Boone Carlyle

Season: 1, Episodes: 28, Faction: Survivors

Overview

Boone Carlyle was a middle section survivor of Oceanic Flight 815, and Shannon’s stepbrother. Before the crash he had been used by Shannon for money and as a result of this, his love for her was revealed and they had a one-night stand. Throughout his time on the Island, Boone would spend a lot of his time with Shannon before finally getting over his love for her and letting her go. He later became Locke’s apprentice when the two discovered the Hatch and formed a close bond. Unable to open it, they followed a dream Locke had and found a plane sitting on a cliff. Boone climbed up into the plane but suffered severe injuries when the plane fell to the ground. Despite the best attempts from Jack to save him, Boone realized he was going to die and told Jack to let him go. After his death, Locke later described him as a “sacrifice the Island demanded.” In the flash-sideways, Boone was reunited with his stepsister, Shannon, and along with their friends from the island, they moved on.

Sky

Sun (Fire)

Childhood

1×19 – Deus Ex Machina  |  2×06 – Abandoned

Boone Carlyle was the son of Sabrina Carlyle and stepson of Adam Rutherford. The two married when he was ten, and Shannon Rutherford, two years his junior, became his step-sister. His parents frequently left him with a nanny when he was young, and Boone, angry at being left alone, called her to his room repeatedly without cause. During one of these calls, when Boone was six, the nanny fell and broke her neck. (“Deus Ex Machina”)  (“Abandoned”)

1×01 – Pilot, Part 1  |  1×02 – Pilot, Part 2

At some point in his teens, Boone worked as a lifeguard. According to Shannon, he didn’t believe in guns and marched in protests as a “liberal”. He denied this, likely embarassed. (“Pilot, Part 1”)  (“Pilot, Part 2”)

Supporting Shannon

2×06 – Abandoned

   

By the time he had turned 20, Boone was living in New York. After flying back to Los Angeles for Adam Rutherford’s funeral, Boone comforted Shannon, and gave his underage stepsister some alcohol to mollify her grief. He told Shannon she could live with him in New York if it would help get her career as a dance instructor started. After Shannon got the job, Boone was then offered a job by his mother. He accepted the job as the Chief Operating Officer of the wedding clothing subsidiary of his mother’s company and had to move from New York. Shannon had asked him to ask his mother for some money, but he came back empty handed. He said his mother knew why he asked for the money. Boone then offered Shannon some of his own money to get her started in New York without him, but she refused because she wanted to prove herself. (“Abandoned”)

Being Conned

1×13 – Hearts and Minds

   

Although he would not openly admit it to anyone, Boone was in love with Shannon and often rescued her from abusive relationships by paying off her many suitors. While he was at a tennis court with Nicole (who may or may not have been his girlfriend), Boone received a phone call from Shannon pleading for him to come and help her. She was living with a man named Bryan in Sydney, and she told Boone things weren’t so good. Boone flew to Australia and, although she initially denied there was anything wrong, Shannon showed him a bruise on her forehead discreetly, as Bryan kicked Boone out of their house. He went to the police station, and while talking to the detective, Boone saw Sawyer being hauled off to be deported after being interrogated, not knowing that the next day both of their lives would change forever. Boone pleaded with Malcolm to help and even tried to use his family name to gain leverage. However, Malcolm was unwilling to help because Boone and Shannon were not blood related, and joked, they were not the “dating police.” Boone decided to take matters into his own hands.

   

In the past, he had paid at least three men to leave Shannon, so he went to a marina where Bryan was working and gave him a check for $50,000, and made him promise never to see Shannon again. Later, when Boone went to Shannon’s house to take her back home to America, Bryan was still there. When Boone confronted him, Bryan said, because of what Sabrina Carlyle had done to her, Shannon had set Boone up knowing he would pay Bryan off, and then he and she would share the money. Boone then attacked Bryan, but Bryan won the fight and Boone left the house embarrassed. That night, Shannon appeared at Boone’s hotel room and told him Bryan had left her and taken all of the money. Intoxicated, she seduced Boone, and they had sex. Afterwards, Shannon suggested they return to Los Angeles and act like nothing had happened, leaving Boone feeling very confused and dejected. (“Hearts and Minds”)

Flight 815

1×23 – Exodus, Part 1

   

At the Sydney Airport, Boone attempted to upgrade their seats to first class. When he told Shannon the agent wouldn’t upgrade it because Shannon had been difficult during check-in, she stormed off to try again. In response to Boone questioning how immoral she could be, she notified an airport cop that “some Arab guy” had left a suspicious bag in the waiting area, trying to prove herself. (“Exodus, Part 1”)

3×14 – Exposé

Boone took Shannon to the food court to relax before the plane took off, however Shannon continued to yell at him about not getting the upgrade to First Class. Boone found a table next to Paulo and Nikki, and asked Paulo if they could borrow a chair. Before he could sit down, Shannon stormed off and told him to “stop flirting with random guys,” and Boone followed her out of the food court. (“Exposé”)

1×25 – Exodus, Part 3

   

After boarding Flight 815, Boone sat in Business Class seat of 9E, next to Shannon. While in their seats, Shannon searched for her asthma medicine that she forgot to pack. Boone, who remembered to bring it for her, smiled, pulled the medicine out of his pocket and handed it to her. (“Exodus, Part 3”)

On the Island (Days 1-42)

1×01 – Pilot, Part 1  |  3×14 – Exposé

   

After the crash of Flight 815, Boone helped Jack in getting many of the passengers away from the exploding wreckage. While he was willing to help, Boone did several things wrong in the panic of the moment. He incorrectly applied CPR to Rose, blowing air into her stomach, before Jack stopped him and sent him to get pens to perform a tracheotomy. He then ran around asking other survivors (including Nikki – who seemed utterly perplexed by his request) for pens, and retrieved a large amount of them which Jack never used. Later that day Boone offered Shannon a chocolate bar, and she refused, saying she would eat something better on the rescue boat. Eager to redeem himself from his earlier mistakes, Boone was put in charge of watching the injured survivors while Jack set out to the cockpit. (“Pilot, Part 1”), (“Exposé”)

1×02 – Pilot, Part 2

   

The next day, he went out with Sayid, Kate, Charlie, Shannon and Sawyer to get to high ground and send out a distress call. They were walking through the jungle when a polar bear charged at them. Sawyer shot and killed it, and they were left to ponder where it could have possibly come from. They were ultimately unsuccessful in acquiring a signal, as all channels were blocked by a distress signal that had been repeating for sixteen years. (“Pilot, Part 2”)

1×03 – Tabula Rasa

   

They made camp for the night on their way back down from the mountain, and while everyone was sleeping Boone lifted the gun off Sawyer. When everyone asks why he did so, he said somebody needed to stand guard with the gun. The group gave the gun to Kate, thinking she was trustworthy. (“Tabula Rasa”)

1×04 – Walkabout

   

Boone argued with Shannon, telling her, she could not provide for herself. This prompted her to flirt with Charlie so he would catch a fish for her. When Charlie returned with a fish, Boone accused her of being too manipulative. That night, Boone and Hurley helped with Claire’s memorial service for those who did not survive the crash. (“Walkabout”)

1×05 – White Rabbit

   

On day 6, Boone saw Joanna struggling to stay afloat in the ocean. He was the first one to enter the water in an attempt to save her but soon was pulled underwater by the same riptide. Jack, who entered the water shortly after Boone, saved him but was unable to get back in time to save Joanna. Boone was despondent and bitter, blaming himself for Joanna’s death. He grew angry at Jack for going after him rather than Joanna. He tried to establish himself as useful and attempted to ration the camp’s remaining water supply on his own. The other survivors mistook this as an attempt to steal all the water for himself. He was about to be attacked and harmed when Jack intervened on his behalf. (“White Rabbit”)

1×06 – House of the Rising Sun

   

When Jack attempted to persuade the rest of the survivors to move to the caves he discovered, Boone and Shannon decided to stay at the beach camp with Kate, Sawyer, Sayid, Michael, Walt and others as they believed there is a possibility they may still be rescued. (“House of the Rising Sun”)

1×07 – The Moth

   

While he was treated as an outsider for a brief time, he was quickly accepted back into the fold after he proved himself to have a helpful and friendly attitude after all. He assisted the survivors on several projects, including Sayid’s attempts to triangulate the French signal, and rescuing Jack from the cave-in. (“The Moth”)

1×08 – Confidence Man

   

After Shannon’s inhaler ran out, Boone went looking for her replacements in Sawyer’s stash. Sawyer beat Boone for going through his stuff, and Boone ran to the caves to tell Jack and the other survivors what Sawyer had done. It later turned out Sawyer did not have the medicine, but Sun was able to help Shannon using some plants native to the Island. (“Confidence Man”)

1×09 – Solitary

   

When Hurley built a golf course, Boone encouraged Shannon (who was sun baking on the beach) to come with him to see Jack, Hurley, Michael and Charlie play.

   

At the game, Boone bet against Sawyer for two bottles of sunscreen for Shannon. (“Solitary”)

1×10 – Raised by Another

   

When Hurley tried to take an island census, Boone informed him that Sawyer had the flight manifest. When he asked Hurley why he was making the census, Hurley told him about the attack on Claire at the caves. Shannon then refused to move there, to Boone’s dismay. (“Raised by Another”)

1×11 – All the Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues

   

Boone was a part of the search party that went looking for Claire after she was taken by Ethan. Boone and Locke split up from Jack and Kate, and began to form a bond. They talked of their lives before the crash, but Boone did not believe Locke had worked at a box company. When Locke threw a flashlight to Boone, it fell on top of a hatch buried in the ground. (“All the Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues”)

1×12 – Whatever the Case May Be

   

Boone worked with Locke to break into the Hatch, stealing the ax to break the glass, and even lying to Shannon, at Locke’s request, about what he was doing. Because he was away from the beach so much, Shannon started to form a relationship with Sayid, which Boone grew jealous of, especially when Shannon sang for Sayid. (“Whatever the Case May Be”)

1×13 – Hearts and Minds

   

Boone told Locke the survivors were getting suspicious since they were not bringing back boar, but Locke replied, “What we’re doing here is far more important.” As Boone regularly went on hunting trips with Locke into the jungle, Locke began to notice his feelings toward Shannon. When Boone told him, he was going to tell Shannon about the Hatch, Locke drugged him and tied him up to a tree 4 miles east of camp. While tied up, Boone experienced a hallucination of being chased by the Smoke Monster and finding Shannon dead.

   

He eventually found his way back to camp, and attempted to kill Locke for causing his sister’s death. When Boone told Locke, Shannon had died in his arms, Locke asked Boone why there was no blood on him. Boone realized the entire thing was a hallucination, and when Locke asked Boone how he felt when Shannon died, Boone couldn’t help but give the honest answer that he felt relieved. The experience helped Boone learn to let go of Shannon, and become more devoted to “listening to the Island” with Locke. (“Hearts and Minds”)

1×14 – Special

   

When Michael and Walt fought on day 25, Walt found refuge with Boone and Locke, who taught the boy how to throw a knife. Later that day at the caves, Boone shrugged off a nagging Shannon, and instead of helping her, went off with Locke to find Walt’s missing dog, Vincent. However, Boone and Locke stumbled upon Claire instead. (“Special”)

1×15 – Homecoming

   

Knowing Ethan would return for Claire, the survivors decided to have some people take shifts to act as guards all day and night. Boone volunteered to be one, but Scott was still killed when Ethan attacked coming not from the jungle but from the ocean. (“Homecoming”)

1×17 – …In Translation

   

After Charlie killed Ethan in a failed capture, things began to cool down on the Island. Sayid came to Boone to explain that he and Shannon were drawing closer. Boone became aggressive, and Sayid told him he was not asking Boone’s permission. Boone told Sayid that Shannon had a thing for “guys who can take care of her” and would leave him eventually. (“…In Translation”)

1×19 – Deus Ex Machina

   

Locke built a trebuchet to open the Hatch but that ultimately failed.

   

On day 40, Locke took Boone to the Beechcraft he had seen in a dream. On the way there, Locke confided in Boone about his paralysis and healing. Because Locke was having difficulty walking, he told Boone to climb into the plane to investigate.

   

Boone discovered the Beechcraft was really a Nigerian drug runner plane when he found a number of Virgin Mary statuettes all filled with heroin. He tried the plane’s radio and briefly made contact with someone who claimed to be a survivor of Oceanic Flight 815. The plane fell with Boone still inside, and he was crushed. Locke carried him back to the caves, where Jack asked him what had happened. Locke said Boone had fallen off a cliff, then left for The Hatch. (“Deus Ex Machina”)

1×20 – Do No Harm

   

Jack, with the aid of Sun, battled desperately to save Boone, even giving him some of his own blood in a transfusion, but Jack could not save him. He realized Boone’s leg was compartmentalizing the blood and attempted to cut it off, but Boone stopped him, not wanting Jack to use all of the survivors medical supplies fighting to keep him alive. Boone died a few moments later. His last words were “Tell Shannon…tell her…” He died before he could complete his last phrase. (“Do No Harm”)

Post-Death

1×20 – Do No Harm

   

Boone’s death coincided with the birth of Aaron Littleton to Claire. As Claire brought her newborn son back to the beach, Sayid and Shannon returned from their romantic day together at a stretch further down the beach. Against the backdrop of the joy of Claire’s newborn, Jack was forced to deliver the heartbreaking news to Shannon that her brother had died. (“Do No Harm”)

1×21 – The Greater Good

   

Boone’s death was felt by the entire camp – specifically Shannon. She seemed unable to cope with his death, and sat with his corpse in the caves. Later that day, Boone was buried along with the other deceased survivors in the graveyard. When Shannon was unable to speak at his funeral, Sayid did instead. When Locke showed up, Jack attacked him for causing Boone’s death. However, it would be Shannon who attempted to avenge her brother’s death as she held Locke at gunpoint in a confrontation. She pulled the trigger, but was prevented from hurting Locke by Sayid as he pushed her out of the way – this seemed to dampen their blossoming relationship. (“The Greater Good”)

1×23 – Exodus, Part 1

   

Shannon became increasingly more unable to cope and refused to let go of her brother’s memory, even going as far as to drag both their suitcases to the caves during the first exodus of the beach camp. She was aided by Sayid, and their relationship seemed to repair itself as he allowed her to grieve. As the raft prepared to sail, Walt gave Shannon custody of Vincent to help make her feel better after the loss of Boone. (“Exodus, Part 1”)

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Continue Reading

Associated LOST Themes & DHARMA Stations

      

Decoded Family Members & Lovers

Sabrina Carlyle (Mother)

Adam Rutherford (Stepfather)

Shannon Rutherford (Step-Sister)

Nicole (Girlfriend)

Decoded Season 1 Characters

John Locke

Jack Shephard

Sayid Jarrah

Walt Lloyd

Rose Nadler

Bernard Nadler

James Sawyer

Ethan Rom

Bryan

Decoded Season 3 Characters

Eddie Colburn

Mike

Key Episode(s) to Decoding the Character

1x01-02 "Pilot"

1x19 "Deus Ex Machina"

3x03 "Further Instructions"









The God Shu is generally depicted anthropomorphically, wearing a single plume on his head, but is also frequently depicted as a lion. Shu is conventionally referred to as the God of the air, but Shu is air, not in an abstract elemental sense, but as life principle and as void, in the sense that void provides the possibility of determinacy. His name can be interpreted as meaning ‘emptiness’, not only in a privative sense, but in the sense of being free from some quality or condition (in this respect see utterance 452 of the Pyramid Texts, “your purity is the purity of Shu”), or as ‘dryness’, because he expresses the clearing of a space in the watery abyss of Nun. A different interpretation of his name, however, would read it as ‘who rises up’ or ‘lifts himself up’. The latter refers to the role of Shu as separating the earth, Geb, from the sky, Nut.

Shu comes into being along with his sister/lover Tefnut from the masturbatory act of Atum, the God who is alone at the beginning of the cosmos in the abyss of Nun. Alternately, Shu is exhaled by Atum or spat forth (perhaps as an involuntary reaction to inhaling the waters of Nun?). In any case, Shu embodies the coming to consciousness of Atum in the indeterminacy of Nun, the fluid abyss. Shu embodies the preconditions of consciousness inasmuch as air is the medium of sound and light, hence of hearing and vision. The link between Shu and sunlight is especially close, to the extent that it has been posited that the Egyptians did not really distinguish between ‘air’ in the sense represented by Shu and light itself, considered as a substance separate from that which emits it. The rays of the sun are “the Shu-forms of Re” (e.g. at Coffin Texts spell 1013), the powerful arms of Shu which support the sky. The rays of sunlight, although perfectly insubstantial, hold apart the heavens and the earth, a function which is itself inseparable from the act of seeing and of conscious perceiving, which are, in turn, inseparable for Egyptian thought from the power to breathe, itself an expression of a living essence in air. The rays of sunlight are thus mere light no more than the breath of life is air in the abstract, elemental sense. The deceased affirms in CT spell 1013 that “I will lift up the Shu-forms of Re; my wailing women [i.e. mourners] are silent.” Here doing the work of Shu in separating sky from earth from underworld is synonymous with resurrection, which silences the mourners for they no longer have any reason to grieve.

In one of a series of spells pertaining to Shu in the Coffin Texts (spell 80) Atum says of Shu, “He knows how to nourish him who is in the egg in the womb for me, namely the human beings who came forth from my eye which I sent out while I was alone with Nun in lassitude.” The sending forth by Atum of his eye is at once the emergence into the world of the light of awareness, as well as the coming to life from out of the waters of the womb of the living, breathing being, which is the work of Shu as quickener of the womb, both as breath of life and as sperm, because Shu is the seed of Atum, the seed of Shu also being spoken of in such life-imparting contexts. Shu is the life having come into the waters of the primordial abyss, and thus he is water in a special sense, the waters of conception and of birth, as well as the pure waters of the netherworld: in PT utterance 338 the deceased king states, “I will not by thirsty by reason of Shu,” while the officiating priest in PT utterance 222 directs the king to “Be pure in the horizon and get rid of your impurity in the Lakes of Shu.” Reference is made numerous times in the temple inscriptions from Kom Ombo of the reunion of Shu and Geb, a symbol perhaps of the emergence of life on the earth as Shu’s incarnation and the earth’s spiritualization. In CT spell 80, for instance, Shu affirms that all the different kinds of animals live “in accordance with the command of Atum that I should govern them and nourish them with this mouth of mine. My life is what is in their nostrils.” Hence when reference is made to “the weary (or inert) Shu” in CT spell 76, who needs to be lifted up into the sky by others, we are to understand the deceased, who has lost the power of breath and must breathe—that is, live—through the activity of others.

This potential for an intimate identification with Shu is underscored by the important series of spells in the Coffin Texts which are devoted to ‘manifesting’ or ‘becoming Shu’ (CT spells 75-83), which are some of the most striking works of Egyptian religious thought. These spells were obviously intended not only for use in a funerary context, but also by the living, as is clear from the notations on spell 81. An identification with Shu is already indicated by PT utterance 660, in which the king addresses Shu, affirming that he himself is the son of Atum (i.e. Shu). Shu confirms this, telling the king “You are the eldest son of Atum, his first-born; Atum has spat you out from his mouth in your name of Shu.” This common alternate version of Shu’s emergence evokes Atum’s intake of breath amidst the waters of Nun, causing him to spit them out in the form of Shu. Shu thus expresses Atum’s reaction to the abyss, his differentiation of himself from it by negating it forcefully. It also connotes speech, a concept which becomes more important in the Shu spells from the Coffin Texts. In the Pyramid Texts and thereafter, Shu plays a critical role in the resurrection because breath is the pre-eminent symbol of life itself. Hence a third party in utterance 660, presumably a priest, says to Shu “If you live, he [the king] will live,” since identification with Shu is identification with the principle of life itself. Shu is therefore a symbol of self-sufficiency, as at utterance 539: “I live on that whereon Shu lives.” In CT spell 80 Shu affirms that he knits together the body of Atum and that of Osiris, that he secures the head of Atum to his body, and likewise that of Isis, in reference to the general Egyptian notion that breath is the very coherence and integrity of the living body, and also through the specific association of the breath with the throat, which connects the heart, seat of thought for Egyptians, and the mouth, which utters the words that express the consciousness (note in this respect the reference to Isis, who is the paradigmatic speaker of magic). But the work which Shu does to guarantee the integrity of the living organism is not peculiar to humans; Shu explains in spell 80 that he “knits on the heads” of all animals “with this authority of mine which is on my lips,” i.e., with his authoritative speech.

The form of the Shu spells in the Coffin Texts is a monologue in the first person delivered by Shu, who gives an account of his origin as “the self-created God” who came into being “from the flesh of the self-created God,” i.e. Atum. It is not a matter of redundancy that Atum and Shu should both be regarded as ‘self-created’, for the self-creation of Atum involves essentially his coming to consciousness, and this very act is itself nothing other than the self-creation of Shu, who is autonomous inasmuch as consciousness is freed from its preconditions. Shu’s dual role of conveying sound and conveying understanding is evident in his affirmation that he “hears the words of the Chaos-Gods,” i.e., the Gods of the Hermopolitan Ogdoad who express the conditions of formlessness prior to the emergence of the cosmos. In spell 76 it is said that Atum made the names of the Chaos-Gods by speaking with the abyss (Nun) “in chaos, in darkness and in gloom.” Atum, in other words, speaks into the Abyss the characteristics of that abyss, and these attributes, because they come into expression and awareness, become the Gods of the Ogdoad whose names derive from these attributes, i.e. chaos or limitlessness (Heh/Hauhet), darkness (Kek/Kauket), and gloom or ‘the nowhere’ (Tenem/Tenemet). Therefore we read in spell 79, “O you eight Chaos-Gods who went forth from Shu, whose names the flesh of Atum created in accordance with the word of Nun in chaos, in the Abyss, in darkness and in gloom,” thus stating the names of the Chaos-Gods as attributes of Nun, the abyss, and identifying the very act of speaking these attributes with Shu, because he is the medium into which this speech comes forth. But the naming of the Chaos-Gods is also the creation of the space for consciousness and expression that is Shu, and therefore it can be said that the primordial Gods of the Ogdoad are created by Shu “from the efflux of his flesh,” his ‘flesh’ being at once medium and moment of signification and communication. Thus spell 80 says that “a cry for me [Shu] went forth from the mouth of Atum, the air opened up upon my ways.” Likewise, Shu says in spell 75 that he “despatches the word of the Self-created [Atum] to the multitudes.” Shu also affirms in these spells that he does not obey magic, “for I have already come into being,” after which some texts add “my clothing is the breath of life which issued after me from the mouth of Atum” (spell 75). Shu’s immunity from magical compulsion here is not merely due to his primordiality, but also  from the fact that the very breath with which magic (which is, in the Egyptian understanding, primarily something to be spoken) is performed must be borrowed, in effect, from Shu. Similarly, in the same spell Shu says “Your hearts have spoken to me, you Gods, without anything issuing from your mouths, because there has come into being through me the doing of everything.”

Shu’s role is often seen, especially in the Pyramid Texts, as that of reaching out to lift the deceased up into the sky, just as each morning he lifts the boat of Re into the sky at the eastern horizon; reference is often made to the ‘ladder of Shu’, which is said in CT spell 76 to be assembled by the eight ‘Chaos-Gods’. Shu is associated with a number of other atmospheric phenomena; the lightning is called “favorite son of Shu” in PT utterance 261, clouds or mist are “the bones of Shu” in utterance 222, the “bank of dusk” is the “supports of Shu” in CT spell 76, and some of the references to Shu’s powerful arms and strength in combat, in addition to their more theological dimensions, also surely refer to the power of the winds. The four winds are referred to as the four bau (that is, manifestations) of Shu, and Shu as well as related Gods such as Onuris sometimes wear a crown with four plumes to symbolize the four winds. CT spell 80 calls hail-storms and the dark storm clouds the “sweat” of Shu. Shu describes himself in his monologue from the Coffin Texts as the one who foretells the sun when it ascends from the horizon, and it is in this pre-dawn luminosity that the Egyptians saw perhaps the most distinct manifestation of Shu.

Shu and his sister Tefnut are frequently portrayed as two lions, and are referred to thus as Ruty, literally ‘the Lions’. In PT utterance 301 Atum and Ruty are said to have “yourselves created your Godheads and your persons,” and Shu and Tefnut are those “who made the Gods, who begot the Gods and established the Gods.” Shu and Tefnut escort the boat of Re, Shu on its east side, Tefnut on its west side (utterance 606; see also utterance 496: “I [the deceased] have come from Dendara with Shu behind me, Tefnut before me, and Wepwawet at my right hand”). An ‘ascension’ text (utterance 684) speaks of Shu and Tefnut as the king’s grandfather and grandmother, and says that “they take the king to the sky, to the sky, on the smoke of the incense,” a reference again to the role of air as a conducting medium, in this case for incense, which makes a convenient symbol for the effectiveness of worship in general (see also utterance 689: “Oh Shu, supporter of Nut, raise the Eye of Horus [i.e., the offering] to the sky”). Just as the air is the medium for spoken prayer or magic, it is the medium for incense or for the burnt offering, and therefore governs virtually all interactions with the divine.

The most important myth concerning Shu and Tefnut is, however, that in which Tefnut, the ‘Eye of Re’, the fierce protector of Re and enforcer of his will in the cosmos, is pacified or ‘cooled’ by Shu, as is clearly alluded to in CT spell 75, where Shu says “I have extinguished the fire, I have calmed the soul of her who burns, I have quieted her who is in the midst of her rage.” Shu says “I am he whom the flame of fire burns, but its fiery blast is not against me,” which at once refers to air as the medium and sustenance of fire, but also has a deeper significance, for the deceased, empowered by his/her identification with Shu, says later in the same spell “there is no flame for my soul on account of its foulness,” that is, because there is no foulness in the soul, it needs no purification by fire (or that which is purified by fire is not identified with the soul itself). The pacification of the wrathful Tefnut by Shu seems to come about through their sexual union. A reference to this sexual conjunction of Shu and Tefnut is implied in PT utterance 685, in which the king is purified by the “waters of life … which the phallus of Shu makes and which the vagina of Tefnut creates.”

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Further Info

Other Names: Su

Patron of: cool dry air.

Appearance: A man standing with arms raised, usually holding his daughter Nut and standing over his son Geb.

Description: Shu, along with his sister Tefnut, were the first deities to be created by Atum. He is the lord of cool air and the upper sky. He was believed to be the one responsible, like Atlas, for holding up the firmament and separating it from the earth.

In his capacity as the lord of air, he is also the creator of the wind.

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Wiki Info

In Egyptian mythology, Shu (meaning emptiness and he who rises up) is one of the primordial gods, a personification of air, one of the Ennead of Heliopolis. He was created by Atum, his father and Iusaaset, his mother in the city of Heliopolis. With his sister, Tefnut (moisture), he was the father of Nut and Geb. His daughter, Nut, was the sky goddess whom he held over the Earth (Geb), separating the two.

Shu’s grandchildren are Osiris, Isis, Set and Nephthys.

As the air, Shu was considered to be cooling, and thus calming, influence, and pacifier. Due to the association with air, calm, and thus Ma’at (truth, justice and order), Shu was portrayed in art as wearing an ostrich feather. Shu was seen with 1-4 feathers.

In a much later myth, representing the terrible weather disaster at the end of the Old Kingdom, it was said that Tefnut and Shu once argued, and Tefnut (moisture) left Egypt for Nubia (which was always more temperate). It was said that Shu quickly decided that he missed her, but she changed into a cat that destroyed any man or god that approached. Thoth, disguised, eventually succeeded in convincing her to return. He carries an Ankh, the symbol of life.

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Mythological Family Members & Associated Deities

ATUM (Father)

IUSAAS (Mother)

TEFNUT (Sister/Consort)

GEB (Son)

NUT (Daughter)

OSIRIS (Grandson)

ISIS (Granddaughter)

SET (Grandson)

NEPHTHYS (Granddaughter)

HORUS (Great-Grandson)

NUN

RA

MA'AT

THOTH

KUK

KAUKET

HEH

HAUHET

ONURIS

WEPWAWET

ATLAS


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