Information about the Egyptian Goddess Tefnut
The Egyptian Goddess, Tefnut, was seen as the Goddess of Rain. Tefnut was one of the Ennead, the collective name given to the nine original deities (Gods and Goddesses) of the cosmogony of Heliopolis (the birthplace of the Gods) in the creation myths and legends. With her twin brother Shu, the God of Air, and their offspring (the Earth God, Geb and the Sky Goddess, Nut) the four made up the quartet of major elements: earth, air, sky and water. The Egyptians believed that without her water, Egypt could dry and burn in the sun.
Description & Depiction of the Egyptian Goddess Tefnut - Part Human & Part Animal
The Egyptian Gods or Goddesses, such as Tefnut, were often depicted as being part human and part animal. In the description of the Egyptian Goddess Tefnut she was most frequently depicted with the body of a human and with with the head of an animal - a Lioness or Lion. 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 Lioness or Lion, which were revered and worshipped as reincarnated Gods during their lifetimes.
Temple of Tefnut
The Temples dedicated to Tefnut, the Goddess of Rain, were believed to be the dwelling place of this famous Egyptian God. Only the Pharaoh and the Priests of Tefnut 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 Tefnut to pay homage and offer gifts to the God / Goddess. The Priests of Tefnut would collect the gifts and say prayers on behalf of the person in the confines of the temple. The priests of Tefnut, the Goddess of Rain, would conduct ceremonies, sacrifices and chant magical incantations, sometimes referred to as spells. The temple of Tefnut 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 Tefnut, the Goddess of Rain.
The Statue of Tefnut
The large statue of the Goddess Tefnut, the God of Rain was situated in the inner sanctum of the Egyptian temple. The statue of Tefnut would have been depicted with the body of a man / woman and the head of Lioness or Lion. This sacred statue, in the dwelling place of the God, was the embodiment of Tefnut. Food and drink would be offered to the God. The High Priest of Tefnut, 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 Tefnut 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 Tefnut, with its head of the Lioness or Lion, was only seen by ordinary Egyptians at important festivals when the effigy was paraded in magnificent processions.
The Egyptian Goddess Tefnut
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