Выпуск 2, 2016

Elena G. Tolmacheva

Reconsideration of symbolic meaning and functions of benu-bird in the context of 'folk' and 'theological' models of Ancient Egyptian religion: the Osirian and ritual aspects

Animals had special importance among the gods and minor creatures of Egyptian mythology. The Benu-bird, a heron-like deity of the ancient Egyptians, was one of those minor creatures (it also exerted a huge influence on development of famous Phoenix who later on became one of the symbols of renewal, resurrection and eternal life for European civilization). Study of the functions and symbolic meaning of the Benubird shows that the heavenly heron was considered as a creature who magically connected two world: the one of the gods and the one of the people. Due to its identification with great gods such as Osiris, Ra and Atum, Benu was involved into the state pantheon and took an important part in theological speculations of the Egyptian priesthood. At the same time the archaic, zoomorphic nature of the bird led its inclusion in magical and ritual practices of the ancient Egyptians.

animal cult, birds cult, Benu-bird, Osiris, Phoenix, mortuary cult, 'folk' religion, Ancient Egyptian rituals and magic.

Original language — Russian.

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