ANIMAL CULTS AND ANCIENT EGYPTIAN RELIGION

14 Feb

In the early Neolithic, predynastic history of Egypt Religion was expressed in the form of animal cults.  In early graves animal amulets and animal bodies were found buried with human bodies.  While many graves of animals alone were found, buried with due respect.

At this time most of the Gods were represented in the form of animals, trees or objects. Later in early dynastic periods the animal deities began to take the form of part human and part animal, that is to say, zoomorphic forms. One of the earliest and most powerful of Egyptian Gods was Horus who had the form commonly depicted with a hawks head and the body of a man.  By the second dynasty some of the animal deities  where anthropomorphised into human form alone.

It is commonly understood that during the dynastic period of Ancient Egypt animals were not worshipped as such.  It is believed that the Gods who were expressed in animal form had a nature similar to that of the animal in some respect.  An example of this is the Goddess Hathor who, although a deity of music, dance and drunkenness was also a loving mother and so portrayed either in the form of a cow or with the horns of a cow, since it was observed that cows were loving and caring mothers to their young. Many other animals, such as the bull or hippo, could embody the spirit of the God or Goddess, or its KA and so would be thus treated as divine.

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