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Ancient Egyptian Gods and Goddesses: It’s a Family Affair

Continuing the exploration of ancient Egyptian gods and goddesses, this article will explore what is dubbed a “family affair,” which consists of a mother, father, son, and daughter combination that make up a collection of rather important ancient deities.

 

Shu

 

The patron of cool dry air within ancient Egyptian religion and mythology, Shu (also referred to as Su) is depicted as a man who stands with his arms raised in the air. He is often seen holding his daughter (Nut) or standing over his son named Geb. Shu and his sister Tefnut were the first deities created by Atum. He was deemed the lord of cool air and the upper sky. Similar to Atlas, it is Shu who is often believed to have held up the firmament and kept it separate from the earth. Since Shu is the lord of air, he is also known as the creator of the wind.

 

Tefnut

 

Shu’s sister, Tefnut is the patron of moisture, as well as warm air. She is seen as the woman who is lying between the firmament and earth in a horizontal manner. At times, she is seen helping her consort Shu hold up Nut. In the beginning of time, she was well-known because she was the first deity (along with her brother Shu) to become a creation of Atum. Tefnut was viewed as important because during ancient times, Egypt rarely received rain, so as goddess of moisture , she gained quite a following. One story involving Tefnut involves the argument she has with her father, where she departed Egypt and went to Nubia. Only Thoth was able to encourage her to come back.

 

Nut

 

The Goddess of the Firmament is also the patron of the sky and the daughter of Shu. Her name is Nut and she is often seen as a naked vision that is decorated with painted stars. She bends over the world with her hands and her feet touching what is known as the four cardinal points. Most times, she is being held up by Shu, or standing over her husband (and brother), Geb. When it comes to ancient gods and goddesses, Nut is quite ancient, as she is depicted as the mother of Isis, Osiris, Set, and Nephthys. Some of Nut’s responsibilities include protecting the world from darkness, as well as all of the evil creatures and demons that come when darkness is present. It is said that the sun god would travel along Nut’s body every day and at night would enter the underworld, which was located close to her fingers.

 

Geb

 

Serving as the husband and brother of Nut, Geb is known as the God of the Earth , holding a rather important position amongst the most ancient of Egyptian gods. He would go on to create very significant children with Nut, as mentioned beforehand. Geb is usually seen in the form of a man who dons a white crown, which sometimes depicts a goose. As a sacred animal and symbol, the goose is often associated with Geb. In Egyptian belief, it is thought that earthquakes take place when Geb is laughing.