Egyptian God Horus – The Sky God
The Egyptian God Horus is probably one of the most well known deities of the ancient world. The eye of Horus, or wadjet in ancient Egyptian, is the most widely used protection symbols in ancient Egypt. The moon and sun were his left and right eyes respectively.
Pharaohs were regarded as his reincarnation on Earth until death.
He is usually represented as a man with a falcon head, like the God Ra but wearing a red and white crown similar to the double crown of Egypt that the Pharaohs wore. This represented his eternal kingship over ancient Egypt.
Sometimes he is depicted fully as a falcon.
Forms of the Egyptian God Horus
He was seen as one of the most powerful gods. He replaced Osiris on earth when Osiris was murdered by the god Set.
Sometimes he is thought of as the son of Isis and Osiris, and sometimes as their sibling… depending on the myth.
The eye of Horus, which is identified as the cobra goddess Wadjet, is a symbol for protection and kingship. It is also sometimes called The Eye of Ra.
As for his actual eyes – the left eye of Horus represents the moon and right eye the sun.
His left eye was gouged out by Set during their battle, but was then restored to him again. He went on to offer it to his father Osiris to help him come back to life. And so in this sense it is also a sign of restoration and healing.
Horus is a little bit confusing since he has many different roles and forms, and also different parentage. Sometimes these forms came together as well!
So let’s take it step-by-step, dividing and describing each form separately. We’ll only concentrate on his main forms:
Ra-Herakhty – A manifestation of the Sun God, an assimilation of Ra and Horus. He represents the morning sun.
This is the form he took when battling the God Seth for the throne of Egypt. During the battle, Ra-Herakhty took the magical form of the winged-disk that was given to him by Thoth. As this solar disk with wings the color of gold, he resembled the sun.
He led Ra’s troops into battle, though in the end he had to fight Set one-on-one.
And then when he emerged victoriously, he became…
Horus the Elder – In this case, Horus is not the son of Isis and Osiris as popularly known – but he is their brother. He is the fifth child of Geb and Nut (God of Air and Goddess of the Sky).
This title came about after defeating his brother and life-long enemy Seth; Seth being the God of evil, darkness and chaos.
Horus the Younger – Now back again, he is the son of Isis and Osiris. After he avenged the murder of his father Osiris, he replaced him on Earth. He therefore got title of “hero” for this act.
As Horus the Child, a younger version of Horus the Younger, he was called Harpocrates by the Greeks. He is also sometimes also called the savior. As the child, he was depicted with his finger in his mouth and the side-lock of hair that ancient Egyptian children would wear.
You can read about his birth, temporary death and then resurrection while he was still a child here in the Legend of the Wandering of Isis.
Horus’s Functions and Worship
Horus is depicted as the typical protagonist in the good versus evil battles…
As ruler and rightful heir of Egypt, Horus was reincarnated on Earth as Pharaoh, until the Pharaoh’s death. He is thus called Protector of Kings. And through these reincarnations, he is constantly renewing the kingdom of Egypt.
And just like Horus the Child is sometimes depicted nursing from, or on the lap of, his mother Isis, pharaohs were sometimes depicted also nursing from her.
He is also thought of as protector of the dead. Like Ra, he steered the solar boat, taking the passengers safely from shore to shore.
He also took part of The Opening of the Mouth ceremony.
He sometimes would take the deceased by hand, and present him/her to Osiris for acceptance into eternal afterlife.
Other than on tomb walls and papyri, Horus had a cult and the Temple of Edfu (one of my favorites!) dedicated to him.
His eye is also used in ancient Egyptian math for fractions, as well as worn for protection.
The magical form of the winged-disk that he took as Ra-Herakhty during his battle with Set was declared a sacred symbol by Ra. He decreed that it should be depicted over doors of temples and shrines as a form of protection to those who entered.
Other than on tomb walls and papyri, the Egyptian God Horus had a cult and the Temple of Edfu (one of my favorites!) dedicated to him.
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