(Merit) Meret, whose name means ‘beloved’, is the divine singer or musician, frequently depicted as twins, the Merety, who may in turn be identified with pairs of Goddesses such as Isis and Nephthys (for instance in CT spell 920) or Wadjet and Nekhbet. Meret plays an important role in all manner of ceremonies, and her function therefore transcends the strictly musical to encompass all the harmonies and rhythms of the cosmos, arousing the Gods to action and accompanying their activities. In a certain sense, Meret embodies the entire performative aspect of ritual. A degree of uncertainty surrounds the apparent occurrence of the Merety in several spells from the Coffin Texts (spells 440-443, 450) for “driving off the mrwty,” who are “companions of Re” and who “make health for Re daily” (443), but who also threaten to take away the deceased’s magic, or powers, or soul. To avoid this, it is apparently necessary to identify with Re as well as to placate the Merety, as in spell 440: “I am Re … I am the lord of these two mrwt … You noble companions of Re who make Re healthy, you possess what you have requested, you possess your joy.” Drioton 1955 argues that the Merety are to be understood in these texts as Re’s lovers, who would seduce and disable their victim on Re’s behalf. The corresponding spell in the Book of the Dead (BD spell 37) interprets the Merety as uraei, divine fire-spitting cobras dedicated to the defense of Re, from whom the deceased secures protection (as in BD spell 41B as well) by identifying with Horus, son of Osiris. In BD spell 58, a shortened version of a ferry-boat spell, the ferryman asks, “Who is that with thee?” to which the deceased responds, “They are the two Merety,” (similarly in BD spell 122).

Allen, T. G. 1974. The Book of the Dead or Going Forth by Day. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. [BD]
Drioton, Etienne. 1955. “Le Mythe des ‘Amies’ de Rê.” Bibliotheca Orientalis Vol. 12, No. 2: 62-66.
Faulkner, R. O. 1973-8. The Ancient Egyptian Coffin Texts. 3 vols. Warminster: Aris & Phillips Ltd. [CT]

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One Response to “Meret”

  1. […] Shrine for the Procession of the Merety (see Henadology for information on these two “Songstress […]

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