|Topics in this section:||religion in ancient egypt | gods and goddesses | the afterlife | mummification | astronomy | the temple | funerary texts|
Religion in ancient Egypt was an important part of everyday life. Priests attended daily to the needs of the gods, (who were thought to be manifested in their cult images), made offerings to them, and thus kept the forces of chaos at bay. Distinctions were sometimes made between the important state gods, such as Horus or Isis, and the local and "household" deities, such as Bes and Tawaret. However in practice, the only major difference between these gods and deities seems to be the lack of cult places and temples dedicated to the local and household deities. State religion tended to focus on the concerns of the state and kingship, whereas local and household deities seem to have been popular with individual ordinary Egyptians.
Most Egyptian gods and goddesses began their "lives" simply as local deities, with a specific town or village as being their cult centre.
Throughout the vast and complex history of Egypt, the dominant beliefs of the ancient Egyptians merged and mutated as leaders of different groups in separate areas of the country would gain power. This process continued even after the end of the ancient Egyptian civilisation as we know it today. During the New Kingdom for instance, the separate deities of Re and Amun commonly "merged" (typically referred to as syncretism) to became known as Amun-Re. Even when taking part in such a syncretic relationship, the original god did not necessarily become completely "absorbed" into the combined deity.
Here we've compiled a list of some of the ancient Egyptian primary deities: