{Sunday Musings} Top Ten Assets I Consider When Writing Ancient Egyptian Gods or Goddesses

Descendants of Isis TrilogyMy writing is steeped in ancient Egyptian mythology. The Descendants of Isis trilogy focuses on the myth of Isis and Osiris while in Dark Reflections I weave the myth of Sekhmet and the Eye of Ra into my vampiric world. Additionally, Astyr from Bly is connected to Geb, ancient Egyptian god of the earth, and Nut, ancient Egyptian goddess of the sky. And, as of this post, I’m working on another new adult novel that focuses entirely on the ancient Egyptian gods and goddess.

When writing characters that based on ancient Egyptian gods and/or goddesses, there are ten aspects from ancient Egyptian mythology I take into consideration:

  1. Appearance: Based on ancient Egyptian beliefs, a god’s or goddess’s image is that of perfection. They look neither too old nor too young. Their body is at the peak of their physical physic; slender and well-toned. Their skin made of gold.
  2. Unusual Eye Traits: After Horus’s left eye was damaged by Set and restored by Thoth, it represented the moon while his right eye represented the sun. The Eye of Ra also represented Sekhmet who, according to one myth, was born from the fire of Ra’s eye when set his fiery gaze on the earth.
  3. Heka or Magic: Each ancient Egyptian god or goddess is able to wield their own magic, depending on their skills and specific role in ancient Egyptian culture. For example, Isis used her abilities to heal, see into the future, and with the secret name of Ra, call on the power of creation.
  4. Advanced Knowledge: Many myths give the ancient Egyptian gods and goddesses credit for bestowing knowledge to the people of Egypt. Thoth taught them how to write. Osiris taught them how to irrigate the land, make wine, and bake bread. Isis taught them magical remedies and medicine.
  5. Symbols of Power: Many of the gods and goddesses of ancient Egypt are depicted carrying symbols such as the ankh or was scepter. They are very much like wands, which can be used to direct their magic. But also, they were symbols of status, like Osiris’s crook and fail.
  6. Shape Shifting Abilities: Most often, the Egyptian gods and goddesses were depicted to have the body of a man or woman with the head of an animal or insect. But, other times, the gods or goddesses can also be depicted in full animal form such as Horus as a falcon or Anubis as a jackal. Or they can be in human form with animal traits, such as Hathor, a woman with the cow ears. Or they can appear human in mummy form, such as Osiris and Ptah. Or they could be completely human in appearance, such as Isis or Nephthys. These different depictions give rise to the concept that the gods and goddesses can take on multiple forms.
  7. Eternal Life: Eternal life is not just for the gods and goddesses. Anyone could reach eternal life, and despite their otherworldly appearance, the gods and goddesses were very much human. They lived and they died. Yet, eternal life isn’t the same as what we think immortality is today. Eternal life is that a god’s, goddess’s, or person’s name and shadow live on. This can be through hieroglyphics, temples, images, and/or statues. Any of which ensure that the god, goddess, or person can continue to live on in the afterlife. However, if their name and images are completely destroyed, then the god, goddess, or person is erased from existence.
  8. The Ability to Move between Worlds: Whether physically or spiritually, gods and goddesses seem to have the ability to move between (and even through) the living world, Duat, and Amenti. Many gods and goddesses use false doorways as portals for their souls, and then possess a shadow (a statue or image left in the living world). Others, like Ra, have the ability to move through what are called Gates of the Horizons to move through the layers of Duat and bring forth another day.
  9. Dream Manipulation: Thoth is most known for this ability. Dreams were considered messages from the gods and goddesses, and Thoth’s priests were known to interpret them.
  10. Followers: Not all ancient Egyptian gods and goddesses had temples built in their honor. Some were merely worshipped in people’s homes as household gods. Others played a role in mummification and the journey into the afterlife. But if it weren’t for the people’s belief in these gods and goddesses, they would have never survived. Even thousands of years later, their images and names live on through scientific discoveries and our imaginations.