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HomeFeaturesThe Mythology Corner: Ra, Geb, Nut and How They Ruined Each Other's Lives

The Mythology Corner: Ra, Geb, Nut and How They Ruined Each Other’s Lives

The creation of the world in Egyptian Mythology is one full of… well, you can decide for yourself after reading this article. 

Once, several million years ago, when the Earth was but a child in the expansive cosmos, there was a happily married couple by the names of Nut and Geb. Nut was the goddess of the sky and heaven, and Geb was the god of the Earth. Together, they made up the largest portion of the globe.

In another corner of the Earth was the sun god Ra, who created the sun we know today by sailing across the sky daily. Fun fact, he had three forms for each of the three times of day: Khepri for morning, Khnum for the evening, and Amun for the afternoon. One day, he decided Nut and Geb needed to be separated. 

…….Maybe it was because he heard something from a prophecy about how one of the couple’s children would overthrow his rule.. Or because Geb and Nut were having too many children already….

It was already too late, though. Nut had already been pregnant with Geb’s children. Yes. Children. More on that later. 

Anyway, Ra proceeds to curse Nut, so that she’s unable to give birth on any day of the year. 

Back in those times, the year had 360 days. Nut absolutely refused to remain in the pain of pregnancy for the rest of eternity, so she goes up to Khonsu, the god of the moon, and says What’s it gonna take for me to convince you to create extra days of the year? 

Gods didn’t like using their power for no good reason, especially not for anyone’s good will. Fortunately for Nut, the god of knowledge, Thoth, intervened on her behalf. He eventually managed to win five extra days out of the moonlight he won from Khonsu. Thus the year now has 365 days.

During those five extra days that weren’t part of the year Ra had included in his curse, Nut gave birth to a child. Five children for five days. Later, these last five days of the year were known as the Demon Days, bringers of bad luck. 

Yeah, it’s supposed to be impossible to give birth that quickly, or have five different children in the womb, but these are gods. Logic has never applied. 

First was Osiris, who became the king of death. 

Then Horus, god of war and sky. 

Next, Set. god of war, chaos, and storms. 

Fourth, Isis. Goddess of magic. 

Lastly, Nephthys, goddess of the grief and other emotions that come with death. 

Oh, and through all that, Nut and Geb are still eternally separated by Shu. Unrequited love at its best. 

One day, Isis made a snake out of dirt and Ra’s spittle to poison the sun god. Some say it was to put either Osiris or Horus on the throne, others say it was to protect the world from Ra. Perhaps she wanted the throne for herself. Anyway, Ra got bitten by this gross spittle snake and had to beg for healing that no one other than Isis possessed, because well, she did make the snake. 

Isis claims that she can only remove the poison with Ra’s secret name. In Egyptian culture, the secret name holds the very core of a person, giving the wielder all the power over its owner. So you can understand why Ra felt extremely hesitant about giving Isis such information. 

However, the almighty sun god was also in a great deal of pain, so he gave Isis his secret name. Isis does heal him.. And immediately exiles Ra off the face of the Earth, as well as force him to renounce the throne of the living. Don’t worry, he’s still the King of the Heavens and Deities that come after that.  

Horus became the King of the living after that, since Ra was unable to return to Earth. The very prophecy Ra tried to prevent ends up becoming true.  

The moral of the story is, just like tests, you can’t avoid prophecies. It doesn’t mean you can’t try, though.

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