Ancient Egypt Demons and Spirits part 3 Symbols, Taweret and decorate

Apr 4, 2011

Ancient Egypt Demons and Spirits part 3 Symbols, Taweret and decorate
Reverse of the wand shown Among the beings depicted are the lion-demon Bes, the hippopotamus goddess, Taweret, and the double sphinx known as the Aker. This wand may have been deliberately broken before being placed in a tomb 
A similar range of creatures and symbols appear on rectangular or cylindrical rods made in ebony or glazed steatite Three-dimensional figures of turtles, lions, crocodiles or other magical animals were sometimes attached to the top side of these rods. As a scavenger that lurked in deep water, the turtle was considered sinister and unclean, but it was often invoked in magic. Lions and crocodiles were feared, but respected as symbols of strength and power. In ancient Egypt a rod or staff was a token of authority, carried by kings, priests and officials. The decorated rods were probably used to establish the magician's authority over the creatures depicted on them.

The inscriptions on the wands describe the creatures as aha 'fighters', sau 'protectors' or neteru 'gods'. Typically the inscription runs:
Words spoken by these gods: We have come in order to protect the lady of the house, X. The party to be protected is always either a woman or a child. Some of the women were princesses, but others seem to have been of lower social status. On a few wands with longer inscriptions, a mother and child are identified with the divine mother and the infant sun god
Some of the entities shown on the wands appear in myth as the protectors of the sun god or of Horus and Isis in the marshes. Similar identifications occur in contemporary written spells to protect mothers and children. It may seem surprising to find Seth in this company, particularly in his fearsome animal and griffin manifestations. However, Seth's role in defending the Sun Boat against Apep made him a suitable 'fighter' on behalf of the magician. Invoking Seth, or any of the other monstrous beings, would have been thought of as a dangerous process, only to be attempted by those who were skilled and knowledgeable in magic.


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