Shu (Egyptian deity)

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Shu
God of the wind and air
Tutankhamun headrest.jpg
Shu is shown holding the sky above his head.
Name in hieroglyphs
H6 G43 A40
Major cult center Heliopolis, Leontopolis
Symbol the ostrich feather
Consort Tefnut
Parents Ra and Iusaaset
Siblings Tefnut
Hathor
Sekhmet
Offspring Nut and Geb

Shu (/ʃ/; meaning "emptiness" and "he who rises up") was one of the primordial gods in Egyptian mythology, a personification of air, one of the Ennead of Heliopolis.

Family[edit]

He was created by Atum, his father and Iusaaset, his mother in the city of Heliopolis. With his sister Tefnut (moisture), he was the father of Nut and Geb. His daughter, Nut, was the sky goddess whom he held over the Earth (Geb), separating the two. The Egyptians believed that if Shu didn't hold his son and daughter (the god of the earth and the goddess of the sky) apart there would be no way life could be created.

Shu's grandchildren are Osiris, Isis, Set and Nephthys. His great-grandsons are Horus and Anubis.

Myths[edit]

As the air, Shu was considered to be cooling, and thus calming, influence, and pacifier. Due to the association with air, calm, and thus Ma'at (truth, justice and order), Shu was portrayed in art as wearing an ostrich feather. Shu was seen with between one and four feathers.

In a much later myth, representing the terrible weather disaster at the end of the Old Kingdom, it was said that Tefnut and Shu once argued, and Tefnut left Egypt for Nubia (which was always more temperate). It was said that Shu quickly decided that he missed her, but she changed into a cat that destroyed any man or god that approached. Thoth, disguised, eventually succeeded in convincing her to return.

He carries an ankh, the symbol of life.

Sources[edit]