Egypt: Mut, Mother Goddess of the New Kingdom, Wife of Amen, Vulture Goddess
Mut (Maut) was the mother goddess, the queen of the gods at Waset (Thebes), arising in power with the god Amen. She came to represent the Eye of Ra, the ferocious goddess of retribution and daughter of the sun god Ra. Originally a local goddess, probably from the delta area, she became a national goddess during the New Kingdom and was adored at one of the most popular festivals at the time – the Festival of Mut.
She was either depicted as a woman, sometimes with wings, or a vulture, usually wearing the crowns of royalty – she was often shown wearing the double crown of Egypt or the vulture headdress of the New Kingdom queens. Later she was shown as woman with the head of a lioness, as a cow or as a cobra as she took on the attributes of the other Egyptian goddesses. The ancient Egyptian link between vultures and motherhood lead to her name being the ancient Egyptian word for mother – mwt
In Southern Africa, the name for an Egyptian vulture is synonymous with the term applied to lovers, for vultures like pigeons are always seen in pairs. Thus mother and child remain closely bonded together. Pairing, bonding, protecting, loving are essential attributes associated with a vulture. Because of its immense size and power and its ability to sore high up in the sky, the vulture is considered to be nearer to God who is believed to reside above the sky. Thus the qualities of a vulture are associated with Godliness. On the other hand the wide wingspan of a vulture may be seen as all encompassing and providing a protective cover to its infants. The vulture when carrying out its role as a mother and giving protection to its infants may exhibit a forceful nature whilst defending her young. All these qualities inspired the imagination of the Ancient Egyptians. They adopted what seemed to them at the time to be motherly qualities, the qualities of protecting and nurturing their young.
— Ma-Wetu, The Kiswahili-Bantu Research Unit for the Advancement of the Ancient Egyptian Language
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