In some mythologies, they say that the world was created from the belly of Tiamat and in others, they say that a faceless omnipotent, nameless being created it in seven days. In still other mythos, they’ll tell you that three gods came together to create a place called Midgard, a home for the human race. But in my mythology, I see the endlessness that is darkness and night. It is a place of chaos and in this land of isfet there is nothing for a long time. It has a rhythm though and like the uterine rhythm that brings the birth of children, this rhythm brought about the birth of the oversized lotus blossom. This blossom was special for it was the start of all things. It was the start of ma’at.
And for eternities that human minds cannot possibly understand, this nothingness held on to the lotus blossom. It was closed to the fathomless Nun that surrounded it. Within it was the most beautiful child that had ever been created and would ever be created. It was the ultimate creator within: Re, Atum, Amun, and Nefertem. All lived within, but they were all different as well as the same. They lived for so long in the beauty that was a lotus blossom that they hadn’t a clue what could be on the other side of so lovely a prison. But, as with all things, time comes and time goes. And as with all things, the time had come for the lotus blossom to show the sun-deity that there was nothingness all around.
It’s a lonely existence when you realize that you are standing amid the watery Nun. There is no chatter and there is no laughter. There are no tears, there are no angry words, and there are no activities to keep you occupied. There are no other people to live with. A lonely existence is something that we, as human beings, can use to relate to our creator because just as he once lived amid nothingness, chaos, and silence, so too can we. It is this moment that connects us most soundly with our creator. And it is in those moments that, just as the sun-deity did, we must begin to craft friendships and craft things to do. Unlike the creator, our craftiness does not mean we must create an entire world to play in at least not in the same sense as Re, Atum, Amun, Nefertem, etc. had to create. But it can be similar when you live in that silent place. A world to create within our minds’ eye can be similar to the very one that the god created for us. And as I said, it is in that moment that you can most find yourself truly connected to a deity who has long since stopped living in this realm…
Creation happens whether we want it to or not and it is a mystery in how such things come about. So, too, is the creation of this world. So many different myths have come to us over the years that it begins to wear on you, trying to figure out how things came to be. But, that’s not the point in this story. This story isn’t about creation, per se, and it isn’t about the boring existence that the solar-deity must have lived prior to creation manifesting. This story is about Geb and Nut.
Fairy tales are things that children believe in. They are the sum total of knowledge that is passed down from generation to generation with little lessons provided therein. But, sometimes, a fairy tale is more than just a story to learn how to be a better human being. Sometimes, they are stories set to the reality of something and it is that infinitesimal second of reality that we must seek out and we must learn. This particular tale is about a pair of lovers.
Lovers, when we as modern humans think about it, are two people who love each other. They manifest that love in various ways. They live together, they marry, and they have children together. They fight, but they make up. They do nice things for one another. These are the images that we craft when we think about love, but sometimes, when we really think about love, we start to consider it in megalithic terms. It isn’t just about two people living together and producing offspring, but about a love so powerful and so great that it puts anything we see today to shame.
The first love story was the story of Geb and Nut.
The creator’s first chance at creating a world to live in didn’t work out quite so well. He had two children that he created himself with the power of his iron will. Those children were Shu and Tefnut. They loved one another very much and played often. Shu was the air that we currently breathe and it was that air that he would shoot to his sister-wife, Tefnut, who was rain and moisture. Just as their father held dominion over all things, they held dominion over their powers. And together, they played as children would, but the creator was unhappy with this arrangement. They were so in love with another and still, he was so lonely. Besides, the ultimate goal hadn’t been for him to create playmates or friends, but to create an entire world and in the first words that he uttered, the failure was born.
He knew how to bide his time by then because he had been biding it long since. And with that, he knew that children would be born to the sister and brother that he had crafted into being. And before long, as he knew it would, that was exactly what happened.
The two that were born were Geb and Nut. Geb was a man born the color of gold and green and beauty incarnate. His sister-wife, Nut, was born of blue and gold. The moment that they were aware, the awareness wasn’t of their parents or their grandfather or the Nun or the lotus blossom that the solar-deity still lived on. It was of one another. And that awareness was so absolute that they knew there was no way that they could ever live apart, for without one another they would only be half a person, half a soul, and not worth it. So, they lived together. Their arms wrapped about one another and their legs side by side in their lovers’ embrace.
Watching the two lovers together was to know what love truly was. Knowing the two of them was to gift others with the jealousy and heartache, sorrow and longing. To know the two of them was to know that the perfection they had achieved in the embraces of one another was something that no one else would ever know. It is that knowing that humanity was given, perhaps as a punishment or perhaps as a window into our very souls, but it is an awareness that sits true today. We see the lovers together and we know that there is nothing in our lives that can ever achieve the same perfection that Nut and Geb knew in one another’s arms. Their moments were eternity, but it was an eternity that had to end: the solar deity had plans and the lovers were messing those plans up something fierce.
So, the creator went to his son, Shu, and said, “I had plans. Your children mucking about with things they know not.”
But Shu was a loving father and he said, “But they are in love. They are happy. Let them be. Let’s start again.”
By that time, the creator was tired of creating. He was tired of starting again. It takes a lot of someone, whether they are a god or a human being, to create life. And our eminent creator had plans. They were plans within plans that none of his children or grandchildren could see. And he wasn’t about to let them go to waste because his grandchildren were in love. “Pry them apart. I have plans,” was the creator’s response.
Shu was nothing but a loving parent, but he was also obedient to his father. He knew that no matter what he said or did, his father had made up his mind. And while it broke his heart to try and pry apart his children, he knew that it would be easier for the children if he was the one to do it as opposed to their grandfather. So, he approached the lovers and he said unto them, “Your love is legendary. It is beautiful, but it is time for it to end. It is time for you two to part.”
“Never,” Geb said.
“Never,” replied Nut.
“It is what it is,” Shu said. And with sadness in his heart, he began pushing Geb and Nut apart. And as he moved further and further between them, land began to be created and sky began to be created. The ultimate goal was to create life for the solar deity to love like he could not love his children. The ultimate goal was to create so much beauty that he would be forever excited, like that of a child with a new toy or a new book. Waiting on the sidelines, he watched as the two lovers were forced apart. It took time, it took pain, and it took the two of them forever but finally, there was room.
And plants began to grow on the body of Geb. Mountains thrust from his body and with the gentle rains of his mother, rivers and oceans began to form. So high above, Nut watched as her lover’s body changed from the man she had known and loved into something that was alien and different. She watched in heartache and joy, she watched in sorrow and anger. And just as Nut watched her lover change, so too did he. He watched as the golden portions of her body began to sparkle and entrance. He watched as her body became longer and fuller. He watched as the solar deity took to the heavens in his solar barque to watch over all of creation. And he knew heartache and joy, he watched in sorrow and anger.
But by then, the creation of the world had happened and there was nothing more for the lovers to do except to wait on the day when their children would be born to them, the five children that they had conceived so strongly in one another’s embrace. And while that story is as good as this, it is one that must wait for yet another day…