Eat The Fruit

Find The Truth

Egyptian Creation Myth

3 min read
The ancient Egyptians believed that in the beginning nothing existed only the endless dark water called Nun or Nu. Within this void was Heka (god of magic) who waited for the moment of creation. Out of the darkness rose the primordial hill, called the ben-ben, upon which stood the great god Atum. When Atum noticed he was alone, through magic he created two children, Shu (god of air) and Tefnut (Goddess of moisture).

Kharmacher / CC0

Shu and Tefnut went out into the darkness to establish the world. They went away from their father Atum for a long time; he became concerned, so he removed his eye and sent it to search for them. When Shu and Tefnut returned with the eye, now known as (the eye of Ra) or (the all-seeing eye), Atum was so grateful for their safe return, he cried tears of joy that rained down on the fertile earth of the ben-ben stone and created man and women.

Geb and Nut

Humans had nowhere to live, so Shu and Tefnut mated and created Geb (earth) ans Nut (the sky). The brother and sister (Geb and Nut) fell deeply in love, Atum did not like this, so he separated them putting Nut high up in the heavens. The lovers could see each other but could not touch. But Nut was already pregnant by Geb creating Osiris, Isis, Set, Nephthys, and Horus. The five earliest, most recognized gods. Osiris was given rule of the world by his father Atum who then left to do other things.

Part of the Book of the Dead of the scribe Nebqed, under the reign of Amenophis III (1391-1353 BC)

Osiris ruled the world with his sister-wife Isis and decided on the best places for trees to grow and water would flow. He Created the land in Egypt and Nile river to perfectly provide for the people. Everything was done with the principles of Ma’at (harmony) and in that way honoring his father and siblings by keeping everything in balance.

Jeff Dahl (talk · contribs) / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)

Set Tricked Osiris

Osiris’s brother Set became jealous of all his power and glory, and he was envious of all that Osiris had created. So Set devised a way to get rid of his brother and take his place. He secretly got Osiris’s measurements and had an elaborate chest made to fit his brother inside.

Set threw a great party and invited Osiris. He tricked his brother Osiris to get into the grand chest, and he slammed the lid shut and threw it into the Nile River. Set then told everyone that Osiris was dead and now he would rule the world in his place.

Isis

Isis would not accept that her husband/brother was dead and searched for him. She found the chest/coffin in a tree at Byblos and brought Osiris’s body back to Egypt. She had her sister Nephthys guard the body while she went to gather herbs to make a potion to bring him back to life.

Set worried that Isis might find Osiris’s body. He knew Isis was powerful and knew she might find a way to bring Osiris back to life. When Isis was away, he tricked Nephthys into telling him where Osiris’s body was hidden. When he found it, he tore the coffin open and cut the body into pieces. He threw the pieces of Osiris’s body all around the land of Egypt, then returned to his palace.

Finding his Body Parts

When Isis found the coffin and the body gone, she fell to her knees and cried. Nephthys felt so terrible for not keeping the secret that she helped Isis find the body parts. When they found a body part, they buried it where they found it and built a shrine on top to protect it from Set. They found all the body except for the penis a fish had eaten that. Isis made a replacement and successfully conceived their son Horus.

Isis in papyrus swamp suckling Horus

She brought Osiris back to life, but because he was incomplete, he could not rule as he did before. He went to the underworld and became lord and judge of the dead.

Rhys Davenport from United Kingdom / CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)

Their son was called Horus (the younger) so not to be confused with Osiris, brother Horus, was hidden from Set until he grew up and challenged his uncle for his rightful heir to the throne to rule his father’s kingdom. Horus defeated Set after eighty years of battle and banished him to the hot, dry desert. (There are many variants to this myth, some are that Set is destroyed). Horus ruled with his mother Isis and Nephthys and brought harmony back to the land.