LOST is an American television series that originally aired on ABC from September 22, 2004 to May 23, 2010, consisting of six seasons. Lost is a drama series that follows the survivors of the crash of a commercial passenger jet flying between Sydney and Los Angeles, on a mysterious tropical island somewhere in the South Pacific Ocean. The story is told in a heavily serialized manner. Episodes typically feature a primary storyline on the island, as well as a secondary storyline from another point in a character’s life.
Lost was created by J. J. Abrams and Damon Lindelof who share story-writing credits for the pilot episode, which Abrams directed. Throughout the show’s run, Lindelof and Carlton Cuse served as showrunners and head writers, working together with a large number of other executive producers and writers. Due to its large ensemble cast and the cost of filming primarily on location in Oahu, Hawaii, the series was the most expensive on television. The fictional universe and mythology of Lost is expanded upon by a number of related media, most importantly a series of short mini-episodes called Missing Pieces, and a 12-minute epilogue titled “The New Man in Charge.”
A critically acclaimed and popular success, Lost was consistently ranked by US critics on their lists of top ten series of all time. The first season garnered an average of 15.69 million US viewers per episode on ABC. During its sixth and final season, the show averaged over 11 million US viewers per episode. Lost was the recipient of hundreds of US award nominations throughout its run, and won numerous industry awards, including the Emmy Award for US primetime Outstanding Drama Series in 2005 Best American Import at the British Academy Television Awards in 2005, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association Golden Globe Award for Best Drama in 2006 and a US Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Ensemble in a Drama Series.
The Complete Mythological Deconstruction
The information presented within this site and in particular the “LOST Prologue” & “LOST Mythology” sections, consist of various historical & mythological themes and concepts relevant to understanding LOST and the hidden narrative(s) to be found within the series.
The show itself presented many mysteries to the audience and to begin to decode and deconstruct the show it is important to answer the core mystery established from the very beginning of the series (Please refer to Charlie’s dialogue at the very end of the Pilot, Part 2)…
Q. Where exactly have these group of characters
To begin to understand this core mystery it is important to gain some general background knowledge; this information remains unedited (and sourced) and presents relevant ideas related to the core mystery of LOST. (Please note, important content has been highlighted in bold for those who wish to “cut to the chase”.)
Once is it understood and accepted “where” these characters have crashed landed, the next (more hidden) mystery the audience should attempt to answer is undoubtedly…
Q. Who exactly are these characters?
LOST contained over 500+ individual characters portrayed in both speaking and background roles during the run of the series, and with one of the largest active cast groups of any television series to date; who exactly are these characters is the true core mystery to be solved in LOST, and this site is really the outcome of decoding these two aforementioned questions.
This site not only contains a variety of information related to themes and concepts interwoven into LOST but most importantly decoded character information. Each character has a page dedicated to their journey on LOST, character symbolism information and detailed mythological information relating to their character(s). Most characters have a symbolic theme (water, war, fertility, evil etc) underlying their role/actions during the show. It is important to carefully observe each character fully as subtle actions, background locations and key pieces of dialogue are crucial to successfully decoding the characters.
It is highly recommended taking your time and methodically reading through the content presented here in a sequential order (left to right in the main navigation) before exploring the individual characters. To fully comprehend LOST, one really needs to invest time reading this background information and take the series on as a project of study. To those readers who find this information a true and accurate solution to the mystery of LOST, it is recommended embarking on your own journey and researching the themes found within this site more thoroughly.
It is hoped the information presented here will assist with answering some of the mysteries found within LOST and hopefully prompting the reader to re-watch this critically acclaimed series and see for themselves the hidden narrative(s) to be found within. It may take multiple viewings of the series to take it all in, but remember the key is symbolism and deciphering that symbolism correctly.
This page attempts to answer the following mysteries of LOST:
Q. What is LOST’s primary historical context?
Q. What was LOST really all about?
Q. Where did the events in LOST take place?
Q. What does ‘The Island’ symbolize?
Q. Who do the primary LOST characters represent?
Without pulling any punches, it’s time to dive head first into the deep end…
( Rousseau’s Island Map superimposed over a satellite image of Egypt.
Note, the western plateau on the Island follows the Nile River identically )
Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of eastern North Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt.
Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC (according to conventional Egyptian chronology) with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh. The history of ancient Egypt occurred in a series of stable Kingdoms, separated by periods of relative instability known as Intermediate Periods. The Old Kingdom of the Early Bronze Age, the Middle Kingdom of the Middle Bronze Age and the New Kingdom of the Late Bronze Age. Egypt reached the pinnacle of its power during the New Kingdom, in the Ramesside period, after which it entered a period of slow decline. Egypt was conquered by a succession of foreign powers in this late period. In the aftermath of Alexander the Great’s death, one of his generals, Ptolemy Soter, established himself as the new ruler of Egypt. This Ptolemaic Dynasty ruled Egypt until 30 BC, when it fell to the Roman Empire and became a Roman province.
The success of ancient Egyptian civilization came partly from its ability to adapt to the conditions of the Nile River Valley. The predictable flooding and controlled irrigation of the fertile valley produced surplus crops, which fueled social development and culture. With resources to spare, the administration sponsored mineral exploitation of the valley and surrounding desert regions, the early development of an independent writing system, the organization of collective construction and agricultural projects, trade with surrounding regions, and a military intended to defeat foreign enemies and assert Egyptian dominance. Motivating and organizing these activities was a bureaucracy of elite scribes, religious leaders, and administrators under the control of a Pharaoh who ensured the cooperation and unity of the Egyptian people in the context of an elaborate system of religious beliefs.
The many achievements of the ancient Egyptians include the quarrying, surveying and construction techniques that facilitated the building of monumental pyramids, temples, and obelisks; a system of mathematics, a practical and effective system of medicine, irrigation systems and agricultural production techniques, the first known ships, Egyptian faience and glass technology, new forms of literature, and the earliest known peace treaty.
Egypt left a lasting legacy. Its art and architecture were widely copied, and its antiquities carried off to far corners of the world. Its monumental ruins have inspired the imaginations of travellers and writers for centuries. A new-found respect for antiquities and excavations in the early modern period led to the scientific investigation of Egyptian civilization and a greater appreciation of its cultural legacy, for Egypt and the world.
Death & Rebirth in the Duat (Egyptian Underworld)
The afterlife played an important role in Ancient Egyptian religion, and its belief system is one of the earliest known. When the body died, parts of its soul known as ka (body double) and the ba (personality) would go to the Kingdom of the Dead. While the soul dwelt in the Fields of Aaru, Osiris demanded work as restitution for the protection he provided. Statues were placed in the tombs to serve as substitutes for the deceased.
Arriving at one’s reward in afterlife was a demanding ordeal, requiring a sin-free heart and the ability to recite the spells, passwords and formulae of the Book of the Dead. In the Hall of Two Truths, the deceased’s heart was weighed against the Shu feather of truth and justice taken from the headdress of the goddess Ma’at. If the heart was lighter than the feather, they could pass on, but if it were heavier they would be devoured by the demon Ammit.
Egyptians also believed that being mummified was the only way to have an afterlife. Only if the corpse had been properly embalmed and entombed in a mastaba, could the dead live again in the Fields of Yalu and accompany the Sun on its daily ride. Due to the dangers the afterlife posed, the Book of the Dead was placed in the tomb with the body as well as food, jewellery, and ‘curses’. They also used the “opening of the mouth”.
Ancient Egyptian civilisation was based on religion; their belief in the rebirth after death became their driving force behind their funeral practices. Death was simply a temporary interruption, rather than complete cessation, of life, and that eternal life could be ensured by means like piety to the gods, preservation of the physical form through Mummification, and the provision of statuary and other funerary equipment. Each human consisted of the physical body, the ‘ka’, the ‘ba’, and the ‘akh’. The Name and Shadow were also living entities. To enjoy the afterlife, all these elements had to be sustained and protected from harm.
(Skulls subliminally placed within the final season’s promotional artwork)
The Egyptians had elaborate beliefs about death and the afterlife. They believed that humans possessed a ka, or life-force, which left the body at the point of death. In life, the ka received its sustenance from food and drink, so it was believed that, to endure after death, the ka must continue to receive offerings of food, whose spiritual essence it could still consume. Each person also had a ba, the set of spiritual characteristics unique to each individual. Unlike the ka, the ba remained attached to the body after death. Egyptian funeral rituals were intended to release the ba from the body so that it could move freely, and to rejoin it with the ka so that it could live on as an akh. However, it was also important that the body of the deceased be preserved, as the Egyptians believed that the ba returned to its body each night to receive new life, before emerging in the morning as an akh.
( Polar Bears are symbols of “Death & Rebirth” )
Originally, however, the Egyptians believed that only the pharaoh had a ba, and only he could become one with the gods; dead commoners passed into a dark, bleak realm that represented the opposite of life. The nobles received tombs and the resources for their upkeep as gifts from the king, and their ability to enter the afterlife was believed to be dependent on these royal favors. In early times the deceased pharaoh was believed to ascend to the sky and dwell among the stars. Over the course of the Old Kingdom, however, he came to be more closely associated with the daily rebirth of the sun god Ra and with the underworld ruler Osiris as those deities grew more important.
During the late Old Kingdom and the First Intermediate Period, the Egyptians gradually came to believe that possession of a ba and the possibility of a paradisiacal afterlife extended to everyone. In the fully developed afterlife beliefs of the New Kingdom, the soul had to avoid a variety of supernatural dangers in the Duat, before undergoing a final judgment known as the “Weighing of the Heart”.
In this judgment, the gods compared the actions of the deceased while alive (symbolized by the heart) to maat, to determine whether he or she had behaved in accordance with maat. If the deceased was judged worthy, his or her ka and ba were united into an akh. Several beliefs coexisted about the akh’s destination. Often the dead were said to dwell in the realm of Osiris, a lush and pleasant land in the underworld. The solar vision of the afterlife, in which the deceased soul traveled with Ra on his daily journey, was still primarily associated with royalty, but could extend to other people as well.
Over the course of the Middle and New Kingdoms, the notion that the akh could also travel in the world of the living, and to some degree magically affect events there, became increasingly prevalent.
The Egyptian Soul
The Ancient Egyptians believed that a human soul was made up of five parts: the Ren, the Ba, the Ka, the Sheut, and the Ib. In addition to these components of the soul there was the human body (called the ha, occasionally a plural haw, meaning approximately sum of bodily parts). The other souls were aakhu, khaibut, and khat.
An important part of the Egyptian soul was thought to be the Ib (jb), or heart. The Ib or metaphysical heart was believed to be formed from one drop of blood from the child’s mothers heart, taken at conception.
To Ancient Egyptians, it was the heart and not the brain that was the seat of emotion, thought, will and intention. This is evidenced by the many expressions in the Egyptian language which incorporate the word ib, Awt-ib: happiness (literally, wideness of heart), Xak-ib: estranged (literally, truncated of heart). This word was transcribed by Wallis Budge as Ab.
In Egyptian religion, the heart was the key to the afterlife. It was conceived as surviving death in the nether world, where it gave evidence for, or against, its possessor. It was thought that the heart was examined by Anubis and the deities during the Weighing of the Heart ceremony. If the heart weighed more than the feather of Maat, it was immediately consumed by the monster Ammit.
A person’s shadow, Sheut (šwt in Egyptian), was always present. It was believed that a person could not exist without a shadow, nor a shadow without a person, therefore, Egyptians surmised that a shadow contained something of the person it represents. For this reason statues of people and deities were sometimes referred to as their shadows.
The shadow was represented graphically as a small human figure painted completely black as well, as a figure of death, or servant of Anubis.
As a part of the soul, a person’s ren (rn ‘name’) was given to them at birth and the Egyptians believed that it would live for as long as that name was spoken, which explains why efforts were made to protect it and the practice of placing it in numerous writings. For example, part of the Book of Breathings, a derivative of the Book of the Dead, was a means to ensure the survival of the name. A cartouche (magical rope) often was used to surround the name and protect it. Conversely, the names of deceased enemies of the state, such as Akhenaten, were hacked out of monuments in a form of damnatio memoriae. Sometimes, however, they were removed in order to make room for the economical insertion of the name of a successor, without having to build another monument. The greater the number of places a name was used, the greater the possibility it would survive to be read and spoken.
The ‘Ba’ (b3) is in some regards the closest to the contemporary Western religious notion of a soul, but it also was everything that makes an individual unique, similar to the notion of ‘personality’. (In this sense, inanimate objects could also have a ‘Ba’, a unique character, and indeed Old Kingdom pyramids often were called the ‘Ba’ of their owner). Like a soul, the ‘Ba’ is an aspect of a person that the Egyptians believed would live after the body died, and it is sometimes depicted as a human-headed bird flying out of the tomb to join with the ‘Ka’ in the afterlife.
In the Coffin Texts one form of the Ba that comes into existence after death is corporeal, eating, drinking and copulating. Louis Zabkar argued that the Ba is not part of the person but the person himself unlike the soul in Greek, or late Judaic or Christian thought. The idea of a purely immaterial existence was so foreign to Egyptian thought that when Christianity spread in Egypt they borrowed the Greek word psyche to describe the concept of soul and not the term Ba. Zabkar concludes that so peculiar was the concept of Ba to Ancient Egyptian thought that it ought not to be translated but instead the concept be footnoted or parenthetically explained as one of the modes of existence for a person.
In another mode of existence the Ba of the deceased is depicted in the Book of Going Forth by Day returning to the mummy and participating in life outside the tomb in non-corporeal form, echoing the solar theology of Re uniting with Osiris each night.
The word ‘bau’ (b3w), plural of the word ba, meant something similar to ‘impressiveness’, ‘power’, and ‘reputation’, particularly of a deity. When a deity intervened in human affairs, it was said that the ‘Bau’ of the deity were at work [Borghouts 1982]. In this regard, the ruler was regarded as a ‘Ba’ of a deity, or one deity was believed to be the ‘Ba’ of another.
The Ka (k3) was the Egyptian concept of spiritual essence, that which distinguishes the difference between a living and a dead person, with death occurring when the ka left the body. The Egyptians believed that Khnum created the bodies of children on a potter’s wheel and inserted them into their mothers’ bodies. Depending on the region, Egyptians believed that Heket or Meskhenet was the creator of each person’s Ka, breathing it into them at the instant of their birth as the part of their soul that made them be alive. This resembles the concept of spirit in other religions.
The Egyptians also believed that the ka was sustained through food and drink. For this reason food and drink offerings were presented to the dead, although it was the kau (k3w) within the offerings that was consumed, not the physical aspect. The ka was often represented in Egyptian iconography as a second image of the king, leading earlier works to attempt to translate ka as double.
The Akh (3ḫ meaning ‘(magically) effective one’), was a concept of the dead that varied over the long history of ancient Egyptian belief. It was associated with thought, but not as an action of the mind; rather, it was intellect as a living entity. The Akh also played a role in the afterlife. Following the death of the Khat, the Ba and Ka were reunited to reanimate the Akh. The reanimation of the Akh was only possible if the proper funeral rites were executed and followed by constant offerings. The ritual was termed: se-akh ‘to make (a dead person) into an (living) akh.’ In this sense, it even developed into a sort of ghost or roaming ‘dead being’ (when the tomb was not in order any more) during the Ramesside Period. An Akh could do either harm or good to persons still living, depending on the circumstances, causing e.g., nightmares, feelings of guilt, sickness, etc. It could be evoked by prayers or written letters left in the tomb’s offering chapel also in order to help living family members, e.g., by intervening in disputes, by making an appeal to other dead persons or deities with any authority to influence things on earth for the better, but also to inflict punishments.
The separation of Akh and the unification of Ka and Ba were brought about after death by having the proper offerings made and knowing the proper, efficacious spell, but there was an attendant risk of dying again. Egyptian funerary literature (such as the Coffin Texts and the Book of the Dead) were intended to aid the deceased in “not dying a second time” and becoming an akh.
Ancient Egyptians believed that death occurs when a person’s ka leaves the body. Ceremonies conducted by priests after death, including the “opening of the mouth (wp r)”, aimed not only to restore a person’s physical abilities in death, but also to release a Ba’s attachment to the body. This allowed the Ba to be united with the Ka in the afterlife, creating an entity known as an “Akh” (3ḫ, meaning “effective one”).
According to Giacomo Borioni, in his work Der Ka aus religionswissenschaftlicher Sicht, the Ka was the self of a human being.
Egyptians conceived of an afterlife as quite similar to normal physical existence — but with a difference. The model for this new existence was the journey of the Sun. At night the Sun descended into the Duat (the underworld). Eventually the Sun meets the body of the mummified Osiris. Osiris and the Sun, re-energized by each other, rise to new life for another day. For the deceased, their body and their tomb were their personal Osiris and a personal Duat. For this reason they are often addressed as “Osiris”. For this process to work, some sort of bodily preservation was required, to allow the Ba to return during the night, and to rise to new life in the morning. However, the complete Akhu were also thought to appear as stars. Until the Late Period, non-royal Egyptians did not expect to unite with the Sun deity, it being reserved for the royals.
The Book of the Dead, the collection of spells which aided a person in the afterlife, had the Egyptian name of the Book of going forth by day. They helped people avoid the perils of the afterlife and also aided their existence, containing spells to assure “not dying a second time in the underworld”, and to “grant memory always” to a person. In the Egyptian religion it was possible to die in the afterlife and this death was permanent.
The tomb of Paheri, an Eighteenth dynasty nomarch of Nekhen, has an eloquent description of this existence, and is translated by James P. Allen as:
Your life happening again, without your ba being kept away from your divine corpse, with your ba being together with the akh … You shall emerge each day and return each evening. A lamp will be lit for you in the night until the sunlight shines forth on your breast. You shall be told: “Welcome, welcome, into this your house of the living!”
The Egyptian conception of the universe centered on maat, a word that encompasses several concepts in English, including “truth,” “justice,” and “order.” It was the fixed, eternal order of the universe, both in the cosmos and in human society. It had existed since the creation of the world, and without it the world would lose its cohesion. In Egyptian belief, maat was constantly under threat from the forces of disorder, so all of society was required to maintain it. On the human level this meant that all members of society should cooperate and coexist; on the cosmic level it meant that all of the forces of nature—the gods—should continue to function in balance. This latter goal was central to Egyptian religion. The Egyptians sought to maintain maat in the cosmos by sustaining the gods through offerings and by performing rituals which staved off disorder and perpetuated the cycles of nature.
The most important part of the Egyptian view of the cosmos was the conception of time, which was greatly concerned with the maintenance of maat. Throughout the linear passage of time, a cyclical pattern recurred, in which maat was renewed by periodic events which echoed the original creation. Among these events were the annual Nile flood and the succession from one king to another, but the most important was the daily journey of the sun god Ra.
When envisioning the shape of the cosmos, the Egyptians saw the earth as a flat expanse of land, personified by the god Geb, over which arched the sky goddess Nut. The two were separated by Shu, the god of air. Beneath the earth lay a parallel underworld and undersky, and beyond the skies lay the infinite expanse of Nu, the chaos that had existed before creation. The Egyptians also believed in a place called the Duat, a mysterious region associated with death and rebirth, that may have lain in the underworld or in the sky. Each day, Ra traveled over the earth across the underside of the sky, and at night he passed through the Duat to be reborn at dawn.
In Egyptian belief, this cosmos was inhabited by three types of sentient beings. One was the gods; another was the spirits of deceased humans, who existed in the divine realm and possessed many of the gods’ abilities. Living humans were the third category, and the most important among them was the pharaoh, who bridged the human and divine realms.
Duat (The Underworld)
In Egyptian mythology, Duat (or Tuat) (also called Akert, Amenthes, or Neter-khertet) is the underworld. This was the region through which the sun god Ra traveled from west to east during the night, and where he battled Apep. It also was the place where people’s souls went after death—for judgment. The structure of Duat, and the dangers faced there by the souls of the dead, are detailed in texts such as the Book of Gates and the Book of the Dead. The Duat was located beneath the earth where Osiris presided over the dead. It was believed that the sun on its journey through the Duat, brought light and revitalization to the deceased, including Osiris, and with whom they were to arise in the morning.
The most famous scene from the discussions of Duat is the Weighing of the Heart, in which the heart was weighed by Anubis, using a feather, representing Ma’at, the goddess of truth and justice. She was responsible for maintaining order in the universe after having eliminated the emptiness of chaos at the beginning of creation.
The heart was thought to be the location of the mind, will and character by the ancient Egyptians. The heart would become out of balance because of failure to follow Ma’at and any hearts heavier or lighter than her feather were rejected and eaten by the goddess Ammit (also known as the Devourer of Souls). Those souls that would be allowed to travel toward the paradise of Aaru had to have hearts that weighed exactly the same as Ma’at’s feather.
“How the upper side of this sky exists is in uniform darkness, the southern, northern, western and eastern limits of which are unknown, these having been fixed in the Waters, in inertness. There is no light of the Ram there: he does not appear there – (a place) whose south, north, west and east is unknown by the gods or akhs There is no brightness there.”
And as for every place void of sky and void of land, that is the entire Duat. The Amduat (“That which is in the underworld”) lists the inhabitants of the underworld.
Widmore’s ‘Namaste’ Painting
(Symbolizing the Underworld)
Aaru (Egyptian Reed Fields)
In ancient Egyptian mythology, the fields of Aaru (alternatives: Yaaru, Iaru, Aalu) or the Egyptian reed fields, are the heavenly paradise, where Osiris ruled after he became part of the Egyptian pantheon and displaced Anubis in the Ogdoad tradition. It has been described as the ka (a part of the soul) of the Nile Delta.
Only souls who weighed exactly the same as the feather of the goddess Ma’at were allowed to start a long and perilous journey to Aaru, where they would exist in pleasure for all eternity. The ancient Egyptians believed that the soul resided in the heart. Those whose heart did not match the weight of the feather of Ma’at due to their sins were excluded. They were said to suffer a second death when devoured by another being, Ammit, while still in Duat for judgment.
The souls who did qualify had to undergo a long journey and face many perils before reaching Aaru. Once they arrived, they had to enter through a series of gates. The exact number of gates varies according to sources; some say 15, some 21. They are however uniformly described as being guarded by evil demons armed with knives.
Aaru usually was placed in the east, where the sun rises, and is described as eternal reed fields, very much like those of the earthly Nile delta: an ideal hunting and fishing ground, and hence, those deceased who, after judgment, were allowed to reside there, were often called the eternally living.
More precisely, Aaru was envisaged as a series of islands, covered in “fields of rushes” (Sekhet Aaru), Aaru being the Egyptian word for rushes. The part where Osiris later dwelt was sometimes known as the “field of offerings”, Sekhet Hetepet in Egyptian.
Ancient Egyptian Hell
With the rise of the cult of Osiris during the Middle Kingdom the “democratization of religion” offered to even his humblest followers the prospect of eternal life, with moral fitness becoming the dominant factor in determining a persons suitability. At death a person faced judgment by a tribunal of forty-two divine judges. If they led a life in conformance with the precepts of the Goddess Maat, who represented truth and right living, the person was welcomed into the Two Fields.
If found guilty the person was thrown to a “devourer” and didn’t share in eternal life. The person who is taken by the devourer is subject first to terrifying punishment and then annihilated. These depictions of punishment may have influenced medieval perceptions of the inferno in hell via early Christian and Coptic texts. Purification for those who are considered justified may be found in the descriptions of “Flame Island”, where they experience the triumph over evil and rebirth. For the dammed complete destruction into a state of non being awaits but there is no suggestion of eternal torture; the weighing of the heart in Egyptian Mythology can lead to annihilation. Divine pardon at judgement was always a central concern for the Ancient Egyptians.
Amduat (That which is in the Afterworld)
The Amduat (literally “That Which Is In the Afterworld”, also translated as “Text of the Hidden Chamber Which is in the Underworld” and “Book of What is in the Underworld”) is an important Ancient Egyptian funerary text of the New Kingdom. Like many funerary texts, it was found written on the inside of the pharaoh’s tomb for reference. Unlike other funerary texts, however, it was reserved only for pharaohs (until the 21st Dynasty almost exclusively) or very favored nobility.
It tells the story of Ra, the Egyptian sun god who travels through the underworld, from the time when the sun sets in the west and rises again in the east. It is said that the dead Pharaoh is taking this same journey, ultimately to become one with Ra and live forever.
The underworld is divided into twelve hours of the night, each representing different allies and enemies for the Pharaoh/sun god to encounter. The Amduat names all of these gods and monsters. The main Purpose of the Amduat is to give the names of these gods and monsters to the spirit of the dead Pharaoh, so he can call upon them for help or use their name to defeat them.
As well as enumerating and naming the inhabitants of the Duat (or Dwat) both good and bad, the illustrations of the ‘book’ show clearly the topography of the underworld. The earliest complete version of the Amduat is found in KV34, the tomb of Thutmose III in the Valley of the Kings.
- In hour 1 the sun god enters the western horizon (akhet) which is a transition between day and night.
- In hours 2 and 3 he passes through an abundant watery world called ‘Wernes’ and the ‘Waters of Osiris‘.
- In hour 4 he reaches the difficult sandy realm of Sokar, the underworld hawk deity, where he encounters dark zig zag pathways which he has to negotiate, being dragged on a snake-boat.
- In hour 5 he discovers the tomb of Osiris which is an enclosure beneath which is hidden a lake of fire, the tomb is covered by a pyramid like mound (identified with the goddess Isis) and on top of which Isis and Nephthys have alighted in the form of two kites (birds of prey).
- In hour 6 the most significant event in the underworld occurs. The ba (or soul) of Ra unites with his own body, or alternatively with the ba of Osiris within the circle formed by the mehen serpent. This event is the point at which the sun begins its regeneration, it is a moment of great significance, but also danger.
- In hour 7 the adversary Apep (Apophis) lies in wait and has to be subdued by the magic of Isis, and the strength of Set assisted by Serqet.
- In hour 8 the sun god opens the doors of the tomb.
- In hour 9 he leaves the sandy island of Sokar by rowing vigorously back into the waters.
- In hour 10 the regeneration process continues through immersion in the waters until
- In hour 11 the gods eyes (a symbol for his health and well being) are fully regenerated.
- In hour 12 he enters the eastern horizon ready to rise again as the new day’s sun.
Ancient Egyptian religion was a complex system of beliefs and rituals which was integral to ancient Egyptian society. It centered on the Egyptians’ interaction with a multitude of deities who were believed to be present in, and in control of, the forces and elements of nature. The myths about these gods were meant to explain the origins and behavior of the forces they represented, and the practices of Egyptian religion were efforts to provide for the gods and gain their favor.
Formal religious practice centered on the pharaoh, the king of Egypt. Although he was a human, the pharaoh was believed to possess a divine power by virtue of his kingship. He acted as the intermediary between his people and the gods, and was obligated to sustain the gods through rituals and offerings so that they could maintain order in the universe. Therefore, the state dedicated enormous resources to the performance of these rituals and to the construction of the temples where they were carried out. Individuals could also interact with the gods for their own purposes, appealing for their help through prayer or compelling them to act through magic. These popular religious practices were distinct from, but closely linked with, the formal rituals and institutions. The popular religious tradition grew more prominent in the course of Egyptian history as the status of the pharaoh declined. Another important aspect of the religion was its elaborate afterlife beliefs and funerary practices. The Egyptians made great efforts to ensure the survival of their souls after death, providing tombs, grave goods, and offerings to preserve the bodies and spirits of the deceased.
The religion had its roots in Egypt’s prehistory, and lasted for more than 3,000 years. The details of religious belief changed over time as the importance of particular gods rose and declined, and their intricate relationships shifted. At various times certain gods became preeminent over the others, including the sun god Ra, the mysterious god Amun, and the mother goddessIsis. For a brief period, in the aberrant theology promulgated by the pharaoh Akhenaten, a single god, the Aten, replaced the traditional pantheon. Yet the overall system endured, even through several periods of foreign rule, until the coming of Christianity in the early centuries AD. It left behind numerous religious writings and monuments, along with significant influences on cultures both ancient and modern.
Ancient Egyptian Beliefs
The Egyptians had no separate term for “religion”, even though religion affected every aspect of their culture. Their religion was not a monolithic institution, but consisted of a wide variety of different beliefs and practices, linked by their common focus on the interaction between humans and the divine realm. The gods who populated this realm were integral to the Egyptian understanding of the world.
The Egyptians believed that the phenomena of nature were divine forces in themselves. These deified forces included inanimate elements such as air, animal characteristics such as the ferocity of lions, or abstract forces like the authority of kingship. The Egyptians thus believed in a multitude of gods, which were involved in all aspects of nature and human society. Their religious practices were efforts to sustain and placate these phenomena and turn them to human advantage. This polytheistic system was very complex, as some deities were believed to exist in many different manifestations, and some had multiple mythological roles. Conversely, many natural forces, such as the sun, were associated with multiple deities. The diverse pantheon ranged from gods with vital roles in the universe to minor deities or “demons” with very limited or localized functions. It could include gods adopted from foreign cultures, and sometimes even humans: deceased pharaohs were believed to be divine, and occasionally, distinguished commoners such as Imhotep also became deified.
The depictions of the gods in art were not meant as literal representations of how the gods might appear if they were visible, as the gods’ true natures were believed to be mysterious. Instead, these depictions gave recognizable forms to the abstract deities by using symbolic imagery to indicate each god’s role in nature. Thus, for example, the funerary god Anubis was portrayed as a jackal, a creature whose scavenging habits threatened the preservation of the body, in an effort to counter this threat and employ it for protection. His black skin was symbolic of the color of mummified flesh and the fertile black soil that Egyptians saw as a symbol of resurrection. However, this iconography was not fixed, and many of the gods could be depicted in more than one form.
Many gods were associated with particular regions in Egypt where their cults were most important. However, these associations changed over time, and they did not necessarily mean that the god associated with a place had originated there. For instance, the god Monthu was the original patron of the city of Thebes. Over the course of the Middle Kingdom, however, he was displaced in that role by Amun, who may have arisen elsewhere. The national popularity and importance of individual gods fluctuated in a similar way.
Associations between Deities
The Egyptian gods had complex interrelationships, which partly reflected the interaction of the forces they represented. The Egyptians often grouped gods together to reflect these relationships. Some groups of deities were of indeterminate size, and were linked by their similar functions. These often consisted of minor deities with little individual identity. Other combinations linked independent deities based on the symbolic meaning of numbers in Egyptian mythology; for instance, pairs of deities usually represent the duality of opposite phenomena. One of the more common combinations was a family triad consisting of a father, mother, and child, who were worshipped together. Some groups had wide-ranging importance. One such group, the Ennead, assembled nine deities into a theological system that was involved in the mythological areas of creation, kingship, and the afterlife.
The relationships between deities could also be expressed in the process of syncretism, in which two or more different gods were linked to form a composite deity. This process was a recognition of the presence of one god “in” another when the second god took on a role belonging to the first. These links between deities were fluid, and did not represent the permanent merging of two gods into one; therefore, some gods could develop multiple syncretic connections. Sometimes syncretism combined deities with very similar characteristics. At other times it joined gods with very different natures, as when Amun, the god of hidden power, was linked with Ra, the god of the sun. The resulting god, Amun-Ra, thus united the power that lay behind all things with the greatest and most visible force in nature.
Many deities could be given epithets that seem to indicate that they were greater than any other god, suggesting some kind of unity beyond the multitude of natural forces. In particular, this is true of a few gods who, at various times in history, rose to supreme importance in Egyptian religion. These included the royal patron Horus, the sun god Ra, and the mother goddess Isis. During the New Kingdom, Amun held this position. The theology of the period described in particular detail Amun’s presence in and rule over all things, so that he, more than any other deity, embodied the all-encompassing power of the divine.
The Egyptians did have an aberrant period of some form of monotheism during the New Kingdom, in which the pharaoh Akhenaten abolished the official worship of other gods in favor of the sun-disk Aten. This is often seen as the first instance of true monotheism in history, although the details of Atenist theology are still unclear. The exclusion of all but one god was a radical departure from Egyptian tradition and some see Akhenaten as a practitioner of monolatry rather than monotheism, as he did not actively deny the existence of other gods; he simply refrained from worshipping any but the Aten. Under Akhenaten’s successors Egypt reverted to its traditional religion, and Akhenaten himself came to be reviled as a heretic.
The Decoded LOST Characters
LOST contains close to 1,000 individual characters who are featured throughout the series in major, supporting and non-speaking background roles. These characters do not solely represent the pantheon from Ancient Egyptian, various factions, symbolizing other pantheons and sub-groups within these pantheons are also found populating the series; the DHARMA Initiative, most notably, is the primary example of this.
The bulk of the minor supporting characters found in Flashbacks, Flashforwards, Flash-Sideways and mainland narratives can be found to represent various mythological characters found in these other pantheons. Two main mythological groups who are featured in LOST, are the Ancient Egyptian and the Ancient Greek Pantheons.
An additional portal site (http://lostsolved.wordpress.com/) has been created which lists by season, a visual format of the characters decoded in LOST. This has been done for readers who wish to quickly browse the characters and gain an overview, without the need of reading each character page for decoded character information. Each character contains a portrait image and decoded mythological figure name and have been color coded into the two primary LOST faction colors (Red = Egyptian, Blue = Greek). Each character portrait (when clicked) is linked back to their character page on the main site where the detailed character information, screenshots and decoded mythological information can be found.
Browse Decoded Characters by Season