he's a snake shedding skin


“O You, the Great God, whose name is unknown.”
Pharaoh Unis (PT 276c - ca. 2350 BCE)

Amun is considered as one of the most important and powerful gods of ancient Egypt. He existed as early as the primeval times of the Ogdoad cosmogony and evolved as one of the gods responsible for the creation of the world from the chaos that is Nun. He if often represented as bearded man wearing a cap surmounted by two tall plumes made of red ostrich feathers usually seated on a throne holding the ankh on one hand and the was scepter on the other. His name translates into the “Hidden One” suggestive of his role as the invisible god of the wind and air. Aside from his human form, he may also be seen in several other representations: goose thus acquiring the epithet “the Great Cackler”, he is sometimes seen as a man with the head of the frog, uraeus or cobra. As a snake, he could regenerate himself by shedding his skin. He is also seen as a man with head of the ram or simply just as ram because at some point he was a god of fertility. He may also be seen as lion crouching by the throne or an ape or even a crocodile. During the Ptolemaic Period, he is depicted as a man with four arms, the body of a beetle, the wings of the hawk, the legs of a human, and the paws of a lion.
Amun is believed to be a self-created god. He was adopted into the Ennead cosmogony. He and the sun god, Ra, became the hybrid god Amun-Ra. Amun-Ra was thought of as the father and protector of all the pharaohs of Egypt since then.

His wife and consort in the Hermopolitan worship is Amaunet.

Amaunet (Amunet), although predominantly known as the goddess of the air and invisibility, has changed in personification over the duration of the dynasties of Egypt. She is believed to be the female form of the greater god Amun and is one of the eight featured deities in the Ogdoad. Her name means a “female who is hidden” and her powers are connected to the words silence, stillness, mystery and obscurity. She takes the form of a woman with head of an Egyptian cobra, or simply just a regular snake. As the goddess of the air, she is depicted as a winged goddess or a woman with an ostrich feather or a hawk on her head. In hieroglyphs, she is represented as a woman with the sign of the West (a semi circle on top of one long and one short pole), thus she has been given the title “She of the West”. In Ancient Egypt, the West is the where the dead enter the underworld and Amunet is believed to be as the goddess who welcomes their entrance into the Kingdom of Osiris.
Over the years, she became increasingly associated with Iusaaset, a shadow of Atum. This association made her the mother of all creation who owns the tree from which life emerged and returns (the most ancient acacia tree believed to be found in Heliopolis, the city where all deities were born). She is sometimes shown as a woman with a scepter and the ankh of life in her hand.

First attested in the tomb of Pharaoh Unis, Amun appears together with a feminine counterpart Amunet in a short litany of pre-creational deities, said to protect the gods (of creation) with their shadow (Pyramid Texts, Utterance 301, §§ 446 a-d, tomb of Unis).

The “Pyramid Texts” is the name given to a series of spells carved on the walls of the burial chamber of pyramids which were believed to protect the dead King and help him make his way through the afterlife. The texts (and the Gods mentioned) are quite likely even older than the Fifth Dynasty, for the spells appear as it were fully formed, and include language that was archaic for the time. Amaunet (and Amun) in these spells were regarded as protective Deities: They are addressed as “Amun and Amaunet, You Who protect the Gods, and Who guard the Gods with Your shadows”.

Text source: (1) (2) (3) (4)

Amun and Amunet: The Temple at Karnak (image: source)

Images: Mr Lyle and Dr Frankenstein, Penny Dreadful S02E07 “Little scorpion”