(Also Heqet, Heka, Hekat, Heqtit)
“Eye of Ra”
“Mother of the Gods”
Heket is an Egyptian water goddess of childbirth and a protector of the dead. Originally named in pyramid inscriptions, she was one of the deities mentioned in the magical text which allowed the pharaoh to ascend into the sky. It was only later, after being credited with helping Osiris rise from the dead, that Heket became associated with first the birth of kings and queens, and then fecundity and childbirth in general. She is a daughter of the sun-god Ra and the mother of Heru-ur.
Heket can be thought of as a midwife. She presides over all births, and, together with other deities, fashions the developing child in the womb. She also can hasten the final stage of labor. She also acts as a consort of Khnum (in Hew-wer), who creates the form of the child and its ka on his potter’s wheel. Pregnant women often wore amulets or scarabs bearing the likeness of this goddess to protect and aid them in birth (as well as ivory knives with the image of Heket to protect the home). Priestesses of Heket served as trained midwives.
This goddess is depicted either as a frog or a woman with a frog’s head. As a symbol of generation, fertility and birth, she is most likely associated with frogs due to the multitudes that spawned after the annual inundation of the Nile. The goddess herself would undergo a rebirth each spring.
During the Pyramid Period, Heket’s cult gained vast political power. This power was presumably supported by the mythological importance of this goddess. In the earliest of versions of the creation story, Khnum was a creator god, and through him, Heket gave birth to all of his creations. They were “the first gods who were at the beginning, who built men and made the gods”.
She was worshipped at Her-uret near Edfu and later at Abydos. Her main center of worship was at Gesy/Apollinopolis Parva/Qus. She later became often combined with Hathor (in the Osiris myth) or called the mother of Horus the Elder.