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Het-Hert as a celestial cow

Het-Hert is often depicted as a full cow wearing horns with double feathers and/or a sun disk. A frequent motif seen in the Book of the Dead or tomb reliefs is that of Het-Hert emerging from the papyrus swamps in Her bovine form. At Qis, Het-Hert was called Tjentet, the "pre-eminent cow."  Her emblem as a cow goes back at least as early as the 1st Dynasty, with the depiction of the head of a woman wearing horns and the ears of a cow on a stone vase. These two essential elements of Het-Hert's iconography appear throughout Egyptian history.  

Het-Hert was also connected with the divine cows of Egyptian mythology, several of which became titulary goddesses in their own right. These included the four sacred cows that accompanied Het-Hert, representing the four regions of the sky.   They furnished the tables of the gods and Their names are as follows (transliterations from the hieroglyphs are in parentheses):

(1) Hesat (HsAt) - "sacred cow" whose name may be derived from the word Hsi, meaning "Wild One." In Ptolemaic texts, She is associated with Aset and provides milk for the King.

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Hieroglyphs of the Name Hesat

(2)  Weryt (wryt) - "great lady" - divine cow who provides milk for the King

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Hieroglyphs of the Name Weryt

(3)  Shedyt (Sdyt)   - "nurse" who nourishes Ra; an epithet of Het-Hert.

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Hieroglyphs of the Name Shedyt

(4) Sekhat-Heru (sxAt-Hr) - "the one who remembers Heru"

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Hieroglyphs of the Name Sekhat-Heru

The cosmic aspect of Het-Hert, in Her connection with the celestial cows, can be see in Her function as the one who nourishes humans and gods. Like Nut, She is the celestial goddess who continuously rejuvenates the solar disk, giving birth to Ra at every sunrise.

The Seven Hathors are also often depicted as seven cows. For more information, see the following page on this website:

The Seven Hathors

 

References

Het-Hert emerging from the papyrus swamps in Her form as a Celestial Cow from The Egyptian Book of the Dead, translated by Raymond Faulkner


Allam, Schafik. Beiträge zum Hathorkult (bis zum Ende des Mittleren Reiches), 1963.
Alliot, Maurice. Le culte d'Horus à Edfou au temps des Ptolémées. 1949, 426.
Daumas, François. "Hathor." Lexikon der Ägyptologie. Band II.1977.
Rochemonteix, Marquis de and Émile Chassinat. Le Temple d'Edfou. Vol. I-4. 1987, 524.
Wilson, Penelope. "HsAt." A Ptolemaic Lexicon, 1997.

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