Wadjet “Goddess of Kingship” was originally the ancient Egyptian local goddess of the city of Dep. It became part of the city that the Egyptians named Per-Wadjet (“House of Wadjet”) and the Greeks called Buto (now Desouk), also being the capital of the 6th lower Egyptian nome (present day Tall al-Farāʿīn), Wadjet it’s patron deity, which was an important site in prehistoric Egypt and the cultural developments of the Paleolithic. There was also a Per-Wadjet in Upper Egypt. Wadjet was closely associated in ancient Egyptian religion with the Eye of Ra, a powerful protective deity. The hieroglyph for her eye is shown below; sometimes two are shown in the sky of religious images. Per-Wadjet also contained a sanctuary of Horus, the child of the sun deity who would be interpreted to represent the pharaoh. Much later, Wadjet became associated with Isis as well as with many other deities.
History Wadjet was said to be the matron and protector of Lower Egypt, and upon unification with Upper Egypt, the joint protector and patron of all of Egypt. The image of Wadjet with the sun disk is called the uraeus, and it was the emblem on the crown of the rulers of Lower Egypt. She was also the protector of kings and of women in childbirth. Wadjet was said to be the nurse of the infant god Horus. With the help of his mother Isis, they protected Horus from his treacherous uncle, Set, when they took refuge in the swamps of the Nile Delta. From the site of Tebtunis, in the Egyptian Faiyum, a temple is dedicated to Wadjet and was the site of ritual performance in her honor.She was associated with the land and depicted as a snake-headed woman or a snake—usually an Egyptian cobra, a venomous snake common to the region; sometimes she was depicted as a woman with two snake heads and, at other times, a snake with a woman’s head. Her oracle was in the renowned temple in Per-Wadjet that was dedicated to her worship and gave the city its name. This oracle may have been the source for the oracular tradition that spread to Greece from Egypt.
Etymology The name Wadjet is derived from the term for the symbol of her domain, Lower Egypt, the papyrus. Its hieroglyphs differ from those of the Green Crown or Deshret of Lower Egypt only by the determinative, which in the case of the crown was a picture of the Green Crown and, in the case of the goddess, a rearing cobra.