The goddess of happiness, love, dance, music and joy, love, fertility, marriage and women and like Isis and Nut, one of the primal mother goddesses, she was the sister and gentle aspect of Sekhmet. Like Sekhmet she was the daughter or consort of Ra and she was a protector of women. She is patroness of modern businesswomen.
Hathor is depicted wearing a sun disk held between the horns of a cow.
Her protective image is found in many Egyptian tombs. Most spectacularly, she is shown as a large cow covered with lotus flowers or ankhs in the tomb of. King Amenhotep III. His image is painted black, the colour of death and he is depicted in the position of prayer under the head of the cow. There is also a small statue of him in red, the colour of living i.e. reborn, drinking from teat of the cow. This shows that goddess had adopted him. It dates from Deir el Bahar in the 18th dynasty.
Invoke Hathor for protection, for nurturing and all mothering issues, for marriage and committed love affairs, for harmony, fertility, inspiration, joy and for protection
Her colour is red
Horus was once two distinct gods, the Elder in the form of the falcon or the falcon –headed God, brother of Set, later identifiable with Ra and the younger, a naked youth with a lock of hair over his face and his finger on his lips. Other versions see the elder Horus not as brother as Set but the young Horus in his mature adult form who was able to take on kingship.
The young Horus was, sometimes synonymous with the young Lotus God and the rising sun that was born anew each day. So he represented all kinds of new beginnings both in the year and in people’s lives
Welcomed at all royal festivals, Horus is sometimes depicted as a falcon wearing the double crown of Egypt or in his falcon-headed form with a crown. A falcon was engraved behind statues of kings sitting on their thrones or hovering overhead.
Invoke the young Horus for healing, for renewal and new beginnings, enthusiasm, action and courage and the elder Horus for power, responsibility and nobility.
His colour is green for his wings and gold.
Throughout this book are myths concerning Isis. On page 00 I have already described how she discovered Ra’s secret names and so learned the secret of his magic. But the most famous tells of the time after Set killed his brother Osiris to win the throne of Egypt. This was probably based in another early tribal clash for we know that Osiris is a very ancient god, called by Wallis Budge, the Egyptologist and author, the ancestor of the gods.
Isis rescued Osiris’ body from the Nile at Byblos, into which Set had thrown it in a wooden trunk and she took it to Memphis with her sister Nephthys. On p00 I described another version where the trunk became part of a tree and Isis had to split it with thunder and lightning.
But Set pursed them, cutting Osiris’ body into fourteen pieces and scattering them throughout Egypt so that he might not be resurrected since his spirit would have no place to return. Isis assisted by her sister and Heket the frog goddess, searched to find the pieces and each place where one was found became a sacred place to Osiris. Once they had reassembled the body, Nephthys son the jackal-headed god Anubis, bound it together, creating the first mummy. This procedure was thereafter carried out on the corpses of elevated humans so that their body might not be attacked and scattered by demons. Only Osiris’s phallus could not be found and so Isis created one for him.
Isis became a sparrow hawk and with her swooping wings and magical incantations, breathed life into the mummy so that Osiris might awake and impregnate her- once again the powerful life force of heka or magical words
Afraid that Set might kill her son in the womb or in infancy, Isis hid in the papyrus marshes of the Nile Delta. Osiris descended into the Underworld to become king and Isis gave birth to her son alone and hid him from Set. So she became an icon for every birthing mother or woman alone or in difficulty.
Once he came of age, Horus was able to fight his uncle and so Isis became the protectress of the Kings, the incarnations of her son
Unusually, Isis is portrayed in a number of ways, as the young mother with cow horns and a solar disk between them, often black and suckling her infant.
In earlier times, she was shown with a throne or plumes on her head and also she was portrayed in statuary, as a more mature woman carrying a sistrum and with a knotted shawl (this image was prevalent throughout the Roman Empire where her cult was popular among women). As mistress of enchantment she is sometimes shown with the lunar crescent on her head beneath the sun disk or with the full moon disk alone. Astrologically she was the star Sirius and Osiris the nearby constellation Orion (see p00).
Invoke Isis for magical energies, for all women’s issues, for fertility, marriage and fidelity, mothering and protection, for moon magic on crescent and on the full moon and for healing
Her colour is red.
Ma’at embodies the principle of cosmic balance, order and justice and is sometimes seen as the female alter ego of Thoth. She also rode in the solar boat and like Thoth was present on the solar barque at the first sunrise. Some myths say that she, like Thoth, was instrumental in the creation of the world by Ptah. She is sometimes called the daughter of Ra, though she is an elder god.
In temple ritual, from the time of Thutmoses, around 1479BC until the Roman period in Egypt, the King or High priest as a pledge to uphold order and justice offered a feather or tiny statue of Ma’at.
In the Afterlife, Ma’at weighed the hearts of the deceased against the ostrich plume feather from her headdress to see if the heart was free from sin.
She is depicted as a slender woman with a single ostrich plume in her headdress.
Invoke Ma’at for justice, truth, good conduct in the lives of self and others, balance and harmony.
Her colour is white.
Wife of Seth and sister of Isis and Osiris, her role is invariably helpful and benign. She searched with her sister for Osiris’s body, helped her to reassemble the body her husband had mutilated and remained a helpmate to Isis through her pregnancy and early days of motherhood.
However, Nephthys is often most remembered for her Underworld protective role, standing behind Osiris as the heart of the deceased is weighed. She also helped Isis in her role of assisting and protecting the dead. With Isis, Neith and Serqet, she formed the quartet of deities who protected the young Tutankhamun and other Pharaohs and nobles in death. Isis and Nephthys face each other with outstretched wings on the ids of mummies or stand at the head and foot of the mummy.
A nature goddess Nephthys she represented sunset and both she and Isis rode on the solar boat at the first sunrise
But mainly as the shadow alter ego of Isis, she symbolised the darkness, silence and hidden mysteries and what was invisible Isis was the birth goddess, she the death. Yet it was the death that led to rebirth and so she is a symbol of hope.
Nephthys is shown as a woman with a pylon, a tower surmounted by a dish on her headdress, called the symbol for a mansion and in her protective role she has outstretched wings.
Invoke her for compassion, gentleness, reconciliation, acceptance of what cannot be changed, for soothing sorrow, for support in difficult times and for endings that lead to beginnings.
Her colour is black.
Osiris was the teacher of humanity, appointed to rule the world by his father the Earth God Geb. It was he who gave men agriculture and, as an early fertility and vegetation god, he was regarded as the embodiment of the corn. But Set was jealous and tricked his brother into getting into an ornamental trunk, which he closed and threw into the river.
After his body was mummified, Osiris descended into the Underworld where he became the embodiment of the deceased King just as his son Horus represented the living one. For this reason Osiris is portrayed wearing the crowns of Egypt and carrying the ceremonial crook and flail.
He represents the annual growth of the corn, watered by the tears of Isis, the Nile Flood, and so ensures that the cycle of life, death and rebirth continues as the corn is cut down but sprouts again. In this, he complements the ordered passage of the sun god.
Osiris was such an important god for it was believed he could claim a place in the heavens for all who followed him.
It was believed that in the Underworld Ra nightly joined with Osiris and thus gained the power for rebirth.
Osiris can be invoked for regeneration, whether the rekindling of hope and enthusiasm, in a relationship or starting over after loss, for fertility of all kinds, for male rituals of all kinds, for nobility of purpose and for reaping what you sow
His colours are black and green.
Some say he was the first deity to be worshipped and that his origins are lost in prehistory. The cosmic egg in some myths contained Ra, the sun God and his birth set time in motion. Over the centuries he became linked with the major creator deities, Ptah and as Atum Ra and Amun Ra. Over time his role as father of the gods became undisputed and he was said to have created himself, a fact that did not stop him entering the womb of Nut his mother every night
He was portrayed as the Sun at its full power and is depicted by the symbol of the sun and also in his solar boat. Ra is shown variously as a man or a hawk-headed man, crowned with the sun disk and sacred Uraeus serpent and with the usa, a dog headed, forked rod of power.
Invoke Ra for power and for fulfilling ambitions, for self-confidence, for illumination in every aspect of your life and for making the most of time.
His colours are yellow and gold.
One of the most powerful and ancient deities whose cult centre was at Memphis, the lion-headed solar goddess was both fierce avenger and protectress of living and dead, especially the pharaoh.
Statues of her stood in the Treasure Room in the tomb of Tutankhamun, with a blue faience tear as she wept for the young king
She was goddess of both war and healing and doctors practised in her name.
She is sometimes called the eye of Ra warrior, her father.
In the Afterlife, her protective role is predominant and in one ancient text, often placed on inscriptions of her statues, she says: ‘I am the ardent heat of the fire that put a million cubits between Osiris and his enemies.’
Because of this, she also guards the blessed Dead, protected by Osiris.
Known also as a lady of magic, especially magical healing and protection, her best-known statue is in a small temple in the enclosure of Amun at Karnak. When the full moon shines it casts a shaft of pure light upon the statue, making it seem as though she is alive.
Frequently Sekhmet is pictured with the
sun disk on her head and the sacred cobra, protectress of the Pharaohs
on her brow. She also takes the form sometimes of a lioness. In her
lion-headed form she carries an ankh or sistrum.
Invoke her for courage, for defence, for fire magic and for healing, but never for revenge.
Her colours are red and gold.
Sometimes regarded as the father of the deities, self-created and present at creation, for example in the Memphite myth, he was the god of law, writing, medicine, mathematics, time and spoken word and he had command over all magical knowledge. He brought creation into existence by uttering the thoughts of the creator and was later called the heart and tongue of Ra (i.e. he translated thought into word and so animated the sun). He rode in the solar boat with Ra. In this function, he ordered the measurement of time.
Thoth as an elder God taught Isis the magical incantations to restore life to the body of Osiris. He also gave Isis the healing formula to restore young Horus to life after scorpions had stung him. This was after she had caused an eclipse by stopping the sun boat.
Depicted with an ibis or baboon head or as these creatures, he is also seen as a scribe with his magical palate, recording the words and commands of the deities and writing the laws for humankind.
Invoke Thoth for all forms of wisdom, learning and knowledge, including magical, for order in your life and in the world, for oratory and divinatory skills and for creative ventures.
His colours are white and blue.