Egyptian Goddess Anuket


EGYPTİAN GODDESS: Anuket. Anuket is an Ancient Egyptian goddess of the
Nile River especially in the southern area of the Elephantine Island (starting point
of the Nile’s journey towards Egypt) and its associated inundation. The two tributaries of the river in that region
are believed to be her outstretched arms. Her name means “the embracer” because
the Nile nourishes the fields through its floods byway of rich silt deposits. She comes by different titles including “Lady
of Embracing” or “She Who Embraces”, “Nourisher of the Fields”, “Giver of
Life”, “Lady of the Sky”, “Princess of the Gods” and “She Who Shoots Forth”
(because of the flooding). She has darker title as “She Who Strangles”
showing her dual nature and partly due to her association to Hathor in Thebes. She is known by other names including Anket,
Anukis, and Anqet. The Greeks equated her to the goddess Hestia
for being an avowed virgin and to Artemis for her hunting skills. Anuket is believed to be the daughter of the
Satis, a southern goddess of fertility, of the flooding of the Nile as well as its cataracts
and Khnum, the god of the source of Nile. Together, Anuket, Satis, and Khum form the
triad protector of the Nile River especially in the southern region near the border of
Nubia. Anuket has the body of a woman with the head
of the gazelle, or a woman with a headdress made of ostrich feathers or sometimes simply
just a gazelle. Because of this, she is associated with swift
moving things like arrows and gazelles because of the river’s flow. In this form, she is seen holding a papyrus
scepter and the symbol of ankh, the symbol of life (perhaps due to her being a water
goddess). Her headdress is often seen with the uraeus,
the cobra of Lower Egypt. The start of the annual flooding of the Nile
signified the commencement of the Festival of Anuket held in several parts of Egypt. People threw coins, jewelry, gold and other
precious gifts to honor her and to thank her life-giving waters and for a year of bountiful
harvest in the fertile agricultural lands. Eating of certain fish meat, which was considered
a taboo throughout the whole year due to the sanctity of the fishes, was allowed during
this period. By the time of the Ptolemaic era, her title
“the Embracer” and her fertility duties, led to her installation as the goddess of
lust. This started her association with the cowrie
shells that resembled the female organ of copulation. In the New Kingdom, she was depicted as suckling
the pharaoh. Originally, many believed she was the daughter
of the sun god, Ra, However, her ancient association with Satis prevailed leading to the subsequent
change in parentage. Later, she became closely associated to the
goddess Nephthys because of her parentage’s association with Isis and Osiris. She is worshipped more predominantly in Nubia
(now part of Sudan) with her temple and cult following based in Elephantine (Abu Island
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