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The Egyptian God of Deserts and Chaos: Seth
Seth, also written as Set, Setesh, or Setekh, was the Egyptian god of the desert, storms, warfare and chaos. He is one of the oldest gods and commanded both veneration and hostility.
He was the brother of Osiris, the god of the Underworld, of whom he was quite jealous. He was also the brother of Isis and Nepthys.
Isis was the wife of Osiris, and Nephthys (pronounced nef-this) became the wife of Seth. This incest of the gods mirrored that of the royal blood line of the pharaohs.
Seth and Violence
Seth was known as a very violent god. He was even born violently, tearing himself from his mother Nut, the sky goddess.
But he was also a strong god. This is the reason the 19th Dynasty rulers went by the name Seti (for example: Seti I).
Seti means “of Set.” It was thought that the pharaohs of this Dynasty were imbued with the strength of Seth, and that he protected the king in battle while also destroying (violently) the enemies of Egypt.
Seth the Outcast
Seth was sort of the outcast of the gods. He was very strong, yet dark and rather strange. As a god of the desert, Seth was thought to have white skin and red hair.
People with red hair were said to be followers of Seth. Interestingly, the Pharaoh Ramesses II, the son of Seti I, had red hair. Both pharaohs ruled at a time when Seth was at his pinnacle.
Depiction of Seth
Like most of the Egyptian gods, Seth was often depicted anthropomorphically, but with the head of a strange animal.
The identity of this animal is a matter of debate among Egyptologists and archaeologists, but it looks quite a bit like an aardvark that has long erect ears with flat tips.
Some statues depict Seth as an animal with a head similar to the aardvark but with the horns of a ram.
Seth was also a very jealous god. He was envious of his brother Osiris because he was married to Isis. His own wife, Nephthys, was in love with Osiris which enraged Seth.
Nephthys wanted Osiris so much that she took the form of his wife Isis, and the result of their union was the god Anubis. Nephthys feared her husband Seth would become enraged so she left Anubis in the wilderness to die. Isis found the child and raised him as her own.
Seth and His Brother Osiris
Seth was so jealous of Osiris that he devised a plan to kill his brother. Seth created a beautiful sarcophagus specifically measured to fit only Osiris. At a banquet of the gods, the sarcophagus was offered to anyone who could fit inside of it.
When Osiris had his turn, Seth slammed the lid shut and covered the chest in molten lead. The sarcophagus was then thrown into the Nile to be carried out to the Mediterranean Sea. The flooding of the Nile was thought to be the drowning of Osiris.
Osiris, Anubis, & Horus
Horus, the son of Osiris, set out on a quest to avenge his father’s death.
The ensuing battle between Seth and Horus resulted in Seth losing his testicles and Horus losing an eye which later came to be a protective amulet known as the Eye of Horus.
As the Egyptian Empire grew, the mythology of their gods changed drastically. Initially Seth was one of the chief gods, but as Osiris grew in popularity, Seth became all but forbidden. His violent nature and strength were feared. Eventually, Seth was cast out by Horus.
The Symbolism of Seth
Symbolism is embedded in all Egyptian gods and goddesses. The mythology of Seth and his inevitable demise says a lot about human nature. We fear that which we do not understand and because of this we tend to shun people and things we fear.
Seth represents ultimate chaos, the antithesis of Maat, or order. Most of us fear chaos and violence, and this fear became personified in Seth. He is a symbol of our dark side or our unconscious minds, and the unconscious mind tends to be very chaotic.
Working with Seth
Seth can be a powerful spirit to work with when doing ritual work. He can be invoked for added protection or power during a spell, or astral travel. When working with Seth, it’s important to keep in mind his violent streak. Like Sekhmet, Seth can be easily enraged.
Seth’s Correspondences are:
- Candle Colors: red, black, purple, white, silver, and gold
- Animals: antelope, ass, boar, bull, crocodile, donkey, fish, goat, hippopotamus, leopard, panther, pig, Seth animal
- Offerings: gemstones such as black diamonds, herbs such as hemp, orris root, or thistle, liquids such as beer, or wine, any metals (iron was said to be the bones of Seth), perfumes with civet or musk
- Spells: banishing, bewitching, binding, breakups, hexing, lust, overcoming obstacles, power, protection, revenge, sex
© Copyright 2012 - 2015 by Melissa Flagg Daughter of Maat ALL RIGHTS RESERVED