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She of the Unique Headdress

If there is anything "controversial" about Seshat it is this: Egyptologists, ancient historians, and scholars still cannot agree on what exactly it is that Seshat wears on her head. There are also many differing views of what it symbolizes or if it had a practical use. But it is a constant feature that followed her from antiquity to today.


Perhaps the only thing that is known for sure is that her headdress is unique and it distinguishes her from other goddesses. I will do my best to explore more of the ways people have identified her headdress in scholarly writings. For now, here are a few things to consider.


E.A. Wallace Budge explains that Seshat is often depicted in hieroglyphs with a symbol that matches the look of her headdress. It is pictured below in a photo taken of his book From Fetish to God. He calls her headdress her fetish. In Egyptian history, it means something very different that something we might read in modern literature.


I see it as a star. Many subject matter experts have interpreted it as a star. But Budge does not. And I guess he is talking to me when he says: "Some modern writers in trying to describe her fetish call it a pair of cow horns inverted over a star, but the so-called star is really a flower," he writes in From Fetish to God in Ancient Egypt.


Something that is fascinating about the two paragraphs he devotes to her is that he also explains that the emblem on her head fell from the memories of Egyptians which led them to rename her. "The later Egyptians did not know that her fetish was," he writes," and they called her Sefkh-T-Abui." This name has taken on other spellings, such as Safekh-Aubi and it is said to translate as 'She Who Wears the Two Horns.' Some writers says those horns may have been meant to represent two crescent moons in earlier times.