In common with many ancient cultures worldwide, Egyptian mythology developed from close observation of local conditions – climate, geography, fauna and flora. In the developing state : counting, accounting, standard weights and measures, geometry and surveying, astronomy and conceptions of time : all needed to be studied and defined. But all of this was established within an ambiguous religious context, making interpretation difficult.
Ancient peoples lived in ‘sacred’ landscapes grown hoary with tradition – a waterfall, a sacred mountain, a river – the axes of some Egyptian temples are parallel to the sacred Nile. Then kings might pay homage to the work of their ancestors, for example in architectural form, or by situating religious monuments along ‘sacred’ alignments.
Perhaps the earliest alignments celebrated by ancient man were to the setting sun at the winter solstice when the year is ‘renewed’, and this too is discovered in Egyptian work. But the orientations of many temples are to the horizon rising and setting points of prominent stars, pointing to an evolved stellar mythology.
The following is an attempt to summarize the salient points of Egyptian religion as best I understand it, focussing on its stellar aspects, as well as highlighting some of the ongoing controversies concerning putative meridian alignments inside Khufu, and even the date of the pyramid’s construction.