Khonsu- Egyptian God- Ancient Egyptian Mythology- Whitepaperpost


Khonsu- Egyptian God- Ancient Egyptian Mythology

Inscription Egyptian God Khonsu in Temple of Khonsu Karnak
Karnak: Temple of Khonsu 

Egyptian God Khonsu is known as the Moon God in Ancient Egyptian Mythology. The word ‘Khonsu’ means ‘traveler’. This meaning may have been perceived from the every night journey of the moon across the sky. 

Moon God Khonsu has gained popularity from Hollywood movies like Night at the museum. He has also been captured in comics and adventure series like Marvel's Moon Knight and Kane chronicles.  

Khonsu, the Egyptian god of time, was a powerful deity in the Egyptian pantheon. He was believed to have played a vital role in the creation of all living creatures. He, like Thoth, kept track of the passage of time.

Thebes is his major cult center where he is a part of the family triad called The Theban Triad” and Mut and Amun were his mother and father respectively. His most well-known temples and cult centers are in Thebes.

In the mornings, the Egyptian God Khonsu was believed to take the form of a child ("Khonsu pa-khered"), and in the evenings, he adopted the form of an elderly man ("Khonsu pa-khered").

Origin Story of Khonsu-Egyptian God-Ancient Egyptian Mythology

In Egyptian Mythology he is referred to as Iah. Moon God Khonsu also holds the title of "Defender”,  ``Embracer," and "Pathfinder" because he is believed to be the guiding force for travelers at night. As Khonsu was the god of nightlight he was invoked to protect against wild animals and to assist in healing. 

According to Egyptians in the New Kingdom Khonsu was the celestial son of the creator deity Amun and the mother goddess Mut. He was known as "Khonsu the Child" – "Khonsu pa-khered," Amun's first and greatest son. 

His most recognizable characteristic was his sidelock, which represented his young side.

But at Kom Ombo Khonsu was regarded as the son of the sky goddess Hathor and the crocodile god Sobek. Edfu residents referred to him as the Son of Osiris ("son of the leg").

Also read: Chaos/ Khaos - Greek God- Ancient Greek Mythology

Before the New Kingdom, Khonsu was seen as a ferocious blood-thirsty God. He used to be forever thirsty for blood. “Cannibal hymn” often describes him as conspiring with dead Egyptian kings to capture and feed on many Egyptian gods. The kings would absorb the gods' strength in this way and become more powerful. 

He was feared and Coffin texts used to refer to him as “Khonsu who lives on hearts” or “Khonsu the Blood-thirsty One” or “Khonsu the Cannibal.”

But in the New Kingdom, he was looked upon as a benevolent deity. Egyptians used to refer to him as “ The Greatest God of the Great Gods”. They believed that cattle became fertile, Women conceived, and all nostrils and throats were filled with fresh air when Khonsu caused the crescent moon to shine. 

Powers of Khonsu, the Egyptian God 

  • Khonsu was the moon and time god. Egyptians believed that he made the Moonshine, illuminating the Egyptians' nightlife. He can alter time and even add additional days to the calendar year.

  • Khonsu was also related to Sun – the spring sun. It was interpreted that he adopted the characteristics of other solar deities such as Ra, Min, and Horus.

  • Many believed that he was the creator of the world because of the vast amount of power he holds. He had the ability to make both people and cattle extremely fertile. 

  • Khonsu was associated with fertility as a moon deity because ancient Egyptians, like many other ancient civilizations, believed the moon represented menstruation cycles. As a result, he was worshipped as a divinity who aided not just livestock but also plants and flowers in growing strong and healthy.

  • He was the deity of love, fertility, and protection. Khonsu was said to be the protector of night travelers.

  • He was one among the deities invoked by ancient Egyptians to protect them from wild animals at night. On land, at the water, and in the sky, Khonsu possessed complete control over all evil creatures.

  • Khonsu was seen as a healer. He had extreme healing abilities. When Egypt was plagued by illnesses, the rulers of Egypt used to offer sacrifices to him.  Khonsu used to blow fresh air across the area, healing those who were sick or depressed. Because of this, he was frequently connected with Shu, the god of air and moisture.

Fun Fact: 

After being barred from giving birth on any day of the 360-day year, the ancient Egyptian goddess Nut (sky goddess and protector of Egypt) gambled with Khonsu. 

Khonsu is thought to have lost the bet, allowing Nut to gain five extra days to give birth. Then she gave birth to Osiris, Isis, Seth, Nephthys, and Horus the Elder on those extra 5 days. Those extra 5 days were known as the Devil days 

Egyptian God Khonsu’s appearance 

Egyptian God Khonsu
In most of his depictions, Khonsu is mummified resulting in a greenish appearance on his skin. His arms are often crossed and he has a sidelock of hair that depicts his youth. He also wore a  crescent-shaped pendant around his neck.

When Khonsu isn't represented with a man's head, he is depicted with the head of an eagle or falcon. A lunar disc and a crescent moon are frequently used as his headpiece.

He is sometimes portrayed with a regal staff bearing the Djed and Was emblems, which are ancient Egyptian symbols of stability and strength. In the same way, the crook and flail he held in his hands symbolize protection and power.

Myths related to Moon God Khonsu

According to an ancient stele record (the Bentresh Stele in the Louvre Museum), a princess of Bekhten was cured after staring upon Khonsu's image. Ramesses II was approached by the princess' brother, who requested his assistance in healing her. 

Bentresh Stele in the Louvre Museum
Bentresh Stele in the Louvre Museum

The pharaoh replied by sending his best doctors and a statue of Khonsu to treat the princess. Khonsu was said to have fought and defeated the demon that had been causing the princess' illness.

Ptolemy IV awarded himself the title "Beloved of Khonsu Who Protects His Majesty and Drives Away Evil Spirits" immediately after Khonsu healed him during the Ptolemaic era (the Graeco-Roman Period).