I have just finished Geraldine Pinch's book _Egyptian
Mythology, a Guide to the gods, goddesses, and
traditions of ancient Egypt_.
IMO, a book worth to buy. It contains much details
about gods and goddesses, which are not found in other
books about Egyptian Mythology.
The author divides the mythical history of Egypt into
7 stages :
1) the chaos, before the creation, "before two things
had developed"; the cosmos was not yet divided into
pairs of opposites. The Eight (the Ogdoad) joined
together to be fertilized by the "seed" of the serpent
2) the emergence of the creator, "the unique one in
the Nun". Different myths mention the existence of
Mehet-Weret, the personification of the fertile aspect
of the Nun, the mother of all primeval beings,
including Apophis; the Benu-bird, who brought the
first noise and the first light to the Nun; Tatenen,
the father of the creator. G. Pinch gives an
interesting comment (n4 p94) : the land is said to
rise rather than the waters to fall; this highlights
the emergence, the rising of the primeval mound,
connected to the life-bringing erection of the
The primeval mound has its evil counterpart in the
3) the creation : the creation of life involves 3
- the creation of a body
the transfer to that body of some part of the divine
essence of the creator
- the animation of the body by the breath of life.
The following gods and myths belong to/appear in this
stage of the mythical history of Egypt :
- Shu and Amun-Ra, the gods of the unseen breath of
- Sia, the power of perception or insight, which
allowed the creator to visualize other forms
- Hu, the power of authoritative speech, which enabled
the creator to bring things into being by naming them
- Heka, the power by which thoughts and commands of
the creator became reality
- Neith, she created the whole world and the 7 magic
words (Esna temple, Roman period)
- Isis, the Mistress of the Word in the Beginning;
this epithet from the Roman period makes her a creator
- Ptah, represents the creative mind
- Khnum, his original role seems to have been as the
divine potter who made things at the command of the
- the hand of Atum, Atum excites his penis with his
hand and takes the semen into his mouth, which acts as
a substitute womb
- Shu and Tefnut, and the myth of the lost children of
the sun god
- the creation of the humanity
4) the direct rule by the creator sun god :
- the creator grows old when living on earth
- myth of the Distant Goddess
- myth of the Destruction of Humanity
5) the period of rule by other gods :
- the murder of Osiris
- the birth and childhood of Horus
- the Contendings of Horus and Seth
- the triumph of Horus
6) the period of rule by kings
7) the return to chaos and the primeval waters
Some "details" I found interesting in the section on
the gods, goddesses and themes (Aker to Wepwawet) :
Anty, a god who was closely associated to Horus and
Seth. The P. Jumilhac mentions that the cult statue of
Anty was made of silver and not of gold because of the
crime Anty committed (probably the decapitation of a
cow goddess) : his skin and flesh were flayed off his
bones made of silver. When Anty has been forgiven, the
cow goddess restored his flesh with her healing milk.
Anubis and the leopard skin : a myth from the 1st
millennium BC tells how Seth approached the body of
Orisis disguised as a leopard. Anubis seized Seth and
branded him oll over with a hot iron; this is how the
leopard got its spots.
Atum : his erected penis is sometimes identified with
the high hill of sand standing for the primeval mound.
Banebdjedet, the Northern equivalent of Khnum, the
Lord of the Sexual Pleasure. Banebdjedet's form as a
ram or goat-headed man has been reinterpreted (by
early Christians in Egypt) as a devil figure who
entered the Western tradition as the Horned King of
Bes and Beset, by the end of the second millennium BC,
they were sometimes identified with the divine
siblings Shu and Tefnut. Beset represented as naked
was meant to overcome the hostile forces by her sexual
(*) the sexual power to overcome evil forces can be
found in other deities such as Min : the flail on his
hand might depict him as an apotropaic deity, driving
away evil with his aggressive body language.
Birds and eggs : the remains of the primeval egg were
said to be preserved in the temple of the ibis god
- the god Maga was a crocodile son of Seth, he was the
fearsome opponent for Horus, son of Osiris.
- Penweti was a crocodile through the body of whom the
king has to pass (in NK tombs) to be reborn; he
symbolises the primeval waters.
Heryshef and the sacred lake at Herakleopolis Magna :
Osiris-Heryshef is crowned king at Herakleopolis but
he falls ill because he cannot control the power of
the headdress of Ra, who cures him by letting out the
pus and the blood - creating the sacred lake.
Horus the child and the king : Pepi II seems to be the
first king closely identified with Horus the Child
through his representations, squatting naked with his
finger to his lips, or sitting on his mother's lap.
Nehebkau : in the PT, he feeds the dead king and acts
as his messenger, but only after he has been subdued
by the finger of Atum.
***Does anyone have more details on Atum's finger
Nekhbet : could also appear as the long-horned wild
cow of the marshlands, a dangerous animal.
The Ogdoad, sometimes identified with the "Eastern
Souls", the 8 baboons who helped the sun to rise.
Onuris : the Distant Goddess he brought back to Egypt
as Mehit was Onuris' consort. Shu and Tefnut would
sometimes be identified with the sun and the moon, and
Mehit ("the completed one"), would be the
personification of the full moon. Onuris then becomes
the god who returned the lost lunar eye of Horus and
restored the cosmic balance.
Satet : her animal, the antelope, was renowned for its
ability to find water in the desert.
Seshat : in CT 84, she is said to be angry at a child
she gives birth to (just as later traditions made
Nephthys reject her son Anubis).
Sobek : as fish eater - many fishes were regarded as
creatures of chaos - Sobek was helping to establish
Sokar, as chthonic deity, Sokar had to be appeased
when canals were dug, fildes were ploughed, or
underground tombs were built.
Sopdu : the Slaughter Yard of Sopdu was the place
where evil dead was butchered.
Thot : according to one account, Thot had to ask the
Distant Goddess to come home 1,077 times. He was given
Nehemtawy, a pacified version of the Goddess, as his