God with the head of a jackal or dog

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God with the head of a jackal or dog

Anubis is the Egyptian name for a jackal-headed god associated with mummification and the afterlife in Egyptian mythology.

The oldest known mention of Anubis is in the Old Kingdom pyramid texts, where he is associated with the burial of the king. At this time, Anubis was the most important god of the Dead but he was replaced during the Middle Kingdom by Osiris.

Anubis was the god to protect the dead and bring them to the afterlife. He was usually portrayed as a half human, half jackal, or in full jackal form wearing a ribbon and holding a flail in the crook of its arm. The jackal was strongly associated with cemeteries in ancient Egypt, since it was a scavenger which threatened to uncover human bodies and eat their flesh. The distinctive black color of Anubis "did not have to do with the jackal, per se, but with the color of rotting flesh and with the black soil of the Nile valley, symbolizing rebirth."

Background and Mythology

Anubis was the son of Osiris, the god of the underworld, and Nephthys, Set's sister and wife. Nephthys and Isis tricked Osiris one night. Nephthys never liked Seth (Set), but she always had a "thing" for Osiris.Since Nephthys and Isis were twins, they were able to trick Osiris into sleeping with Nephthys one night instead of Isis.As a result, Anubis was born. Nephthys was very angry since Set killed Osiris so she left him and assisted Isis,


Atum (alternatively spelled Tem, Temu, Tum, and Atem) is an important deity in Egyptian mythology, whose cult centred on the city of Heliopolis. His name is thought to be derived from the word 'tem' which means to complete or finish. Thus he has been interpreted as being the 'complete one' and also the finisher of the world, which he returns to watery chaos at the end of the creative cycle. As creator he was seen as the underlying substance of the world, the deities and all things being made of his flesh or alternatively being his ka.

In the Heliopolitan creation myth established in the sixth dynasty, he was considered to be the first god, having created himself, sitting on a mound (benben) (or identified with the mound itself), from the primordial waters (Nu). Early myths state that Atum created the god Shu and goddess Tefnut from spitting or from his semen by masturbation in the city of Annu (the Egyptian name for Heliopolis), a belief strongly associated with Atum's nature as a hermaphrodite (hence his name meaning completeness).

In the Old Kingdom the Egyptians believed that Atum lifted the dead king's soul from his pyramid to the starry heavens. By the time of the New Kingdom, the Atum mythos, merged in the Egyptian pantheon with that of Ra, who was also the creator and a solar deity, their two identities were joined into Atum-Ra. But as Ra was the whole sun, and Atum became to be seen as the sun when it sets (depicted as an old man leaning on his staff), while Khepera was seen as the sun when it was rising.


Shu (Su) was the god of dry air, wind and the atmosphere. He was also related to the sun, possibly as an aspect of sunlight. He was the son of the creator god, father of the twin sky and the earth deities and the one who held the sky off of the earth. He was one of the gods who protected Ra on his journey through the underworld, using magic spells to ward off Ra's enemy, the snake-demon Apep. As with other protector gods, he had a darker side - he was also a god of punishment in the land of the dead, leading executioners and torturers to kill off the corrupt souls. His name might be derived from the word for dryness - shu, the root of words such as 'dry', 'parched', 'withered', 'sunlight' and 'empty'. His name could also mean 'He who Rises Up'.

He was generally depicted as a man wearing an ostrich feather headdress, holding a sceptre and the ankh sign of life. Sometimes he is shown wearing the sun disk on his head, linking him to the sun. Occasionally, when shown with his sister-wife Tefnut, he is shown in lion form and the two were known as the "twin lion gods". At other times, he was shown with the hind part of a lion as his headdress, linking him to his leonine form. Mostly, he was shown with his arms raised, holding up the goddess Nut as the sky, standing on the body of Geb. One story says that Shu and Tefnut went to explore the waters of Nun. After some time, Ra believed that they were lost, and sent the his Eye out into the chaos to find them. When his children were returned to him, Ra wept, and his tears were believed to have turned into the first humans. Shu was created by asexually or by spitting, the first born of the sun god. He seems to be more of a personification of the atmosphere rather than an actual god.

Shu then abdicated the throne, allowing his son Geb to rule, and Shu himself returned to the skies.

Shu was the husband of his twin, the goddess Tefnut, son of the sun god Atem-Ra and father to the earth god Geb and the sky goddess Nut.


Tefnut (Tefenet, Tefnet) was the lunar goddess of moisture, humidity and water who was also a solar goddess connected with the sun and dryness (more specifically, the absence of moisture). She was the daughter of the creator god, mother of the twin sky and the earth deities and the 'Eye of Ra' as well as a creative force as the 'Tongue of Ptah'. Her name itself is related to water - tf is the root of the words for 'spit' and 'moist'. Her name translates to something like 'She of Moisture'.

Tefnut was generally shown as a woman with a lion's head, or as a full lioness. She was occasionally shown as a woman, but this is rare. She was shown with the solar disk and uraeus, linking her with the sun. She was often shown holding a sceptre and the ankh sign of life.

As with other water deities, she took on some form of a goddess of creation. As the 'Tongue of Ptah', she was one of the gods in Mennefer (Hikuptah, Memphis) who helped Ptah - that city's main god - with creation by carrying out his will. Yet in the cities of Iunu (On, Heliopolis) and Waset (Thebes) she was more of a female form of her husband-brother Shu, whose main task was to start the sexual, creative cycle and give birth to Shu's children.

Atem is he who masturbated in Iunu. He took his phallus in his grasp that he might create orgasm by means of it, and so were born the twins Shu and Tefnut.

Tefnut was thought to have been the upset goddess who fled into Nubia, taking all of her water and moisture with her. Egypt soon dried, and the land was in chaos while in Nubia, Tefnut turned herself into a lioness and went on a killing spree in her anger at her father, from whom she had fled. Eventually Ra decided that he missed her, and wanted her back. Ra sent Thoth and Shu to get her, and they found her in Begum. Thoth began at once to try and persuade her to return to Egypt. In the end Tefnut (with Shu and Thoth leading her) made a triumphant entry back into Egypt, accompanied by a host of Nubian musicians, dancers and baboons. She went from city to city, bringing back moisture and water (the inundation), amid great rejoicing, until finally she was reunited with her father, and restored to her rightful position as his Eye.


Son of Shu and Tefnut, twin brother of Nut, husband of Nut, father of Osiris and Isis, Seth, Nephthys.

Geb was the Egyptian god of the Earth and a member of the Ennead of Heliopolis.

As a vegetation-god he was shown with green patches or plants on his body. As the Earth, he is often seen lying beneath the sky goddess Nut, leaning on one elbow, with a knee bent toward the sky, this is representative of the mountains and valleys of the Earth.

Geb is usually represented in the form of a man who wears either the white crown to which is added the Atef crown, or a goose. The Goose was his sacred animal and symbol. As the God of Earth, the Earth formed his body and was called the "House of Geb," just as the air was called the "House of Shu," and the heaven the "house of Ra," Hence, he was also often portrayed laying on his side on the Earth, and was sometimes even painted green, with plants springing from his body. Earthquakes were believed to be the laughter of Geb.

Nut - Nuit

In Egyptian mythology, Nuit or Nut was the sky goddess. She is the daughter of Shu and Tefnut and was one of the Ennead.

The sun god Re entered her mouth after the sun set in the evening and was reborn from her vulva the next morning. She also swallowed and rebirthed the stars.

She was a goddess of death, and her image is on the inside of most sarcophagi. The pharaoh entered her body after death and was later resurrected.

In art, Nuit is depicted as a woman wearing no clothes, covered with stars and supported by Shu; opposite her (the sky), is her husband, Geb (the Earth). With Geb, she was the mother of Osiris, Horus, Isis, Set, and Nephthys.

During the day, Nut and Geb are separated, but each evening Nut comes down to meet Geb and this causes darkness. If storms came during the day, it was believed that Nut had some how slipped closer to the Earth.

She gives birth to the sun in the east and swallows the sun in the west.

God of Resurrection, The Underworld and The Judge of Dead

Patron of: the Underworld, the dead, past Pharaohs, agriculture (old form), fertility (old form)
First child of of Geb and Nut
Brother of Seth, Nephthys, and Isis who was also his wife.
Father of Horus by Isis
Father of Anubis by Nephthys

Osiris (was an Egyptian god, usually called the god of the Afterlife.

Osiris was at times considered the oldest son of the Earth god, Geb, and the sky goddess, Nut as well as being brother and husband of Isis, with Horus being considered his posthumously begotten son. He was later associated with the name Khenti-Amentiu, which means 'Foremost of the Westerners' a reference to his kingship in the land of the dead.

Osiris was usually depicted as a green-skinned (green was the color of rebirth) pharaoh wearing the Atef crown, a form of the white crown of upper Egypt with a plume of feathers to either side. Typically he was also depicted holding the crook and flail which signified divine authority in Egyptian pharaohs, but which were originally unique to Osiris and his own origin-gods, and his feet and lower body were wrapped, as though already partly mummified. The wrapped depiction takes us to Amphibious Gods.

Anubis was Set's son in some versions, but because Set became god of evil, he was subsequently identified as being Osiris' son. Abydos, which had been a strong centre of the cult of Anubis, became a centre of the cult of Osiris. Because Isis, Osiris' wife and sister, represented life in the Ennead, it was considered somewhat inappropriate for her to be the mother of a god associated with death such as Anubis, and so instead, it was usually said that Nephthys, the other of the two female children of Geb and Nut, was his mother.

Isis is the feminine archetype for creation - the goddess of fertility and motherhood. She has gone by many names and played many roles in history and mythology - as goddess and female creator.

As the great lady of the Underworld, who assisted in transforming the bodies of the blessed dead into those wherein they were to live in the realm of Osiris, she was Ament - the "hidden" goddess. As Ament she was declared to be the mother of Ra.

In this last capacity she shared with Osiris the attribute of 'giver of life,' and she provided food for the dead as well as for the living.

It is manifestly impossible to limit the attributes of Isis, for we have seen that she possesses the powers of a water goddess, an earth goddess, a corn goddess, a star goddess, a queen of the Underworld, and a woman, and that she united in herself one or more of the attributes of all the goddesses of Egypt known to us.


In Ancient Egyptian mythology, Set (also spelled Seth, Sutekh or Seteh) is an ancient god, who was originally the god of the desert, Storms, Darkness, and Chaos. Because of the developments in the Egyptian language over the 3,000 years that

Seth was the god of the desert, and necessary chaos. Set also was viewed as immensely powerful and carried the epithet, "His Majesty", shared only with Ra

In art, Set was mostly depicted as a mysterious and unknown creature, referred to by Egyptologists as the Set animal or Typhonic beast, with a curved snout, square ears, forked tail, and canine body, or sometimes as a human with only the head of the Set animal. It has no complete resemblance to any known creature, although it does resemble a composite of an aardvark, a donkey, and a jackal, all of which are desert creatures.

The main species of aardvark present in ancient Egypt additionally had a reddish appearance due to thin fur, which shows the skin beneath it).

The Was ("power") scepters represent the Set-animal. Was scepters were carried by gods, pharaohs, and priests, as a symbol of power, and in later use, control over the force of chaos (Set). The head and forked tail of the Set-animal are clearly present. Was scepters are often depicted in paintings, drawings, and carvings of gods, and remnants of real Was scepters have been found constructed of faience or wood.


Maat is depicted as a tall woman wearing a crown surmounted by a huge ostrich feather. Her totem symbol is a stone platform or foundation, representing the stable base on which order is built.

Maat or Mayet, thought to have been pronounced as was the Ancient Egyptian concept of truth, balance, order, law, morality, and justice who is sometimes personified as a goddess regulating the stars, seasons, and the actions of both mortals and the deities, who set the order of the universe from chaos at the moment of creation. Later, as a goddess in other traditions of the Egyptian pantheon, where most goddesses were paired with a male aspect, her masculine counterpart was Thoth and their attributes are the same.

After her role in creation and continuously preventing the universe from returning to chaos, her primary role in Egyptian mythology dealt with the weighing of souls that took place in the underworld, Duat.

Her feather was the measure that determined whether the souls (considered to reside in the heart) of the departed would reach the paradise of afterlife successfully.


Daughter of Nut and Geb.

Sister of Osiris, Isis, and Seth.

Wife of Seth, mother of Anubis.

In Egyptian mythology, Nephthys is the Greek form of an epithet (correctly spelled Nebet-het, and Nebt-het, in transliteration from Egyptian hieroglyphs). Nephthys, therefore, is a member of the Great Ennead of Heliopolis, a daughter of Nut and Geb. Nephthys was the divine corresponding "power" (or completion) of her sister, Isis and, in a somewhat lesser fashion, the sister-wife of Set. Nephthys is occasionally regarded as the mother of the funerary-deity Anubis.

Nephthys apparently was known in a wide spectrum of ancient Egyptian temple theologies and cosmologies as the "Useful Goddess" or the "Excellent Goddess". In this sense, late ancient Egyptian temple texts prove to be pointedly accurate depictions of a far more nuanced goddess, one who represented divine assistance and protective guardianship on a multitude of levels.

On the contrary, Nephthys quite often is featured as a rather ferocious and dangerous divinity, capable of incinerating the enemies of the Pharaoh with her fiery breath. As the primary "nursing mother" of the incarnate Pharaonic-god, Horus, Nephthys also was considered to be, de facto, the mightiest nurse of the reigning Pharaoh himself.
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