New Contributor to the_BLOG, author TIRZA SCHAEFER gives us a lesson on one of her favourite subjects – Goddess Archetypes

WE WERE SO IMPRESSED WITH HER KNOWLEDGE, PASSION AND SHEER VOLUME OF WRITINGS WE INVITED SCHAEFER TO JOIN OUR TEAM OF CONTRIBUTORS FOR the_BLOG. WE KICK OFF WITH GODDESSESS > WADJET >
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Protective Deity & Symbol of Lower Egypt

Wadjet is an ancient Egyptian Goddess, her name means Green One. This is in reference to the colour of the serpent whom she represents or to the Nile Delta with which she is associated as a symbol of Lower Egypt, as the vulture Goddess Nekhbet-Mut is the symbol of Upper Egypt. Wadjet is one of the most ancient of Egyptian deities.

Although Wadjet is part of the Egyptian crown and existed as a deity even before the unification of Egypt, she doesn’t feature in the spiritually oriented Pyramid Texts unlike her counterpart Nekhbet, because she is more associated with the physical world, the world of the living. However, she was closely tied to Pharaoh as his protective deity.

Her role as Mother goddess comes from the circumstance that Wadjet also acted as nursemaid to young Horus. Amongst other Goddesses, she was also associated with the Eye of Ra. She is depicted as a Cobra rearing its head. The hood is spread, so she looks as if she is ready to strike. Sometimes she also wears the Red Crown of Lower Egypt. On the death mask of Tut Ankh Amun, she is depicted as cobra alongside her twin Nekhbet, the vulture.

The poison of an Egyptian cobra is lethal and the fact that Wadjet with the solar disc, which in combination is called uraeus, is part of the crown of Pharaoh, tells not only of the great power of the monarch himself but of his powerful divine protectors and the fact that his rule is ordained by the Gods.

A Volatile Protector

On the death mask of Tut Ankh Amun, Wadjet is depicted as a cobra alongside her twin Nekhbet, the vulture.

Divine Executive

The poison of an Egyptian cobra is lethal and the fact that Wadjet with the solar disc, which in combination is called uraeus, is part of the crown of Pharaoh, tells not only of the great power of the monarch himself but of his powerful divine protectors and the fact that his rule is ordained by the Gods.

Wadjet is alternatively known as Wedjat, Uadjet, and Udjo and to the Greeks as Uto or Buto. She originates in the ancient city of Dep which later became part of Per-Wadjet, which means House of Wadjet, nowadays known as Desouk. The city was an important location in cultural developments in Palaeolithic times, which was prehistoric Egypt.

In the mythology about Isis, it is said that Wadjet took on the role as the nursemaid of Isis and Osiris’ son Horus, a solar deity when they hid the child from the wrath of his evil uncle Set in the swamps of the Nile Delta. Wadjet not only nursed the infant boy but also protected him, while the Goddess Serket was the protector of his mother Isis.

In the Pyramid Texts Wadjet is said to have created the first papyrus plant and primordial swamp. According to another myth, Wadjet was the daughter of Atum, later then it changed to Ra, who sent her as his eye to find Tefnut (moisture) and Shu (air) when they were lost in the waters of Nun. He was so happy when they returned that he cried and created the first human beings from his tears. To reward his daughter, he placed her upon his head in the form of a cobra so that she would always be close to him and could act as his protector.

Wadjet was sent out as the Eye of Ra by the God himself and nearly caused the destruction of mankind. Then there is another story, which shows her close link to the Goddess Ma’at. One day, the God Geb attacked his mother Tefnut and raped her. When he then crowned himself as king, Wadjet attacked him and his followers from her place on his crown, killing all and only Geb was left very sick indeed. Wadjet, serving the divine principle of justice and righteousness, personified in the Goddess Ma’at, was not prepared to let this deed go unpunished.

The Fierce & the Gentle

As fierce and aggressive as this account makes Wadjet seem, she also has a gentler side which is shown in her role as nursemaid to Horus and as a protector of women giving birth. She also protected the adult Horus, together with her sister Nekhbet and flanked him as a winged solar disc to guard him against the followers of Set. Later, the queens of Egypt also wore her and Nekhbet in their headdresses.

At the beginning of the Predynastic era, before 3,100 BCE, Wadjet was first depicted to be winding around a papyrus stem, which is believed to be the first symbol of a snake winding around a staff. In this way, she is not only honoured as the creator of papyrus, possibly the most important plant in Egypt as people wrote on scrolls made from papyrus, but it also a symbol of her great healing powers, as is her connection with Sekhmet who is not only the Goddess of War, but also of the healing sciences.

In the Stone of Light series by French Egyptologist and freemason Christian Jacq, the chief priestess in the village of masons, building the Royal and aristocratic tombs in the Valley of the Kings, is a woman closely working with Goddess Meretseger, another Egyptian Cobra Goddess. Cobras are also venomous snakes and their poison can kill, but from it, you can also make powerful medicine when you are an initiate of the healing arts.

© Tirza Schaefer for the_BLOG www.tirzaschaefer.com

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