The Egyptian Goddess Nut – Goddess of the Sky
Unlike many other ancient cultures, the ancient Egyptians fancied the earth as masculine in nature, and the sky as feminine in nature, and they deified the sky as the Egyptian goddess Nut.
To some people, the sky seemed like a vast ocean of infinite size, covering the land from horizon to horizon, with pillars at each corner keeping it up above the earth.
The sun and other celestial bodies would sail across this blue sea on barques, to flow through underground waterways to the West, to appear once again at the East.
This vision of the gods as sailing through a sea-like heaven stuck with the ancient Egyptians, and solar barques became an integral part of the religion and rituals.
To some, most likely the cattle herders and farmers, the sky was a giant cow whose body was the heavens. Her underbelly carried the stars with Shu, the god of Air, underneath it holding it up. The Earth stretched out between her fore and hind legs, which were supported by genii, and she faced the West.
Her eyes were the Sun and the Moon and the milk from her udder made the Milky Way. The sun was born every morning to this cow as a calf, journeying towards the West.
And still to others, the Sky was a beautiful woman, arched over them, her face to the West. Her nude blue body held the celestial bodies, and her arms and legs were the four cardinal points. She was sprinkled with stars, and the Sun and Moon would travel through her daily. Underneath her were the earth and its inhabitants, all under her protection.
Take a look at the Hymn to Nut that describes the beauty and charm of this Sky Goddess.
Earth and Sky, Geb and Nut
Born as half a pair, locked with her brother and consort Geb, their embrace was so passionate that their own father, Shu the God of Air, had to separate them. And thus heaven and earth were created, with Nut the Sky, arched above her adoring husband, Geb the Earth.
Nut and Geb’s eternal love affair was consummated every night, when she would come down to earth for a few hours, causing darkness to fall.
From their love they spawned some of ancient Egypt’s greatest and most powerful deities, as well as the sun, the moon and the stars…
Egyptian Goddess Nut – Mother of the Stars
Every new day, she would give birth to her son, the sun, who would begin his journey over her outstretched body and arrive at her mouth. She would then proceed to swallow him, and he would vanish inside of her until his rebirth the next day…
The stars shared a similar fate. Every night, as dawn was about to break, Nut would swallow the stars, only to give birth to them again in the evening.
Geb, was angered that his wife would eat her own children and compared her to a sow that eats her own offspring. Their father was quick to reassure Geb that this was actually a good thing, as it offered the opportunity for rebirth.
And so Nut was also depicted Giant Sow, her body is the sky and her many piglets as the stars. At night they are seen suckling at her teats, and as the dawn breaks she swallows them, only to give birth to them again when night would fall.
As daughter of Shu and Tefnut, whom were spawned by Ra himself, she was already an integral part of the Great Ennead. But she was also mother to four other very important members: Osiris, Seth, Isis, Nephthys.
Protectress of Sky Travelers
As the vastness through which the gods traveled daily on their barques, the Egyptian goddess Nut was thought of as their protector on their journeys. She is also where her son, the beloved Osiris, hid for days to recover after his murder and resurrection.
And so she was also believed to be the protector of the souls of the dead awaiting at the edge of sunset to be taken on their boats through to the underworld. She was prayed to from pharaohs and villagers alike, to protect their souls. Some sarcophagi had her image inside the lids of their eyes, so that the deceased may look upon the beautiful sky from within his tomb
When depicted as a woman, she would sometimes wear a headdress with a vase or a pot, which carried water. As she stood beneath the sycamore tree, the Egyptian goddess Nut would pour water from her vase to purify the souls of the dead.
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