Sunday, June 03, 2012

Snakes of Ma'at

All Snake names are in bold.

I thought we would start with those snakes that aid order or creation.

The Female Ogdoad - All had serpent heads (the 4 females follow:)
Ament - Wife of Amun. Her name, like Amun, means "hidden". She waited in the land of the sunset, i.e. at the Western horizon and offered nourishment to all who approached. Any who accepted were bound to the land of Osiris (the Duat) and never able to return to Earth. She also welcomed the dead to the boat of Amun(Ra). In some inscriptions she is shown as a ram headed woman breastfeeding Horus. Her sacred temple is Karnak as consort of Amun and Hermopolis as one of the primordial beings.

Naunet- Consort of Nun and goddess of water, oceans and rushes of creativity.

Hehet - Consort of Heh and goddess of immeasurable things. She and her consort helped create the sun.

Keket- Consort of Kek and goddess of darkness. She enables the sun and stars to shine.

Statuary showing some of the serpent Ogdoad.


Uadjet - Also sometimes called Buto, which is probably Greek, after the area sacred to her. Uadjet is shown as a snake that sometimes has a red crown and/or wings. She is a goddess of protection, particularly the pharaoh. She guards the pharaoh from her place on his brow on many crowns. In some mythology she also protects the coffin containing Osiris' body when Isis hides it in the swamps of the Buto region. As Uatchet she is said to help Isis hide Horus and bring Hathor to the Horus child to ensure he was nourished while Isis was away. As Wadjet, "the green one" she is the symbol of the force of growing things and growth.

Uraeus- The divine cobra. This is the fire breathing cobra that protects Ra. The Uraeus destroy the enemies of Ra and the Sun by burning them to ash. The Uraeus is the symbol of royalty and power and shown on many of the royal crowns. Uraeus are the divine symbol of the goddess Uadjet. Uraeus is not a deity but a group of sacred and divine cobras. There are many hundreds of Uraeus but all serve the same purpose.
Uadjet/the Uraeus on the mask of Tut. Beside is the vulture goddess Nekhbet.

Fa- The god of Fate. He bears and cares for the great serpent Mehen.

Heka- Serpent god of magic. Heka itself is the Egyptian word for magic.

Heptet - A goddess associated with death and Osiris. She has the body of a woman and a head of a bearded snake. She wears the uraei, horns and solar disk as well as the Atef crown which show her association with kingship. In both hands she holds knives. Heptet is sometimes thought to be a goddess that assisted Anubis with the mummification of Osiris but I have not found any direct references to this myself.

Mehen - The great serpent who defends Ra against Apep in the Duat. Mehen is one of the few snakes that is mentioned as a she in some hymns. Mehen is helped at various times by Set and/or Horus. Mehen is a serpent of great importance since he repels Apep and ensures the sun continues to rise.

Mehen shown encompassing Ra on the solar boat.

Neutral snakes?
I didn't know where to put these snakes that are not referenced as good or evil. So here they are, snakes with no mention of relationship to chaos or order.

Ankhi - A huge snake with a mummified god growing out of each side of the body. I haven't been able to find much more out about this serpent.

Henkhisesui- One of the gods of the 4 winds. Shown as a man with a snake head and four wings.

Qerhet - Goddess of nomes. She is the patron of the 8th nome of Lower Egypt and she oversees the separation of Egypt into nomes. It is not clear whether she is a serpent or serpent headed.

Setcha - a mythical animal with the head of a serpent and the body of a leopard.

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