In the Old Cairo Calendar, today marks the Feast Day of the great Goddess Selqet (or Serket), the scorpion-crowned protectress of the living and the dead. Like my beloved Patroness, Nebet-Het, Selqet is Great in Heka (Magick); She knows the ways of the pharmakeion, from noxious poisons and the venom of scorpion and serpent as well as their antidotes and healing herbs and resins. In the Pyramid Texts, it is written that when the Goddess Aset fled into the marshes to deliver Her son Heru, Selqet dispatched seven sacred scorpions to ward Mother and Child. She is awesomely apotropaic.
As this Feast Day ties in nicely with the time of year many Pagans in the Northern Hemisphere celebrate as the Samhain season, it feels especially good to welcome Selqet as fierce protectress of our beloved and blessed dead. I think of my late Chicago Fellowship of Isis Lyceum of Alexandria Priestess-Hierophant, Deena Butta, and how she had a reproduction of the lovely golden Selqet statue pictured above ensconced above her own ancestor altar in her home. In the Book of the Dead, the deceased Pharaoh Ani, journeying through the various levels of the Duat (Underworld), is equated with Selqet–specifically, his teeth: “The teeth of the Osiris Ani, whose word is truth, are the teeth of Selqet.” It’s an interesting association to examine from an astrological angle: one’s teeth and bone structure fall under the governance of the zodiac sign Capricorn, and since Pluto is currently in Capricorn (and will remain so until the year 2023, so you’d best get cozy with this transit), we have this death/Selqet connection. But it’s not just the literal teeth being alluded to in the Pharaoh Ani’s identification with Selqet: She can restrict or facilitate breath and thus speech, rendering Ani, and those of us following in his footsteps into the Judgment Hall of Amenti, “True of Voice,” meaning that we will be able to uphold Ma’at when our time of judgment comes before the Dread Throne of Ausar (Oriris).
An inscription in the tomb of Queen Nefertari, wife of Pharaoh Rameses II (Rameses the Great), has Selqet speak:
I am Selqet, Mistress of Heaven and Lady of All the Gods
I have come before you, O Great King’s Wife,
Mistress of the Two Lands,
Lady of Upper and Lower Egypt,
Nefertari, Beloved of Mut,
Justified Before Asar, He Who Resides in Abtu,
And I have accorded you a place in the sacred land,
so that you may appear gloriously in heaven like Ra.
Tonight, I will honor Selqet at my shrine to the Shining Neteru, and, in the names of the beloved and blessed dead of my own family, I will offer Her figs, red wine, natron for purification, and jasmine oil for Her beauty. As the plumes of incense smoke from kyphi waft to the ceiling of my temple space, I will pray this heartfelt hymn I wrote to Her this morning:
Hail, Selqet! Scorpion Queen!
Mother of the Seven!
Watch over the dead of my family
Raise Your stinger in defense
against all forms of the impure,
against all hosts of the unclean,
against the agents of defilement.
Unfetter the mouths of my family in Amenti
Seated in the Blessed West.
O Lady of the Adze,
Unfetter their mouths
and let them Speak True
You Who Cause the Throat to Breathe
Lady of Heka
Lady of the Beautiful Tent
Friend of Nebet-Het and Her Sister Aset,
You know the Words of Power,
Speak them in my defense as my Khaibit walks in the Duat
Until the day I appear in Your house,
and I am welcomed and I am prepared and I am made strong in Your house,
my teeth made strong to Speak True of Your Sekhem.