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Ancient Egypt /
Religion
1. Introduction
2. Gods
3. Concepts
4. Cult
5. Cult centres
6. Necropolises
7. Structures

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Open map of Ancient EgyptAncient Egypt / Religion / Gods /
Ogdoad
Ancient Egyptian: khmun



The Hermopolitan ogdoad

In Ancient Egyptian religion, the concept of a cultic unity of 8 gods. There is only one ogdoad known today, the one revered at Hermopolis.
The 8 gods were central to the creation of the world, and arranged in 4 male-female pairs, each representing a basic aspect of the chaos prior to creation. Nu and Naunet represented water; Amon and Amaunet were hiddenness; Kuk og Kauket stood for darkness; while eternity was associated with Huh and Hauhet.
In many ways the pair formations may be understood as indicating male and female sides to every concept, the female forms seem not to form any distinct divine category from the male. Yet, one difference is notable. The male gods were frogs, the female were snakes.
Together these 8 gods, and their 4 basic aspects, brought forth the primeval mound, not by will but through imbalance between them. And from the primeval mound the creation of the universe would emerge. The first part of the creation was Re, the sun. After resting for a period of time, he would go on to create everything of the universe together with the other gods.
There are two creation myths from Hermopolis, both employing the same ogdoad. In the older, an egg was laid on the primeval mound by a celestial bird or a cosmic goose. From this egg, Re appeared.
In the other myth, a lotus came forth from the primeval mound, and from this Khepri or Re appeared. In the case of Khepri, he was understodd as an aspect of Re as the rising sun, but would eventually turn into Re.
With the conflicting divine aspects of the primeval chaos and their unwilling creation of the world, central motifs of the later gnosticism can be found.





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By Tore Kjeilen