Egyptian Mythology

Egyptian Creation Myths

Is there a myth of the forced separation of world parents in Egypt?

As in the Sumerian system, Earth and Sky were continually together in an apparently endless act of intercourse. But, as in the case of An and Ki (Sky and Earth) in the Sumerian system, they had to be separated to make room between them for the created world. Logically enough, it was to Shu (Air) that the responsibility of separating his children fell. Thus, we find many depictions of Shu standing on Geb, often still sexually aroused, and pushing Nut up to form the arched sky full of stars and other heavenly bodies.

Now there was space in which the creator could arise as the sun god Ra, bringing light and warmth to the world as he rode his solar barque across the sky. And children could be born to Geb and Nut. These children were the great man-god Osiris, his sister and wife Isis, their sister Nephtys, and her evil brother-husband Seth, all principals in the myth cycle that would dominate Egyptian religion and mythology from about 2480 B.C.E.

A circa thirteenth-century B.C.E. artwork found in the tomb of Queen Nefertari, depicting the sun god Ra (right) and Imentet (left), a goddess who represented the necropoleis west of the Nile River.


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