Egpytian Gods: Serket

Serket is the Egyptian Goddess of the Scorpion.  She takes the form of a woman with a scorpion in her head always ready to strike, or a scorpion’s tail with the head of a woman.  More often, she just takes the form of the scorpion itself.  Her name means one who tightens the throat or causes it to breathe.  She is believed to have the power to heal people from poisonous bites of snakes and stings from bees and to protect people from scorpion bites.  She is also known as Selchis, Selkhit, Serqet Selkit, Selket, Serket-hetyt, Selkis, Selqet, Serkhet or Serquet.

Considered as a patron for pharaohs, she has a dual role in Egyptian mythology as protector of right and punisher of the wrong.  She protects pregnant mothers and children from venomous bites.  In one myth, she protected the Goddess Isis and her infant son Horus from Set. She also is depicted as a protector of the deities from the great snake-demon known as Apep, even participating in his eventual capture.

She is also believed to be a protector of the dead, preventing their bodies from stiffening caused by poisons and fluids. In line with this, she has become a protector of the tents of the embalmers. She was given the titles “Lady of the Beautiful Tent and “The Mistress of the Beautiful House” because of this. She also has a hand in protecting Qebesenuf and his canopic jar which was used to hold intestines.  This duty resulted in her close association with several other deities who performed the same duties like Isis, Nephthys and Neith. In the afterlife, she continues to protect the dead by helping souls adjust to life in the Underworld.

Her tight association with Isis and their related roles caused some historians to understand her simply as an aspect of Isis rather than as a goddess on her own. Some believe she is a form of Isis whose dominant cult following dates back as far as the first dynasty.

Sometimes, her name is associated with the scorching heat of the sun. Together with Neith, she became one of the guardians of the marriage union by watching the sky and ensuring that no one will disturb Amun, The God Creator, and his wife.

She is also the patron of healers as well as magicians.

Although Serket had a large following of priests, there are no indications of any temples built to her honor. No historical reference or artifact can prove it, but there may have been temples built especially for her that were destroyed without leaving any trace of their existence.