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Atum
Atum
Cult Center: Heliopolis
Deity of: {{{Deity of?}}}
Consort: Iussaaset
Sibling: None or Iussaaset
Symbol: {{{Symbol}}}
Parents: Nun, the Ocean
Offspring: {{{Offspring}}}
Atum (alternatively spelled Tem, Temu, Tum, and Atem) is an important deity in Egyptian mythology, whose cult centred on the city of Heliopolis (Egyptian: Annu). His name is thought to be derived from the word 'tem' which means to complete or finish. Thus he has been interpreted as being the 'complete one' and also the finisher of the world, which he returns to watery chaos at the end of the creative cycle. As creator he was seen as the underlying substance of the world, the deities and all things being made of his flesh or alternatively being his ka.

Atum is one of the most important and frequently mentioned deities from earliest times, as evidenced by his prominence in the Pyramid Texts, where he is portrayed as both a creator and father to the king. He is usually depicted as a man wearing either the royal head-cloth or the dual white and red crown of Upper Egypt, and Lower Egypt, reinforcing his connection with kingship. Sometimes he also is shown as a serpent, the form which he returns to at the end of the creative cycle and also occasionally as a mongoose, lion, bull, lizard, or ape.

A product of the energy and matter contained in this chaos, he created divine and human beings through loneliness: alone in the universe, he produced from his own semen Shu, the god of air, and Tefnut, the goddess of moisture. The brother and Sister, curious about the primeval waters that surrounded them went to explore the- and disappeared into the darkness. Unable to bear his loss, Atum sent a fiery messenger to find his children. The tears of joy he shed on their return were the first human beings.

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