Mehet-Weret’s name literally means ‘Great Flood’ or ‘Great Swimmer’, and she embodies the celestial waters navigated by the heavenly bodies, for Egyptians saw the upper atmosphere and the heavens as a body of water with the horizons as its banks. Mehet-Weret is usually depicted as a cow, with the solar disk between her horns, lying on a reed mat or atop a shrine, with a blanket draped across her back and other marks of divinity (e.g. a flail), but also as a cow-headed woman. Spell 17 of the Book of the Dead describes Re as being born each day “from between the buttocks of Mehet-Weret,” and Mehet-Weret is also said to lift Re up between her horns. Mehet-Weret is also mentioned in plural form, as the “Celestial Cattle” which are referred to in CT spell 407, for “knowing the seven knots of the Celestial Cattle,” the ‘knots’ in question perhaps being knots in a rope mooring the netherworld ferry-boat which are identified with seven cattle addressed one by one in the spell, perhaps so as to untie the ‘knots’ and release the boat. These ‘knots’ (thesu) may be understood as a herd of celestial cattle descending from Mehet-Weret, and also as certain celestial potencies, in accord with the wide semantic range of words based on the root thes– in Egyptian, for instance ‘vertebra’, in light of a passage in spell 407 reading “O you seven knots of the Celestial Cattle … may you grant supports for my bones…”, and also ‘speeches’, the seven stages in the ordering of the cosmos brought about by the words of a demiurge, the range of possible interpretations of the term corresponding to an inherent flexibility in Egyptian cosmogony. Elsewhere these seven ‘speeches’ are characterized as divine beings devoted to the protection of Mehet-Weret (Esna, vol. 5, p. 268). In CT spell 691, appeal is made to a “Falcon rising from the Abyss, lord of the celestial cattle,” who are at first referred to as Mehet-Weret in plural form and later in the spell referred to as seven ‘knots’. The ‘knots’/cattle are here wrathful deities who, if properly grasped – “May you know me even as I know you, may you know my name even as I know your names” – can nevertheless be beneficent, both after death and during life: ” May you assign me to the life which is in your hands and the dominion which is in your grasp, may you destine me to annual life,” – perhaps a reference to the annual birth of the calves? – “may he [possibly the Falcon mentioned above] cause many years to be added to my years of life … many months … many days … many nights … until I depart.” Mehet-Weret’s own demiurgic activity consists in giving birth to Re and lifting him up between her horns, this latter act sometimes characterized as having saved him from his rebellious subjects; the more abstract aspects of the cosmogony associated with Mehet-Weret are typically accorded to Neith, with whom Mehet-Weret is closely linked.

See also: The Book of the Celestial Cow: A Theological Interpretation,” Eye of the Heart: A Journal of Traditional Wisdom, No. 3, May 2009, pp. 73-99.

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6 Responses to “Mehet-Weret (Methyer)”

  1. N.C. said

    Mehet-Weret seems to be more associated with the primordial waters, rather than having the role of Nut. So yes, she seems to be a closer fit to Neith. This is all very intersting since we can’t be completely sure about everything. She may even be older than Neith, since she too is considered a predynastic deity.

  2. […] Mehet-Weret, the Celestial Cow has a role similar to the goddess Nut, and gives birth to the sun god Ra every morning. Ihy is the son of Hethert and Heru (Horus) and is depicted as a typical child god, or as a calf. He plays the sistrum or menat rattles, and is mentioned in the Pyramid Texts, Coffin Texts, and the  Book of Going Forth by Day (Book of the Dead.) Ihy is one of my four musical deities (Bast, Hethert, Ihy, and Bes) so he gets a daily mention in my shrine. […]

  3. Are their any link between methyer as a word and mother as a word in English?

  4. […] an excuse to use up some of their time off to plan get-togethers and send each other cards. Mehet-Weret is the specific name for the Celestial […]

  5. […] festival of the Establishment of the Celestial Cow revolves around the exultation of Mehet-Weret, Hathor (and/or Neith) as the Goddess Nut in the form of a great cow or cow-headed deity, Who […]

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