Season: 1–2, Episodes: 32, Faction: Survivors
Shannon Rutherford was a middle section survivor of Oceanic Flight 815 and was the stepsister of Boone Carlyle. She and Boone always argue before and after the crash. Before the crash, her father had died in a car crash and she had been cut off by her stepmother, who also refused to give her any of her fathers money. She used men, especially Boone, to get what she wanted which eventually led to a one night-stand with Boone. After the crash, she was very selfish at times, refusing to help the other survivors, as she insisted they would be rescued. However, she assisted trying to get a signal on the tranceiver, and used her french skills to translate Rousseau’s signal. She also had an athsma attack, when her inhalers ran out, but Sun cured her. She eventually formed a romantic relationship with Sayid, which helped her realize her selfishness and led to a change in attitude. As she and Sayid went for a picnic, Boone fell out of a plane and died. After Boone died, Shannon sought revenge on John Locke, attempting to shoot him, but Sayid interfered. She eventually forgave Sayid, but began to have strange visions of Walt who she thought was on the raft. On day 48 she ran from camp with Sayid to search for Walt, however she collided with the Tailies and was unintentionally shot in the stomach and killed by Ana Lucia Cortez, after chasing another image of Walt. She died in Sayid’s arms having finally gained his confidence and belief in her.
In the flash-sideways, she was reunited with her lover, Sayid Jarrah and along with their friends, they moved on.
1×20 – Do No Harm | 2×06 – Abandoned
Shannon grew up without a mother and lived her early childhood alone with her father. At the tender age of 8, Shannon’s father married a woman by the name of Sabrina Carlyle, who had a 10-year-old son, Boone Carlyle. Sabrina became Shannon’s stepmother and Boone became Shannon’s stepbrother. Shannon never had a good relationship with Sabrina, but Shannon’s and Boone’s relationship blossomed over time. (“Do No Harm”) (“Abandoned”).
1×14 – Special
Boone commented that while Shannon was in high school, she was a bulimic. (“Special”)
2×06 – Abandoned
Shannon became a ballet instructor at the age of 18 along with her best friend, Nora. After wrapping up a class, Shannon received a call from Sabrina saying that they need to meet at St. Sebastian’s Hospital, because Adam had been involved in a car accident. At St. Sebastian’s, Jack is visible for a brief moment as he bumps the doctor informing the family about Adam’s accident. The doctor then proceeds to inform the family that Adam stopped breathing at the scene of the accident and they were unable to revive him. Shannon was devastated, and from then on, tried to distance herself from Sabrina as much as possible.
Shannon and Boone reunited after a long time apart at Adam’s funeral. Shannon was relieved to have a familiar shoulder on which to cry and immediately turned to Boone. Shannon told Boone that she had applied for a prestigious internship at the Martha Graham Dance Company in New York city. Shannon assured Boone that she may get it, even though the odds were not on her side. Boone agreed but still showed some doubt.
While having breakfast at her apartment, Nora walked in with an envelope in her hand; it was the reply for her internship entry. She had been granted the internship. Shannon then received a call from the bank and was told that her checks were bouncing. Nora found this unbelievable as she knew that Shannon was wealthy.
Shannon reluctantly turned to Sabrina for help. Shannon told Sabrina about her situation, and Sabrina’s reaction was extremely cold. When Shannon asked about the money that her Father had given her in his will, Sabrina stated that no money had been left to Shannon. Shocked and angry, Shannon asked why this was so, but Sabrina responded indirectly: “Maybe he wants you find your own way.” Sabrina left without giving any help to Shannon.
In a deleted flashback scene, Sabrina showed little care for Shannon’s grief and asked her when she would be leaving her house.
Shannon asked Boone if he could somehow get the money from Sabrina. Shannon found out that Boone had failed at getting the money when he turned up in her apartment, empty handed. Boone assumed that it was because she (Sabrina) knew why he asked for the money. Shannon asked if she could stay with Boone at New York, when another bombshell landed: Boone was leaving New York. Boone offered some of his own money, but Shannon asked Boone if he was giving her the money because he didn’t believe she could be successful on her own. Boone denied this, but when Shannon asked him directly if he believes in her, he scoffed and didn’t answer. Shannon angrily told him that she didn’t want the money and forced the envelope into his hands. (“Abandoned”)
1×12 – Whatever the Case May Be
According to Boone, Shannon spent some time in France sometime after her father’s death. Later, Shannon revealed she lived in St. Tropez and dated Laurent’s father. In a deleted flashback scene, Shannon goes to one of her ballet student’s house in St Tropez and met Sophie’s parents Philippe and Dominique and her younger brother Laurent. According to Shannon, she worked there as Laurent’s babysitter and he used to watch Finding Nemo dubbed in French, featuring the song “La Mer”, and he watched the movie over and over. (“Whatever the Case May Be”)
1×17 – …In Translation
According to Shannon, she also dated a sailor, who could possibly be Bryan. (“…In Translation”)
1×13 – Hearts and Minds
After returning from her job as an au pair, Shannon began to routinely conmoney out of her stepmother and/or Boone in an attempt to get the money that she felt was owed to her. Boone said he had paid off 3 men to break up with her. Shannon’s most recent attempt to get money was by faking an abusive relationship with Bryan, the man she was living with in Sydney, Australia. When Boone found out that Shannon was lying to him, Bryan assaulted him. Shannon begged Bryan to stop, allowing Boone to escape back to his hotel. She later showed up at Boone’s hotel room, drunk and upset. Shannon told him that Bryan took all of the money. She shocked Boone by telling him she knew that he loved her, and uninhibited due to the alcohol, she began to kiss him. Boone didn’t stop her, and they had sex. Shannon severely regretted their actions afterward, and told Boone that she wanted things to return to normal once they got home. They boarded Flight 815 the following morning.
According to Boone, Shannon had been married once, but was separated. (“Hearts and Minds”)
1×23 – Exodus, Part 1
Shannon is then seen in the waiting area sitting down and doing a word seek puzzle. Sayid asks Shannon if she can watch his bag and says that he’ll be back in a moment. Shannon, who is irritable and hungover, replies, “Sure, whatever.” She later walks off with Boone, leaving the bag on the chairs unattended. Shannon initiates an argument with Boone over why he failed to purchase first class seats on the flight instead of coach seats in the middle of the plane. Boone contends that Shannon cannot take care of herself and that she needed him. To prove her independence and cunning, she informs a security guard that “some Arab guy left his bag in the chairs downstairs and then just walked away,” showing Boone that she is capable of things that he never expected. (“Exodus, Part 1”)
3×14 – Exposé
In the airport, prior to boarding, Nikki and Paulo were interrupted by Shannon loudly complaining about a lack of seating in the café waiting area and Boone being responsible for them not getting first class tickets. Boone politely asks Paulo for their extra chair, and he agrees, but Shannon pulls Boone away, accusing his “flirting with random guys” of delaying them. (“Exposé”)
1×02 – Pilot, Part 2
Shannon and Boone are briefly seen aboard 815 right before the crash, as Charlie stumbles over them in order to escape from Cindy. (“Pilot, Part 2”)
1×24 – Exodus, Part 2
Shannon sat in seat 9F, Business Class, next to Boone, who was seated in 9E on the plane. (“Exodus, Part 2”)
On the Island (1-44)
1×01 – Pilot, Part 1
Shannon and Boone survived the crash of Oceanic Flight 815 because they were denied seats in first class, the area of the plane in which nobody survived. After the crash, Shannon screams at the crash site at the beach where a man tells her to watch the gas. Shannon wanted little to do with everyone else and refused to help build camp, believing that they’d soon be rescued. She was offered a candy bar by her brother, which she flatly rejected, stating that she wasn’t going to give up on her diet because they would be off the Island soon enough. Despite their circumstances, Boone’s and Shannon’s petty war continued. (“Pilot, Part 1”)
1×02 – Pilot, Part 2
The next day, Shannon sunbathes and talks to Claire, finally interacting with the other survivors. Later Shannon remorsefully cries over the dead body of the crewman who refused to put her into first class, effectively saving her life. When Boone callously criticizes her for not helping out, she goes on a jungle trek with Sayid, Kate, Charlie, Sawyer and Boone to prove to him that she isn’t useless. Her assistance was vital in translating the French distress signal that Sayid received on the radio from the cockpit. (“Pilot, Part 2”)
1×03 – Tabula Rasa
On the way back to the beach, Boone lifts the gun from Sawyer, who awakens. The group fights and Shannon tells them that Boone doesn’t agree with guns. When they arrive back to the beach, Shannon complains that Edward Mars is dying too loudly. A few hours later, Boone gives a pair of sunglasses to Shannon. (“Tabula Rasa”)
1×04 – Walkabout
The next day, Shannon and Boone argue over caring for others and catching food. Shortly after the argument, Shannon uses her charm to get Charlie to catch her a fish. After Charlie catches the fish, Shannon shows Boone the fish, telling him that she told him she could get a fish. Just after they begin to argue again over using people. (“Walkabout”)
1×07 – The Moth
After Boone left her in charge of their part in triangulating the signal, he runs to the caves to help Jack after he fell victim to a cave-in. Although distracted, she succeeded in letting off the signal bottle rocket on time. (“The Moth”)
1×08 – Confidence Man
Later, Shannon began experiencing asthma attacks, which was unusual since many of the other survivors’ physical ailments ceased after the crash. To compound the problem, Boone could not find the extra inhalers that he had brought in his luggage on the plane.
As Shannon’s attacks became more life-threatening, Boone began to suspect that Sawyer was hoarding them with other items he confiscated in the luggage. Sawyer refused to cooperate with the investigation, which led to him being tortured by Sayid. It was later discovered that Sawyer did not, in fact, have the inhalers. (“Confidence Man”)
1×09 – Solitary
While Shannon sunbathed at the beach, Boone told her that Hurley and others made a golf course in excitement. Boone and Shannon went to the golf course and watched everyone play. (“Solitary”)
1×10 – Raised by Another
Shannon considers moving to the caves with Boone, but when Hurley is collecting everyone’s information she expresses her doubts about the caves’ safety after hearing that Claire was attacked. (“Raised by Another”)
After Claire was kidnapped by Ethan, Shannon tells Boone not to go out into the jungle to find Claire; however, he goes anyway. At night in the caves, Shannon approaches Kate and expresses her worry about Boone. Kate tells her that Locke and Boone have not returned yet. (“All the Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues”)
1×12 – Whatever the Case May Be
After Sayid returned from his encounter with Rousseau, he asks for Shannon’s help in translating the French writing on the maps. Shannon reluctantly agrees and has trouble at first, becoming frustrated with Sayid and herself. It was during her work with the map translation that Shannon develops feelings for Sayid. At night Shannon tells Sayid about Laurent repeatedly watching a movie featuring the song “La Mer”. Realizing the connection between the song and their current situation, Shannon then begins to sing it. (“Whatever the Case May Be”)
1×13 – Hearts and Minds
Shannon’s attraction to Sayid gets the attention of Boone, who is visibly displeased. Boone explains to Locke, “You don’t know Shannon. She’s smart and she’s special in a lot of ways”. Locke drugs Boone, sensing he might tell Shannon of their secret trips to uncover the hatch.
Under the influence of the hallucinogen, Boone hears Shannon screaming in the jungle and sees her tied up to a tree by Locke, while the Monster is heard. Boone frees her and runs and hides from the Monster in a mangrove trunk. They get out of the mangrove trunk, the monster is gone.
Walking through the jungle Shannon asked why Locke tied her up. Eventually, Boone tells her about the hatch and why he tied her up, leading to more questions. A few minutes later, the Monster is heard again and it is viciously attacking Shannon. Boone searches for Shannon, but when he finds her bloody, crumpled body lying by the stream, he realizes it is too late. That night, Boone approaches Locke in the caves and attacks him for indirectly causing Shannon’s death. Boone, however realizes that Shannon is alive and well and chatting happily with Sayid. Locke tells Boone it was a vision and Boone admits that he felt free from the burden of caring for his step-sister. (“Hearts and Minds”)
1×14 – Special
The next day, Shannon and Sayid explain Rousseau’s map to Jack. Michael interrupts them, telling them his idea of making a raft. Shannon dismisses the idea, “I get really sea-sick”. (“Special”)
1×15 – Homecoming
When Claire arrives back at the camp, she asks Shannon why everybody is avoiding her. She then tells Claire about the death of Scott. (“Homecoming”)
3×14 – Exposé
Shannon and Arzt argue with Kate about the case of guns found in the waterfall. (“Exposé”)
1×17 – …In Translation
When Boone later talks to Sayid, causing him to temporarily reconsider their relationship, Shannon heads to the jungle to quarrel with Boone, but only finds Locke. In their conversation, Locke tells Shannon that everyone gets a new life on the Island, and advises her to start hers. She accepts John’s advice and is determined to begin her own with Sayid. (“…In Translation”)
1×20 – Do No Harm
After falling in the drug smugglers’ plane, Boone was seriously injured. While Boone was dying, Shannon was on a date with Sayid on another beach and tells Sayid the truth about her relationship with Boone. Shannon and Sayid are happily holding hands when they come back, Jack tells her about Boone. Shannon goes straight to the caves and cries over Boone’s body. (“Do No Harm”)
1×21 – The Greater Good
After Boone’s death, Sayid asks Shannon if there is anything he can do, but Shannon doesn’t reply. At the funeral, Shannon does not say anything, instead Sayid gives a speech. After the funeral, Shannon sits at the beach in silence. Locke walks over tentatively, and offers her Boone’s belongings. Locke tells Shannon that Boone was brave, and that he knows how it feels to lose someone you love. Shannon is distraught and looks for someone to blame. Shannon becomes convinced that Locke was responsible for her step-brother’s death.
Back at Sayid’s tent, Shannon reminds Sayid that he offered to help her. The only help that she wants is revenge on John Locke. However, Sayid doesn’t kill or hurt Locke and tells her he is telling the truth that Boone’s death was an accident. After hearing from Kate about the Halliburton case containing guns, Shannon steals the key from Jack and takes a gun with the intent of killing Locke. Kate, Jack and Sayid run into the jungle and find Shannon with a gun pointed at Locke. Sayid intervenes and saves Locke, but caused Shannon to turn away from him. Eventually, she manages to forgive him. (“The Greater Good”)
1×23 – Exodus, Part 1
Right before Walt headed off on the raft, he approached Shannon to ask her if she would accept the responsibility of taking care of Vincent. At first, Shannon was her usual self, acting short with Walt. When Walt asked her to take care of Vincent, however, her attitude changed. Shannon knelt down and began to pet Vincent, asking (jokingly) what made Walt think she needed a dog to take care of her. Walt proceeded to tell Shannon that Vincent was good company when his Mother died, and that nobody would talk to him. He also said that Vincent was a good listener, and that he might do the same for Shannon, if she wanted to talk about Boone after his death. Shannon accepts Walts offer, and when the raft leaves, Vincent jumps into the sea to follow Walt, making Shannon go into the sea to get him. (“Exodus, Part 1”)
1×24 – Exodus, Part 2
Before going to the caves, Shannon tried to bring Boone’s suitcase full of clothes, but Shannon falls over dumping out all of Boone’s clothes. Sayid helps her and she leads the group with Sayid to the caves. After Claire attack by Rousseau, Shannon is the first on the scene with Sayid and Charlie. At the caves, Sun tells Shannon about being punished on the Island. When Sayid comes back, Shannon runs back into Sayid’s arms when he arrives from rescuing Aaron. (“Exodus, Part 2”)
Associated LOST Themes
Decoded Family Members & Lovers
Decoded Season 1 Characters
Decoded Season 2 Characters
Decoded Season 3 Characters
Key Episode(s) to Decoding the Character
(Tefenet; transliterated in Greek as Thphênis) A complex Goddess, Tefnut is the daughter of Atum, the twin sister and consort of Shu, and the mother of Geb and Nut. She is usually depicted either as a lioness-headed woman or in fully leonine form, in the latter case usually back-to-back with Shu in similarly leonine form; when depicted like this Shu and Tefnut are known as Ruty, ‘the Two Lions’. Tefnut is created together with her brother through Atum’s act of masturbation at the beginning of the cosmos. The name of Tefnut is thus sometimes linked to a verb tefen, meaning to spit or eject something from the body, although it is sometimes also linked to a noun tefen, meaning ‘orphan’, as in PT utterance 260, where the deceased king affirms, “I the orphan [tefen] have had judgment with the orphaness [tefenet, i.e. Tefnut].” This idea may be linked to the notion that Tefnut created herself, and is therefore parentless, inasmuch as it is said in PT utterance 301 that Atum and Ruty, that is, Atum, Shu and Tefnut, “yourselves created your godheads and your persons.” Similarly, the cosmogonic account in the Papyrus Bremner-Rhind (xxvii) states that the children of Geb and Nut, who are Shu and Tefnut’s grandchildren, are the first “brought forth from the body,” that is, in contrast to the more mysterious manner in which the prior Gods came forth. This is in accord with a statement earlier in the text in which Atum states “Many were the beings which came forth from my mouth before heaven came into being, before earth came into being … I put together some of them in Nun as inert ones, before I could find a place in which I might stand,” (xxvi). This existence of Shu and Tefnut together with Atum in a state of latency or ‘inertness’, manifests in a certain fusion of persons in the triangular relationship among these Gods. Hence PT utterance 685 says of the reborn king that “his feet are kissed by the pure waters which exist through Atum, which the phallus of Shu makes and which the vagina of Tefnut creates,” identifying the original creative emission from Atum, in which Shu and Tefnut were present, with the sexual union of Shu and Tefnut. In the fully differentiated relationship, Shu seems to embody the more heavenly or transcendent aspect and Tefnut the more earthly or immanent aspect of Atum’s emission or utterance.
This triangular relationship is further developed in the sequel to the Atum cosmogony, the saga of the ‘Eye’. This myth, which is only imperfectly understood, concerns the relationship between Atum—who, however, yields his place to Re in the most developed formulations of the myth (a substitution which is explained in CT spell 76: “The phoenix of Re was that whereby Atum came into being in chaos, in the Abyss, in darkness and in gloom”)—and his ‘Eye’, irt, which projects itself into the world, a play on words since ir.t means ‘doing’ or agency. The myth, which takes on many varied forms expressing different but analogous sets of ideas, concerns in its simplest terms the return of the ‘Eye’ to Atum or Re. This ‘Eye’ is the effective will of solar deities such as Re in the world, its ‘return’ therefore expressing the circling back to its source of this energy. The symbolism of the return of the Eye has different qualities on the different levels of the cosmos upon which the symbol operates. Sometimes it has the sense of the God’s coming to consciousness through the experience of separation and reunion. Hence in the Bremner-Rhind Papyrus (xxvii), Atum states that his ‘Eye’ “followed after” Shu and Tefnut, who, after having been ejected from his body, were “brought up” by and “rejoiced in” Nun, the precosmic abyss, and were hence “distant” from him. In returning to him, Atum says that Shu and Tefnut “brought to me my Eye with them.” This leads to a new stage in the creation, for Atum states that “After I had joined together my members”—Shu and Tefnut being like parts of his body—”I wept over them. That is how humans came into being from the tears which came forth from my Eye,” a play on the words remi, ‘tears’, and romi, ‘humans’. From another perspective, Shu states in CT spell 76 that “Atum once sent his Sole Eye [lit. ‘his Sole One’] seeking me and my sister Tefnut. I made light of the darkness for it and it found me as an immortal.” The ‘Eye’ which seeks out Shu and Tefnut is sometimes identified with Hathor, as in CT spell 331.
This cosmogonic myth is in turn related—although it is not clear exactly how—to a radically different myth also involving Tefnut, which is generally known as the myth of the ‘Distant Goddess’. In this myth, Tefnut, the ‘Distant Goddess’, is induced by Shu to return with him to Egypt from a vaguely-determined foreign land called Bougem or Keneset, regarded as lying to the south and east of Egypt (e.g., Somalia), but essentially a mythical place. The return of the fiery and wrathful ‘Distant Goddess’ involves her appeasement or purification, which occurs paradigmatically at Abaton on the island of Bigêh, the site of the ‘tomb’ of Osiris. Although only imperfectly understood, it is clear that the myth of the ‘Distant Goddess’ unites cosmogonic and Osirian themes. The myth of the ‘Distant Goddess’ is told with an ever-shifting cast of deities, and Shu and Tefnut may not have been the original hero and heroine (who were, perhaps, Onuris and Mehyt). It is alluded to in many temple inscriptions but not preserved in any early narrative form. Attempts have been made to reconstruct it with the help of a demotic narrative (part of which also survives in Greek translation) which seems to tell a folk tale version of it. In this text (translated in de Cenival 1988), Thoth, in the form of a monkey, convinces Tefnut, at first in the form of a “Kushite cat”, later taking the forms of a lioness, a vulture and a gazelle before returning to “her beautiful form of Tefnut,” (22, 2) to return with him by a series of arguments, fables, and hymns. Thoth’s role in this demotic narrative echoes his classical function of pacifying wrathful Goddesses.
Attempts to reconstruct the myth of the ‘Distant Goddess’ have sometimes been overly ambitious in their synthesis (see the critique in Inconnu-Bocquillon 2001). The arrival of the ‘Distant Goddess’ is seemingly conceived in two ways: first, as Re’s daughter (the ‘Distant Goddess’ is identified, not as the daughter of Atum, but of Re) coming to his defense against his enemies and the enemies of the cosmic order he represents; and second as the theogamy (or divine marriage) of Shu and Tefnut, this being understood, not as that which produced Geb and Nut at the beginning of the world, but rather as a reunion of Shu and Tefnut and an indwelling of each in the other which also, in its most theologically complex form, entails the reunion of Geb and Nut with Shu and Tefnut (see especially the texts from Kom Ombo edited and translated by Gutbub). This reunion thus confirms the creation, so to speak, closing a cosmic circle in which the conflict characterizing the later generations of the Gods gives way to reconciliation and the spiritualization of the cosmos: “Shu, the son of Re, rejoices with his son Geb as Tefnut with her daughter Nut, they are in joy here [Kom Ombo] eternally, having put an end to rebellion, having expelled calamity,” (Gutbub 2f). An ancient commentary on BD spell 17 identifies the soul of Re and the soul of Osiris, who come together in the resurrection, as indwelling in Shu and Tefnut. Tefnut embodies, in relation to Shu, the whole latter development of the cosmos, for it is she “who bore the Ennead,” (a generic term for the pantheon) (CT spell 78). Hence Tefnut is closely associated with Ma’et (e.g., in CT spell 80) as the principle of order and harmony in the cosmos which has as its prerequisite, however, the development of complexity, for there cannot be order without complexity. Tefnut bridges the gap between the primeval stages of the cosmos and its evolved, complex state.
Certain texts, such as PT utterance 562, where it is said that “The earth is raised on high under the sky by your arms, O Tefnut, and you have taken the hands of Re,” have been interpreted as indicating that Tefnut is to be understood as a ‘lower sky’, an atmosphere or ocean beneath the earth which supports it, but it may be that Tefnut is here rather that force which spiritualizes the earth, raising it up to sky in her reunion with Shu. There is slightly more explicit support in Egyptian texts for Shu and Tefnut being considered as solar and lunar principles. In CT spell 607, the two eyes of Horus, “which issued from Atum, are Shu and Tefnut,” the Horus referred to here being Horus-the-Elder or Haroeris, the aspect of Horus which is the sky itself, his two eyes the sun and moon, which are here Shu and Tefnut. As for which is solar and which lunar, Tefnut is perhaps the more convincing candidate for lunar principle only inasmuch as the myth of the ‘Distant Goddess’ is at times applied to the lunar cycle and the ‘Eye of Re’ which returns to him is identified with the Eye of Horus (the wedjat) which is wounded and healed or stolen and restored, a myth referring to the moon among other things. Tefnut’s principal associations, however, are strongly solar. BD spell 130 seems to identify Tefnut in some fashion with the exhalation of Re: “He inhales Shu, he creates Tefnut.” Tefnut here may be the sun’s radiance, kindled by the inhalation of air. In BD spell 136B, “for sailing in the great bark of Re to pass by the ring of fire,” Osiris says of the operator, identified with Horus, “I have cut off harm from him, and in its place I have brought to him Tefnut, that he may live on her.” From the surrounding context, it appears that Tefnut here embodies the fiery or radiant solar power. BD spell 152 wishes that the deceased may “drink the water of Tefnut,” which is perhaps the morning dew. In BD spell 169, it seems that Tefnut provides a sort of ambrosia: “Tefnut the daughter of Re feeds thee with what her father Re gave her.” In CT spell 660 the ‘waters’ of Tefnut seem to be a symbol for the cosmos itself: “Tefnut is she who allots what is to be allotted by eternity; you shall adore her upon the waters which are in her, you who follow after the Eye of Horus, and I [the operator] will adore her waters.”
Description: Tefnut, along with her brother Shu, was the first deity created by Atum in the beginning. She was the goddess of moisture (remember that even in ancient times, very little rain fell in Egypt) and of the warm moist air near the Nile. At one time she argued with her father and left Egypt for Nubia. Only Thoth could persuade her to return.
Together with Shu, the god of air, Tefnut is one of the twins who were the first born of Atum. The offspring of these two are Nut, the sky and Geb, the earth. Tefnut’s grandchildren were Osiris, Isis, Set and Nephthys. With their father, children and grandchildren Tefnut is from the Ennead of Heliopolis. In Heliopolis she had a sanctuary called the Lower Menset.
The name Tefnut has been linked to the verb ‘tfn’ meaning ‘to spit’ and versions of the creation myth say that Atum spat her out and her name was written as a pair of lips spitting in late texts. In the earlier Pyramid Texts she is said to produce pure waters from her vagina. Alternate spellings of goddess’ name are Tefenet, Tefnet.
Tefnet was often represented as a lioness and was thus connected with other leonine goddesses as the Eye of Ra. As her brother and consort Shu was also sometimes depicted as a lion they were worshiped as a pair of lions in Leontopolis in the Delta. As a lioness she could display a wrathful aspect and is said to escape to Nubia in a rage from where she is brought back by Thoth.