Mircea Eliade "From Primitives to Zen": EGYPTIAN COSMOGONY AND THEOGONY
('The Book of Overthrowing Apophis')
The following text is from 'The Book of Overthrowing Apophis,' a late work, but one which
conserves basic material from a relatively early period.
The Lord of All, after having come into being, says: I am he who came into being as Khepri (i.e.,
the Becoming One). When I came into being, the beings came into being, all the beings came into
being after I became. Numerous are those who became, who came out of my mouth, before heaven
ever existed, nor earth came into being, nor the worms, nor snakes were created in this place. 1,
being in weariness, was bound to them in the Watery Abyss. I found no place to stand. I thought
in my heart, I planned in myself, I made all forms being alone, before I ejected Shu, before I spat
out Tefnut 1 before any other who was in me had become. Then I planned in my own heart, and
many forms of beings came into being as forms of children, as forms of their children. I conceived
by my hand, I united myself with my hand, I poured out of my own mouth. I ejected Shu, I spat out
Tefnut. It was my father the Watery Abyss who brought them up, and my eye followed them (?)
while they became far from me. After having become one god, there were (now) three gods in me.
When I came into being in this land, Shu and Tefnut jubilated in the Watery Abyss in which they
were. Then they brought with them my eye. After I had joined together my members, I wept over
them, and men came into being out of the tears which came out of my eyes.2 Then she (the eye)
became enraged3 after she came back and had found that I had placed another in her place, that
she had been replaced by the Brilliant One. Then I found a higher place for her on my brow4 and
when she began to rule over the whole land her fury fell down on the flowering (?) and I replaced
what she had ravished. I came out of the flowering (?), I created all snakes, and all that came into
being with them. Shu and Tefnut produced Geb and Nut; Geb and Nut produced out of a single
body Osiris, Horus the Eyeless one 5 Seth, Isis, and Nephthys, one after the other among them.
Their children are numerous in this land.
1 Shu the air, Tefnut the moist.
2 Same myth in the Book of Gates, division 4 (The Tomb of Ramesses VI, P. 169).
3 An allusion to the myth of the Eye of the sun god which departs into a foreign land and is
brought back by Shu and Tefnut. Another aspect. of this myth is to be found in the Book of the
4 The fire-spitting snake, the uraeus on the head of the god.
5 The Elder Horus of Letopolis.
Translation and notes by Alexandre Piankoff, in his The Shrines of Tut-ankh-amon (New York,
1955), P. 24. Cf. the translation by John A. Wilson, in ANET, pp. 6-7
Myths of Creation and Origin | Main Menu | Keyword Search
Bibliography for this page:
More on Ancient Egypt:
More on Creation:
More on Cosmogony: