Want to learn more about the Egyptian God Shu? Read on for a historical overview of the ancient mythology associated with Shu…
Shu is the name of yet another ancient Egyptian deity. This particular deity was considered to be the god of light as well as the god of air. The name Shu actually translates as “he who rises up”. The Egyptians believed that Shu would appear in the form of sunrays during the morning and in the moonlight by the night.
According to the Egyptians Shu would be supporting the sun every morning with his hands as he appeared from behind the Earth at sunrise. The way in which the Egyptians understood this particular god to be rising from behind the Earth can be compared to the way another Egyptian deity named Atlas is believed to be supporting the sky on his back.
The Legend of Shu
In terms of the hierarchy of Egyptian gods Shu is the direct descendent of Atum-Ra. It was the pair of Atum-Ra and the Goddess Tefnut that gave birth to Shu. Shu himself is considered to be the father of two other important Egyptian deities known as Nut and Geb. According to ancient Egyptian mythology Shu came into existence through an act of masturbation on the part of Ra. There is a detailed account of “Egyptian Story of Creation” in which the exact statements that Ra is supposed to have said while performing the act that led to the birth of Shu have been narrated.
Shu’s domain includes the wind as well as the atmosphere and the entire space that lies between the heavens and earth. The Egyptians assigned to him the responsibility to protect their offspring. In many ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics Shu has been depicted as supporting another deity that was responsible for upholding the sky. He can also be seen lending support to his daughter Nut as well as his son, Geb. In a unique setting Shu formed the backbone of the domains of three other deities in such a manner that if he were to be removed from the setting, the Egyptians believed that everything would fall into chaos and life would cease to exist in the universe.
Importance of Shu for Egypt
Shu is considered to be second only to Ra, as the divine ruler of Egypt. He was also part of the ancient great ennead of Egyptian gods. In ancient Egyptian mythology Shu had a fierce battle with another deity known as Apep. Shu managed to strip Apep of his power, domain as well as his followers. Following this Shu descended from his throne and was succeeded by his son Geb.
The Egyptians would invoke Shu when they required the wind to blow so that the ships could set to sail. For the Egyptians Shu was nothing less than the breath of life. He was regarded as being the bridge between life in this world and life after death. His breath was considered to be the sign of life and when his breath would seize then so would life itself.