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Moon Knight's Ennead Explained

Marvel Studios' Disney+ show "Moon Knight" stars Oscar Isaac as museum gift shop employee Steven Grant and mercenary Marc Spector in a bizarre, twisting mystery that involves the gods of Ancient Egypt. Episode 1, "The Goldfish Problem," follows Steven as he starts experiencing jarring blackouts and hallucinations. At one point, Steven comes to near a remote Alpine village, where a mysterious voice (F. Murray Abraham) speaks to him about relinquishing control of his body. As the series premiere progresses, audiences watch Steven completely unravel. Not only does he have to worry about gaining the notice of Arthur Harrow (Ethan Hawke), a cult leader with supernatural powers, but he loses time following his surreal outing in the Alps, and then he finds a phone hidden in his apartment with no understanding of how it got there.

Fans are just at the beginning of Steven's journey to discover the truth about his alternate personality, Marc, and that mysterious voice who seems to be watching over them. Diehard "Moon Knight" comics readers, as well as anyone who's been eagerly tracking the Marvel Disney+ series since it was announced, know that the unseen figure who appeared behind Steven in the Alps (and who gave him quite a fright in the elevator) is Khonshu, an Egyptian god. Steven might be relieved when he learns the truth about Khonshu because, in the opening scenes of "The Goldfish Problem," we also learn he has a deep fascination with Ancient Egypt and the deities worshipped during that time.

This isn't the first time Marvel Studios has introduced mythological deities (the "Thor" franchise incorporates Norse mythology) but it does present these particular gods in a different form entirely than other cosmic MCU explorations. As such, understanding the full context of "Moon Knight" will require some brushing up on Egyptian mythology.

The Ennead are a 'supergroup' of the gods of Ancient Egypt

In the first episode of "Moon Knight," Steven arrives late at his job and, as punishment, must help his co-worker Donna (Lucy Thackeray) with inventory. During the pair's time in the basement, Steven tries to discuss the posters and banners featuring Egyptian gods for a museum exhibit with Donna. He refers to a grouping of Egyptian gods on the poster as the Ennead, calling them a "supergroup" as he tries to explain to Donna that the museum's promotional materials feature a "major blunder." The Ennead, Steven says, traditionally features nine gods, but the museum's signage only promotes seven deities. While he does not specify which gods are missing from the posters, he directly mentions Horus, Osiris, Tefnut, and Shu. Steven later reads about the Ennead at his apartment while trying to stay awake, highlighting a phrase that describes a "rift between god and man" in his book shortly before awakening in a field with no memory of arriving there.

According to Britannica, there is such a large number of deities in Ancient Egypt that they are often grouped into enneads. An ennead consists of nine deities. The most notable ennead is the Great Ennead of Heliopolis, which features the gods Steven mentions in Episode 1, as well as Ra, Geb, Nut, Isis, Seth, and Nephthys. It's also worth mentioning that Marvel Comics has adapted the concept of the Ennead for its fictional universe. In the comics, the Ennead is from a pocket dimension, and its members are, by and large, the same deities we see in ennead grouping in our own world.

It appears the MCU's Ennead may differ from real-world mythology in its exact composition given the numbers at play. Notably, the deity Harrow speaks of at the episode's climax, Ammit, is not part of the group. Khonshu, the Egyptian moon god who gives "Moon Knight" his powers in the comics, is also not a member of this group in real-world mythology; perhaps these two will eventually fill the gaps in Steven's museum posters.