Wadjet: Cobra Goddess of Royalty


Ancient Egyptian mythology is a rich tapestry of beliefs, practices, and stories that have fascinated people for centuries. At the center of this mythos were the gods and goddesses that were worshiped by the Egyptians.

These deities represented everything from natural phenomena to abstract concepts, and they played an integral part in everyday life for the ancient Egyptians. One such goddess was Wadjet, also known as Buto or Udjo.

She was the goddess of cobras and associated with protection, healing, royalty, and power. Her presence in Egyptian mythology is notable due to her use as a symbol for various aspects of ancient Egypt’s culture and history.

The Origins and Symbolism of Wadjet

The story of Wadjet’s birth begins with Ra, the sun god who was considered one of ancient Egypt’s most powerful deities. According to legend, Ra became angry with humanity and decided to punish them by sending his daughter Hathor to destroy them.

However, Hathor became so bloodthirsty that Ra had to intervene before she destroyed everything. To keep Hathor from destroying all life on Earth, Ra created Wadjet from his own eyebrow.

He charged her with the task of protecting him during his nightly journey through the underworld. As a result, Wadjet became associated with protection against evil forces.

Wadjet was often depicted wearing a crown made up of two cobras facing each other. This symbolized her association with snakes – specifically cobras – which were revered in Egyptian culture as protectors against venomous snakes like vipers or spitting cobras.

As a protector deity herself, Wadjet gained prominence among pharaohs who sought her protection. In addition, she was believed to have healing powers, which made her a popular figure among those seeking relief from physical or spiritual ailments.

Wadjet’s Role in Egyptian Society

Wadjet was one of the most widely worshiped goddesses in ancient Egypt. People would visit her temples to offer prayers and sacrifices, and during festivals dedicated to her, they would celebrate with music and dancing. Wadjet was also closely associated with royalty.

She was considered the protector of pharaohs and their families, who were believed to be descendants of the gods themselves. Many pharaohs would have their crowns adorned with Wadjet’s two cobra symbol as a sign of their close connection to the goddess.

Legends and Myths about Wadjet

One famous story involving Wadjet is her battle with Set, who had murdered his brother Osiris out of jealousy. In this tale, Set transforms himself into a hippopotamus in order to evade Wadjet’s wrath.

However, she eventually catches up with him and defeats him in a fierce battle. Another legend depicts her involvement in the creation story.

According to this mythos, it was Wadjet who helped protect Ra from Apophis – a serpent god – during his nightly journey through the underworld. This made her an integral part of maintaining balance and harmony within society.

The Legacy of Wadjet

Despite being an ancient deity whose worship has long since passed from mainstream use, Wadjet’s influence can still be felt today. Her image can be seen on countless statues and artifacts from ancient Egypt; she is frequently referenced in modern literature; Her symbol has been used for modern-day movements such as feminism or environmentalism due to her association with power and protection.


Wadjet was a powerful goddess whose influence was felt throughout ancient Egyptian society. As the protector of pharaohs and worshipped by the masses, she played an important role in maintaining balance and harmony in a culture that was deeply steeped in mythology and tradition. Her legacy lives on today as a symbol of power, protection, and feminine strength.

Origins and Symbolism

The mythological story of Wadjet’s birth from the brow of Ra, the sun god

According to ancient Egyptian mythology, Wadjet was born from the brow of Ra, the sun god. The story goes that when Ra became angry with humanity for disobeying him, he sent his daughter Hathor to punish them. However, Hathor became too violent and began to slaughter humans indiscriminately.

To prevent her from causing further destruction, Ra tricked her into drinking beer that had been dyed with red ochre so that she would think it was blood. This caused her to become so intoxicated that she forgot about her mission.

In order to honor his daughter for her loyalty and bravery, Ra created a new goddess named Wadjet from his own eyebrow. He gave her a crown made of a cobra and vulture intertwined to symbolize protection and royalty.

Explanation of her symbolism as a protector, healer, and symbol of royalty

As the goddess of cobras, Wadjet was seen as a protector deity who could ward off danger and evil spirits. She was often associated with pharaohs who were considered divine rulers themselves.

Her crown displayed two cobras which represented Lower Egypt (the northern part) where she was primarily worshipped. Wadjet’s connection with healing came from the belief that cobras possessed healing powers due to their ability to shed their skin regularly which ancient Egyptians saw as a form of rebirth or renewal.

As such Wadjet was also associated as goddess who could help bring fertility or abundance in agriculture. Wadjet is seen as symbolizing royalty because in Ancient Egypt where pharaohs were believed to be gods on earth wearing royal crown meaning they wore crowns on their heads which had snakes (cobras) depicted on them indicating they were under the protection of Wadjet.

Role in Egyptian Society

Worship of Wadjet

Wadjet was one of the most significant goddesses in ancient Egypt, and she was widely worshipped throughout the country. The worship of Wadjet focused on her role as a protector deity, and temples dedicated to her were built in several cities across Egypt, including Memphis, Buto, and Heliopolis. Worshippers would often bring offerings to these temples such as incense, food, or jewelry.

Often these offerings were shaped like serpents or other reptiles to honor Wadjet’s association with cobras. Worshipers requested her help for protection from dangers such as illness or danger during childbirth.

During festivals held in honor of Wadjet, large processions would take place with statues depicting her being carried through the streets accompanied by dancers and musicians. The festival celebrated her role as a protective deity for pharaohs and other important figures.

Protector Deity for Pharaohs

One of Wadjet’s most important roles was that of a protector deity for pharaohs and other important figures in Egyptian society. She was often depicted wearing her cobra crown to symbolize her power over snakes.

The pharaohs believed that they were descendants of the gods so it made sense to have the goddess who symbolized protection watching over them. Some pharaohs even had special statues made that included images of Wadjet alongside their own likeness.

In addition to protecting royalty, it was believed that invoking Wadjet’s name could protect anyone from harm; from citizens seeking protection against evil forces to entire armies going into battle. In times of war when Egyptians went into battle they would wear amulets with an image of Wadjet on them believing she would help protect them from harm.

The importance of Wadjet in Egyptian Society

Wadjet played a significant role in ancient Egyptian society as a symbol of protection, healing, and royalty. Her association with cobras and serpents made her a powerful force against evil and danger.

She was especially important to pharaohs who saw themselves as descendants of gods and needed divine protection. The building of temples dedicated to her throughout the country shows how much she was revered during ancient times.

Even today, Wadjet’s symbolism can still be seen throughout Egyptian culture from depictions in art to modern-day movements such as feminism or environmentalism. Overall, Wadjet’s importance to ancient Egypt cannot be understated as she offered people hope and protection in an often-dangerous world.

Legends and Myths

Retelling of famous myths involving Wadjet

Wadjet, the goddess of cobras, was a prominent figure in ancient Egyptian mythology. One of her most famous myths is her battle with Set, the god of chaos and violence. According to legend, Set was jealous of his brother Osiris’ power and plotted to overthrow him.

Wadjet aligned herself with Osiris and helped him defeat Set by biting him with her venomous fangs. Another well-known myth involving Wadjet is her involvement in the creation story.

According to this version of the myth, first there was only chaos and darkness until the gods began to create order. Wadjet was believed to be one of the first beings created by Atum, a creator god who represented completeness and perfection.

Reflections on Egyptian beliefs about life, death, and the afterlife

These myths reflect important aspects of ancient Egyptian beliefs about life, death, and the afterlife. The story of Wadjet’s battle with Set represents the struggle between order and chaos that was believed to exist in the world.

It also demonstrates how important it was for pharaohs to have divine protection during their reigns. The creation story involving Wadjet shows how Egyptians viewed their gods as creators who brought order out of chaos.

This idea reflects their belief that all things were created perfectly by divine forces as part of a grand design. Wadjet’s role as a protector deity for pharaohs also speaks to Egyptians’ beliefs about death and the afterlife.

They believed that pharaohs would be judged after they died based on their deeds in life. Pharaohs were often buried with amulets depicting Wadjet or other protective deities in order to ensure safe passage into the afterlife.

Overall, these legends and myths help to paint a picture of how important Wadjet was in ancient Egyptian mythology. They reflect the complexities of Egyptian beliefs about life, death, and the afterlife, and provide insight into how Egyptians viewed their gods as protectors and creators.


Wadjet in Modern Culture

Although Wadjet’s worship faded with the decline of ancient Egyptian civilization, her legacy has continued to influence contemporary culture. Her image can be found in art and literature, particularly as a symbol of protection. Many modern artists have depicted her as a fierce cobra, coiled and ready to strike at any who would threaten those under her protection.

In literature, Wadjet has appeared in various forms, both fiction and non-fiction. From scholarly works on ancient Egypt to popular novels such as Rick Riordan’s Kane Chronicles series, Wadjet’s name and mythology continue to captivate readers of all ages.

Wadjet as a Feminist Symbol

In recent years, Wadjet has also become a symbol for feminist movements around the world. As a goddess of healing and protection, she embodies qualities that many feminists admire: strength, independence, and resilience. Her association with royalty also makes her a powerful figure for women seeking to reclaim their own power in patriarchal societies.

Moreover, some feminists have interpreted Wadjet’s connection to cobras as evidence that she was originally venerated as a serpent goddess – an idea that suggests she may have been an important figure in early matriarchal cultures. Whichever interpretation one subscribes to, it is clear that Wadjet continues to inspire women (and men) today who are fighting for gender equality.

Environmentalism and Conservation

Another way in which Wadjet has influenced modern society is through her association with environmentalism and conservation efforts. As the goddess of cobras – creatures often feared or persecuted by humans – she embodies our relationship with nature itself: sometimes protective or nurturing but just as often violent or destructive.

In light of this symbolism, some conservationists have invoked Wadjet’s name when advocating for the protection of snakes and other reptiles. They see her as a powerful metaphor for the delicate balance between humans and the natural world, and as a reminder of our responsibility to care for all creatures great and small.


Wadjet – The goddess of cobras – was an important figure in ancient Egyptian mythology, whose legacy continues to inspire people around the world today. Whether through her association with protection, healing, royalty, femininity, or environmentalism, she remains a symbol of strength and resilience that transcends time and space. Through Wadjet’s story we can glimpse into the ancient Egyptians’ beliefs about their place in the cosmos.

Through her symbolism we can see how they viewed themselves in light of their environment. And through her influence on modern culture we can appreciate just how deeply those beliefs have continued to shape our own worldview over millennia.


Recap on why Wadjet was an important figure in ancient Egyptian mythology

Throughout ancient Egyptian mythology, gods and goddesses played an integral role in the lives of the people. Among these, Wadjet stood out as a particularly important deity because of her association with cobras and her status as a protector of pharaohs.

As a symbol of royalty and protection, she was a revered figure who played a key role in maintaining order and stability. Wadjet’s symbolism was deeply ingrained in Egyptian culture, so much so that she remained relevant even after its decline.

The goddess’s cobra headdress is still recognized as an emblem of royalty, seen today on the headdresses worn by pharaonic statues or wall paintings found in tombs. Her image is also still present in modern-day Egypt through the country’s national emblem.

Final thoughts

Wadjet’s influence on Egyptian society cannot be understated; from temples dedicated to her worship to her role as a protector deity for pharaohs, she was one of the most revered figures in ancient Egypt. Today, Wadjet remains an inspiring figure for many people around the world due to her strength and power as well as her connection to nature. The story of Wadjet teaches important lessons about life, death and rebirth.

She represents adaptability and change through shedding old skin just like a cobra does. Furthermore, she represents female energy that knows how to conserve its resources but can unleash them if necessary.

It is clear that Wadjet represented more than just cobras to those who worshipped her; she stood for strength, protection and guidance during times when their world felt uncertain or chaotic. It is no wonder why this goddess has persisted throughout history even beyond Ancient Egypt – her story will continue to inspire generations for years to come.

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Wadjet FAQ

Wadjet is usually depicted as a cobra with an inflated hood, often wearing the Red Crown of Lower Egypt or shown as a woman with a cobra head.

Wadjet is associated with protection, royalty, and Lower Egypt. Her symbols include the cobra, the Red Crown, and the Eye of Horus.

Wadjet was the patron goddess of the city of Wadjet (Buto) in Lower Egypt, where a temple dedicated to her was located.

Ancient Egyptians honored Wadjet through prayers, offerings, and rituals in her temple at Wadjet (Buto). They also depicted her on royal crowns and in tomb paintings as a protector of the pharaoh.

Wadjet, as a protective goddess, was believed to provide divine protection to the pharaoh, ensuring the stability and prosperity of Egypt.

Wadjet was not part of any specific triads but was often paired with Nekhbet, the vulture goddess, who represented Upper Egypt. Together, they formed the "Two Ladies," symbolizing the unity of Egypt.

Wadjet's worship began during the Predynastic period and continued through the Ptolemaic period. Her importance and association with the pharaoh and Lower Egypt remained consistent throughout this time.

Wadjet was associated with cobras because these snakes were known for their potent venom and ability to strike fear in enemies, making them a fitting symbol for the protective role the goddess played in ancient Egyptian religion.

: Wadjet's influence can be found in modern literature, film, and video games inspired by ancient Egyptian mythology and history, often featuring her as a symbol of protection and the unity of Upper and Lower Egypt