on Nov 09, 2013
Brought over from my personal Beside the Scorpion Lady on FB:
Scorpion, Healer, Mother
Serqet is also known as Serket, Selket, and Selkis, however for the duration of this I will be using the form Serqet as it is the most known to me. Serqet is actually the shortened form of Serqet-hetyt, or "She who causes the throat to breathe". This is considered a two folded name; not only does she give one the ability to breathe (in death or in life), but it is she whom can also take away your breath. By this it is implied that not only does she have life sustaining powers, but also the power to bring death upon her enemies.
Serqet is a complex goddess to say the least. Some evidence suggests that she is a form of Aset (Isis) from her first beginnings and that she was a specific form which existed in a specific area who then branched off as her popularity increased. However, other evidence suggests that she was a separate goddess from the beginning, and that only later did Aset absorb her. I'm personally not sure which is the true answer to the story, or even if either one of them is the true answer, however in my view they can be treated either as aspects or as separate deities. As she appears in the story of Heru-sa-Aset's (Horus, son of Aset's) raising, I am tempted to say that she is different than Aset in at least this one instance. When she appears in this story, she sends the Seven Scorpions along with Aset to protect her and her son. It is possible that the head of the Seven is an aspect of her, or that all of them are aspects of her similarly to how the Seven Hetheru's (Hathors) are aspects of Hetheru.
Serqet often appears in one of several forms, however her most commonly seen form is that of a woman with a scorpion on her head. Her most commonly thought of image is that of her appearance in Tutankhamun's tomb; that of the golden lady with a scorpion on her head and with outstretched arms. She also appears as compounded with Aset in later times, so that she appears with the upper half of a woman and the body of a scorpion. On her head is the traditional headdress for Aset. However, there exists one image of her within a magicial papyrus in which she appears as a lion headed goddess with a crocodile head growing from the back of her neck. It is possibly due to this and her more violent associations that she is given the title, "the Sekhmet of Aset".
Some evidence suggests that the scorpion on her head was originally a water scorpion (a harmless insect that looks like a scorpion but is not), however even in the early times her scorpion is shown with claws and it's sting, so this theory seems unlikely to me. In addition, the meaning of her name leaves one to question how she could stop breathing if she were a harmless insect that looked like a scorpion. Contrary to popular belief, it was not until the New Kingdom that her scorpion lost the violent attributes (claws and stinger), and one or both of these are shown in any representations of her with the scorpion on her head. This error occurred in a book regarding Egyptian magic (which I own), and has since then been cited the world over. The scorpion on Serqet's head in Tutankhamun's tomb clearly has a stinger and claws if you look carefully.
Serqet's son was said to be Nehebkau ("He whom harnesses the spirits"), though at times Nehebkau is also linked to her as a consort. It is unlikely that he was both, though it is possible that he was one or the other depending on different time periods. Serqet was linked with Tai-Bitjet, whom is a scorpion goddess called in spells which are against poisonous bites. Tai-Bitjet is cited as a wife of Heru-wer (the Elder Horus whom is Nut's son), and I have seen information which says that Serqet was considered a wife or consort of Heru-wer.
Serqet is a guardian of life, of the tomb, of the dead person. It is she whom guards a certain bend in the river on which Re and his boat floats while in the Duat (underworld). She is the protectress over Qebehesenuf, the Son of Heru whom guards the intestines, and it is she whom protects the West. She is hailed as a goddess of protection, poison, healing, death, breath, life, marriage, and motherhood. Along with Neith, Serqet watches over the bed of Amun-Re and the Great Wife (Queen) when they go about making the Heru in the Nest (heir of the Pharaoh).
Serqet's priests were often those with the title of scorpion enchanter, and it was believed that they had the knowledge and power to heal a person of the poisonous bite of a scorpion or snake. (The term bite is used to describe the sting in all the literature I have seen, so this is most appropriate.)
As odd as the subset above sounds, I wanted to include information on the Serqet that I personally know and experience, as well as that which I've discussed with several people connected to her, some of them from the Kemetic Orthodoxy, some of them not.
Within my experiences with her, she's always been very quiet in comparison to the other deities I work with and have worked with. She has a tendency to sit in the sidelines, like she is always there beside me, but like she's allowing me to do my own thing however I decide. She's made it pretty obvious that pictures of her atlar/shrine images is a no-no, because it's personal between me and her. She's very elusive for me, except when she shows up in a very loud way; she's appeared to me before and told me what she wants me to do, and when I've given my doubts about it, she told me she wouldn't ask me something I couldn't do. When I've experienced her, sometimes it is with the cold logic of a scorpion, and other times it is like the scorpion mother whom carries her children on her back. She is at once friendly and also cool. She's what I would consider the thought process of a queen would be towards her advisors; cool but warm.
The others I have spoken to about her tend to say she is elusive for them until she and you begin a lifelong relationship, and even then there will be times when she is cool. One person places her in different spheres of who she is; Serqet the scorpion (the cold logical side), Serqet the healer (the motherly side), and Serqet the magician (the side which performs magic).