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The Ogdoad
 
In Egyptian mythology, the Ogdoad are the eight deities worshipped in Hermopolis. They were arranged in four male-female pairs, with the males associated with frogs, and the females with snakes: Nu/Naunet, Amun/Amaunet, Kuk/Kauket, Huh/Hauhet. Apart from their gender, there was little to distinguish the male god in a pair from the female goddess, indeed the names of the females are merely the female forms of the male name. Essentially, each pair represents the male and female aspect of one of four concepts, namely water (Nu/Naunet), air (Amun/Amunet), darkness (Kuk/Kauket), and eternity (Huh/Hauhet).     

Creation Myth
Together the four concepts represent the primal fundamental state of the beginning, they are what always was. In the myth, however, their interaction ultimately proved to be unbalanced, resulting in the arising of a new entity. When the entity opened, it revealed Ra, the fiery sun, inside. After a long interval of rest, Ra, together with the other gods, created all other things.

There are two main variations on the nature of the entity containing Ra.

Egg variant
The original version of the myth has the entity arising from the waters after the interaction as a mound of dirt, the milky way, which was deified as Hathor. In the myth an egg was laid upon this mound by a celestial bird. The egg contained Ra. In the original version of this variant, the egg is laid by a cosmic goose (it is not explained where the goose originates). However, after the rise of the cult of Thoth, the egg was said to have been a gift from Thoth, and laid by an Ibis, the bird with which he was associated.

Lotus variant
Later, when Atum had become assimilated into Ra as Atum-Ra, the belief that Atum emerged from a (blue) lotus bud, in the Ennead cosmogeny, was adopted and attached to Ra.
The lotus was said to have arisen from the waters after the explosive interaction as a bud, which floated on the surface, and slowly opened its petals to reveal the beetle, Khepri, inside. Khepri, an aspect of Ra representing the rising sun, immediately turns into a weeping boy - Nefertum (young Atum), whose tears form the creatures of the earth. In later egyptian history, as the god Khepri became totally absorbed into Ra, the lotus was said to have revealed Ra, the boy, straight away, rather than Ra being Khepri temporarily. Sometimes the boy is identified as Horus, although this is due to the merging of the myths of Horus and Ra into the one god Ra-Herakty, later in egyptian history.     

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This article is copied from an article on Wikipedia.org - the free encyclopedia created and edited by online user community. Although the vast majority of the wikipedia encyclopedia articles provide accurate and timely information please do not assume the accuracy of any particular article. This article is distributed under the terms of GNU Free Documentation License.

 

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