As a language geek, “apotropaic” is a word I absolutely love. In a pinch, it means “intended to ward off evil” – so apotropaic deities are gods and goddesses that protect against evil.
Out of the five Kemetic deities I work most closely with, a solid four of Them are or can be considered apotropaic– but They have different areas of expertise.
Sekhmet, the Red Lady that I have served for years, is an Eye of Ra. As such, She doesn’t so much “ward against evil” as “incinerate evil,” but the protective aspect remains. While I tend to pray for Her help in situations involving sickness and injury, as She is both a goddess of plagues and of healing (and of surgeons), a few years back, She did agree to ward my living space. To this day, no matter where I’m located, the walls, windows, and doors are sealed against malice with Her fire. It’s an immense comfort to me.
Nebt-het, Lady of the Dead, has also been an Eye of Ra in Her more obscure past. More commonly, though, She is invoked to protect against the Evil Eye, which, in the Kemetic definition, is coveting or malicious jealousy. (She has also been called upon to actively punish those with the Evil Eye, implying that She is more than just a passive protective force.)
Ma’ahes, the Great Protector, is one of the few male deities who can be an Eye of Ra. As usual for such a role, He can fulfill a protective capacity, especially when acting as an executioner for the enemies of Kemet (Egypt). I associate Him with the setting sun, the orange light that bridges day and night; I call on Him for protection against darkness, be it physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual.
Serqet is a goddess called on to protect against the very poison She Herself can deliver as a scorpion. Consequently, Serqet is frequently hailed to help heal and protect against spiritual and emotional venom, especially that associated with trauma. I pray to Her when I’m trying to stay unaffected by the emotional or social drama-llamas that can crop up in or out of work situations.
Other apotropaic deities worthy of mention are the sphinx-god Twtw (Tutu, Tithoes), the dwarf lion-god Bes, and any god/dess who can be an Eye of Ra, as well as any of the numerous warrior deities of the Kemetic pantheon. (If I tried to list them all, we’d be here for days, trust me. While many of our war gods and goddesses fall more into the active side of the extinguishing-evil spectrum, many double as guardians, not just executioners.)
If you have any apotropaic deities you’d like to discuss or personal experiences to share, please do feel free to speak up! This may be my journal, but it doesn’t always have to be a monologue. :)
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