Ancient Egypt / Religion / Gods /
His named meant "emptiness" or "he who rises up."
Shu and his sister, Tefnut (personification of moisture), were created by Atum, without the help of a female partner. They were the first couple of the Ennead of Heliopolis, and would again give birth to Geb, the earth god and Nut, the goddess of the sky.
Shu's role was to support his daughter Nut when she stretched out in her capacity as the sky. In this capacity, as air, Shu was a cooling and calming god.
Due to his connection with sunlight, Shu had a few roles to play in connection with the sun-god, Re. He was sometimes told to be the one to bring back the sun to light every morning. Also, he protected Re from the snake-god, Apophis.
Shu would become associated with Onuris, representing the weakest half of Onuris-Shu. This would be only temporary; Onuris would eventually fully absorb Shu. He also became associated with lunar deities like Thoth and Khonsu.
In the Middle Kingdom, Shu would in some contexts be lifted up to the position of primeval creator god; he could be referred to as son of Re; and identified with Onuris.
In the cult of Akhenaten, Shu would be a respected divine aspect and said to dwell in the sun's disk.
Later developments made Shu a power that renewed the cosmos. He became a part of popular religion, a part of everyday prayers and spells. One myth tells that Shu was a king early in Egyptian history, who eventually ascended to the heavens and took residence next to Re.
He was represented in human form, sometimes with a ostrich feather on his head. The ostrich feather was also the hieroglyph of his name.
Shu could also be represented as a lion.
There was no cult of Shu until the New Kingdom. His main cult centre would be at Nay-ta-hut (Leontopolis) in the Nile Delta.
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