Ancient Egyptian Unique Gods, Goddesses, Myths, and the God Relay System for Kids Illustration

Ancient Egyptian Gods, Goddesses, and Myths for Kids

In ancient Egypt, it was easy to spot an ancient Egyptian god in drawings, hieroglyphics, statues, paintings and other works of art. Ancient Egyptians gods did not look like people. Most had animal heads or green bodies or something that set them apart. They could also be recognized by what they carried. Some gods carried an ankh (symbol of life) and some gods carried the scepter of power.

God jobs:  Egyptian gods could not be lazy or hang around causing trouble as they did in other ancient civilizations. In ancient Egypt, everyone had a job to do. Gods were no exception. All the gods had jobs. There were over 2,000 gods in ancient Egypt because there was a lot of work to do.

The God Relay System: Most ancient civilizations around the Mediterranean built temples to honor their gods, and quite often each temple honored only one god. If you wanted to talk to a specific god, you went to a specific temple. This was not true in ancient Egypt. There were many Egyptian cities built along the Nile River. These cities built many temples. Each temple was used for a variety of purposes including store rooms, guest rooms for visiting dignitaries from other cultures, school rooms, places to meet and gossip, and more. Each Egyptian temple was also used to honor and communicate with their many Egyptian gods using a relay system. The statues inside a temple were called temple gods. Their job was to listen to requests. In ancient Egypt, if you wanted something, what you did was pray to the temple gods. The temple gods would pass on or relay your request to the right god, the god that could consider granting or not granting your request.

The reed whack: If ancient Egyptians did not get their request granted, the next time they visited a temple they might give the temple statue a little whack with a reed to let the gods know how disappointed they were. It was just a small whack, and only sometimes. The ancient Egyptians were very practical. They knew they not get everything they wanted, but they did want to speak their mind if it was something important. This was an example of free speech in ancient Egypt. There were laws. There were limits. But people could speak far more freely than they could in other ancient cultures.

The ancient Egyptians were not afraid of their gods, not most of them anyway.  In most ancient civilizations, if you whacked a statue of a god with a reed, you would be very afraid of angering the gods. Not so in ancient Egypt. The ancient Egyptians believed the gods were on their side, whether their wish was granted or not. Most people in ancient Egypt were afraid of one particular god - the god Ammut (also spelled Ammit.) Ammut was the god with the crocodile head. The ancient Egyptians believed if you did something really bad during your lifetime that the god Ammut might magically appear when you died and eat you. With her crocodile head, she had the teeth to do so. If you were eaten, you could not travel on to your happy afterlife, your life after death. That would be a terrible thing. The ancient Egyptians, most of them, tried very hard to do many good deeds during their lifetime to save themselves from the horrible fate of being eaten by the god Ammut when they died. Most Egyptians would agree that even Ammut was on their side because, after all, who wants a bunch of bad guys in your afterlife? So it was very good of Ammut to clean things up. The ancient Egyptians were very practical in their own way.

False Beards: Those few gods that had more human-like heads wore weird looking false beards. Even some with animal heads had false beards. That is why pharaohs wore false beards - because when a pharaoh died, he became a god. The ancient Egyptians allowed their pharaohs to go ahead and wear a false beard even before they died. It was a gift of respect. Unless you were a pharaoh or a god, no ancient Egyptian could wear a false beard, not in this lifetime nor in their afterlife.

What did the ancient Egyptians believe in? (BBC cartoon)

Ancient Egyptian Myths - Creation Stories, Isis, Osiris, and more

Can you name these Egyptian gods? (interactive game)

Ancient Egyptian Deities - interactive

Isis and Osiris (ancient myth retold by Lin Donn for kids)

Ancient Egyptian Tall Tales shared with us by Egyptologist Jacques Kinnaer

Ancient Egypt gods and goddesses, interactive worksheet

The weighing of the heart ceremony

Free PowerPoints Ancient Egyptian gods

See also: Stories about Ancient Egypt, some animated