Who was Sothis?
Sothis was the Egyptian goddess of sky and stars and of fertility and prosperity. Guide to the pharaohs in the Afterlife
Facts about Sothis
The following facts and profile provides a fast overview of Sothis:
Sothis Profile & Fact File
Egyptian Name: Sothis. Alternative names: Sopdet, Soqdet, Sepdet
Role & Function: The function of Sothis is described as being the sky goddess of stars, fertility and prosperity
Status: A minor goddess worshipped at a local level
Symbols: The Five pointed star, the Ankh, the Was Scepter
Cult Center: Her center of worship was Saft el-Hinna southeast of the modern city of Zagazig in the Nile Delta of Lower Egypt
Titles: The "Bringer of the New Year", the "Bringer of the Nile Flood", the "Skilled Woman"
Name of Consort: Sah and their son the child-god Soped
Name in Hieroglyphics: Translation of Hieroglyphics for Sothis: Bread symbol meaning provider of food, the star of Sirius, the dog star and the symbols indicating a female goddess
Sothis in Egyptian Mythology
Sothis, the Egyptian goddess of sky and stars, featured in the stories, myths and legends in Egyptian Mythology. Accoding to ancient Egyptian mythology the goddess Isis identifies herself with Sothis (Sopdet) as she laments the death of Osiris and vows to follow him in his manifestation as the constellation Orion. Sothis (Sopdet) was closely linked to the goddess Satet, the Egyptian the water goddess of the Nile and the annual inundation of the river.
The Role of Sothis
The role and duties of Sothis were:
- Goddess of fertility and agriculture
- Guiding the heavens and human destiny
- The kings guide in the celestial 'Field of Rushes', the ancient Egyptian paradise
- Sothis was revered for the prosperity that was brought to Egypt by the flooding of the Nile
- A "mother" and a "nurse"
The Symbol of Sothis the Five pointed Star
Ancient Egyptians believed that the five points of the star represented the forces of earth, wind, fire, water and spirit.
Sothis and Flooding of the Nile
The association between Sothis and Sirius, the dog star was extremely important to the ancient Egyptians. Sirius was a very important star that, after disappearing from view for seventy days, re-appeared. The heliacal rising of the star Sirius was used by the ancient Egyptians to predict the coming of the annual Nile flood. (The Heliacal rising of a star occurs when it first becomes visible above the eastern horizon for a brief moment just before sunrise, after a period of time when it had been invisible). This rising occurred within a month or so of the beginning of the Nile flood, and was a matter of primary importance to the agriculture of ancient Egypt. The annual inundation of the River Nile marked the beginning of the agricultural year hence the titles of Sothis: the "Bringer of the New Year" and the "Bringer of the Nile Flood". Every year a torrent of water overflowed on to the banks of the River Nile leaving a thick rich mud (called black silt) that fertilized the land making it ideal for growing the crops. The flooding of the River Nile was of such importance that the Egyptians based their lives around it.
- Akhet was the time of the Nile flood (June - September)
- Peret was the sowing time (October - January)
- Shemu was the time of harvest (February - May)
Sothis and the Dog Star Sirius
Some information and facts about Sothis and Sirius the Dog star:
- Sirius is the brightest star visible in the sky
- It is in the constellation of Canis Major
- The first appearance of Sirius occurs just before the annual Nile flooding
- The ancient Egyptians considered the heliacal rising of Sirius to be the magical cause of the Nile Flood.
- The Sirius period was associated with the hottest days of summers and the diseases and epidemics 'caused' by the heat