30 Days of Sobek: Day 12 – Sobek’s Sacred Places

Sobek’s presence can be found all over Egypt, but the two places where His cult was most prominent are Kom Ombo, where He shared a double temple with Heru-Wer, and the Faiyum region in the north near the delta. The delta was also associated with Him, but His cult was particularly represented in the Faiyum.

Shedet, or Crocodopolis, was the biggest city in the Faiyum, and the centre of Sobek’s cult there. It was referred to as The Great Palace. But there were temples all over the Faiyum, and a temple to Sobek and Renenutet in Dja (Medinet Madi). Its fortunes fluctuated over the course of Egyptian history, but had significant attention and rebuilding in the 12th, and 18th Dynasties, as well as in later Greek periods as well.

The Greek period brought the Soknopais gods, though I can’t find out enough about them to know if they were natively Egyptian, or just a bunch of hypo-regional crocodile gods the Greeks placed all over the Faiyum. Certainly, if they were known by Egyptian names earlier on, I haven’t found any correlation to the Greek names, so ymmv. But then information about Sobek is hard to find at the best of times, and I can’t tell if my google-fu is just terrible, or if no one’s bothered to look into it yet.

Apart from these cult centres, Sobek can be found in many places in nature. Rivers, waterways, marshlands, and wetlands are His territory, as well as anywhere crocodiles live. I also give oases to Him, though I know historically, they were also given to Set.

I am one of those Sobek devotees who gives Him the ocean, even though the ocean did not really feature much in Egyptian mythology except as the Great Green, this place of strange things and big, deep, water. There’s a mention of a connection in the Book of the Faiyum, too, but since I don’t have a full translation to work from, I can’t be entirely sure of the context. But it just feels like a natural association to me.

Sobek’s connection to the ocean makes me see Him in sharks and rays, and I also see Him in the dinosaurs. Sobek has always felt very, very old to me, so dinosaurs fit right in with that vibe, as well as the typical landscapes we associate with dinosaurs, those lush plains with ferns and grass and mountains and reptiles everywhere.

Of course, any green, lush, fertile land is also His. I see Him a lot in the winter storms, where the green is much more intense than it is in summer. He is the winter grass, the blooming fertility of the drenched earth, the black, rich soil that nurtures life, the life that is sustained off this new growth.

I did want this to be a bit longer, and a little more comprehensive, but research time has slipped away from me, and I don’t want to fall behind on my daily posting. I think what I want to do with these once they’re done is slowly go back and add in the research I don’t have time to do now, and begin to flesh these out properly. Then they’ll be a much better resource for people looking for more information on Sobek. So I’ll leave this here for now, and keep going. I have some more pre-writing to do, it’s going to be a busy week.

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