Egyptian Myths and Legends

Like many other cultures Egypt also has a rich tradition of myths and legends that explain the existence and its creations. The gods and goddesses are worshiped and feared for their qualities of heroism and anger. To know more about Egyptian myths and legends keep on reading.
| Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Like most other major cultures Egyptian culture also has its share of myths and legends that are passed down generations. These Egyptian myths and legends deal with such aspects as the creation of the world and the origin of humans, plants, animals and all else. Some other myths were ritualistic and created to maintain order within the civilisation.

Famous Egyptian Myths and Legends

The Primeval Waters or Nun

As per this myth before the cosmos was created the only thing that was present was darkness that contained limitless water. This is also called the primeval nun and the father of gods. This diety can be seen in many shrines in the form of a sacred lake and this symbolises the non existence before the creation.

Atum

From Nun the creator of this world called Atum rose and it is also known as the Primeval Mound or the lord to the limit of the sky. This is also called the lord of heliopolis. Atum is the creator god who made the universe and he is the supreme lord of all the elements in the Universe. Atum created Shu and Tefnut.

Shu and Tefnut

Shu and Tefnut are considered parents of Nut and Geb in Egyptian myths and legends. The book of the dead indicates that Shu wears an ostrich plume and he is shown lifting up Nut who is the sky goddess in his arms and separating her from Geb who is her spouse. Geb is the earth god. The earth is regarded as male and the sky is considered as the female as per Egyptian myths and legends. Tefnut finds a mention within the Pyramid texts as being connected with moisture. She may be the atmosphere in the underworld but it is mentioned in the Pyramid texts as being the daughter of the sun god and who has complete direct access to him and so is called the "Eye of Ra"

Nut and Geb

Nut is a very important deity who is depicted with arms and legs that are outstretched with her body becoming the sky strewn with the stars. Her body is arched over Geb and she swallows the sun god when the day ends. Egyptian myths and legends indicate that during the night the sun god passes through her body and at the time of dawn she gives birth to the sun god again on the eastern horizon. Nut gave birth to Seth, Osiris, Isis and Nephtys.

Anubis

As per one of the legends Anubis was the son of Osiris and Nephthys and the union occurred during the time Nephthys was Seth’s consort. Fearing Seth, Nephthys exposed the child as he was born. Osiris was eventually killed by Seth and Isis found the child while looking for the body parts of Osiris. The child was adopted by Isis and Anubis was one of the deities that helped Isis reassemble Osiris. In some other traditions Anubis is regarded as the son of Nephthys or Isis and Re. Anubis is regarded as the god of mortuaries. His form is of a jackal or black dog that lies in a crouching position. He was also pictured as a human with head of a canine. Anubis in the book of the dead is also called the claimer of hearts.

Bastet

Bastet also called bast was a cat headed goddess and a local deity. She speared during the second dynasty and the fetish for cats was because they were admired for their strength, virility and also their agility. She was associated with Re and deemed his wife and daughter. The Egyptian mythology indicates that she protected Re from Apep a serpent and Maahes was her son from Re.

Isis

Isis is regarded as the Egyptian mother goddess and is the symbol of fertility and a faithful wife along with a protective mother. She is often associated with Sirius. Her symbol is the moon and often she is depicted and crowned with the lunar orb nestling between horns of a bull. Isis was Nut’s daughter and sister of Osiris. She was also his consort. She brought to life Osiris after he was dismembered by Seth. Isis searched for the body parts and assembled them with magic. Her son Horus was born in a virgin birth.

Seth

Seth also called Set was one of the first nine deities as per the Heliopolitan theological system. Seth was the third child of Nut. He wed his twin sister Nephthys. Isis and Osiris were his siblings. Seth represented violence and hostility. Legend indicates that he tore himself violently from the womb of his mother. He is depicted as an animal that resembles an aardvark with curving snout and erect ears.

Nephthys

Nephthys is one of the daughters of Nut and Geb and the twin sister of isis. She is the wife of her brother Seth. Nephtys is regarded as the goddess that assists protection during events such as child birth and also offers help to dead souls so that they can find their way to the underworld. Nephthys is regarded as the nursing mother of Horus and is depicted with some sort of a goblet and hieroglyphs that represent her name.

Sobek

Sobek is the river god and represents the produce of crops and fish from the Nile. He is also regarded as the son of Seth and goddess Neith as per some legends. He is worshipped so as to get protection from the crocodiles present in the Nile River and is considered as the patron god of the crocodiles. He is also the parton of the army of Pharoah and is depicted with a crocodile head.
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