Characteristics of Egyptian Goddesses

In order to understand the Egyptian Goddesses it is important to take into account the Egyptian view of the cosmos. 

In Egypt the Goddesses represented different aspects of life and nature.

There were hundreds of Egyptian Goddesses and Gods, whilst some were recognized throughout the land; others were patrons of specific cities or regions. This makes the study of this field more complex as there are many different Goddesses that perform the same functions.

Egyptian Goddesses were also represented in numerous ways. The early tribal Goddesses were often given an animal forms. Unfortunately we can not know for certain why a particular deity was associated with a particular animal, as there are no records on the meanings of animal symbolism in Egypt at that time.

Later as civilization advanced, many of the Egyptian Goddesses took on human characteristics. Others were depicted as strange hybrids with human bodies and animal or bird heads. The ancient Nile Goddess is an example of this as she was part human and part bird. Another example is Bast a lion headed or cat headed Deity of the lower Nile

To make things even more complicated the sexuality of the Egyptian Goddesses was not always clear cut. A few have bodies exhibiting a combination of both male and female attributes, for example the Goddess Neith is always represented as a female Deity and yet was said to be two thirds male.

The relative importance of the different Egyptian Goddesses changed over time in response to the political climate of the; as different cities, regions or rulers gained political power, the Goddesses they worshipped became more dominant.

There were also many cases where different Goddess’s functions, characteristics and even names were merged to become composites. Isis for example is known as the Goddess with a thousand names representing the merging of many earlier Goddesses and the multitude of areas she had influence over.

All these aspects of Egyptian Goddesses make if more difficult to associate them with specific Archetypes. I have therefore tried to find the best match, taking into account their primary functions and characteristics.

As there are so many different Egyptian Deities I have included a list of Egyptian Goddess names below. There are often several different spellings as their names as they varied over time and even from region to region. There is also a brief summary of their areas of influence.

The high lighted Goddess names provide links to more in depth information covered else where on this site.

List Of Egyptian Goddesses

Amaunet - The Ogdoad Goddess of the North wind, this carried the rain, she was the female form of the originally androgynous God Amun. (Amonet, Amentet, Amentit, Imentet, Imentit, and Ament)

Bast - The Cat Goddess and solar deity linked with fertility childbirth and perfume. (Bastet, Ubasti, and Pasht)

Bata - A cow Goddess associated with the Milky Way. As a representation of the cosmos, she was considered to be the essence of the soul. She was associated with music and the ankh. (Bat)

Hathor - A solar Deity whose areas of influence included music, dancing, joy and fertility. (Het-Hert, Hetheru)

Hatmehit - A fish Goddess. As wife of Osiris, and mother of Horus, she eventually became assimilated by the Isis. (Hatmehyt and Hetmehit)

Hedetet - A scorpion Goddess who was the daughter of Ra.

Heket -Depicted as a frog. (Hek, Hektet and Heget). She may also have been the inspiration behind the Greek Goddess Hecate.

Isis - Fertility Goddess and Goddess of magic and healing are some of her most important roles.

Kauket - Deity of darkness and chaos and wife of Kek.

Ma'at - Goddess of truth, justice and balance. She prevented the creation from reverting to choas and judged the deeds of the dead with her feather.

Menhit - Goddess of War, she is shown as a lion headed deity and is considered by some historians to be an aspect of Sekhmet. Her name means she who slaughters

Meretseger - A cobra Goddess who protected the tombs in the Valley of the Kings. She was also the Deity of punishment and mercy.

Meskhent - Goddess of childbirth and midwifery. (Meskhenet)

Mut - Shet was an ancient Egyptian mother Goddess, she was the mother from which the cosmos emerged.

Neith - Goddess of the hunt and war. As a Goddess of weaving and the domestic arts she was a protectress of women and a guardian of marriage. (Neit, Nit, Net)

Nekhbet - Goddess of Upper Egypt, childbirth and protector of Pharaoh. (Nekhebet, Nechbet)

Nephthys - Goddess of death, decay and the unseen. This deity is also linked to magic.

Nut - She was the goddess of the sky and all heavenly bodies, a symbol of resurrection and rebirth. (Nuit, Newet, and Neuth)

Renenet - Goddess of the future and prosperity and abundance. As the Goddess of suckling, Renenutet gave each newborn baby a secret name to protect it along with its mother's milk. She was also linked to the harvest. (Ernutet, Renenutet, Termuthis)

Renpet - As Mistress of Eternity she was associated with spring, youth and renewal.

Satet - Goddess of the bountiful floods. When the Nile flooded the previously barren land blossomed into life. (Setet, Sathit, Satit, Sati, Setis, Satis)

Sekhmet - Goddess of destruction and war. She also battled against sickness and disease. ( Sakhmet, Sekhet )

Selkis - She is a protector of the hawk-headed canopic jar, and along with three other deities who guarded the royal coffins and canopic chests. (Selkit, Selket, Selkhet, Serqet)

Seshet - The great scribe and librarian who was responsible for accounting, architecture, astronomy, historical records and mathematics. (Sheshat, Sashet)

Taweret - A demonic fighter who was part crocodile and part hippo. She protected pregnant women and the infant during childbirth. (Taueret, Taurt, Toeris, Ipy, Ipet, Apet, Opet, Reret)

Tefnut - A lunar Goddess of water and fertility. She represented moisture. (Tefnet, Tefene)

Unut - An Egyptian Hare Goddess who was originally depicted as a snake Goddess.

Wadjet - A snake Goddess who was the Patron of Lower Egypt. (Wadjet, Wedjet, Wadjit)

Wosyet - Protector of the young. She was also an early consort of Amun (Worsret, Waset)

> Egyptian Goddesses

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