Study Guide

Heqat (Heket)

  • Profile

    Alongside Bes and Taweret, pregnant ladies and babies in ancient Egypt had one more special friend: Heqat. She's got a frog head, and to be honest, she's a little scary with those big knives. But you can be sure that Heqat will keep you safe from any illness, whether you're a mother or a child. When she's not minding the nursery, sometimes Heqat's working the dating scene, helping men and women fall in love. Maybe so she'll have more babies to take care of? Whatever works.

    Basic Information

    Name

    Heqat (Heket)

    Nickname

    She Who Hastens the Birth, The Resurrection, Froggie Baby

    Sex

    Female

    Current city

    Abu (Elephantine) with Khnum, alone at Qus (Cusae), or sitting with the latest newborn

    Work & Education

    Occupation

    Midwife, Childcare Professional, Dating Coach

    Education

    Taweret's preschool

    Beliefs

    Political views

    Ra is king

    Family & Friends (& Enemies)

    Parents

    Unknown

    Siblings

    None

    Children

    All children, everywhere

    Friends

    Bes, Taweret, Isis, Nephthys, Meshkhenet, Hathor, Sekhmet, Serqet 

    Enemies

    Anything and anybody who hurts babies.

    Relationships

    Relationship status

    It's Complicated with Khnum

    Interested in

    Love in general

    Favorites

    TV Shows

    Sesame Street (and The Muppet Show of course)
    It's not easy being green.
    Supernatural
    I want to fight demons with the Winchester brothers!
    Modern Family
    One of my guilty pleasures when I'm off work.
    Futurama
    I like this show because ALL GLORY TO THE HYPNOTOAD. Wait. What did I just say?

    Quotations

    "I'm not a diva. I'm a tadpole trying to be a frog." 
    – Toni Braxton

    "You know, there was a time when childbirth was possibly the most terrifying thing you could do in your life, and you were literally looking death in the face when you went ahead with it." 
    – Stephenie Meyer, Twilight author

    "Babies are such a nice way to start people." 
    – Don Herold

    "Childbirth is more admirable than conquests, more amazing than self-defense, and as courageous as either one." 
    – Gloria Steinem

    "Theories pass. The frog remains." 
    – Jean Rostand

    Books

    All's Well That Ends Well by William Shakespeare
    Maya Angelou is a tremendous poet. Just read Africa.
    Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories by Dr. Seuss
    I have absolutely zero patience for bullies.
    The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
    I've been a handmaiden before, but nothing like this ever happened. Thankfully.
    The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County by Mark Twain 
    It's not just a fun story. It's a fun story about a frog!
    Frogs by David Badger
    Maybe this book is a little bit too revealing? But I do like my frogs.
    Do you know Aristophanes wrote a Greek comedy about frogs? And Dionysus.
    The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame 
    Have you been on Mr. Toad's wild ride? It's not just a little kid's book. At least Disney didn't think so.
    Baby Catcher: Chronicles of a Modern Midwife by Peggy Vincent 
    One of those times when you really DO have to catch 'em all…
    The Golden Goblet by Eloise Jarvis McGraw
    There's a goldsmith named after me in this book. But it's a guy! Weird.

    Music

    Kids by MGMT 
    This kid needs a visit from me and Taweret and Bes. Dumb monsters.
    Brown Eyed Girl by Van Morrison
    9 to 5 by Dolly Parton
    We might work all day, but we're still ladies.
    Roxanne by the Police
    Ho Hey by The Lumineers
    Try by Pink

    Movies

    The Princess and the Frog
    Still think it would've been better if they never changed back.
    I loved the Toy Story movies. The third one made me cry!
    The Harry Potter films (and books, of course) are great fun. Trevor's my hero.
    The Wizard of Oz
    I love fantasies. This was one of the best ever, and not just because there's a frog guy in Oz, either.
    Les Miserables
    It's a serious commitment to care for a child.
    What to Expect When You're Expecting 
    It's never what you think.
    Juno
    Look Who's Talking

    Activities & Interests

    Likes

    Kids, especially really little ones
    Sappy romances
    Frogs
    Sunny afternoons
    Prenatal vitamins

    Interests

    Mitochondrial DNA
    Demonology
    Matchmaking
    Sex Ed
    Neonatal health

    Groups

    Ancient Egyptian Gods 
    Egyptian Mythology 
    Frogs
    Midwife International 

    • Spotter's Guide

      You have to agree that it'd be hard to miss a woman with a frog's head. Heqat is one of those Egyptian goddesses you can't quite un-see. She's also not far behind any time you hear a baby crying, so head her way for all your natal needs.

      Sex: Female
      Age: Adult
      Build: Slender
      Complexion: Light yellow skin (like other Egyptian goddesses and women in paintings)
      Hair Color: Black (if she's wearing a wig); otherwise, frogs don't have hair, silly.
      Facial Hair: None
      Scars/marks/tattoos: None
      Jewelry and accessories: Often a big golden collar and bracelets, like other Egyptian goddesses
      Clothing: A tight-fitting dress, made of white linen
      Armor: None
      Type of Weapon: A big knife to scare demons with

      Typical Companions

      • The midwives: Isis, Nephthys, Meshkhenet, Renenutet, and Khnum (well, midhusband in his case?)
      • Sobek, Taweret, and Bes
      • Sometimes Ra

      Known Hangouts

      • Nurseries and the hospital's pre-natal ward
      • That mini-van with all the stick-figure babies on the back window
      • The Nile
      • La Leche League meetings
      • Toys-R-Us
    • Sightings

      Dec 21, 2019 - Jan 1, 1970

      Multiple Frogs of the Pyramid Texts

      Heqat appears in the Pyramid Texts, early Egyptian religious books, both by herself and also as a group of frog goddesses called "The Heqats" (kind of like her backup band) helping Hapy, god of the Nile, to keep Egypt green.

      Dec 21, 2019 - Jan 1, 1970

      A Knife in the Dark

      When you needed protection in ancient Egypt, you called a magician. Part priest, part doctor, and all wizard, these magicians would trace a circle in the dirt floor of your house, saying prayers to Heqat and other gods who were carved on the wand they made the tracing with.

      Dec 21, 2019 - Jan 1, 1970

      She Who Hastens the Birth

      Heqat is associated with unborn babies, childbirth, and the first few crucial minutes of a child's life. Her priestesses, called the Servants of Heqat, train to be midwives and help Egypt's women bring babies safely into the world.

      Jan 1, 1970 - Dec 20, 2019

      The Tale of the Three Magicians

      One of the stories of magicians included in Papyrus Westcar is about the birthday of three pharaohs: Userkaf, Sahure, and Neferirkare Kakai of the (much earlier) Fifth Dynasty. According to the story, a bunch of gods disguised as midwives—Isis, Nephthys, Meshkhenet, Khnum, and Heqat—helped at their birth. Because gods were present, they made sure Rudjedet (their lucky mom) was okay. Too bad the current pharaoh, Khufu, wasn't happy to learn the news.

      Dec 20, 2019 - Jan 1, 1970

      Shaping the Pharaoh

      Several pharaohs in Dynasty 18, including Hatshepsut (one of the few female kings) and Amunhotep III, put up reliefs showing their divine birth inside several temples in and around Luxor. Heqat and Khnum are shown creating little images of the kings' souls to be placed inside their mothers and then leading the queens to the nursery to give birth to their special royal children.

      Jan 1, 1970

      Pharaoh, Can You Spare a Drink?

      In a beautiful painted relief on the walls of the famous Abydos temple of Osiris, Seti I offers wine to Heqat. For obvious reasons, she appears in human form to accept. You wouldn't realize it was her if you couldn't read the hieroglyphs of her name. Without her froggy face, Heqat looks just like her friend Hathor.

      Dec 20, 2019

      Petosiris's Gift

      A rich priest of Thoth named Petosiris watched a festival of Heqat in his town. A parade carrying her statue mysteriously stopped at a place where her temple had once stood but had been washed away by a Nile flood. Petosiris took it as a sign that she wanted her temple fixed. So he gave money for it to be rebuilt with a floodwall so it couldn't wash away. When he died, Petosiris made sure this story was put inside his tomb, so Heqat wouldn't forget his kindness when it came time for his final judgment. Smart guy.

      Dec 20, 2019 - Dec 20, 2019

      The Frog of Resurrection

      According to Greek-style Osiris myths, Heqat helped Horus the Younger breathe when he was born. Tiny frog statues were dedicated to her as the one who helped Horus survive and Osiris be resurrected. These frogs, carved with the phrase "I am the Resurrection," reminded early Christians of Jesus's teaching of the same phrase—so Heqat's frog became a Christian symbol. Fancy that.