Astronomy / Astrology

The Decans

The Decans were groups of stars from the night sky was divided - these Decans were used as a calendar by the ancient Egyptians: each decan would rise above the dawn horizon for ten days every year. There were 36 decans (36 X 10 = 360 days), + plus 5 added days to make up to 365 days. (The flaw being the ancient Egyptian year being 6 hours too short which over the years would eventually make a real error - for example over 40 years the calendar would be in error of 10 days).

The list of decans first appeared on Middle Kingdom wooden coffin lids and continued to be displayed on tombs and temples up to the Late Period - some tombs of the 18th and 19th Dynasty tombs display the decans on the ceilings (see the tomb of Senenmut TT353), the tomb of Ramesses IV and the Osireion built by Seti I at Abydos both show the journey of the Decans once they have passed from view in the night sky (they are below the horizon and therefore out of sight) - for this period of 70 days they travel the Underworld.

The temple to Hathor at Denderah (Late Period) also has a list of decans on its ceiling (as well as the Egyptian zodiac), the list of decans below comes from that temple:


 1. Tepa-Kenmut

God - Seb, or Hapi-Asmat, or Hapi-Mestha

2. Kenmut

God - Ba, or Isis

 3. Kher-Khept-Kenmut

God - Khentet-Khast, or Isis, or the Children of Horus

4. Ha-tchat

God - Ast (Isis), or Tuamutef, or the Children of Horus

 5. Pehui-Tchat 

God - Nebt-tep-ahet, or the Children of Horus

  6. Themat-hert

God - Mestha-Hapi, or Tuamutef

 7. Themat-Khert 

God - Qebh-Sennuf, or Tuamutef

  8. Ustha

God - Tuamutef

 9. Bekatha

God - Tuamutef, Qebhsennuf or Hapi

 10. Tepa-Khentet

God - Tuamutef, Hapi

 11. Khentet-hert

God - Heru

12. Khentet-khert 

God - Set

 13. Themes-en-Khentet

God - Heru

14. Sapt-Khennu 

God - Ast Nebt-Het

15. Her-ab-uaa 

God - Set, or Ur

16. Shesmu 

God - Heru, or Ur

 17. Kenmu 

God - Mestha, Hapi, Tuamutef, Qebhsennuf

 18. Tepa-Semt 

God - Heru

 19. Tepa-Semt 

God - Hapi

 20. Sert 

God - Ast

 21. Sasa-sert

God - Tuamutef, Qebsennuf

 22. Kher-khept-sert

God - Qebhsennuf

 23. Khukhu

God - ..........

 24. Baba

God - Tuamutef, Qebhsennuf

 25. Khent-heru

God - Mestha, Hapi

 26. Her-ab-khentu

God - Heru

 27. Khent-kheru

God - Heru

 28. Qet

God - Heru

  29. Sasaqet

God - ........

  30. Art

God - Mestha, Hapi, Qebhsennuf, Tuamutef

  31. Khau

God - Hapi

  32. Remen-heru-an-Sah

God - Mestha

 33. Mestcher-Sah

God - Tuamutef, Qebhsennuf

 34. Remen-kher-Sah

God - Maat-Heru, Heru

 35. A-Sah

God - Maat-Heru, Heru

 36. Sah

God - Maat-Heru

 37. Septet

God - Maat-Heru Ast