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Tawret

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Tawret, a statue in a pool at Rosicrucian Park, the headquarters of the English Grand Lodge for the Americas of the Ancient Mystical Order Rosae Crucis (AMORC), in San Jose, California.

Tawret, also known as Taweret, Ipet, or Reret, is an ancient Egyptian goddess of childbirth, depicted as a pregnant hippopotamus with the paws of a lion and the back of a crocodile, standing upright. All three of these animals are fierce and dangerous, but the female hippopotami are most known for fervently protecting their young from harm. Her images appear not only as amulets, but also on knife-like or wand-like magical objects and as decorations on children's drinking cups. These objects were still being made in the second century C.E., and even during the reign of Akhenaten, who transformed the Egyptian religion into the monotheistic worship of Aten, proscribing most other gods.

In the popular story of the Eye of Ra, Tawret -- variously identified as Ra's daughter, sister, or wife -- becomes angry with him and decamps to Nubia in the form of a lioness. When she is enticed back home with soothing spells, entertainments and wine, she is transformed into a goddess of peace, joy, and other good forces. Some versions of her story place her transformation into the composite animal Tawret on her journey back to Egypt. These tales of Tawret's physical transformation and her connection to Nubia may have a basis in historical culture-blending, because Tawret is one of a number of hippopotamus goddesses worshiped in ancient Kemet and Nubia, all of whom were protectors of the household; thus her varied appearances and names may have arisen in adjacent regions and been accepted as alternative theologies.

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 Tawret for protection, especially of families and children. Amuletic jewelry in her form can still be found, or she can be represented by a "house hippo," a small statue of a hippopotamus that guards the home.

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