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A Brief Introduction to Egyptian Mythology
Mythology and folklore is an incredibly important element of our history in this world, and Egyptian mythology is no exception. The stories passed down from generation to generation across the centuries have ties to the ancient mythology that stemmed from all kinds of cultures. Egyptian mythology - much like the Greek, Celtic and Roman legends - has some of the best-known stories that have been adapted over the years into pretty much every form of storytelling available, from literature to video games and beyond. It's quite likely that you are familiar with more of them than you think. With this huge cultural impact, it is safe to say that Egyptian mythology has a significant importance in our history. Let’s take a look at the humble beginnings of one of the richest mythologies in the world.
It is actually very difficult to pinpoint an exact beginning to Egyptian mythology due to the massively overwhelming nature of Egyptian history in general. Their history is said to have begun as far back as the year 3100 BC or even further. It is no surprise that one of the longest-lasting histories of civilization has had many a tale to tell and had such a significant impact on the world’s culture. One of the most complex elements of Egyptian mythology is the huge pantheon of gods and goddesses, which is the largest of any culture. Taking a look at these figures seems like a great place to start thanks to their influence on the history of Egypt as a whole, so let’s dive in!
Isis is one of the most significant of the Egyptian goddesses, considered one of the greats. Isis was goddess of the moon, and her abilities were believed to be related to magic, defense, protection and healing. The goddess was said to use these abilities to heal the sick, defend the powerless and protect women and children. She was an all-around good person. On a side note, she was married to her brother, Osiris.
We might as well delve into the god Osiris now that we have brought him up. Much like his wife/sister Isis, Osiris has a substantial role within ancient Egyptian mythology. In fact, his story is considered one of the most elaborate, beginning with his death at the hands of his brother Set. It involves treachery, deceit, resurrection and a son on a quest for revenge. It sounds kind of like an ancient soap opera! Osiris himself was the god of many different elements, including god of the dead, resurrection, vegetation and agriculture, life and fertility. Osiris is certainly an important figure in Egyptian mythology.
Just like the god Osiris and the goddess Iris, Horus also had an important role to play in Osiris’s myth as well as in Egyptian mythology and culture as a whole. In the tale of Osiris, Horus is the son of Osiris and Iris, which makes him Osiris’s heir. Remember that son we mentioned who was out for revenge? That’s Horus! Aside from his role in his father’s myth, Horus is the god of the sky as well as the god of kingship. There are several different versions of Horus from throughout Egyptian history, but the most popular incarnation of Horus is usually shown as a falcon or falcon-headed man. Horus’s cultural impact can be seen by his symbol, the Eye of Horus, which is well known and still used around the world today. For example, you can find Eye of Horus T-Shirts on powsym.com in a variety of colors.
Ra is another iconic figure in Egyptian Mythology. Known as the god of the sun, he became one of the most important figures in Egyptian religion. Not only is he the god of the noon sun, Ra was also the god of kings, the god of order, and, much like Horus, the god of the sky. That isn’t the only similarity that is shared with Horus, as both gods were often portrayed as falcons.
Sekhmet is an Egyptian goddess much like Isis, especially in terms of her powers. Sekhmet shared the power of healing with Isis and, just as Isis did, she would use her abilities to protect women and children, including pregnant women. Sekhmet was also married to Ptah in Egyptian mythology, the god of healing. Despite Sekhmet’s substantial focus on healing, she was also the goddess of plague, war, sun and fire. In other words, she was a multidimensional Egyptian queen.