DIALOGUE AND DISCUSSION ON EDUCATION, ENVIRONMENT AND RACE
The beliefs and rituals surrounding the gods and goddesses of ancient Egypt formed the core of the religion of ancient Egypt. Believing that gods influenced natural events and human lives, Egyptians interacted with them in many ways. State rites were controlled by the pharaoh, who claimed to be the gods' representative and managed the temples where the rites were performed, while people acting for personal reasons prayed for divine aid and used rituals to compel deities to act. The gods' complex characteristics were expressed in myths and in intricate relationships between deities: family ties, loose groups and hierarchies, and combinations of separate gods into one. Deities' diverse appearances in art—as animals, humans, objects, and combinations of different forms—also alluded, through symbolism, to their essential features. In different eras, various gods were said to hold the highest position in divine society, including the solar deity Ra, the mysterious god Amun, and the mother goddess Isis (pictured with Pharaoh Seti I in her lap). The highest deity was usually credited with the creation of the world and often connected with the life-giving power of the sun.