Nephthys, goddess of Egypt

Ancient Egyptian Gods and Goddesses for kids - Nephthys

The Mythology & History of ancient Egypt surrounding Nephthys, the goddess of the dead and divine assistance

Nephthys, goddess of Egypt
Discover the legends and myths and religious beliefs surrounding Nephthys, the Egyptian goddess of the dead and divine assistance. She was known as "Mistress of the House", meaning "Lady of the Temple", and depicted with a crown in the form of the hieroglyph for house. Her crown were the hieroglyphs of her name. Nephthys was the daughter of Geb and the goddess Nut. She was the unfortunate wife and sister of the evil god Set, who murdered Osiris. Strongly associated with funerary rituals, she was the mother of Anubis the jackal-headed god of the dead, and helped to protect souls in the Underworld.

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Who was Nephthys?
Nephthys was the Egyptian god of divine assistance, and is closely associated with death and mourning the dead. She therefore featured in many death ceremonies and rituals. Egyptian Goddesses, like Nephthys, were always depicted as young, beautiful and healthy.

Facts about Nephthys
The following facts and profile provides a fast overview of Nephthys:

Nephthys Profile & Fact File

Egyptian Name: Nephthys

Role & Function: The function of Nephthys is described as being the goddess of the dead and divine assistance

Status: Nephthys was a member of the Ennead, the name given to the nine original, most important, Egyptian Gods and Goddesses of the cosmogony of Heliopolis (the birthplace of the Gods)

Symbols: The house, meaning temple, the kite or Egyptian hawk

Alternative Names: "Mistress of the House" meaning "Lady of the Temple"

Gender: Female

Name of Consort: Set

Name of Father: Geb

Name of Mother: Nut

Names of Children: Her son Anubis (with her brother Osiris)

Name in Hieroglyphics:

Nephthys the Egyptian Goddess of Divine Assistance
Nephthys, the Egyptian goddess of divine assistance was the sister of Isis and her companion in all her wanderings and her troubles. Nephthys helped Isis when their evil brother Set (who was also the husband of Nephthys) murdered Osiris and cut his body into pieces. Nephthys helped Isis to find and to rebuild the body of Osiris, assisted by her son Anubis. She was therefore known as the "Goddess of divine assistance" and this role extended to helping the deceased to overcome the powers of death in their perilous journey through the Underworld to the Afterlife. Nephthys was also known as the goddess of mourning.

Nephthys in Egyptian Mythology - The Solar Barge
Nephthys, the Egyptian goddess of divine assistance, featured in the stories, myths and legends in Egyptian Mythology. One of the myths related to the solar barge, or Sun Boat of Ra which was believed to carry the sun god Ra across the heavens. The Sun Boat (or Sun Barque) is the great ship, called the 'Barque of Ages', in which Ra (or Atum) and his companions sailed through the sky giving light to the world and through the perilous journey of the night, sailing through the underworld. The companion gods of Ra, including Nephthys, helped defend the sun god against the Serpent god Apep, representing the victory of right over wrong. Nephthys was believed to typify the twilight or very early night and is offering prayers, with her sister Isis, on behalf of Ra. The Sun Boat (or Sun Barque) is also the ship in which the gods traveled from the heavens to earth and when it was used to travel between the worlds, the Sun Boat (or Sun Barque) was called "The Boat of a Million Years."

The Sun Boat, or solar barge

Picture of the Sun Boat, surrounded by the giant figure of the goddess Nut "She who protects". Ra is depicted at the front of the sun boat, crowned by the sun disk and Nephthys is pictured in the company of gods

Depictions and Symbols of Nephthys in Egyptian Art
The pictures and depictions of Nephthys in ancient Egyptian art can be found in the tombs, temples, manuscripts and hieroglyphics, artefacts and relics of ancient Egypt. The people of ancient Egypt were able to recognise and distinguish their numerous gods and goddesses by their depictions in art understanding the meanings of colors and symbols which conveyed information about the deity. The following facts and information will enable you to decipher the art of ancient Egypt and understand the meanings behind the pictures of Nephthys.

Symbols of Nephthys

  • Crown, or headdress, is depicted with the picture, and Egyptian hieroglyph for a house
  • The house does not relate to the home, it relates to temples
  • One of her symbols was the sycamore tree which symbolized protection, divinity, eternity, and strength and is referred to in the Egyptian "Book of the Dead"
  • Nephthys is often depicted holding the Ankh, the key of life, that represented eternal life
  • She often holds the 'was' sceptre, a long staff, topped with a symbolic animal head, believed to embody magical powers, symbolizing divine power and an emblem of authority

Facts about Nephthys in Egyptian Mythology
Discover interesting information and research facts about Nephthys, the Egyptian god of divine assistance. The facts about Nephthys provides a list detailing fascinating additional info to increase your knowledge about Nephthys in Egyptian Mythology.

Mythology and Facts about Nephthys

Fact 1: She was important enough to merit her own independent sanctuaries

Fact 2: There was a large temple dedicated to Nephys at Sepermeru

Fact 3: A cult of Nephthys existed in the temple in the town of Herakleopolis, north of Sepermeru

Fact 4: She was honored in funerary ceremonies and rituals as a guide who gave guidance and assistance to the newly deceased

Fact 5: She was the personification of darkness and of all that belongs to it such as death and decay

Fact 6: She was connected with life as well as death, she comforted and helped mothers giving birth together with her sister, Isis

Fact 7: Nephthys was also revered as a a water goddess

Fact 8: She often was depicted as a bird of prey called a kite or the Egyptian hawk, or as a woman with falcon wings, usually outstretched as a symbol of protection.

Fact 9: The kite made a wailing cry, and thus associated with mourning and therefore Nephthys

Fact 10: During the process of mummification the liver, lungs, stomach and intestines were placed in special containers called canopic jars. The goddess had the important role as protector of Hapy, one of the Sons of Horus whose duty was to guard the lungs of the mummy

Fact 11: Sepermeru enjoyed prominence as a largely populated religious and military center in the far south during the period of the New Kingdom. There was also a larger temple dedicated to her consort Set at this complex

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