On Nut and Geb’s Pain

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In order for there to be life, in order for there to be space on Earth for life to be, Nut, the sky, was ripped away from her husband Geb, the earth. She is held in place above us by her father and mother, Shu and Tefnut. But despite this, Nut struggles to get back to her husband; she struggles so hard that her mother is sometimes brought to tears.

Nut is the mother of the netjeru; of Ausir, Sutekh, Heru, Aset, and Nebhet. Because she was cursed by Re, she carried them long past her due date, suffering until Djehuty finally found a way to relieve her pain. Even then, her pain still wasn’t over; Sutekh himself was said to claw his way out of her.

Nut’s separation from Geb, and the pain that she subsequently felt due to it, is something that I think about every time I see the night sky.

And it sometimes strikes me that she must be very selfish; she needs Geb so badly that she tries to reach him, ignoring the potential consequences to life on earth.

But most of the time, I think of her being in a lot of pain; so much pain that she can’t think beyond herself. And if that’s the case, think of how cruel Re is towards her; forcing Shu and Tefnut to hold Nut away from Geb for eons, regardless of what that means she goes through.

Or, maybe it’s all of it at once. Nut is being selfish, Nut is in pain, Re is being cruel, and everyone is suffering, but at the same time life on Geb’s body must be allowed to continue living.

Perhaps I’m overthinking the myth. But it really strikes me what an ugly system that is; that, mythologically speaking, the world only exists because of Nut and Geb’s pain. I mean, taken metaphorically, what does that say about the nature of our world? Of the worlds that we build around us?

Maybe that “The nature of the world is pain”. I think that’d be a fair assessment, honestly. But I think a better assessment would be that “creation is the result of pain*”. Nut and Geb’s separation had a point; it wasn’t done senselessly, it was done in order to make the world habitable.

And this is something that I can see applied to our lives. For example, if you’re with a partner, and ultimately, that  person is more harmful to you than beneficial (whether they mean to be or not), you have to pull yourself away from them, no matter how much that hurts. Or if you’re in a job that’s going to prevent you from doing what you want to do, so you have to quit.

OR it could be just another expression of how much the world sucks sometimes. I’m down with that too.

Anyway. That’s all I’ve got on that right now. I know this is pretty short, but thanks for reading. I appreciate your time. 🙂

*I mean, unless you’re Atum masturbating the world into existence, in which case, whatever; you do you. (haha, do you see what I did there?)


5 thoughts on “On Nut and Geb’s Pain

    cardsandfeather said:
    June 25, 2016 at 4:25 am

    Wow, that’s a lot of good food for thought. It can contrast (or echo) the creation of man: either from the tears of joy Re cried when he was reunited with Tefnut and Shu or the tears of loss he cried when he lost them at the start of creation. I’ve always thought the theme was unity, either way: humankind was born of separation and unity. This interpretation of that myth continues the theme (albeit in a darker way).

    Very good thoughts. This was an excellent post; principally because it makes the reader reconsider something they previously may have felt they understood and look critically at the implications of myth. This being one of the myths I most enjoy, I’m really going to take some time on this (and I’m reblogging).

    Thank you so much for sharing!!

    Liked by 1 person

      Ian Allen responded:
      July 2, 2016 at 6:01 pm

      I hadn’t thought at all about the theme of separation and unity; that’s a really good insight. I really like the comparison to the creation of man- I don’t really think about that myth much, and I’m glad you brought it up. It’s too that in both cases, pain is a part of the creation process (in one case, pain salved, and the in other, pain endured).

      Thank you! I appreciate you saying so. It’s also one of my favorite myths. 🙂 There’s something very appealing about the creation of earth and sky. (And thanks!)

      Liked by 1 person

    Louise Pare-Lobinske said:
    June 25, 2016 at 6:37 pm

    Interesting. I had not thought of this in this way before. I’m still researching the different Kemetic creation stories – I keep hoping to find a book that compares and contrasts them. Thanks for this post.


      Ian Allen responded:
      July 2, 2016 at 6:03 pm

      Let me know if you find it! I’d love to see a compilation of all the different versions of the creation. 🙂 It’d be interesting to really get into the similarities and differences between them.

      Liked by 1 person

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