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Ancient Egyptian Gods and Goddesses 1
Posted In: Ancient Civilizations  8/23/07
By: Yona Williams

Egyptian gods and goddesses have played a significant role in the culture of ancient Egypt. Throughout their belief system, the Egyptians practiced a belief system that was combined totemism, polytheism, and ancestor worship. A variety of notable gods were attached to their beliefs, where inhabitants felt they lived about the mortal world – invisible. This article mentions a few gods and goddesses, such as Aken – the Ferryman of the Underworld.


Ancient Egyptians also believed that sacred sites, animals, objects, and chosen individuals served as the spirit and word of the gods and goddesses. Through the spirits of the deceased, when they become remembered or honored – they gain the power to assist and guide the living in regards to the afterlife. Below are a few gods and goddesses worshipped throughout history:




The Ferryman of the Underworld appears as a man dressed in the clothing of a sailor, who stands at the stern of a boat made of papyrus. Aken serves as the patron of the ferryboat, who carries the souls of the dead to the underworld. When asleep, the god had to be awaken by the ferryman Mahaf, who was responsible for providing the boat for travel about the celestial waters. While he was not truly worshipped by all the people, his name is mentioned in a variety of hymns and passages within The Book of the Dead.




When it comes to a threatening Underworld god, it is Am-Heh who is referred to as the "Devourer of Millions." Residing in a lake made of fire, he possesses the face of a hunting dog and is quite partial to sacrifices. The only being able to keep Am-Heh at bay is Atum. Despite the fear he placed in believers, he was actually a minor god of the Underworld and was controlled by Ra.




The "Greeter of the Dead" also known as "Amentet," is the patron of the gates to the Underworld. Wearing robes similar to a queen, Ament is the consort of Aken, who greets the souls of the newly dead, providing them with bread and water at the gates as they arrive. Various hymns and passages in The Book of the Dead make mention of Ament, but she is not truly worshipped among the people.




Ammit is known as the " Devourer of the Wicked," but is also referred to as the "Eater of the Dead" and simply, "The Devourer." Ammit is in charge of the destruction of the souls belonging to the wicked. The demon possesses the head of a crocodile, the torso of a leopard, and the hind parts of a hippo.


Ammit sits beneath the Scale of Justice situated before the throne of Osiris, where she waits for the constant flow of souls that come before Osiris for judgment. During the Judging of the Heart, if the deeds of the soul are deemed more wicked than good, Anubis will feed the soul to Ammit. As a result, the person becomes completely annihilated with no further hope of existing again.



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