Ancient Egyptian Talisman for Childbirth Protection
In ancient times, childbirth and early infancy were considered to be life threatening for both mother and the baby. In ancient Egypt, magic played a significant role in countering these threats, and was used to offset the evil that could hurt a mother and child. Amulets of Taweret (Egyptian goddess of childbirth and fertility) were popular, and were used by pregnant women to protect their pregnancies and to invoke Taweret’s aid in a successful birth. She was believed to assist women in labour and scare off demons that could harm the mother or child.
Deity of motherhood and protector of women and children, goddess of maternity and childbirth. Taweret was seen as one who protected against evil by restraining it. She was usually depicted as a combination of a crocodile with the arms and legs of a lion; her breasts are those of a human female, and her protruding belly is that of a pregnant woman. She often holds the hieroglyphic symbol ‘sa’ in front of her—for “protection,”. Occasionally, she carried an ankh, the symbol of life, or a knife, which was be used to threaten evil spirits. The magic knives, also known as apotropaic (that is, acting to ward of evil) wands, were one of the devices used. They are usually made of hippopotamus ivory, thus enlisting the support of that fearsome beast against evil).
The depictions on the talisman were usually a range of protective images. They include Taweret wielding a knife, a grotesque dwarf Bes, and frog Goddess Heket, also associated with protection of childbirth, and lion head and protective deities.