Cult Center: Thebes
Meretseger was the goddess of the Valley of the Kings, the famous necropolis outside of Thebes. She was believed to live in a pyramid-shaped mountain that rose a thousand feet above the Valley of the Kings. In ancient times, the mountain was named after her. She was also called "Dehenet Imentet", which means "Peak of the West".
During the New Kingdom, Meretseger was the chief deity over the Valley of the Kings. For the tomb builders living in their village, now known as Deir el-Medina, Meretseger was a dangerous, yet merciful, goddess who would punish sinners and liars with blindness and snakebites. She was described as the lion of the summit, for she was fierce in her pursuit of sin. For the pious, she was a protective being who defended the workers against snakebites. The workmen of Deir el-Medina dedicated many stelae to her. Her cult declined rapidly after the 21st Dynasty, as the Valley of the Kings was abandoned.
Meretseger was portrayed as a coiled snake, or as a cobra-headed woman. Her name means, "She Who Loves Silence."
From: hereIn Egyptian mythology, Meretseger (also spelt Mertseger), meaning "she who loves silence" exerted great authority during the New Kingdom era over the Theban Necropolis and was considered to be both a dangerous and merciful goddess. As a cobra-goddess she is sometimes associated with Hathor.
Since the first syllable of her name is the same as that in the word pyramid, it became thought that she lived on top of (or was) the pyramid-shaped mountain which overlooked the Valley of the Kings, where the pharaohs' tombs were located.
She was the patron deity of the workers in Deir el-Medina who built the tombs. She punished workers who committed crimes, but healed those who repented. In one instance Meretseger is petitioned to bring relief to one in pain. She answer the prayer by bringing "sweet breezes" A draftsman named Neferabu dedicated a stela to her:
"An ignorant man (I was), without my heart, who did not know good from evil. I was doing misdeeds against the Peak and she taught me a lesson...The peak strikes with the stroke of a savage lion. She is after him who offends her."
Merestseger takes pity on the man and "She turned to me in mercy, She caused me to forget the sickness that has been upon me".
As a cobra, she spat poison at anyone who tried to vandalise or rob the royal tombs. In art she was portrayed as either a coiled cobra, or as a woman-headed cobra, or rarely as a triple headed cobra, where one head was that of a cobra, one of a woman, and one of a vulture.
Her close association with the Valley of the Kings prevented her becoming anything more than a local deity, and when the valley ceased being in use, so she also, ceased being worshipped.
From: WikiMeretseger (Mertseger, Merseger, Mereseger) was the ancient Egyptian goddess of the necropolis at Waset (Thebes). She watched over the deceased in their tombs, protecting them and their belonging from tomb robbers. She also protected the area from criminals and oath breakers, striking all those with evil intent down with snakebites or with blindness. The workmen of Deir el Medina feared her wrath, begging for her forgiveness and a cure for blindness or venomous bites, believing that she had struck them down. They believed she was a merciful goddess who would cure them if they were repentant. Her reach did not extend beyond the necropolis, so she was not worshiped throughout Egypt. She was revered mostly by the people who worked in the necropolis, building and decorating the tombs of the New Kingdom pharaohs.
Meretseger was generally shown as a coiled cobra, or as a cobra with a woman's head. Sometimes she was shown in cobra form with head and arm projecting from the hood of the cobra. At other times she was shown as a snake, with three heads - that of a woman, that of a cobra and that of a vulture. On occasion she was also shown as a cobra headed woman or as a full woman, though this is very infrequent. Her name, 'She Who Loves Silence', comes from mr mrrman with hand to mouth determinative 'love' (with the feminine t t ending) and sgr sgrman with hand to mouth determinative 'quiet'.
Her worship was centred around the city of Waset, and the village of workmen of Deir el Medina, during the New Kingdom. When the royal tombs there were abandoned during the 21st Dynasty, the worship of Meretseger died out. The goddess was one with the mountain, so when nobody visited the area, the people of Waset forgot about her. She was often associated with Ptah, due to the workmen at Deir el Medina. Ptah was the patron of craftsmen, and the workmen were craftsmen, cutting and decorating the royal tombs. The two main deities of these workmen were, naturally, shown together - the protectress of the men, and the deity who guided their hands while the men worked on the tombs. A small temple to these two deities was built near the Valley of the Queens.
Meretseger was a goddess who struck fear into the hearts of the people of Waset, yet she was also a forgiving deity. Sin was not part of the Egyptian mindset - they followed ma'at, and any deviation from this was chaos, rather than sin. Yet Meretseger had the Egyptians naming their wrongdoings, and asking the goddess for forgiveness. This was a very unusual situation in ancient Egypt, the idea of repentance from sin. None of the other protective/vengeful deities had such an unusual impact on the thought pattern of the everyday Egyptian as did this one goddess. She was a goddess who protected and healed those who admitted their sins, and asked for her mercy. Fixed to the peak of one mountain, she watched over the people who worked in the necropolis of Waset. And when nobody worked in the necropolis, there was no longer a need for her protection, and so her worship faded as the people left to bury the dead in other areas of Egypt.
From: Meretseger, Goddess of Punishment and Mercy, Protectress of the Necropolis Under the Peak of the West...She was a protective deity, but was also greatly feared. The workmen of the necropolis left numerous stelae dedicated to her. They believed she would strike down anyone who desecrated a tomb as well as anyone who committed a crime or broke an oath. It was thought that she could cause immediate blindness or inflict a snake or scorpion bite on the guilty party. However, she was merciful and would cure anyone who repented and promised to atone for their actions. For example, a worker named Neferabu recorded that he had been punished by Meretseger for his sins. However, he confessed and did his best to make amends and the goddess forgave him and cured him of his affliction. These notions of "sin" and "repentance" were not common in Ancient Egypt. They believed in Ma'at (balance or order) and chaos rather than "good" and "evil" and no other deity rewarded atonement and punished sin in this manner.
From: HereOn the stela of Amennakht both the supplicant Amennakht as well as the goddess are depicted without eyes, probably not an oversight on the part of the artist but a reference to her striking people blind.
The inscription reads:Praises for your spirit, Meretseger, Mistress of the West, by the Scribe of the Place of Truth, Amennakht true-of-voice; he says: 'Be praised in peace, O Lady of the West, Mistress who turns herself to grace! You made me see darkness in the day. I shall declare your power to other people. Be gracious to me in your grace!'Translation: British Museum
From: hereAlso see:Mertseger - "She Who Loves Silence" - the Name of Netjer said to inhabit the peak of the highest mountain behind the Great Place at Uaset, (today known as Biban el-Muluk, or the Valley of the Kings, at Luxor). The peak itself is strikingly pyramid-shaped, and perhaps reminded the New Kingdom rulers of the great monuments Old Kingdom rulers had erected north at Giza and other locations. Mertseger was considered either to be a full lioness or a lion-headed woman (like Sekhmet and forms of Mut and Het-hert). Hymns honoring the "lion of the Peak," warning men to "Beware the Peak of the West!", along with prayers and appeals for Mertseger's mercy, have been found in the workmen's village at Deir-el-Medina, in the shadow of the Peak.
From: HoN, Netjer.org
Site with pics of her temple and images
Thread on House of Netjer forums