Ast is the perfect combination of a pure heart with pure ambition. Like her husband Asar (Osiris), whose trials opened and smoothed the way for those who follow him through death's gates into the underworld, Ast nurtures and protects those who struggle through life, following her path to success and immortality. All life that is fragile and new falls into her care, and it is she who watches over children as they sleep and keeps them from harm. She ensures that those who are just are not devoured by the perils of existence; for to Ast, all children are her children, are Horus; all husbands are her husbands, all wives her sisters.
But she is much more than this-- not just a passive protectress, or some sort of "guardian angel" or fertility goddess. She is at least as wise as Asar, as mysterious as Nebt-Het (Nephthys), and even as cunning as Suti (Set). The subtle difference between Ast and her siblings is the unique blend of brilliance and strength that she employs as she pursues her ends.
Her role in the trials of Asar is well documented in the texts known as the Sorrows of Isis. A less frequently told story that may shed more light on Ast's character is the story of her ascendence to divinity.
Ast began her life as a mortal woman, endowed with miraculous (but not unbounded) powers of sorcery and healing. But she felt that to fulfill her destiny, she had to somehow transcend the limitations of her mortality. One day she set out to follow the chariot of Ra (which appears to us as the sun) along its course across the sky. She saw that Ra aged incredibly during his daily journey, so that even though he began each day young and strong, by the advent of sunset he was a frail and doddering old man. She returned day after day, watching and waiting carefully. At last her patience was rewarded: for near the end of the fifth day, the enfeebled god let fall drool from his gaping mouth; Ast collected the spittle of the god and returned home with it. She took a handful of the dusty earth of her land and combined it with the spittle, working it into clay which she shaped into the form of a serpent. She worked through the night on the serpent, reciting spells and words of power of it and making it an instrument of her will.
The next day, she waited near the western horizon for Ra's chariot to approach. As it did so, she placed her serpent in its path, so that as the god approached, the serpent came to life and struck at him, sinking its clay fangs into his flesh. Ra, as the ultimate progenitor, was immune to the bites and stings of all of the natural animals of the earth; but as this serpent was created by sorcery, and from the very fluids of his own body, the poison of its bite spread like fire through his blood. Ra fell instantly ill, and the chariot of the sun was stopped dead as his court gathered around him, shaken and fearful. They each tried in vain to heal his wound and stop the spread of the poison, but Ra grew only weaker and closer to death. Ast then seized her opportunity and spoke in the voice which the gods cannot help but hear, declaring that she could and would cure him-- but only if he gave to her his most secret name.
After feeble and hurried attempts to bargain with the sorceress, Ra came to the realization that his time was near, and having tried all else he agreed to assent to Ast's offer. He removed himself and Ast to a place outside of this universe, where nothing and no-one had ever been or would ever be again. In this void he revealed to her his True and Secret Name. The power of the knowledge of this name instantly transformed Ast into an immortal being. She reversed the sorcery of her clay serpent and Ra was renewed. His gratitude to her secured her place among the other gods and goddesses of the world.
Thus we see that through Ast the impossible is attainable.