Have you ever wondered why are there Egyptian gods and goddesses with animal heads? The unique thing about Egyptian gods and goddesses is this point because each animal has obvious explanation. The connection between the gods and goddesses to the animals is the combination of the god’s power and animal’s characteristics. Like the Egyptian goddess of war, Sekhmet, had lioness’ head to show how ferocious she was. There are many more of such awesome gods and goddesses in our list today, so check them out!
1. AnubisTitle: Protector of the Dead
With the name of jackal-headed man or jackal, Anubis is one of the most powerful Egyptian gods. As the protector of the dead, he was also closely associated with mummification as well. And in the hall of judgment, Anubis was the one who conducted the deceased to the hall.
2. BastetTitle: Cat Goddess
No she was not the protector of cats, just to make sure I clear the doubt of her title. She was god who protected pregnant women and children. And of course, there were many cats lived in her temple, they were mummified when they died. Because Egyptians worshiped the Cat Goddess that is why killing or hurting cats resulted in penalties.
3. HorusTitle: God of War, Sky, and Falcons
He was the god with a hawk’s head, and he was the enemy of wicked God Seth. He could transform to either a hawk or a man with head of a hawk. As a god of the sky, he was also the divine protector of the kings as well. This god of war also defeated Seth and became the king of Egypt. The history was awesome.
4. KhnumTitle: God of Water
He was who guarded the source of the Nile, the main water source for the whole Egypt. His symbol was the potter’s wheel for it was believed that he was the creator of human children’s body from clay. The worshiped of Khnum held annually on two prinipal riverside, Elephantine Island Esna, which were his sanctuaries.
5. KhonsuTitle: God of the Moon
Khonsu was the moon god who depicted as a man with falcon head wearing a crescent moon above lunar disc. However, sometimes he represented as a baboon as well. People believed that he had the ability to drive out evil spirits from patients.
6. MontuTitle: God of War
Just like Horus, Montu or Monthu was the god of war with head of a falcon. In Egyptian art, you will see him as a man with falcon-head or bull-head. Each of which wore sun disc with two plumes on the head. Each animal has different presentation: the falcon represents the Sky while the bull represents Strength and War.
7. RaTitle: God of the Sun
He was the supreme sun god whose head was of a hawk and crowned with a solar disk and serpent. The history says each day Ra traveled across the sky in the form of the sun by riding his solar boat. At night, he appeared as a ram-headed man and journeyed through the underworld to defeat allies of chaos. He was the very powerful Egyptian god, and everyone worshiped him.
8. SekhmetTitle: Goddess of War, Fire, and Healing
With the head of lioness, Sekhmet was the daughter of Ra, the god of the sun. That was why she crowned with solar disk and sacred serpent just like Ra himself. There are a lot of meaning is her name such as Mistress of Dread, Lady of Slaughter, She Who Mauls, and more. Besides her, Maahes, Pakhet, and Tefnut were also the Egyptian gods with head of a lion.
9. SobekTitle: God of Crocodiles and Alligators
He who controlled crocodiles in Nile river, was a man with crocodile head wearing sun disk with upright feathers and horns. The history has it that there was a pool at Kom Ombo containing sacred crocodiles. And you still can see the original mummified crocodiles at the temple today.
10. SethTitle: God of Darkness, Chaos, and Confusion
He was also known as Set, Setekh, Suty, and Sutekh who represented as a man with an unknown animal head. Thought that was the ant-eater’s head, but my research shown that it could be the head of aardvark or fennec fox. Egyptians preferred to call the animal as Set Animal from the name of the god himself. Seth killed his brother, Osiris because of jealousy.
11. TefnutTitle: Goddess of Water and Fertility
Like I mentioned, Tefnut was also the god with a head of a lion except she represented different role. Because she was the goddess of water, it would cause drought if she fled from Ra. And when she cried, the ground became fertilized.
Title: God of Wisdom
Thoth was the god who represented writing and knowledge, and he was depicted as a man with head of an ibis. His statue would pose as a man holding a scribe’s pen and palette to show his wiseness. You will find his portray of either writing or making calculation. He also had the important role of recording the deeds of the dead at the judgment day as well.
There are several more Egyptian gods and goddesses with head of animals, but the pictures are not available. I hope I will be able to bring more information and detail of them soon.