For most Egyptians their most important gods were Isis and her husband Osiris, their son Horus, the falcon-headed protector god of the sky, and Hathor (the cow-headed goddess) who was both nurse and wife to Horus. The experience of Osiris was the origin of the resurrection belief. The story holds that Osiris is killed by his brother, Set, the evil one, and then dismembered and his body parts scattered. Sounds a bit like Cain and Abel, doesn't it? Anyway his distraught wife, Isis, searches all over the earth and brings all the pieces together and brings Osiris back to life. There are twenty-eight total gods and goddesses in Egyptian mythology and most were honored with temples and ceremonies and traditions like the 4 most important figures. For instance, Mut is the goddess who holds the space between the sky and the earth. She is painted on the ceilings of many tombs, both royal and otherwise. Bastet is the cat goddess whose importance as a protector is proven by the many thousands of mummified cats found in Egypt. Many of the cats were buried next to their owners, both royal and common, and temple cats were mummified and buried within the temple compounds. A period of mourning was required of human owners when domestic cats kept as pets died.
Sobek was the crocodile god and was worshiped as part of the creation myth and as a powerful force whose strength would be desired by its worshipers.
Ra was the sun god and he was elevated at times to the highest pantheon of Egyptian gods and then sometimes found to be less esteemed and removed from the highest levels of gods and goddesses. Akhenaten, the heretic Pharaoh, decreed Ra to be seen as not only the highest god but as the only god of Egypt. Lesser gods would be treated rather like Christian religions, in both Eastern and Western traditions, treat saints. They were examples of virtuous behavior and teachers of the tenets of the faith. They could also be placated and petitioned for favors, for relief from suffering, for help with problems, and forgiveness of misdeeds by both priests and individuals.
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