Mythology of Ancient Egypt

The ancient Egyptians had one of the most extensive and complex pantheons, with many versions of the creation myth. The gods and goddesses each had their own domain and sphere of influence, and their relationships were complex.
Oh, and many of them had animal heads instead of human ones.


The importance of the Nile cannot be understated. The duality of order and chaos, the living and the dead, the wet and the dry are all defined by the Nile and its annual floods. It shaped and defined the myths and beliefs of the ancient Egyptians and was a crucial factor in shaping the duality of the land of ancient Egypt, dividing it into two areas; Kemet (the Black Land) and Deshret (the Red Land). One fertile and life-giving, the other an uninhabitable desert. This recurring duality played an important role in the myths of the gods, but also in the lives (and afterlives) of everyone from kings to ordinary people.

In the beginning the universe consisted only of a great cosmic ocean, called Nun. Out of this chaotic mass of primordial water emerged the Benben, a pyramidal hill. At the top of this hill was a blooming lotus flower, from which Ra/Atum emerged. He created Shu, the god of air, and Tefnut, the goddess of moisture, who mated to produce the earth god Geb, and the sky goddess Nut.

Many gods and goddesses were associated with particular places in Egypt, and sometimes the aspects of two gods were combined. For example, the sun god Ra was prominent in the Old Kingdom, while Amun rose to prominence in the Middle Kingdom. The result was Amun-Ra, with aspects of both.

Some gods were very dangerous, and it was important to recognise and worship these gods and goddesses so that life could continue smoothly.

The Ennead

The Ogdoad