If you missed my last article about He Bo and Guan Yu, you can find it here.
Serqet, also spelled Serket, Selkit, Selkis, and more, is the Egyptian goddess of venomous bite from scorpions and snakes and of the dead. She is not a goddess I had ever heard of until I started doing this series, but she seems to have been essential to the Egyptians, especially in ancient times. She was called on not only for help with surviving venomous bites but for the dead and eventually for marriage. What a goddess!
Serqet held a number of epithets. One of which is “The Eye of Ra,” which other goddesses, such as Bast, Sekhmet, and Hathor, also hold. She is also known as “Lady of the Beautiful Tent” or “Mistress of the Beautiful House,” referring to her role in the embalmer’s tent. With her connection to snake and scorpion bites/stings and their deaths and survivals, she was known as “She Who Let’s Throats Breathe” or “She Who Stiffens the Throat.”
Serqet’s father is Ra (although she might actually be his mother?), which makes the Eye of Ra title make sense. I will explain the reason it makes sense in a minute. Although some say, her father is Set. I’m so sorry if that is the case Serquet’s mother is Neith. It is said her brothers are Apep, the serpent Ra battles daily, and Sobek, god of the Nile. Her husband is Horus the Younger, and they had a son, Harakhety, god of two horizons. She also has another son, Nehebkau, a snake god who protected the pharaohs from snake bites.
Serqet is often depicted as a woman with a scorpion on her head, which is a relief. A woman with a scorpion head would be terrifying. Though rare, she was sometimes shown as a scorpion with a woman’s head. Yuck! Needless to say, her symbol is the scorpion. She carries an ankh in one hand, symbolizing everlasting life, and a was-scepter in the other. She is also associated with the western cardinal point, the land of death and rebirth.
Back to the Eye of Ra business. The Eye of Ra means that a goddess is a daughter of his, and he can call on you, and you must do his bidding. One horrible example is when Ra calls on his Wadjet to get Sekhmet. He was mad at humans because they were not adhering to his rule and causing problems. To teach humanity a lesson, he sicced his daughter Sekhmet on us and let her go. She hit a battle frenzy and bloodlust that decimated the people of Egypt. The gods had to get her so drunk on beer dyed blood red that she passed out. It only took around seven thousand gallons, but I digress. Only those that have the epithet “Eye of Ra” get called on like that, and Serqet can punish, just like Sehkmet.
Back to Serqet. She has a few jobs. One thing Serqet does is protect the teeth of the deceased. She also protects Qebehsenuef, a son of her husband Horus, who inherited a falcon head, too, so both protect the canopic jars with the intestines. She gives the breath of life to the justified dead. To become justified, you must pass the judgment of Osiris. This does not bring the dead back to life. It is the breath of life for the afterlife. Serqet would help orient them to their new life. She was called on to protect people from stings and bites from scorpions and snakes and to heal those already struck. On top of all that, she helps protect Ra as his barque sails across the sky.
Serqet was said to help protect Isis and the infant Horus when they fled and hid from Set. She set seven scorpions around them in the reeds. While surprisingly, she has no temples that we have found, she did/does have priests. Her priests were doctors, and they worked on a lot of stings and bites then, and doctors in Egypt today still must take care of them. I guess some things never change.
She is undoubtedly a busy goddess. What about you? Are you this busy? Do you wear this many hats? Have you played her in Smite? Let me know about it all in the comments down below. Until next time, have fun storming the castle!