Having thus created for themselves a number of gods, their own feelings, and what they saw around them, would naturally lead them to create an equal number of goddesses. Of these Neith, the Heavens, was one.
She is often drawn with wings stretched out as if covering the whole earth. At other times she is formed into an arch, with her feet and fingers on the ground, while her body forms the blue vault overhead and is spangled with stars. At other times she is simply a woman, with the hieroglyphical character for her name as the ornament on top of her head.
Kneph, the Wind or Air, or Breath of our bodies, was supposed to be the god of Animal and Spiritual Life. He has the head and horns of a ram.
Pthah, the god of Fire, was more particularly the god of Memphis, as Amun-Ra of Thebes; and the kings in that city were said to the "Beloved by Pthah." His figure is bandages like a mummy and his head shaven like a priest.
Another great god was their narrow valley, the country in which they lived, clearly divided from the yellow desert by the black Nile-mud, y which it is covered and made fertile, and hence called Chemi, the Black Land, or when made into a person, Chem, or Ham. He was the father of their race, called in the Bible, one of the sons of Noah, and considered by themselves the god of increase, the Priapus of the Greeks.
Chem has a cap with two tall feathers like that of Amun-Ra, so large that it was necessary to give him a metal support to hold it on the head. His right arm is raises and holds a whip, his left arm is hid under his dress, which is the tight garment of the Egyptian women.
Next was Hapimou, the Nile, whose waters were the chief source of their food, whose overflow marked the limits between the cultivated land and the desert; to him they owed nothing but grateful thanks. He is a figure of both sexes, having the beard of a man and the breastes of a child-bearing woman. He carries in his arms fruits and flowers and sometimes waterfowls.
In the Western half of the Delta, the Sun is worshipped as Mando-Ra. Like Amun-Ra, he wears the two tall feathers and the Sun on his head, but he differs from him in having a hawk's face.
First among these gods of the Egyptians was Ra, the Sun, or Amun-Ra, the Great Sun, whose warmth ripened their harvests, but whose scorching rays made his power felt as much as an enemy as a friend.
Over the portico of the Theban temple there is usually a ball or sun, ornamented with outstretched wings, representing the all-seeing Providence thus watching over and sheltering the world. From this sun hang two asps wearing the crowns of Upper and Lower Egypt.
The illustration shows a priest wearing nothing but a loin cloth and a leopard skin.