A guide to the Egyptian gods and mythology in Marvel’s Moon Knight

Oscar Isaac as Moon Knight in Marvel Studios' MOON KNIGHT. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2022. All Rights Reserved.
Oscar Isaac as Moon Knight in Marvel Studios' MOON KNIGHT. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2022. All Rights Reserved. /

Many of Marvel’s most iconic stories are rooted in mythology — whether from Greece and Rome, Norse or Japanese deities or inspired by Chinese and African lore. The new Disney+ series Moon Knight is no exception, bringing some of the richest, but often overlooked, aspects of Egyptian mythology to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

The MCU series follows Steven Grant (Oscar Isaac), a British man working in the gift shop of a museum with an impressive exhibition on ancient Egypt. The show reveals that Steven Grant is actually Marc Spector, an American man with dissociative identity disorder, which means he quite literally has alter egos.

It’s Marc Spector who is the titular Moon Knight; he made a deal with the ancient Egyptian god Khonshu to be an avatar for the deity and assume some of his powers.

But Khonshu isn’t exactly one of the most recognizable gods of Egyptian mythology. The same goes for Ammut (also spelled Ammit), who antagonist Arthur Harrow (Ethan Hawke) is trying to resurrect.

So who are these deities, really? Here’s a bit of history about Khonshu, Ammut and other Egyptian gods mentioned in Moon Knight.

Oscar Isaac as Steven Grant and Khonshu (voiced by F. Murray Abraham) in Marvel Studios’ MOON KNIGHT. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2022. All Rights Reserved.
Oscar Isaac as Steven Grant and Khonshu (voiced by F. Murray Abraham) in Marvel Studios’ MOON KNIGHT. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2022. All Rights Reserved. /


Khonshu is the Egyptian god of the moon and time. His name means “traveler.” It has also been spelled as Chonsu, Khons, Chons and Khonsu.

According to Egyptian mythology, Khonshu is the son of Amon (Amun, king of the gods) and Mut (goddess of the sky). Like many other Egyptian gods, he was depicted in different ways, but his staple symbol was the moon, specifically the crescent moon; Khonshu was considered the embodiment of the celestial body’s light.

Like Steven Grant and Marc Spector, Khonshu has dueling personalities. Depending on what ancient texts you’re referencing, Khonshu is either worshiped as a heroic deity or feared as a violent and blood-thirsty god.

In the early Pyramid Texts, Khonshu appears in the “Cannibal Hymn,” where he helps a dead king kill and eat other gods in order to gain power. In the Coffin Texts, which link the Pyramid Texts and the Book of the Dead, Khonshu is described as “Khonshu who lives on hearts.”

But later in Egyptian history, Khonshu came to be regarded as more of a benevolent god. Around 1100 BCE, the Egyptians built a temple to honor him in the Karnak complex in Thebes, which is still standing today.

Ethan Hawke as Arthur Harrow in Marvel Studios’ MOON KNIGHT. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2022. All Rights Reserved.
Ethan Hawke as Arthur Harrow in Marvel Studios’ MOON KNIGHT. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2022. All Rights Reserved. /


Though not widely considered a deity in the traditional sense, Ammit was the goddess personifying divine retribution. Ancient Egyptians believed that after death, a person’s heart was weighed against a feather on the scales of Ma’at, which Ammit sat beside.

If a person’s heart was deemed unworthy, Ammit would devour it, and the person’s soul would restlessly roam for eternity and never continue its journey to immortality. Other ancient texts described Ammit living by and protecting a lake of fire that contained the souls of the guilty.

Ammit has been portrayed as half-lion, half-hippopotamus with the head of a crocodile. The British Museum has a well-preserved piece of papyrus that shows the judgment of a man and a clear image of Ammit sitting beside the scales of Ma’at.

While Ammit was not worshiped, she was feared and respected as a reminder for Egyptians to live by Ma’at’s (Maat’s) principles: truth, justice, and order.

Marvel’s Moon Knight series puts an interesting twist on Ammit, portraying the goddess as having the power to judge people’s lives based on actions they have yet to commit. Hawke’s character Arthur Harrow leads a cult that worships Ammit. Harrow uses a crocodile-headed cane in a judgment ceremony. He and his followers also have tattoos of scales on their forearms, representing Ma’at.

Moon Knight
Image: Moon Knight/Disney+ /

Jackal Gods

In the first episode of Moon Knight, Arthur Harrow summons a monstrous jackal to kill Steven Grant and take the scarab of Ammit away from him. When Steven allows the identity of Marc Spector to take over his body, Marc summons the Moon Knight suit and overpowers the other-dimensional canine.

In the second episode, Arthur summons another jackal. But instead of turning into Marc, Steven summons the suit and becomes Mr. Night. With his newfound powers, he kills the jackal.

In ancient Egypt, jackals symbolized death and the afterlife. And there are several named gods who are linked to the mythical black jackal and sport canine features. The most well-known is Anubis, the god of death, who is often portrayed with the head of a black jackal.

Other jackal gods include Wepwawet, Anubis’ brother, and Duamutef, the god who protected the canopic jars containing the organs of the deceased.

The Ennead

In Marvel comics, the Egyptian gods inhabit a pocket dimension called Celestial Heliopolis — the same way the Norse gods live in Asgard and the Olympians in Olympus.

The Ennead are a group of Egyptian deities. In Marvel comics, the members of this group have included (and at times excluded) Osiris, Seth, Thoth, Geb and Nut, Shu and Tefnut, Ammon-Ra, Anubis, Bast, Bes, Horus, Khonshu, Ptah, Neith, Ma’at, Sekhmet and Sobek.

In the first episode of Moon Knight, Steven is seen reading about the Ennead in a textbook and teases a bit more about this group of nine gods who were worshiped by the ancients. In real-life lore, the Great Ennead was worshiped in the ancient city of Heliopolis, which is now called Cairo. The gods of the Ennead included the sun god Atum or Re-Atum, Shu, Tefnut, Geb, Nut, Osiris, Isis, Seth, and Nephthys.

In the third episode, “The Friendly Type,” Khonshu requests help from the Ennead by calling on them to appear via their avatars in an antechamber beneath the Great Pyramid at Giza. During this scene, we learn these gods inhabit the Overvoid (another term for Celestial Heliopolis) and rarely visit Earth after deciding a long time ago not to meddle in human affairs.

Khonshu implores them to help him stop Arthur Harrow from finding Ammit’s tomb and unleashing her, but the gods don’t believe him.

This group in Episode 3 includes Horus, Isis, Tefnut, Osiris, and Hathor — so, not the entire Ennead, but still pretty cool, especially if you’re an Egyptian history nerd like Steven Grant.

The falcon-headed Horus is one of the most recognizable ancient Egyptian gods. In mythology, he’s the son of Osiris and Isis and is considered a sky god associated with divine kingship. Osiris is the god of the dead and is also linked with rebirth, and Isis is a goddess of magic and healing.

Tefnut, along with her brother Shu, are air gods, with Tefnut considered the goddess of moisture. And Hathor has been a goddess of love, beauty, women, music, dance, and more.

Other Egyptian gods who could appear in Moon Knight

So far, Moon Knight has focused on the fraught relationship between Khonshu and his human champions. But Marvel Comics has a long history of stories featuring many more gods inspired by those from ancient Egypt.

And with the MCU expanding as rapidly — and weirdly — as it is, it’s only a matter of time before more mythological deities are added to the mix. Here are some Egyptian gods who could appear in Moon Knight.


In a tweet, Variety seemingly confirmed that actress Antonia Salib would play the goddess Taweret. Though she hasn’t yet appeared in the Disney+ series, the Egyptian goddess was briefly mentioned in the show’s first episode, “The Goldfish Problem.”

In mythology, Taweret is the goddess of fertility and childbirth. She’s a fiercely protective deity, and her guise draws from equally protective animals like hippopotami, lionesses, and crocodiles. The visage of these animals was thought to ward off evil.

According to historians, Taweret was mostly worshiped in small household cults where images of her were put on children’s amulets to ward off illness and death. Similarly, ancient Egyptian midwives also had objects and tools with Taweret’s image on them to offer protection to their patients.

There are no analogs to Taweret in the comics, so whether she’ll appear in Moon Knight is anyone’s guess.

Next. Moon Knight Episode 3 is an immersive Egyptian treasure hunt. dark

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