Ancient Egyptian Goddesses ...Tefnut.

Ancient Egyptian goddesses, such as Tefnut, were no shrinking violets. They may have held positions such as goddesses of fertility, music, joy and all sorts of light and fluffy aspects of ancient Egyptian culture, but they could also be a force to be reckoned with.


Tefnut held a commanding appearance with the head of a lioness and a solar disc around her head. She was sometimes shown holding a scepter and ankh.

She was originally linked to the lunar eye of Ra and at other times both the lunar and solar eyes together. This dual representation led her to be known as the goddesses of sun and dryness as well as lunar and moisture.


She was one of the original deities in the versions of creation. She was the first mother according to these stories. Even though historical finds show she was not as popular as her daughter Nut, or her granddaughters Nephthys and Isis, the Egyptians felt that without her Egypt would descend into chaos. She was similar to the goddess Maat who was known as a mother goddess.

In the original stories, of which differing versions have been told, Tefnut was created from the phlegm of Atum, the first god, as he cleared his throat.


Tefnut married the god, Shu, who also happened to be her brother. Together they gave birth to very important symbolic gods in Egyptian mythology. Geb who was god of the earth and his sister Nut, the goddess of the sky.

In the creation tales, Tefnut's husband/brother lifted Nut up to become a canopy over Geb. It may sound like an awkward position to be in but Nut and Geb went on to became parents to four children.

Some myths that surfaced in later periods say that Tefnut married Thoth, the scribe of the underworld.

In a bad mood

Like many of the ancient Egyptian goddesses and gods, Tefnut was the subject of tales of folklore.

In one story, Tefnut apparently had a falling out with the great god Ra and high-tailed it into the deserts of Nubia in Upper Egypt. But just leaving in a rage, wasn't enough. She decided to show just how much power she held and took with her all of her water and moisture. As a result of this, Lower Egypt dried out and fell into drought.

But simply drying up Egypt in her wake wasn't enough. After taking on the brave appearance of a lioness she went on a killing spree. No man or god was safe from this angry cat.

Obviously something had to be done, so Ra sent Shu disguised as a lion to bring her back and put an end to the drought. It did the trick and in a turnaround Tefnut went from city to city, bringing back moisture and water to the relief of many thirsty Egyptians.

All was forgiven and she was reunited with her father and restored to her rightful position in his eye.

This story resulted in images of Tefnut, wearing her fathers sun disk, as a lioness, or a woman with a lions head.

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