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The Divine Women Ruling the Ancient Egyptian Pantheon: Meet the Goddesses of Ancient Egypt

Updated: Apr 10

My newest print features 15 of the major goddesses of the ancient Egyptian pantheon, shown with their modern names, and their names in the ancient Egyptian language. Though this is my creation, the figures are based on those found in tomb paintings and papyrus from a range of periods.

Let's meet them.

Bastet bꜢst

The feline goddess of home, fertility, and music

Hathor ḥwt-ḥr

The cow-headed goddess of love, beauty, and motherhood

Hathor was one of Egypt’s earliest goddesses and was worshipped as the divine representation of protection, motherhood, queenship, music, dance, joy, love and sexuality. She was the daughter of Ra, the all-powerful sun god, and wore a solar disk upon her head within a pair of bovine horns. In Egyptian, her name meant “House of Horus”, referring to her role as the wife of Horus, the sky god associated with kingship.

Heqet ḥqt

The frog-headed goddess of fertility and childbirth

Imentet ỉmn.t-t

The goddess of the afterlife and renewal

Imentet was a goddess of the dead and was believed to have lived in a tree at the edge of the western desert overlooking the gates to the underworld. She met the souls of the recently deceased and offered them bread and water before ushering them into the realm of the dead. Her name means “She of the West” and her crown is the sign representing the West (a semi-circle on top of one long and one short pole) surmounted by a hawk.

Isis ꜣst

The goddess of magic, motherhood, and healing

Isis was a goddess of women, motherhood, fertility, and royal power. She was the sister of Nephthys and Seth, and the sister-wife of Osiris and mother to Horus. Isis played an important role in the resurrection of Osiris after his murder at the hands of Seth, and was believed to protect the dead with her husband in the afterlife. Upon her head is the symbol of her name which is the hieroglyph for a throne.

Maat mꜣꜥt

The goddess of truth, justice, and harmony

Maat was the personification of balance and harmony. The ancient Egyptians believed the balance of the universe was determined by the presence or absence of maat, which had the meaning of rightness, truth, justice and order. Without maat, there was isfet or chaos, a concept the ancient Egyptians abhorred. Maat brought order from chaos at the moment of creation and regulated the stars, seasons, and the actions of mortals and deities. She wore an ostrich feather on her head, which could be used alone as the symbol for her name, and is often shown with protective wings.

Neith nit

The goddess of warfare and hunting

Neith was one of Egypt’s earliest goddesses and was worshipped from the pre-dynastic period as the divine representation of motherhood, providing maternal protection in the afterlife. As the original creator of the universe and all it contained, she was believed to have governed how all things functioned. Her name meant “she is the terrifying one” and she was particularly associated with warfare and weaponry, resulting in the symbol on her head depicting two bows.

Nekhbet nḫbt

The vulture goddess of protection, royalty, and patroness of Upper Egypt

Nephthys nbt-ḥwt

The goddess of mourning, death and the night

Nephthys was a funerary goddess associated with mourning, the night and magic. To the ancient Egyptians, her name was Nebet-Het, which meant “the Mistress of the House”, and she wore the hieroglyphic sign of her name on her head, formed of a basket on top of a plan of an estate. She was the sister of Isis and Osiris, and the sister-wife of Seth and mother to Anubis, the god of embalming.

Nut nt

The sky goddess, mother of the gods, and bringer of night

Sekhmet sḫmt

The lioness goddess of war, destruction, and healing

Serket srḳt

The scorpion goddess of protection against venom

Seshat sšꜢt

The goddess of writing, wisdom, and measurement

Seshat represented wisdom, knowledge, and writing and was the patroness of architects and scribes. She played a crucial role in recording history, measuring time, and overseeing the construction of temples and monuments. As the "Lady of the Library," she symbolised the importance of literacy and scholarship in Egyptian society, embodying the pursuit of wisdom and the preservation of knowledge. Seshat was depicted draped in a leopard skin, a garment usually worn by male priests, and a headdress resembling a seven-pointed star.

Taweret tꜢ-wrt

The hippopotamus goddess of childbirth and fertility

Wadjet wꜢḏt

The cobra goddess of protection, royalty, and patroness of Lower Egypt

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