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Egyptian Mythology: The Creation Story

Updated on May 4, 2008

Egyptian Gods

Depending on the different creation myth that you look at, the differences will be slight, but there. Before you look at the creation story, you need to be aware of the most famous Egyptian Gods.

  • Atum (Atum-Ra)- the chief god of Heliopolis; "the complete one;" the god of the setting sun
  • Thoth- the chief god of Hermopolis; "leader;" the god of wisdom and the moon
  • Chnum (Khnemu)- the chief god of the triad of Elephantine; "protector/enricher;" the god of the Nile and the Inundation
  • Amon- the chief god of the triad of Thebes; "the hidden one"
  • Ptah- chief god of the triad of Memphis; "creator;" the mummified creator god of Memphis

Do remember that depending on the area that you look into, the names of the Gods will vary.


Egyptian Creation Myth #1

From the beginning of time, there was only the watery chaos, called Nu. Atum (Amun, Amen), the sun god of the city of Heliopolis, rose up from the chaotic waters with only his thoughts and will.

With no place to stand in, except the watery chaos where he appeared, he created a hill. (It was said that the Temple of Heliopolis was built on top of this hill.) With the creation of the hill, it represented the coming of light into the darkness of Nu.

Sine he was the only god in the world, he wanted to create more gods, but without a mate he could not reproduce, so Atum made a union with his shadow. This unusual way of producing offspring was not considered strange to the Egyptians.

We see Atum as a bisexual god, ans sometimes consider him as the "Great He-She."

He was the one and only creative force in the universe. (Some texts say that the birth of Atum's children was on the hill, while others say that Atum stayed in the waters of Nu to give birth.)

He gave birth to his son by spitting him out, and he gave birth to his daughter by vomiting.

Shu was the son and the god of air, while Tefnut was the goddess of moisture. Shu and Tefnut continued the line of creation by setting up a social order.

To the order, Shu supplied the "Principles of Life," and Tefnut contributed the "Principles of Order."

Some time after their birth, Shu and Tefnut got lost in the watery chaos of Nu. Atum, who had only one eye which was removable. He removed his eye, which was called the Udjat eye, and sent it to search for his children.

In no time, the eye returned with the children. Atum wept like a baby with tears of joy after seeing his children. The place where the tears dropped, men came to form. With his children, Atum was ready to create the world.

After some time, Shu and Tefnut gave birth to two children, Geb, the earth, and Nut, the sky, who later became the parents of Osiris, Isis, Set, and Nephthys.


Egyptian Creation Myth #2

The sun god, Ra, takes the form of Khepri, the scarab god who was mostly credited as the great creative force of the universe.

In a quote, Khepri tells us that in the beginning, nothing existed before him, not heaven nor earth. He , also, said everything came out of his mouth, that he raised from Nu, the watery abyss, to which he, also, created and used the material in it to make everything.

At first, he tells us that he had no place to sit, so he cast a spell with his own heart to lay a foundation in ma'at (law, order, and stability).

He created everything and was alone.

Later, he decided to create more gods, so he breathed the god, Shu (the god of air) and spit up the goddess Tefnut (the goddess of moisture).

The sun, which was called the eye of Nu, was hidden. And, not long afterwards, Shu and Tefnut brought their father his eye, the sun. Khepri cried, and his tears became men and women.

Later, the gods made another eye, which became the moon.

After this, Khepri created animals and plates, while Shu and Tefnut became parents to Geb, earth, and Nut, sky. Then Geb and Nut gave birth to Osiris, Isis, Set, and Nephthys.


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