The origin of the world, according to Egyptian mythology
As my blog is still young, I will continue with the idea of presenting origin of the world stories. This time it’s the turn of the Egyptian mythology.
In the beginning
In the beginning, there was only an immense sea of dark waters. It was an infinite ocean, which the Egyptians called “The Primordial Ocean” or Nun. This ocean contained all the elements of a potential cosmos. Among these elements was included the spirit of the world, which had not yet acquired consciousness.
But since nothing is forever, this spirit awoke, and took the name of Ra. The sun god was born. Another version says that the consciousness of Autum arose spontaneously. It’s the energy that awakens the world. This consciousness emitted a sound, in the shape of a bird (?) And created time. This bird flew in all directions, ordering chaos. Then Autum evolved and became Ra. In any case, Ra was the first being to be born from that sea of primordial chaos.
A lonely god
But Ra felt lonely, so he decided to create more things. With his breath he created Shu, god of the wind, and with his saliva, he created Tefnut, which represents moisture. You may ask: did it have to be so eschatological? Well, I don’t know, but he was a god and, I suppose, he could do whatever he wanted.
The goddess Tefnut is usually represented with the head of a lioness, carrying the sun disk, the ank and the scepter. She can also appear with horizontal horns and two feathers.
Shu is also depicted with the head of a lion. Together they form the first divine couple.
After that miracle of creation of questionable taste, Ra ordered his “children” to live at the other end of the Nun.
A country was born
Once he got rid of his children, Ra realized that it was a bit uncomfortable to live between so much humidity. So he decided to create a dry space. He made the land emerge directly from the Nun and called it Egypt. And just as it had arisen from the waters, so it would also live on these, so he decided to create the Nile River.
And as the earth became very empty, he also created plants, animals and human beings. He created everything from the Nun. Ra began naming things and they began appearing in reality as he named them. Cool trick! Isn’t it?
While Ra looked the other way
While Ra was very entertained by creating things, Shu and Tefnut were killing time… the way a man and a woman do when you leave them alone. From this divine porn two children were born: Geb, the god of earth and Nut, the goddess of the sky. And as usual in mythology, these two didn’t care the fact that they were siblings and got married. This made Shu feel jealous. So he cursed them and parted them, holding the sky above his head and shoulders, and pinning the earth with his feet. Since then, the wind lies between the earth and the sky. But even this, did not stop Nut from having more children: The stars.
And where is Ra when he is needed?
Not very happy with Shu’s maneuver, Gueb and Nut asked Ra for help. They asked permission to be together, even if only for five days every year. Thus, they had five children: Nephthys, Haroeris, Isis, Osiris and Seth.
Another version says that Ra sent one of his eyes to look for Shu and Tefnut, to tell him what they were doing. But when the eye returned, it found that its dear master had replaced it. The poor eye began to cry and Ra, to console him, placed it on his forehead. The eye then became the sun and from its tears, the first humans that populated Egypt were born.
In another version, the creator of humanity was a ram-shaped god named Jnum. He created them on a potter’s wheel and gave them a soul. He paid special attention to the creation of the pharaohs, to whom he gave his life energy (his ka).
Once he finished creating all things, Ra proclaimed himself pharaoh and took the form of a man. But something went wrong: he started getting old. This caused the people around him to lose respect for him. Then what had to happen happened:
One day, Isis secretly followed Ra, and witnessed how his saliva fell from his mouth and, when it touched the ground, it turned into mud. (Yes, the thing with saliva, again). Isis took the clay and began to make crafts: By kneading the clay, she formed a snake and breathed life into it.
The serpent bit Ra, causing him a deadly disease. With the excuse of helping him, Isis asked Ra to pronounce his real name, since this allowed access to a great magical power. Ra revealed it to her, but made Isis swear that only Horus would know it, and no one else.
Thus, Ra escaped from death, but could not rule Egypt anymore. Instead, Osiris and Isis ruled, as I already mentioned in my post: Osiris and his dysfunctional family. And it seems that in the dysfunctional area, we will also have to include Isis: After what he did to Ra…
And where did Ra go?
Since then, every morning, Ra travels the sky in a boat, which floats over Nut. In that same boat, Ra transports the sun.
Every night, Nut swallows the sun. But Ra continues his journey through the underworld (the Duat). There he must go through twelve gates (one for each hour of the night). These gates are guarded by the snake Apep (Apophis for the Greeks). This snake tries to devour the sun and Ra must defend it.
At the end of the night, Ra ends his journey through the Duat, and reappears again with his boat in the daytime sky, to begin his journey again. So the cycle repeats day after day, night after night.
And what happened to the Nun?
The Egyptians believed that the Nun surrounded the sky and that, one day, it might spill out and flood the earth. Could this be the Egyptian version of the end of the world? Well, the Egyptians believed in a cyclical universe. So I suppose they would believe in a post-flood world, but I don’t know for sure.
What do you think? Leave your impressions in the comments.
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