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Creation myths and form(s) of the gods in ancient Egypt

Egypt’s mythic world, rich with creative imagery, was deeply informed by the natural world that surrounded them. The divine landscape and the stories about the beings that inhabited it continued to evolve through Egyptian history. Over time, these myths wove an elaborate tapestry of meaning and significance, often presenting layered, seemingly contradictory viewpoints that existed simultaneously without apparent conflict.

Similarly, the concept of time in ancient Egypt was rather fluid; it was believed to move at different rates for certain beings and regions of the cosmos and was viewed as simultaneously linear and cyclical. Obviously, individual Egyptians experienced linear time—living their lives from birth to death—but they were also intimate with cyclical time, as evidenced in nature by the solar cycles, annual floods, and repeating astronomical patterns. They believed that an ongoing cycle of decay, death, and rebirth was what provided for the eternal consistency of the stable universe and allowed it to flourish. Fittingly, the ouroboros—the image of a snake eating its own tail and potent symbol of regeneration—originated in Egypt.

The prehistoric peoples of the Nile region, like many other early populations, revered powers of the natural world, both animate and inanimate. While some deities, like the sun god Ra, were linked with inanimate natural phenomena, most of the first clear examples of divinities were connected to animals. Falcon gods and cattle goddesses were among the earliest and may well have developed in the context of Neolithic cattle herding.

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