Also known as: Amon; Amun; Amen; Amoun
Origin: Egypt, Libya, and Nubia vie to claim him
Ammon is Lord of the West: literally speaking, that means Libya, which lies on Egypt’s western border, but from the perspective of ancient Egyptian cosmology, west indicates night because the sun sets in the west, as well as the realm of Death. Thus, Ammon controls the gates to the realms of night. He is the Double Lion of Truth (“doublelions” indicate “yesterday” and “tomorrow”).
Ammon was among the preeminent deities of ancient Egypt, a state-sponsored god. Pharaohs ruled by his grace. Hatshepsut claimed Ammon was her actual physical father (he had visited her mother), hence bestowing on her the right to rule. Her successor insisted that Ammon supported his royal claim instead.
When Ammon came into being, nothing existed but him. He is self-generated: he gave birth to himself. He is the Time Lord. He is an oracular spirit because he controls time: past and future.
Ammon’s most famous oracle was at the Oasis of Siwa (variously in Egypt or Libya, depending on politics), known as early as 7,000 BCE. When Alexander the Great arrived in Egypt in 331 BCE, among his first stops was Ammon’s Oracle to seek sacred confirmation of his title of King of Egypt. The oracle declared him to be of divine origin, pleasing and comforting Alexander immensely. Alexander never revealed the full prophecy he received but continually sent generous offerings to the shrine.
Ammon was so beloved, widely venerated, and influential for millennia that many different nations claimed him as their own. The general modern scholarly consensus is that he originated in Libya and may be an indigenous Berber (Amazigh) deity. However, he was adored in ancient Nubia: some suggest that as his origination point. The Phoenicians loved him, too. Clearly, Ammon was able to make himself at home among many cultures, philosophies, and peoples. He is an adaptable spirit, often seen in the company of other spirits.
There are two sides to Ammon; the father of pharaohs was also the deity of the masses:
* He protects the rights of the poor in courts of law.
* In his path of Ammon of the Roads, he protects travelers.
* He is the deity of oases, both literal and metaphoric.
* Ammon provides sweetness, safety, and abundance amidst danger and deprivation.
Manifestations: A man, a ram, or a man with a ram’s head. He may also manifest in the form of any of his sacred creatures.
Iconography: As the official Egyptian state-deity, Ammon was depicted as a young prince wearing ostrich plumes and displaying a massive, erect phallus.
Sacred sites: Ammon had major temples in Luxor, Karnak (Thebes), and Siwa. The oasis at Siwa (also known as Siouah or Suwa), dotted with bubbling saltwater wells and freshwater springs, straddles the threshold of Egypt and Libya. He also had shrines at other oases, including Bahariya Oasis, El-Kharga Oasis, and El-Dakhla Oasis. Ammon had temples throughout Nubia, but his home is at Jebel Barkal, the flat-topped sacred mountain between the third and fourth cataracts near Napata, north of modern Khartoum.
Ammon was the presiding spirit of one of ancient Egypt’s most beloved holidays, “The Beautiful Feast of the Valley.” Celebrated with dancing and picnicking among tombs, this holiday was an annual reunion of the living, the dead, and the spirits who watch over them. It was celebrated during the Egyptian lunar month of Shomu, preceding the Nile inundation.
Sacred animals: Ram, goose, bull, snake
Color and gemstone: Lapis lazuli
Spirit allies: Ammon is the chief deity of the Theban Triad, along with Mut and Khonsu. In Nubia his image stood alongside Amentat, Apedemak, Arensnuphis, Bes, Horus, Isis, Khonsu, Mut, Tefnut, Thoth, Satis, and Sebiumeker.
Elements: Water, earth, air (wind, breath)
Offerings: Incense; offer him one of the several perfumes named in his honor.