Seven Hathors

Dendera Hathors

Seven Hathors at Denera, the center of the religion.

The Seven Hathors acted as the fates, speaking the manner of a child’s death at its birth, along with other, usually unpleasant predictions.

Sometimes called “the old ladies,” they were seen as fortune tellers, so some times magic spells were invoked to close the mouths of the seven Hathors and prevent them from foretelling the future. They seemed to be linked with not only fortune telling, but to being questioners of the soul on its way to the Land of the West.

Their names were

  • Lady of the House of Jubilation or Lady of the Universe
  • Mistresses of the West: Sky-storm and You from the Land of Silence
  • Mistresses of the East: You from Khemmis and  “Red-hair
  • Ladies of the Sacred Land: Bright Red and Your Name Flourishes through Skill
seen hathors as cows

Hathors in their cow aspect

The Hathors were shown as a group of young women playing tambourines and wearing the disk and horns of Hathor, or as a group of cows, often following a bull. During Ptolemaic times (when Greeks ruled over Egypt), they were identified with the Pleiades.

These goddesses were worshiped in seven cities: Thebes, Heliopolis, Aphroditopolis, Sinai, Momemphis, Herakleopolis, and Keset.

Sources:

  • http://www.reshafim.org.il/ad/egypt/religion/hathor.htm
  • http://www.egyptianmyths.net/hathor.htm
  • http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/fate.htm
  • http://www.touregypt.net/godsofegypt/hathor2.htm
  • http://www.hethert.org/hymnsprayers.htm#Hymn of the Seven Hathors
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2 Responses to Seven Hathors

  1. The story goes as follows: The king of Egypt was very sad that a son had not yet been born to him. The king prays to the gods, and that night his wife conceives a child. When the king’s son is born the seven Hathors (goddesses, who pronounce the fate of each child at birth) foretell that he will die either by crocodile, snake or dog. His father, afraid for his son’s safety, builds his son an isolated palace in the mountains, so as to keep him away from danger. The prince sees from his palace, a man with a dog. He asks his father for a dog. The king warily gives the prince a dog, not wishing his son to be unhappy. When the prince grows up, he decides to face his doom, travelling abroad to Nahrin . There he meets a group of young men competing for the heart of the princess. The prince succeeds in winning the heart of a princess by jumping (possibly flying) to the window of the room where the princess is locked up. The prince did not tell the king the truth about himself, but said he was the son of a charioteer, and explained that he had had to leave home because of his new stepmother. Eventually the king agrees to let the prince-in-disguise marry his daughter, after seeing the merits of the young man. After marrying the princess he tells her of his three dooms, and of his prince-hood. She urges him to kill the dog, but the prince cannot bear to kill the dog he has raised from a puppy. His wife watches over him dutifully, and stops a snake from biting the prince in his sleep. Thus, one of the prince’s fates is defeated. Some time after that the prince goes for a walk with his dog. The dog began speaking (the dog possibly bites the prince), and told the prince he was meant to be killed by the dog. Fleeing from the dog, he runs to a lake where he is seized by a crocodile who, instead of killing him, enlists his help in its fight against a demon (or a water spirit) This is where the tale breaks off.

  2. Thanks for sharing the story. I hope someone finds another copy somewhere with the end.

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