Ancient Egyptians held the belief that the universe was abound with many gods. Those gods were what kept chaos from enveloping the entire world. Additionally, those gods played vital roles...
Tagged: Nut birth story
In ancient Egyptian mythology, the birth of the goddess Nut is closely intertwined with the Heliopolitan creation myth, which centers around the city of Heliopolis and its pantheon of gods.
Here’s a summary of the birth story of Nut, the ancient Egyptian goddess of the sky:
Atum’s emergence and the first deities
At the beginning of time, the first god, Atum, emerged from the chaotic waters of Nun. From Atum came two deities: Shu (god of air) and Tefnut (goddess of moisture). These two produced Geb (god of the earth) and Nut (goddess of the sky).
Nut and Geb’s inseparability
Nut and Geb were deeply in love and were inseparable. However, this closeness prevented any form of life or light from coming into being. In some versions of the myth, the sun god Ra (or Atum, in other versions) was displeased with their constant embrace, as it blocked his passage.
Separation of Nut and Geb
To solve this problem, Shu, their father, separated the two lovers. He held Nut (the sky) high above him, and she became the arching canopy over Geb (the earth). Their separation created the atmosphere and allowed life to flourish. Shu’s act of separating Nut and Geb allowed for the creation of the world and the progression of time.
But the story doesn’t end there. Nut and Geb’s separation caused Nut great sorrow, and in her sadness, she defied Ra by becoming pregnant without his permission. Furious, Ra declared that Nut could not give birth to her children on any day of the year.
In response, the god Thoth played a game with the moon (which was responsible for measuring time) and won enough light to create five extra days (the “epagomenal” days). Because these days were not part of the official calendar year, Nut was able to give birth to her children on these days: Osiris, Isis, Set, Nephthys, and, in some versions, Horus the Elder.
Nut’s story, especially her separation from Geb, is symbolically depicted in Egyptian art, where she’s often seen as a woman arching over the earth, her body dotted with stars, representing the night sky. Her tale underscores themes of love, separation, and resilience, and she plays a pivotal role in the Egyptian understanding of the cosmos and the cycle of life and death.