Myth and Its Problems in Egyptian Religion
Modern scholarship has had difficulty with myths in Egyptian religion and culture because they have been interpreted and relayed in various versions that are not identical and most of them have not enough proof to claim they are right. These interpretations try to explain the world in which they lived in, how it came about, cultures involved and gods that ruled the world at that time and age. Who among the interpreters can be believed as being right when they were not physically there, they use possible explanations to fill the gaps. As the case with a majority of ancient myths, the Egyptians attempt to give explanations on their place in the universe. Their thought of the universe order was from what they could see physically by direct observation.
Egyptians have complex beliefs about death and the life after death. The beliefs were that human ha a ka or soul, which departs the body when death occurred. When the human being is alive it is maintained by drink and food. Hence was considered that to undergo after death one’s ka had to continue obtaining the gifts of food, whose religious essence it could still take in. Each individual had a ba, the set of religious characteristics distinct to each person. Contrasting the ka from the ba, the ba remained connected to the body after one had passed away (Spencer, 1982 p.149). The Egyptian interment rituals were done with the main intention of freeing the ba from the body so that it could be in motion freely and merge it with the ka for life later on as an akh. It was vital that the body be conserved, as the Egyptians thought that the ba would go back to its body every night to get a new life, before it could come out as an akh the next morning.
Earlier on however, the Egyptians thought that Pharaoh had a ba, and could make to be one of the Gods if only commoners who had passed away bypassed into the dark, desolate kingdom that stood as the opposite of existence. The aristocrats got tombs and reserves for their upkeep as bequests from the king, and their capacity to get into life after death was believed to rely on this royal favoritism. In early instances the dead Pharaoh was believed to go up into the sky and reside among the stars. In the Old Kingdom, however, he came to be additionally related with the daily reincarnation of the sun-divinity Ra and with the underworld monarch Osiris as those divine beings grew more significant (Spencer, 1982 p’152).
In the late Old Kingdom and the initial transitional era, the Egyptians steadily came to suggest that control of ba and the probability of paradisiacal life after death were given to everyone. When the beliefs were wholly built up, the soul had to keep away from various supernatural risks in the Duat, before they could get the closing judgment which was known to be the Weighing of the spirit. When this was done, the Gods evaluated the actions of the dead while breathing to maat, to establish whether one had acted accordingly with the maat (Anthes, 1961 p.76).
If the dead person was proved commendable his ka and ba were bonded into an akh. Several beliefs existed side by side on the end of akh. Often the dead were said to live in the kingdom of Osiris, a luxuriant and enjoyable place in the underworld. The solar hallucination of life after death, in which the soul took a trip with Ra on his every day trip, was still mainly linked to with sovereigns, but could expand to other individuals (Spencer, 1982 p.156). Over the time of the core and new kingdoms, the concept the akh could make a trip in the world of the existing, and to some extent magically influence events there, were enhanced prevalently.
The creation myth accounts for the existence of the ocean as the initial thing. The yearly floods played an important role in the universe order. Water that was called Nu was the beginning of all. The Nile also each year the overwhelming flooding caused havoc to all living mortality on land, this illustrates Nu. The floods would draw back and out of the pandemonium of water would come from a hill of arid land, one when it begins, then a lot more. On the First arid mount top, the foremost day the sun rose, all things began for Egypt.
Ra, the sun came about through breaking of an egg that is sometimes referred to as a flower that emerges on top of the water. Ra brought into the world four children, Shu and Geb who were gods and Tefnut and Nut as the goddesses were made the atmosphere. Geb was made the earth that people stood on and lifted up Nut, who was made the sky. Ra was the leader of all. Geb and Nut afterwards bore two sons, known as Set and Osiris and two daughters called Nephthys and Isis. Osiris thrived after Ra as the king of the world. He was aided by his sister and wife at the same time Isis. Set, however despised his brother and murdered him. Isis later preserved her husband’s corpse with assistance from god Anubis, who was made the god of embalming (Baines, 1991 p.80). The influential charms of Isis brought Osiris back to life and was made ruler of the netherworld. Horus was borne of Osiris and Isis who later on conquered Set in a major scuffle and became ruler of the earth.
The Egyptians believed that the gods were symbolized by human chests and human or mammal heads. Now and then, the mammal or bird showed the features of the god. Given the example of Ra, he had a cranium of a hawk, and it was sanctified to him because of it being swift transversely in the sky; Hathor, who was the goddess of love and joy, was given a cows head; Anubis, head of a jackal because the animals wreak havoc on the desert graves in the past; Mut, was given the head of a vulture; Thoth was given the head of the Ibis and Ptah was given the head of an existing human being, but sometimes he was intermittently signified by a bull named Apis (Baines, 1991 p.87). The gods were connected to the symbols which were of consecrated animals idolized but they were by no means worshipped till the debauched 26th Dynasty. The gods were furthermore by figures, like the sun disk and wings of the hawk that were put on the crown of the pharaoh.
Sun worship took place in ancient religion. The sun’s rotation across the heavens, illustrates a fight between the Pharaoh’s spirit and an avatar of Osiris. Ra makes trips across the heavens in his solar ship; at dawn, he chases away the devil of darkness called Apep. The Solarization of various limited gods gets to its climax in the era f the fifth reign (Anthes, 1961 p.74). God Amun who was given ceremonies was linked to Ra, which was sometimes performed in the temple called Pylons. Pylon reflected the hieroglyph for the prospect that looks like two hills where the sun goes up and goes down elated to conception and rebirth. All other gods were taken over by the Aten, who included Amun-Ra, the ruling sun god of the land that Akhenaten owned. Unlike distinct gods, the Aten did not contain multiple forms. He had only an image of a disk that was a representation of the sun.
The most significant god who was worshipped unswervingly was Ra who was the leader of cosmic divinities, from whom untimely Egyptian king declared descent. It started with the middle monarchy (2134-1668 BC), Ra devotion was given rank of a state belief, and the god was steadily connected with Amon throughout the Theban reign becoming the ultimate supernatural being amon-Ra. In the 18th empire the pharaoh Amenhotep the third cancelled the first name of the sun God gave him a second name Aton the factual and only god. He later altered his name to Akhenaton, meaning “Aton is gratified.” The first enormous monotheist was very iconoclastic that he possessed the plural expression gods obliterated from shrines, and he persistently maltreated the priest of Amon. Akheton’s sun creed failed to continue to exist, even though it exerted an immense manipulation on the talent and thinking of his era, and Egypt went back to the prehistoric, labyrinthine creed of polytheism after Akheton’s death (Baines, 1991 p.89).
In Egyptian devotion, Horus is the going up sun, Ra is the midday sun, and then Osiris who is the deity of the departed is the setting sun. Some analysts even connect Horus, Ra and Osiris to the Christian Trinity theory. One of the most famous Egyptian Pharaohs was Amenhotep IV who eradicated the numerous gods of the monarchy and told his fellow men to devote to one god, denoted by a solar disc called aten, and even altered his given name to Akhenaten (Borghouts, 2009 p. 170). When he died, Tutankhaten who had wedded one of his female children thrived for him, and he relapsed back to the aged customs and altered his real name to Tutankhamun.
In Egyptian methodology, Osoris was the brother and husband of Isis who was the goddess of the world and moon. She symbolized the female reproductive power in nature. He was the leader of the underworld where dead people lived, but was seen as the foundation of renewed being through his son Horus. He was a compassionate judge in life after death and the underworld deity that gives all existence which includes vegetation and productive flooding of River Nile. He is usually seen as green-skinned. This is the color of reincarnation; Pharaoh is putting on the Atef crown which is a type of white coronet of greater Egypt with a trail of feathers on both sides. His wife Isis looked for his body remains till she actually discovered him boarded in a stalk which was supporting the roof of a fortress in Byblos on the coast of Phoenicia (Anthes, 1961 p.78). He was killed by his brother Set, who is connected to an evil typhonian beast of myths in Greek. He took Osiris’s body, locked it in a chest and tossed it into the River Nile. Later it was washed ashore and was entrapped in a large tree.
Osiris is symbolized by the head of a man crowned; he is putting on an elevated white cap of the upper part of Egypt, his hands are crossed and grasp the flap and hook of monarchs. Osiris became a crucial part of the world’s pillar, the connection between earthly and celestial worlds. Being the God of water, in Egypt it would not be prior to yearly rise and flood, and drop of the Nile would be measured up to the chief eras in the existence of men and before the renovated rise of the Nile in the year that follows. This would measure up to the everlasting of man, which in Egypt was seized for granted from ancient times, and this is what took place, the hieroglyphic texts give more than enough proof (Borghouts, 2009 p.198).
Osiris was preside over by persuasion, not by energy, was the most important and respected god in the middle and latest monarchies among the people of Egypt. The earliest known myths are engraved on the walls of compartments and hallways in the pyramids of the fifth and sixth king reigns at Sakkhara and are then called the pyramid texts (Baines, 1991 p.92). Osiris is known to have been one of the children born to the earth god Geb and sky goddess Nut. He was the oldest of the five children. He was reincarnated but passed away once again and fell down to wholly take over his roles as an Egyptian god of the world below. He is still known as one of the most famous of all the prehistoric Egyptian gods today.
Rituals and Magic in ancient Egypt
Magic in prehistoric Egypt was utilized to shield against angry gods, envious ghosts, and distant demons and witches who were considered to cause danger, illness, poverty, and barrenness. All religious customs in Egypt was done with the main aspiration of re-enacting the foundation, so as to confirm the cosmic array which had been started by the great God. The leader, as the living icon of God who creates the world had the expertise to do these magic customs directly or through people who are below them but are chosen like the priests. The re-enacting of creation made Egyptians to have more power on magic making, making sure that the Sun and the Moon would always come up, the celestial crypt would always rotate, and that the River Nile would always rise when its season had come (Borghouts, 2009 p. 167). With the king at the controls, the sky would stay up; the Sun disc would on no account be concealed, the Nile River would never stop flowing and the land will on no time fall into the abyss. The kings took over from the other in the continuous chain of succession, the age of would be continued for over.
Isis use magic to bring Osiris back to life so that they can have a son Horus. She learnt magic, tricked Ra to give her the secret name by making a snake to crunch into him, and Isis was the only person who had the cure (Barb, 1971 p.148). The names of the gods were hidden and not known to any but spiritual leaders. If one knew the secret name of a god he or she had power over that particular god. The deity would use his secret word to live means that the snake god had to have more power over the god. The oldest god known was called Widget which was an Egyptian cobra. The cobra’s cult was not obscured in prehistoric Egyptian religion. The deity was from the same area as Isis and she could have made the deity a munificent resource for her. The use of concealed names was made the pivot of late Egyptian enchantment spells, and Isis regularly prayed to by saying that the real name of Ra be made use of in doing rituals. By the late Egyptian chronological age, after the Greeks and Romans occupied it, Isis was the most significant and most powerful divine being of the Egyptian pantheon due to her magical expertise. Magic is the center to Isis’s myth more than any other divine being in Egypt.
Previously to this afterward alteration n in the life of Egyptian religion, Ma’at led the people by correcting actions for almost all the years with very slight necessity of magic. Thoth had been the divine being who turned to magic when it was required. Goddess Serket had been the one who had roles of the healer, defender of the canopic containers, marriage shield, and deity of previous magic (Barb, 1971 p.150). She was later referred to as an aspect Isis. It is not a revelation that Isis had a major role to play in Egyptian magic enchantments, and rituals, mostly for shielding and healing. In many spells, she is wholly connected even with Horus, where the innovations that Isis makes are meant to engage Horus’s authority obviously as well. In the past history of Egypt, the image of the injured Horus developed into a customary feature of the healing enchantments from Isis, which distinctively appealed to the curative supremacy of Isis’s milk.
Ancient Egyptian myths try to explain the Egyptian universe and how it came to be. Most of the explanations are related in a way and converge at some point but they also have their differences in descriptions of some instances. They have shortcomings too in that there is limited proof to determine whether the interpretations are true or false. Despite the deficiency, they all tend to lead to some mysteries and instances that took place in ancient Egyptian times that help us to understand ancient Egypt better and the entire universe.