Thoth is the Egyptian god of writing, magic, wisdom, and the moon. He was often depicted as a man with the head of an ibis or a baboon, animals sacred to him. He was one of the most important gods of ancient Egypt and the wisest of all, alternately said to be self-created or born of the seed of Horus or the forehead of Set. Although according to one story, Thoth was born "from the lips of Ra" at the beginning of creation and was known as the "god without a mother". In another tale, Thoth is self-created at the beginning of time and, as an ibis, lays the cosmic egg which holds all of creation.

Nevertheless as the son of the two deities Horus and Set, who represented order and chaos respectively, he was also the god of equilibrium and balance and associated closely with both the principle of divine balance and the goddess Ma'at who personified this principle. Another of his consorts was the goddess Nehemetawy ('She Who Embraces Those In Need") a protector goddess.

In his form as A'an, Thoth presided over the judgment of the dead with Osiris in the Hall of the Truth and those souls who feared they might not pass through the judgment safely were encouraged to call upon Thoth for help.

Thoth is also known to have created the written word people used to record their history and keep track of their daily lives. According to some stories, Thoth invented the word and gave it to humanity while, in others, Thoth was the creator and his consort Seshat gave words to the people. In still other variations, Thoth was the creator but Osiris or Isis gave words to humanity. In every case, Thoth is the creator of written language and the literary arts both for humans and the gods.

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