This post is much more of a thought-seed than an essay, so please treat it as such; I lack conclusions. :)
In Hemet’s booklet Nebt-het: Lady of the House, she states:
Nebt-het, or nb.t-hw.t, means “lady of the house” or “lady of the mansion/temple,” as hw.t represents a more formal structure than does the usual pr, “house.”
Some Egyptologists suggest that the “house” in the name Nebt-het should have the same, celestial-oriented meaning as does the “house” (hw.t) in the name of the goddess Hethert (Greek Hathor, Kemetic hwt-hr), but Nebt-het does seem to have a very intimate connection with humanity and not just the sky. In this regard, I believe the celestial component is interesting … but unnecessary for an understanding of Her nature.
Given that my Mothers are Nebt-het Herself and Hethert-Nut, Hethert-as-the-sky, Hethert-the-Celestial-Cow, I am quite interested in this potential connection created by the hw.t, “-het,” in both Their names.
And since yesterday was a holy day for Tasenetnofret, The Good Sister, Whose name is one of Nebt-het’s epithets and yet Who is a form of Hethert, well…
I have to wonder where these two great goddesses might touch or even overlap each other. Nebt-het, goddess of death, guide to the souls of the passed and comforter to those mourning, and Hethert, lady of joy and love and music, in Her form of Hethert-Nut, the great cow of the night sky, upholder of the Sun Himself. Netjeru of the firmaments and all the souls and stars within them. Perhaps it was even Hethert-Nut Herself Who established that the house of the gods was within the sky, when She lifted Ra away from humanity on Earth so that He could watch from a safe distance.
And where Hemet mentions Nebt-het’s intimate connection to humanity, well, I cannot say that Hethert lacks such a connection – She, the Lady of love and pleasure and happiness, which we humans seek out and delight in! Hethert, Who ancient Egyptians praised as one of their foremost goddesses! And if Hethert is still a sky goddess in Her own right, especially in Her name of Hethert-Nut, then surely Nebt-het can also be part of the heavens without being distant from us. Besides, Nebt-het has been an Eye of Ra before, a fierce daughter of the sun, and all the Eyes have always been celestial, too.
So, perhaps it is not such a far stretch to see that Hethert-Nut and Nebt-het can meet in the darkness and depth of the sky, these ladies of life and death, sun and shadow.
edited to add:
According to the 2010 edition of the Nebt-het booklet mentioned above, there is, in fact, a syncretization of these goddesses! Hethert-Nebthet is listed as a Hierakonpolis Netjeru, and Nebthet-Hethert is the Lady of the House of the Sistrum, one of the Seven Hetherts/Hathors. The latter is especially fascinating to me, given that Nebt-het was the first deity I ever played music for, let alone created original music for!
And, from the preface to the 2010 edition, I now find these very relevant lines:
Nebt-het is the Lady of the House. The House is the sky, the place where ancestors shine down from as the twinkling stars, to watch all we do and guide us through our human lives.
Indeed, it looks like the sky is the common ground for Nebt-het, Hethert, and Nut, all the ladies Whom I call Mother. :)