Mythology Page
Before there was an earth, or anything at all, there was the god of creation, Ra , and his father, Nun . All Ra had to do was think of a thing and it existed. First, Ra transformed himself into the sun. Then he imagined a day, and time was created. After that, Ra got down to business. He created Shu , the wind, and the rain, named Tefnut . The land he named Geb , and the beautiful goddess of the sky he called Nut . Finishing the landscape, Ra created the river Nile. Once these features had all been created, Ra went to work again, and made all the animals and plants, and finally he created people. Of course the people needed a leader, so Ra took human form, and ruled Egypt under the name of Pharaoh. His kingship was long and prosperous, and lasted thousands of years. But eventually, Ra grew old, and the people turned from him and worshipped Apophis, the spirit of evil. To solve this crisis, Ra turned to all the gods he had created, and asked them if he should destroy all humanity. Nun, the father of Ra replied that he should create a spirit that would only kill the bad people who worshipped Apophis , not the ones who had remained loyal. So Ra brought forth the goddess Sekhmet , the destroyer. Sekhmet took the form of a lioness the size of a house, and roamed the countryside, devouring all the followers of Apophis. But once she had finished them off, she still had the taste for blood, and so she started to work on the good folks. They appealed to Ra for help. With this, Ra sent for a special dye, red ochre, and mixing it with beer, spread it over the fields near Sekhmet's lair. In the morning she went out, looking for blood, and seeing the red liquid, lapped it up greedily. Of course the beer made her drowsy, and she lay down in the desert, her head woozy. This is when Ra approached telling her that she was no longer the destroyer, but from now on would be called Hathor , the goddess of love. She would still have just as much power over people's lives, but it would be the power of love, not hatred.

© Michael C. Carlos Museum of Emory University,
Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester and Dallas Museum of Art
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