Sekhet, the Fen-Goddess

Sekhet (Sokhet, Sakhet, Sochet) is the ancient Egyptian Goddess of the life of the fields, meadows, marshes and the wetlands. She is Mistress of Sekhet-Aaru, the Field of Reeds, the Otherworld paradise where Osiris rules. It has been described as the ka (soul) of the Nile Delta.

As the Goddess of marshes or fields, she is sometimes referred to as the Fen-Goddess.
(A fen is a type of wetland ecosystem, dominated by grasses and grasslike plants such as reeds. Fens are often converted to agriculture due to organic matter accumulating and making then nutrient rich.)

Sekhet is depicted as a young woman with the sign for a field over her head.

In inscriptions from the temple of Horus at Edfu, Sekhet is hailed as “lady of the catch, mistress of Hbs-birds, who created fish and fowl, who made the Hdw-birds, mother of the gnw-birds, queen of the ro-geese, who cares for the nestlings,” (Edfu II, 163, 11-12) and as “mother of the wild fowl,” (Edfu IV, 199, 9-10).

Sekhet grants the gifts of the marsh, in Coffin Text (“CT”) spell 571, “To build a mansion among the waters,” and it is Sekhet who supplies the Otherworld mansions with fowl. In CT spell 1015, “To become a fowler of the great God who gives water and watches over water,” Sekhet renders assistance to the fowler. She is often depicted together with Hapi in temple reliefs, bringing the produce of the fields as offerings to the temple. Hapi is the god of the Nile silt and associated with the yearly inundation which caused the river to overflow its banks and deposit the rich earth which the farmers relied on for their crops. Hapi is a very ancient god, the personification of the Nile at flood.

In the story of Horus of the Sun from the Temple of Edfu, Horus is urged to “Grasp the harpoon which Ptah, the goodly guide, fashioned for Sekhet, which was fashioned in copper for thy mother Isis,” (Blackman and Fairman, p. 10 (Scene II, 66)). Sekhet’s close association with Aset and Horus in this passage may allude to the period in which Horus was hidden in the marshes by Aset to protect him from Seth. In the same passage, Aset states “I have made raiment for Sekhet,” which may imply her contribution to the fertility of the flora and fauna which constitute Sekhet’s “raiment.”


Bibliography:
Blackman, A. M. and H. W. Fairman. “The Myth of Horus at Edfu—II.” Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 29, 1943.