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Artwork by Frank Frazetta..."The Egyptian Queen"

If you were to read extensively on the subject of deities of Ancient Egypt (or anywhere else in the world for that matter) you would undoubtedly come to the false conclusion that Goddess worship was secondary to the worship of male deities. I have read books on the subject of Ancient Egypt that, if they do not completely avoid mentioning Goddesses, either turn them into male figures, or insultingly refer to them only in relation to a God. (ie: The Wife of Thoth...) This practice is rampant in our patriarchal society and so I am taking a little more care to be sure to cover the Goddesses of Egypt and to stress that they were higly regarded,loved and respected among their people...Enjoy...and bear with me as I add to this page regularly...:)


Ahemait: When a person's body died their soul traveled to the underworld to stand judgement before Osisris,Ma'at, and if they were unlucky, Ahemait. The deceased's heart was placed on the infamous scale to be wieghed against Ma'at's ostrich feather. If their heart was lighter than the feather, they joined the Gods and Goddesses and other spirits...Alas, if their heart was shown to be heavier than Ma'at's feather the poor soul was immediately jumped upon and eaten by Ahemait in the monstrous form of part hippopotamus,part lion (sometimes said to be part panther) and part crocodile. Her name means literally, "devourer".

Akusaa: (not much around on her) Godess of Sunset

Ament: Her name means "Westerner"... The West represented the Land of The Dead to the Egyptians and this Goddess watched the gates of the afterworld to welcome the souls of the newly deceased. She was said to live in a tree on the edge of the desert ready to offer the souls of the dead bread and water...if they accepted her offering they could never return to the land of the living...She appears in hieroglyphs wearing an ostrich feather on her head. (Interestingly enough...she is believed to have originated in Libya,to the West of Egypt, and subsequently migrated to Egypt.)

Ankt/Anouke: She is frequently depicted wearing a curved and feathered crown and was a spear-carrying war Goddess...(she is also frequently,and infuriatingly "transformed" into a God in many books written by men)

Anuket: A much loved water-goddess whose was eventually merged with Nephthys. Her name means the "embracer", perhaps referring to the embrace of the Nile waters by the river's banks. In hieroglyphs she was depicted wearing a feather headress, and her worship was most pronounced on the sacred island of Seheil and at Aswan.

At-Em: She was the Egyptian Mother-Goddess who represented time...Her power was enormous..much like the force that later found expression in the Indian Goddess,Kali

Avaris: This all-encompassing Goddess had three (sometimes said to be four) aspects: warrior,mother,and virgin.(the seldom mentioned fourth being: wanton) She was the "Mother of nations",and remained the "Virgin" despite being the "Mistress of all gods". Although she was creator of all people her thirst for blood was reputed to be as fierce as her blatant and wonderful sexual appetite.

Bast: Originally Bast was the Lion-Goddess of sunset,symbolizing the fertilizing force of the sun't rays. Over time, however, her image became tamer until she was represented as a cat-headed woman with the lion on her breastplate, or a cat carrying the sun. She ruled pleasure and dancing,music and joy. Great celebrations in her honor were held at Bubastis ("house of Bast")and hundreds of thousands of worshippers attended,greeted by flutes melodies and dancing. They believed that in return for thiswonderful celebration Bast awarded them with mental and physical health.

Ermutu: A birth Goddess similar to Meskhoni.

Hathor: Her ecstatic religion held sway for more than 3,000 years and existed for more than a millenium longer than the life,to date,of Christianity. Because of her long and joyous reign...she is known in many forms...She was at once mother and daughter of the sun,both a cow and a lioness,sometimes a woman,sometimes a tree. Goddess of the underworld,she also ruled the sky.She was a complete and complex representation of feminine possibilities. One of her most familiar forms was that of the winged cow who gave birth to the Universe. She appeared as the seven(or nine)Hathors at the birth of a child and foretold its destiny. Her name means "Habitation of The Hawk and birdcage of the Soul", and she was essentially the body in which the soul is caged. As this would imply she was the absolute patron of bodily pleasures:music and and cosmetics... motion in dance and in love-making....all the pleasures of the touch. She was a most beloved goddess to her people...and they practiced her joyful rites long into historical times.

Hekt: She is one of the most ancient Egyptian divinities and was midwife at the birth of the sun, she continues each day to help it into the sky. Her name means "great magician" and she is represented by a frog-headed woman. Hekt represents the embryonic grain that dies,rots,and then sends forth roots and sprouts to begin life anew. It was she who gave all people life by touching the lifeless humans at the original creation with the ankh,causing them to breathe and move.

Het: "maker of invisible existences apart"...She was a serpent-goddess who ruled fire.

Isis(Au-Set): She was the first daughter of Nut,the overarching sky. Most people are familiar with the image of Isis of the winged arms. From the beginning she always looked upon humans kindly,teaching women to grind corn,spin flax,weave cloth,and tame men sufficiently to live with them. She herself lived with her brother, Osiris. Sadly, their evil brother Set killed Osiris and cast him in the waters of the Nile. Isis searched for him and eventually found him returning his body to Egypt for a proper burial. But, the evil Set became angry at this and stole the body,dismembering it and scattering the pieces. Isis once again found him..but could never find his penis which she substitued with a piece of shaped gold. Isis then invented the rites of embalming which the Egyptians are so famous for and applied them with magical words to her beloved brother's body. The god rose,alive once again. Isis magically conceived a child through her brother's golden phallus and that child was the sun-god Horus.Isis' name means literally, "exceeding queen" or simply "spirit". As time passed she took on many names and many new aspects. She was the moon and mother of the sun,culture bringer and health-giver. She was a form of Hathor(or that goddess a form of her). And, she was also Meri,goddess of the sea. She promised her devotees, "You shall live in blessing,you shall live glorious in my protection;and when you have fulfilled your alloted span of life and descend to the underworld,there too you shall see me,as you see me now,shining...And if you show yourself obedient to my will know that I have permitted you to extend your life beyond the time allocated you by your destiny." She said..."I will overcome Fate".

Ma'at: Taking on the form of an ostrich feather in the second pan of the underworld balancing scales where the deceased's heart was weighed,Ma'at was the Egyptian goddess of Truth. She was sometimes divided into two goddess, and although she had no temples, was worshipped in the perception of truth.

Mafdet: "The Lady of The Castle of Life"...Mafdet was a 1st Dynasty Egyptian goddess whose totemic animals were the mongoose and the cat;she was invoked against snakebites.

Mehit: A double of Tefnut...whe was worshipped as a lion-headed woman.

Mehurt: A double of Neith, the sacred cow of creation,the animal mother of the world. She was depicted as a pregnant woman, or as a cow-headed woman holding the lotus of the world.

Mertseger: She was the ruler of death. Her name means "Friend of Silence" and she could be both benevolent and punishing. Living on the pyramidal peak of the burial ground at Thebes, she was sometimes represented by a snake with three heads-one that of a snake,one human,and one that of a vulture-and she was sometimes depicted as a snake with a human head. (Ta-Dehnet was another of her names)

Meskhoni(Meskhent): A birth-goddess who was symbolized by a brick with a human head. Egyptian women would crouch over an image of her during labor. She appeared, in company with Ermutu, right when a woman's contractions began and she stayed with her through the delivery to predict the newborn's future. In Egyptian bas-reliefs, Meskhoni appeared as a woman wearing palm shoots on her head.

Mut: Her name means "Mother" but her character is somewhat vague since her worhsip was slowly emerged with that of Goddesses such as Isis and Hathor. She was represented as either a vulture or a crowned woman and is believed to have originated in Nubia.

Nahab: (not much on her) A snake-headed Goddess of Egypt

Neb-Ti: The "two-mistresses," the ruling goddesses of north and south Egypt, Uadgit and Nekhebet,respectively. (more on them coming up)

Neith(Net): One of Egypt's most ancient goddesses, she assumed the attributes of other deities as her worshippers politically dominated those of other goddesses. She boasted,"I am all that has been, that is, that wil be, and no mortal has yet been able to lift the veil that covers me." Even through all this, however, she still remained the mistress of handicrafts and industry-a warlike mistress who could and would protect her worshippers' property against invasion. (Very similar to the Greeks' Athene) Wearing the crown of unified Egypt, she held the respect of all Egyptians from her temple city of Sais. It was said that at the beginning of time, Neith took up the shuttle, strung the sky on her loom, and wove the world. She then wove nets and from the primordial waters pulled up living creatures, men and women among them. Finally, in the shape of a cow, Neith invented child-birth by bringing Ra into the world. During their lives she was responsible for her worshippers' health. Her priests were doctors and healers...and, after death, she guarded their remains while welcoming their souls into the afterworld.

Nekhebet: One of the "two mistresses" (see Neb-Ti)she was the patron of laboring women who combined political and motherly roles. She was depicted as a vulture-headed woman and she was called by the Greeks Eileithyia

Nephthys(Nebthet): The sister and opposite of Isis, she was the tomb-dwelling goddess of death and sunset. While Isis' consort was the fertility-god Osiris, Nephthy's was paired with the evil Set. Set was sterile along with wicked, and so Nephthys,who wanted children, got Osiris drunk so that he would forget his loyalty to Isis and go to bed with her. That night Nepthys conceived the god Anubis. This was the reason why Set killed Osiris the first time, and Nephthys joined her sister to help restore Osiris to life.

Nut: According to legend,long, long ago Nut lay across the body of her small brother the earth, holding him in constant intercourse. However, Ra disapproved of their incest and commanded the god shu to separate the pair. So, he hoisted Nut up and is forced to continue holding her in an arch as the sky hanging over the earth. That is how Nut is depicted in Egyptian art, as the sky mother arched over the earth with her hair spilling down like rain. This is how she stood on the inside of sarcophagi, where as mother of the dead, she stretched her long body protectively over the mummy. Nut gave birth to five children: Isis, Nephthys, Osiris, Set,and the sun-god, Horus. Another story says that Nut took the form of a huge cow when Ra decided to abandon the earth. She kneeled so that he could climb onto her back, and then strained upward into the sky carrying his vast weight. Eventually, she became dizzy from the weight, and immediately, four gods rushed to hold up Nut's body, forming the four pillars of the world.

Quadesh: This was originally one of Ishtar's titles, but she later came to be the Egyptian goddess who rode a lion, holding out snakes and lotus buds. Sometimes she wore the headdress of pleasure-goddess, Hathor. She embodied a reverence toward sexuality as an expression of divine force.

Qubhsnuf: Along with Selkhet, Qebhsnuf was a guardian of the embalmed dead

Renenet: At the birth of an Egyptian child this Goddess would appear to pronounce its name, define its personality, and bestow its fortune. She was the personification of the force of nurturing and its effect on a child's destiny. In a larger sense, she was the earth itself, which offered milk and grain to her people, who referred to her as the "goddess of the double granary."

Renpet: Her name means "the year", and she was the goddess of youth and springtime who also symbolized the extension of time into eternity. Her emblem was a newly sprouted palm, and she was shown in ancient art wearing a calendar for a hat.

Saosis: She was emblemized in the acacia tree in which it was said that, "life and death are enclosed." She is closely identified with Hathor. Another name for her is Jusas.

Sati: her name means "she who runs like an arrow", and she was was an archer-goddess who personified the waterfalls of the Nile. Her sanctuary was at Aswan, in ancient upper Egypt, on the island Seheil. She was also known as Satis and Satet.

Sekhmet: One story detailing the life of Sekhmet goes like this: Once,long ago, the lion-headed sun-goddess of Egypt became so disgusted with humanity that she commenced a wholesale slaughter of the race. Her fury terrified even the gods, who begged Ra to calm down the goddess. She refused to be restrained saying,"When I slay men, my heart rejoices." Ra, attempting to save humanity from the angry goddess, then mixed 7,000 vats of beer and pomegranate juice. He set the jugs in the path of the murdering lioness, hoping she would mistake them for the human blood she craved. Indeed she did, and she drank herself into a stupor. When she awoke, she had no rage left. Some say that Sekhmet was the opposite of the cat-goddess Bast, the cat embodying the sun's nurturing rays; the lion, her destructive, drought bringing potential.

Selkhet: In Egypt's pyramid tombs, mourners placed little golden figures of this guardian goddess of the dead. Along with Qebhsnuf, Selkhet protected the vessels that held the corpse's intestines, led the deceased into the afterlife and offered instructions in the customs of that world. She was shown as a woman with a scorpion headdress, or as a scorpion with a woman's head, and symbolized the rebirth that follows death.

Shait: She was human destiny, born at the instant of birth. Invisible Shait rode through life with each person, observing all virtues and vices, crimes and secret prides. Thus, it was she who spoke the final judgement on a soul after death, and that sentence, based on her intimate knowledge of the deceased, was not only perfectly just, but inescapable.

Sheshat: This goddess was "mistress of the house of books," inventor of writing, and secretary of the underworld. She was also "mistress of the house of architects," the goddess charged with studying the stars to determine the axes of new buildings. She also invented mathematics, for which she was appointed goddess of fate, measuring the length of our lives with palm branches.

Tanetu: A form of Hathor, "goddess of light", allowing us to see the beautiful things she created.

Tauret: She was the animal form of the great mother-goddess Mut. As a nurturing force, she was a pregnant hippopotamus, standing on her hind legs and carrying the scrolls of protection. But as the fierce animal force, as the mother who defends her children, she was a lion-headed hippo with a dagger.

Tefnut: Taking her name from the dew that appears each dawn, she was a goddess of daybreak. She was associated with the mountains from which the sun rises. Sometimes as the "heavenly cow of creation", she seemed to be a form of Neith; sometimes she was a lioness, or a lion-headed woman, suggesting a similarity to Bast, or Sekhmet.

Uadgit: The sovereign cobra-goddess of lower Egypt and the Nile delta, she joined with Nekhebet to form the "two mistresses" of the land, the Neb-Ti,a political symbol of the unification of upper and lower Egypt.