Ancient Egyptian - The sceptre as a symbol
Type of Spiritual Experience
The was (wahz) ("power, dominion") sceptre is a symbol that appeared often in relics, art, and hieroglyphics associated with the ancient Egyptian religion. It appears as a stylized animal head at the top of a long, straight staff with a forked end.
Was sceptres were used as symbols of power or dominion, and were associated with the gods (such as Set or Anubis) as well as with the pharaoh.
In later use, it was a symbol of control over the force of chaos that Set represented.
In a funerary context the was sceptre was sometimes included in the tomb equipment or in the decoration of the tomb or coffin.
The Egyptians perceived the sky as being supported on four pillars, which could have the shape of was sceptres. The was sceptre is also the symbol of the fourth Upper Egyptian nome, the nome of Thebes (called Waset in Egyptian).
Remnants of real was sceptres have been found, constructed of faience or wood, where the head and forked tail of the Set-animal are visible, with the earliest examples dating back to the times of the first dynasty. The was (ws) is also the Egyptian hieroglyphic character that stands for a word meaning power.
Set or Seth is a god of the desert, storms, disorder, and violence in ancient Egyptian religion. In Ancient Greek, the god's name is given as Sēth (Σήθ). In mythology, Set has a positive role where he is employed by Ra on his solar boat to repel the serpent of Apep – the ouroboros. Set was lord of the red (desert) land where he was the balance to Horus' role as lord of the black (soil) land.
A description of the experience
A was sceptre, carried by the god Set, in the tomb of Thutmose III