Mut’s name means “Mother”. She is often portrayed as a lioness-headed woman, a woman with the Double Crown or a woman with the Horns and Sundisk Crown. She is the goddess of royalty, the King’s inheritance, renewal of the dead, motherhood, women and protection. She is an Eye of Ra goddess and is attested as Ra’s daughter. She’s the wife of Amun or Amun-Ra and the mother of Khonsu. In the Distant Goddess myth, Mut turns into Sekhmet, leaves and returns when her anger is appeased. She turns back into Mut at the shores of the lake Isheru. Mut has a few syncretizations mostly, Sekhmet-Mut, Bast-Mut, Hethert-Mut and Aset-Mut.
At the Temple of Medjed in Asyut, there is a composite deity called Aset-Mut-Hethert who is portrayed as a woman wearing the horns and sundisk crown (1). When Mut’s roles called for fertility or sexual functions they were given to Aset (2).
There is a hymn containing a reference to Aset-Mut.
In a hymn to Hethert, it says: Hail Great One of many names…
You from whom the divine entities come forth
In this Your name of Mut-Aset!(3)
Aset and Mut were worshiped together at the Temple of Shanhur. This Temple had theologies from both Coptos and Thebes. Aset’s renewal cycle within the Temple was via the Wesir Mythos (Wesir is associated with Min here) and Mut’s was the Distant Goddess myth cycle. Aset and Mut were also honored together as both celestial mothers and as bearing moon gods as sons. Both of them were solar goddesses who renewed the moon disk each month (4). And also both of their consorts/sons were Ka-mut-ef “Ka or Bull of His Mother” (5). There is a speculation due to Aset’s name being on both entrances (as opposed to Mut’s name being on one of them) that at this temple there is a blending or joining of Aset and Mut or Mut may be a manifestation of Aset, but this is not conclusive (6).
The “Great Goddess Aset” often appears alongside depictions of the goddess Mut. In the bandeau inscriptions, the same happens. Those on the east are dedicated to the “Great Goddess Aset”, those on the west to Mut. However, both the east and west bandeau inscriptions on the facade of the sanctuary contains dedications exclusively to forms of Aset. This suggests an existence of a certain fusion between Aset and Mut (7).
Mut is the matriarch. She is the mother goddess of the throne. She is the mother of the king and the establishment of the king’s royal power. Aset is the mother of the king as the goddess who places the rulers on their thrones. A king cannot rule without the blessings of the mother goddesses. Aset and Mut rule over royal inheritance, the renewal of the dead and goddesses of sovereignty. Both of them are goddesses of the ka as being passed down through the royal lineage and family lines.
Mut and Aset are both daughters of Ra and the cobra and lioness goddess as the Eye of Ra. Both of them are manifestations of the “Celestial Cow” who gave birth to the heavenly bodies.
Both of them are the beneficial power of the sun in both giving warmth and giving the plants sunlight. Both of them are goddesses of royal power, authority, inheritance of the throne, sovereignty, solar power, renewal of both the sun and land and the remembrance of the deceased.
1) DuQuesne, Terence. “The Great Goddess and her Companions in Middle Egypt”. Mythos und Ritual. Festschrift für Jan Assmann zum 70. Geburtstag. (2008), 23.
2) Wilkinson, Richard H. The Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt. (New York: Thames and Hudson, 2003), 155.
3) Baring, Anne and Jules Cashford. “Isis of Egypt: Queen of Heaven, Earth and the Underworld”. The Myth of the Goddess: Evolution of an Image. Anne Baring and Jules Cashford, ed. New York: Penguin, 1993, pp. 255.
4) Willems, Harco, and Filip Coppens, Marleen De Meyer and Peter Dils. The Temple of Shanhur: Volume 1. (Peeters, 2003), 26-29, and 47-48.
5) Willems, Harco, and Filip Coppens, Marleen De Meyer and Peter Dils. The Temple of Shanhur: Volume 1. (Peeters, 2003), 33-34.
6) Willems, Harco, and Filip Coppens, Marleen De Meyer and Peter Dils. The Temple of Shanhur: Volume 1. (Peeters, 2003), 28, 47-48 and 101.
7) Willems, Harco, and Filip Coppens, Marleen De Meyer and Peter Dils. The Temple of Shanhur: Volume 1. (Peeters, 2003), 48.