Seshat Goddess of Writing and Reading

Seshat Goddess of Writing and Reading

Seshat Goddess of writing was, as her name indicates, the goddess of reading, writing, architecture and arithmetic. She could either be the female aspect of Thoth, or his daughter or wife. Together they had a child named Hornub, meaning “gold Horus”. Therefore, people sometimes associated her with Isis.

She was the scribe of the pharaoh, recording all of his achievements and triumphs. She also recorded all the actions of all people on sacred leaves. Her epithet was “Mistress of the House of Books” because she looked after the library of the gods and was the patron of all libraries. In addition to this, she was the patron of all forms of writing, including auditing and the taking of census.

According to one myth, it was actually Seshat who invented writing. But her husband Thoth was the one who taught the people to write. She is the only female character who was actually depicted in the act of writing. A number of other women appear holding the scribes palette and brush, indicating that they could write, but not actually writing.

Seshat Goddess of Writing and ReadingSeshat Goddess of Writing and Reading

In depictions, she appears as a woman wearing a leopard skin dress. On her head she has a headdress made out of a flower or of seven stars on top of a pair of horns.

She was ocassionally called “Safekh-Aubi” meaning “She of two horns” because of this headdress. However, this created some confusion, because Safekh-Aubi was a separate goddess. However, others have suggested that the horns were originally a crescent moon, representing her husband Thoth. She also appears offering palm branches to the pharaoh. These branches symbolize prosperity and long years, meaning she gives him a long reign.

So far, no one ever located a temple dedicated to her. Also, there is no evidence that such temple even existed in the first place. However, she does appear in a large number of temple drawings. Therefore, we do know that she had her own priests. Probably, as Thoth grew in importance, he also took on her role.


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