NEFERTEM

by Nefeti Meritamen

God of the primeval lotus blossom, who is represented by the blue lotus. His name had the notion of 'perfection'. Nefertem was usually depicted as a man with a lotus-flower headdress, sometimes with the addition of two plumes and two necklace counterpoises, which are symbols of fertility through their connection with Het-Hert (Hathor). Since the sun was believed to have arisen from a lotus, Nefertem was linked with the sun-god, as described in the Pyramid Texts utterance 266 as ‘the lotus blossom which is before the nose of Re’, probably an allusion to the use of this scented flower by guests at banquets and making Nefertum the god of fragrance.

At Memphis, Nefertem is regarded as the son of Sekhmet and Ptah. He was sometimes thus depicted as lion-headed and occasionally, it was also suggested that the goddess Bastet was his mother. At Buto, in the Delta, Nefertem was regarded as the son of the cobra-goddess Wadjet. His epithet khener tawy, protector of the two lands, perhaps suggests a role as guardian of the unified state of Egypt.