30 Days of Sobek: Day 3 – Symbols and Icons of Sobek

There are going to be a few pictures in this one, it seems like the most useful way to do this instead of a wall’o’text. This probably won’t cover everything, either, just the things I’m most aware of. In some ways, Sobek has very few symbols. He is so closely tied to the crocodile that anything else sort of falls by the wayside. But there are some other animals mentioned in His epithets, namely bulls and rams (for the Min-like fecundity aspects of Him), as well as the calf and the falcon/hawk. By and large, though, Sobek is the crocodile.

There are usually three general forms of Him as a crocodile. He can be shown simply as a crocodile, though sometimes He is shown wearing either His normal headgear, or a solar disc. He can also be shown as a mummified crocodile or as a crocodile on a shrine, as well as a crocodile-headed man.

This is the most common headgear Sobek is shown wearing. You’ll see this more often than the sun disc or the double crown, and it’s not a hat that really belongs to any other gods, so this is usually a pretty good way to identify Sobek.

There are the two plumes or feathers that sit atop the ram horns, the two uraei and the solar disc. It all sits atop a little platform/box/hat/thing. That’s basically it, in terms of the basic descriptions. I often find myself delving deep into the ‘but why those symbols????’ pathways, and that takes me to some really interesting places.

Also, just based on this image, the horns near the solar disc at the centre aren’t always shown, but the sun disc always is. Including the horns, though, makes it weirdly reminiscent of Renenutet’s hat, which is the plumes and the horned sundisc, so. There’s another layer of WHY to add to your contemplations. 😛

Here we have the Heru-Croc-Birb. Or the Ra-Croc-Birb. Or the Heru-Wer-Croc-Ra-Birb. I can’t find a consistent identification for this statue, but I like it a lot.

I tend to see it as Sobek merged with Heru more than Sobek merged with Ra, though I can see how it makes a good image of Sobek-Ra, too.

I’d be interested to know if anyone else has any better information about this rendering. My google-fu is not great when it comes to Sobek, and there’s so little information that’s available, that I often don’t find as much as I’d like, if I find anything at all.

I forgot I had this one in my media library, it’s Wesir being carried by Sobek as a crocodile. It’s a physical rendering of the image I posted in Day 1, representing the mystical union of Wesir and Ra at night under the waters of the Lake.

I also see this image in my version of the Wesir mythos. This is where Sobek helps take Wesir’s body away as they escape with Aset and bb!Heru, running away from Set and His armies. It’s sort of an extension of the Sobek-Ra/Wesir stuff, and I find it quite interesting to think of Sobek being involved in that way.

I often also think about Sobek as the way by which Wesir is able to help Aset conceive Heru, that Sobek’s potent fecundity is the catalyst, and the pathway, by which Wesir is able to make that happen. Relates, as well, to the fertility of the land, etc. Lots of deep Thinky Thoughts there.

This is partly where my Sobek and Heru as twins thing filters through, where Sobek is the oldest, and brings Heru to life, but in the Faiyum Sobek was also identified as Heru-sa-Aset and took on His myths, so. Sobek saves His father, one way or another. I find it interesting to think about, and what that means for my own practice and my relationships wiht the gods.

This is from the Book of the Faiyum, and this is Sobek on the Day Boat iirc, with Merit on the boat in front of Him.

Here, Sobek wears the Double Crown of Heru-sa-Aset. It’s a very rare depiction of Him, and I can’t find many more (or my google-fu is just that bad idk), but I wanted to include at least one image of this to show I wasn’t just making it up, that this was a historically attested depiction of Sobek Shedety. This is what I consider the rendering closest to the Sobek that is Heru-Sa-Aset, who takes on Heru’s myths and saves His father, even though this is actually Sobek-Ra.

This is what I imagine as a depiction closer to Sobek-Ra, Sobek with just the solar disc on His head.

I’ve found a few more images of this particular depiction, which suggests it’s a bit more common. It’s more common than the double crown, but neither are anywhere as common as His normal headgear.

This is also a nice example of Sobek Sitting On A Shrine Box, to throw another depiction at you. You see that one fairly often as well.

The most common places you’ll find Him, and this will be expanded in another entry include rushes, marshland, reeds, lakes, waterways, muddy embankments, wetlands, rich, fertile black soil, fish and fishing boats. Basically the Nile river valley.

And I think that just about covers the more common ancient depictions, icons, and symbolism of Sobek. More recent, and UPG-based symbols include:

  • the ocean, sharks, and rays
  • colours include green, blue, gold, silver, and black
  • carnelian
  • goldstone, sunstone, and lapis lazuli
  • clear green obsidian (He calls them crocodile eyes)

 

I’ll go over some of these in more detail when I talk about offerings and UPG stuff. But for now, let’s leave this look at His symbols for now, and await tomorrow’s post on His myths.

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