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Ancient Egyptian deities: Mafdet
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also Mefdet etc
    Mafdet [1], a cat or mongoose goddess, the great fetterer who lives in the Mansion of Life, the manhunter, was the embodiment of judicial power. She was the protector of Re during the Old Kingdom, decapitating the sun god's enemies with her razor sharp teeth, destroying snakes and scorpions.
Re arises, his uraeus upon him, against this snake which came forth from the earth and which is under my fingers. He will cut off your (i.e. the snake's) head with this knife which is in the hand of Mafdet who dwells in the Mansion of Life.
Utterance 298, R. O. Faulkner, The ancient Egyptian Pyramid Texts
She may also have been the special guardian of the king's person and of kingship in general, executing rebels.
    The following utterance of the Pyramid Texts suggests that, at times, she took on the shape of a mongoose:
Mafdet leaps at the neck of the in-di-f-snake, she does it again at the neck of the serpent with raised head. Who is he who will survive? It is I who will survive.
Utterance 295, R. O. Faulkner, The ancient Egyptian Pyramid Texts
while generally she is described and depicted as a feline:
My hand has come upon you, the avenger (?) is this which has come upon you, (even) Mafdet, pre-eminent in the Mansion of Life; she strikes you on your face, she scratches you on your eyes, so that you fall into your faeces and crawl into your urine. Fall! Lie down! Crawl away, for your mother Nut sees you!
Utterance 297, R. O. Faulkner, The ancient Egyptian Pyramid Texts
    A number of depictions survive from the reign of Den: a seal impression, a couple of stone vessels with inscriptions or depictions, and an entry on the Palermo Stone:
Birth of Seshat (sSA.t) and Mefdet (mAfd.t)
J. H. Breasted, Ancient Records of Egypt, Part One, § 115
which probably refers to the dedication of a statue in her honour.
Mafdet     The instrument of execution Mafdet was associated with was a pole to which a knife had been tied. It may have been used for decapitations in early times.
    In New Kingdom tomb scenes she was shown as executioner of evil creatures in the afterlife.
Back, enemy! His (i.e. Re's) light is cutting. Re has foiled your attempt (?). Your neck has been wrung by the gods. Your heart has been pulled out by Mafdet. Your fetters have been laid by Hededet. His (i.e. the enemy's) wound has been caused by Maat. She fells you and those who are on the way (probably other adversaries). Fall, glide, Apophis, enemy of Re!
L.Kairo J.E. 96810
After a transcription and German translation on the Thesaurus Linguae Aegyptiae website
In the Nu papyrus it is the head of the enemy Mafdet went for:
Your head has been cut off by Mafdet
pBM EA 10477 (pNu), Tb 149
After a transcription and German translation on the Thesaurus Linguae Aegyptiae website
and Mafdet is thought of as a cheetah or leopard.
    The following spell which was hoped to protect the deceased from one of the demons (in this case Wenemha - the Head-eater) inhabiting the underworld and waylaying the dead on their journey, dates to the Greek or Ptolemaic period:
Spell in order not to let a man be bitten by the head-eater in the realm of the dead (Xr.t-nTr).
To be pronounced: O Uraeus, being on top of Re, Osiris NN, justified, at the head of the flame which shines on the brow of millions. Standard of the equippers/equipped (?), alternatively young vine (?), keep away from this Osiris NN, justified! He is Mafdet.
pTurin Museo Egizio 1791, Tb 034
After a transcription and German translation on the Thesaurus Linguae Aegyptiae website
    But Mafdet was also invoked in this world. If you had to protect yourself against the semen of a demon the following spell might apply:
This here is the ejaculation [of] Him-who-is-in-his-grimness which Mafdet received in that room wherein Isis rejoiced and wherein the testicles of Seth were cut off. Do not flee away (?)! May the ejaculation of Horus and of Him-who-is-in-his-grimness go forth against a male dead, a female dead, and so on - the name of the enemy, the name of his father, the name of his mother. Oh Mafdet! Open your mouth wide against that enemy, [the male dead], the female dead and so on - do not let me see him [ ] times.
Words to be said over the phallus of an [as]s, hardbaked (?) in the form of a
dp.t-cake, provided with the name of the enemy, [the name] of his father and the name of his mother. To be placed within fat of meat and to be given to a cat.
Spell 59, Joris Frans Borghouts, Ancient Egyptian Magical Texts

[1] mAfd.t: the running one
James P. Allen, Peter Der Manuelian, The Ancient Egyptian Pyramid Texts, SBL, 2005
Joris Frans Borghouts Ancient Egyptian Magical Texts, Brill Academic Publishers, 1978
J. H. Breasted, Ancient Records of Egypt
Maria Luisa Dalla Chiara, Italian Studies in the Philosophy of Science, Kluwer Boston, 1981
R. O. Faulkner, The ancient Egyptian Pyramid Texts, Clarendon Press, 1910
George Hart, The Routledge Dictionary Of Egyptian Gods And Goddesses, Routledge, 2005
Manfred Lurker, Lexikon der Götter und Symbole der alten Ägypter, Scherz, 1998
Geraldine Pinch, Magic in Ancient Egypt, University of Texas Press, 1995
Claude Traunecker, The Gods of Egypt, Cornell University Press, 2001
Toby A. H. Wilkinson, Early Dynastic Egypt, Routledge 1999


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