Gods and Mythology of Ancient Egypt
Man's first gods were the forces of nature. Terrifying and unpredictable, they were feared rather than revered by our ancestors. Yet while much of the world was in darkness, worshipping cruel incarnations of natural forces, a river valley in Africa held a people who followed a different path.
They worshipped gods that were beautiful to behold, luminous beings that walked the earth, guiding the human race to Paradise. They had human forms but were much more powerful; yet like humans, they got angry, despaired, fought with one another, had children, and fell in love. They lived lives that were very much like those of the people who worshipped them, the ancient Egyptians.
They were gods to be feared yes, as all gods are, but they were also gods to be loved. What's more, the Egyptians enjoyed talking about the gods. Like the gods of the Greeks and Romans, the Egyptian gods seemed to be made for storytelling. There were tales to educate, tales to entertain, and tales with morals, and in those stories, the gods didn't seem so far away and unreachable. It was comforting to hear that the gods also wept for those they had lost, to hear about the gods laughing, to learn that the gods faced many of the same problems that the people did, albeit on a grander scale. In learning about the gods on such an intimate level, the Egyptians could better relate to the universe around them.
The ancient Egyptians practiced a belief system that was part totemism, part polytheism, and part ancestor worship. There were numerous gods, but rather than living on an isolated mountain or in an unreachable heaven, many of them lived invisibly in the mortal world, acting through sacred sites, items, animals, or even chosen people. Furthermore, the spirits of the deceased, if remembered and honored, could aid and guide the living from the Afterlife.
Here we will explore the religion of the ancient Egyptians, how it evolved, how it affected their lives and their development as a civilization. But most importantly, we will try to understand a people through what they believed and in doing so, give them that which they sought most: immortality.