Mut

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Mut, which meant mother in the ancient Egyptian language,[1] was an ancient Egyptian mother goddess with multiple aspects that changed over the thousands of years of the culture. Alternative spellings are Maut and Mout. She was depicted as a white vulture most often. She was considered a primal deity, associated with the waters from which everything was born through parthenogenesis. She also was depicted as a woman with the crowns of Egypt upon her head. The rulers of Egypt each supported her worship in their own way to emphasize their own authority and right to rule through an association with Mut.

Some of Mut's many titles included World-Mother, Eye of Ra, Queen of the Goddesses, Lady of Heaven, Mother of the Gods, and She Who Gives Birth, But Was Herself Not Born of Any.

Most of these titles reveal the worship of her as the primary mother goddess deity of ancient times.

Contents

Changes of mythological position

Mut was a title of the primordial waters of the cosmos, Naunet, in the Ogdoad cosmogony during what is called the Old Kingdom, the third through sixth dynasties, dated between 2,686 to 2,134 B.C. However, the distinction between motherhood and cosmic water later diversified and lead to the separation of these identities, and Mut gained aspects of a creator goddess, since she was the mother from which the cosmos emerged.

The hieroglyph for Mut's name, and for mother itself, was that of a white vulture, which the Egyptians believed were very maternal creatures. Indeed, since Egyptian white vultures have no significant differing markings between female and male of the species, being without sexual dimorphism, the Egyptians believed they were all females, who conceived their offspring by the wind herself, another parthenogenic concept.

Much later new myths held that since Mut had no parents, but was created from nothing; consequently, she could not have children and so adopted one instead.

Making up a complete triad of deities for the later pantheon of Thebes, it was said that Mut had adopted Menthu, god of war. This choice of completion for the triad should have proved popular, but because the isheru, the sacred lake outside Mut's ancient temple in Karnak at Thebes, was the shape of a crescent moon, Khonsu, the moon god eventually replaced Menthu as Mut's adopted son.

Lower and upper Egypt both already had patron deities–Wadjet and Nekhbet–respectively, indeed they also had lioness protector deities–Bast and Sekhmet–respectively. When Thebes rose to greater prominence, Mut absorbed these warrior goddesses as some of her aspects. First, Mut became Mut-Wadjet-Bast, then Mut-Sekhmet-Bast (Wadjet having merged into Bast), then Mut also assimilated Menhit, who was also a lioness goddess, and her adopted son's wife, becoming Mut-Sekhmet-Bast-Menhit, and finally becoming Mut-Nekhbet.

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