The Egyptian Vulture Goddess Nekhbet

From the (now defunct) Ancient Egypt Site:

"Nekhbet (Nechbet) -- The goddess Nekhbet is often represented as a vulture, as a woman with the head of a vulture or as a woman wearing the Atef-crown. Her primary cult centres are located in the ancient cities of Nekheb (Elkab) and Nekhen (Hierakonpolis), situated across each other on both banks of the Nile in the South of Upper-Egypt. Her name means 'the one of Nekheb.' Her most important epithet 'the White One of Nekhen' relates her to Hierakonpolis.

She is the personification of the White Crown of Upper Egypt, and as such, she is associated with her Lower-Egyptian counterpart, Uto. Both goddesses are often represented together, crowning the king . By extension, she is not only the goddess of the White Crown, but also the patron goddess of Upper-Egypt. As a vulture-goddess, Nekhbet is the goddess of heaven, sometimes related to the sun when she is called 'the Eye of Re' and other times to the moon. She is also the protectress of the king and of the non-royal deceased. As such, she is represented as a vulture extending one wing to the front, the other to the ground, flying above the person she is protecting."


"Nekhbet -- 'She of Nekheb' Vulture-Netjer associated with both the land of Upper Kemet itself and its protection, and the protection and symbolism of the White Crown (Hedjet), Nekhbet is often depicted as a full vulture, flying over the head of the ruler bearing the feather of Ma'at and a shen, the circular symbol for eternity, grasped in Her claws. On depictions of the Udjat, She is often accompanied by Wadjet, the cobra-Netjer of the North, and symbolizes one half of the Two Lands which make up Kemet politically. Her head was mounted on the nemes-headdress of rulers alongside Wadjet's uraeus or cobra-head (witness the beautiful vulture on the forehead of King Tutankhamen's funerary mask), and a vulture-headdress was worn by the chief queen/consort from the New Kingdom forward, identifying her both with Nekhbet and with Mut of Uaset."


"The Egyptian vulture-goddess of the city of Nekheb in Upper Egypt, the Eileithyaspolis of the Greeks, and the modern Al-Kab. She was the tutelary goddess of Upper Egypt in very early dynastic times. From city goddess she was elevated to the status of protectress and mother of the king. Together with the snake-goddess Buto she was portrayed on the head of the Egyptian king. Nekhbet is present at the birth of gods and kings. As the protectress of the infant monarch she was referred to as the 'Great White Cow of Nekheb.'

"Since the time of the New Empire she is very popular as the goddess of childbirth. She is also a sun and moon-goddess. Her name means 'she of Nekheb.' Nekhbet was depicted as a woman, either with the vulture headdress, or with the head of a vulture. Sometimes she was portrayed as a vulture wearing the white crown of Upper Egypt and holding the symbols of eternity in her talons. Nekhbet and Uatchit divided between them the sovereignty of all Egypt."

Nekhbet mural

Repeated images of Nekhbet in vulture form from a monument in Egypt.


Nekhbet with her staff.

Nekhbet and Uto

Nehkbet (right) and Uto crowning the king.