(Ius-aes, Yusas) Iusâas (whose name the Greeks transcribed as Saosis) is the Goddess personifying the masturbatory act of Atum, with which he sets in motion the process of the emergence of the cosmos. She is thus, in effect, the consort of Atum and the mother of Shu and Tefnut. Although often identified with Atum’s hand, Iusâas is depicted anthropomorphically, typically with the sign of a scarab beetle over her head. Iusâas is also known as Nebet-Hetepet, ‘Mistress of Hetepet’, a cult site in the vicinity of Heliopolis. This epithet also, however, has the meaning of ‘Mistress of the Vulva’ as well as ‘Mistress of Offerings’, thereby expressing a conception of divine offerings as that which brings forth the latent potency of the Gods into generative expression. The epithet Nebet-Hetepet is frequently borne by Hathor as well, who is the Goddess of sexual satisfaction in a broader sense. Iusâas and Nebet-Hetepet sometimes appear to be distinct Goddesses; closer investigation, however, tends to reveal that when the distinction between Iusâas and Nebet-Hetepet is genuine, it is because it is Hathor to whom the epithet ‘Nebet-Hetepet’ is being ascribed (Vandier 1964-66).

In PT utterance 519, in order to gain access to an astral ferry-boat, the deceased king states “I am the son of Khepri, born [the king, not Khepri] in Hetepet under the tresses of the Goddess of Iusâas-town [i.e. Iusâas], north of Ôn, who [Iusâas] ascended from the vertex of Geb.” Earlier in the same utterance, the operator addresses the Morning Star, asking it to “give me these your two fingers which you gave to the Beautiful, the daughter of the great God, when the sky was separated from the earth, when the Gods ascended to the sky,” the epithet ‘the Beautiful’ here probably applying to Iusâas as well. In being said to ascend from the head of Geb, Iusâas is posited as occupying the space between Geb and Nut when they have been separated, which would be appropriate to her association with offerings. While the ‘tresses’ in question may be hair hanging down from the head, or an anatomical reference in accord with the reading of hetepet as ‘vulva’ (Vandier [4] n. 7), they may also be those of a sacred tree (or grove) associated with Iusâas, for we find occasional references to an acacia sacred to Iusâas, e.g., CT spell 660, which mentions “the acacia [šnḏt] of Iusâas-town north of Souls-of-Ôn,” (CT VI 283r) and “the acacia north of Iusâas-town and south of Souls-of-Ôn,” (284i). The reading which would see here a sacred tree or grove would accord well with the reference to ascending from the vertex of Geb, to be understood therefore as a hill or mound; the two readings are, in any event, not mutually exclusive. We perhaps find further reference to a sacred tree of Iusâas in PT utterance 574, an address to a sacred tree, in which the tree, enjoined to “gather together those who are in the Abyss” and “assemble those who are in the celestial expanses,” is said to bend over to shade Osiris “like her who presides over Hetepet [i.e. Iusâas] who bows to the Lord of the East.”

Iusâas is invoked in a healing spell (no. 145 in Borghouts) as “the hand of Atum which dispelled the fury of heaven, the disturbance which was in Heliopolis, the combative and victorious one, protecting its lord, the powerful one, the defender of Re on that day of the great fight to the north and to the west of the House of the Uraeus, Iusâas … She has come and driven out all bad ailments, all bad impurities … that is in any limb of this man who is suffering.”

Vandier, Jacques. 1964-66. “Iousâas et (Hathor)-Nébet-Hétépet.” Revue d’Égyptologie 16-18.

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One Response to “Iusâas”

  1. Denis Ruff said

    thank you it helps me to understand hetepet

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