There has been a tendency for Westerners to speak of Egyptian religion and Africa religion as if these were two separate entities. What this creates is a false dichotomy on the African continent, where Egypt is divorced from the rest of Africa or, to put it another way, Kemet is divorced from Nubia, as if there is neither contiguity nor continuity.
What is clear from many of the authors who wrote entries for this Encyclopedia is that ancient Egyptian religion was African religion; one cannot isolate Egypt from Africa any more than one can isolate a Christian Rome from a Christian Britain. Two different nations that practice the same reli- gion with different accents and inclinations can be found on every continent. Egypt, or Kemet as it was called in the ancient times, is an African nation in the sense that the continental memory and cultural products are similar to those found throughout the continent.
Forty-two ethnic groups or political units called nomes existed in predynastic Kemet. Each nome possessed a name for the Supreme Deity. Every local deity was considered universal, omnipotent, ever-lasting, original, and a creator who made all things in the world. Ancient African sages could see from their own situations that humans lived in families, and there was no reason that the gods could not also have families. So the creator god in a local nome was given a family that included an intimate circle who intervened from time to time in the creation plan or in the organization of the world. A common family for the Supreme Deity
consisted of a triad. In this pattern, there was a godfather, goddess mother, and godchild. The great religious seat of Waset had a triad of Amen, Mut, and Khonsu while at Men-nefer (Memphis) there was the triad of Ptah, Sekhmet, and Nefertum. The Council of Nicea in 325 AD spoke of the Christian triad as God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. The female entity found in African religion had been removed from what was later called the Christian Trinity. In terms of the female energy, Auset was replaced by Mary, who was not a deity, but a virgin.
Clearly for us, this Encyclopedia of African Religion is focused on the totality of the African record without regard to region. Therefore, our headword list had to include concepts and entries that dealt with the religious thinking of ancient Kemet, as well as the Kikuyu, the Yoruba, and the Zulu. What is significant about this is that once a reader understands the mythological and philo- sophical foundations of African religion, the concepts are easy to access; it is like cracking a combination to a complex lock. Once it has been cracked, there is a new world awaiting the reader, who is able to peer through the metaphorical or mythical veils of African narratives.