Naunet represented the sky over the primaeval ocean as the feminine counterpart of Nun (the primaeval waters of chaos) in the Ogdoad theology of Hermopolis. She may be a primaeval form of the sky goddess Nut.
Nun, also spelt Nu, is the oldest of the ancient Egyptian gods and father of Re, the sun god. Nun’s name means “primaeval waters,”. He represented the waters of chaos out of which Re-Atum began creation. Nun’s qualities were boundlessness, darkness, and the turbulence of stormy waters; these qualities were personified separately by pairs of deities.
Nun, his female counterpart, Naunet, and three different pairs formed the Ogdoad (group of eight gods) of Hermopolis (Al Ashmunin). Various Egyptian creation myths retain the image of the emergence of a primaeval hillock formed of mud churned from the chaotic waters of Nun. Since ancient Egyptians believed that the primaeval ocean continued to surround the ordered cosmos, the creation myth was reenacted each day as the sun god rose from the waters of chaos. They also believed that Goddess Nun continued to exist as the source of the annual flooding of the Nile River.
The deification of Goddess Naunet
Nu (also Nenu, Nunu, Nun, Coptic: Ⲛⲟⲩⲛ), feminine Naunet (also Nunut, Nuit, Nent, Nunet), is the deification of the primordial watery abyss in the Hermopolitan Ogdoad cosmogony of ancient Egyptian religion. The name is paralleled with nen “inactivity” in a play of words in, “I raised them from out of the watery mass, out of inactivity “. The name has also been compared to the Coptic noun “abyss; deep”.
Nu is one of the eight deities of the Ogdoad representing ancient Egyptian primordial chaos from which the Primeval Mound appeared. He correlated with the goddess Naunet and appeared in anthropomorphic form but with the head of a frog. Egyptians addressed no cult to Nun, but they typically depicted him in ancient Egyptian art holding the solar barque or the sun disc aloft. He may appear to greet the rising sun in the guise of a baboon. Nun is otherwise symbolized by the presence of a sacred cistern or lake as in the sanctuaries of Karnak and Dendara.
The ancient Egyptians envisaged the oceanic abyss of the Nun as surrounding a bubble in which the sphere of life is encapsulated, representing the most profound mystery of their cosmogony. In ancient Egyptian creation accounts, the original mound of land comes forth from the waters of the Nun. The Nun is the source of all that appears in a differentiated world, encompassing all aspects of divine and earthly existence. In the Ennead cosmogony, Nun is perceived as transcendent at the point of creation alongside Atum, the creator god.
The Ogdoad includes Naunet and Nun, Amaunet and Amun; Hauhet and Heh; and Kauket and Kek. Nu did not have temples or worship centres like the other Ogdoad deities. Nu was sometimes represented by a sacred lake or, as at Abydos, by an underground stream.
In the 12th Hour of the Book of Gates, Egyptians depicted Nu with upraised arms holding a solar bark (or barque, a boat). The boat is occupied by eight deities, with the scarab deity Khepri standing in the middle, surrounded by the seven other gods.
During the late period when foreign powers occupied Egypt, the negative aspect of the Nun (chaos) became the dominant perception, reflecting the forces of disorder that were set loose in the country.