Wednesday, November 23, 2011


(from Wikipedia)

Symbols: ostrich feathers, wind, flags, lion
Cult Center: Heliopolis

His name means "dry, parched, withered." He was asssociated with the heat of the sunlight and the dryness of the air. Shu considered the god of the space and light between the sky and the earth. Shu was believed to also hold power over snakes and he was the one that held the Ladder the deceased used to climb to heaven.

As Lord of the Air or Atmosphere, it was Shu's duty to seperate his children: the sky (the goddess Nut) and the earth (Nut's husband, Geb). His eternal occupation was holding Nut up above Geb. It was said that if he ever was removed from his place, Chaos would come to the Universe. Many images show him holding up his daughter, while his son reclines beneath him.

He was the brother and husband of Tefnut and they were usually mentioned together. It was said that Shu and Tefnut were two parts of one soul. Oddly, Shu and Tefnut do not appear to have any city of distrct especially dedicated to them. Shu was also the son of Re or Atum and, as mentioned previously, the father to Geb and Nut.
Headrest, Shu elevating the head of the Pharoah

The oldest myth about the origin of Shu states that once upon a time the god Atum went to the city of Annu and he created Shu and Tefnut from his own body through masturbation. In the story of the creation, Atum is described as saying:

"I had union with my hand, and I embraced my shadow in a love embrace; I poured seed into my own mouth and I sent forth from myself issue in the form of the gods Shu and Tefnut."

Later myths called this story into doubt and claimed that Atum's shadow acted the part of his wife; still others state that the goddess Iusaaset was Atum's wife.

Shu is shown as a man who wears on his head one to four feathers. Some figurines show him holding up the sky with his two hands.

From: EgyptianMyths
Shu (Su) was the god of dry air, wind and the atmosphere. He was also related to the sun, possibly as an aspect of sunlight. He was the son of the creator god, father of the twin sky and the earth deities and the one who held the sky off of the earth. He was one of the gods who protected Ra on his journey through the underworld, using magic spells to ward off Ra's The God Shu, from the Book of the Dead of Huneferenemy, the snake-demon Apep. As with other protector gods, he had a darker side - he was also a god of punishment in the land of the dead, leading executioners and torturers to kill off the corrupt souls. His name might be derived from the word for dryness - shw shu, the root of words such as 'dry', 'parched', 'withered', 'sunlight' and 'empty'. His name could also mean 'He who Rises Up'.

He was generally depicted as a man wearing an ostrich feather headdress, holding a sceptre and the ankh sign of life. Sometimes he is shown wearing the sun disk on his head, linking him to the sun. Occasionally, when shown with his sister-wife Tefnut, he is shown in lion form and the two were known as the "twin lion gods". At other times, he was shown with the hind part of a lion as his headdress, linking him to his leonine form. Mostly, he was shown with his arms raised, holding up the goddess Nut as the sky, standing on the body of Geb.

One story says that Shu and Tefnut went to explore the waters of Nun. After some time, Ra believed that they were lost, and sent the his Eye out into the chaos to find them. When his children were returned to him, Ra wept, and his tears were believed to have turned into the first humans.


That is my daughter, the living female one, Tefnut,
who shall be with her brother Shu.
Life is his name, Order is her name.
[At first] I lived with my two children, my little ones,
the one before me, the other behind me.
Life reposed with my daughter Order,
the one within me, the other without me.
I rose over them, but their arms were around me.

-- Spell 80, Coffin Texts As a god of the wind, the people invoked him to give good wind to the sails of the boats. It was he who was the personification of the cold northern winds; he was the breath of life - the vital principle of all living things. His bones were thought to be clouds. He was also called to 'lift up' the spirits of the dead so that they might rise up to the heavens, known as the 'light land', reached by means of a giant 'ladder' that Shu was thought to hold up.

...Shu, the 'space', the light cavity in the midst of the primordial darkness. Shu is both light and air, and as the offspring of god he is manifest life. As light he separates the earth from the sky and as air he upholds the sky vault-- Myth and Symbol in Ancient Egypt, R. T. Rundle Clark


Despite being a god of sunlight, Shu was not considered to be a solar deity. He was, though, connected to the sun god as one who was thought to bring Ra (and the pharaoh) to life each morning, raising the sun into the sky. During his travels through the underworld, he protected Ra from the snake-demon Apep, with spells to counteract the serpent and his followers. He participated in the judgement of the deceased in the Halls of Ma'ati as the leader of aggressive, punishing beings who were to eliminate the ones not worthy of the afterlife.


He also was believed to hold up Nut, the sky goddess and his daughter, above his son the earth god Geb. Without Shu holding the two apart, the Egyptians believed that there would be no area in which to create the life they saw all around them. The Egyptians believed that there were also pillars to help Shu lift up the sky - these pillars were on the four cardinal points, and were known as the 'Pillars of Shu'.


Shu was the husband of his twin, the goddess Tefnut, son of the sun god Atem-Ra and father to the earth god Geb and the sky goddess Nut. As such, he was one of the gods of the Ennead. Shu was identified with the Meroitic god Arensnuphis, known as Shu-Arensnuphis. He was also identified with the war god Onuris, known as Onuris-Shu. His links with Onuris Grey-gree faience amulet of Shuare probably because the two gods had wives who took the form of a lioness (Mehit was the wife of Onuris), and both gods were thought to have brought their consorts back from Nubia. In Shu's case, when Tefnut went off in anger to Nubia, Ra sent both him and Thoth to get her, and they found her in Begum. Thoth began at once to try and persuade her to return to Egypt. In the end Tefnut (with Shu and Thoth leading her) made a triumphant entry back into Egypt, accompanied by a host of Nubian musicians, dancers and baboons.

From: Shu, Holder of the Sky, God of the Air, Wind, Sunlight and Protection
Shu belongs to the cosmic deities and as such no temples were dedicated to him. There seems to have been no priesthood serving solely Shu either.

A Chapel was built to Shu, Atum, Tefnut, Re-Harakhte and the Theban triad at Tjeku/Pithom, 8th N, Lower Egypt, by Osorkon II (22nd Dyn.)

Festivals: (not historically verified)

30th August – 13th Paopi - Day of Satisfying the Hearts of the Ennead

14th May – 30th Payni - Tehuti (Thoth) appears with Shu to bring back Tefnut

2nd April – 18th Pachons - Day of Joy of the Ennead and crew of Ra

15th November – 30th Koiak - Ennead Feast in the House of Ra

2nd October – 16th Hethara - Day of the appearance of the eight Great Netjers (Primordials)

From: Akhet
Shu - "Dry" One of the two first creations of the Self-Created One, Tem, Shu is twin to Tefnut and embodies the concept of air, wind or atmosphere (Tefnut embodies the concept of airborne moisture, clouds, dew, or rain). Shu was invoked in antiquity to give a good wind to boats and metaphorically to "lift up" the spirits of the deceased in order that they might rise to the afterlife, depicted in the Pyramid Texts of the Old Kingdom as "lightland" existing above a "ladder" which Shu (or alternately, Heru and Set or Wesir and Set) held up. Shu is generally shown as a man with a single ostrich feather (the hieroglyph of His name, "shu") on His head; He is sometimes shown as a lion along with His sister/twin Tefnut. Shu's action to divide Geb and Nut allowed the creation of earthly life to occur. And so, symbolically, the ancient myths explain why there is wind/atmosphere (Shu) between the earth (Geb) and sky (Nut).

Other sites:
Shu article
Another article
And another

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