Mut is the Ancient Egyptian mother goddess who came to prominence during the New Kingdom (circa 1500 BCE). She originated as a local goddess in the Nile River delta and was linked to the primeval waters of the universe from which all things were born; Mut was therefore considered a creator goddess and mother of the cosmos. She is usually represented as a woman or a vulture. Later she took on the attributes of Sekhmet and was depicted as a woman with a lion’s head. Mut wore the royal crowns of Upper and Lower Egypt and sometimes the vulture headdress of the queens of the New Kingdom.
Mut was the consort of Amun and the mother of the god Khonsu; together they were the Triad of Thebes. The vast Karnak Temple complex in Thebes consisted of precincts of the gods, one of which is the Mut Precinct. Inside the Mut Precinct are six temples and encircling the three sides of the southernmost end is an Isheru, a sacred crescent-shaped lake. Isherus were found throughout Egypt and associated with worship of lion goddesses. During the festival of Mut, a barque with a statue of the goddess was sailed around the lake.
The female Pharaoh Hatshepsut (1472-1457 BCE) built the Temples of Mut and the interior reliefs provide evidence of daily devotions by the queen/pharaoh and her priestesses. This is a rare example of exclusively female worship in ancient Egypt. The Mut complex remained an important religious center for 2000 years and the Isheru, which is fed by an underground spring, is the largest and best preserved Isheru in Egypt.
The following is the “Crossword Hymn” to the Goddess Mut
“Great of Sunlight, Who illumines the entire land with Her rays.
She is His Eye, Who causes the land to prosper, the glorious Eye of Harakhty,
the Queen of what exists, the Great and Powerful Queen, Life being in Her possession.
Great of Might, Her Eye has illumined the Horizon.
As to the Ennead, Their hearts are glad because of Her,
the Queen of Their joy in this Her name of Sky,
for the spirits go forth within it because of Her.
The Two Lands and the Netherworld thereof are light because of Her, when She has appeared in the sky.
When She goes forth, all good plants are born.
She Who rises early,
existing in a multitude of forms,
enduring as the Nurse.
Ra sees Her Might just as She sees by means of Him, since He knows Her Majesty’s beauty.
The Goddesses shout for Her: food and provisions for Her, the Goddess in Uaset-Thebes.
The Greatness of Ra shines in the land for Her spirit every day.
Furthermore, Her father Ra is in the mighty ‘Ipet-sut’ with the Great One Who breathes there (Amun).
There are not many who desert Her (Mut’s) Majesty,
She is a Noble One.
When She shines, the land possesses love of Her,
the Queen of the Horizon at Her beautiful rising at dawn.
She has received the insignia of Ra, Lord of the Thrones.
He receives rejoicing as He traverses the land,
and the praises and adorations of the high-ranking and of mankind.
They follow Her likeness, She being like Him (Ra) Who crosses the sky,
His manifestation indeed, Who shines within.
She grants what He wishes, Mut has received these gifts.
All animals rejoice at Her.
She rests between His brows, while everyone worships Him.
The people and all mankind are joyful of heart.
Ra, Who travels the Lakes of Fire for His great daughter,
Queen of the Gods, this Goddess Who is upon His breast.
The God (Ra) gives rejoicing to Her Who is with Him, He Who came into existence by Himself,
She Who is beneficial to the Mighty One, Who adores the manifestation, happy of lifetime.
All the people worship Her, when Her form is seen.
She has caused to flourish.
He (the King) is great, flourishing because of the Great One, He Who is on the Throne which She loves.
Ra is righteous. It is a happy day, She having appeared in ‘Uaset’-Thebes,
when She has protected this land for Her son.
She gives victory to the Mighty One, She Who possesses what He loves, His years being happy of events.
There is rejoicing from Heaven to the Netherworld, the Gods are satisfied.
. . . . great of dignity, Lady of Lower Egypt,
Lady of the Uraeus, it being subject to Her,
mankind and the Gods are Her offspring.
When Heaven came into being, She rested in Heaven, the city of Her father,
She Who protects Him with Her person, there are given to Him their praises concerning Him, to Horus ‘Au’ (of Libya), He exists there, for She has made pleasant this land . . . .
. . . . fear of Her and awe of Her in the Palace, the chief of Her city and the Two Lands,
She is the Goddess Who bore them like the people who are begotten,
there is no form who escapes Her flame, those were before him . . . . which Atemit (the female counterpart of Atum), Ra and Geb began.
As to mankind and the Gods, their lives are of Her giving, the Lady with Her offering for Egypt. She gives Him praise, the Lord of the ‘Sed’-festival, without ceasing. The Great One, Who exists
. . . . form, Mighty of births, Her spirit is in the Sky,
She gives Sunlight,
the Great One of the Orb of the Sun, which shines as this Her likeness.
When She goes to rest, there is praise of Her by the Primeval Ones,
Khepri, numerous of forms, adores Her,
Horus is in praise.
There is prosperity under this Goddess, Who is with His (Amun’s) arm together with Him.
Everyone is in praise of Her ceaselessly, while making festive their houses.
She is in their hearts,
they being glad when She ascends to Her abode, Her Temple,
She has appeared and has shone as the Woman of Gold . . . . of best pure silver.
All lands give Her their divine property in Her name, and their standards of their places.
They rejoice for Her and Her beauty which belongs to Her. Everyone comes into existence through Her when he is created, say the Living in this Temple.
. . . . Who opens and causes them to live,
She Who is young rises behind, High of Crown,
She shines as gold . . . .
the Sole One when She placed plants on the entire land,
the apes chatter to Her because of Her kindly face,
the Beloved One, Who has been exalted since primeval times in Heaven.
Her Ancestors are endless,
She is the Noble Uraeus.”
From the “Crossword Stela” of Paser, circa 1150 BCE, found in the sacred Precinct of Mut
Fazzini, R. A., & Peck, W.H. (1983). “Excavating the Temple of Mut”. Archaeology, 36(2), 16–23
Monaghan, P. (2010). Goddesses in World Culture, p. 260
Pinkowski, J. (2006) “Egypt’s Ageless Goddess”. Archaeology, 59 (5)
Stewart, Harry M. “A crossword hymn to Mut.” The Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 57, no. 1 (1971): 87-104.
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