Study Guide

Heqat (Heket) Sightings

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.

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