Breaking Down the Mythology of the Egyptian Goddess of the Sky: Nut

goddess of the sky

In every religion, ancient or current, there are explanations for why things exist and how they came to be.

Egyptian mythology is no exception.

Westerners are most familiar with Greek mythology.  Most of us learning Greek mythology in history class or when we read the Odyssey and/or Iliad for English class.

Yet Egyptian mythology is actually one of the coolest types of mythology to explore. Tarot and even yoga are thought to have origins in Egyptian mythology.

Maybe you’ve even heard of the sun god Ra before.

But another huge influence on Egyptian mythology was known as Nut: goddess of the Sky.

She’s a pretty influential character in Egyptian mythology.

So let’s break down the mythology of the Egyptian Goddess of the Sky: Nut.

Who is the Goddess of the Sky?

Originally the Goddess of the Nighttime Sky, Nut is considered one of the oldest deities in Egyptian mythology.

She was one of the original 9 gods and goddesses at the time of creation held at Heliopolis. The 9 original gods and goddesses of Heliopolis are known as the Ennead.

She is also mentioned in the, “Book of the Dead.

After awhile “nighttime was dropped. Now known as the goddess of the sky, Nut is also known as:

  • The Mistress of All: Or “She Who Bore the Gods” Nut was said to be lying on top of Geb and having continuous intercourse with him. This is how their children came to be.
  • She Who Holds a Thousand Souls: She is known to rebirth Ra every morning.
  • She Who Protects: One of her many jobs is to envelop and protect the sun god, Ra.
  • Coverer of the Sky: The goddess of the sky is depicted covered in stars touching parts of her body.

Since vowels are missing from hieroglyphics, her name is shown as nwt. It means sky.

It is thought to be pronounced as, “newt” or “noot”.

Her name has also shown up as:

  • Nunut
  • Nenet
  • Naunet
  • Newet

And while the spelling of the goddess of the sky’s name has changed over the years, her family tree has always been:

  • Her parents are Tefnut and Shu
  • Her husband and brother is Geb
  • Her children are: Osiris, Isis, Set, Horus and Nephthys

Who Made the Goddess of the Sky?

Nut’s parents are Tefnut and Shu.Tefnut is the Goddess of Moisture. She is also the goddess of rain, moist air, and dew.

Tefnut is the Goddess of Moisture. She is also the goddess of rain, moist air, and dew.

Shu is Nut’s father. He is the god of air.

Tefnut and Shu are also brother and sister. They are also one of the original 9 gods and goddesses of the Ennead.

They also made Geb, Nut’s brother and husband. Geb is the god of earth.

Apparently dipping into the DNA pool doesn’t affect gods in the same way as it would mere mortals.

How is the Goddess of the Sky Typically Portrayed?

Most often you see Nut portrayed in a few different ways as she represents several things.

You can often see her depicted as a woman with a vase of water resting on her head. This is because she is known as the giver of food and water.

Not only the living but also the dead.

You might also see her depicted as a woman in a downward dog type position. Nut’s hands and feet touching the ground, forming a semi-circle. This represents the heavens.

Her arms and legs represent the pillars on which the sky itself rests.

Nut is also often depicted as:

  • Protector of Souls in the Afterlife
  • A cow whose large body has created the heavens and sky
  • A sycamore tree which symbolizes protection, divinity, eternity and strength
  • A giant pig with sucklings to represent the stars
  • A big, blue woman covered with stars
  • Holding an Ankh (the key of life) as she is known as the protector of life

Who Are the Goddess of the Sky’s Children?

Nut and Geb were desperate for children but had difficulty conceiving.

According to the myth, Ra, the sun god heard about Nut and Geb trying to conceive and became furious.

Ra apparently did not want any competition. He alone wanted to rule everything.

Ra even went as far as to decree, “Nut shall not give birth on any day of the year”.

Luckily, Thoth, god of wisdom hatched a plan of his own to help the goddess of sky become a mother.

Thoth devised a plan to gamble with the god of moon Khonsu. Khonsu had as much moonlight as Ra had daylight.

Each time Khonsu lost, he had to give Thoth more moonlight. Soon Thoth had enough light to make 5 extra days.

These 5 days were not part of the 360 day calendar year. Nut now had enough days to make her children.

  • Osiris: ruler of the gods and then god of the dead
  • Isis: goddess of magic
  • Horus (the Elder): god of war*
  • Set: god of evil and wastelands
  • Nephthys: goddess of water

When Ra found out he was furious. So furious that he had Nut and Geb separated for eternity. Rather than handle the task himself, he has his son, Nut’s rather, Shu handles the eternal separation.

* In some stories Horus was not born at the same time as his siblings and in other stories, he’s actually the child of Isis and Osiris.

What’s the Story with Ra and the Goddess of the Sky?

Ra is widely thought to be the creator of all and is also known as Re and Atum.

Ra’s children are Tefnut and Shu, Nut’s parents.

However, as the myth goes, every night at sundown Ra is eaten by Nut. He then travels to the world of the dead and every morning is rebirthed.

Because of this nightly journey, the goddess of the sky is also considered the mother of Ra as well as the granddaughter of Ra.

She is therefore also considered the mother of the gods and of all things living.

Ra clearly had some mother/grandfather issues with Nut.

Talk about a confusing family tree.

While this particular family tree is mythical, yours isn’t. Visit us often to shed light on your own family tree, become a psychic or just learn more about mythology.

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