Nut (goddess)

goddess of the sky in the Ennead of Egyptian mythology

In Egyptian mythology, Nut was the goddess of the sky. Her body made a protective layer over the Earth. Nut was the sister and wife of Geb, and the mother of (with Ra) Osiris, Nephthys,Isis and Seth and grandmother of Horus. Horus was also a grandchild of Ra.

The sky goddess Nut as a cow
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Nut (nwt)
in hieroglyphs

The ancient Egyptians believed that Nut swallowed the sun-god, Ra, every night and gave birth to him every morning.

Worship change

Although Nut was pictured in many temples and tombs, as well as on ceilings. She was not well observed in popular places.

Purpose change

Nut with wings on a sarcophagus

Nut was the goddess of the sky but had many other purposes as well. She had three other names: Nuit, Newet, and Nueth. Nut was known as the mother of all gods, including Ra (her grandfather) because she swallowed him up every night and gave birth to him again in the morning. She was also the mother of heavenly bodies, whose laughter was thunder and tears were rain. She often carried the sun across the sky. She played a part in funeral beliefs and was sometimes drawn on the tops of sarcophagi. Nut was one of the nine major gods. She was the personification of the sky and the heavens. Egyptians called her "the mother of the sky". Nut was one of the oldest deities among history.

Appearance change

As the sky goddess, Nut was shown arching over Geb (earth god), her fingertips near his head and her toes by his feet. She was commonly pictured dark blue and wore no robes, although some Egyptians believed that Nut wore a rainbow-colored robe, with stars all over her body. Big paintings of her were often found on ceilings of tomb chambers. She can be seen with small vulture wings or a vase on her head. She was often shown as a cow, when carrying the sun across the sky. The cow was a very motherly figure.

Nut was a very beautiful and kind goddess. She was loving, and caring. She fell in love with Thoth, the god of knowledge, and Geb, the god of the Earth. She was a motherly figure and a very strong and independent goddess, for she would not marry just any person. She did what she wanted and when angered she never let anyone stand in her way.

Family change

Nut had a strong relationship with Geb, her twin brother, as well as Thoth the god of scribes and wisdom. She was the goddess of the Sky and Geb was the god of the Earth. In the morning they were separated but at night they came together, which created the darkness. This is a story the ancient Egyptians used to explain their 365-day calendar. Nut loved Geb and Thoth, but she was married to Ra. When Ra found out about her secret loves, he was furious. He told Nut that she could not have any children on any of the 360 days of the year. This saddened her, so she went to Thoth for help. She gambled with Khonsu (the moon god) to create 5 more days, so she and Geb could have five children. The children were: Osiris was first, Horus was second, Set was third, Isis was fourth, and Nephthys was the fifth. She and Ra also had one daughter named Sekhmet, the lion goddess, who had a flip personality called Hathor the goddess of love and peace. Nut is gorgeous and worshipped, and she was a protective goddess, like Bast (the cat goddess).

Calendar change

The ancient Egyptians had three calendars, but the Agricultural one was the one that was used in everyday life. It was made up of three seasons, each containing four months. The seasons were Akhet, (the inundation) Peret (when the water retreated) and Shemu (harvest season). Nut loved Geb, but Ra was not happy that she loved Geb so he told Shu, their father (the air god) to separate them. Then, Ra put a curse on Nut so she could not have babies on any of the three-hundred sixty days of the year. Thoth wanted to let Nut be able to have babies so he challenged Khonsu, the moon god, to a game of Senet. If he won, he would be able to add five days to the year. If he lost, he would be killed. Thoth won and added five more days to the year. On the first day, Nut had Osiris to replace Ra, but Set later deceived him and Osiris became god of the underworld. On the second day she had Horus, the war god. On the third day, she had Set, the god of storms, evil, and Chaos, on the forth day she had Isis the goddess of magic, and on the fifth day she had Nephthys the river goddess. After a long time, the Egyptians realized the calendar was off because they did not have the quarter day at the end, like we do by having leap years. The calendar said it was flood season, but the flood did not come until later. The ancient Egyptians noticed the star Sirius would rise right before the flood. They used this as the beginning of the year and as the beginning of flooding.

Notes and references change

  1. Fleming, Fergus & Lothian, Alan The Way to Eternity P. 52
  2. Lesko, Barbara The Great Goddesses of Egypt pp. 22–23
  3. Thames & Hudson The Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient #Egypt p. 160-61
  4. Lons, Veronica, Egyptian Mythology pp. 48–50
  5. Lurker, Manfred The Gods and Symbols of Ancient Egypt P. 90
  1. The hieroglyphics (top right) spell nwt or nut. Egyptians never wrote Nuit. (Collier and Manley p. 155)

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