Understanding the gods.
When people first look at the Kemetic faith they can find the pantheon of gods confusing even more so for those who have come from one of the religions that only have one god.
The first thing in understanding the gods of Kemetic faith is to understand syncretism. This is a practice of linking, or combining different deities into one single entity. The most common way that this has happened over the centuries is the linking of names such as Atum Khepri and Amun Ra. This practice has over the passage of time even brought foreign gods into our faith.
Sadly this is one of the most complicated aspects of our religion and also may be one of the most confusing aspects of our religion, yet this is also one of the most important aspects that one must grasp in order to fully understand our religion.
Many having to pass and to some extent even today believed that it was a simple matter of combining to or more conflicting or competing but when one looks at our religion in more detail we can see that this cannot be true.
There is no clear reason why two deities cannot be worshipped side by side. The very fact that both in the past and today our gods our worship in multiple chapels within one larger temple complex.
I myself think that perhaps the best way to describe this was laid down by Hans Bonnet when he said
The formula Amun-Re does not signify that Amun is subsumed in Re or Re in Amun. Nor does it establish that they are identical; Amun does not equal Re. It observes that Re is in Amun in such a way that he is not lost in Amun, but remains himself just as much as Amun does, so that both gods can again be manifest separately or in other combination.
If we more closely examine the relationships between the gods we can also understand better how their syncretism works. If we take the god Ra who is one of our most important gods and who among his many roles is seen as one of the gods of creation. Then we also look at Atum who also is one of the creator gods we see Atum as an aspect of Ra and it is this aspect of Ra that allows Atum to also hold the role of a creator god.
Specifically syncretism means then we recognise Ra in all of these very different God as soon as we encounter them as a creator god. Likewise we also recognise the sky god Horus in a the gods who take the form of the hawk .
However important it is for us to completely understand syncretism we have to look at other ways in which our religion formulates links between two or more deities these include
Kinship with deities have found together in a family is father son spouse brother
Statements letter gods and is the image manifestation of ba of another. An example of this Amun is said to have made his first manifestation as Ra which is very different than his syncretisc form of Amun Ra.
Long a the occasional and complicated theological statements about the union of two gods. Most of these relate to some form of union between Ra and Osiris. For example it is said that the bas of Osiris and Ra up of the to each other in Mendes and their become the united ba which according to the stela of rameses iv speaks with one mouth. The coffin texts also has a common formula that also Osiris has appeared as Ra. Inner belief in the tomb of Nofretri is depicted a ram headed mummy between Isis & Nephthys. The scene is captioned this is Ra when he has come to rest in Osiris and this is Osiris when he has come to rest in Ra. Deliberately leaving open which god has come to rest in the other we also find above the entrances to royal Tombs were Isis & Nephthys proclaiming that both Ra and their brother Osris occupy the same every body. In the book of the dead the two gods appear to be so united that many passages their names seem to be interchangeable and the corpse of the sun god is at the same time the corpse of Osiris.
As you can see the relationships and many different manifestations of the gods are very complicated and to truly understand many of the meanings and teachings of our faith we first have to begin to understand these manifestations. Once we have done this then we can truly start to understand our faith and the teachings of our gods.
The pharaoh and spiritual leader of the Kemetic federation and faith