Weekly Deity: Ptah


**Final exams have seriously fried my brain.  This post may not be up to the usual quality standard**

Ptah is a male Egyptian deity, worshiped in all of Egypt as a major god.  He is the patron of craftsmen, creation, and artisans, and holds a lot of benign influence and associations.

Attributes

Ptah is usually portrayed as a mummified man holding a staff (so his hands are not bound in the mummy wrapping).  He has a punt beard and sometimes is shown as wearing a skullcap crown and standing on the hieroglyph for the goddess Maat (Truth deity).  His staff bears the symbols of life, stability, and power.

Mythology

Unlike most gods, Ptah was never created by anything else.  He simply exists.  He was, in the Memphite tradition, the primal creator, the originator of all, the first of all the gods and creator of the world, along with everything in it.  These things came to be because Ptah thought of what he wanted to make and spoke it aloud.  His talents were intellectual rather than physical, and set him apart from many other gods in world mythology whose talents and skills were physical displays of their power instead of physical manifestations of intellectual power.

He is said to be husband of the [cat, moon, sun] goddess Bast, and their children are supposed to be Imhotep, Nefertem, and Mahes.  Later, Ptah also became associated with reincarnation, the logic behind this being that as the god of creation Ptah could recreate and reincarnate souls as well.

Although worshiped throughout Egypt, Ptah’s cult centers were mainly placed in Memphis and Heliopolis.

In later periods, he was combined with other gods to form a triad: Ptah-Seker-Osiris.  In this form, the god was a funerary deity representing the three aspects of the universe: creation, stability, death.

Light Side

Ptah’s light side is obviously the ability to create.  He uses his thoughts to shape the reality around him, and originally all these things he created were positive manifestations of his thoughts (some would argue that creating humanity was a bad idea, but we’ll leave that aside).  He has a mostly benevolent outlook toward the universe and the creations he brought into being, and this translates into a mostly positive energy from this god.

Dark Side

Ptah’s power is all in his mind, meaning that he could easily get trapped in the realities and fantasies of his own mind.  For anyone striving to work with Ptah, this is something to watch out for.  Getting trapped in the workings of your own mind and ignoring the physical realities around you can be dangerous as well as unhealthy.

With the power to create life and create anything also comes to power to create what would destroy the previous manifestations.  What is the check on Ptah’s creations?  Other than morality, there are none, and any student of mythology would tell you that the gods’ definitions of morality are rather different than the mortals’ definitions.

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2 responses to “Weekly Deity: Ptah

  1. As originator of all, did he create the other gods?
    and wouldn’t that make his wife, Bast, also his daughter? but I guess not that unusual with gods as seen with Gaia and Uranus, but yeah.

    Since everything he created is because he spoke it aloud, would the reason for the platypus be because he stuttered?

    Since he could get easily trapped in the realities and fantasies of his own mind, but he is also the originator, so wouldn’t what is in his mind as fantasies become realities for the rest of us just like it is for him already? how would we know? which I guess is the problem.

    Your description of the bad side sounds a lot like schizophrenia. Which would be bad, as one could imagine.

    Thank you for a wonderful article, though a little light compared to some of your other deities it was still very informative and interesting. I’m looking forward to next weeks when your mind isn’t fired, hopefully. 🙂

  2. “some would argue that creating humanity was a bad idea, but we’ll leave that aside”

    I giggled at that! I hope you do go back to that point in another post!

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