Renenutet (also transliterated as Ernutet, and Renenet) was a goddess of nourishment and the harvest in ancient Egyptian religion. The importance of the harvest caused people to make many offerings to Renenutet during harvest time. Initially, her cult was centered in Terenuthis. Renenutet was envisioned, particularly in art, as a cobra, or as a woman with the head of a cobra.
Sometimes, as the goddess of nourishment, Renenutet was seen as having a husband, Sobek. He was represented as the Nile River, the annual flooding of which deposited the fertile silt that enabled abundant harvests. More usually, Renenutet was seen as the mother of Nehebkau, who occasionally was represented as a snake also. When considered the mother of Nehebkau, Renenutet was seen as having a husband, Geb, who represented the Earth.
Later, as a snake-goddess worshiped over the whole of Lower Egypt, Renenutet was increasingly associated with Wadjet, Lower Egypt's powerful protector and another snake goddess represented as a cobra. Eventually Renenutet was identified as an alternate form of Wadjet, whose gaze was said to slaughter enemies. Wadjet is the cobra on the crown of the pharaohs.
The Hymn of Renenutet says:
- I will make the Nile swell for you,
- without there being a year of lack and exhaustion in the whole land,
- so the plants will flourish, bending under their fruit.
- The land of Egypt is beginning to stir again,
- the shores are shining wonderfully,
- and wealth and well-being dwell with them,
- as it had been before.
- Pinch, Geraldine (2003). Egyptian mythology: a guide to the gods, goddesses, and traditions of ancient Egypt. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0195170245.
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