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A stone bas-relief of the Egyptian goddess Tefnut

Tefnut is one of the twin children of the ancient Egyptian creator-god Atum, whom Atum produced by either spitting or masturbation, depending on the ancient Egyptian scripture one follows. Her twin brother -- and husband -- is Shu. She is the goddess of moisture, dew, moist air, and rain. She is also a lunar goddess connected with humidity.

During the long course of Egyptian history, as territories were consolidated into larger and larger areas of rulership, quite a few regional or tribal deities were merged or conflated into state-approved amalgams. Thus Tefnut's father, Atum, was rolled into the cosmology of another creator god, the solar deity Ra or Re. As a daughter of Atum-Ra, she became a sun goddess associated with dryness. These apparent contradictions are probably due to variant traditions arising during different time periods and in different places within Upper and Lower Egypt during the dynastic period. Along with other goddesses, such as Bastet and Sekhmet, Tefnut became identified with the Eye of Ra, the Sun's Eye, functioning both as a feminine counterpart and a subduer of the sun god’s enemies — the agents of disorder. She is depicted as a woman wearing braids or locs. with the head (or ceremonial mask) of a lioness, bearing a solar disk as a crown. This contradictory nature meant that the gentle lioness Tefnut showed aspects of both the angry lioness Sekhmet and the gentle cat Bastet.

The punitive rage of the Eye of Ra, and the efforts of Tefnut's brother-husband and other gods to soothe her and restore order, form a recurrent theme in Egyptian mythology. In the Tale of the Sun’s Eye, an enraged Tefnut, in the form of a bloodthirsty lion goddess, stalked the Earth devouring humanity, which had rebelled against her father Re while he reigned as king in Egypt. The gods Shu and Thoth travelled to Bougem, in southeastern Nubia, where they transformed into monkeys to safely approach the lion goddess. The two gods danced, plied the goddess with copious amounts of wine, and spoke magical spells to pacify and beguile her so that she might be calmed and enticed to travel to Egypt. Soothed by the dance of Shu and the magical words of Thoth, and thoroughly intoxicated on the wine they offered to her, Tefnut was convinced to make the journey from Nubia to Egypt. At the border between the two lands, the last flames of the goddess’ wrath were cooled in the waters at the source of the Nile, and Tefnut was transformed by the cool waters to become Hathor, the goddess of music, dance, love, and drunkenness, venerated in ancient and modern practices based on Kemetic, African, and African-Diasporic traditions,

Hoodoo psychic readers, spirit workers, and root doctors who practice in the North African religion of ancient Egypt or contemporary Kemetic Neo-Paganism, and who call upon the netjeru on behalf of clients, may petition Tefnut for matters of spiritual cleansing, the blessings of clean water, and protection from evil.


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