|Amongst the group who believed in the
Ennead, a form
mythology centred in Heliopolis, Geb
(also spelt Seb, and Keb) was the personification
of the earth, and indeed this is what his
name means - earth, and thus it was said
that when he laughed, it caused earthquakes.
Since the egyptians held that their underworld
was literally that, under the earth, Geb
was sometimes seen as containing the dead,
or imprisoning those not worthy to go to
In the Ennead, he is the husband
of Nuit, the sky, the son of the primordial
elements Tefnut (moisture) and Shu
(dryness), and the father to the four lesser gods of the system
- Osiris, Set,
Isis, and Nephthys.
In this context, Geb was said to have originally been engaged
in eternal sex with Nuit, and had to
be separated from her by Tefnut.
Consequently, in early depictions he was shown reclining,
with his phallus pointed towards Nuit.
||As time progressed, the glyph used in
his name became more associated with the
habitable land of egypt, and so thus vegetation.
Likewise, since it was used as his name,
he too became associated with vegetation,
with barley being said to grow upon his
ribs, and was depicted with plants and other
green patches on his body. Gradually, vegetation
began to be thought of as something that
ought to be fat, and plump, and so the hieroglyph
was used in these words too.
Because of this association with fatness, and vegetation,
and so forth, the individual glyph became used as the word
for goose. Indeed, the accession of a new pharaoh was announced
by releasing four wild geese, to the four corners of the sky,
to bless his reign with prosperity. This lead to Geb's name
also taking the meaning goose, and so, it was for this reason
that Geb became called the Great Cackler, and subsequently
represented as a black goose, where black represented the
fertile soil. When the Ennead and
Ogdoad later merged, it was thus
Geb who was considered the goose who laid the egg from which
His association with vegetation, and sometimes with the underworld,
also brought him the occasional interpretation
that he was the wife of Renenutet, a minor goddess
of the harvest, who was the mother of Nehebkau,
a god associated with the underworld, who was
on the same occasions said to be his son by
The Hymn of Geb says:
Behold, I rejoice on my standard,
on my seat.
I am the creator of darkness,
making his place in the limits of the
the ruler of infinity.
I rejoice in the lord of the palace.
My nest is unseen; I have broken the egg.
I am the lord of millions of years.
I have made my nest in the limits of the
and descended to the earth as the Goose,
who drives out all sins.
and Goddesses Menu
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