout Egypt. He
was sure that Osiris would never be reborn.

Yet Isis would not despair. She implored the help of her sister Nephthys, kind Nephthys, to guide
her and help her find the pieces of Osiris. Long did they search, bringing each piece to Thoth that
he might work magic upon it. When all the pieces were together, Thoth went to Anubis, lord of
the dead. Anubis sewed the pieces back together, washed the entrails of Osiris, embalmed him
wrapped him in linen, and cast the Ritual of Life. When Osiris mouth was opened, his spirit
reentered him and he lived again.

Yet nothing that has died, not even a god, may dwell in the land of the living. Osiris went to Duat,
the abode of the dead. Anubis yielded the throne to him and he became the lord of the
dead. There he stands in judgment over the souls of the dead. He commends the just to the
Blessed Land, but the wicked he condemns to be devoured by Ammit.

When Set heard that Osiris lived again he was wroth, but his anger waned, for he knew that Osiris
could never return to the land of the living. Without Osiris, Set believed he would sit on the
throne of the gods for all time. Yet on his island, Horus, the son of Osiris and Isis, grew to
manhood and strength. Set sent many serpents and demons to kill Horus, but he defeated them.
When he was ready, his mother Isis gave him great magic to use against Set, and Thoth gave him a
magic knife.

Horus sought out Set and challenged him for the throne. Set and Horus fought for many days, but
in the end Horus defeated Set and castrated him. But Horus, merciful Horus, would not kill Set,
for to spill the blood of his uncle would make him no better than he. Set maintained his claim to
the throne, and Horus lay claim himself as the son of Osiris. The gods began to fight amongst
another, those who supported Horus and those who supported Set. Banebdjetet leaped into the
middle and demanded that the gods end this struggle peacefully or Maat would be imbalanced
further. He told the gods to seek the council of Neith. Neith, warlike though wise in council, told
them that Horus was the rightful heir to the throne. Horus cast Set into the darkness where he
lives to this day.

Egyptian Mythology continues to play out with Luke Skywalker (who represents HORUS
confronting Darth Vader (who represents SET
(, who symbolically,
seeks revenge for the death of Obi Wan (OSIRIS
Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back
back/) (1980)

And so it is that Horus watches over us while we live, and gives guidance to the Pharaoh while he
lives, and his father Osiris watches over us in the next life. So it is that the gods are at peace. So it
is that Set, wicked Set, eternally strives for revenge, battling Horus at every turn. When Horus
wins, Maat is upheld and the world is at peace. When Set wins, the world is in turmoil. But we
know that dark times do not last forever, and the bright rays of Horus will shine over us again. In
the last days, Horus and Set will fight one last time for the world. Horus will defeat Set forever,
and Osiris will be able to return to this world. On that day, the Day of Awakening, all the tombs
shall open and the just dead shall live again as we do, and all sorrow shall pass away forever.

Lo, this is my tale. Keep it in your hearts and give it to others, as I gave it to you.

Source (

Yoda who represents RA (

mythology/ra/) (Primary Egyptian Sun God) battles Emperor Palpatine/Darth Sidious,
who represents APEP (
mythology/apep/) (Egyptian God of Evil and Darkness)
Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith (
wars/star-wars-episode-iii-revenge-of-the-sith/) (2005)

Another important mythic motif was the journey of Ra through the Duat each night. In the course
of this journey, Ra met with Osiris, who again acted as an agent of regeneration, so that his life
was renewed.

He also fought each night with Apep, a serpentine god representing chaos. The defeat of Apep
and the meeting with Osiris ensured the rising of the sun the next morning, an event that
represented rebirth and the victory of order over chaos.

Source (
Battles with Ra

Tales of Apeps battles against Ra were

elaborated during the New Kingdom.
Since nearly everyone can see that the sun
is not attacked by a giant snake during the
day, every day, storytellers said that Apep
must lie just below the horizon. This
appropriately made him a part of the
underworld. In some stories Apep waited
for Ra in a western mountain called
Bakhu, where the sun set, and in others
Apep lurked just before dawn, in the
Tenth region of the Night. The wide range
of Apeps possible location gained him the
title World Encircler. It was thought that
his terrifying roar would cause the
underworld to rumble. Myths sometimes
say that Apep was trapped there, because
he had been the previous chief god and
suffered a coup detat by Ra, or because he
was evil and had been imprisoned.

In his battles, Apep was thought to use a magical gaze to hypnotize Ra and his entourage,
attempting to devour them whilst choking the river on which they travelled through the
underworld with his coils. Sometimes Apep had assistance from other demons, named Sek and
Mot. Ra was assisted by a number of defenders who travelled with him, the most powerful being
Set, who sat at the helm.

In a bid to explain certain natural phenomena it was said that occasionally Apep got the upper
hand. The damage to order caused thunderstorms and earthquakes. Indeed: it was even thought
that sometimes Apep actually managed to swallow Ra during the day, causing a solar eclipse, but
since Ras defenders quickly cut him free of Apep, the eclipse always ended within a few minutes.
On the occasions when Apep was said to have been killed, he was able to return each night (since
he lived in the world of the dead already). In Atenism it is Aten who kills the monster since Aten
is the only god in the belief system. But in other myths, it was the cat goddess Bast, daughter of
Ra, who slayed Apep in her cat form one night, hunting him down with her all seeing eye.

Source (