Wadjet & Nekhbet

Wadjet was the goddess of protection.

As a patron deity she was often depicted as a rearing Egyptian cobra that was a snake common to the delta region. Her oracle was in the renowned temple in Per-Wadjet that was dedicated to her worship and gave the city its name. This serpent goddess may have been the source for the oracular tradition that spread from Buto to Delphi.

The Going Forth of Wadjet was celebrated on December 25 every year with chants and songs. Her name means “papyrus-colored one” because wadj was the ancient Egyptian word for green (in reference to the colour of the papyrus plant) and et was an indication of gender. Eventually, Wadjet was claimed as the patron goddess and protector of the whole of Lower Egypt.

Egypt’s oldest oracle was the shrine of Nekhbet at Nekheb, the original necropolis or “city of the dead”. It was the companion city to Nekhen, the religious and political capital of Upper Egypt at the end of the predynastic period. At its height, from about 3,400 BCE, Nekhen had at least 5,000 inhabitants.

Above: the headdress of Nekhbet

Most people think “death” when they see a vulture. Not so in ancient Egypt! Nekhbet, the vulture goddess of the Nile, protected Egypt’s kings and their famous white crowns. The priestesses of Nekhbet were called muu (mothers) who wore robes of white vulture feathers. This was because the ancient Egyptians viewed vultures as being excellent mothers. In art, Nekhbet was also depicted as a vulture. She was usually shown hovering with her wings spread above the royal image, clutching a shen ring (representing encircling protection) frequently in her claws. As patron of the pharaoh, she was sometimes seen as the Mother of Mothers. So Nekhbet and Wadjet often appeared together as the “Two Ladies” of protection.

Above: the two ladies provided protection between death and rebirth

So the symbols of Upper and Lower Egypt, Nekhbet and Wadjet were also symbols of our upper and lower worlds. The Eye of Horus then, is the all-seeing third eye that knows both the exoteric and esoteric domains. It is the balance point between perceived opposites, the vortex between dimensions and the secret path between death and rebirth. The two ladies then, act as guardians for those wishing to expand their consciousness. Their protective instincts have guided sincere initiates for thousands of years.

The Eye of Horus represents the dimensional gates that open up between dawn and sunrise. This is the transitional time between night and day where the first response of the Earth can be felt from the caress of the Sun. Nature stirs and the Earth stretches out to meet the touch of her lover. This is the perfect time to meditate as the Sun fills our hearts with profound love. This “divine rapture” is beautifully captured by the movie City of Angels. In this story the angels gather on the beach every morning to watch the sunrise. The “singing sun” carries them away in fits of ecstasy. Even the beach is a metaphor for balance, signifying the transition between liquid and solid.

Divinity then, is the harmony between above and below—the vulture and the snake.