Grave Moss & Stars

Posts Tagged ‘nit’

PBP Fridays: Q is for Qebshenef

Qebshenef is one of the Four Sons of Heru (Horus), a group of netjeri (spirits) associated with the canopic jars that hold the organs of the mummified deceased. The Four Sons also protect the throne of Wesir (Osiris) in the Unseen and assist the deceased through the Duat. Each of the Sons is protected by one of the funerary goddesses and associated with one of the cardinal directions.

Qebshenef, whose name means “cooling his brother (with water),” is hawk-headed and holds the intestines. He is guarded by Serqet (Selkis), the scorpion goddess, and associated with the south.

Imset, whose name means “the kindly one,” is human-headed and wears the nemes headcloth. He holds the liver, is guarded by Aset (Isis), and is associated with the west.

Duamutef, whose name means “praising his mother,” is jackal-headed and holds the stomach. He is guarded by Nit (Neith), the Great He-She, and associated with the north.

Hapy (not Hapi, god of the Nile), whose name means “runner,” is baboon-headed and holds the lungs. He is guarded by Nebt-het (Nephthys) and associated with the east.

While the Four Sons have the above associations in regards to their canopic jars, they also assist the deceased in different ways, including carrying or lifting up the deceased, preparing a ladder into the sky, protecting against attacks and decay, preventing hunger and thirst, bringing the deceased a boat “which Khnum built,” and steering that boat.

The Sons themselves are alternatingly stated to be sons of Aset (Isis) and Heru-wer (Horus the Elder) or Khenty-irty (Horus of Khem), but were also implied to be sons of Heru-sa-Aset (Horus the Younger) by virtue of being the grandchildren of Wesir (Osiris). They’ve also been described as the bau (souls) of Pe (a city in Lower Egypt) and Nekhen (a city in Upper Egypt), along with Heru Himself. In various texts, they’re identified as stars near Ursa Major, as emanations of Heru or as Heru’s bau (souls), and as the king’s “children’s children” (the king being as Wesir, Heru’s own father). They’ve also been identified in spells as the hands, arms, fingernails, and/or feet of the deceased or described accompanying the deceased through the Duat.



Henadology’s article is particularly well-fleshed-out and worth further reading, as my entry here merely summarizes the basics of the Four Sons.

This post brought to you by the Pagan Blog Project.

PBP Friday: O is for Olukun/Yemonja

I hesitate to write this post. It’s not because I am a Kemetic writing outside my pantheon, but because being a soft reconstructionist has taught me how to respectfully and thoroughly study and research something before (or at least while) I engage with it. And that means I can recognize when I lack that foundational knowledge; I feel like I’m on unsteady ground when so unread.

I have one book on Ifa: The Way of the Orisa by Philip Neimark, an American convert and practitioner of Ifa. This book has a wealth of differences between the singular book I have read on Haitian Vodou (Haitian Vodou by Mambo Chita Tann), which I know is a very well-sourced, academically-solid, and culturally-respectful treatise. Some of these are doubtlessly regional differences—there are several flavors of Yoruban religion, and dialects change the spellings of words and names—but what gives me such pause is that I haven’t read any other books to broaden my horizon on orisa or Ifa. I’ve also learned enough in the years since I bought this book to question the author’s privilege and potential Westernizing spin.

And yet. If I don’t write this post, how can I encourage other polytheists and pagans to write freely and earnestly about their experiences and the mythologies that they enjoy and study, no matter how new they are?

So I am writing, with the neon disclaimer that I’m very aware I have exactly one author’s viewpoint on the subject, and I have no idea how that author compares with others in his field in terms of accuracy versus modern re-interpretation. The reason I am writing is because, however objectively qualitative that author is or is not, his book impressed upon me Olukun/Yemonja, and that impression has lingered, full of seaspray and undertow.

Yemonja/Olukun is an ocean orisa of great might and dual, intertwined natures; some forms of Yoruba-based religions separate the one into two. However, Ifa treats it as one and emphasizes the importance of maintaining this balance of seemingly opposed natures. Yemonja is described as the feminine energy, full of a mother’s nurturing and generosity, the life-giving gifts of the waves, while Olukun is the masculine energy, powerful and volatile, the icy depths of the sea. Together, Yemonja/Olukun is referred to as a she (in the book) but is a dynamic balance between those two genders; I would interpret it as being a third gender as a result, but that’s me.

Being such a Water-child, being drawn to the ocean like a magnet to the north, and being genderqueer… needless to say, this simplified but imagery-rich idea of Yemonja/Olukun appealed to me deeply and viscerally. In fact, I wrote a song called From The Ocean, exploring the angles between this one orisa’s complementary natures. Even now, when I see the myopic weakness of my single-source understanding of this orisa, my emotional-spiritual reaction to it (and, yes, to how the author describes its “children” in the book, which is staggeringly accurate to my own nature) cannot be invalidated by my skeptical intellect.

As an additional point of interest, one aspect of my Mother Nebt-het (Nephthys) is Nit (Neith), a very old hunter-goddess, a creatrix… a Netjeru of the primordial ocean, and the Great He-She. The parallels I can draw between Nit’s epithets and Yemonja/Olukun’s description are… intriguing, to say the least, and bear further meditation.

In closing, I will say that the heart knows the love and the links from blood to brine, even when the brain cannot yet prove the pattern of the chains that bind them so tightly.

This post brought to you by the Pagan Blog Project.

for Nit

O Mistress of the Bow, Ruler of Arrows,
Nit the Great Who Opens the Way,
May You string Your bow with the Uncreated’s gut
and fletch Your arrows with the white feather of Ma’at!
Lay forth Your arrows into all isfet
and drive it bleeding from Your crashing shores!

O Eldest, O Mother and Father of all things,
praise and prayer and festival unto You!
You Who created all life and all gods,
Crocodile Nurse, Cow Mother, Creatrix,
blessed and beautiful are Your name and Your face!
Hail Nit, Mother of the Gods!

small steps back on the path

22 OCTOBER – III Akhet 21: Feast of Shu, Day of Renenutet and Nit

Tonight, I offered incense to Shu, pure water and Celtic sea salt to Nit, and a piece of farmhouse bread to Renenutet. I lit a red candle for Nit on the left and a cream one for Renenutet on the right, and I gave Them thanks and admiration. Shu as the breath of the wind that I adore and that uplifts me, He Who upholds my Mother, Hethert-Nut; Nit as another Name for my Mother Nebt-het, Lady of the Deep Waters, He-She Creatrix; Renenutet as the Lady of the Harvest, Who protects our crops that we may have bread at all.

And then Deathcat decided to nest on my calves, leaning against the backs of my knees, as I knelt before my shrine.

So I stayed a little longer. And it was nice.

Dua Shu! Dua Nit! Dua Renenutet!

PBP Fridays: N is for the Circle of N (Nebt-het, Nut, the Nun, and Nit)

The Circle of N

Nebt-het, She Who Borders The Sea
which was once all that existed
as the Nun, primordial ocean
which is deified as, among other Names,
Nit, the Creatrix, all-gendered
Who begat all the world
and can take the form of
the Celestial Cow
which is Nut, the starry heavens,
the uplifted sky arched over
Her lover the earth;

and this enormous divine cow
is also the goddess The Great Flood
and is a form of not only Nut
but also Nit
Who is likewise a form of Nebt-het
and is also the Nun personified;

and so we come full circle,
the proto-ocean Nun
into the creatrix Nit
into the Lady of the House, Nebt-het,
and that House is the sky, Nut.

This post brought to you as part of the Pagan Blog Project.

PBP Fridays: H is for Hethert-Nut, Egypt’s Celestial Cow

This post has become a permanent page on this site here!

This post brought to you as part of the Pagan Blog Project.

PBP Fridays: G is for Genderqueer and GLBTQ Netjeru

As a genderfunky and pansexual individual myself, I have a special interest in mythological figures who are also queer in some fashion. To my pleasant surprise, we have several Egyptian gods, or Netjeru, Who have some queerness in Them. This post is meant to be a brief introductions to the ones I know.

Firstly, we have Nit, the Creatrix. Of the handful of primary creator deities in ancient Egypt, Nit was the only one said to be female, but all creator deities are to some extent genderfluid and/or genderless, being gods that have reproduced asexually through various means (masturbation, spit, intentional thought) to create the rest of the gods. Nit Herself, despite being hailed as a goddess, bears the epithet “The Mother and Father of All Things” and has been addressed as “Male Who made female; Female Who made male” at the temples of Esna. She is the God Who bore women and the Goddess Who bore men, and so within Herself contains all sexes, all genders. Nit is said to have created childbirth, and, when referred to as a creatrix, Her name is written with the hieroglyph of an ejaculating phallus. She has been referred to as the deity of the Nun (pronounced noon), the great primordial waters of creation, or as the Nun personified. Another snippet from the Esna inscription reads:

Wide water Who created eternity; water Who made everlastingness;
Who rose in Nun while earth was in darkness.
Living Ancestor, Who had Her origins in Nun, before the creation of Geb and the raising of Nut.
Genetrix, Cobra Who was at the beginning, Mother of time primordial, She Who created Her own birth…

(Geb is the god of the earth; Nut is the goddess of the sky.) For more about Nit, you can read the research I’ve compiled thus far.

Nit has also been identified with/as Nebt-het (Nephthys), Lady of Death. In ancient texts, Nebt-het has been described as being “an imitation woman with no vagina” because of Her barrenness, and She has no children with Her husband, Set, Lord of the Red Desert, which is a striking difference from most Kemetic triads of mother-father-child. Some modern Egyptologists have interpreted Nebt-het as being a lesbian; more to the point, She is sekhyt, a Kemetic word often translated as “eunuch” but more accurately indicates any person who doesn’t fit within the traditional gender roles of male or female, any person who is infertile, and/or a sexless/unsexed person.

That leads us to Nebt-het’s husband and consort, Set, God of Chaos. Set is a highly sexual god; He’s been lured off after Aset (Isis) in guise of a beautiful maiden before, and He’s also tried to seduce Heru-sa-Aset (Horus the Younger), both during the Contendings of Horus and Set, which is the tale of Who would become king after Wesir’s (Osiris’) death. Heru-sa-Aset, in turn, tricked Set into consuming some of His semen on lettuce, also as a part of the Contendings myth. Some Egyptologists suggest Set is strictly homosexual, but He would also be more suited to the term sekhyt, as He’s often considered sterile due to His association with the barren desert, over which He rules. Heru-sa-Aset may or may not be considered bisexual or sekhyt, depending on the source; He does go on to father the four Sons of Heru, showing that He is indeed fertile, but His actions with Set may suggest a bisexual inclination (or just an attempt to gain a political upper hand).

In addition, Hapi, god of the Nile, was a male deity associated with the fertility and life-giving powers of the Nile river; as a result, He was shown as a round-bellied man with full breasts. The breasts may have been symbolic, or He may have been considered a fully hermaphroditic deity, though He did still have a wife.

Fertility was a big deal in ancient Egypt and was the primary requisite for a person receiving the full privileges of womanhood or manhood, but even in the biggest myths, genderbending and alternate sexualities were represented; there’ve also been inscriptions in tombs indicating homosexual relations between men. (I don’t know of any between women; if you do, please share!) Set and Nebt-het, both important deities in Kemet, were sekhyt Netjeru, and all creator deities, especially Nit, held within Them both male and female qualities. If I’ve missed any queer Egyptian gods, please feel free to chime in, or add your opinions/experience with the gods mentioned here!

This post brought to you as part of the Pagan Blog Project.

God Bios: Nit (Neith)

My lady Nit, please accept my humblest of apologies that I did not celebrate Your festival yesterday. May the research I do on You now be an offering, however small.

Please note, lovely readers: All of this is a work-in-progress. It will change as I continue digging through books and other sources. Do not take this as a rock-solid encyclopedic entry at any point. :) I will be doing similar information-compilations on other deities in my sphere of interest, as well; Nit just happens to be first.


– war
— makes warriors’ weapons
— protects dead bodies
— weaves the bandages and shrouds worn by mummies
— protects jackal-headed Duamutef (one of the Four Sons of Heru Who guards the canopic jar that stores the stomach) with arrows
— Eye of Ra
– hunting
– weaving
— great creatrix
— protector of women
— guardian of marriage
— weaves the bandages and shrouds worn by mummies
– the primordial waters of creation (Nun)
— great creatrix
— genderless / he-she
— associated with the Nile perch/lates-fish
— mother of crocodiles and snakes
– wisdom
– virgin goddess
— great creatrix
— created childbirth


– human wearing the red crown, a weaver’s shuttle on Her head, or two arrows crossed over a shield
– lioness-headed
– crocodile-headed
– snake
– cow


– two crossed arrows over a shield (possibly originally a click beetle, found near water)
– Her symbol and part of Her hieroglyph resembles a loom
– Egyptian goad (cow prod)
– red crown of Lower Egypt
– when referred to as creatrix, Her name is written with the hieroglyph of an ejaculating phallus


– mother of Ra
– mother of Ap-p (by spitting into the Nun)
– mother of Sobek
– wife of Khnum
– wife of Set (Old Kingdom)
– wife of Sobek (after Set)
– mother of Twtw
– may be identified with Tanit, a goddess worshipped in north Africa by Berbers (Barbary…)
— Tanit is related to Astarte/Ishtar (Phoenician)
– assimilated Anouke (Asia Minor, worshipped by immigrants to Egypt)
– identified with Athena
– identified with Nebt-het and Seshat
– equated with Nunet
– associated with other cow deities, primarily Nut and Hethert
– associated with other weaving deities, primarily Tatet
– associated with Yinepu and Wepwawet (“Opener of the Ways”)
– equated with Mehet-Weret, the Great Flood


– Who Illuminated The First Face
– Mistress of the Bow
– Ruler of Arrows
– Great Cow Who Gave Birth to Ra
– She Who Saw Tem’s Birth
– Nit the Great
– Nurse of Crocodiles
– Opener of the Ways
– The Mother and Father of All Things
– The Eldest
– Mother of the Gods
– Mistress of Mendes


– 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.
– Primary cult in Sais with Twtw and Tapsais.
– One of three tutelary deities in Ta-senet/Iunyt/Esna.
– Part of Ogdoad mythology.
– Four goddesses guard the dead and the Four Sons of Heru: Nebt-het, Nit, Aset, and Serqet. (And all four of them are in my lineup…)
– In the Contendings of Heru and Set, Nit recommended Heru-sa-Aset over Set as king to replace Wesir and recommended Set be given land and two wives (Anat, Astarte) in compensation.
– Garnet is considered to be associated with Her. (My birthstone.)
– Pyramid Texts: “May the terror of you come into being … like the Nit-crown which is on the King of Lower Egypt.”
– One of the oldest deities with a very widespread cult and sphere of influence/worship.

Barbara Lesko, The Great Goddesses of Egypt:

Unique Goddess, mysterious and great who came to be in the beginning and caused everything to come to be . . . the divine mother of Re, who shines on the horizon . . .

Proclus (412-485 AD) wrote that the adyton of the temple of Nit in Sais carried the following inscription:

I am the things that are, that will be, and that have been. No one has ever laid open the garment by which I am concealed. The fruit which I brought forth was the sun.

Primary Sources:

The Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt (Richard H. Wilkinson)
Egyptian Mythology: A Guide to the Gods, Goddesses, and Traditions of Ancient Egypt (Geraldine Pinch)

Dua Nit!

Jan 10th Festival: Feast of Nit
Jan 16th Festival: Feast of Nit

Litany to Nit from texts at the temples of Esna:

Nit, Great One, Divine Mother, Lady of Esna,
Nit, Great One, Divine Mother, Lady of Sau (Sais), in the Chapel of the House of the Mother:
Lady of Sau, Great Ruler of Kemet;
Water that created Geb, created Ptah-tenen; Ptah-tenen Who created Him who created Geb.
Male Who made female; Female Who made male;
Wide water Who created eternity (Djet); water Who made everlastingness (Neheh);
Who rose in Nun while earth was in darkness.
Living Ancestor, Who had Her origins in Nun, before the creation of Geb and the raising of Nut.
Genetrix, Cobra Who was at the beginning, Mother of time primordial, She Who created Her own birth….
Rait, Atenet, Nunet: Shining Star at the beginning Who created those on high and those who are low,
Mysterious One Who made living beings and created all that lives by Her existence.

From temple texts at Edfu:

O Mother! Shining One Who turns back darkness,
Who illuminates everyone with Her rays,
Hail Great One of many Names,
You from Whom the gods came forth!

With love and thanks to Hemet for the translations.

22 October – III Akhet 21

Day of Renenutet and Nit

From the Pyramid Texts, Utterance 340:

“I have come to You, Old One; may You turn back to me as the east wind is turned back behind the west wind; may You come to me as the north wind comes after the south wind.”