Mighty pyramids in the deserts, the Nile!
What’s the first thought came to your mind? It could only be Egypt.
Pharaohs and their legacy live on in our imagination. But, behind this popular image, there is a new tangent to discover about Egypt!
The sacred animals of Egypt. This legacy of sacred animals might not be an interesting topic for you to invest in but let me help you with that!
If you do a thorough analysis into ancient Egyptian culture, you may or may not come across an artwork, symbol, or even a monument of cat-like creatures; indeed, the Sphinx, a gigantic cat-like beast with the face of a human, was among their most well-known symbols; but what intrigues us here is: Why were Cats or any sacred animals are so Important in Egypt in ancient times?
Alternatively, why did the ancient Egyptians revere these sacred animals so much? These interesting questions do bind you to today’s topic!
Some of you may argue that the adorable pets we have in our homes today are truly worth it!
We don’t dispute, and neither did the pharaohs in ancient Egypt, but the four-patted lovely tiny animal was legitimately worshipped for both utilitarian and traditional reasons!
Let’s deep dive into it!
10 Most Sacred Animals
One of the most celebrated eras of human achievement was a world built on sacred animals.
These animals were considered sacred for some mind-blowing facts that ancient Egyptians used to believe!
The Egyptian reeling could be viewed upon the nation of most sacred animals lovers.
It’s such a love that went far beyond merely keeping pets.
Take a wild guess of the thought process of the ancient Egyptians that went through a bit more ahead with their love of sacred animals!
They thought these sacred animals could be used to channel the powers of the ancient Greek gods!
Of both the good and evil gods!
In this article, we’ll be looking at some of prehistoric Egypt’s most sacred animals, as well as the facts behind them.
Talking about cats, I think they should be declared as the cutest animal in history all over the world!
I mean, C’mon, who doesn’t love them. It should be illegal not to have at least 1 cat as a pet…
You guys can understand my love for cats, now, let’s dig deep into why cats were considered one of the most sacred animals in Egypt.
Cats were always respected in Egyptian Civilization, and if you look closely most Egyptians do have a pet, and that is a CAT!
Cats were said to be descended from Bast, the deity of the moon and prosperity. Cats were frequently represented in artworks, on their homeowners’ laps.
Cats additionally assisted humans in the protection of stored foods from various insects like rats. In Egyptian Civilization, being in a sacred country that loves sacred animals, the punishment for murdering a cat is beyond imagination.
Cats are shown in tomb scenarios dating back to the Old Dynasty, and it is in this setting that we see their mummification for the first time.
Some burial images depict kittens sitting beneath their masters’ chairs, implying that they were once regarded as beloved pets.
Desiccated cats are occasionally discovered buried with or near their masters.
Cats were probably appreciated as a kind of control of pests, as they were useful to have near food storage areas, such as dwellings, farm buildings, and crops, keeping rats and mice away.
Thousands of sacred animals like cat mummies from the Late Period were unearthed at the ‘Graveyard of Cats’ in northern Egypt.
All of these were connected to a Bastet shrine. Mummified sacred animals were left as sacrifices to the god’s religion by Egyptians.
These were the animals that were sacrificed to satisfy the deity. The majority of animals were also raised particularly to make these sacrifices. Oops! That turned out to be a little spooky…
Talking about Egypt, the country known for pyramids and not to mention the jackal as a sacred animal will be a dishonor.
I am pretty much sure about you seeing the portrait of jackal in any kind of Egypt-related things!
Be it in movies about pyramids or the portraits alongside mummies, we are very well familiar with this sacred animal of ancient Egypt.
In the desert areas near remote villages, jackals were frequently spotted collecting whatever foods they could get from their man inhabitants.
Because they were frequently discovered in graves, jackals began to be connected with the deceased, as symbolized by the god Anubis.
This deity was revered as a protector of graves as well as a god who oversaw the preservation of the dead.
This carved wooden jackal was discovered in Tutankhamun’s tomb implying its importance and significance to ancient Egyptians.
While talking about sacred animals and leaving these cute little puppies behind will symbolize my rudeness!
While we find them cute and ready to cuddle with them all night long, the ancient Egyptians considered them as sacred animals for a more serious and eerie reason.
We by this time already guessed that there are a plethora of dog goddesses in Egyptian culture.
Okay, agreed that this sounds hilarious but that’s true!
Some were symbolized by the fox or dog, whereas others, such as Anubis, were much more universal and possessed characteristics of both a dog and a jackal.
Dog goddesses are commonly affiliated with the worship of Osiris and depict death and the afterlife or in people’s language The God of the Underworld.
Thoth, the Egyptian Goddess of wisdom and knowledge, was connected in some way with the ibis’ bird by the Egyptians.
Thoth has a man’s physique and the skull of an ibis. He may well have been a patron of Egypt’s knowledgeable authors who oversaw the country’s management.
This prehistoric character was in authority of all kinds of accounting, archives, and writing contracts, as well as libraries and scriptoria associated with temples.
Capturing the ‘weighing of the soul’ ceremony was one of his most essential responsibilities.
Wooh! That now makes sense why the Egyptians were considering IBIS as their sacred animal.
Well, if it is about keeping the track of my expenses and docs, I would love to have this sacred animal by my side. You tell me in the comments below if you feel me!
I don’t think that any other animal besides this can be so scariest and fearful for people like you and me.
Like, it’s not a cute pet like a cat or puppies!
For heaven’s sake, it is a crocodile and this creature being a sacred animal creates a little bit of suspicion in my mind… moving on with this note!
Ancient Egyptians held crocodiles in great regard as sacred animals.
The Nile crocodiles were enormous and vicious creatures who killed a lot of people in ancient Egypt.
Well, isn’t it expected!
As a result of these attacks, the inhabitants elevated the alligator to a divine position in the belief that worshiping the crocodile God would protect them from crocodile and its viciousness.
Sobek, an Egyptian god linked with the Nile crocodile, was often presented as either an alligator or a human with a crocodile head. How creepy was that!
Whether in the 1999 movie called “Mummy” or in any other Egyptian horror flick, one thing is quite sure to spot this tiny creature in any jump scares!
I bet on that… The Scarab Beetle was undoubtedly the most sacred animal of all the creatures venerated by Ancient Egypt.
It was renamed Kheper (after the god Khepri) and its sign was employed in a multitude of ways.
Nearly every day, Khepri was also used to move the sun across the sky, much like a Scarab beetle spreads a mound of dung over the soil.
The sun ‘faded away’ at evening, according to the Ancient Egyptians, only to reappear in the dawn.
After death, the insect became a symbol of resurrection.
The heart would’ve been extracted during the mummification process and replaced with a stone engraved in the shape of this sacred animal.
They also manufactured beetle pendants, which were considered holy and spiritual symbols that were thought to protect a person from harm.
The hippopotamus was Egypt’s biggest mammal and considered a sacred animal.
Despite that, it became almost extinct at that period. The Nile River in Egypt was home to these sacred animals.
Their association with the Egyptians, on the other hand, was tumultuous; as they have something similar about themselves; both were equally worshipped and feared.
They often posed a threat to sailboats moving along the river because they were so erratic with their behavior towards them.
The most well-known of the hippopotamus-goddesses name is Taweret which implies ‘the huge one,’ the goddesses’ name exemplifies this attitude of defensiveness over progeny just like a hippo.
Taweret was also known as the ‘protector of mothers and children,’ expectant mothers’ women and young infants, and was firmly linked to pregnancy and reproduction.
Hippos are now considered the world’s most dangerous terrestrial mammal, so it’s obvious to see why the Egyptians felt intimidated by them and felt compelled to appease them in any way they could.
While talking about sacred animals and not to mention another topmost fearful and sacred animal in the world is a sin!
Who doesn’t be fearful of snakes?
But if we take history and do research about snakes, not just ancient Egyptians but also various religions like Hinduism regard snakes as one of the most sacred animals according to their beliefs.
They are not just considered holy but they are worshiped all over the world.
The Egyptians were also both terrified and worshipped the snake.
The poisonous snake was utilized as a sign of supremacy, with images of it adorning the brows of numerous emperors.
The Uraeus was the name given to the snake, which was thought to be the king’s guardian.
The cobra was linked with several gods, including Wadjet, Renenutet, Nehebkau, and Meretseger, in addition to the solar deity Ra.
Serpents may also be malevolent and dangerous, like in Apep’s instance. Even if it’s hard to believe there are books available to repel evil serpents!
They were also addressed in the Book of the Dead, wherein Charm 37 was prepared to combat resist a malevolent serpent in the afterlife.
“Please return! Get out of here! You serpent, stay away from me! Go, die in the Lake of the Underworld, where your lord ordered your slaughter to be performed out.” These are intense!