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In Egyptian mythology, Serket (also spelt Serket-hetyt, Selket, Selkis, Selchis, and Selkhit) was originally the deification of the scorpion. Scorpion stings lead to paralysis, and Serket's name describes this, as it means (one who) tightens the throat. However, Serket's name can also be read as meaning (one who) causes the throat to breath, and so, as well as being seen as stinging the unrighteous, Serket was seen as one who could cure scorpion stings, and other poisons, such as snake bites.     

In art, Serket was shown as a scorpion, or as a woman with a scorpion on her head, and although Serket doesn't appear to have had temples, she had a sizable priesthood. The most dangerous species of scorpion resides in North Africa, and its sting can kill, so Serket was considered a highly important goddess, and was sometimes considered by pharaohs to be their patron. As the protector against poisons, and snake bites, Serket was often said to protect the gods from Apep, the great snake-god of evil, sometimes acting as the guard when Apep was captured.

As many of the venomous creatures of Egypt could prove fatal, Serket was also considered a protector of the dead, particularly being associated with poisons, and fluids causing stiffening.

She was thus said to be the protector of the tents of embalmers, and of the canopic jar associated with poison —the jar of the small intestine— which was deified as Qebehsenuf, one of the Four sons of Horus.

As the guard of one of the canopic jars, and a protector, Serket gained a strong association with Aset (Isis), and Nebet Het (Nephthys), who also performed a similar function. Eventually, long into Egyptian history, Serket began to be identified as Isis, sharing imagery, and parentage, until, finally, Serket became said to be merely an aspect of Isis.


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