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Seshat Sightings

  • Really Old Books Part I: The Pyramid Texts 2687BC - 2182BC

    In the funeral rituals carved on to the pyramids of Old Kingdom pharaohs, Seshat is mentioned a few times, to guide and protect them on their way to heaven. Seshat's name in these texts? "Lady of the House," or Nephthys… and the goddess Nephthys is called "Seshat, Foremost of Builders." Switcheroo!

  • Stretching the Cord 2499BC

    On the Palermo Stone, a rock carved with really early Egyptian history, King Khasekhemwy "stretches the cords" with Seshat. What the what? This ritual was used to create a new public building, usually a temple or a palace, where Seshat (or a priestess in her dress) and the pharaoh held ropes and stakes to mark the shape of the building. These days, we cut the ribbon at the end of

  • Really Old Books Part II: The Coffin Texts 2056BC - 1651BC

    Seshat appears in the ancient funeral books painted on the insides of coffins. She holds the ladder that permits souls to rise to heaven, hangs out with Thoth, and otherwise isn't mentioned at all. But hey, she takes what she can get.

  • Really Old Books Part III: The Book of the Dead 1551BC - 1070BC

    The Pyramid Texts and the Coffin Texts both got rewritten by ancient Egyptians in this new and improved version, the Book of Coming Forth in the Daytime. No, it wasn't the secret to Team Edward, but it did help dead people find their way in the afterworld. Seshat has a much bigger role in these books, and everyone is reminded that she writes down their history on the leaves of Ra's tree, so they'd better hope she wrote good things….

  • Counting the Loot 1451BC

    When the female pharaoh Hatshepsut went to Punt (an area in modern Ethiopia) to buy incense and other luxuries for her favorite god Amun-Ra, she brought home boatloads of fancy things. On the walls of her temple at Deir-el-Bahri, Hatshepsut shows Seshat and Thoth counting up all the things they brought back to Egypt. Apparently even gods do inventory if the goods are fancy enough.

  • Stairway to Heaven 1293BC - 1190BC

    Seshat's ladder got an upgrade when Seti I built his beautiful temple to Osiris at Abydos. Instead of putting Seshat in charge of the ladder to heaven, like she was in the early funeral texts, he dedicated the temple's wide stairway to her. On the stairway walls, Seshat gives Seti I special blessings and shows him how to build the rest of the temple. Nice arrangement.

  • Trapping Demons 50

    Seshat is shown on the walls of the temple of Esna, holding a big net with the creator god Khnum. What are they doing? Together, they trap any evil spirits trying to get inside. Think of fly paper, only on stone.

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