The Egyptian Creation Myth - Birth Of The Earth

The Egyptian creation myth is quite the story, and it has a few versions depending on locale. They do however have much in common; here you will find the most popular version.

From Nun To Atum

In the beginning there was nothing but a dark, watery abyss of chaos - the lifeless Nu or Nun. But just as the waters of the great Nile gave birth to life through the muddy earth; out of the Nun came the benben.

The Egyptian creation myth is said to have its beginning when the people watched the dark waters of the Nile flood the land.

Then as the water receded, mounds of black fertile ground appeared and would then give birth to life (the vegetation that grew from the fertile silt).

Benben, the earthy mound shaped like a pyramid, emerged and became the place out of which the sun rose for the first time to light the world.

It also became the place where the first God, Atum, stood.

Egyptian Creation Myth Atum

Atum is the source of everything in this world, and thus he is the creator of all life.

He created life by using the female part in him (his hand) to spawn Shu the God of air, and his sister Tefnut the Goddess of moisture and fertility.

In the ancient Egyptian creation myth, it was said that Atum declared:

"I had union with my hand, and I embraced my shadow in a love embrace; I poured seed into my own mouth and I sent forth from myself issue in the form of the Gods Shu and Tefnut."

Some say "Shu" and "Tefnut" were created by "sneezing" and "spitting", where Shu is the sound of sneezing and Tef is the sound of spitting.

* Actually the verb we use in Egypt today for spitting is "tef" *

In the Heliopolitan version of the creation myth, the God Ra takes the place of Atum. The story is the same and the two gods are interchangeable.

Earth And Sky

Egyptian Creation Myth Geb and Nut

Shu and Tefnut had two children: the Earth God Geb and the sky Goddess Nut.

As Geb lay down to form the Earth, Shu the God of air held Nut the sky Goddess and extended her over the Earth.

Usually in painting, Nut's skin is blue like the sky sprinkled with stars; Geb's mud-brown skin and grass-green hair represents the Earth.

If you want to see a beautiful depiction of this, check out the panoramic image of King Ramesses IV's tomb in the Valley of the Kings. Just scroll up to the ceiling and enjoy :)

Geb and Nut then produced the 4 forces of life in the form of 2 Gods and 2 Goddesses:

Osiris - God of fertility and regeneration.

Isis - the Motherhood Goddess.

Seth - the Red God.

Nephthys - Seth's female counterpart.

Osiris then became the king of the Earth and took Isis as his beloved queen. They ruled the Earth for many years. And thus began the legend of Isis and Osiris, the greatest legend in ancient Egypt...

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