Taweret was believed to be the goddess of childbirth and the protector of women and children. She was known as ‘The Great One’ and as both a fierce and protective deity. The animals she portrays, hippopotamus, lion and crocodile, are all ferocious but highly protective of their young. Originally Taweret was depicted as dangerous, she was linked to the Northern sky and known as the Mistress of the Horizon. The Northern sky was perceived as a cold and dangerous place giving a negative perception of Taweret.
However, by the time of the Old Kingdom, she was regarded as more of a protection deity rather than an aggressive one, she was expressed as the wet nurse of the pharaohs. The goddess was believed to help women in labour and deflect evil spirits and so many pregnant women would wear Taweret amulets to call forth her protection. According to The Book of the Dead, the goddess was bestowed with guarding the paths leading to the Underworld through the mountains and granted safe passage to those deceased. Over time Taweret became a household deity treating each person equally.
To find out more about Ancient Egyptian god amulets please see our relevant blog post: Egyptian Amulets and their Meanings: Ancient Egyptian Gods.