Nephthys was the wife of her brother Seth and the mother of Anubis by her brother Osiris. Incest was seen as an acceptable element in the lives of the Egyptian Gods and Goddesses, retaining the sacred bloodline. Seth murdered Osiris and Nephthys helped the widowed goddess Isis to collect the scattered limbs of Osiris and with his resurrection. She is therefore seen as the faithful sister and friend of Isis, and played a dual role with Isis as a maternal and protective goddess and protector of the Pharaoh. Nephthys is often shown shaking a sistrum, an Egyptian rattle, to frighten away Set.
Description & Depiction of the Egyptian Goddess Nephthys - Part Human & Part Animal
The Egyptian Gods or Goddesses, such as Nephthys, were often depicted as being part human and part animal. In the description of the Egyptian Goddess Nephthys he / she was most frequently depicted with the body of a human and with with the head of an animal - a Falcon or Vulture. In the Ancient Egyptian religion certain animals were seen as sacred as they believed that the Spirit of a God resided in these animals, such as the Falcon or Vulture, which were revered and worshipped as reincarnated Gods during their lifetimes.
The Egyptian the Goddess Nephthys - Creation and Relatives
The early Egyptian priests evolved a creation myth, or Cosmogony, to explain how some of the Gods and Goddesses came into being. The early Egyptian priests then evolved a Family tree, the relatives of the main Egyptian Gods, like Nephthys, to explain how some of the Gods and Goddesses were related.
Temple of Nephthys
The Temples dedicated to Nephthys, the Goddess of Divine Assistance, were believed to be the dwelling place of this famous Egyptian God. Only the Pharaoh and the Priests of Nephthys were allowed inside the temple and the priests would undergo ritual purification in a deep stone pool before they entered the Inner Sanctum of the Temple. This not only cleansed them but also gave them contact with the primeval moisture of life. Ordinary Egyptians were only allowed to come to the gates, or forecourt, of the temple of Nephthys to pay homage and offer gifts to the God / Goddess. The Priests of Nephthys would collect the gifts and say prayers on behalf of the person in the confines of the temple. The priests of Nephthys, the Goddess of Divine Assistance, would conduct ceremonies, sacrifices and chant magical incantations, sometimes referred to as spells. The temple of Nephthys would consist of heavy gates which accessed a massive hall with great stone columns, and then a series of many other rooms through which processions of priests would pass. These rooms, or chambers, were lit by candles and incense would be burnt to purify the air of the Temple. The chambers gradually decreased in size, the lighting in the temple was deliberately and significantly reduced to create an atmosphere of deepening mystery until the priests reached the chapel and the shrine which contained the Naos. The Naos was the stone tabernacle inside the shrine which housed the great Statue of Nephthys, the Goddess of Divine Assistance.
The Statue of Nephthys
The large statue of the Goddess Nephthys, the God of Divine Assistance was situated in the inner sanctum of the Egyptian temple. The statue of Nephthys would have been depicted with the body of a man / woman and the head of Falcon or Vulture. This sacred statue, in the dwelling place of the God, was the embodiment of Nephthys. Food and drink would be offered to the God. The High Priest of Nephthys, would conduct ceremonies and offer prayers and incantations but there was another important priest, called the Medjty, who was responsible for the toiletries. The statue of Nephthys would have been washed and oiled. The statue was then dressed in fine linen and eye make-up, powder and rouge was applied and sacred oil rubbed on the forehead of the statue. The statue of Nephthys, with its head of the Falcon or Vulture, was only seen by ordinary Egyptians at important festivals when the effigy was paraded in magnificent processions.
The Egyptian Goddess Nephthys
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