The dominant religion in Egypt is Islam. Ok. 10% of the population are Christian Copts, who are descendants of the ancient Egyptians.
In ancient times, the Egyptians believed in many gods (polytheism). Mainly the forces of nature were worshiped. The Sun and the Nile were especially worshiped, around which all life has revolved. Thanks to him, people lived in good conditions and could survive in the desert. This important element of the Egyptians was one of the main sources of inspiration for theological thought of ancient Egypt. His entire life was depended on his strokes, it was like a great cosmic clock regulating time within the Egyptian year. The first day of the stroke was also New Year's Day.
Numerous; the deities were given human forms with animal heads (Horus with the head of a falcon, Chnum with a ram's head). It was believed, that the deities may reside in the body of sacred animals, what was considered a black bull, called Apis, and also, among others. crocodiles, ibisy, hawks and cats. Giant stone temples were erected in honor of the gods, looked after by the priests, accumulating great riches in them. Priests, next to the pharaohs, they were also an important factor in the exercise of power, and not infrequently it was they who actually ruled the country. Having knowledge of the phenomena of nature, introduced a year breakdown into 12 months and 365 days (see: Egyptian calendar), they could predict the solar eclipse and the flooding of the Nile, managed irrigation and construction works.
Around 800 different gods. The religion of local deities was dominant, who were considered the rulers and lords of cities and surrounding areas, in which they were worshiped. Besides the gods, they believed in demigods, that is, geniuses. They were more connected with the everyday life of people, but they had no temples and were hardly taken into account in theological speculation. Geniuses were more of a folk character. These were the ghosts associated with agriculture, with the birth of man. There was also a cult of animals. The sacred animals were simply the incarnations of the gods (aspects of the gods). It was believed, that one of the souls of some god was present in them. Statues of deities were placed in temples, making them inaccessible to the public. The statues of sacred animals were not in the temples themselves.
With time (in about a century), separate cities began to form larger organizations. So also religion changed. There were trade-offs involving the merging of deities, from different cities in marriage, as well as the making of gods. Most often, triads of deities arose. It was arising, in fact, mythology was synthesizing. Faith in human life after death was deeply rooted. Hence, the dead were buried with so much care.
There were three of the most important cosmogonic-religious systems: heliopolitański, hermopolitański i memficki.
Heliopolitan priests sought to make the Egyptian religion a solar character. They identified Horus with the sun god Re. In the Heliopolitan system, the enneada was the most important (the so-called. “Heliopolitan nine”) – or 9 supreme deities:
- Tuna – (considered Atum-Re) god of the setting sun,
- Re – master of the universe, skies, god of the sun,
- Su – god of air,
- Tefnut – god of moisture,
- Born – a god who is the personification of the earth,
- Nut – goddess who personified the heavenly vault,
- Ozyrys – god of death and reborn life, judge of the dead, ruler of the earth, the underworld and the Immortal Realms,
- Set – the lord of storms and lightning (wrogi Horusowi),
- Neftyda – Setha area, Osiris's sister,
- Izyda – local goddess of love, skies, magic and witchcraft, Ozyrys – god of fertile nature and god of the world of the dead; their son was Horus.
According to Heliopolitan mythology, it was only cold at first, dark and still water, called Nuu, that is, Chaos. Sun, i.e. the god Atum created himself and then either spitting out or masturbating himself gave rise to two gods: Su, ie dries and Tefnut, that is, moisture. Shu and Tefnut then became the parents of the god Geb, ie earth and goddess Nut, that is heaven. Shu raised Nut above his head, and her spouse, Geb left him still lying. Later, Net became Osiris's mother, Arrow, Izydy i Neftydy. These nine gods constituted the Great Enneada.
In the theological system of the priests of Hermopolis, in opposition to the Heliopolitan system, there are four pairs of gods:
- Nun i Naumet – personification ( personification) the ocean.
- Huh i Hauhet – the epitome of water and movement.
- Cock in Kauket – personification of the darkness of primeval space.
- Nat i Niau lub Amon i Amaunet.
In Hermopolis, the most important god was Thoth , god-moon, ibis, or a baboon. He woke up in chaos by himself and called Ogdoada into existence , that is, eight gods. There were four male and female pairs. The males had frog heads, a samice wężów. They were both female and male: Night, Darkness, Mystery and Eternity. Ogdoada sat down on the hill and laid the egg. The sun hatched from the egg, and it was it that created and organized the world.
The triad of gods played a central role in the Memphic system, hence referred to as the Memphic triad:
- Ptah – creator god
- Sechmet – goddess of war
- Nefertia – god of the earth
They imitated the beliefs of Heliopolis or Hermopolis , often mixing them together. Several different gods of the same rank were combined into one deity, and different names were translated in different aspects , incarnations.
Other gods, whose worship was universal, to:
- Anubis – god of the dead, guardian of cemeteries, patron of mummification,
- Aton – sun deity,
- Bastet – goddess of love, fertility and home, also a cat sitter,
- Bes – deity of the hearth,
- Chepri – deity pushing the solar disk,
- Chnum – ancient god of the upper Nile, creator of people, he was to mold a man on a potter's wheel,
- Chonsu – god of the moon, son of Amon and Mut, together they formed a triad of deities,
- Hathor – goddess of heaven, love and joy,
- Horus – deity of Heaven and protector of the pharaohs, son of Osiris and Isis,
- Measure (Mayet) – goddess of order, okay, law and justice,
- Min – deity of the city of Koptos, god of harvest,
- Mount – God of War, personification of Horus in the form of the god of necessary evil,
- Renenutet – goddess of harvest and fruits,
- Seszat – goddess of scripture, guardian of the royal annals,
- Sobek – god of waters,
- Sokar – deity of the western necropolis,
- Tatenen – deity of the waters of the pre-ocean,
- Tawaret – guardian deity of women giving birth to children,
- says (Until) – god of the moon, the ruler of time, deity of wisdom and science – the inventor of the letter (hieroglyphic), messenger of the gods,
- Wadget – patroness of Lower Egypt.