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The Goddess

"The Great One"
Egyptian mother-goddess of protection and
fertility. Ta-weret was most popular among
ordinary Egyptians as a protectress.
Pregnant women commonly wore
amulets bearing the goddess's image.


You are about to enter the shrine of the ancient egyptian goddess Ta-weret.
(Entrance at the bottom of this page)



First you shall have and read some information on this goddess of old,
so that you approach her in the appropriate way.


Click here to have only a short info about her.


Selection


Other Names and Titles Relations in the Egyptian Pantheon Her Image Representation
Her Role  Her Signs and Symbols Offerings
 

Cult Centers

And now enter her shrine




Other Names and Titles

Like many goddesses she who's name means "The Great One"
or "The Great Lady" had many names and due to the different spelling systems
in Egyptology many different transcriptions of her name.

taweret098.jpg   taweret2476.jpg   taweret-cairo.jpg

Taueret, Tauret, Taurt, Tauerert,  Ta-weret, Tauris, Rert, or Reret,
Apet, Opet, Ipet, in greek language: Thoueris, Thoeris, Toeris.
It is possible that Ta-weret is even mentioned in the old testament
under the name Behemoth (hebr. "large beast") (Hiob 40, 15-24).

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Relations in the Egyptian Pantheon

taweretnew1.jpgTa-weret is a pre-dynastic egyptian hippopotamus-goddess. She is also a mother-goddess who wears the solar disk and the cow's horns to symbolize how she helps in the daily rebirth of the sun. In the sources she is attributed as the eye of sun-god Re, his daughter, together with Sekhmet, and the mother of Osiris and Isis.
Ta-weret acquired an evil reputation because she was said to have been the concubine of Seth, the brother and murderer of Osiris. This is somehow confusing, because she is also said to be the mother of Osiris. When she sided with Horus in their dispute over who was the rightful claimant to the throne of Egypt following the death of Osiris, she showed her kinder nature.
My opinion is, that Ta-weret as a mother goddess of older egyptian times degenerated in the eyes of dynastic egypt towards a lesser role in the myths. Given the fact that Horus is the son of Osiris, it is very likely that Ta-weret was his grandmother and therefore supported Horus' claim.
Later Ta-weret transformed into a domestic deity that was greatly revered. Her most common role was as a protectress of pregnant women. She was often shown with the dwarf god Bes who also protects in the birth chamber and she was a prominent assistant at the birth of Hatshepsut (see pic).

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Her Image Representation

"The Great Lady" is portrayed as a pregnant female hippopotamus with large hanging human breasts, the hind legs of a lion and the tail of a crocodile. This is not astonishing, because a female hippopotamus with a crocodile on the back was one of the starsigns at the northern sky. (click on the thumb to see detailed picture)
She combines the powers of a hippopotamus, crocodile and a lion in her. But her pregnancy also shows that she is a loving and caring gentle mother. So it is clear that she combines the attributes of all old mother goddesses: the powerful, destructive as well as the sweet and loving. Most of the time Ta-weret is shown (like on the left) standing on her hind lion legs and leaning on the symbol for "protection" and holding a knife or an ankh.

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Her Role

"The Great One" was a very popular Egyptian hippopotamus-mother-goddess of protection in general, childbirth in particular and fertility. As a domestic deity who is portrayed on beds and on pillows, pregnant women commonly wore amulets bearing the goddess's image. Ta-weret assists women in labor and wards off demons. She was often found in the company of the dwarf god Bes who had a similar function. (See picture on the right)
Pregnancy, birth, and its aftermath were times of great risk for both mothers and their offspring, and Ta-weret was one of the goddesses who offered protection against the dangers involved. Her grotesque appearance was probably meant to ward off malicious spirits and to harness the terrifying powers of the hippopotamus, lion, and crocodile so that they might act as protection for women and their offspring. Not only did she protect, she also helped as a supernatural wet-nurse by giving milk. (There was found a statue of Ta-weret in Saqqara where you could fill in milk through her mouth and drink it out of little holes in her breasts.)   
Another important role of Ta-weret was to guide the dead into the afterlife. In this role she is seen on many papyrus.

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Her Signs and Symbols

 

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Offerings


Cult Centers

Temples at Thebes and Deir-el-Bahri, Hatshepsut's temple. Although there were no big state temples dedicated to the "Great One", there is evidence that her cult formed part of the rituals celebrated at the household altar in every-day-life. In Deir-el-Medineh, the workers city and at Armana many Ta-weret items were found  together with housealtars. This leads to the conclusion that she was honored and worshipped by the common egyptian people in a very high rank.

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Short Information on Ta-weret

 


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