Renenutet “Goddess of Nursing” was a goddess of nourishment and the harvest in the ancient Egyptian religion. The importance of the harvest caused people to make many offerings to Renenutet during harvest time. Initially, her cult was centered in Terenuthis. Renenutet was depicted as a cobra or as a woman with the head of a cobra. The verbs “to fondle, to nurse, or rear” help explain the name Renenutet. This goddess was a “nurse” who took care of the pharaoh from birth to death. She was the female counterpart of Shai, “destiny”, who represented the positive destiny of the child. Renenutet was called Thermouthis or Hermouthis in Greek. She embodied the fertility of the fields and was the protector of the royal office and power. Sometimes, as the goddess of nourishment, Renenutet was seen as having a husband, Sobek. He was represented as the Nile River, the annual flooding of which deposited the fertile silt that enabled abundant harvests. The temple of Medinet Madi is dedicated to both Sobek and Renenutet. It is a small and decorated building in the Faiyum. More usually, Renenutet was seen as the mother of Nehebkau who occasionally was also represented as a snake. When considered the mother of Nehebkau, Renenutet was seen as having a husband, Geb, who represented the earth. She was the mother of the god Nepri. Later, as a snake goddess worshiped over the whole of Lower Egypt, Renenutet was increasingly associated with Wadjet, Lower Egypt’s powerful protector and another snake goddess represented as a cobra. Eventually Renenutet was identified as an alternate form of Wadjet, whose gaze was said to slaughter enemies. Wadjet was the cobra shown on the crown of the pharaohs.

Overview The Renenutet is a very special and unique goddess who was depicted as a cobra or a rearing cobra on the head of a Queen, her name means “Snake Who Nourishes” as she was the goddess of raising children and nursing. She had the power to determine the length of a person’s life and their entire destiny. She was viewed as Atum’s wife or consort, and the mother of Osiris. She is associated with the goddess of destiny and childbirth Meskhenet who played a role in determining the length of a person’s life and everyone’s most important life events. She is connected with Neith and is referred to as the mother of Osiris. She was seen as a fertility Egyptian goddess that was linked to the Nile River, the inundation, and the god Hapi of the fertile mud of the Nile River. In the afterlife, she was known as the lady of justifications due to her link with Ma’at. She was known as the lady of the fertile fields and the lady of granaries who protected the harvest of the grains with Hapi. She was known as “Lady of the Robes” as she protected the clothing worn by the king. She was seen as a grain goddess known as “Lady of the Fertile Fields” and “Lady of the Granaries” that protected the harvest. She would appear as a fire-breathing cobra protecting the pharaoh from his enemies.