Gods of Egypt Are Not Immortal
What’s the first thing you think about when thinking of any god? Immortality. Usually, gods are immortal beings with divine powers, and that’s what makes them different from humans. However, Egyptian gods are a bit different — they can be mortal, too.
In ancient Egypt, a god could die just like any human could. Well, they wouldn’t be dying from the same causes, but they couldn’t come back as gods either. What you should keep in mind is that pharaohs were sometimes considered gods, their messengers, incarnations, or vessels. That means when they die, the god they’re representing dies with them.
But if a god can die, how can they still influence the human realm? It’s all about the process of rebirth. Dying, in most cases, is simply symbolic, and gods can come back through various cycles or rituals performed by their believers. To conclude, the gods of Egypt are both mortal and immortal.
They Bleed Gold
You know all about turning blood into wine, but what about turning blood into gold bars? Sounds impossible, but not when you keep in mind that one of the many qualities of gods of Egypt is that they bleed gold. Well, it’s questionable if real gold oozes from their body or the blood simply has a golden color.
This is yet another thing that makes them similar, and yet different, to humans. Believers can find comfort in knowing that their god also bleeds when they’re hurt or dying. That’s one of the ways in which humans can identify themselves or relate to gods they’re worshiping.
We’re sure many Egyptians thought of harvesting this gold blood for the sake of becoming rich. But we also bet that killing a god of Egypt isn’t an easy feat.
Egyptian Gods Experience Continuous Birth and Death
What goes around comes around, and Egyptian gods know it best. One of the characteristics of gods of Egypt is that they die almost every day. Well, it all depends on which god we’re talking about. For example, Osiris was one of the most important gods in ancient Egypt. According to texts, Osiris was killed by his brother but reborn by Isis as a God of the Underworld.
But not all deaths and rebirths are this dramatic. The Sun god Ra drags the sun across the sky during the day and through the Underworld during the night. In this journey, Ra ages, dies, and is reborn the next morning.
Remember that pharaohs are vessels for Gods? When one dies, so does the god they represent, but finding another vessel is all but difficult for these deities. The cycle of death and rebirth is one of the most important things in ancient Egyptian religion, and all beings (mortal and immortal) must experience it.
Egyptian Gods Can Transform Into Beast-Like Creatures
Now, let’s talk about Egyptian gods as beasts. Don’t you love cats? Ancient Egyptians loved them too, but for different reasons than we do today. Back then, cats were messengers and incarnations of cat-goddess Bastet. This goddess had a human body but a cat head. Why? Because, at night, she would turn into a cat to protect Ra from his greatest enemy — the serpent Apep.
That is why people started worshiping cats. Not only that, but they would mummify them along with their prayers as offering to Bastet. This was one of the ways of getting onto a god’s good side. But Bastet isn’t the only goddess with an animal vessel. Many other gods had animal representatives, including:
They Revolve Around Monotheistic Faith
Many would argue that this was a monotheistic religion, even though there are many gods of Egypt. Why? It’s pretty simple. There are only a handful of gods people respect and celebrate across ancient Egypt. The other gods aren’t less relevant, but praising them is subjective.
For example, all Egyptians worshiped Ra, but not everyone cared about Bastet or Sobek. Every god is in charge of something, whether it’s fertility, war, love, good health, or more. With that in mind, people choose which god to worship depending on what they need.
Plus, it wasn’t unusual for people to pick favorites among gods and worship them for no reason other than simply liking them. To put this into perspective, Christians worship one God, but they also pray to many saints. Still, Christianity is a monotheistic religion. The same logic applies to ancient Egyptian religion.
How the Differences Affect Faith
The belief system and lifestyle of ancient Egyptians are unique. Since there are so many gods to worship, they dedicate a lot of their time to prayer and rituals. As we’ve mentioned, one of the most important things in ancient Egyptian religion is the cycle of rebirth and going to the afterlife.
There are many rules a person needs to abide by during their life on Earth, so they could ensure a fine life in the afterlife. However, death is not the end of one’s life. A person’s loved ones can still communicate with the deceased through rituals. Not only that, but they have to take good care of the deceased’s body. This can be done through mummification and the “Opening of the mouth” ritual.
Even though Egyptians were deeply religious and devoted their lives to worshiping gods, there were still disbelievers. Forcing people into faith wasn’t common practice in ancient Egypt, though. Why? Because everyone has their own pre-decided destiny, and some are just doomed to live without the gods favoring them. However, not even disbelievers are safe from Ra’s wrath, and that’s often enough to convert them.