The Egyptian Pantheon: 8 Goddesses to Know

The Egyptian Pantheon: 9 Goddesses to Know and Work With

The Egyptian pantheon soars with celestial myths, magic and eternal power. 

From the feathery glory of Isis’ outstretched wings to the lioness-headed Bast, this legendary ancient religion continues to inspire modern witchcraft.

Ancient Egyptian texts are richly embedded with spells, incantations and mythic imagery.

Most famously, hieroglyphics in the Book of the Dead (<–affiliate link) reveal a snapshot of this dazzling civilization’s interest in magic and the occult.  

Even if you don’t work with the Egyptian pantheon, knowing a little bit about it enriches any magical practice.

Please note:  This article is necessarily brief.  It is in no way intended as a comprehensive introduction to the Egyptian pantheon.  Some scholars devote entire careers to the study of ancient Egyptian magic.  And although I tried very hard to use reliable academic sources, the information here is woefully incomplete.  Let’s not get our pointy cone hats in a bunch over it, mmmkay?

Isis  

Perhaps the most sweepingly celebrated in all of Egyptian myth, the ancient people of the Nile regarded Isis as the mother of all pharaohs.

Ancient peoples recognized her as a protectoress of seamen.  They wore her charms during their voyages for safe passage.

Religious texts depict Isis’ sister, Nephthys, as her natural antithesis.  She was the oppositional force of nature that maintained balance.  Isis and Nephthys were often mythical metaphors for life and death, light and darkness, ect.

The Greeks imported the spirit of Isis and Hellenized aspects of her in their god, Demeter.

Bastet

Later Egyptian art depicts Bastet as a cat.

This feline-like goddess served as a protectoress of the sun god, some texts identify her as the daughter of Ra and Isis.

Known as a fierce defender of the domestic abode, worshipers call on Bastet for matters of childbirth and fertility.

Interestingly, Bastet also served as the goddess of perfume and intoxicating aromas.

Hathor

Goddess of fertility, transformation and womahood, Egyptian art depicts Hathor as a woman with the head of a cow.

Sometimes referred to as the “Lady of Turquoise” in the Sinai region, miners considered her the patroness of commodified minerals.

Said to ride in the sailboat of Ra, the sun god, across the starry sky and into the underworld every night, Egyptian myth describes Hathor as a celestial goddess of the heavens.

She assumes many forms, morphing into a cat to escape Ra, and then vanishing in the desert to haunt the sandy plains.

Taweret

The unnervingly dangerous image of Taweret appears in Egyptian mythology as a woman with crocodile head.

In earlier depictions, she takes the form of a hippopotamus— a creature both loathed worshipped in the region at that time.

She rules the purification of water, guards the innocent against dark forces, and personifies regeneration.

Women and children used amulets with Taweret’s image to protect them from harm.

Nut

No, not like cashews.  Pronounce her name like newt.

Born to Shu, the god of life-giving breath, this goddess is the mother of five divine children, including Isis.

In mythology, Nut swallowed the sun god, Ra, every night, and then gave birth to him again in the morning.

This star-studded goddess rules the cosmos, astronomy and the universe.

Tefnut

Goddess of dew and rain, Tefnut also mothered Nut.

She is considered the first mother after the creation myth.

Tefnut appears as a lioness in mythology, or, more rarely, as a woman.

Neith

Goddess of universal manifestation, mythology portrays Neith as the originator of the cosmos.

She also presides over the art of weaving, wisdom, combat and destiny.

Guardian of marriage, royal women took her name in reverence to her domestic power.

Serket

Goddess of sorcery, medicinal arts, the natural world, and Queen of Scorpions, Serket illuminates Egyptian scripture with her wild array of powers.

Egyptians prized her for her mythical ability to heal venomous snake bites and scorpion attacks.

She is sometimes depicted as a scorpion, and curiously, sometimes as a woman with a scorpion on her head.

If you like this article, you might also like 9 Celtic Goddesses to Know and Work With.

The magic of Ancient Egypt:  8 Goddesses to Know.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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