Author: Lesley Jackson

Nut – The Galactic Goddess of Ancient Egypt

The image of Nut is very familiar for those who love Ancient Egyptian art. Her starry body arches over the earth and depicts the heavens in many beautiful astronomical ceilings in tombs and temples. She gave birth to Horus the Elder, Osiris, Seth, Isis and Nephthys and each morning births the Sun God Ra but she has little interaction with her offspring. Nut has no dedicated temples and apparently no followers yet she is an essential component of funerary tradition and is one of the most helpful of the afterlife Goddesses where she frequently appears in the guise of a Tree Goddess.

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Serket, the Goddess who understands Poisons

We are accustomed to lovely and inspiring creatures associated with the Goddess; from the elegant ferocity of the lioness of Sekhmet to the gentler cat of Bastet, or even the endlessly hypnotic snakes of the Cobra Goddesses. Given the variety of animals that the Ancient Egyptians encountered it is surprising that they should associate a scorpion with a Goddess, particularly a largely benevolent one.

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Cobra Goddesses

Being a contrary child I always liked snakes and was later delighted to discover that they had a very close relationship to the Goddess. I could never understand why snakes were considered evil when other deadly creatures were viewed as merely dangerous. This link to the Goddess subsequently explained it. The ability of the snake to shed its skin symbolises rebirth and cyclical time and links it to the ever-changing phases of the moon and so to women through their menstrual cycle.

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Nephthys – Silent Goddess of the Shadows

Take any book of Ancient Egypt and look for Nephthys in the index, more likely than not it will read ‘see Isis and Nephthys’. Why isn’t Nephthys viewed as a goddess in her own right? She doesn’t appear to have been worshiped on her own and there is no evidence for any cult centre or temples dedicated to her.

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Elusive Egyptian Goddesses: Seshat the Lady of Numbers

The Ancient Egyptians, wise people, had goddesses aplenty but the fame of a few, such as Isis and Hathor, has overshadowed and absorbed many others. Like women, goddesses have not escaped being stereotyped but not all will fit the maiden-mother-crone model nor are they all earth focused. One of these is the scribal goddess Seshat.

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