ikhet_sekhmet: (ankh-mi-re)
I couldn't remember for the life of me why I'd borrowed this, so I just went through the index looking for interesting stuff. What an appalling thing to do with a book. Anyway:

The Hermopolitan Ogdoad (p 49): "Nun and Naunet, the primordial water; Heh and Hauhet, infinity in its spatial form; Kek and Kauket, darkness; and Amun and Amaunet, the hidden; this last pair being later replaced by Niau and Niaut, who symbolize the void." I wonder if that substitution represents a promotion for Amun to obscure snake in the lake to Creator. "Amaunet received a cult at Thebes from Dynasty 18 on" (p 26)

Re, in an unpublished papyrus at the Turin Museum (p 47): "When I manifested myself, manifestations manifested themselves. I had manifested myself as a manifestation of the existing: I manifested myself and manifestations manifested themselves, for I acted prior to the anterior gods I had created. If I acted priorly among the anterior ones, it was that my name existed prior to theirs, if I created anterior time and the anterior gods, it was to create all that is desirable on this earth." That's a lot of khepers.

"The two gods who were lords of the [Kom Ombo] temple each had his own divine 'family', made up of a mother goddess and a child god: to the triad Sobek-Hathor-Khons corresponded the triad Haroeris-Tasenetnefret ('the Good Sister')-Panebtawy ('the Lord of the Two Lands')... The theological system of Kom Ombo is extremely complex... [its myths] present original doctrines that constitute the specific 'theology' of the temple, in which two themes, one universalist and the other local, are juxtaposed to and combined with one another.' (p 228-9) And naturally the bloody reference is in French: A. Gutbub, Textes fondamentauz de la theéologie de Kom Ombo (Cairo, 1973).

The Nubian deity Aresnuphis had a temple at Philae. (p 229)

"The foreign deities - Reshep, Baal, Anat, Astarte, and Qadesh - all had a human figure that the Egyptians assigned to them. Without doubt, they would have found it difficult to slip into animal or composite form, for these stem from the deep structure of the Egyptian concept of the divine." (p 18-19) But the Canaanite god Haurun was falcon-headed, and then "he was identified totally with the sun god he had become in the New Kingdom: Hamarkhis, the Great Sphinx of Giza." As Haurun-Hamarkhis, he was represented as the sphinx. (p 19) Sopdu was also a foreigner who "kept watch over the east of the land both inside and outside the frontier of Egypt". (p 18) Plus in Ptolemaic times there was "the divine Thracian horseman Heron", worshipped in Faiyum villages "whose populations included a large contingent of... former soldiers settled on land granted to them by the crown." (p 246) Other foreign gods worshipped in Egypt included Bendis (Thracian), Mithra (Persian), and Kybele and Attis. (p 276)

"... the bestiary present in the divine iconography was extremely coherent. It did not include animals that could live in Egypt at a remote point in time (giraffe, rhinoceros, elephant) but left because of climate change well before the period of historical, political, and religious formation, nor did it include those introduced at a much later time, such as the horse. More precisely put, while the horse played a role, it was in direct relation to foreign deities such as Anat and Astarte, who entered the native pantheon in the New Kingdom." (p 17)

Astarte and Reshep were introduced during the NK. "Astarte in particular, with the epithet 'daughter of Ptah', had her own temple at Memphis, the temple of the 'foreign Aphrodite' mentioned by Herodotus.' (p 276)

At Esna, Khnum is called "father of fathers, mother of mothers", and "associated with several goddesses, in particular Neith, the very ancient goddess of Sais, who at Esna was also a creative power and bisexual. Heqa, their divine child, received a cult in the mammisi... At Esna, the theme of creation is quite important and includes the 'raising of the sky', the modelling of humanity by the potter god, and the formation of the world by means of the 'seven creative words' of Neith." (p 227) Once again the reference (Sauneron) is en Fraçais. Zut!

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Françoise Dunand and Christiane Zivie-Coche. Gods and Men in Egypt: 3000 BCE to 395 CE. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, 2004.
ikhet_sekhmet: (ankh-mi-re)
  • J. Gwyn Griffiths. [review of] Elkab I. Les monuments religieux a I'entrie de l'ouady Hellal by Phillipe Derchain. Journal of Egyptian Archaeology, Vol. 59 (Aug., 1973), pp. 257-259. http://www.jstor.org/stable/3856146

    "In this region the desert landscape confronts huge formations of rock, and Derchain believes that a ritual attested in reliefs and inscriptions is that of welcome to the goddess who returns from Nubia in the manner of Hathor-Tefnut. Thus the central scene in the Ramesside chapel (pl. 33), fragmentary though it is, shows an object (now missing) being offered to Re-Harakhty; it is being presented by Nekhbet, who is followed by Onuris and Thoth. Derchain... argues that the missing object is a wedjat-eye... he suggests also that the scene is unique in representing the return of the 'distant goddess' who is here embodied in Nekhbet." Griffiths agrees that the object is a wedjat-eye, but thinks it, and not Nekhbet, represents the stray Eye of Re.

    "Derchain's notes are always instructive, and among the points of mythological interest are the assimilation of Nephthys and Tefnut (p. 38), an association of Nephthys and Thoth (p. 41), the designation of Cleopatra III as 'strong bull, female Horus' (p. 49) [...] On p. 63 Derchain seems intrigued by a mention of Sothis in a context where Nesert, the uraeus, is identified with Bastet. There is a good deal of evidence for an association of Sothis and Bastet and the eye of Re".

    [See the first comment about that "association between Nephthys and Thoth".]


  • Cauville, Sylvie. Le panthéon d'Edfou à Dendera. BIFAO 88 (1988), p. 7-23

    This includes an illustration of a snake-headed Nephthys and a lion-headed Isis, winged and brandishing ostrich feathers. The inscription calls her "Isis who protects her son with her wings".

    Wish I could get a higher-quality picture than this:

    leontocephale isis


  • Kákosy, László and Ahmed M. Moussa. A Horus Stela with Meret Goddesses. Studien zur Altägyptischen Kultur, Bd. 25 (1998), pp. 143-159. http://www.jstor.org/stable/25152758

    This is about a stela from Thebes, from the first half of the first millennium BCE, held in the Museum of Seized Antiquities in Cairo. Unusually, even though it's got Horus on the crocodiles, it's got a prayer to Amun, traditional enemy of crocs, with some great lines: "Amun is the triumph. The name of Amun is more powerful than millions. More forceful is Amun-Re(?) than every amulet and your own eye." But of course what attracted my attention was this part of the spell: "Your mouths are sealed by Re, your gullets are blocked by Sakhmet. A voice of lamentation (is heard) from the temple of Neith, a loud wailing from the mouth of the Cat. The gods (say): 'what is it, what is it' ... Re, did you not hear the loud sound in the night on that bank of Nedit and the long silence among all the gods and all the goddesses... There is a voice of lamentation in the temple of Neith, a wailing, a wailing (in) the mouth of the Cat because of those (things) which Mag has committed." Mag or Mega is a crocodile, the son of Seth, often the target of spells like this. But who is the Cat?


    ETA: Links!

    I'm reverse-engineering Mesopotamian hit songs

    Maya Blue Paint Recipe Deciphered

    Scholars Race to Recover a Lost Kingdom on the Nile (Kush; June 19, 2007)

    6,000-Year-Old Temple with Possible Sacrificial Altars Discovered (Trypillian culture)

    Ancient 'Egyptian blue' pigment points to new telecommunications, security ink technology

    Unmasking the gods (28 February 2002; "the remains of a ritual costume worn by an Egyptian priest some 2,500 years ago")

    Tattoos: The Ancient and Mysterious History

    Massive 5,000-Year-Old Stone Monument Revealed in Israel

    Mysterious 'Spellbook' From Ancient Egypt Decoded

     
  • ikhet_sekhmet: (Default)
    Some notes on the temple of Kellis in the Dakhleh oasis, and Tutu's missus there, the goddess Tapshay / Tapsais / Tanefershay / Tnaphersais.

    "It consists of a small, three-roomed stone temple with a contra temple of two rooms, surrounded by a vast complex with mud-brick chapels and other subsidiary buildings." (p 107) The evidence dates the temples' use between the first century BCE and the first half of the fourth century CE. (p 109)

    A bronze votive statue of Tapshay, perfectly preserved by a "thick crust" of libations and dust, was found in the contra temple in 1992, inscribed to "Tapsais all-victorious". (Kaper and Worp discuss the exact meaning of the epithet at length. One inscription in the temple gives her the words: "I send your enemies to the slaughtering place.")

    The goddess' Egyptian name is Ta-p3-š3y - "She who belongs to Shay", where Shay (Psais in Greek) is the god of fate, or "she of fate". Tapsais was a common name for women.

    "From the inscriptions and representations on the walls of the temple, it is clear that Tapsais was considered to be one of the main deities of Kellis, on a par with the gods Tutu and and Neith." (p 112) In fact, the West Temple ("a subsidiary of the Main Temple" - the contra temple?) was devoted solely to the two goddesses - Tutu's mum and his wife.

    While Tutu is given attributes of kingship, Tapshay's iconography - in particular, the crowns she's shown with - suggests that of the Ptolemaic era queens. Plus she's given the title R't - surely "female Re" - which is also given to queens and the goddesses Hathor and Isis.

    In the Kellis temple, where you might expect the hieroglyphs that so often precede a divine name and mean "Words spoken by...", this hieroglyph "consistently" appears:

    Untitled

    (N6B in Gardiner's extended sign list.) Kaper and Worp discuss whether it should be read as "Lord/Lady of the Two Lands" or as "R'/R't".

    I'd been wondering about this sign, because (as they mention) it also appears at Deir el Hagar with the names of Amun-Re, Mut, Triphis, and Nut. I've been trying to identify some of the goddesses in photos people have posted of Deir el Hagar ("Mut-Sekhmet, Mistress of Isheru", maybe?) but was partly stumped by the mystery hieroglyph!

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    Kaper, O. E. and K. A. Worp, "A Bronze representing Tapsais of Kellis", Revue d'Égyptologie 46, 1995, 107-118.

    Tutu

    Sep. 5th, 2013 08:30 pm
    ikhet_sekhmet: (Butterfly hair)
    I'm awfully keen on Tutu (here he is in my Tumblr). I shall now bore for the Commonwealth on the subject. Or, to put it another way, here is a catch-all posting for this unusual Egyptian deity. :)

    Tutu or Tithoes originated in Sais, came to prominence in the Late and Graceo-Roman periods, and was worshipped throughout the country. He started off as a vanquisher of Apophis, but became popular as the master of demons. He is most often depicted as a sphinx.

    Tutu has power over the demons that cause disease and misfortune - a group with various titles: the Seven Demons of Neith, the ḫ3tyw (butcher demons) of Sekhmet, and the šm3yw (wandering demons) of Bastet. The demons, who may also be dispatched by Mut or Nekhbet, are also called šsrw "arrows" (from the bow of Neith), hbyw "messengers", or wpwtyw "messangers". They often appear as armed, animal-headed men. (Khonsu, the son of Mut, Nefertem, the son of Sekhmet, and Mahes, the son of Bast or Sekhmet, could also control their mothers' squads of demons.) Tutu may be depicted with these demons, and given titles such as ḥry šsrw "master of demons".

    Tutu is frequently called '3 pḥty "great of strength", which is also the name of the first of Neith's demons. He's also called "who comes to the one calling him", which expresses his availability to the ordinary person who needs help. He's also called "lord of the Book" (of Life and Death), "who saves men from evil", and even "the divine demon".

    Tutu is typically portrayed in the form of a sphinx, though he does also pop up in human form, especially in temples; and occasionally as a lion-headed man. As a sphinx, Tutu may be accompanied by a griffin, representing the Roman goddess Nemesis; with the Wheel of Fortune; and/or with a winged sun indicating his divine status - though his demonic nature was expressed by addition of weapons, snakes, or scorpions to his paws. Another goddess, Petbe, was equated with Nemesis and may have contributed Tutu's snaky tail: "In the Demotic 'Tefnut Legend',' writes Kaper, 'Petbe is described as a griffin, 'whose tail is that of a serpent'."

    Tutu is often depicted facing out of images, like Bes - as Frankfurter points out, this gives him extra apotropaic power. He typically wears the tni crown (two ostrich feathers, sun disc, twisting rams' horns). His sphinx body may have a crocodile head emerging from the chest, an entire croc body slung under the sphinx, a lion's head joined to the back of the human head (and a crocodile or ibis head joined, in turn, to the lion), He may wear Roman soldiers' dress, including one example of a gorgoneion, and another of a lion's face in its place. A few sphinxes have wings - Kaper is reminded of the verb ḫsḫ, "be fast", which could be determined with a griffin or a sphinx.

    Tutu's consort, Tapshay, Tapashay, or Tapsais, was worshipped alongside him and Neith at Ismant el-Kharab (ala Kellis, the only place Tapshay was worshipped, and the only temple dedicated to Tutu). She wears the red crown, Hathor's feathered crown, or both, as in this bronze statuette. Olaf Kaper speculates "she may have been a private person who was divinised after her death". (At Shenhur, Tutu was the consort of Isis of Shenhur.)

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    Frankfurter, David. "The local scope of religious belief". in Religion in Roman Egypt: assimilation and resistance. Princeton, N. J. : Princeton University Press, c1998.
    Kaper, Olaf E. The Egyptian God Tutu: a Study of the Sphinx God and Master of Demons with a Corpus of Monuments (Orientalia Lovaniensia Analecta 119). Dudley, Mass. : Peeters, 2003.
    Kaper, Olaf E. The God Tutu at Kellis: On Two Stelae Found at Ismant el-Kharab in 2000. in Gillian E. Bowen and Colin A. Hope (eds). The Oasis papers 3 : proceedings of the Third International Conference of the Dakhleh Oasis Project. Oxford : Oxbow, c2003.

    Neith

    Dec. 18th, 2012 10:21 pm
    ikhet_sekhmet: (Butterfly hair)
    In his article on Neith, C.J. Bleeker discusses a reference to the goddess and her temple in Plutarch's Isis and Osiris: "In Saïs the statue of Athena, whom they believe to be Isis, bore the inscription: 'I am all that has been, and is, and shall be, and my robe no mortal has yet uncovered.'" Bleeker points out that Neith is the goddess of weaving, and that the last part of the inscription would be better rendered: "no mortal has ever unriddled my web" - that is, "nobody has ever guessed the nature of the goddess Neith".

    Sadly, all Neith's temples are now lost, with the exception of Esna. She was probably worshipped since prehistoric times, with Saïs the centre of her cult. Bleeker remarks that "the cult of Neith flourished in several periods which are far apart" - the earliest pharaohs, the Twenty-Sixth Dynasty (the Saïtes), and Ptolemaic times.

    Bleeker gives a handy list of the gods worshipped at Esna; Khnum, his consorts Nebtu and Menhyt, and his son Heqa; Neith and her sons Tutu and Shema Nefer; and Osiris and Isis. Bleeker emphases the equality of the temples' chief deities, Khnum and Neith, who divided it between them (Neith had the northern part); both were identified with Tatanen (and Neith with Renenutet). He also points out that Neith has children but no consort, as befits an androgynous creatrix.

    Discussing Neith's association with weaponry, Bleeker suggests her symbol "represents a case in which two bows are kept", and speculates that the female ka symbol, two crossed arrows in front of a shield, could represent her protection of women. Her arrows could hold off demons. Her bow was carried in ritual procession; another ceremony involved arrows being shot in the four cardinal directions, symbolising her universal victory.

    Neith appears in the Am Duat, generally wearing the red crown but without weapons, in the fourth, tenth, and eleventh hours. In the latter, she's shown with four forms (the first two with the white crown): Neith the child, Neith the queen of Upper Egypt, Neith the queen of Lower Egypt, and "Neith fecondée" - Neith the pregnant!

    "As Neith also acts as mother of Sebek... it is not surprising that she is represented suckling two crocodiles." Man! I have to find a picture of that. ETA: Ermagherd! (Shades of the Mesopotamia lamashtu, shown suckling a dog and a pig. Also like the antimatter version of Horus on the crocodiles.)

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    C.J. Bleeker. "The Egyptian Goddess Neith". in The Rainbow: a collection of studies in the science of religion (Studies in the history of religions 30). Leiden: Brill, 1975.
    ikhet_sekhmet: (Default)
    Erik Hornung:

    "Creation through the word is by no means associated with Ptah alone... the goddess Neith called the world into being through seven statements, which in a later magical text become the sevenfold laugh of the creator god. In the figure of Neith we confront a demiurge who represents more than a late, localized development... her close ties to the primeval cow Mehetweret link her with the early image of the celestial cow. If we consider Neith's important role in the Early Period, and her early incarnation as a beetle, we see that while she holds a central position in early cosmogonic conceptions, these are later eclipsed by others. The beetle Neith disappears, for instance, and gives way to the dung beetle of the sun god, the scarab Khepri."

    Is this as unusual as I think it is - a female creator god who uses the abstract method of speech, rather than more concrete methods like birth or craft, to order the world?

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    Hornung, Erik (trans. Elizabeth Bredeck). Idea into Image: Essays on Ancient Egyptian Thought. Timken Publishers, New York, 1992.
    ikhet_sekhmet: (Angel of the Birds 2)
    From a review in BAOS 357 Feb 2010 of The Origins of Aphrodite by Stephanie Lynn Budin, a book upon which I must lay my grubby paws because of its examination of goddesses (Inanna/Ishtar, Ishara, Asherah, Astarte, Qudshu) and cults (in Ugarit, Alalakh, Megiddo, Beth Shan, Tel Mevorakh, Lachish, Egypt) which may have influenced A.
    • "sex goddess versus fertility/mother goddess"
    • Cults of A. found "throughout Greece, the Aegean islands, Egypt, Magna Graecia, and in the Black sea region."
    • "Aphrodite entered Greece via Crete from Cyprus", "imported into Cyprus through the Phoenician settlement of Kition" and "amalgamated with a native goddess worshipped at Amathus and Paphos"
    • Adonis was the consort of the Cypriot Aphrodite and was lost in A.'s "transition to the west"
    From "Gods as a Frame of Reference" by Gertie Englund:
    • Egyptian theologians "did not study and interpret a basic text but they kept on creating new texts" (p 8)
    • "Many of the endless number of gods appearing in Egyptian texts and iconography were never the object of a cult and knowledge about them probably never passed the gates of the temple... However, the lack of a cult does not mean that a god is a purely speculative philosophical creation. The popular god Bes did not have a cult and no temple was dedicated to him." (p 19)
    • "There are surprisingly few adjectives in the Egyptian language... description is given in the form of an expression of identity. What one identifies with or identifies oneself with are gods. The gods who are personified concepts are used as concepts." (p 21)
    • The "rule which linguists call 'repression of sense'" may make Egyptian thought look as though it lacks abstract ideas and metaphors (p 22)
    • Someone who's got rich off flax and linen might be called the "husband of Tait" (p 22)
    • The House of Life is a microcosm - a library whose books describe the whole world (p 24)
    • Gods and humans maintain cosmic balance through "exchange of gifts", in which "Man offers what he has produced" (sounds like one of those nature/culture things to me)
    • "The myths offer as it were key scenarios of typical difficulties and problems", and by identifying with them, people could connect with the divine and receive "consolation and guidance" (p 24 - 25). A familiar thing to me as a Pagan, and I'm sure to most religious people.
    • While we think in "causalities", the Egyptians thought in "homologies", and approach which allows multiple assumptions about the same thing to be "valid simultaneously" - "a multitude of convert angles of approach" to the "undescribable". (p 26) (te Velde remarks: "working out the relationships between gods… was an important and favourite task of Egyptian priests". :) (p 240)
    From te Velde Relations and Conflicts:
    • "The Asiatic goddess Astarte can be given citizenship or godhood in Egypt and can be adopted as daughter of Ptah [in spite of which] exotic peculiarities, such as riding naked upon a horse, a thing hardly done by Egyptian goddesses, are not denied her." (p 240)

    • Amun had a close, ancient, but "rather vague and undefined relationship" with Amaunet, his fellow Karnak deity. "In the course of the 16th Century B.C. the cult of the goddess Mut, who had already been worshipped for centuries in the little provincial town of Megen, was introduced into the capital." Mut is first Amun's daughter, then his wife, and they are inseparable from this point on. (pp 240-1)

    • Regarding variations of the Ennead: "Already in the Pyramid Texts the retiring figure of the goddess Nephthys is sometimes replaced by the goddess Neith" (p 242) Karnak's great ennead had fifteen gods – the nine Heliopolitans plus Montu, Tjenenet and Iunet, Horus, Hathor of Gebelein, and Sobek; the little ennead was Thoth, Harendotes, Wepwawet of the south, Wepwawet of the north, Sobek lord of the Iuntiu, Ptah-upon-his-great-throne, Ptah-at-the-head-of-the-gods, Anubis lord of Ta-djeser, Dedwen-at-the-head-of-Nubia, Dewenawi, Merimutef, and Horus' four sons. Abydos' ennead numbered nine: Amun, Mut, and Khonsu, Re, Shu, Tefnut, Geb, Nut, and Wepwawet; or seven: two Khnums,two Wepwawets, Thoth, Horus, and Harendotes; or twelve: Osiris, Harendotes, Isis, Nephthys, Min, Iunmutef, Re-Harakhty, Onuris, Tefnut, Get (Geb?), Thoth, and Hathor. (p 243) Untersuchungen zum Gotterkreis der Neunheit by Winifred Barta contains a list of eighty-four enneads! (p 244)


    __
    Englund, Gertie. Gods as a Frame of Reference: On Thinking and Concepts of Thought in Ancient Egypt. Boreas 20 1991, pp 7-28.

    te Velde, Herman. "Relations and Conflicts between Egyptian Gods, particularly in the Divine Ennead of Heliopolis", in Struggles of Gods. Papers of the Groningen Work Group for the Study of the History of Religions. Berlin, New York : Mouton, 1984. pp 239-257.
    ikhet_sekhmet: (Butterfly hair)
    In her chapter for the Feminist Companion to the Bible, Lana Troy contrasts the Egyptian creation stories with the Biblical version of events. In the latter, gender only becomes "relevant" when human beings appear. In Egypt, however, says Troy, "the origin of all life, the source of both creators and creation, was not asexual, or presexual, but androgynous..." (p 239). (ETA: Englund remarks that the "absolutely homogenous" origin must contain "a potential heterogenity" to produce plurality; for the Egyptians, that heterogenity was the duality of gender, which was "only latent, only exist[ing] as a predisposition". (pp 20-21). I can't help thinking of the Big Bang - the tiny random flaws which gave rise to the large-scale structures of our universe, the asymmetry between matter and anti-matter, and most of all, the four forces which split apart from each other in those first fractions of a second.)

    For example: Nun, the Father of the Gods, is a vast watery container, a sort of uterus; Nut, possibly his female counterpart, is the equivalent heavenly body of water through which the sun barque travels to be reborn each morning. The male creator deity Atum masturbates, swallows his semen, and spits out his children Shu and Tefnut; his hand becomes hypostastized as a goddess in her own right, and his mouth plays the role of a womb. Atum's Eye is also a female hypostasis, his "active element", which can retrieve Shu and Tefnut and return them to him. te Velde remarks that this female aspect of Atum or re is "carried over to Tefnut", Eye of Re (p 249); he connects the Eye's retrieval of the twins to the story of the Distant goddess, in which Shu or another god must in turn retrieve the sulking Eye of Re. Troy points out that the eye is womblike, a container of water whose tears produce the human race (p 263). Even in the Theban creation, where the waters of Nun are the god's semen, his semen becomes personified as a goddess!

    OTOH, in the creation story from Esna, the creatrix Mehetweret appears to be solely female. Troy suggests this was conceivable to the Egyptians where male-only reproduction was harder to imagine. ETA: But Cooney - see below - quotes from an Esna hymn which describes Neith, aka Mehetweret, as "two-thirds male and one-third female". Also at Esna, Khnum not only "moulds" people, but also both begets and gives birth to them. (ETA: Englund: "All the gods of the Heliopolitan Ennead are hypostases of the androgynous Atum" (p 11).)

    To come back to Troy, while male and female are both needed for the creation, they're not equal partners. She remarks, "Just as male fertility is incidental in the Esna version of creation, at Thebes the feminine reproductive mode is largely subsumed as an attribute of the male creator." (p 258) But the female aspect of the creator can also act independently, for example, in the conflict between father and daughter when the Eye returns to discover she's been replaced (resolved by the creator placing her on his forehead as the uraeus). (p 265)

    One point which Troy makes which struck me as odd, however, was her suggestion that Seth and Nephthys "appear to reflect male and female characteristics in their most absolute form... The name Nephthys, in Egyptian Nbt-Hwt, 'Mistress of the House', suggests a personification of the womb", by parallel with Hathor's name, Hwt-Hr, "House of Horus", "referring to her role as his mother". But, as Troy notes, Set and Nephthys are childless (can you imagine how it might complicate the mythology if they weren't?!). Although later she is considered to be the mother of Anubis, surely Nephthys' most important role is as a sister, not a mother. te Velde points out that she is even "sometimes said to lack a vulva". (Pinch: "Perhaps because of her sham marriage, Nephthys is described in one of the Pyramid Texts [Utterance 534] as 'an imitation woman with no vagina.'" (p 171)) te Velde remarks that she "plays those parts in mythology that women without a husband filled in the Egyptian society, ie as a wailing-woman and nursemaid." (p 253) (ETA: Pyramid Text 1154 says of the king, "Isis has conceived (šsp) him, Nephthys has begotten (wtt) him."!)

    Anywho, Troy concludes by pointing out that gender is "an indissoluble link between the divine and mortal worlds", something humans share with the gods. (By contrast, in the Bible, gender is "the culmination of the creator's labours", which is also "elevating".)

    ETA: Bit more from my box o' photocopies. Kathlyn M. Cooney describes five Late Period / Ptolemaic bronze figurines of pantheistic deities, which combine not just human and animal elements, but male and female as well. "By combining numerous divine forms into a complex composite, these creative divinity figures incorporate as many magical and divine powers (b3w) as possible into one small statuette." Other than the creator gods, androgynous deities like this are rare (the ithyphallic Mut being one example). Cooney suggests such a figure combines "male potency for creation" with "female protection, as the catalyst and vessel for healing", and perhaps manifests the primal creator god "in visible form that is accessible to worshippers". (Another example would be Atum's parents in the Late Period Memphite Theology - Ptah-Nun, and Ptah-Naunet.)

    ETA: Set's birth was "the beginning of confusion (hnnw)." :) (te Velde, p 252)

    __
    Cooney, Kathlyn M. Androgynous Bronze Figurines in Storage at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. in D'Auria, Sue H. (ed). Servant of Mut : studies in honor of Richard A. Fazzini. Leiden, Boston, Brill, 2008. pp 63-69.

    Englund, Gertie. Gods as a Frame of Reference: On Thinking and Concepts of Thought in Ancient Egypt. Boreas 20 1991, pp 7-28.

    Pinch, Geraldine. Egyptian mythology : a guide to the gods, goddesses, and traditions of ancient Egypt. Oxford, New York, Oxford University Press, 2004.

    te Velde, Herman. "Relations and Conflicts between Egyptian Gods, particularly in the Divine Ennead of Heliopolis", in Struggles of Gods. Papers of the Groningen Work Group for the Study of the History of Religions. Berlin, New York : Mouton, 1984. pp 239-257.

    Troy, Lana. "Engendering Creation in Ancient Egypt: Still and Flowing Waters." in Brenner, Athalya and Carole Fontaine (eds). A Feminist Companion to Reading the Bible: approaches, methods and strategies (The Feminist Companion to the Bible, vol. 11). Sheffield, England, Sheffield Academic Press, 1997. pp 238-268.
    ikhet_sekhmet: (Default)
    I'm very curious about the identification of the Eye of Re with the Eye of Horus, and what this has to do with the identification of goddesses like Bastet and Wadjet. First stop: the Lexikon der ägyptischen Götter und Götterbezeichnungen, a huge dictionary listing every deity name and giving their attestations. In German. It's very educational, especially when there are words like "Kopfschmuck" to be learned.

    Anywho, the Lexikon lists numerous instances of Bastet being conflated with another goddess:

    Bastet-Wadjet
    Bastet-Wadjet-Shesmetet
    Bastet-Unut
    Bastet-Werethekau
    Bastet-Menhit-Nebetuu
    Bastet-Sekhmet
    Bastet-Shesmetet
    Bastet-Tefnut
    ETA: Bastet-Sothis

    And, amongst various titles:

    Bastet, Eye of Horus

    Not to mention... )

    That gives me plenty to go on. But something I'm not clear on is how Egyptologists know to use a hyphen - that is, when the name is a conflation of the goddesses and when it isn't. Why is Mwt-Tm "the mother of Atum" and not "Mut-Atum"? Mostly the conflations are just long strings of names, but in some cases, such as Bastet-Sekhmet and Menhit-Neith, they're unmistakenly a single word, with all the determinatives coming together at the end instead of ending each individual name. And does the order of the names carry any meaning?

    __
    Leitz, Christian. Lexikon der ägyptischen Götter und Götterbezeichnungen. Dudley, MA, Peeters, 2002-2003.
    ikhet_sekhmet: (Butterfly hair)
    Neith was one of the four goddesses who protected the canopic jars, along with Isis, Nephthys, and Serqet. She was also a protector of the royal house.

    The click beetle (family Elateridae) has a body which resembles an Egyptian shield, which Neith is often depicted wearing as a headdress. A First Dynasty relief shows the heads and abdomens of two click beetles "incorporated into the symbol of the goddess Neith". Another First Dynasty relief shows one of these beetles holding the was sceptre. Elaterid beetles are brilliantly metallic in colour, and some are bioluminescent, reflecting Neith's association with the rising sun and as the "opener of the way" for souls in the underworld.

    Neith was also associated with the fly, perhaps because of its association with the military.

    ETA: Neith's recognition and influence dwindled over time, perhaps for political reasons; at first known throughout Egypt, later her importance was mostly limited to Sais. She was Khnum's consort at Esna.

    __
    Kritsy, Gene and Ron Cherry. Insect Mythology. Writers Club Press, 2000.
    Motte-Florac, Elisabeth and Jacqueline M.C. Thomas. Les "Insectes" Dans La Tradition Orale. Peeters Publishers, Belgium, 2003.
    Shafer, Byron E. (ed) Religion in Ancient Egypt: Gods, Myths, and Personal Pratice. Cornell UP, Ithaca, 1991.
    ikhet_sekhmet: (Default)
    Because I want to take it back to the library!

    Mut )

    Neith )

    (I'm trying not to duplicate info already present in earlier postings, which you can of course find by clicking on the appropriate tags.)
    __

    Wilkinson, Richard H. The Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt. Thames and Hudson, London, 2003.

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