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Neith, World-Weaver.
[to Whom the fifteenth day of March, day 074, is dedicated]

Geography/Culture: Egyptian, pre-dynastic: She was adopted from Libya (or She was a divinity of the local Libyan population in Egypt). Her sacred city is Sais (Greek form of Egyptian Sa) in the western delta of the Nile, Lower Egypt; in Upper Egypt the center of Her worship was the city of Esna. She is attested at least as early as the 1st half of the third millenium {2999-2500 BCE?}.
Linguistic Note: Egyptian net, {more accurately transliterated as nt} means the red crown of Lower Egypt. It probably means a good many other things as well (She shares the same consonants as Nut, for example), which in hieroglyphics would be clarified by the determinative. Neith's determinative seems to be the thing which is sometimes said to represents a weaver's shuttle (though "this identification has not been verified"), while Nut's determinative is the vase, in addition Nut's name in hieroglyphics usually includes the weak bird sign which is transcribed as u. Perhaps Neith's determinative refers to the beetle/cockroach which Bernal says is sacred to Her. Whatever it is it is sometimes depicted on the throats of the cobras (and clearly it is not a stylization of natural markings) which so often, as the uraeus, form part of Egyptian images. Related English words: is it possible that north (the direction with which She is associated), night (re: the moon, and the bringing forth of the sun), and even net (re: weaving) are all related to Her name?
Description: Divine Mother; Lady of heaven; Mistress of divinities; Goat-skin clad orgiastic Triple Goddess of the moon, the sky, earth, childbirth, hunting, love and battle; Great Goddess; She Who is self-produced; First Birthgiver; Divine Shehe, Mother of Mothers and father of fathers; She Who brought forth the sun before anything else existed; She Who personifies that place in the sky where the sun rises; She Who weaves the world on Her loom; Great Mother of deities; Source of ancient wisdom; She to Whom even deities appeal for justice; Warring Protectress against invaders; She Who blesses the hunter's weapons; Nourisher and Sustainer of life; Bestower of poetic insight; Culture-bringer; Lady of Sais; Sorceress; Controller and Organizer of water; She Who is associated with the draining of marshes and the creation of productive land; Matron of crafts and industries; Healer and Midwife; Protectress of the dead to whom She offers bread and water from a tree; She Who has four forms in Her Duat; Opener of the Ways.
She was at times thought of as the personification of the waters of chaos. She is said to have belonged to an epoch when fatherhood was not recognised. It is thought that Her wearing of the net may signify She was the Goddess of an early confederation of Lower Egypt. In dynastic times She was apparently Goddess of the Nile. In the 18th dynasty (1567 BCE) She was portrayed in the solar bark, associated with the sun, (especially as the eye of Ra), and with the erect cobra of the Uraeus (the ceremonial headdress of the pharaohs, which was the determinative or symbolic sign for Goddesses) and at this time She was also Protectress of women. In the New Kingdom She was the Divine Shehe, first to create the seeds of Divinities and people.
Invocations, Pleas, Hymns and Other Homage to HER: Neith.
To Whom Sacred: willow; reed-built shrines; perch (the fish); {cowrie (a yonic symbol -- Ethiopian women also wore goat-skin clothes, see below, sometimes ornamented with cowries)}; crocodile (showing Her connection with the Nile); goat -- embodiment of fertility (Libyan women wore goat-skin garments fringed with thongs); magical goat-skin bag, protected by a Gorgon mask, containing a snake (this became Athene's aegis); cow (is this form She swam the delta to settle at the spot which later became Her sacred city); a type of beetle, possibly luminous, probably with a solar significance (an image which seems to have preceded the scarab); a cockroach on a stick {this maybe in mistake for the beetle, or vice versa}; the stomach, of which She is Guardian, (in canopic jars); bow; two arrows crossed on a goat-skin shield; weaver's loom; weaver's shuttle; the number 18 (the number of stars on one side of Her when imaged as a cow); the red crown of Lower Egypt (in which She is said to immanent); the double-crown; sceptre; ankh; [the open-hand emblem]; linen mummy wrappings (they were considered Her gifts as Matron of weaving; the direction north; the direction east (as the place where the sun rises).
Iconography: She habitually wears the net, the red crown of Lower (ie. north) Egypt, often holding a sceptre in one hand and the ankh in the other. Sometimes She grasps a bow and two arrows, or wears two crossed arrows on Her head. In "later times" {how much later, or later than what, is unspecified} She wears the sign of Her name (which may or may not be a weaver's shuttle). Apparently She sometimes wears a vase on Her head -- if this is so then She must at sometime have been identified with, or confused with, Nut. She is also represented as a cow with an ankh hanging from a collar round Her neck. An image has been found in which She suckles two crocodiles {Her son(s)?}.
Festival: Feast of Lamps {date unknown, azov 1995}, during which Her devotees burned a multitude of lights all night long in Her honor. Annual armed combat engaged in by Her virgin priestesses for the position of high-priestess. Annual marriage between Her high-priestess and a sacred king, to insure good crops.
Male Associates: in the Pyramid Texts Her son is Sebek, (Sebak with a dot over the a, Suchos, Sobk), He-who-causes-to-be-pregnant, crocodile God, who later became identified with Ra. An ancient Saite tradition (5th or 6th dynasty?) makes Her son Ra. Consort, sometimes Ptah, or he is Her companion. In the Late Period Her consort at Elephantine was Khnum, (Khnemu), Moulder, (to build, to fashion, to put together). In the Late Period he had seven forms, one of which was Khnum, the weaver. It is also said that in "later times" Osiris and Horus were called Her sons. As Guardian of the stomach of the deceased She is associated with Dwa-mut-f, (Tuamutef), the dog or jackal headed protector of the stomach. As Opener of the Ways She is a female Anubis.

Source: GE.WB[?]; Bernal BAv2 16, 82, 84, 86; Budge BD 186-7, 173-4, 199, 316; Graves GMv1 44-5, 197, 205; Graves GMv2 152, 189, 249; Ions EM 16, 33, 73, 75 and image, 91, 101, 103; Mercatante WWEM 105 and image; Lamy EM 93-5; Larousse NLEM; Lurker GSAE 85 and image.
Libya, Dripping-Rain.

Geography/Culture: Libya (some say Libya was to the ancients, Egypt, others that it was all of Africa west of Egypt): especially Lake Triton.
Description: Triple Goddess of the moon, winter rains (which came to Greece from the direction of Libya), wisdom and augury; Eponym of Libya.
To Whom Sacred: goat (and its skin); migration of birds; golden palace or chamber.
Male Associates: Sons, Belus (who was perhaps also Her lover) and Agenor by consort Poseidon. Son Lelex by Triton or Poseidon.

Source: Graves GMv1 191, 193, 277; Graves WG 218, 231; Kravitz WWGRM 142.
Memphis, White-Walls.

Geography/Culture: Egyptian.
Description: Perhaps Goddess, at least eponym apparently, of the city of Memphis.
Male Associates: consort, Epaphus, A-Touching, king of Egypt. Her father was Nilus, the river god.

Source: Graves GMv1 200; Ions EM 28; Kravitz WWGRM 152.
worked on: December, June 1995; April 1993; February, March 1992; August 1991.
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