Egyptian Creation Story
The Egyptian culture is a very old and rich one that has fascinated the world for centuries, if not longer. What we do not know about them, we fill in with fantasy and new movies. As with most cultures, the story of the creation of the world was passed down from generation to generation so there can be variations of the story within all the sub-cultures of Egypt. The Egyptians explained how creation began from the nature they saw around them. The largest elements were the Nile River and the sun, so each of these played a major part in the creation story.
Here is how one of those older Egyptians might have told his great-grandchildren about the beginning.
A Version of the Egyptian Story
Come, children. It is time to learn where you came from and who you should honor to for it.
Long ago, before there was anything that you see now, there was Nu. He was the Great Waters. Deep within him lived eight gods known as Ogdoad. They were Nun and Nunet who were gods of the deep waters. Heh and Hehet ruled the endless space. Kek and Keket controlled darkenss. Amon and Amonet ruled all that was invisible. They were guard the Great Egg in which the Creator slept.
Eventually the Great Egg started to crack. It split in two and divided the Nun into two parts: what you hear us call the Upper and the Lower. In between the parts, a space was left so that the Creator could begin to create the rest of the world.
A large blue Lotus rose up from the egg and passed through the deep waters. Once it had risen above the waters, it opened its petals to reveal the Creator, Amen-Re. Light shone from Amen-Re and pushed darkness to the ends of the universe. He rose up into the space and released the loudest cry that ended the silence that had always been. From this sound, Toth, the god of wisdom was created.
Amon-Re then returned to the space that was left between the Upper and Lower and created an island to call home. As time went on he realized that being alone can be painful. So, he began to create everything else.
The creator first created Maat, the goddess of Balance, Truth, and Justice. He realized how important this would be for all creation. Maat became the wife of Thoth and together wisdom and truth ruled. The creator continued to create other beings and giving them authority. There was the god of air, Shu. He created the goddess of moisture, Tefnut.
Amon-Re still felt very alone. So, he reached up and removed one of his eyes and from it created his daughter. Hathor became the goddess of the sky and was given a place of honor in Amon-Re’s forehead taking the shape of the great cobra that you know as the Uraeus serpent.
Shu took Tefnut as a wife and twins were given to them, Geb the god of earth and Nut, goddess of the heavens. Amon-Re took Nut for his wife though in her heart she wanted her brother, Geb, to be her husband. They began to meet secretly not knowing the chaos they were causing. Amon-Re discovered them on day and in anger separated them. He pushed sky way above the earth. Shu was placed between them to prevent any more encounters.
But the chaos still remained. Re discovered that his wife was to have children by Geb. He punished her by preventing her from ever giving birth. The children would stay within her forever. Nut was devastated that she could not be with her lover and could not hold her children in her arms. Her loud cries penetrated the whole universe. Thoth, the god of wisdom, heard her cries and began to search for a way to comfort her. He decided to challenge the mood goddess, Silene, into risking a part of her light for each day of the year. He won the wager which is why as the month goes on you will see Silene’s glow grow smaller and smaller. He took the light he won and when all those little pieces of light were put together, five extra days were created that he could add to the year. Since these days were not part of the original creation of Re and did not fall into any of the months Re ordained, Thoth found a way for Nut to give birth to her children. So on each of those five days, Nut gave birth to a child. Day 1 was Osiris. Day 2 was Elder Horus. Day 3 was Set who was the god of warfare. Day 4 was Isis who was the goddess of love. Day 5 was Nephthys.
Osiris took Isis as his wife; and Set took Nephthys as his wife.
Over time Re began to create other gods and many spirits and demons. Eventually, Re created Man and all the animals on the earth. He created the land of Khemet or Egypt and placed man there. Re placed the desert around man to protect him and the Nile was to flood the earth to provide rich soil
So is the story of the creation.
Studying different stories of creation from culture to culture is very fascinating as you begin to see the many similarities and the differences that reflect the core of the culture’s beliefs and practices. It also helps to understand many of the culture’s practices and the artifacts that are found.