Thoth : Lord of Divine Words; Lord of Books
Thoth is primeval: he is from before Creation. In some Egyptian myths, Thoth is the supreme creator. He created himself by speaking his own name. Even when he is not supreme creator, Thoth still does his fair share of creating. Thoth invented writing, gambling, star-gazing, engineering, geometry, botany, medicine, mathematics, and magic spells. He is the founder of alchemy and is the author, according to Egyptian myth, of the world’s very first book called The Book of Thoth, a collection of magic spells and rituals so powerful that it had to be hidden away.
Thoth taught veneration of the spirits. He invented rules of sacrifice and composed hymns and prayers. Thoth is credited with writing some of the Egyptian Book of the Dead: The Book of Going Forth by Day.
Thoth is Ra’s right-hand man. Without Thoth, Isis and her siblings would never have been born. Thoth may have taught Osiris the arts of civilization that Osiris then taught to humanity. Thoth, a master magician, taught Isis everything he knew. She is perhaps the only one who surpasses his magical knowledge, although, according to myth, even Isis still needs his assistance and advice once in a while.
Thoth is kind, benevolent, patient, wise, and generous. He is what is considered a “cool” deity; he calms and soothes impassioned situations. In one legend, only Thoth can safely subdue a rampaging goddess threatening to destroy Earth.
As befitting a shaman, Thoth lives in many realms at once:
• He travels among the living, teaching his magical skills.
• He serves as the official scribe in the Hall of the Dead.
• He rides in the solar barque beside Ra and thus lives in the realm of spirits.
The English name, Thoth, is based on the Greek pronunciation of the Egyptian Tehuti. His name is related to Egyptian words indicating “moon,” “measure,” “ibis,” and “crystal.”
• The Greeks identified Thoth with Hermes and Hermes Trismegistus.
• In Neil Gaiman’s novel American Gods, Mr. Ibis runs a funeral parlor with his partner Mr. Jacquel.
ALSO KNOWN AS:
Scribes, secretaries, authors, magicians, shamans, sorcerers, witches, alchemists, occultists, librarians
In his guise as patron of scribes, Thoth has an ibis’ head. As a master magician, he manifests as a baboon. Although ibis and baboon are his most common forms, Thoth is a master shape-shifter. He could be anything or anyone.
Ink pot, palette, ankh, scepter
Ma’at and Seshet are identified as Thoth’s wives.
Hathor, Ma’at, Isis, Seshet
Thoth rules the equinoxes
His primary shrine was in Khemennu (renamed Hermopolis by Greeks); he also had an important shrine in the holy city Abydos as well as others throughout Egypt.
Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods & Goddesses – Written by Judika Illes Copyright © 2009 by Judika Illes.