Thoth was originally known as Djehuti or Zehuti, meaning 'he of Djehut,' an old province in Lower Egypt which may have been the cradle of his cult before his principle sanctuary at Hermopolis Magna in Upper Egypt was established.
In ancient times, the main cult centre of Thoth was Khemenu, or 'the Town of the Eight,' which is a reference to the Ogdoad. The indigenous deities there were a hare, a baboon and the Ogdoad - the male halves of which were frog-headed and the female halves were serpent headed. Thoth soon absorbed these deities and took on the form of a baboon.
The Ogdoad represented the elemental forces before the creation of the world, the male and female halves of which were: Nun and Nunet personifying the Primeval Waters, Heh and Hehet personifying infinite space or eternity, Kek and Keket personifying darkness, Amun and Amunet personifying invisibility. According to the theologians of Hermopolis, Thoth was the true universal Demiurge, the divine ibis who had hatched the world at Hermopolis Magna. He created by the sound of his voice alone. When he first awoke in the primordial Nun a sound issued from his lips creating four gods and four goddesses. Hermopolis became known as Khnum, 'City of Eight,' where the eight deities sang hymns morning and evening to assure the continuity of the sun's course.
Thoth was identified by the Greeks with Hermes, Messenger of the Gods, and was worshipped throughout Egypt as a moon-god, patron of science and literature, wisdom and inventions, the spokesman of the gods and their keeper of the records. Having complete knowledge and wisdom, he invented all the arts and sciences: arithmetic, surveying, geometry, astronomy, soothsaying, magick, medicine, surgery, music, wind and stringed instruments, drawing and writing, without which his discoveries would have been lost. Thoth was the keeper of the divine archives and patron of history. He was the scribe of the gods, and so we read "Ra has spoken, Thoth has written." In the famous judgement scene, Thoth weighs hearts, proclaims the verdict and records it on his tablets.
Thoth can be represented in two forms - the sacred ibis and the dog faced baboon (Papio Cynocephalus). He can be depicted as these appear in nature or in the case of the ibis, anthropomorphic with the bird's head superimposed on his shoulders. In each case Thoth wears a crown representing the crescent moon supporting the full moon disk. The beak of the ibis hints at the crescent moon and the black and white feathering hints at the waxing and waning of the moon. Baboons make agitated chattering sounds at dawn suggesting a greeting to the sun god by creatures of the moon god. Baboons are often portrayed in Egyptian art standing on their hind legs with their front paws raised honouring Re.
Thoth was the vizier of Osiris and contributed to his resurrection through the trueness of his voice and his thoroughness in purifying his dismembered body. He later helped Isis defend her son, Horus, driving scorpion poison out of his body. He intervened in the struggle of Horus and Set, curing Horus' tumour and Set's emasculation by spitting on their wounds. When Horus and Set were finally brought to trial before a tribunal of the gods, Thoth passed judgement that Set should return Horus' heritage. Thoth then became Horus' vizier, and when Horus relinquished earthly power, Thoth succeeded him as a peaceful ruler for 3226 years.
Thoth then took to the skies. He became the god in charge of guarding the moon. He played draughts with the moon and won 1/72 of its light from which he created the five intercalary days. We are told that the moon is the left eye of Horus, watched over by either an ibis or a dog-headed ape. As a lunar divinity, Thoth measured time in months, three seasons and years. Thoth travels in the solar boat 365 days, disembarking every fourth year for one day, marking out an average year of 365¼ days.
The few remaining spells that we have indicate that in late antiquity, the Graeco-Egyptian magickians used Thoth for dream oracles and love spells.