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Kemetist Deities (Battle of Belusium)

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Ancient depictions of the Kemetic gods; from left to right: Osiris, Anubis, and Horus.

Kemetist deities are the gods and goddesses in Kemetism, the religion of the Egyptian Empire. As a polytheistic religion, Kemetism possesses many gods each with distinct characteristics and features. It is believed that the gods represent Ma'at (order), and that they are in constant conflict with the forces of Isfet (chaos), represented by Apep.

Characteristics

Kemetism is, to an extent, animistic, holding that nature itself is divinely represented. As such, gods will often be invoked for certain things; for example, for a bountiful flood, Sobek will be invoked, or for a safe journey across the sea, Wadj-Wer will be invoked.

Major Gods

Creation Duo

In the Kemetist creation story, there was originally just a primal substance called Nun. Then, from Nun, came the celestial egg, which Ra emerged from. Apep emerged at the same time from Nun itself.

  • Ra: The god of the sun and creation. After he emerged, he created the universe, as well as the other gods. It's believed that Ra fights Apep each night in the Underworld in the continuous conflict with Chaos. Though older images would depict Ra as a falcon, or a man with the head of a falcon, Ra is now more traditionally portrayed as a golden man wearing the sun disc on his head, carrying a spear.
  • Apep: Also called Apophis, Apep is not necessarily a god, so much as he's a physical manifestation of chaos and darkness. Typically depicted as a giant snake, Apep is said to seek the complete destruction of creation, and is kept at bay in the Underworld by Ra leading the other gods against him.

Other Major Gods

  • Horus: The god of kings, vengeance and strength, and the son of Osiris and Isis. Horus is traditionally depicted as a falcon, or a man with the head of a falcon. In ancient times, the pharaoh was regarded as an incarnation of Horus, though this belief waned during the Classical Age, before completely fading during the Medieval Age. Horus is also held to a lesser extent as a war god, though not to the same extent as Sekhmet.
  • Osiris: The god of the afterlife and rebirth, generally depicted as a green skinned man wrapped in bandages, the husband of Isis, and the father of Horus. Many of the earlier Saite pharaohs were devout believers in Osiris (this lessened over time), and thus Osiris was placed high on the pantheon, almost on par with that of Ra.
  • Isis: The goddess of queens, magic and health, depicted as a woman with iridescent wings in a white dress, the wife of Osiris, and mother of Horus. Isis popularity amongst Kemetists is mild compared to others, but she is often prayed to for good health. Its been suggested that as Ra was elevated to the top of the pantheon, Isis began to be seen as an untrustworthy schemer, who seeks to overthrow him.
  • Set: The god of the desert, storms and chaos, depicted as man with the head of an unknown animal, the husband of Nephtys, and the father of Anubis and Daaker. Set's position in Kemetism has changed greatly over time, being held at one point as the god of evil during the New Kingdom. After the ascension of the Saite pharaohs, many of whom were devotees of Set, worship of him again. He is now held as Ra's chief general, representing controlled chaos as a balancing to order.
  • Nepthys: The goddess of fertility an divine protection, depicted as a woman with iridescent wings in a blue dress, the wife of Set, and the mother of Anubis and Daaker. Nepthys' standing in Kemetist belief has changed over time, but she is currently held as the twin sister, and closest ally of Isis, which is why they so closely resemble each other.
  • Sobek: The god of the Nile, and water in general, depicted as a man with the head of a crocodile. Sobek was initially just one of multiple river gods, but became elevated to the position as sole god of the Nile as the Kemetist religion became more centralized. Worship of him peaked during the Medieval period.
  • Bast: The goddess of cats, loyalty and guardians, depicted as a woman with the head of a cat. Bast is regarded as being the head of Ra's personal guard, and one of his most loyal retainers. Bast is invoked for protection by Egyptian commoners, and idols to her in cat form are often placed in front of Egyptian houses.
  • Anubis: The god of mummification and death, depicted as a man with the head of a jackal, the son of Set and Nepthys, and the brother of Daaker. Anubis is highly regarded as the guardian of the dead, and is regularly invoked during funerals to ensure the dead's safe travel through the Underworld.
  • Sekhemet: The goddess of war and battle, depicted as a woman with the head of a lioness. Sekhemet represents the violent side of conflict, opposed to Horus, who represents the honorable side. She is considered to be the third in command in Ra's army, after Set and Ra himself.
  • Thoth: The god of wisdom and knowledge, commonly depicted as a man with the head of an ibis. Worship of Thoth saw an increase during the 16th through 19th centuries, as more people became interested in science and philosophy. Thoth is now also held as the patron of arts and schools, and it's not uncommon to find a statue of him in many Egyptian public schools.
  • Ptah: The god of crafts and creation. Ptah's worship peaked during the Old and Middle Kingdom, but waned slightly during the New Kingdom and Classical Age. Worship would later increase again during the late Medieval, and early Renaissance age, as he was held as the god of architecture as well.
  • Daaker: The god of the wild, beasts and the forest, depicted as a man with the head of an elephant, the son of Set and Nephthys, and the brother of Anubis. Daaker came into form during the early Medieval age, as Egypt expanded further South into Africa, and encountered more elephants, and more wild lands. Daaker is now invoked by people traveling through Africa by land, and is believed to be Set's top lieutenant.
  • Wadj-wer: The god of the sea, depicted as a man with blue skin carrying a fishing line, or a man with the head of an eel. Wadj-wer is an old god, but popularity in him spiked during the Classical Age as Egypt became progressively more sea-faring. He is now regularly invoked by sailors.

Minor Gods

As the Kemetist religion became more centralized, a number of gods lost positions of prestige they may have originally held.

  • Babi: The god of baboons, and to a lesser extent, knowledge. Babi was never a heavily popular deity to begin with, but as Thoth rose in prominence, he was depicted as Thoth's messenger, and guardian.
  • Bes: The god of homes, the protection of families, celebration, and dwarves. The worship of Bes can trace its origins to pre-Dynastic Egypt, though popular worship of him did not begin until the New Kingdom. However, his popularity ebbed out after the rise of the Saite pharaohs, many of whom did not hold him in high regard. While many of his attributes were given to Bast, many Egyptian common folk will occasionally put idols of Bes in their yards to discourage evil spirits.
  • Geb: The god of the Earth, and the father of Osiris, Isis, Set, and Nepthys. Geb is held as a god to be respected, but he is not worshiped to, as it is believed that there is no point in asking the Earth for favors. To that end, Geb is more honored than worshiped.
  • Khonsu: The god of the moon. Worship of Khonsu was ancient, but much of it died out during the Classical Age. He is still worshiped, but on a smaller scale, and more by folk Kemetists, opposed to mainstream.
  • Maahes: Originally a Nubian, lion-headed god of war, Maahes grew in popularity during the New Kingdom and Classical Period, but his popularity decreased during the Medieval ages. This has been attributed to the Nubians being more culturally Egyptian at this point, having adopted much of the Kemetist religion. The cult of Maahes is now extremely limited, and mostly to homes in the eastern part of the empire.
  • Neith: The goddess of the hunt. Worship of Neith is very old, and she was held for a time as the patron of Sais itself. But as Egypt became more urbanized, and hunting lessened on the whole, she lost popularity. She is now considered to be the consort of Daaker.
  • Nekhbet: The vulture goddess, who is depicted on the uraseus on the pharaoh's crown, often with Wadjet. Originally associated with Lower Egypt, she is now considered one of the dual guardian deities of the Egyptian royal family.
  • Nut: The goddess of the Sky, the husband of Geb, and the mother of Osiris, Isis, Set, and Nepthys. Similar to Geb, it is believed that there is no point in trying to seek the sky's favor, and thus she is honored, but not worshiped in anyway.
  • Saynematt: The god of sands and trade, usually depicted as a viper, or a man with the head of a viper. It is believed that Saynematt came into existence when Set's blood spilled onto the sand. The general consensus amongst theologians is that worship of him first sprout up when Egypt began trading with Turegs and Ghanese peoples across the sand.
  • Haywsenam: The bringer of death, usually depicted as a vulture, or a man with the head of a vulture. Typically associated as the aid of Anubis, Haywsenam is held as the equivalent of the angel of death in Kemetism. It is believed that he records an individuals death, and guides Anubis to them.
  • Tawaret: The goddess of mothers and childbirth, usually depicted as a hippo, or a pregnant woman with the head of a hippo. As Isis became associated as the goddess of health, Tawaret became subservient to her.
  • Wadjet: The cobra goddess, who is depicted on the uraseus on the pharaoh's crown, often with Nekhbet. Originally associated with Upper Egypt, she is now considered on of the dual guardian deities of the Egyptian royal family.

Patron Gods

Many branches of modern Kemetism, including mainstream, hold that each family possesses a patron deity, which is tasked with watching over and protecting them against Chaos. A family's patron can vary, and they are usually determined by a priest that may be visited. Patron deities are generally invoked over other deities, but are not held as more important; for example, if a family had Sekhmet as their patron, they would invoke her more, but would not hold her over another god such as Ra.

Not all Kemetist doctrines accept this system. Folk Kemetism, and some southern sects both reject the belief system, holding it to be blasphemous to invoke certain gods more than others.

Origin

The patron deity system actually has little roots in ancient Kemetism, and is relatively new, first appearing during the 17th Century, under the reign of Pharaoh Seti IV. It's been hypothesized that in response to Egypt receiving more immigrants, especially from Rome, there were attempts to strengthen the religion, and encourage further conversion. This belief system was not fully accepted by the priesthood, as it was considered disrespectful to the gods to place one over the others.

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