Goddesses of Ancient Egypt – Symbolism and Significance What Can We Learn from Them? Part 1
My recent time in Egypt opened new doors and deepened my appreciation for the wealth and wisdom of Afrikan Ancestors; a wisdom that has been denigrated, distorted and denied. Rather than feeling angry or bitter about this reality, I’m more energized about conducting research, learning, studying and helping share the truth.
Although I’ve known for a long time, now more than ever, conscious, spirited, creative women must step into our innate power and wisdom to help heal humanity and the planet NOW! To do so, we must be liberated physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Given this fact, I want to highlight some of the primary Goddesses of Kemet (Ancient Egypt), understanding that there is far more to learn and understand about who they were, how they contributed and shaped their country. Is there something we can learn from them?
Ancient Egyptians were a highly spiritual and spiritually advanced culture who believed in cosmic order, exemplified by the principle and Goddess MAAT. MAAT represented truth, justice, righteousness, balance, harmony, reciprocity and morality. She is usually portrayed as a woman seated or standing with outstretched wings attached to both her arms. An ostrich feather is commonly associated with her, usually worn in her hair. Often, the Feather of Ma’at was a distinctive feature of her headdress. This feather symbolized her being, as well as the representation of balance and order; it became a hieroglyph for “truth.”
In ancient Egyptian mythology, when a person died, they were judged in the Hall of Ma’at. Their heart was placed on one side of a scale, while the ostrich feather was placed on the other side. If the scales were balanced, the person was deemed worthy to go to a higher realm. If their heart outweighed the feather, making the scales out of balance…no eternal life for you!
- Given these noble and necessary values, in what areas of your personal life are they expressed?
- What aspect of your business or organization would you shift in order to demonstrate these values?
- In what ways would your country be more just were these values adhered to?
Het Heru – Hathor
Het Heru, customarily known as Hathor was the “Great One of Many Names” and “The Mother of Mothers.” Hathor was a major Goddess, known as a sky deity. She represented the mother, fertility, childbirth, children and was the symbolic mother of the pharaohs. She also symbolized dance, music, beauty, joy, benevolence. Hathor’s most famous manifestation is as a cow and even when she appears as a woman, she has the ears of a cow. She was honored by many women rulers who had images of Hathor in their temples.
The Temple of Het Heru – Hathor is in Denderah; it is one of the most impressive and well-preserved.
- Given the denial of human rights to women in the world and the stripping away of reproductive rights in parts of the US, how might present and future times be more humane, equitable and peaceful?
- How is the spirit of Hathor being demonstrated by young people advocating for a legal ban on the sale of assault weapons?
Aset – Isis
Aset, popularly known as Isis was considered the Great Goddess or Divine One. The word Aset means wisdom. She was the most important deity; the Goddess of magic, fertility and motherhood, death, healing and rebirth as well as female of the throne, magical healer, protector. There were many temples dedicated to her. Aset was revered throughout Egypt and Nubia, eventually the Mediterranean including Greece and Rome.
Aset was devoted to her beloved Asar (Osiris) who was King of Egypt. However, he was killed by the jealous Set (Seth), cut into 14 pieces and spread throughout Egypt. Her love and wisdom led her to find the pieces of Asar’s dead body, to resurrect him and conceive a son, Heru (Horus). Aset cared for her son Heru in the marshes of the Nile Delta, protecting him until he had grown to manhood.
- What magical powers do you bring to bear in your work or service to others?
- To what person are you most devoted? For what reason?
- For what cause are you most passionate? How are you acting on it?
The image of Aset as mother caring for her baby is strongly believed to have influenced Christians adopting her as Madonna and Child, or the Black Madonna. The Black Madonna is worshiped throughout Europe and other parts of the world.
It is also said that the concept of the “virgin birth” existed thousands of years before recorded history.
In conclusion, the enduring influence and impact of these Goddesses of Kemet (Ancient Egypt) is profound. They continue to live through other names and incarnations. The principles, concepts and values that they represent are significant not only for women, but humanity as a whole…
I’d love to hear your thoughts…
I encourage you to see images of the Temple of Het Heru (Hathor) at Denderah and the Temple of Aset on the Island of Philae at: https://www.facebook.com/harriet.t.wright
Powerful Women of Kemet (Ancient Egypt) Lessons and Legacies
What Can We Learn Today from Their Roles as Leaders? Part 11
Queen Ahmose-Nefertari, Pharaoh Hatshepsut, Queen Tiye,
Queen Nefertiti, Queen Nefertari, Cleopatra VII