Stellar gods before Horus Hieroglyph for 'star'



Appearance: The Egyptians had extended knowledge of the night sky and the stars above. The circumpolar stars (the set of stars that seemed to "orbit" the North Star through the course of the night and thus never dipped below the horizon) were called the "Imperishable Ones". Most of the brighter stars were named by the Egyptians and they named thirty-eight constellations. These constellations were used to divide the night sky into "decans" (from the Greek word for "Ten"). The decans were called "the thirty-six gods of heaven and each ruled for ten-days each year.

The Egyptian symbol for the stars was a symbol five-pointed line drawing, resembling the sea stars (aka "starfish") that inhabited the Red Sea. In older examples, the drawing has rounder ends and the center is marked by two concentric rings. Egyptian star charts and decan tables often used dots or circles, as well as the hieroglyph.

Meaning: The infinite and unchanging nature of the stars overhead influenced the development of the Egyptian calendar and their beliefs regarding the life after death. Every Egyptian temple was a complex model of the cosmos and thus many images of the stars, constellations and stellar deities grace temple ceilings. In instances where the night sky was charted on the ceiling, brighter stars were sometimes designated by circles - like the sun disks. In decorative uses, the sky hieroglyph and the body of the sky-goddess Nut was decorated with five-pointed stars.

It was believed that the stars did not just inhabit this world, but in the Duat (land of the afterlife) as well. The Egyptians believed that the ba might ascend to the sky to live as a star in heaven. Many tombs also featured deep blue ceilings dotted with bright yellow stars in the exact image of the hieroglyph in hopes to make the ba feel at home in its new dwelling place. The stars were called the "Followers of Osiris and represented the souls in the underworld. The five-pointed star within a circle was the Egyptian symbol of the Duat.

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