Nephthys – Silent Goddess of the Shadows

Nephthys by Jeff Dahlby Lesley Jackson

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.

At first glance Nephthys can appear as a passive victim and, dare I say, a bit too quiet and uninteresting. Does Nephthys personify the perpetually unappreciated or is she merely a shadow side of her globally recognised, illustrious sister Isis? Certainly she is seldom portrayed on her own and is usually mentioned in the same breath as Isis. They are referred to in terms such as the Twin Sisters and the Two Kites and are depicted as physically identical twins, distinguishable only by their headdress. A longer second glance is required to discern the essence of Nephthys.

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Elusive Egyptian Goddesses: Seshat the Lady of Numbers

by Lesley Jackson

"Seshat", by Jeff DahlThe 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.

The literal translation of her name is ‘female scribe’. Many of her epithets reflect this aspect of her, such as “lady of writing, the chief of the library”.1  Seshat is often considered the consort of Thoth, the god of wisdom and writing, or merely his female equivalent. Seshat frequently merits no more than a brief entry in the dictionaries of Egyptian deities. Many seem to pass her by, assuming her to be merely a cut-down, female version of the God of the Scribes and a very minor goddess long since eclipsed by her more glamorous, all-encompassing sisters; a footnote amongst the Egyptian goddesses.  Sometimes the footnotes are worth following up though and I have discovered that there is much more to Our Lady of Writing than appears at first sight. Continue reading "Elusive Egyptian Goddesses: Seshat the Lady of Numbers"