Sobeknefru, Powerful Pharaoh and Queen of the Dragon Court
Named after the crocodile God Sobek, Sobeknefru, whose name means ‘she who shows the beauty of Sobek’, succeeded her brother to the throne of Egypt. At the time she came to power, the cult of Sobek had prominence in Egyptian society and following her example many of the pharaohs of the 13 th Dynasty felt it incumbent to take the name Sobek. Who was this God?
Sobek was associated with the Nile crocodile and is either represented in its reptile form or as a human with a crocodile head. Sobek was also associated with power, fertility, and military prowess, but served additionally as a fiercely protective deity, which was invoked particularly for protection against the dangers presented by the Nile River. He gained ascendance through the myth that linked him to Isis and Osiris, when he helped the Goddess retrieve her husband’s dismembered body parts.
Wall relief of Sobek, Kom Ombo Temple, Egypt ( Wikimedia Commons )
His cult was established in Faiyum Region, with its capital Sheddet (translated Crocodilopolis) devoted to the care and worship of the god, and of the crocodiles raised in the temple as reincarnations of the deity.
One of the most important benefactors the cult of Sobek had was Amenemhat III, Sobeknefru’s father. He had taken a particular interest in Faiyum and in Sobek and so the area blossomed with many new building projects. Sobeknefru would have grown up around the priesthood of the Deity and perhaps Sobek was her personal favourite of the pantheon. When her brother died, the priesthood of Sobek backed her claim to the throne, as Amenemhat IV had no sons.
Glazed steatite cylinder seal of Sobeknefru ( British Museum )
What we know from Sobeknefru’s reign is that she extended the labyrinth that her father had begun in the Faiyum Oasis—this labyrinth was used as a model for the one in Crete, hinting that perhaps there was an initiation ceremony in both countries that was turned into myth later.
Unfortunately, not much else is known about her reign as there is little evidence, unlike Hatshepsut. Archaeologists have not found her tomb (though a pyramid in Dashur may be hers) and so all we have are five statues, several beads, scarabs and seals bearing her name. Other evidence comes in the form of Manetho's text; in the Turin Canon, the Karnak, Turin and Sakkara king lists and a Nile inundation record. She is listed at the mortuary Temple of her father, Amenemhat III which she completed. Surprisingly (or not) her name appears many times at the temple, whereas her brother’s name is absent.
A headless statue of Sobekneferu in the Louvre ( public domain )
Sobeknefereu was the first known female Pharaoh for which there is confirmed proof, and she is known to have had a prosperous, though brief, reign. Some have claimed that she is the Egyptian Princess who rescued Moses and that he was Amenemhat IV, forced to flee when he killed the Egyptian. When he left and Amenemhat III died, she would have taken the throne. Considering her father’s patronage of the cult of Sobek and the care of the holy crocodiles, it is reasonable to suggest that is why the babies were given to them as a method of population control.
It may be surprising that her influence is found in certain families who have claimed descent from her, namely: the Dragon (or Sacred Crocodile) Court, which operated concurrently with the Serpent Cult and the Mystery Schools. It was said to have been founded by the priest-prince Ankhfn Khonso, though it was Sobeknefru who established it as a Pharaonic institution.
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What were the changes wrought by this merging of belief and politics? For starters, Pharaohs were anointed with Sacred Crocodile (Messeh) fat when they were crowned, referred to in Egypt as the Holy Mesa, which became the Aramaic Mashih, which in its verb form is MeSHeH or ‘to anoint’.
This lead to the early Kings being called ‘Dragons’, ‘Mesas’ or ‘Messiahs’. This practice may have begun in Mesopotamia, but it was Sobeknefru who instituted it in Egypt, which was then adopted by the High Kings of Israel and Judea. Jesus, as a Messiah, would have been anointed with the fat of the Messeh by his Priestess-Wife, as did his ancestors which were of the Davidic line.
The belief in the conception of a Messeh without sexual union did not begin with Jesus, but with the Goddess Isis, who conceived Horus with the aid of Sobek who helped her retrieve her husband, though with one key body part missing. The Egyptians believed cosmic forces intervened in the impregnation under the patronage of the crocodile star. We find it in spell 148 of the coffin text: