Egyptian Gods: Hatmehyt

Hatmehyt is the ancient Egyptian deification of the fish worshipped most predominantly in the region of the Delta, in the northeastern side at Mendes. She was originally a deification of the Nile River. As a water goddess, she represents life and protection. She is often depicted as a woman with a fish emblem or crown on her head or as a fish of Nile believed to a dolphin at first. Later it was found out that it was a lepidotous fish commonly found in the river. Her name is also spelled “Hatmehit” and means “foremost of the fish” or “she who is in front of the fishes”. Literally, it means the House of Mehit signifying the great flood. This suggests that she is worshiped and revered with utmost importance in fish cults and considered one of, if not the oldest fish deity because fish divinity is very uncommon in the Egyptian pantheon. She is often considered the “Chief of Fish” who emerged from the primeval waters of Egypt – the Nile River.

Eventually she became known as the consort of the ram god Banedgjedet (an aspect of Osiris), who later usurped her role as the main fish deity of Mendes. She became known as the female form of her husband. They had the son named Harpocrates (an aspect of Horus). She, likewise, evolved to become an aspect of Isis as wife of Osiris and mother of Horus. The three of them formed what is known as the “Mendesian triad”.