God of the week: Wadjet

Egyptian gods and goddesses can be confusing to describe, due to the Ancient Egyptians’ tendency to combine new deities with existing ones. Wadjet is another example of Egyptian syncretism. Wadjet has been the eye, the cobra, and the lion.

 

Wadjets primary visage is that of a cobra. Her image represented lower Egypt and papyrus, as the plants were plentiful in lower Egypt. Wadjet is a vengeful goddess and seeks out against anyone who threats Ma’at, her father Ra, or the pharaoh.

 

In one instance, the daughters of Ra went missing. Wadjet was turned into the eye by Ra to seek out the missing siblings. Wadjet sought them out and found Shu and Tefnut after they had gotten lost in Nun. After Wadjet recovered them from the waters Ra began to cry. His tears formed the body of the first human.

 

Wadjet, as the eye of Ra, would seek out enemies and punish those who betrayed the gods or the pharaoh. At times, Wadjet was blinded by blood lust. She became a great force that swept over the land, nearly annihilating all humans. Ra had to calm her by causing her to become drunk, before she would end her slaughter.

 

Wadjet was a powerful force, but also had a sensitive side. Once Wadjet had rescued Ra’s daughters, he honored her by keeping her with him always as his defender. Her image is displayed as a raised cobra on the head of the gods or pharaoh. The cobra is the symbol of the protector, and aids in keeping the king safe.

 

She defended against those who would offend Ma’at. Wadjet was angered when one of Ma’at’s daughters were raped. Geb was to be the next pharaoh and had raped Tefnut before his crowning.

 

Wadjet the cobra was a common symbol to be used on crowns for the pharaoh to protect them from being harmed. Geb unknowingly put on the crown with the cobra to become pharaoh. After this, Wadjet killed all of Geb’s followers. Geb managed to escape after being severely wounded.

 

Wadjet was an important symbol in Egypt that provided protection to the rulers of the land. She was honored by having her own temple and being portrayed as the Ureaus, or the serpent, in carvings, on head-dresses, and temple walls.