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The Gods of Ancient Egypt -- The Creation


The Creation


Every area in Egypt had its own creation myth, usually featuring the most prominent locally-worshipped deity as the god responsible. However, the most widespread of them all was the myth of the Ogdoad, the first gods who created the first matter out of nothingness, and then withdrew to watch things unfold. This being my personal favorite, it is the one presented here.


In the beginning, all was darkness. Then the Ogdoad awoke, Nun and Naunet, Hu and Haunet, Ku and Kauket, and Amun and Amaunet. Together they caused a hill to rise out of the first waters. On this hill was an egg, and from this egg, the god Atum, the all-father, was born.

The Ogdoad withdrew to watch how the world would unfold. Atum was alone, then. He spat upon the ground, and from this his son Shu and his daughter Tefnut arose. Atum blessed Shu and Tefnut and gave them great power. To Shu he gave dominion over the air and sky, and to Tefnut he gave dominion over moisture. Together they began to separate the land from the water, and the sky from the world.

During this, however, Shu and Tefnut became lost in the chaotic darkness, for they had not the power of Atum to overcome it. Atum tore out his all-seeing eye and bade it look for them and bring them back. In its place he grew a new eye. Shu and Tefnut soon returned with the eye, which Atum took and placed in his crown so that he could see all. It is this eye that rests on the crown of the pharaoh, the Udjat Eye.

Atum was filled with joy at seeing his children and he wept great tears. When they hit the ground, life sprang up all over the land. Shu took Tefnut for his wife, and she bore Geb and Nut. Geb became the god of the earth and Nut became the goddess of the firmament, standing over him with Shu and Tefnut holding her up.

Nut bore the gods Osiris and Set and the goddesses Isis and Nephthys to her brother-husband Geb. They became the first gods and goddesses of the world and of men, while the others became the great gods of the earth and sky.

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