Hemen is depicted as a hawk-shaped idol of wood or stone, or as a mummified hawk. Hemen is mentioned in PT utterance 231, a spell occurring in a series dedicated to repelling dangerous serpents, where an unidentified creature is told, “Your bone is a harpoon and you are harpooned,” followed by some material of doubtful interpretation, and finishing off with the affirmation, “That is Hemen.” Although the context of the spell would tend to imply that the unnamed creature is, similarly, a snake, in light of other evidence it is assumed that Hemen wields a harpoon against a hippopotamus, a harpoon apparently made itself of hippopotamus bone. A text from the tomb of Ankhtifi at Mo’alla also associates Hemen with a hippopotamus. An inscription from this tomb says that the door of the tomb “has been brought from Elephantine like the hippopotamus who was enraged against the lord of the South,” the latter being identified with Hemen in this context (Mo’alla, 232). This text, in turn, suggests another in which a net or trap which captures Seth, who is himself sometimes associated with the hippopotamus, is called “the mysterious of form, which Hemen provides,” (BD spell 17). In PT utterance 483, the earth is being addressed: “O earth, hear this which Geb said when he spiritualized Osiris as a God; the watchers of Pe install him, the watchers of Nekhen ennoble him as Sokar … as Horus, Ha, and Hemen.” In CT spell 397, the cable of the netherworld ferry-boat is identified with “the nêu[‘smooth’]-serpent which is in the hand of Hemen,” alluding to Hemen’s power over serpents and suggesting an alternative interpretation for PT utterance 231. CT spell 415, which is extremely short, consists simply of the affirmation, “I have gone up into Pe, I have gone down in Dep, and Hemen is he who has done this work with me.” In CT spell 580, “Not to walk head downwards,” i.e., upside down, one of a genre of spells to prevent the deceased consuming products of excretion and decay, reference is made to a “house of Hemen.” In CT spell 659, “Spell for landing,” the deceased affirms that s/he shall go aboard the bark which is to take him/her to the northern sky “like Hemen who knows no weariness.” Spell 660 incorporates references to the same bark, as well as to not traveling upside down or coming into contact with excrement, and refers to the fire with which the deceased shall bake his/her bread in the netherworld as “the tears of Hemen.” A tantalizing reference to Hemen occurs in a medical spell to ease childbirth (Ramesseum Papyri IV, plate 18) which refers to Nephthys bearing a daughter by Hemen: “Hemen had intercourse with his mother Isis, he made pregnant his mother Nephthys with a daughter,” but no daughter of Hemen – or Nephthys, for that matter – is otherwise attested, and it seems rather that the spell identifies the woman in labor as a child of Hemen and Nephthys; BD spell 17, an ancient commentary upon which mentions Hemen, includes the affirmation by the operator, “I conceived through Isis; I begot through Nephthys.”

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