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Egyptian Creation myths. There were four theories; however, each theory holds that in the beginning, only a primordial, stagnant ocean called Nu existed. In addition, the four theories agree that out of Nu, rose the primeval hill.

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Egyptian Creation myths

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egyptian creation myths
Egyptian Creation myths

There were four theories; however, each theory holds that in the

beginning, only a primordial, stagnant ocean called Nu existed. In

addition, the four theories agree that out of Nu, rose the primeval hill.

Each cosmology believed it was their temple that stood on this hill. The

first step-pyramids are no doubt symbolic of this mound. All

cosmologies share the belief that creation was a slow process, not

catastrophic. Finally, they also all agree that there was a "First Time,“

or a time period when the gods actually lived on earth.

heliopolitan cosmogony
Heliopolitan cosmogony

the Heliopolitan cosmogony develops the myth further. The first event

was the creation of Amun, the god of Heliopolis. There is dispute over

whether he created himself, or was the son of Nu. Some texts say he first

appeared over the hill, others say he was, himself, the hill. Eventually,

Atum became associated with Ra, the sun-god. Ra-Atum at this point is

said to be the coming of the light to disperse the darkness of Nu.

His next task was to create other gods. He did this by masturbation, not

having a mate. This was not offensive to ancient Egyptians, but in fact

intensified his power in their minds. Ra-Amun gave birth by spitting out

twins: Shu,the god of the air and Tefnut, goddess of world order. Shu

and Tefnut gave birth to Geb, god of the earth, and his wife and sister,

Nut, goddess of the sky. Geb and Nut, in turn, were the parents of Isis,

Osiris, Nephthys, and Set. Horus, another god was the son of Isis and


creator gods amun
Creator gods--Amun

King of gods, primeval, hidden power

Thebes, Hemopolis Magna

creator gods ra or re
Creator gods—Ra or Re

Creator, solar


creator god ptah
Creator god--Ptah

Creator, craftsman


creator god aten
Creator god--Aten

Solar God worshiped by Akhenaten

children of nut and geb
Children of Nut and Geb

Isis and Nepthys



death of osiris
Death of Osiris

Osiris is the focus of a famous legend in which he was killed by the

rival god Seth. At a banquet of the gods, Seth fooled Osiris into

stepping into a coffin, which he promptly slammed shut and cast into

the Nile. The coffin was born by the Nile to the delta town of Byblos,

where it became enclosed in a tamarisk tree. Isis, the wife of Osiris,

discovered the coffin and brought it back. (The story to this point is

attested only by the Greek writer Plutarch, although Seth was identified

as his murderer as early as the Pyramid era of the Old Kingdom.)

Seth took advantage of Isis's temporary absence on one occasion, cut

the body to pieces, and cast them into the Nile.

rescue of osiris by isis
Rescue of Osiris by Isis

Isis searched the land for the body parts of Osiris, and was

eventually able to piece together his body, whole save for the penis,

which had been swallowed by a crocodile (according to Plutarch)

or a fish (according to Egyptian texts). In some Egyptian texts, the

penis is buried at Memphis. Isis replaced the penis with a reasonable

facsimile, and she was often portrayed in the form of a kite being

impregnated by the corpse of Osiris. In some Egyptian texts, the

scattering of the body parts is likened to the scattering of

grain in the fields, a reference to Osiris's role as a vegetation god.


God of chaos, infertility, desert, storm

horus son of osiris and isis
Horus—son of Osiris and Isis

God of the sky, kingship, divine utterance and authority


Goddess of love, fertility, sexuality,

music, dance, alcohol


Daughter of Ra,

protective goddess


Leonine dwarf

who helped women

in childbirth

akh ba and ka
Akh, Ba, and Ka

Ba—a bird symbolizing

our concept of personality

Ibis symbolizing



Ka: intimately linked

with physical body