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Djehuty and Shu lure Het-Hert back from the desert

One of the myths connected with Het-Hert describes how she became angry with her father, Ra, and wandered into the desert becoming a wild lioness, the Mistress of the Desert. Ra missed his Eye and tried to convince her to come home to Egypt. He eventually had to enlist the skills of Djehuty (Thoth), and Het-Hert was lured home by a magic potion and promises of a life dedicated to music, dance, and drunken happiness. Philae was the first stop on her way home, and her appearance there was celebrated at the island temple by priests playing the harp and oboe and by priestesses shaking the sistra and offering flowers. In this way, Het-Hert was transformed from the savage lionness into the gentle Netjert (goddess) of love, presiding over the birth house of Philae in her benign aspect.

The text in the above relief from the Temple of Dakka reads:

Caption above the baboon: "Djehuty from Penubes, great, powerful God who came from Nubia."
Caption for the lioness: "Tefnut, Daughter of Ra in Abaton."

The scene in the relief above refers to the part of the story in which Het-Hert was coming back from Bugem, in Nubia.  She appears as Het-Hert/Tefnut fully in the form of a wild lioness, the form she had taken while wandering throughout the desert.  She raises up her tail while carrying the sun disk with the uraeus upon her head. Djehuty approaches her as a baboon, a form which she had trusted in her homeland. He raises his arms in henu, the praise gesture, luring her with promises of festivals and joy if she returns. Shu accompanies and is identified in other nearby texts as the "Son of Ra, who came out of Nubia, great in power, whose limb is strong."

 

References

Image of Het-Hert as lioness with Djehuty (as baboon) and Shu, from the Southern Wall of the Roman chapel at Dakka, in M. Günther Roeder's Der Tempel von Dakke (Les Temples Immergés de la Nubie series), vol. 2 (planches), Cairo, Service des Antiquités de l'Égypte, 1930, plate 115.

Junker, Hermann, "Der Auszug der hathor-Tefnut aus Nubien," Abhandlungen der Königlich Preussischen Akademie der Wissenschaften (Philosophische-Historische Classe), Berlin, 1911.

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