Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Cult Center: Elephantine, Her-wer

Heket was the Egyptian frog-goddess of childbirth. She was depicted as a frog or a woman with the head of a frog. On temple walls she was typically in anthropomorphic form, while on amulets Heket was usually in animal form.

Heket was initially described in a magic spell (PT 1312) of the Pyramid Texts -- which was designed to enable the pharoah to rise to the heavens.

Heket's association with childbirth was first clearly attributed with birth in the Westcar papyrus which dates to the Middle Kingdom. The text details the miraculous birth of the first three pharoahs of the 5th Dynasty. Heket hastened the final stages of labor and delivered the babies safely.

Pregnant women often wore amulets and scarabs featuring Heket to protect them during childbirth. She was often featured on ivory knives dating to the Middle Kingdom. These knives were used to magically protect the home. Midwives were called "servents of Heket."

Temple to her at Qus in Upper Egypt. In the tomb of Petosiris there is a text relating a story of how Heket led a processsion in her honor to her temple at Her-wer and requests its restoration. Her cult center may have been in Her-wer, but this has not been proven. Heket was featured on the temple walls at Abydos receiving an offering of wine from Seti I.

From: here
To the Egyptians, the frog was a symbol of life and fertility, since millions of them were born after the annual inundation of the Nile, which brought fertility to the otherwise barren lands. Consequently, in Egyptian mythology, there began to be a frog-goddess, who represented fertility, referred to by Egyptologists as Heqet (also Heqat, Hekit, Heket etc, more rarely Hegit, Heget etc.[1])', written with the determinative frog.[2] Her name was probably pronounced more like *Ḥaqā́tat in Middle Egyptian, hence her later Greek counterpart Ἑκάτη (see Hecate).[3] Heqet was usually depicted as a frog, or a woman with a frog's head, or more rarely as a frog on the end of a phallus to explicitly indicate her association with fertility. She was often referred to as the wife of Khnum.[4]

The beginning of her cult dates to the early dynastic period at least. Her name was part of the names of some high-born Second Dynasty individuals buried at Helwan and was mentioned on a stela of Wepemnofret and in the Pyramid Texts. Early frog statuettes are often thought to be depictions of her.[5]

She was worshipped in the areas where the Ogdoad cosmogony had gained favour, and so, like most deities belonging to this world view, except for the eight members of the Ogdoad themselves, she was considered a child of Ra. After Ra became Atum-Ra, it was sometimes said that as the bringer of life to the newborn, she had to be the wife of Shu, who had fathered Nut and Geb, and his first wife was Tefnut.[citation needed]

Later, as a fertility goddess, associated explicitly with the last stages of the flooding of the Nile, and so with the germination of corn, she became associated with the final stages of childbirth. This association, which appears to have arisen during the Middle Kingdom, gained her the title She who hastens the birth.[6] Some claim that—even though no ancient Egyptian term for "midwife" is known for certain—midwives often called themselves the Servants of Heqet, and that her priestesses were trained in midwifery.[7] Women often wore amulets of her during childbirth, which depicted Heqet as a frog, sitting in a lotus. As goddess of the last stages of birth, she was considered the wife of Khnum, who formed the bodies of new children on his potter's wheel.[citation needed]

When the Legend of Osiris and Isis developed, it was said that it was Heqet who breathed life into the new body of Horus at birth, as she was the goddess of the last moments of birth. As the birth of Horus became more intimately associated with the resurrection of Osiris, so Heqet's role became one more closely associated with resurrection. Eventually, this association lead to her amulets gaining the phrase I am the resurrection, and consequently the amulets were used by early Christians.[8] Finally, as the legend of Osiris' resurrection grew increasingly stronger, she became ever more aligned with Isis, and eventually becoming an aspect of her.

From: Wiki
The Egyptian goddess of childbirth, and protector of the dead. She is portrayed as a frog, a symbol of life and fertility (presumably because of the millions of them spawned after the annual inundation of the Nile), or as a woman with a frog's head. Women often wore amulets of her during childbirth. As the daughter of the sun-god Re she is called 'Eye of Re' and 'Mother of the gods'. She is regarded as the consort of Khnum.

Heqet (Heket) was a goddess of childbirth, fertility. She was depicted as a frog, or a woman with the head of a frog. The meaning of her name is not confirmed, but possibly derived from the word "heqa" meaning "ruler" or "sceptre". Frogs symbolised fruitfulness and new life, and it is thought that the her priestesses were trained midwives.

According to one tradition, she was the wife of Khnum, the creator god of Abu (Elephantine). He created each person on his potter's wheel, and she breathed life into them before they were placed in their mother's womb. Heqet and Khnum are depicted on Hatshepsut's birth colonnade in her Mortuary Temple at Deir el Bahri. Heqet holds an ankh (symbolising life) to the infant Hatshepsut and her ka. According to another tradition, She was the wife of Heh and it was he who crafted each person before she brought life to them. Finally, she was sometimes considered to be the wife of Horus the elder, although as a form of Hathor she was also his mother.

Pregnant women wore amulets depicting Heqet for protection, and during the Middle Kingdom ritual ivory knives and clappers inscribed with her name were used to ward off evil during childbirth. She could also bring on labour and offer protection during labour. Heqet assisted in this manner in the deliverance of three fifth dynasty kings, according to a myth recorded in the Westcar papyrus in the Story of the birth of the three pharaohs which appears at the end of the tale of "Khufu and the Magicians".

She was also involved in the resurrection of the deceased. In the pyramid texts she assists the pharaoh as he makes his way to the eternal stars sky and is depicted beneath the funeral beir of the deceased Osiris in Denderah. There was a Ptolemaic temple to Heqet at Qus, but only one pylon remains. There is also a reference to a temple at Her-wer in a tomb at Tuna el-Gebel, but so far this temple has not been found.

From: here
Heqet (Hekat) - (meaning unknown; perhaps derived from the words for "ruler" and "sceptre" given Her purview over royal and divine births) Depicted as a woman with the head of a frog (viewed by the Kemetic people to be a particularly fertile animal), Heqet is the midwife of Netjer, presiding over all births and particularly those of royal parentage, as witnessed in paintings in tombs and temples. In the company of Aset, Meshkhenet and Khnum, Heqet was attributed with the deliverance of the three initial kings of Dynasty V in a folktale (preserved in Papyrus Westcar) which comes down to us by the popular name of "Khufu and the Magicians." As midwife, Heqet is sometimes paired with Khnum, who creates the form of the infant and its ka upon His potter's wheel. Heqet is also sometimes considered the wife of Her-wer, and at least in the Old Kingdom, Her priestesses served as trained midwives.

Other Links:
Article: Heqet, Frog Headed Goddess of Childbirth
Transitions: The Syncreticism of Hekate and Heket by Samantha Frye
Frogs & Toads
Short summary

Also, on MW:
About Hecate/Hekate and Egypts Heqet?
Khnum {God of the Week} -- her consort

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