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Orphic Egg

Many creation myths begin with an egg.

For example, in the Egyptian creation myth, the Sun God, Ra, was said to have been born from an egg. In the original story, the galaxy came from the waters as mound of dirt and was deified as Hathor. Ra was within an egg laid upon the dirt by a divine bird. The earliest versions of the tale detail the bird as a goose. Herein, the symbol of the goose is tied to the orphic or cosmic egg.

To further connect the narrative to the goddess myth, the Syrian Aphrodite Astarte was said to have been hatched from an egg. And a symbol of  the Greco Aphrodite is the goose.

An interesting modern theory is that the cosmic egg was not born of a bird but was actually of a crocodile or serpent.

This is particularly of note with the pantheon of Egyptian gods as Hathor is said to be the mother of Ra and of the crocodile god, Sobek. She was also considered to be a goddess of fate. One of her symbols is the cobra and her color is red, like that of Aphrodite. Hathor was said to have supplanted the worship of an earlier crocodile goddess. However, Hathor is also a likely derivative of the creation goddess Neith. Her attributes were divided among Isis and Hathor–though in art the two goddesses could only be told apart if labeled. Like Hathor and Aphrodite Astarte, Neith is both a creation goddess and the goddess of war. Her symbols include the bow and arrow–later taken as Greek symbols for the cherubim (an order of angels) and the goddess Artemis. She is also considered a goddess of the underworld and held the Deshret, or red crown of Lower Egypt. In ancient Egyptian, Deshret means “red one.” As a hieroglyphic, the deshret forms the preposition “n.” Goddess Wadjet, the serpent goddess, is also depicted as a vulture wearing a red crown. Additional symbols include spider, the loom and the ankh.  Neith’s consorts were either Set or Khnum. She was known as the “opener of the ways,” which would liken her to a crossroads goddess like that of Hecate.

It is said that Neith is the equivalent to Athena, while Isis is the equivalent to Artemis and Hathor equivalent to Aphrodite. Given that Neith is a mother goddess, I would contend that she is the equivalent to either Hera or Aphrodite. This would further make sense if Hathor supplanted Neith as Hathor was considered the most beautiful goddess and the equivalent of Aphrodite.  Further, a representation of Hathor is of a winged goddess. This could also link her to the ancient representations of Lilith.

Given their descriptions, I would assert that Hathor and Isis are perhaps twins of Neith or representative sides of the same deity. With Aphrodite being depicted as one goddess, I would postulate that Neith, Isis and Hathor may actually represent a triple goddess that was eventually divided into separate gods. While orphic art does connect the serpent with the egg, we may never know if it was laid by a giant bird such as the goose, imperial eagle, vulture or phoenix or whether by a primordial crocodile or serpent.