Gods & Temples
Discover how Egyptian religion was organised in ancient times.
Wooden Egyptian statue
Egyptian religion revolved around the sun-god Ra, the source of life. At creation his original form, Atum - ‘all matter’, divided into different sections of the universe. Gods and godesses embody either broad elements of this world, for example, Nut, the sky godess, or relations within it such as the godesses Isis the healer, Sekhmet for fury, Hathor for love.
Each temple housed an image - an earthly body for the spirit of the deity. Only the king and high priest could enter the sanctuary.
Most Egyptians encountered the cult image only at festivals when it was borne outside the temple in a model barge.
Prayers in words and as votive offerings were made at temple margins. These were often crudely fashioned, contrasting with the formal art of the temple walls and sculpture.