God of the Earth, God in the Eenead
Geb, Keb, Kebb, Seb, Gebb,
Geb is most often and commonly portrayed as a man, with either a normal or green skin tone, wearing a white crown of the North or sometimes of the South. In other instances Geb is also identified by a goose, an animal that he is thought to have regarded as sacred; hence why he is known as the “Great Cackler.”
In other references, it is possible that he is represented by a bull, a ram, or even a crocodile. Many mythological sources call him the “father of Snakes” as the God of the Earth. Most visual depictions of Geb show him lying close to the ground, with an arm extended toward the heavens.
In one famous representation, he is shown reclining beneath the sky goddess Nut. In this picture he is seen leaning on one elbow and a knee pointing toward the sky. Egyptologists believe this represents the mountains and valleys of the earth.
Geb is the son of earlier primordial elements Tefnut and Shu, created by the one god Atum (or Ra) as a member of the Heliopolitan Ennead (group of nine gods). Geb is the husband of Nut, the goddess of the sky, the visible daytime and the cloaking nighttime. Nut is also Geb’s twin sister, created with the Ennead. With Nut, Geb is said to have fathered four lesser gods; Osiris, Seth, Isis, and Nephthys.
The Phakussa Stele tells the story of Geb’s insatiable desire for his mother, Tefnut (known also as Nut). He traveled through Egypt to bide his time, lusting, until his father Shu passed on. Then he arrived at his deceased father’s temple in Memphis to track down and violently rape Tefnut. The tale does not punish the crime but instead gives Geb the throne, where he was revered by a vast majority of his Egyptian subordinates. He received the title of “Heir of the Gods,” measuring his significance and power over other Egyptian deities.
God Of Heaven And Earth
Predominately, Geb is known as the God of the Earth. It is said that he and his wife Nut created the Great Egg in their home of Heliopolis. It is represented and described much as a Phoenix egg, from which the Sun-God is born and the sky becomes home to the solar body. Geb represents one of the few polytheistic religions where the God of Earth symbolizes a man instead of a woman (Gaia, Mother Earth, etc.) As the ground deity, it was a very common belief that earthquakes were loud booms of Geb’s laughter.
Even though he is closely associated with the mortal habitat of the earth, he helps guide dead souls to heaven, granting them meat and drink for their voyage. In this role, he also watched as the hearts of the deceased person(s) were weighed in the Judgment Hall of Osiris. Those who were deemed good and pure souls, provided they had possession of the necessary words of power, were allowed freedom from the binding earth so they could continue their journey to heaven. The wicked and impure were bound to the earth by Geb himself and not allowed to escape. For this reason, he plays a large role in the Book of the Dead.
Geb’s home of Heliopolis is the sight of creation, where the heavy process began when the Sun God was hatched and appeared in the sky, an event that is directly accredited to Geb and his wife Nut. This hatching of the Great Egg made the egg as a symbol of renewal and change for the Ancient Egyptians.