Renenutet – Goddess of Nature, Nourishment and Plenty

Renenutet (Renenet, Ernutet) was a powerful goddess who embodied the abundance of nature and was referred to as the “Lady of Fertile Fields” and “Lady of Granaries.”  Renenutet was also a Cobra Goddess known as the “Nourishing Snake” representing nourishment and the harvest. She was depicted in several ways: as a cobra, as a woman with the head of a cobra, and sometimes as a woman wearing a headdress made of flowers and holding a sheaf of wheat. Her image was often placed on amulets, talismans, and other objects, indicating her importance to the people of ancient Egypt.

As the Goddess of nature, Renenutet was believed to have the power to make plants grow and thrive. She was also associated with the annual flooding of the Nile River, which brought life-giving water to the fields and allowed crops to grow. Her worship was particularly important to farmers, who relied on the fertility of the land for their livelihood.


Renenutet gave her protection to the Pharaoh in the land of the dead and was the guardian of the clothing worn by the Pharaoh. This clothing was fiercely powerful and would frighten away any enemies. Because of this she was called “Lady of the Robes”

O Osiris-Pepi, I bring you the Eye of Horus which is in Tait, this Renenutet-garment of which the gods respect, so that the gods may respect you like they respect Horus.

– Utterance 635, Pyramid of Pepi II

Renenutet was linked to the Gods of the Nile (both Hapi and Sobek) and the inundation of the Nile:

I will make the Nile swell for you, without there being a year of lack and exhaustion in the whole land, so the plants will flourish, bending under their fruit. Renenutet is in all things – everything will be brought forth by the million and everybody …… in whose granary there had been dearth. The land of Egypt is beginning to stir again, the shores are shining wonderfully, and wealth and well-being dwell with them, as it had been before.

~From the Famine Stele

Renenutet was also called “She who Rears” and was the Goddess of nursing children. She was thought to be the deity who gave a child their true name, in that capacity she was called “She who is in the Name.” To the Ancient Egyptians if someone knew the true (secret) name of a person, then that person had power over the other; the secret name of a person was very powerful magic. Renenutet and Shai, the God of destiny, were often found together in The Book of the Dead. Pharaoh Ramses II called himself “Lord of Shai and Creator of Renenutet.”

Shai was originally the deity who “decreed” what should happen to a man, and Renenutet, as may be seen from the pyramid texts, was the goddess of plenty, good fortune, and the like; subsequently no distinction was made between these deities and the abstract ideas which they represented.

~ Wallis Budge, E.A. ,The Egyptian Book of the Dead, p. cxxv (1901)

A festival to Renenutet were celebrated at the beginning of the spring season when crops were planted. Another celebration was held in her honor in the first month of the summer season when the plants began to ripen. During the festival she was offered the best yields of the crops. There was also a shrine dedicated to her near a wine press or vat so she could receive the offerings of the wine makers.

Renenutet was very much associated with the abundant flowers growing near the Nile. In Ancient Egypt, water lilies and lotus flowers were seen as a symbol of rebirth and renewal, and were often used in religious ceremonies and rituals. Renenutet’s presence in these ceremonies was believed to bring blessings and good fortune to those who participated. The Goddess known as the Nourishing Snake was highly regarded by the Ancient Egyptians as the protector of the Egyptian people, the nurse of Pharaohs and Goddess guardian of the secret name of each Egyptian.


Butler, E. P. “Goddesses and Gods of the Ancient Egyptians.” Henadology, 2010.
Faulkner, R. O.  The Ancient Egyptian Pyramid Texts, p. 258. 2010.
Lichtheim, Miriam. Ancient Egyptian literature: Volume I: The old and middle kingdoms. Vol. 1. Univ of California Press, 2006.
Seawright, Caroline. Renenutet, Goddess of Suckling, the Name, and Protection., 2012.