Serket

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For the scientific journal on arachnology, see Serqet journal.
Serqet
Goddess of healing poisonous stings and bites
Serket.svg
the Egyptian goddess Serket. She is often depicted as a woman with a scorpion gracing her crown. She holds the ankh, the symbol of life, in one hand and a staff, representing power, in the other.
Name in hieroglyphs
z
r
N29
t
B1
[1]
Symbol Scorpion
Parents Ra
Siblings presumably Hathor, Sekhmet, Bast

Serqet /ˈsɜrˌkɛt/, also known as Selket, Serket or Selcis /ˈsɛlsɨs/, is the goddess of healing poisonous stings and bites in Egyptian mythology, originally the deification of the scorpion.[2]

Scorpion stings lead to paralysis and Serket's name describes this, as it means (she who) tightens the throat, however, Serket's name also can be read as meaning (she who) causes the throat to breathe, and so, as well as being seen as stinging the unrighteous, Serket was seen as one who could cure scorpion stings and the effects of other poisons such as snake bites.

In Ancient Egyptian art, Serket was shown as a scorpion (a symbol found on the earliest artifacts of the culture, such as the protodynastic period), or as a woman with a scorpion on her head. Although Serket does not appear to have had any temples, she had a sizable number of priests in many communities.

The most dangerous species of scorpion resides in North Africa, and its sting may kill, so Serket was considered a highly important goddess, and was sometimes considered by pharaohs to be their patron. Her close association with the early kings implies that she was their protector, two being referred to as the scorpion kings.

As the protector against poisons and snake bites, Serket often was said to protect the deities from Apep, the great snake-demon of evil, sometimes being depicted as the guard when Apep was captured.

As many of the venomous creatures of Egypt could prove fatal, Serket also was considered a protector of the dead, particularly being associated with poisons and fluids causing stiffening. She was thus said to be the protector of the tents of embalmers, and of the canopic jar associated with poison—the jar of the intestine—which was deified later as Qebehsenuf, one of the Four sons of Horus.

As the guard of one of the canopic jars and a protector, Serket gained a strong association with Aset (Isis), Nebet Het (Nephthys), and Neith who also performed similar functions. Eventually, later in Egyptian history that spanned thousands of years and whose pantheon evolved toward a merger of many deities, Serket began to be identified with Isis, sharing imagery and parentage, until finally, Serket became said to be merely an aspect of Isis, whose cult had become very dominant.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Zauzich, Karl-Theodor (1992). Hieroglyphs Without Mystery. Austin: University of Texas Press. p. 69. 
  2. ^ Pharaonic Gods Egyptian Museum