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Agaliha
August 12th, 2011, 10:01 PM
In ancient Egypt, women squatted upon a pair of bricks when delivering their babies. Meshkhent was personified as a female head on top of a birth brick. She was a goddess who presided over and assisted with childbirth. Alternately, Meshkhent was shown as a woman with the symbol of a cow's uterus on her head.

After bringing a baby safely into the world, Meshkhent decided the future of the child. In a famous myth, Meshkhent was present at the birth of three brothers - triplets - and foretold that each would become Pharoah. These three babies grew up to be Pharoahs Userkaf, Sahure and Neferirkare; the first three kings of the 5th Dynasty. Meshkhent was also assisted at the birth of Queen Hatshupsut and predicted her glorious future. Meshkhent was said to be the consort of Shay, the god of fate.

Meshkhent was primarily associated with the birth of mortal babies, while the goddess Heqet was more closely associated with the births of royal and divine births.

Like other deities associated with birth, Meshkhent was also influential in the re-birth of people following death. She was often depicted in the Hall of Judgement, near the scales where the deceased's heart was weighed against the feather of truth. At the Judgement, Meshkhent would testify on behalf of the deceased and his good character.

From: here (http://www.egyptianmyths.net/meshkhent.htm)
Titles: The Place Where One Delivers

Meshkent is the goddess of childbirth and child delivery, and it is thought that she is the bringer of relief to women in labour. Meshkent also spoke to the gods on behalf of the deceased in order to help them in being born into their new life in the afterlife, and determined the destiny of each person at their birth.

In art, Meshkent appears as a woman wearing two curved palm shoots on her head, which represented the uterus. Alternately she may appear as two bricks thay may or may not have human heads. The bricks represented the brick on which Egyptian women squatted when giving birth to their children.

From: here (http://www.musesrealm.net/deities/meshkent.html)
Meskhenet (Mesenet, Meskhent, Meshkent) was a goddess of childbirth, a divine midwife and protector of the birthing house. She was personified as the birthing brick on which ancient Egyptian women squatted while giving birth. Child mortality was high in the ancient world, and the Egyptians were very family orientated people so the birth of a child was a time of great celebration but also a nervous time for the parents. As a result they called on the assistance of a bewildering number of gods including Meskhenet. For example, Hatshepsut recorded the attendance of a number of gods at her birth on the walls of her mortuary temple at Deir-el-Bahari including Khnum, Isis , Nephthys, Bes, Taweret and Meskhenet.

In the tale of Raddjedet and her triplets (also known as Khufu and the magician), the birth was attended by Khnum, Isis and Nephthys but it was Meskhenet who proclaimed that each child would become pharaoh. Thus, Meskhenet was not simply a midwife. She was also a goddess of fate who could determine a person's destiny. This connects her with Shai (the god of destiny who determines the length of a person's life) and indeed the two are often depicted together along with Renenutet (who gave the child his or her secret name).

She had the power to protect newborn babies and their mothers. Hatshepsut also claimed that Meskhenet promised to protect her "like Ra". Meskhenet also appears in the Halls of Ma'at (with Shai and Renenutet) where she was thought to testify to the character of the deceased. This suggests that she offered her protection from birth to death and beyond and that she could also assist in the deceased's symbolic rebirth in the Afterlife. Inscriptions in the temple of Khnum at Esna refer to "four Meskhenets" who accompanied Khnum and used magic to drive away evil spirits.

Meskhenet was not particularly associated with any region or city, and no temples specifically dedicated to her have been discovered. However, she appears on birth bricks found all over the country and seems to have been a popular and respected deity. She was associated with the cow goddess Hathor, another goddess who was often depicted on the brith brick and was closely associated with childbirth. Furthermore, Meskhenet's symbol was composed of two loops at the top of a vertical stroke thought to represent the uterus of a heifer. Her name means "birthing place" and she was generally depicted as a birthing brick with a human head, or as a woman wearing the headdress of a cow's uterus.

From: here (http://www.ancientegyptonline.co.uk/meskhenet.html)
Meskhenet was a goddess who presided at child birth. In her form of a tile terminating in a female head (called in the Book of the Dead "cubit-with-head") she represents one of the bricks upon which women in ancient Egypt took a squatting position to give birth. Her presence near the scales in the hall of the Two Truths, where the dead person's heart is examined and weighed to ascertain suitability for the Egyptian paradise, is there to assist at a symbolic rebirth in the Afterlife. Her symbol of two loops at the top of a vertical stroke has been shown to be the bocornuate uterus of a heifer.

In addition to ensuring the safe delivery of a child from the womb, Meskhenet takes a decision on its destiny at the time of birth. In the Papyrus Westcar the goddess helps at the birth of the future first three kings of the 5th Dynasty. On the arrival of Userkaf, Sahure and Neferirkare into the arms of Isis, she approaches each child and assures it of kingship. Similarly she is the force of destiny that assigns to a scribe promotion among the administrators of Egypt.

A hymn in the temple of Esna refers to four "Meskhenets" at the side of the creator god Khnum, whose purpose is to repel evil by their incantations.

From: here (http://www.touregypt.net/godsofegypt/meskhenet.htm)
In ancient Egypt, women delivered babies while squatting on a pair of bricks, known as birth bricks, and Meskhenet was the goddess associated with this form of delivery. Consequently, in art, she was sometimes depicted as a brick with a woman's head, wearing a cow's uterus upon it. At other times she was depicted as a woman with a symbolic cow's uterus on her headdress.

Since she was responsible for creating the Ka, she was associated with fate. Thus later she was sometimes said to be paired with Shai, who became a god of destiny after the deity evolved out of an abstract concept.[1]

It was said that Meskhenet was present at the birth of triplets, and foretold in their fates, that they would each be pharaohs - the triplets in question were Sahure, Userkaf, and Neferirkare Kakai, who were the first pharaohs in the fifth dynasty (although Userkaf was not the sibling of the other two, but their father).

Meskhenet also was believed to be the earliest wife of Andjety the god of rebirth in the underworld. Andjety appears to have been worshipped since pre-dynastic times at Andjet, and is thought by most Egyptologists to be the god who eventually became Osiris.

From: Wiki (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meskhenet)

Also see:
Meskhenet, Goddess of the Birth Brick and Childbirth... (http://www.thekeep.org/%7Ekunoichi/kunoichi/themestream/meskhenet.html)
Info (http://www.lionessofthesun.com/main/glossary/M/Meskhenet)
More info (http://beyondthenile.angelfire.com/Meskhenet.html)
Blurb (http://www.philae.nu/akhet/NetjeruM.html#Meskhenet)
Summary (http://www.goddessaday.com/egyptian/meskhenet)
Henadology: MESKHENET (http://henadology.wordpress.com/meskhenet/)