Bastet - Cat Goddess For Sale
Some Observations on
Bastet, Cat Goddess
Bastet was known as the Lioness Goddess of Lower Egypt and was called Bast. Bast was said to be the wife of the god Ptah. And Ptah was the creator god of the universe.
Bast's temple maybe the most famed and is acclaimed as the most beautiful temple in all Egypt, having two canals one hundred feet wide carved in and around her main temple from the Nile.
The Goddess Bast, like her Upper Egypt counter part, Sekhmet, had the body of a woman and the head of a Lioness. She was viewed as the protector goddess of Lower Egypt, and consequently depicted as a fierce lioness. Indeed, her name means (female) devourer.
As a protector, she was seen as the defender of the pharaoh, and then of the chief male deity, Ra, who was a solar deity. This cat goddess gained the titles Lady of Flame and Eye of Ra.
She was sometimes depicted holding a ceremonial sistrum in one hand symbolizing her role as a goddess of dance, joy, and festivity. A Sistrum is a musical instrument, somewhat like the modern tambourine.
By the time of the Middle Kingdom, Bast had been renamed Bastet by the priests of Amun. She came to be more associated with the domestic cat, rather than a lioness. At this time, Bastet was also recognized as a fertility Goddess, due to the fact female cats are known for their ability to have a number of litters in any given year and closely after having just had a previous litter.
Thus, a woman who wanted children sometimes wore an amulet showing the goddess with kittens, the number of which indicated her own desired number of children.
Due to the threat to the food supply caused by simple vermin such as mice and rats, and their ability to fight and kill snakes, especially cobras, cats in Egypt were revered highly, sometimes being given golden jewellery to wear and were allowed to eat from the same plates as their owners. Bastet is strongly revered as the patron of cats.
Bastet is also seen as the deity and Protector of House and Hearth. She is often depicted as a woman with the head of a domestic cat/house cat or sometimes as a woman holding the mask of a lioness. Or finally, Bastet is depicted in statues as a domestic cat.
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