HELIOPOLITAN GODS

Classification: Gods (Extra-Dimensionals/Immortals)

Location/Base of Operations: Celestial Heliopolis

Known Members: Ammon Ra, Anubis (god of the afterlife), Bast (aka Panther God, god of pleasure, poetry & dance), Bes (god of luck & probability), Geb, Crocodile God/Sobek (god of rivers), Horus (god of the sun), Isis (goddess of fertility), Khonshu (god of the moon), Neith (Gaea), Nut, Osiris (god of the dead), Sekhmet (aka Lion God, god of war), Seth (god of evil), Toth (god of wisdom)

Affiliations: Other races of Gods

Aliases: Heliopolitan Gods, Heliopian Gods, Neter, Neteru;
The Ennead & Ogdoad (two branches within the pantheon)

First Appearance: (Mentioned) Captain America Comics#20 (November, 1942); (seen) Marvel Tales#96 (June, 1950)

Powers/Abilities/Traits: The Heliopolitans all possess certain superhuman physical attributes. They are true immortals who cease to age upon reaching adulthood, and they cannot die by conventional means. The Heliopolitans are immune to all terrestrial diseases and are resistant to conventional injury. If a Heliopolitan is wounded, his or her godly life force will enable him or her to recover at a superhuman rate. It would take an injury of such magnitude that it incinerates a Heliopolitan or disperses a major portion of his or her bodily molecules to cause him or her to die. Even then, it may be possible for a god of greater or equal power, or several gods acting together, to revive the deceased god before the god's life essence is beyond resurrection. Heliopolitan flesh and bone are about two-and-a-half times denser than similar human tissue, contributing to the gods' superhuman strength and weight. An average male god can lift about 30 tons; an average goddess can lift about 25 tons. The gods' metabolism gives them superhuman endurance in all physical activities. Many Heliopolitans also possess additional superhuman powers. For instance, the god of luck Bes can bend probability to his advantage or to the disadvantage of others. Most Heliopolitans are also skilled therianthropes, able to shift from humanoid form into the animal form that is most sacred to them. Most prefer to manifest in a theriocephalous form with a humanoid body and an animal head.

History: (Thor & Hercules: Encyclopedia Mythologica) - The Heliopolitans (also known as the "Ennead," "Pesedjet," or "Egyptian gods") are a race of superhumanly powerful humanoid beings who have been worshipped by inhabitants of the Nile River Valley from as early as 10,000 BC until approximately the 5th century AD. Most of the Heliopolitans dwell in Celestial Heliopolis (known to the ancient Egyptians as "Aaru"), a small dimension adjacent to Earth; the nexus between Celestial Heliopolis and Earth is a golden bridge known as the "Path of the Gods," which connects to Earth near the Giza Necropolis in modern-day Giza, Egypt. The netherworld of Duat is associated with Celestial Heliopolis and connects to Earth at a nexus near modern-day Naama Bay, Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. Generally speaking, the Heliopolitans no longer have worshippers on Earth. Upon the spread of monotheism in Egypt, many Heliopolitans were abandoned by their worshippers. However, Bast (the Panther God) maintained his status as the patron deity of the landlocked East African nation of Wakanda. Sekhmet (the Lion God) and Sobek (the Crocodile God) also maintained influence as the patrons of less influential East African cults.

The Egyptian gods' origins are shrouded in legend. According to ancient myths, the primordial Earth Mother Gaea (known as "Neith" to the ancient Egyptians) and the Demiurge (known as "Nun" to the ancient Egyptians), the sentient life force of Earth's biosphere, sired Atum and Thoth, the Egyptian gods' progenitors. Millions of years ago, Gaea realized that dinosaurs had reached an evolutionary dead end and shifted her favor to mammals. Gaea's brother, the demonic Elder God Set (known as "Apep" to the ancient Egyptians), derived power from the dinosaurs and directed them to slaughter the mammals under her protection. Gaea confronted Set and summoned Atum for protection. Atum and Set fought savagely for untold millennia until Atum transformed into the monstrous Demogorge and drove him off. Atum eventually took the aspect of Ra, the primordial sun god worshipped in ancient Egypt, while his younger brother Thoth became the primordial moon god. As "Ammon Ra," Atum ruled the Ogdoad, the Egyptian gods' first incarnation, with Thoth serving as his arbitrator and grand vizier. While myth states that the Ogdoad spawned Ra and Thoth (the Ogdoad's senior appearance causing this misconception), it is suspected that the Ogdoad were in fact spawned by Ra. As Ra's first creations, the Ogdoad may have been imperfect and aged more rapidly than the virtually immortal Ra and Thoth. The Ogdoad ruled from the Earth city of Hermopolis (also known as "Khmun," near modern-day el-Ashmunein, Egypt), and became known to mortals as the "Hermopolitan gods."

The Ogdoad eventually perished under unrevealed circumstances, and Ra started anew, siring the first of the Ennead, the next generation of Egyptian gods, including Shu and Tefnut. The Ennead were created on Earth and ruled from the city of Heliopolis (also known as "Iunu," near modern day Ain Shams, Egypt) prior to the human pharaohs' rise. Although Ra eventually left the Ennead to live in Earth's sun, he was succeeded as the Ennead's ruler by his son Shu, the god of the air. Shu and Tefnut begat Geb (god of the earth) and Nut (goddess of the heavens), who eventually succeeded their parents as rulers and sired another generation of Ennead - the eldest among them was Osiris, the benevolent god of the dead. When Geb stepped down, Osiris was chosen to succeed him as head of the pantheon, much to the dismay of Osiris' jealous younger brother Seth, who sought to rule Heliopolis himself. During Osiris' reign, he placed mortal pharaohs in charge of Heliopolis so that the gods could become less involved in mortal affairs and relocate to their current home in the extradimensional realm of Celestial Heliopolis.

Seth eventually murdered Osiris in his attempt to take control of Celestial Heliopolis; but Osiris' wife, Isis, and sons, Horus and Anubis, combined their powers to raise Osiris from the dead. Upon his resurrection, Osiris dispatched Horus to exact vengeance upon Seth. Horus engaged Seth in a cataclysmic battle that lasted for centuries, ending when Seth finally gained the upper hand. Seth then used his powers to seal Osiris, Isis and Horus in a pyramid in Egypt, where they remained until modern times when they were freed by the Asgardian Sky Father Odin. Imbuing Odin with the "Atum-Force," the Ennead hoped to use him to defeat Seth. With the help from the Asgardian thunder god Thor, Seth was defeated, his right hand disintegrated by Odin via the Atum-Force. Thoth, who had assumed control of the Ennead during Osiris' absence, returned the throne to Osiris upon his return to Celestial Heliopolis.

Comments:

Most of the cults of worship were not at Heliopolis but at Memphis, Thebes, Elephantine and other nearby locations on the Nile.

In Egyptian myth, Osiris was never more than god of the dead. Ammon Ra, however, was considered the Egyptian counterpart to Zeus

Other creatuers from this realm included Devourer and most likely some of Seth's more supernatural followers.

The main image in this profile is by Kevin Sharpe.


images:
Thor & Hercules: Encyclopedia Mythologica, p26


Last updated: 10/27/03

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