I love to explore the Divine Feminine and write about Goddesses. For a list of those, click on the link: Goddesses. In order to become more balanced within ourselves and, through that, to bring greater balance and harmony to the world around us, we must find greater balance between the masculine and feminine energies within ourselves that each one of us possesses, regardless of physical gender or any other ways of self-identification.
Goddess of Moisture
Tefnut is an Ancient Egyptian goddess, my favourite one. My first vision of an Egyptian deity was her, so she is very special to me. After the initial greeting, where she appeared to me in human form as a woman with curly brown hair, I have no conscious recollection of the wisdom she imparted on me. I was in a complete deep trance and then slept. In the car with my parents, my two older children (the little one wasn’t born then yet) and my aunt, all of us going together from Cologne to Berlin.
I read one of my favourite books on Wiccan worship of Ancient Egyptian deities, Circle of Isis by Ellen Cannon Reed when it happened. Funnily, I wasn’t in the desert or in a temple, but on a mountain meadow with a stream running across and a fir tree forest at the edge of it.
Tefnut held my hands, her smile warm and loving. I felt a bit nervous but also elated that she greeted me in this way and wondered what I’d done to deserve so much love from a goddess. (At the time, which is probably about 12-13 years ago, I still thought deities were external and somehow “above” us mere mortals in general and me in particular.) Tefnut took me by the hand and led me towards the forest. When we reached the edge of the meadow, I was gone, but the recollection of her unconditional love and warmth will stay with me for the rest of my days.
The name Tefnut means moisture or saliva, literally That Water. The myth says that Tefnut was the daughter of Atum, the complete or finished one, (later the Sungod Ra, or Ra-Atum when the two deities merged together), created from his saliva, sperm or other bodily fluid, depending on which ancient text you go by.
Her brother-consort Shu is the God of wind and together they had two children, Geb, the god of the earth, and Nut, the Goddess of the sky. Tefnut is, alongside her father, brother, children, grandchildren, and great-grandchild, she is a member of the Ennead, a group of nine deities, worshipped at Heliopolis (Iunu in Egyptian).
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Light & Shadow
Tefnut is a lion Goddess, sometimes depicted as a lioness, sometimes a woman with the head of a lioness and sometimes as a woman complete. She wears a headdress of sprouting plants or the uraeus and sun disc. Despite her leonine solar attributes, she is also a lunar Goddess and has later also been linked to Hathor.
She was known as both the right (solar; dryness, absence of moisture) and left (lunar; moisture) eyes of Ra. She carries a sceptre representing power and the Ankh symbol, which stands for (the breath of) life.
One legend says that Tefnut fell out with her father Atum and left Egypt for Nubia, taking with her all moisture, so the fertile land turned into an arid area. In Nubia, she appeared in her leonine form and went on an enraged killing spree. It took some convincing on the part of other deities to convince her to return to Egypt, which she did, visiting every town and village and bringing the inundation (Nile flood) with her. Like any deity associated with water (dew, rain and mist), she is a goddess of creation as well.
Tefnut is a very complex goddess and her earliest roots are somewhat obscured, but it is worth to work with her energy, which is very loving and encouraging. Tefnut nurtures and is more “diplomatic” and gentle, where Sekhmet uses more of a sledgehammer approach. Knowing both the solar and lunar aspects intimately, she has balanced herself out but can use either personality trait where and when necessary.