Season: 1–4 & 6, Episodes: 72, Faction: Survivors/MIB
Claire Littleton was one of the middle section survivors of Oceanic Flight 815. When she was seventeen, Claire was involved in a car crash which caused her mother to fall into a coma for five years. The accident in turn led her to meet her biological father for the first time since he left her and her mother when Claire was younger. Claire later became pregnant and, with some coaxing from a psychic, decided to fly to LA to give the baby up for adoption, putting her on the fated flight.
During her time on the Island, she entered into an inconsistent relationship with fellow survivor Charlie Pace. She was kidnapped by one of the Others, Ethan Rom, and taken to their camp where she was drugged and tested because of her pregnancy. After escaping, Claire suffered amnesia but found comfort in Charlie and her memory eventually returned. She later gave birth to her son, Aaron Littleton, and did her best to take care of him despite being a reluctant mother. Her relationship with Charlie grew stronger after he rescued Aaron from Danielle Rousseau, but when Claire learned of Charlie’s past with drugs and witnessed his erratic behavior, she became reluctant to let him into her and Aaron’s life. Later, when Aaron became sick, Claire, worried it was a side effect of what the Others did to her, traveled to the Staff to look for medicine. The station triggered memories of her capture. She eventually forgave Charlie after she learned of Desmond’s visions of Charlie’s death, and told him she wouldn’t give up on him. When Charlie sacrificed himself to save the other survivors, Claire heeded his warning about the people on the freighter not being who they said they were and joined Locke’s group during the split.
During Keamy’s attack on the Barracks, her house was destroyed, but strangely Claire was unharmed. When the Monster attacked the mercenaries, she went with Aaron, Sawyer and Miles into the jungle. On the way to the beach camp, she saw her dead father, followed him into the jungle and disappeared, leaving Aaron behind. She was then seen with “Christian” in Jacob’s cabin by Locke. She appeared eerily calm and did not inquire about Aaron. Three years later she reappeared, saving Jin, who was being attacked by the Others. According to Dogen she has been “infected” beyond redemption. She attempted to kill Kate, but was stopped by the Man in Black, who she has been residing with for the past 3 years. She left his side after Kate promised to get her home to Aaron, but was reunited with him after the debacle on Widmore’s Sub. She went against him again when she realized he intended to kill all her friends to leave the Island. Claire finally escaped the Island on the Ajira plane, along with Kate, Sawyer, Frank, Richard and Miles.
In the flash-sideways, she was reunited with her deceased lover, Charlie Pace after giving birth to Aaron, and along with their friends, they moved on.
3×12 – Par Avion
Born on October 27, 1982 in Australia, Claire was raised by Carole Littleton, a single mother who had become pregnant as a result of an affair with Claire’s father, Christian Shephard. According to her daughter, Carole was a librarian. Christian visited Claire many times when she was a baby, but stopped visiting because, according to him, her aunt Lindsey hated him, and Carole couldn’t cope with him having another family in America. Claire was raised to believe that her father died when she was two years old.
As an adolescent, Claire rebelled against her mother, dressing in a vaguely gothic style and working in a piercing and tattoo parlor. (“Par Avion)
3×12 – Par Avion
As a teenager, Claire got into a car accident where a truck forced her car off the road during a heated argument with her mother. When Claire woke up, she climbed out the car and found her mother unconscious on the ground.
Later that day, Claire and her mother, Carole, were taken to the hospital. While her head was being stitched, she was questioned by Officer Barnes about the accident. Claire became extremely defensive, as she thought he was implying the accident was her fault. After this she went home for a shower, and returned to the hospital to see her mother. Upon entering her room, Claire found her Aunt Lindsey watching over her mother. She accused Claire of not caring for her mother. They were interrupted by the doctor, who indicated that Carole may be in a permanent coma. Furthermore, Lindsey told the doctor that she couldn’t afford medical treatment to support Carole but he revealed the costs were being paid by an anonymous benefactor.
At a later visit to her mother, Claire found an American doctor touching Carole’s arm. When Lindsey entered the room, she immediately recognized the doctor and demanded to know why he was there. They began to argue, which led to the revelation that he, Christian Shephard, was Claire’s father, whom she believed was dead. Sometime later, Claire was working in a tattoo and piercing parlor. Once she finished with her client, Christian approached Claire and asked her to join him for coffee before he left Australia. She angrily agreed and joined him. During the meeting, Christian explained how he and her mother met, which led to her becoming pregnant. He also told her how he visited them when she was a child, but their relationship deteriorated due to his commitment to his family in America, something her mother and aunt Lindsey resented. When he tried to persuade Claire to turn off her mother’s life support machine, Claire left, not even knowing her father’s name. (“Par Avion”)
1×10 – Raised by Another
Sometime later, while working at the Fish & Fry restaurant for five dollars an hour, Claire’s path seemed to be dead-end and predictable. Her life changed when she and her boyfriend Thomas realized they were to become parents. Although Claire was petrified by the idea, Thomas eventually changed her mind, claiming it could be the best thing ever. An excited Claire told her friend Rachel, the news on the way to see Richard Malkin, who claimed to be a psychic. As Claire was interested in astrology and horoscopes, they thought it would be worth a visit. As the reading took place, Richard refused to continue the reading and escorted them out of the house. Sometime after this, Claire was in the process of redecorating the apartment. While hanging her new drapes, Thomas revealed to Claire he felt ill-equipped to become the father for their child. After a heated argument with Claire, Thomas stormed out of the apartment, leaving Claire as single mother-to-be.
She returned to Richard Malkin’s house, and requested a second reading. During the reading, he told Claire he knew Thomas had left her, and when she asked him to continue, he revealed that it was crucial for Claire to raise her child herself, and that her goodness must be an influence on the child’s development. Claire interrupted, and told him that she would put the baby up for adoption if Thomas didn’t return. She left the house after he aggressively tried to convince her to raise the baby herself. (“Raised by Another”)
3×12 – Par Avion
As a part of her daily life, Claire continued to visit her mother in the hospital. As she entered the room, Claire switched on the television and told her comatose mother she was pregnant and planned to give the child up for adoption. She expressed astonishment that her mother had been able to raise her without any assistance and sobbed an apology for being so terrible to her as a teenager. Claire finally admitted to herself that she was responsible for their car accident. (“Par Avion”)
1×10 – Raised by Another
Upon meeting with her child’s adoptive parents, Arlene and Joseph Stewart, Claire prepared to sign away rights to her unborn child. The solicitor reminded her she would not have any rights to see the child and Claire would be paid upon the birth. She requested that the Stewarts sing the lullaby “Catch a Falling Star” to the baby, as it was the song her father used to sing to her. As Claire was about to sign the papers, two pens she tried to use did not work. Her doubts at relinquishing her child surfaced at this ill omen and she ran out of the room.
Claire returned to Richard Malkin, who told her that her baby would be safe if she gave it to a couple in Los Angeles who he said were good people. He gave her a ticket for Oceanic Flight 815, and Claire left for what she believed was a new life in America. However when she learned that the flight was so soon, she was put off by the idea; Malkin then insisted she must take that flight. (“Raised by Another”)
In a deleted scene, we see Claire talking with the pilot and appearing nervous. She confides that she is only flying because of what the psychic told her, and feels stupid about it. The pilot in turn tells her that his mother once went to a psychic, who told her she would dump her husband for another man. Shortly afterwards, that Bernard sold his business for a million dollars. Though there is similarity with the name Bernard, he is not likely to be the Bernard in our story, because he is a computer programmer (not a dentist), and the scene was not left in.
1×25 – Exodus, Part 3
On the plane, passenger Leslie Arzt helped put her bags in the overhead compartment. (“Exodus, Part 3”)
On the Island (Days 1-44)
1×01 – Pilot, Part 1
After the crash, Claire believed she was going into labor. She panicked and called for help. Eventually Jack came over and helped her. He told Hurley to keep an eye on Claire and get her away from the fumes. Later, Jack saved Claire from one of the wings when it fell and almost crushed her and Hurley. At nightfall, Charlie introduced himself and offered his blanket. They joked about the crash and he reassured her that everything would be fine, and Hurley offered her some food. Soon after, Claire and the survivors heard mysterious sounds in the jungle. (“Pilot, Part 1”) (“Greatest Hits”)
1×02 – Pilot, Part 2
The next day, Claire was constantly worried about the state of her baby, and told Shannon she hadn’t felt it move since the crash. When Jin offered her a fish, she reluctantly took it and as soon as she took a bite was overjoyed when she felt the baby kick. She surprised herself when she subconsciously referred to the baby as “him.” (“Pilot, Part 2”)
1×03 – Tabula Rasa
Three days after the crash, Charlie helped Claire move her luggage away from the wreckage. Their friendship began to blossom, but Charlie had to lie when Claire asked about the results of the trek into the jungle to get a signal on the transceiver. (“Tabula Rasa”)
1×04 – Walkabout
After sorting through the belongings of the deceased, Claire suggested Jack lead a memorial service for those who had died in the crash. Jack turned her down so she decided to lead it herself. Claire made it her priority to sort through the luggage to personalize the memorial. During this she found a letter addressed to Sayid, which he thought he’d lost. Sawyer also handed her a stack of wallets which were useful for the memorabilia. With the assistance of Hurley and Boone, the service was held during the burning of the fuselage. (“Walkabout”)
1×05 – White Rabbit
Kate noticed Claire was feeling a little dizzy while sorting clothes with her. She assisted Kate through the sorting and they discussed astrology. Hours later, Walt told Kate that Claire had collapsed. Michael and Charlie carried her to her tent to cool her off. Kate tried to wake her up, but Charlie warned her that the water supply had ran out as someone had taken the lot.
Charlie looked after Claire while she slept, when she came around she asked if Jack was back and if rescue was coming. She confessed that she felt isolated. She said everyone looked at her as if she was a “time bomb of responsibility, just waiting to go off.” Charlie told her he wasn’t frightened by her. Later that evening, Boone secretly gave Claire some water and everyone found out he was the one who had taken it. (“White Rabbit”)
1×08 – Confidence Man
Charlie tried to convince Claire to live in the caves with him, but she refused. She said she was happy to wait on the beach for rescue. However, she said that she would go if Charlie found her some peanut butter. All he found was an empty jar, but he gave it to her anyway. Claire was touched by the gesture and agreed to move off the beach. (“Confidence Man”)
1×10 – Raised by Another
After moving to the caves, Claire began having nightmares in which someone injected her with a needle and tried to hurt her baby. When she woke up screaming, Charlie calmed her down but noticed her bloody palms. In the morning, Jack ran a diagnosis on her and concluded that it was stress.
That night the same thing happened again but this time she saw a man covering her mouth and stabbing her with a needle. The group began to panic and scouted the surrounding area for anyone suspicious. This led to Hurley starting a census, which later revealed that Ethan was not on the plane. Jack questioned Claire once again and offered that she took a sedative to help her sleep. However she knew Jack didn’t believe her. She packed her bags and headed back to the beach, where she thought was a safer place. Charlie accompanied her as he was the only one who thought she was in danger. On the way back, she started having contractions, and Charlie encountered Ethan and told him to get Jack. Charlie returned to Claire and they were both accosted by Ethan, who knocked them out and dragged them into the jungle. (“Raised by Another”)
At some point, Claire regained consciousness and let out a series of screams that drew Jack in her direction. In order to stop the pursuit, Ethan tied Charlie up and hanged him from a tree by his neck. Ethan kept Claire, and they disappeared into the jungle. (“All the Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues”)
At the Staff Station
2×15 – Maternity Leave
Ethan took Claire to the Staff and drugged her. Claire seemed to think she was back in Australia and told Ethan of her plans to go Los Angeles to give up the baby. Ethan continued to inject Claire with a serum he said would prevent her and the baby from getting sick. She was delirious after this injection.
Ethan showed Claire the nursery in which her child would live. She was amazed by the colorful pictures and toys, however she asked about Charlie, and what happened to him. Ethan explained that he let him go back. Tom interrupted their conversation and spoke to Ethan outside the door. Claire listened to their conversation as she played with the mobile above the crib, and she heard Tom say Ethan was supposed to make a list before bringing Claire. He mentioned a higher authority and expressed his worries about what he might do.
Later on, Claire was knitting a sock for the baby when Ethan proposes they go outside. He took Claire out for a walk and told her his friends were afraid she might run away. He sat Claire down on a log and gave her some water to drink, but she pulled away after taking a sip, saying it was sour. Ethan asked her if she was sure about letting him and his friends take the baby and reassured her that if she was having second thoughts, he and his friends had no right to take the baby away.
One night, a teenage girl who later turns out to be the daughter of Danielle Rousseau, Alex, came into Claire’s room and woke her up. She tried to convince Claire she had to escape, but Claire was reluctant. The girl showed her an operating room and told her they were going to cut the baby out of her. When Claire resisted, the girl knocked her out with chloroform and told her “one day you’ll thank me for this”, and dragged her outside.
Claire woke up dazed in the middle of the jungle. She looked around, puzzled about her location. A woman approached her and Claire got frightened and shouted for Ethan, who was searching for her. She struggled with Danielle, scratching her arm, and Danielle knocked her out with her rifle as a last resort. (“Maternity Leave”)
1×14 – Special
She took Claire to a place where her fellow survivors would find her and Claire stumbled upon Boone and Locke. (“Special”)
After the escape
1×15 – Homecoming
Claire passed out and was taken back to the caves, where she woke up with no recollection of the crash or any of the events since. Charlie gave Claire her diary, to help trigger memories. He tried to bond with her again, but Claire was standoffish, as in her mind, she had just met him. He explains to her that they were kidnapped together, however she doesn’t remember him, or Ethan.
The next day, Ethan aggressively confronted Charlie in the jungle. He told him if he didn’t get Claire back, he would kill one survivor every night. When Claire asks Charlie if something has happened, he lies to her and claims everything is fine. The survivors set up a guard, but Ethan came from the water and killed Scott Jackson. Claire noticed everyone was looking at her strangely and confronted Shannon, who told her what Ethan had done. Claire was angry with Charlie for lying and not telling her she had caused Scott’s death so she told Jack she wanted to help.
Jack decided to use Claire as bait for Ethan. Charlie didn’t want Claire to put her life at risk, but she insisted. She stood alone in the jungle while Jack, Sawyer, Locke, Sayid and Kate kept watch from the trees. When Ethan appeared, he chased Claire but Jack knocked him down and a fight ensued. When Ethan was on the ground, Jack and the others prepared to interrogate him, but Charlie shot and killed him. Later that night, Claire told Charlie she wanted to trust him, as she remembered peanut butter. Although it would take time, especially after what she had just experienced. (“Homecoming”)
1×16 – Outlaws
Charlie, having never killed before, became withdrawn after Ethan’s murder. He distanced himself from Claire, turning her down when she asked him to go for a walk. She told him she was having dreams about events from after the crash and that her memory was starting to come back, but her attempts to reach out failed. After a conversation with Sayid, Charlie perked up a bit and found Claire, asking her if she still wanted that walk. (“Outlaws”)
1×18 – Numbers
Claire was nearly nine months pregnant when Locke asked her to help him with something he was building. She was surprised thinking she wouldn’t be much use, but agreed and he helped her up. They talked about what she would name the baby and about her memory. She tells Locke her secret, that she was going to give the baby up for adoption. Claire told Locke it was her birthday, but that it didn’t seem important. After many hours of construction, Locke wished her a happy birthday and flipped the object over, revealing it to be a crib. She seemed grateful and thanked him. (“Numbers”)
1×20 – Do No Harm
A few days later, Claire went into the jungle feeling dazed and withdrawn. Kate, heading for the caves to help Jack with Boone, came upon her and saw she was in labor. When Claire protested she was fine, Kate assured her she was definitely going into labour. When she tried to get Claire to walk, she realized it was not practical. Kate yelled for help, and Jin came running. Kate sent him to the caves to get Jack, but he was too busy with Boone. Charlie went with Jin back to Claire and told Kate she would have to deliver the baby. When the contractions stopped, Claire said she was fine, but then her water broke. She wouldn’t push and Kate became frightened, but told her the baby belonged to all of them and that she seriously needed to push. Finally, after a lot of effort, Claire gave birth to a baby boy. Kate and Claire had no idea they were being watched by a time traveling Sawyer, who resisted the urge to try and speak to Kate before being sent to another time period. (“Do No Harm”) (“The Little Prince”)
1×21 – The Greater Good
Convinced the Others were going to come and take the baby, Claire refused to rest. Both Sun and Charlie told her they would never let anything happen to him, and she finally agreed to sleep. When she awoke, Claire found Charlie and Sawyer. She was amused to find Sawyer reading to the baby to keep him from crying. (“The Greater Good”)
1×22 – Born to Run
While getting a haircut from Claire, Charlie played his guitar for the baby and called him Turniphead. He told Claire he would continue to call him that until she gave him a name. Charlie also offered that when they get rescued, Claire and the baby may stay with him in Los Angeles. She later witnessed Kate’s exposure as a criminal. (“Born to Run”)
1×23 – Exodus, Part 1
Danielle came to the survivors’ camp to warn them the Others were coming. She said she was seven months pregnant when she crashed on the Island, and a week after her daughter was born she saw a pillar of smoke on the horizon. Her baby was taken from her that night. (“Exodus, Part 1”)
1×24 – Exodus, Part 2
Later, Charlie and Claire were alone on the beach when Danielle approached again, asking for Sayid. When Charlie went to get him, Danielle asked if she could hold the baby. Claire, clearly against the idea, made up an excuse. However when she saw the scars on Danielle’s arms, she had a flash from her kidnapping. She took the baby from Claire and knocked her out. Sun found Claire and called for help. Charlie and Sayid came to her call and Claire begged Charlie to go get Aaron back. He and Sayid headed toward the smoke pillar, realizing Danielle was going to attempt to trade Claire’s baby for her own. (“Exodus, Part 2”)
1×25 – Exodus, Part 3
Sun helped Claire to the caves as Charlie and Sayid reached the black smoke. Danielle seemed distraught at not finding the Others and handed the baby over to Charlie. Claire was overjoyed when he returned with Aaron and her bond with Charlie was strengthened. (“Exodus, Part 3”)
Associated LOST Themes
Associated DHARMA Stations
Decoded Family Members & Lovers
Decoded Season 1 Characters
Decoded Season 2 Characters
Decoded Season 3 Characters
Decoded Season 4 Characters
Decoded Season 6 Characters
Key Episode(s) to Decoding the Character
(Ta-urt, Toëris) Taweret (Thoêris as rendered in Greek), whose name means ‘She who is mighty’, is the most well-known of the Goddesses depicted in semi-hippopotamus form, of whom other examples are Ipy and Reret. All of these Goddesses are depicted as bipedal hippopotami with pendulous breasts, lion’s paws, and the ridged back and tail of a crocodile. Taweret is, in particular, often depicted resting one front paw on the symbol sa or sau, identified as a rolled up papyrus shelter used by herdsmen, which means ‘protection’, and holding a torch. Taweret is not exclusively represented in semi-hippopotamus form, however, but can also depicted in a fully anthropomorphic form closely resembling Hathor. A very popular Goddess well into late antiquity (her temple at Oxyrhynchus was the site of a ritual ‘symposium’ as late as 462 CE), Taweret is invoked to protect physical well-being, especially that of women in childbirth, sharing this function with Bes, with whom she is often juxtaposed. She is a protector of the infant Horus, as the text on the base of a statue of Taweret states: “I am Taweret in her power, she who fights for the one who is hers and who repels those who would do violence to her child Horus,” (Génies, Anges et Démons, 52). Taweret is sometimes said to be a consort of Seth, who can take the form of a hippopotamus, but also perhaps on account of Seth’s own positive association with physical vigor. Taweret has a special association with fresh water, basins or bowls for libation or purification having been found inscribed with prayers to “Taweret the pure water.”
Taweret (Taueret, Taurt, Toeris, Ipy, Ipet, Apet, Opet, Reret) – The Great Female – was the ancient Egyptian goddess of maternity and childbirth, protector of women and children. Like Bes, she was both a fierce demonic fighter as well as a popular deity who guarded the mother and her newborn child.
She was depicted as a combination of a crocodile, a pregnant hippopotamus standing on her hind legs with large breasts and a lion. Unlike the composite demoness Ammut, her head and body were that of the hippo, her paws were that of the lion, and her back was the back of a crocodile. All of these animals were man killers, and as such she was a demoness.
All three animals were regarded as fierce creatures who would kill to protect their young.
…Taweret, British Museum Glossary
It was in her role of a protector that she was seen as a goddess. As the mother hippo is protective of her young, Taweret was believed to be protective of Egyptian children. She was often shown holding the sa hieroglyph of protection or the ankh hieroglyph of life. She was thought to assist women in labour and scare off demons that might harm the mother or child.
… because hippos are denizens of the fertile Nile mud, Egyptians also saw them as symbols of rebirth and rejuvenation. The birth-related aspect of the hippo’s powers also appears in the complicated shape of the goddess Taweret, who protects women in childbirth.
She was also a goddess relating to fertility. She was goddess of harvests as well as a goddess who helped with female sexuality and pregnancy. In this capacity, she was linked with the goddess Hathor. As a fertility goddess, she was closely associated with the inundation of the Nile especially at Jabal al-Silsila.
Amulets of Taweret were popular, used by the expectant mother because of Taweret’s protective powers. These were even found at Akhetaten – Akenaten had no power to stop his people from needing the protection of this goddess (or of Bes), despite his attempts to replace the gods and goddesses of Egypt with the Aten. Her picture was also found on women’s cosmetic tools, headrests, jewelry. There were even vessels in the shape of the goddess, with a hole in one of her nipples for pouring. It was thought that she would assign magical protection, when accompanied with a spell, to the milk poured through these vessels.
Another way that Taweret was thought to scare away evil that could hurt a mother and child was through the use of magic. She was associated with the magic ‘wand’ or ‘knife’ that the Egyptians used because she was a hippopotamus goddess:
Childbirth and early infancy were felt to be particularly threatening to both mother and baby. Magic played the primary role in countering these threats; various evil spirits needed to be warned off, and deities invoked to protect the vulnerable. These magic knives, also known as apotropaic (that is, acting to ward off 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 this knife encompass a range of protective images. They include a grotesque dwarf, probably known as Aha at this date, but later the more famous Bes, and Taweret … both of whom are associated with childbirth.
…Apotropaic Wand, British Museum
Taweret was a household deity, rather than a specific deity of the pharaoh, and she enjoyed huge popularity with the every day Egyptian. She wore a low, cylindrical headdress surmounted by two plumes or sometimes she wore the horns and solar disk of Hathor. Although her popularity was strongest in later periods, she first appeared in the Old Kingdom as the mother of the pharaoh, offering to suckle him with her divine milk. In later times, the pharaoh Hatshepsut depicted the goddess attending to her birth along side other deities of childbirth. During Egyptian history, she was called by three names – Ipet (‘harem’), Taweret (‘great one’) and Reret (‘the sow’). Of the three, the cult of Taweret assimilated the other two versions of this goddess, despite the Temple of Ipet (often translated to be ‘Harem’ rather than the name of the goddess) at Karnak.
In Egyptian astronomy, Taweret was linked to the northern sky. In this role she was known as Nebetakhet, the Mistress of the Horizon – the ceiling painting of the constellations in the tomb of Seti I showed her in this capacity. She was thought to keep the northern sky – a place of darkness, cold, mist, and rain to the Egyptians – free of evil. She was shown to represent the never-setting circumpolar stars of Ursa Minor and Draco. The seven stars lined down her back are the stars of the Little Dipper. She was believed to be a guardian of the north, stopping all who were unworthy before they could pass her by.
In all of the ancient Egyptian astronomical diagrams there is one figure which is always larger than all the rest, and most frequently found at the center of what appears to be a horizontal parade of figures. This figure is Taweret “The Great One”, a goddess depicted as a pregnant hippopotamus standing upright. It is no mystery that this figure represents a northern constellation associated, at least in part, with our modern constellation of Draco the dragon.
…Precession and the Pyramid Astronomical Knowledge in Ancient Egypt, Jim Fournier
In the Book of the Dead Taweret, the ‘Lady of Magical Protection’, was seen as a goddess who guided the dead into the afterlife. As with her double nature of protector and guardian, she was also a guard to the mountains of the west where the deceased entered the land of the dead. Many of the deities relating to birth also appear in the underworld to help with the rebirth of the souls into their life after death.
She was thought to be the wife of a few gods, mostly because of her physical characteristics. She was linked to the god Sobek, because of his crocodile form. Occasionally Taweret was depicted with a crocodile on her back, and this was seen as Taweret with her consort Sobek. Bes, because the Egyptians thought they worked together when birthing of a child, was thought to be her husband in earlier times.
At Thebes, she was also thought to be the mother of Osiris, and so linked to the sky goddess Nut. Another part of this theology was that it was Amen, who became the supreme god rather than Ra, who was the father of Osiris. It was believed that Amen came to Taweret (called Ipet at this particular time) and joined with her to ensure the renewal of the cycle of life. Ipet herself had become linked with the original wife of Amen, Amaunet (invisibility). It was at Karnak that she was believed to have given birth to Osiris. In later times, Ipet was assimilated by Mut who took her place as the wife of Amen and mother goddess.
Plutarch described Taweret as a concubine of Set who had changed her ways to become a follower of Horus. In this form, she was linked to the goddess Isis. It was thought that the goddess kept Set’s powers of evil fettered by a chain. This is probably because she was a hippo goddess while Set was sometimes seen as a male hippo. The male hippopotamus was seen by the Egyptians as a very destructive creature, yet the female hippopotamus came to symbolise protection. This is probably why Set was, in later times, regarded as evil while Taweret was thought to be a helpful goddess, deity of motherhood and protector of women and children.
In Egyptian mythology, Taweret (also spelled Taurt, Tuat, Taueret, Tuart, Ta-weret, Tawaret, and Taueret, and in Greek, Θουέρις “Thouéris” and Toeris) is the Egyptian Goddess of childbirth and fertility. The name “Taweret” means, “she who is great” or simply, “great one”. When paired with another deity, she became the demon-wife of Apep, the original god of evil. However, the Egyptians essentially treated Taweret as a benevolent figure and this deity is attested as early as the Old Kingdom period “when she took three principal names: Opet or Ipy (‘harim’ or favoured place), Taweret (‘the great goddess’) and Reret (the sow’).” While there is a temple of Opet at Karnak, dating to the Late Period and Ptolemaic era, “it was the cult of Taweret that gained particular importance over time.”
As the counterpart of Apep, who was always below the horizon, Taweret was seen as being the northern sky, the constellation roughly covering the area of present-day Draco, which always lies above the horizon. Thus, Taweret was known as mistress of the horizon. Like the dwarf god Bes, Taweret:
“appears to have had no cult temples of her own, although a few statues have survived, and she was sometimes portrayed in temple reliefs. The Egyptian system of constellations connected the hippopotamus with the northern sky, and it was in this role as Nebet-akhet (‘mistress of the horizon’) that Taweret was depicted on the ceiling of the tomb of Seti I…in the Valley of the Kings (KV15).”
She was “usually portrayed with the arms and legs of a lion and the back and tail of a crocodile (or even a complete crocodile perched on her back), while her pendulous breasts and full belly conveyed the idea of pregnancy.” On occasion, later, rather than having a crocodile back, she was seen as having a separate, small crocodile resting on her back, which was thus interpreted as Sobek, the crocodile-god, and said to be her consort.
Early during the Old Kingdom, the Egyptians saw female hippopotami as less aggressive than the males, and began to view their aggression as only protecting their young–not territorial, as was male aggression. Consequently, Taweret became seen, very early in Egyptian history, as a deity of protection in pregnancy and childbirth. Pregnant women wore amulets with her name or likeness to protect their pregnancies. Because of her protective powers during childbirth, “the image of the hippopotamus-goddess was considered a suitable motif for the decoration of beds and headrests.
In most subsequent depictions, Taweret was depicted with features of a pregnant woman. In a composite addition to the animal-compound she was also seen with pendulous breasts, a full pregnant abdomen, and long, straight human hair on her head. Faience vases in the shape of the goddess “provided with a small pouring hole at the nipple, were sometimes used to serve milk, presumably in an attempt to invoke extra divine potency into the liquid.”
As a protector, she often was shown with one arm resting on the sa symbol, which symbolized protection, and on occasion she carried an ankh, the symbol of life, or a knife, which would be used to threaten evil spirits. As the hippopotamus was associated with the Nile, these more positive ideas of Taweret allowed her to be seen as a goddess of the annual flooding of the Nile and the bountiful harvest that it brought. Ultimately, although only a household deity, since she was still considered the consort of Apep, Taweret was seen as one who protected against evil by restraining it.