I have always felt as though there was a lot of overlap between Aset and Set, as in their drive and ability to Get What They Want always seemed similar to me. Both deities seem to be willing to kick a devotee into gear by any means necessary in order to get things moving forward. Both have been known to create waves throughout the company of the NTRW, both are capable of fighting off a/pep from the solar barque (fun fact, it’s not just Set who is capable of this,) and both have a way of being a bit subversive in the rules that they choose to follow or not follow. Even Spell 84 in Borghouts states that “her heart was more rebellious than an infinite number of men”, and I don’t know how much more alignment with Setian energy you can get with so much rebellion flowing through your veins.
In many ways, both Set and Aset have very good survival methods, though I posit that they survive and are able to do what they do through very different means. Traditionally, Set is considered a deity of strength and force. As mentioned yesterday, he represents everything that is natural, wild, and out of our control. In terms of tropes, he’s the character that is able to punch his way out of any situation. It is his strength and ability to force change where he needs or wants it to be that allows him to be effective.
Aset, on the other hand, is less about physical force and is more about mental acuity and observation put into action. It’s her ability to read a situation quickly, and know exactly who or what to do or say to shift the tide into her favor that has allowed her to be as successful as she has been. As it happens, I was looking into what causes resiliency and an ability to survive in the face of danger or threat (for Set’s post,) and it turns out that being able to read a situation and make very quick and decisive decisions at the drop of a hat is key to being able to survive despite incredible obstacles. I believe that Aset embodies these aspects of survival.
Regardless of what version of the Osirian myth you read, Aset is always front and center, to facilitate Osiris’ safe transition into his new way of being. It’s also Aset who facilitates Horus’ ability to not only be conceived, but to survive long enough to become King. While it’s true that Aset often utilizes other entity’s powers and abilities to make this happen (such as calling on the NTRW to heal Horus when he is stung by a scorpion, etc.), that is exactly what makes her heka so impressive and formidable.
In many ways, her ability to find the right spaces to pick at, to ask the right questions, create the right alliances or situations to get what she wants — all of these things are forms of her heka, and they are what make her powerful. She doesn’t even necessarily have to do the work — she can say the right things to get you into doing it for her, or set it up in such a fashion where you have no choice but to acquiesce her request.
“Now Isis was a wise woman. Her heart was more rebellious than an infinite number of men, more smart than an infinite number of gods. She was more clever than an infinite number of spirits. There was nothing she was ignorant of in heaven or on the earth- like Re’, who takes care of the needs of the earth.”
When you consider the fact that Aset is the throne, the seat upon which kingship is grounded, it begs to ask if these are the sorts of traits necessary to excel as the King. Of course, you have traits from both Set and Horus, but if you’re not capable of knowing when to use brute strength vs. when to use structures and legality to get what you need, you won’t be very effective at wielding either aspect. To me, it seems that Aset has the means by which to know how and when to utilize the skills of herself and others so that the task gets done quickly and effectively. Having her abilities would give you a firm foundation to utilize any other skills you gained throughout a lifetime.
And if we go back to the concept that each of us is, in our own way, kings within our own lives, it begs to ask if we should be cultivating more of these aspects within ourselves as well. Not necessarily the ability to manipulate people or use people to get what we want (as it is sometimes stated that Aset has done in some myths,) but instead to cultivate and fine-tune our senses, communication, and heka to be more effective in creating beneficial outcomes out of whatever kind of situation you walk into.
There are means to improve our observation skills, and improving those skills will likely open us up to new possibilities, new ideas, new edges to interact with. There are means to become better listeners, better communicators, and better humans that will bring us to be more present with the world around us. When you’re more present, you’re more able to seize opportunity, notice small details, and get what you want out of life. All of these things are embodied by aspects of Aset, and all of these things feed into ma’at. If Aset is the foundation upon which a king sits, then perhaps her skills should be the foundation upon building a more stable life or existence.
I think there is one other key part to really wielding the type of heka that Aset does, and that is the skill of knowing where you are going. When I went to her with my thoughts about the contents of this post, she responded with only thing (and I am paraphrasing), “Knowing how to get what you want is important, but what is it exactly that you want?” I think it bears repeating that we may all know what we don’t want, but there is also power in knowing what we do want. In order to truly tap into her ability to transform a situation, we must have an idea of what we want to transform the situation in to.
Do you feel that you embody Aset’s heka? Do you wish that you did? In what ways would her type of heka be helpful in your life?