Basic Information

Titles/Epithets: Green One [10], Great of Magic, [12] the Devouring Flame, [4] Mistress of Awe or Mistress of Fear [13]
Translation: Similar to Egyptian words meaning 'freshness' or 'greenness' and 'papyrus' [6]
Type/Species: Great Serpent, Dragon Beast / Draconic Hybrid
Origin: Egyptian Mythology

About Wadjet / Wadjyt / Wadjit / Ouadjet / Uto / Edjo

Wadjet originated in the area of the twin towns of Pe and Dep, by legend, these were the homes of the early kings of Egypt. [7] Pe and Dep later earned the title "the house of Wadjet," which later the Greeks called Buto. [7] Thus, Wadjet is sometimes called the goddess of Buto. [10] This is also why Wadjet was associated with the Nile Delta region from early times. She later became to be the tutelary deity of Lower Egypt, [12] commonly called the cobra goddess of Lower Egypt in the north. [7]

Wadjet is paired with Nekhbet as one of the nebty, or the Two Ladies. [1] As one of Egypt's protective goddess, [11] she acted protected the monarch in the form of a royal uraeus, often worn by rulers. [13] Thus, Wadjet was identified with the red (or, sometimes green) crown of Lower Egypt. [7] Military inscriptions claim she stays the enemies with her fiery breath, as mythological the royal serpent spewed flames in the defense of the ruler. [13]

Wadjet's description as a fire-spitting serpent with the title "Eye of Ra" comes from a few sources. [10] According to one mythic recounting, Ra-Atum, the creator deity, lost his children in the darkness of the primeval waters, so he sent his Sole Eye to find them. By the time the Eye of Ra returned with the lost children, Ra-Atum had grown a new eye. [6] She became enraged, so he transformed her into a serpent with power over all other deities. Her new body and power gave her a new, spectacular post. Her fiery poison destroys anyone who challenged the sun god and rightful heirs. [6]

Thus, the Sole Eye [3] (or the Eye of Ra [4] ) was a separable, active force from the Sun deity Ra, even in the time of the primeval waters. [3] Sometimes the Eye of Ra was treated as a female variation of the sun god, but usually she was the daughter of Ra. Depending on the mythic cycle, different goddesses took on this role, including Hathor, Tefnut, and Wadjyt. [3] In the fight against Apophis, the Sole Eye battled the monster under many names, including Bastet and Wadjet. [4]

Wadjet was the most important serpent-deity. [10] The Two Ladies, or Two Goddesses, were among the earliest deity pairings in Egyptian mythology. [2] The Two Ladies, Wadjet and Nekhbet, developed to express ideas related to kingship and unity; thus, Nekhbet was the goddess of Upper Egypt and the counterpart of Wadjet of Lower Egypt. [2] As Wadjet took on the destructive [8] power of the sun, while Nekhbet took on the light of the moon. [9]

In spite of her role as protector and destroyer, Wadjet related more to the world of the living. [12] The first papyrus plant came fro the body of Wadjet. [7] The meaning of her name, greenness or freshness, refers to her ability to embody the constantly renewed vitality of vegetation. [6] In this way, she symbolizes the forces of growth, [10] and she becomes associated with the marshes, one of the environments in Egypt where snakes were often encountered. [6]

According to temple ritual, Wadjet was one of the four goddesses that guard the body of Osiris. [5]

Her sacred animal is the uraeus, which sometimes is used to represent her. [10] Shrines to Wadjet were called per-nu, or 'house of flame.' [13]

Physical Description

Paintings often depict Wadjet as a rearing cobra. [8] Other times, Wadjet is seen as a woman with the head of a lioness [8] topped by the solar disc and uraeus. [10]

Footnotes

  1. Wadjet, Goddess of Lower Egypt, Papyrus, and Protector of Pharaoh...
  2. Pinch 7
  3. Pinch 71
  4. Pinch 130
  5. Pinch 134
  6. Pinch 199
  7. Pinch 211
  8. Pinch 212
  9. Pinch 213
  10. Turner 503
  11. Willis 37
  12. Wilkinson 226
  13. Wilkinson 227

For more information on footnotes and references, please see the bibliography.