By Jacqueline Engel
Goddess Neith (with weaver symbol) at the canopic shrine of Tutankhamun.
This gilded wooden shrine, contained a smaller alabaster canopic chest that in turn housed the four canopic jars, containing the vicera. Inside these jars were found four miniature coffins with the internal organs of the king.
This shrines upper part of the roof is decorated with protective cobras. Four goddesses surround the shrine, spreading their arms in a protective manner.
18th dynasty, from Valley of the Kings, tomb of Tutankhamun – KV62
As one of the eldest goddesses, Neith emerged from the primeval waters to create the world. As time went on and myths evolved, Neith took on other characteristics and responsibilities. Although originally a hunter and warrior, and always considered a great protector of the Egyptian people, she was also a wise mediator between gods, as well as between humanity and the gods. In addition, Neith cared for the dead and helped to dress their souls in preparation for the afterlife.
Warrior goddess Neith is considered the mother of all the gods. She was a creator of the world and the mother of the very influential sun god Ra, who finished the creation after his birth. As a creator, Neith was an early goddess in the Egyptian pantheon and the people worshipped her throughout Egypt. In later years, Neith was mainly recognized in the Western Nile Delta at her cult center of Sais.
Known as a huntress during the pre-dynasty time period, her symbol was a shield crossed with arrows. The other symbol of Neith is a weaving shuttle. She was also considered the goddess of weaving. Frivolous as this may seem for a goddess, there is a myth that suggests Neith created the world by weaving it.
Neith was the patron goddess of the Red Crown of Lower Egypt, and was often portrayed wearing her Red Crown. However, in the creator stories inscribed in ancient hieroglyphics, she is also portrayed with an ejaculating phallus. Although known as goddess, Neith was actually androgynous, at least in terms of her role in creation.