Posted by Mistress of the Myst
On Friday, July 7th, We Honor Bast, The Egyptian Cat Goddess
Areas of Influence: Bast, the Egyptian cat Goddess 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 Egyptian Goddess would be placed in households to protect them from thieves.
She was also known by several different names including Bastet, Basthet, Boubastis Ubasti and Pasht. The name Pasht is the root of our word passion, linking this Goddess to physical pleasure.
In the Book of the Dead she is mentioned as destroying the bodies of the deceased, with the royal flame, if they failed the judgement hall of Maat.
Later the Egyptian cat Goddess was depicted with the head of a domestic cat, representing her more nurturing aspects. Woman of the time would buy amulets of this Goddess illustrated 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. These special 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. Perhaps this is why she was also said to give protection against contagious diseases as many of the perfume ingredients were plant materials with healing properties.
A Patron Goddess of fire fighters due to the unusual Egyptian belief that if a cat ran through a burning household she would draw the flames out behind her.
Although her cult was centred in Bubastis She was worshipped throughout the whole of the lower Nile region. When her temple was excavated they found the mummified remains of over 300 000 cats.
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.
Consort: In addition to being Ra’s daughter she was also his consort.
Children: With Ra She had a son named Mahes (also known as Mihos) who was also a lion God. The feline Goddess was also bore another 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: Her festival was known as the Bubastis which according to the Herodotus her festivals were licentious and popular affairs also celebrated with music, dancing, drinking. No wonder she is considered the Goddess of Pleasure.
Temples: Her main cult and temple was centred around the ancient city of Bubastics where the remains of over 300 000 cats mummies were discovered.
In 2010 National Geographic Magazine reported that a new temple dedicated to the Goddess had been found in Alexandria.
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.
This cat Goddess is a Warrior protecting her father and the Pharaoh. 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.
This Egyptian Goddess had many lovers. She is also associated the pleasures of music, dancing and perfumery.