Nehmetawy goddess

Nehmetawy goddess

Goddess Nehmetawy is not very widely known. Nehmetawy (she who embraces those in need) was a goddess in the ancient Egyptian religion. Nehmetawy was the wife of snake god Nehebu-Kau, or in other places of worship, like in Hermopolis, the wife of Thoth. Her depictions are anthropomorphic, with a sistrum-shaped headdress, often with a child in her lap.


Nehmetawy (Nehmetawi, Nechmetawaj) was a reasonably obscure goddess whose name translates as “she who embraces those in need”. The first reference to her so far recovered dates to the New Kingdom, but most references to her are from the Graeco-Roman Period. She was worshipped in Hermopolis as the wife of Thoth but was also occasionally thought to be the wife of Neheb-Kau.


The texts described her as the ” daughter of Ra,” and how she was depicted proves that she was regarded as a form of the goddess Hathor. In the examples given by Signor Lanzone, she has the form of a woman, and she wears upon her head either the sistrum or a disk resting between a pair of horns; in one picture, a papyrus sceptre resting on the palm of her right hand, and a figure of Maat on that of her left.

Sketch also given by Signor Lanzone shows that her emblem was a Hathor-headed standard, on the top of which was a sistrum; on each side of the sistrum is a uraeus with a disk on its head, and from each side of the face of the goddess hang two similar uraei. The standard is held up in a vertical position by two men who stand one on each side. Plutarch, as Brugsch has noted, says that Typhon was driven away by a sistrum, which seems to indicate that the rattling of the wires produced a sound that had a terrifying effect upon that evil beast; ladies of high rank and priestesses are often depicted with sistra in their hands, and though this fact is usually explained by assuming that those who hold sistra assisted in the musical parts of the services in the temples, it is very probable that they carried them both as amulets and as musical instruments. Dr Brugsch quotes two passages

from texts in which a royal personage declares that demoniacal powers are kept away from him utilizing the sistrum he holds in his hand. Nehemauait is not mentioned in the Book of the Dead, and it seems that she is not an ancient deity; she is probably a comparatively modern form of some well known older goddess.

Relationship with other deities

It is often suggested that Nehmetawy was simply a form of this popular goddess, as she often uses the same epithets. She was generally depicted as a woman nursing a child wearing a headdress in the form of a sistrum (associating her with Hathor). Furthermore, in the temple of Amun at Karnak, Hathor and Thoth appear together, and Hathor is also given the name “Nehmetaway”.

It is also possible that Nehmetaway was a form of Seshat, the goddess of wisdom who was married to Thoth and considered an aspect of Hathor.

Nehemetawai is an ancient Egyptian deity in Egyptian mythology. It is “mistress of the city” and “ruler on the flame Island”. The goddess was obtained only in the late period of greater importance. According to its name, which means “available to take care of the spoiled “, Nehemetawai was the “protector of the law” and stood for justice. In later times it was regarded as the goddess of song and music. There is a close connection to Hathor.

Nehemetawai was depicted as a woman whose headdress could be a solar disk, cow horns, and a chapel-shaped sistrum. Another variant is the representation with a uraeus instead of a human head or two opposite faces. Images of the goddess were found at their central cult Hermopolis Magna ( ancient Egyptian Chemenu – “City of Night”), in Hibis and Khonsu Temple in Karnak.

At the time of the New Kingdom (18th Dynasty), Nehemetawai was closely associated in Hermopolis Magna with the sun god Schepsi and Thoth was considered the son of the two.