From the primordial chaos emerged a creator, Atum, who wielded the power of the sun to bring order to the universe. Discover the timeless and mysterious tale of Egypt’s myth of creation.


The creation myth of Atum is a vital part of ancient Egyptian mythology, and it is believed to have originated in Heliopolis, an important religious center in ancient Egypt. This mythological tale is significant in Egyptian history as it outlines the creation of the universe, including the birth of the gods, the earth, and humankind.

The Story of Atum

According to the myth, the universe began as a chaotic and formless void, known as Nu. Atum, the sun god, emerged from the primordial waters of Nu, and through his divine power, he created the world. Atum was believed to have created himself and the universe through his divine power. He was seen as a self-generating and self-regenerating god, who was both male and female.

The Creation of the Gods

Atum created the gods through a process of self-procreation. He first created Shu, the god of air, and Tefnut, the goddess of moisture. These two deities were considered to be the parents of the earth and sky. From their union, Geb, the earth god, and Nut, the sky goddess, were born. Nut was believed to be a heavenly cow, who gave birth to the sun every morning.

The Birth of Humankind

Atum was also believed to have created humankind. He was said to have formed the first human beings, Shu and Tefnut, from his own tears. These first humans were created to serve the gods and to maintain the order of the universe.

Powers and Symbolism of Atum

Atum was one of the most significant gods in the Egyptian pantheon. He was associated with the sun, the sky, and creation. Atum was often depicted as a man with a double crown, symbolizing his power over both Upper and Lower Egypt. He was also associated with the pharaoh, who was seen as a manifestation of Atum on earth.

Atum was also associated with the concept of the Ba, which was the spirit or soul of a person. The Ba was believed to be an aspect of Atum’s divine power, and it was believed to reside in the body after death.

Atum in Egyptian Art and Literature

The myth of Atum was a popular subject in Egyptian art and literature. It was often depicted in temple inscriptions and reliefs, as well as in tomb decorations. Atum was also featured in many Egyptian creation stories, including the Memphite Theology, which was a religious text that outlined the creation of the world.


The Egyptian myth of Atum symbolizes creation, the sun’s importance, and the cyclical nature of life. Atum emerged from chaos to bring order to the universe and represents the power of self-creation. The daily and annual cycles of the sun and Nile highlight renewal and prosperity, essential to Egyptian beliefs. Atum’s legacy in art and architecture reflects his creator role, and his religious significance is evident in the many temples dedicated to him. The myth remains influential in modern interpretations of art, literature, and media. The myth’s enduring themes make it a timeless representation of ancient Egyptian beliefs and values.

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Categories: Egyptian


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