Deity of the Day
The Egyptian Cat Goddess
Areas of Influence: The Egyptian cat goddess Bast had numerous areas of influence that developed over time. In the early days she was the fierce lion headed Goddess of the lower Nile who protected the Pharaoh and the sun God Ra. This is why she has the title of Goddess of protection. In this role she became Goddess of the rising sun and holder of the Utchat, the all seeing eye of Horus. Statues of this Goddess would be placed in households to protect them from thieves.
In the Book of the Dead she is mentioned as destroying the bodies of the deceased, with the royal flame, if they failed the judgment hall of Maat.
Later she was depicted with the head of a domestic cat, representing her more nurturing aspects. Woman of the time would buy amulets of this Goddess illustated with different numbers of kittens, representing the number of children they wished to have. The links to fertility and childbirth were further strengthened by the Greeks. They likened this Goddess to Artemis and she also became associated with the moon and children.
As a cat Goddess she also protected houses from rats and snakes and so ensured the health of the occupants.
The Goddess was linked to the music and dance due to the special rattle that she carried known as the Sistrum. The rattles were used to celebrate her festivals.
She was connected with perfumes as she shares a hieroglyph with that which represented the bas jar. These were ceramic vessels used to hold expensive perfumes. Her son was also linked to perfumery.
A Patron Goddess of fire fighters due to the Eygptian belief that if a cat ran through a burning household she would draw the flames out behind her.
Her cult was centered in Bubastis, when her temple was excavated they found the mummified remains of over 300 000 cats. She was worshipped throughout the lower Nile.
She was also known by several different names including Bastet, Basthet, Ubasti and Pasht. The name Pasht is the root of our word passion, linking this Goddess to physical pleasure.
Origins and Genealogy: In common with many Egyptian Goddesses her lineage is complicated. She was the daughter of Ra and is often said to be the sister of Sekhmet.
Linked with many of the Egyptian Gods and Goddesses she bore a son called Nefertem. Mut later absorbed her identity together with that of Wadjet to become Mut-Wadjet-Bast before also taking over the identities of Sekhmet and Nekhebet.
Strengths: Protector, sensual and caring mother figure.
Weaknesses: Chameleon like and fierce when threatened.
Presented as a lion headed or Cat headed woman often carrying an ankh or papyrus wand. She is associated with the all seeing eye (the utchat) and a rattle (the sistrum).
Sacred Animals: Lions and domestic cats.
Sacred Plants: Catnip.
Festivals: According to the Herodotus her festivals were licentious and popular affairs also celebrated with music, dancing, drinking. No wonder Bast is considered the Goddess of Pleasure.
Represents physical strength, and the ability to protect and fight for your rights and those of of others.
Whilst the shadow side of the Warrior reflects the need to win at all costs, abandoning ethical principals to prove your supremacy.
Bast is a Warrior protecting her father and the Pharoh. As a mother cat figure she is fierce in the protection of her young.
Represents passion and selfless devotion to another person. It also extends to the things that make our hearts sing, like music art or nature.
The shadow aspect is obsessive passion that completely takes over and negatively impacts on your health and self esteem.
Bast was the Lover of many Gods and Goddesses. She is also associated the pleasures of music, dancing and perfumery.