Egypt or Nubia

Bes, spirit of domestic happiness, lord of love, music, and dancing, was among the most beloved popular deities of ancient Egypt. Spirit of pleasure and a woman’s best friend, Bes protects the family, especially children and pregnant women. He guards against evil spirits and trouble. Bes keeps malicious spirits away from women especially at crucial moments of conception and childbirth. Bes guards the childbirth process, guarantees fertility, may ward off venereal disease, and shields against the Evil Eye.

Bes’ distinctive image was ubiquitous in Egypt, carved onto bedposts and unguent pots, painted upon walls and tattooed onto the left thigh of female entertainers. Bes has long been perceived as a popular deity, beloved of the masses, rather than as a member of the official cult, but recent archaeological evidence indicates that Bes was a favourite with royalty and the upper classes, too. Some scholars believe that Bes originated in Nubia and traveled north. He was venerated as far afield as Mesopotamia.


Bes is a small man with a lion’s mane. He usually wears a lion or leopard skin and sometimes a crown of tall plumes. He dances with a small drum or a tambourine, slashing about with knives. His dance is intended to provoke laughter, which helps chase away malicious spirits. His association with drums is unusual and significant in a culture where drumming was associated with women. He is the only Egyptian deity who is consistently depicted full face.


Bes holds a knife for defense and the sa, an instrument of protection. He also holds various musical instruments whose sounds are meant to terrify evil spirits. He plays the harp, lyre, drums, and tambourine.


Taweret; they have a wonderful marriage and are happiest if venerated together.



Place: Bes is rumored to dwell in the southern gate of the Karnak Temple, where he reputedly enjoys startling unwary tourists.


Beset; Taweret


Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods & Goddesses– Written by Judika Illes Copyright © 2009 by Judika Illes.

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