How did the Ancient Egyptians view their primordial beginnings? What was their view on creation? How did they explain their existence to themselves?
The answer isn’t as simple as you may think.
The Ancient Egyptians believed that their existence came into being spontaneously. The world is said to of risen from an infinite, lifeless sea called Nu. This was called the Zep Tepi or First Occasion.
The beginnings of creation varied between different parts of Egypt. Common elements of all these myths include the Benben. This was a mound shape that rose out of the waters of Nu - giving life.
Another common element is the Cosmic Egg - a substitute for the primitive waters or the primordial mound. Life spilled out and spread across the land.
Other players in creation included; The Ogdoad. These were eight divine beings who sprung life into Egypt. The god Atum and his offspring, the deity Ptah and the mysterious god Amun. All of these elements played key parts in the overall Egyptian creation myths. Some intertwining with each other.
Although there are conflicting accounts on how the Egyptians believed their universe started, it's important to note than even by the end of the Old Kingdom (2181 BC), the Egyptians themselves had mostly forgotten the roots of these myths.
Hermopolis, Heliopolis, Memphis and Thebes all had a slightly different view on how Egypt came into existence. Creation was complicated.