Egyptian Mythology

Egyptian Creation Myths

How was humanity created according to Egyptian myth?

The Egyptian religion paid relatively little attention to humans or human heroes. The primary concern of all the Egyptian cult centers was deities. There are, however, fragments of myths about the creation of humans. In the Coffin Texts we are told by Atum that human beings were the product of “the tears of my eye,” “my eye” being the Single Eye personified as a goddess—for instance, Hathor or Sekhmet—sent out by Atum-Ra to bring his children Shu and Tefnut back to him in the early stages of the creation. The Eye of Ra, then, represents the drive for order in creation, because without Shu and Tefnut—air and water—placed between the bodies of Geb and Nut—Earth and Sky—there would be no room for life. The reason for the Eye’s tears is unclear, but the most likely reason stems from her anger and disappointment when she returns with Shu and Tefnut to discover that the high god had substituted a new Eye—the solar Eye—the sun, for her. To placate the first Eye, Atum makes her into the cobra, the symbol of which was placed on the crown of Egyptian kings.

One of the creator’s gifts to humans was the Nile, with its annual flood and the possibility of humans joining him after death in his solar barque.


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