Weekly Challenge (Catch Up) - Moon Deities of Ancient Egypt

@Susurrus another entry for the Egyptian master post :slight_smile:

CHALLENGE ENTRY 3 - Moon Deities

This is a LONG post (sorry) so I just put it in a topic of its own.

Moon Deities in Ancient Egypt

Reverence of the Moon

The moon has been revered in different cultures for thousands of years. The Greeks had Artemis, Selene and Phoebe, the Romans had Diana and Luna, the Norse had Mani and even today, modern Wicca has the Triple Goddess. There are many more deities linked to the Moon from cultures all around the world. Today, we associate the Moon with feminine energy and its related qualities including nurture, empathy, intuition, beauty and emotions. The Moon itself is said to influence the female menstrual cycle, thus further reinforcing the link between it and the divine feminine. So what about Ancient Egypt? Did they have lunar deities? Yes, they did. However, the difference was that they were male, not female and thus, went against the grain of the norm. Although it should be noted that other civilisations had Lunar Gods rather than Goddesses; the Babylonians and Mesopotamians are examples. The two main Egyptian lunar deities were Khonsu and Thoth.

Thoth (Thot, Tehuti. Djehuti)

Thoth is depicted with the body of a human and head of an ibis or simply as an ibis. He often holds a scroll and reed pen in his hands and wears the traditional Egyptian kilt. He is depicted wearing wither a headdress or showing the lunar disc sitting on a crescent Moon. The Ancient Egyptians revered the land and creatures that inhabited it and would often link the local wildlife to their deities. This did NOT mean that they believed that their deities were animals. They were so great that the reality of their existence could not be described – the use of animals was their way of showing their deities in a way that would ensure each was instantly recognised. But why an ibis for Thoth? An ibis would often prod deep into the mud in search of food; this was linked to the search for hidden and buried knowledge. More simply, the long beak resembled the reed pen used by the scribes, thus highlighting Thoth’s link to writing and language. The shape of the beak, resembling a crescent moon, also highlighted Thoth’s lunar connections. Even the mostly white body, with black at the end, resembled the Gibbous Moon when the ibis sat in the marches or took flight.

However, Thoth is also shown at times as a baboon and (very rarely) as a man with a baboon’s head. This association came from the fact that baboons are naturally intelligent and curious creatures, fitting for the God of knowledge and wisdom. The baboon was also seen to regularly sit upright and observe the surroundings, reminiscent of Thoth is in his role observer and recorder of world events. Baboons are also very vocal at night, particularly as the Moon shone brighter. Even today, scientists have noted an increase in baboon’s vocalisation as the moon exerted greater illumination.

The name Thoth means He Like the Ibis. Thoth has a huge number of epithets (too many to write down here) that included Lord of Words, Master of Papyrus, Thoth the Mysterious, Thoth the Wise, He Without a Mother, Lord of Divine Words, Scribe of Ma’at, Reckoner of Time, Opener of Paths and The Great Magician.

Thoth was worshipped as God of many things. These included knowledge, wisdom, writing, language, mathematics and science. Therefore, many Egyptians would seek his guidance on matters linked to learning and solving problems. He is credited with inventing hieroglyphics and therefore, these were viewed as a means with communicating with the Gods The skill of writing was limited to priests and scribes and therefore, it was seen almost as a divine skill. Egyptians often sought Thoth’s guidance and protection to ensure that their life actions were just and balanced. He formed part of the weighing of the heart ceremony in the afterlife and therefore, Egyptians sought his guidance to ensure that what they had done was in line with Ma’at (the principles of justice). His power and magic were also sought by the Egyptians for healing and protection from malignant forces.

What about the Moon? After all, Thoth is a Lunar deity. The Moon played a significant role in how the Egyptians recorded time. Their calendar was based on the Lunar cycle and the Egyptians used the phases of the Moon as signposts to religious festivals and for timing agricultural activities. The Egyptians also used the Moon for navigation on the Nile as the regular pattern and positions proved useful checkpoints. Thoth was also God of time and measurement so it is natural that he would be associated with the Moon as it was an essential means of timekeeping. The eye of Horus, which was plucked from his head by Set is said to be the Moon. Thoth repaired the eye and we see this repair in progress as the Moon moves from the new phase to the full phase.

Interestingly, the eye of Horus is made up of the hieroglyphs representing different fractions that were used by the Egyptians. If the fractions are added up, they equal 63/64. The missing 1/64 can only be given by Thoth to make it whole again, bearing in mind he is the Master of Mathematics.


Both royalty and ordinary person sought guidance from Thoth through oracles. This could be a person or statue. If it was a person, an individual would approach with a request. They would make offerings to Thoth through the oracle, who would go into a trance like state and relay messages from the Gods. If a statue of Thoth was used, the same offerings were made but the person would then look for signs Sometimes, priests would be present to interpret these signs from Thoth. Many people would also write letters to Thoth, leaving them with offerings in hope of guidance. Ibises were often mummified too as they became revered animals in Egyptian society. It was punishable by death to kill an ibis.

We can still worship Thoth today if we wish. Reflect on why you are drawn to him and what aspects of his mythology resonate. Consider your intentions for working with Thoth as he deserves sincerity and respect. Thoth can assist us with learning, understanding complex issues and study. He can also offer assistance when improving communication skills, when trying to improve how we express ourselves and for creative inspiration. Thoth can help us to navigate problems and make informed choices. He can work with us during magickal rituals and when using divination. He may even be incorporated into New and Full Moon rituals.

Offerings of Frankincense and Myrrh, bread, water and wine are suitable for Thoth. On an altar, a statue of the God, images or statues of ibises or baboons, silver candles, feathers, scrolls, papyrus sheets, ink, ink wells, quills, books, Moon images, scribe figurines and amethysts would be representative of Thoth.

Khonsu (Chonsu, Khensu, Khons)

If you are a Marvel fan (I will admit that I am not) and have read or watched Moon Knight, you will be aware that the title character acts as an avatar for a God called Khonshu. This whole idea is based on the Ancient Egyptian God Khonsu (note the subtle spelling difference). He was the son of the creator God Amun and his wife, Mut. Khonsu is often portrayed as a mummy dressed in white, in a similar way to Osiris. He wears the lunar crown on his head and carries a crook and flail. He is also shown with a sidelock oh hair, a symbol of childhood. Alternatively, he is also shown as a man with the head of a falcon, in the same manner as Horus. The only difference is that Khonsu wears the Lunar Crown while Horus wears the Double Crown of Egypt.

The name Khonsu means traveller, navigator or wanderer. His epithets included Pathfinder, Embracer, The Wanderer, The Contriver, He Who Was a Child, The Provider, The Raging One, Reckoner of a Lifetime, The Healer, The Giver of Oracles, He Who Traverses the Sky, He of New Moon and The Second Ra.

Khonsu was worshipped primarily as a God of the Moon and of Timekeeping. His name, meaning wanderer or traveller, was linked to the regular movement of the Moon across the sky. He was worshipped by those who travelled at night as he was said to be their protector. His light was said to illuminate their path and he fought off dangerous animals, that would otherwise harm the travellers. He depicts feminine qualities of empathy, care and nurture through his role of healing God. In his falcon headed form, he carried the ankh, the symbol of life, highlights his role in curing illness and restoring vitality. He recorded the lunar phases and kept records of time and events. In childlike form, Khonsu represented growth, potential and new beginnings, a bit like the cycle of the Moon. Egyptians worshipped him because his control over the Moon determined different aspects of their lives, mainly agriculture. His guidance was also sought for finding auspicious times for different events.

Khonsu did have a dark side, like the Moon. He had destructive powers and was sometimes thought of as being able to cause floods, perhaps from his control of the tides. He was said to cause other natural disasters too as a response to the wrongdoing of others. He punished those who had done wrong, ensuring that they faced the consequences of their actions.

It is possible to seek Khonsu’s guidance today. However, like I said with Thoth, only do this if you are willing to show commitment and respect. Khonsu can be called upon for assistance with healing, both physical and internally. His guidance can be sought for the timing of an upcoming event or in assistance with using the phases of the Moon. He can assist with any Lunar practices including manifesting, releasing and forgiveness. Khonsu can also assist with new beginnings and letting go of old habits as well as finding harmony through solving conflicts and establishing harmony within ourselves and with others.

Offerings of milk, water, wine, beer or bread would be suitable for Khonsu. On an altar, a statue of the God, images or statues of falcons, silver candles, Moon images, sculptures of the moon, watches, clocks or a crook and flail would be representative of Khonsu.

Is there a Link Between Thoth and Khonsu?

The obvious answer here would be yes because they are both associated with the Moon and to time. Where did this shared association come from? I am going to summarise a myth called The Game of the Moon which may shed light on the answer to this question:

Khonsu, the God of the Moon was jealous. He desired to find and understand the knowledge that was hidden where his light did not shine. Only one person could access this knowledge…Thoth. He challenged Thoth to a game of Senet (an Ancient Egyptian board game that’s great fun to play!). Thoth agreed and said that if he lost, he would reveal hidden knowledge. In return, Khonsu would offer some of his light if he lost. Time passed and each player had one piece left on the board. Khonsu cast sticks. He couldn’t move on the board. Thoth cast sticks and removed his final piece from the board, winning the game. Thoth took a portion of the moon light and placed it in his crown, thus becoming a Lunar deity. Thoth used this light to add 5 more days to the 360 day year, creating a 365 day year.


So it would appear that Khonsu was the original Lunar deity but had to enter a power share with Thoth after losing a wager. Perhaps we could think of Khonsu as the feminine aspect of the Moon that we often think of today – healing, nurture, care, while Thoth is more masculine and focused on the academic side of things – timings, calendars and such. Either way, they both share differences as well as their unique characteristics, demonstrating why the Ancient Egyptians placed great importance on them both.

I hope this was both informative and enjoyable

Blessed be


Jackson, L (2020) Thoth: A History of the Ancient God of Wisdom

Nephtys, Lady (2016) The Egyptian Gods and Goddesses for Beginners

Images from:

Moon over the Nile: (Moonrise on the Nile (WikiMedia))

Ibis: (Black Headed Ibis (Wikipedia image))

Thoth Papyrus: (Thoth Papyrus: Exemplore)

Fraction Eye: (Eye of Horus - Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

Khonsu: (Reddit - Dive into anything)

Senet Game: (thoth | VoVatia)


I love that you dedicated a whole post to Egyptian moon deities! :black_heart:

I need to prepare for a meeting, but I will return later to read more thoroughly.

Also, these are such a familiar sight! We have a similar-looking one here and they are all over the city. (And we call them bin chickens.)


While it is closely related to the African sacred ibis, the Australian white ibis is a native Australian bird – contrary to urban myth, it is not a feral species introduced to Australia by people, and it does not come from Egypt.

The ibis has become a popular symbol of Australian identity, and has been depicted on television, in art, and in online memes. In March 2021, the Macquarie Dictionary blog chose “bin chicken” as an Australian word of the week, and wrote that it was potentially “competing with the kangaroo for the position of most iconic Australian animal”.

[Graffiti art depicting an Australian white ibis in inner western Sydney - Australian white ibis - Wikipedia]


Lol bin chicken. Do they scavange in bins? Are they seen as pests?


Yes, and yes. But they’re a protected animal, meaning it’s illegal to harm them, so they’re almost “sacred.” :black_heart:


Its interesting how different societies view different animals. Ibis is protected in Australia but seen as a pest. In ancient Egypt it was totally sacred to the point where priests of Thoth would only wash themselves with water from pools from where an ibis had drank. I love the whole idea of sacred links with animals and trying to decipher the link between its characteristics and that of the associated deity.


On the one hand, it’s a lovely native animal. It’s a wetland species, and Sydney is generally built upon many marshes and swamplands. (There are many sources of this, from websites such as, The History of Sydney: The Formation of Sydney's Landscape, to videos, such as, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gwuKcZkuQ2I) This area was their home.

On the other hand… Now, it has to scavenge. And there’s a stigma by people against any creature that is willing to eat out of the bin. Even other humans who are desperate enough to have to do so. (We have homeless problems, too, so it’s not rare to see this happen.)

So, while human society has forced it into this position, some do not have the empathy to understand that they aren’t choosing this life – they’re just doing their best to survive in a human environment.

I love this. It comes off as very respectful to nature. But it also makes a lot of sense: the animals know what water is clean, and they are, in a sense, showing us the way.


Ooo :partying_face: @Cosmic_Curiosity thank you for this! I’m happy that you were able to write it up AND use it for a challenge entry :hugs: I did add it to the Egyptian Deities Master Post & Bonus! I got to add another section for Thoth! :smiling_face:

I enjoyed reading the post, as I was reading about the Lunar associations, it sort of clicked :bulb: that Thoth was a Lunar Deity :full_moon: which was against the grain so to speak when it came to other cultures & their lunar deities. I had read previously about him being associated with Mathematics & then finding out about the ibis & being associated with scribes was really interesting! Especially why the ibis was used for his depictions. Also, it’s a lovely bird too :face_with_hand_over_mouth:

I liked that you specified how Egyptians didn’t necessarily view their deities as animals but that they used animals in their depictions, representations, & imagery more to show what the particular deities have for attributes that they connected animals to.


No problem at all. I actually really enjoy doing a bit of research like this. I’m just thinking about my natal chart and how my Sun conjuncts Mercury so learning is very much part of who I am. It is just done in a methodical and structured way (and at my pace). That my Taurus Sun coming in here. My Jupiter forms a trine with my Sun and Mercury so again, the quest for wisdom and higher understanding is strong. Add to this that the fact that Jupiter is in Capricorn and we have even more emphasis on structure and getting things right. That is me to a tee.

Just to point out that the master post now has two Thoth sections in case this was duplicated by accident. Khonsu could be added as a new deity. I will consider which deities I will focus on next. I am trying to do it as a theme e.g. solar deities, sky deities, those linked to the after life. I just don’t want to flood the forum with too many long posts.

blessed be



I love :heart: doing this type of research too & had also realized that I need to revisit the Master Post regarding Thoth :laughing: & should probably check Sekhmet too. I literally just learned that Thoth is associated with Mercury :astrology_mercury: in astrology as well as the Roman deity by the same name! :hugs:

Too much braining with not enough coffee :coffee: this morning… I will revisit the Master Post now & adjust it. I went back to it & went… wait a second… that’s not right :rofl:


@Susurrus Yes the Romans associated Thoth with Mercury and the Greeks associated him with Hermes. Infact, the Greeks combined the two individual deities to form Hermes Trismegistus. This means thrice greatest hermes. This was linked to the fact that Thoth was often referred to as thrice great in hieroglyphs. He was a mythological figure that was said to have produced the Hermetica, a collection of texts on astrology, alchemy and spiritual wisdom.

It is amazing how how different pantheons had different figures but for similar beliefs and how these appear to merge together seemlessly as time went on.


Yes I felt it was important to mention this. I read that when the Greeks and Romans entered Egypt and saw these deities wirh animal heads etc, the viewed it with both curiosity and contempt, seeing them as strange, ignorant and primative. Greek scholars were dismissive of these deities because of how they were depicted. In fact, the opposite is true. They Egyptians were highly civilised and in touch with their environment and all that lived in it. It was merely an aesthetic difference in depicting that which cannot trully be depicted. So much so that, over time, the Greeks and Romans came to both admire and respect Egyptian beleifs, evident in their adoption of deities into their own beliefs, including Thoth and Isis.


It’s funny how the Greeks & Romans adopted so many different things from a wide array of other cultures or belief systems. Not funny like haha but that they transformed things into their own after finding out what they could or how they understood them into their own… I’m sure others did the same from them also as travelers came across different things from all over so far back in history too :smiling_face:


And then everyone after them, too. :smile:

Saturnalia/Christmas might be the next one to come up.

hehe :smile:


There is so much symbolism and meaning behind the depictions they chose for the divine! I had always thought of the Egyptian deities as being “animal gods”, but I’m learning now that it’s not quite that straightforward. I really like the idea of relating their traits to beings and entities here in the mundane world- perhaps because it makes them more relatable? Easier to visualize and connect with? I’m sure there were many reasons. It’s fascinating to learn about :grinning: :two_hearts:

I will admit that I was lost a bit on the eye math part- but it sure sounds cool! :laughing: Imaging the healing eye as the moon phases fits a bit better in my mind space- it makes for an interesting visualization :waxing_crescent_moon: :waxing_gibbous_moon: :full_moon: :waning_gibbous_moon: :waning_crescent_moon:

I’m always intrigued by a deity of travelers and wanderers! Khonsu sounds fascinating- light and dark sides alike :black_heart: :white_heart:

110% yes! This was a wonderful read- thank you so much for sharing your research on these two deities of the Moon, Alan! I really enjoyed learning about Them, Their traits, and Their stories. Thank you! :eye_of_horus: :full_moon_with_face: :sparkles:


I think this is a very common misconception. We see the depictions and just assume that this must be how they saw their deities. Truth is they beleived that the deities were beyond an image and therefore saw the animal images as the best alternative. I love the associatjons with the animals aroind them it really shows how much they valued their surroundings.

The eye of Horus is fascinating. It could have a whole post to itself. Interestingly I was reading aboutnthe third eye and the pinneal gland and the eye of Horus came up unexpectedly. It appears that a cross section of the human brain reveals a likeness to the eye of horus, particularly in areas responsible for our senses. Ive labelled a diagram to show this. The eye of horus seems to sit in the coloured area… might be pure coincidence but fascinating all the same.

Blessed be


Diagram Source


Oh my! I’d never seen that before. The shape appearing in the brain is amazing! :exploding_head:

I recently had to go through many brain examinations, so this is a bit fresh in my mind. But isn’t the bit labelled as “vision” the thalamus, which handles smell? With hearing just behind that and touch just above. While sight is handled at the back of the mind, in the occipital lobe, not in the centre.

Edit: Sorry, I was off with some of those descriptions.



I’m not sure. I was just going with the source linked above.


Oh, right, maybe the source is talking about how we used to think it worked. That makes sense.


I knew there were masculine moon deities, but I didn’t know there were any in the Egyptian Pantheon. Thank you for sharing this detailed information! :heart: I always learn something new from you!

If I’m not mistaken, the Greek people were very good at this. They’re one of the cultures that (if I’m remembering correctly) were amazing at syncretizing deities from other cultures and belief systems. They saw the Gods of others as manifestations of their own, simply changing form to appeal to a different culture and population. I’m not sure if they did it because that’s how they viewed all divinity or if it was just a method of ensuring cohesion in a kingdom, but it’s still very interesting anyway!


Yep, you aren’t mistaken. The Romans, too. They were even more famous for taking on traits from cultures, including those they conquered. To them, it just made sense to do so.

Part of what you’re referring to is covered by “Hellenisation,” but yeah, there’s more to it than just this. Including that the concept of nation-states wasn’t so clear-cut back then. For example, there was no unified Greece as we see it today, but we call it Greece for simplicity’s sake, even though it does skew our vision of the past sometimes.