As a goddess of weaving and the domestic
arts, she was a protectress of women and
a guardian of marriage, and so Royal woman
often named themselves after Neith in her
honour. As she was also goddess of war,
and thus had an additional association with
death, it was said that she wove the bandages
and shrouds worn by the mummified dead as
a gift to them, and thus she became viewed
as a protector of one of the Four
sons of Horus, specifically of Duamutef,
the deification of the canopic jar storing
the stomach, since the stomach was the part
of the body that was mostly attacked in
battle. It was said that she shot arrows
at any evil spirits that attacked the jar.
mythology, Neith (also known
as Nit, Net and Neit) was the patron
deity of Sais, in the Western Delta.
Originally, Neith was a goddess
of the hunt and of war, and had
as her symbol, like the town of
Sais itself, two crossed Arrows
over a shield. It is thought that
Neith may correspond to the Berber
and Punic goddess Tanit (Ta-Nit).
In her early form, as a goddess
of war, she was said to make warriors'
weapons, and guard their bodies
when they died.
However, her symbol also bore resemblance
to a loom, and so it was that Neith
additionally became goddess of weaving,
and gained her name, which means
In time, her name, which could also be interpreted as meaning
water, lead to her being considered as the personification
of the primordial waters of creation, in the Ogdoad mythology,
and thus the mother of Ra. Since she had become a water goddess,
she was also viewed as the mother of Sobek, the crocodile.
It was this association with water, i.e. the Nile, that lead
to her sometimes being considered the wife of Khnum. As the
goddess of creation, it sometimes occurred that people took
her other position, as goddess of weaving, and said that she
wove the world on her loom. Plutarch says her temple (of which
nothing now remains) bore the inscription: I am All That Has
Been, That Is, and That Will Be. No mortal has yet been able
to lift the veil that covers Me.
In much later times, her association with war, and death,
lead to her being identified with Nephthys (and Anouke), from
the Ennead, and thus considered a wife of Set. Despite this,
it was said that she interceded in the war between Horus and
Set, over the Egyptian throne, recommending that Horus rule.
In art, Neith appears as a woman with a weavers shuttle
atop her head, holding a bow and arrows, a woman with the
head of a lioness, as a snake, or as a cow. Sometimes Neith
was pictured as a woman nursing a baby crocodile, and she
was titled Nurse of Crocodiles. As the personification of
the primordial waters, which, in the Ogdoad theology, had
no gender, she was also thought of as being androgynous. As
mother of Ra, she was sometimes described as the Great Cow
who gave birth to Ra.
|A great festival, called the Feast
of Lamps, was held annually in her
honor, and according to Herodotus
her devotees burned a multitude of
lights in the open air all night during
the celebration. There is also evidence
of an Osiris-like
cult of a woman dying and being brought
back to life that was connected with
Neith. Plato's Timaeus stated that
she was the Greek goddess 'Athene'
by another name, although historically
they do not share the same origins.
and Goddesses Menu
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