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Illustrated Guide to Mythology

Nut


Nut is the goddess of the sky, whom the Egyptians believed swallowed Ra, the sun god, every evening and gave birth to him again each morning. She is depicted with a water pot on her head to signify fertility, and a dress of stars to represent the heavens.

Nut
Nut

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Nut was the daughter of Shu and Tefnut, and the twin sister and wife of Geb, the earth god. She was often depicted as stretching out into a semi-circle over the earth with a dress covered in stars, representing the sky and the heavens. Sometimes, she was also depicted as having udders like a cow, or she was depicted as a cow, because she was thought to be the source of the Milky Way, and the source of life.

Most versions of her myth show her as crucial to the cycle of day and night. She was said to swallow Ra, the sun god, every evening and give birth to him the next morning, where he would rise throughout the day only to be swallowed again that night. Some versions of this myth place Nut as Ra’s mother because of this daily ritual. Some versions of her myth show an inseparable love between Nut and Geb, who was both her brother and her husband. Shu grew jealous of their bond and became the air that separates the sky from the earth. She was often depicted on sarcophagi because she was thought to protect souls after death.

Finally, some myths claim that Nut and Thoth were lovers. Thoth bargained with the moon to gain five days of its light so that Nut could be fertile and bear children. Before this, the calendar was only 360 days long. On each of these five extra days, Nut and Thoth are sometimes credited with giving birth to five children: Osiris, Horus, Set, Isis, and Nephthys. In other versions of the myth, Nut and Geb are the parents of these five children.


Nut

Parents

Shu and Tefnut


Domain

Sky, Heavens, Death


Symbols

  • Sky
  • Stars
  • Cow

Notable Myths

  • Birth of Ra
  • Separation by Shu
  • Five Children
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•   (English) Nut   •   (Español) Nuez   •   (Français) Écrou   •   (Deutsch) Nuss   •   (Italiana) Noce   •   (Nederlands) Moer   •   (Português) Noz   •   (עברית) אגוז   •   (العَرَبِيَّة) البندق   •   (हिन्दी) अखरोट   •   (ру́сский язы́к) Орех   •   (Dansk) Nød   •   (Svenska) Nöt   •   (Suomi) Mutteri   •   (Norsk) Nøtt   •   (Türkçe) Fındık   •   (Polski) Orzech   •   (Româna) Nuca   •   (Ceština) Matice   •   (Slovenský) Orech   •   (Magyar) Dió   •   (Hrvatski) Orah   •   (български) Гайка   •   (Lietuvos) Riešutas   •   (Slovenščina) Nut   •   (Latvijas) Rieksti   •   (eesti) Nut