15 Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt

Dramatic storm cloud above pyramids.
JimPix / Getty Images

Ancient Egypt's gods and goddesses looked at least partly like humans and behaved a bit like us, too. Some deities had animal features--typically their heads--on top of humanoid bodies. Different cities and pharaohs each favored their own specific set of gods.

Papyrus of Anubis preparing a mummy.
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Anubis was a funerary god. He was tasked with holding the scales on which the heart was weighed. If the heart was lighter than a feather, the dead would be led by Anubis to Osiris. If heavier, the soul would be destroyed. More »

Model Of The Cat-Goddess Bastet.
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Bast is usually shown with a feline head or ears on a woman's body or as a (usually, non-domestic) cat. The cat was her sacred animal. She was a daughter of Ra and was a protective goddess. Another name for Bast is Ailuros and it is believed she was originally a sun goddess who came to be associated with the moon after contact with the Greek goddess Artemis. More »

Bes or Bisu

Bas-relief depicting God Bes.
De Agostini / C. Sappa / Getty Images

Bes may have been an imported Egyptian god, possibly of Nubian origin. Bes is depicted as a dwarf sticking out his tongue, in full frontal view instead of the profile view of most of the other Egyptian gods. Bes was a protector god who helped in childbirth and promoted fertility. He was a guardian against snakes and misfortune.

Geb or Keb

Depiction of Geb, detail of wall painting.
De Agostini / C. Sappa / Getty Images

Geb, god of the earth, was an Egyptian fertility god who laid the egg from which the sun was hatched. He was known as the Great Cackler because of his association with geese. The goose was Geb's sacred animal. He was worshiped in Lower Egypt, where he was depicted as bearded with a goose on his head or a white crown. His laughter was thought to cause earthquakes. Geb married his sister Nut, the sky goddess. Set(h) and Nephthys were children of Geb and Nut. Geb is often shown witnessing the weighing of the heart during the judgment of the dead in the afterlife. It is believed that Geb was associated with the Greek god Kronos.

Hathor

Carving of Hathor at the Temple of Hatshepsut.
Paul Panayiotou / Getty Images

Hathor was an Egyptian cow-goddess and personification of the Milky Way. She was the wife or daughter of Ra and mother of Horus in some traditions.

Hieroglyphics in Temple of Seti I.
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Horus was considered the son of Osiris and Isis. He was the pharaoh's protector and also patron of young men. There are four other names believed to be associated with him:

  • Heru
  • Hor
  • Harendotes/Har-nedj-itef (Horus the Avenger)
  • Har-Pa-Neb-Taui (Horus Lord of the Two Lands)

Horus' different names are associated with his specific aspects, therefore Horus Behudety is associated with the noon sun. Horus was the falcon god, although the sun god Re, with whom Horus is sometimes associated, also appeared in falcon form. More »

Neith

Wallpainting of the goddesses Isis & Neith.
Print Collector/Getty Images / Getty Images

Neith (Nit (Net, Neit) is a predynastic Egyptian goddess who is compared with the Greek goddess Athena. She is mentioned in Plato's Timaeus as coming from the Egyptian district of Sais. Neith is depicted as a weaver, like Athena, and also like Athena as a weapon-bearing war goddess. She is also shown wearing a red crown for Lower Egypt. Neith is another mortuary god connected with the woven bandages of the mummy.

Hieroglyphic painting depicting Goddess Isis.
DEA / A. DAGLI ORTI / Getty Images

Isis was the great Egyptian goddess, wife of Osiris, mother of Horus, sister of Osiris, Set, and Nephthys, and daughter of Geb and Nut. She was worshiped all over Egypt and elsewhere. She searched for her husband's body, retrieved and reassembled Osiris, taking on the role of goddess of the dead. She then impregnated herself from Osiris' body and gave birth to Horus whom she raised in secrecy to keep him safe from Osiris' killer, Seth. She was associated with life, the winds, the heavens, beer, abundance, magic, and more. Isis is shown as a beautiful woman wearing a sun disk. More »

Nephthys

Hieroglyphic depiction of goddess Nephthys.
De Agostini / G. Dagli Orti / Getty Images

Nephthys (Nebet-het, Nebt-het) is the head of the household of the gods​ and was the daughter of Seb and Nut, sister of Osiris, Isis, and Set, wife of Set, mother of Anubis, either by Osiris or Set. Nephthys is sometimes depicted as a falcon or as a woman with falcon wings. Nephthys was a death goddess as well as being a goddess of women and the house and a companion of Isis.

Nut

Egyptian Sky Goddess Nut Arched Over the Earth
Egyptian Sky Goddess Nut Arched Over the Earth. Public Domain. Courtesy of Wikipedia

Nut (Nuit, Newet, and Neuth) is the Egyptian sky goddess depicted supporting the sky with her back, her body blue and covered with stars. Nut is the daughter of Shu and Tefnut, the wife of Geb, and mother of Osiris, Isis, Set, and Nephthys.

Osiris

Painting of Osiris on his throne.
De Agostini / W. Buss / Getty Images

Osiris, god of the dead, is the son of Geb and Nut, brother/husband of Isis, and father of Horus. He is dressed like the pharaohs wearing an atef crown with ram's horns, and carrying a crook and flail, with his lower body mummified. Osiris is an underworld god who, after being murdered by his brother, was brought back to life by his wife. Since he was killed, Osiris thereafter lives in the underworld where he judges the dead.

Painted wood depicting sun god Ra.
DEA / G. DAGLI ORTI / Getty Images

Re or Ra, the Egyptian sun god, ruler of everything, was especially associated with the city of the sun or Heliopolis. He came to be associated with Horus. Re may be depicted as a man with a sun disk on his head or with the head of a falcon More »

Set - Seti

Amulets made of Egyptian gods.
Egyptian amulets depicting Set(left), Horus (middle), and Anubis (right). DEA / S. VANNINI / Getty Images

Set or Seti is the Egyptian god of chaos, evil, war, storms, deserts, and foreign lands, who killed and cut up his older brother Osiris. He is depicted as composite animals.

Shu

Painting of god Shu holding up sky goddess Nut.
Sky goddes, Nut, covered in stars being held by Shu. DEA PICTURE LIBRARY / Getty Images

Shu was an Egyptian air and sky god who mated with his sister Tefnut to sire Nut and Geb. Shu is shown with an ostrich feather. He is responsible for holding the sky separate from the earth.

Tefnut

Carving of Egyptian goddess Tefnut.
AmandaLewis / Getty Images

A fertility goddess, Tefnut is also the Egyptian goddess of moisture or water. She is the wife of Shu and mother of Geb and Nut. Sometimes Tefnut helps Shu hold up the firmament.

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Gill, N.S. "15 Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt." ThoughtCo, Apr. 21, 2018, thoughtco.com/gods-and-goddesses-of-ancient-egypt-118139. Gill, N.S. (2018, April 21). 15 Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/gods-and-goddesses-of-ancient-egypt-118139 Gill, N.S. "15 Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/gods-and-goddesses-of-ancient-egypt-118139 (accessed May 21, 2018).