Amun, Mut, and Khonsu

Ancient Egyptian priests often divided their many gods into family groups of three, called Triads. In ancient Thebes, the local Triad consisted of Amun-Re along with his consort goddess Mut and their son Khonsu. Mut-the-Great, "The Great Mother," was par excellence a maternal goddess while her son Khonsu personified the moon. Mut resembles a human female wearing a tight-fitting dress, long wig, and the vulture cap of a queen. Resting atop her vulture crown, a royal Double Crown is Mut's defining attribute, a combination of the Red Crown of Upper Egypt and the White Crown of Lower Egypt, otherwise restricted to Pharaoh himself. Mut sometimes appears as a woman with a lioness's head wearing a large solar disk encircled by a uraeus-cobra as her crown. 

amun mut khonsu  mut

The Theban Triad: Amun-Re enthroned, accompanied by a lion-headed Mut and their son Khonsu (left), and an example of Mut in her more common human form (right).

mut R4   mut lioness

Relief of Ramesses IV showing Mut in her human form, with a vulture headdress and Double Crown (left) and Mut with the head of a lioness wearing a solar disc (right).

Khonsu possesses a variety of forms. Most often he is mummiform man with a shaved head and side-lock of hair symbolizing his youth. He may also appear as a falcon-headed man, but in any case he wears both a crescent moon and a full lunar disk on his head. Less commonly, he may appear in the guise of the moon god Thoth with an Ibis head or as a clone of the falcon god Monthu, a falcon-headed man with a solar disk, two tall ostrich feathers and a pair of uraeus-cobras on his head.

Khonsu human form Khonsu with falcon head

Different representations of the god Khonsu, in his more common human form (left) and as a falcon headed deity (right).


Amun-Re had a second female consort separate from the Theban Triad. This "other woman" in his life was a female alter-ego called Amunet, "The Female Amun." She appears in a typical goddess dress wearing the Red Crown of Lower Egypt. Unlike Mut and Khonsu, Amunet did not enjoy a separate temple of her own within the Karnak complex.

Amunet with her characteristic Red Crown.