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from Goddesses and Heroines
|Exerpt from Goddess & Heroines by Patricia
[Used by permission. This text is NOT included in the Goddess Oracle]
Once, long before our earth existed, the great sky goddess Nut lay across the body of her small brother the earth, holding him in constant intercourse. But--so said the ancient Egyptians--the high god Ra disapproved of their incessant incest, and he commanded the god Shu to separate the pair.
Shu hoisted Nut into a great arch, but--such was the goddess's desire for her little brother Geb--he was forced to remain forever holding them apart, supporting the star-spangled belly of the sky queen. And that is how we see Nut in Egyptian art: a woman standing on her toes and bending forward in a perfect arch, her fingers touching the earth opposite her feet, her hair falling down like rain. So she stood, on the inside of sarcophagi, where as mother of the dead she stretched her long body protectively over the mummy.
Ra cursed Nut for her love, forbidding her to bear children during any month of the year. But the god Thoth outwitted the curse, playing draughts with the moon and winning from him five intercalary days, days not attached to any month, which float between the years. And in these five days, from her brother's seed already within her, Nut produced five children: the sister goddesses Isis and Nephthys, their mates Osiris and Set, and the sun god Horus.
Sometimes Nut took the form of a huge cow; such was the shape she wore when the god Ra decided to abandon the earth. She kneeled so that he could climb on her. Then up, up she strained, bearing the god upon her back until she became dizzy from the weight. Four gods instantly rushed to hold up Nut's vast body, remaining thereafter as the world's four pillars.
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Published by Llewellyn, copyright 1997. Used by permission of the author.