In part 1, I shared some photos of the Heqet statue in the Cleveland Museum of art. Now we’ll talk about some of her aspects.
One of Heqet’s associations is with fertility, probably because of the large number of eggs frogs lay. She’s associated with childbirth, and hastening childbirth, and is identified with midwives. She sometimes appears as a frog, holding a knife, on apotropaic heka wands, along with Bes. Some statues of Bes have frogs associated with them as well.
The idea of fertility extends to the land and crops. But, as with most of the Netjeru, she’s not so simple.
- Heqet in the Temple of Ramses II, Abydos via wikimedia commons.
Heqet is also shown in fully-human form. Remember, she isn’t really a frog, it’s an aspect that tells us something about her. The little goddess glyph to her right does have a froggy look to it though.
- Heqet as the wife of Khnum, Hatshepsut Temple, via Wikimedia Commons
Heqet is mentioned as the wife or consort of Khnum. As Khnum creates the Ka on his potters wheel, Heqet breathes life into it. Khnum and Heqet are both strongly associated with the Nile.
- Egyptian – Finger Ring with Frog – Walters Museum (Wikimedia Commons)
Frog-form Egyptian seal-rings were possibly worn as Heqet amulets. Frog amulets are found in predynastic burials, and remained popular through the Old Kingdom and First Intermediate periods. Eventually they were eclipsed by scarab amulets, but remained in use well into Ptolemaic times. A frog glyph was used in a pun to write the phrase “wehem ankh,” meaning ‘living again,” Even into the Coptic period frog items were inscribed “I am the Resurrection.”
I think Heqet’s influence extends to “renewal” in general, and protection for new things and projects being “born” (thinking of the knife-holding frogs on apotropaic wands.) She might be a goddess to honor, even if you aren’t having a child or being buried!
What are your experiences with Heqet?
Amulets of Ancient Egypt- Carol Andrews, at Book Depository and Amazon.
The Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt- Richard H. Wilkinson, at Book Depository and Amazon.
Mistress of the House, Mistress of Heaven: Women in Ancient Egypt- ed. Capel & Markoe, at Book Depository and Amazon.
Aside: If there ever was a biblical “Plague of Frogs,” I really wonder if it would have been seen as a good sign instead of a curse? Except for having to avoid stepping on them. 😀