The Heka of Keket

“God, sometimes you just don’t come through.
Do you need a woman to look after you?”
– Tori Amos

Across the desert Keket traced ribbons
of shadow, serpent-headed seeker of Set.
With offerings of beer and salt, she sought
the Red Warrior’s strength. “My beloved,
Kek, is suffering some derangement.
He claims Re’s gifts and spurns the Khemenu.[1]
Throws scorn upon my loving touch, threatens
great violence when I speak truth, and names
me his great oppressor. Without Kek we
cannot turn Ma’at’s wheel. His temple glows
with sickly blue light, gathering lonely men.”
Set knew the disarray upon the lands.
The bad harvest had stirred unrest. The folk
debated who to blame: the laborers,
the land owners, those fugitives who fled
from foreign war and camped along the shore.
Set rose, taking in hand his was scepter.
“Keket, let’s get your man.”



In darkness, cloaked,
Keket and Set entered the temple of Kek.
The frog-headed deity sat among
icons of nihilistic rage, and spells
designed to blunt the reasoned edge of mind.
Within the walls echoed Kek’s croaking laugh,
loud and ugly, suppressing reverence
and joy. His worshippers named him Pep-Eh,
darkness which brings renewal to the light.
Casting aside his cloak, Set gripped his was.
The devotees attacked with ridicule,
insulting his color and calling him queer,
mocking his wife for bearing his brother’s son.
Set gave no fucks about these feeble winds.
His scepter split the worshippers, he strode
before the throne of the frog-headed god
whose meeting eye dilated in surprise.
Set recognized his adversary from years
of nightly war. “This is a lie,” Set laughed.
“You are not Kek. You are the anti-life,
the anti-love, the enemy of Re.
Not Pep-Eh but Apep, the destroyer.”

The false one shook away his mask, body
uncoiling beneath his gilded robe,
his mouth revealing fangs, and lunged at Set.
The Red One leapt aside and pinned its head
between his scepter’s tines against the ground.
Taking a rodent’s form, Set tore the throat
of his adversary, and found a key.
As quiet filled the temple grounds, Keket
could hear her husband’s voice croaking below.
With key in hand, she found his cage and soon
serpent and frog were once again as one.
Returning to the worshippers, they said:
“Together we are the darkness, the void.
We enfold all in our loving embrace.”
And as the couple spoke, their kin appeared
as though stepping out of the empty air.
Nunet and Nun, serpent and frog, proclaimed:
“We are nothingness, possibility.
Free yourself of your fear and purity.”
Hehet and Heh, serpent and frog, proclaimed:
“We are eternity, spiral of time.
Spit out the poison of progress and turn
to soul, the soil in which your Being grows.”
Amunet and Amun, serpent and frog,
said nothing, but their silence filled the space
with tears of joy and grief, immense relief.
Ma’at’s great wheel began to spin again,
and tranquil comity returned to the land.
Set guided those who served the usurper
to serve justice in all her forms: to make
humble the strong and powerful the meek.

[1] The Khemenu, also known as the Ogdoad, were a group of eight deities worshipped in Hermopolis, comprised of four male and female pairs, the males frog-headed and females serpent-headed. They seem connected to primordial forces and are the source of the worlds in some tellings.


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3 thoughts on “The Heka of Keket

  1. The painting of Set and Apep is mine. You do not have the right to post this image without correct attribution to me. Your alteration of the image is tasteless. I own the copyright to this image, and I object to its use in this context for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that I disagree with your politics. You will remove this at once or I will report you to my publisher, Schiffer Publishing, and to my godfather in Palo, who is much less forgiving than my publisher.


    1. Hi! We certainly did not mean to infringe on your copyright; we’re quite happy to take it down.
      You should be aware the image was labeled ‘public domain’ when we used it (it has apparently appeared on quite a few sites which have relabeled it as public domain), otherwise we would not have used the image.


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