Kitty Kat Goddess of Kittehs

Welcome to the shrine to one of my favourite ancient goddesses, Bastet, the cat-headed goddess of Ancient Egypt. As Egypt is my passion, I filled the shrine with all I know and put a lot of interesting facts about the deity kitty. If you know something more about Bastet, feel free to point it to me, be it archaeological news or some unknown facts about the goddess. Enjoy the travel through the cat land!

Part of

Fleurs du Mal

In the Nutshell

Egyptian Name: Bastet also known as Bast or Ubasti. Bastet's name means, "She of the perfume jar".

Status of Bastet: Goddess of cats the household, pets, healing and pregnant women.

Symbols: The Ankh, the cat, and the sistrum.

Cult Center: Bubastis.

Titles: The "Lady of the East", the "Goddess of the Rising Sun", the "Cat Goddess" and the "Devouring Lady"

Name in Hieroglyphics: Translated: Oil Jar, the feminine symbol.


Bastet

Goddess Bastet (Bast, Boubastis, Pasht, Ubasti, Ba en Astet) was a cat-headed patron of Per-Bast , symbolised by a house cat, sistrum and Horus' Eye (Udjat).

Bastet was a goddess of fire, cats, sensual pleasure, moon, dance, protector of the household, bringer of health and patron of pregnant women. She was called the Lady of the East (in opposition to her counterpart/sister, Sachmet, who was Lady of the West).

Bastet was depicted as a slender woman having the head of a domestic cat. She was daughter of Sun God Ra, for whom she fought with dreadful enemy of light, Apep. She is often depicted holding a sistrum, which was popular musical instrument at these time, possibly showing her role as a goddess of dance.

As daughter of Ra she was asociated with the concept of the Eye of Ra (the all-seeing eye, also called the all seeing eyes of Bast) and called the Distant Goddess (a female deity who leaves Ra and returns to bring transfromation).

Bastet is one of the rare sun goddesses which are also assosiated with moon. Possibly her more violent side was connected with sun and her more delicate - with moon.

On fresks and paintings she is often shown with a scarab, Ankh and sistrum.

At first, Bastet was a lion goddess of war, until myths didn't calm her personality down, made her into a cat and gave her much gentler role.

Her city of cult was Bubastis (Per-Bast), in East Delta. Her months of cult were April and May. Herodot used to paint beautiful image, describing the feasts in her name. Many egyptians were feasting and praising the goddess, the city was full of colors and life.

Her temples held a secluded cat cemeteries, where these animals were often mummified and buried. That allowed the souls of the cats to join Bastet and reach the spiritual world. Especially connected with the goddess were Mau cats, in which form Bastet often is depicted slaying Apep with her paw. That made ancient egyptians cherish cats a lot and they were sacred animals in Egypt. Cat amulets and kittens were often gifts for family and friends, always recieved with gratefulness.

The egyptian houses always kept small figures of Bastet or the cats or her utchat (Bastet's all-seeing eye) - to spread the safety over pregnant women and to insure health, as Bastet was also considered a great healer.

The rituals held in her temple, practiced to insure healing and fertility, were extremely sensual , full of music and dancing.

Some pharaohs felt strongly associated with Bastest. Examples include: Khaefre, Shepseskaf (called Beloved of Bast), Amenemhet III (he said that Bast watches over Kemet), Sermenil I-III (whose name is the Son of a Strong Woman and literally means Bast), Seti I (called the Son Bast) or Osorkon II.

The cult Bastet dates back to 2100 BC and lasted until the time of Cleopatra VII (30 century AD).

The most known cities important for the cult of Bastet were Memphis (where she was strongly connected with Sechmet), Heliopolis (connection with Tefnut), Herakleopolis (called the Hill of Bast), Thebes (connected with Mut), Sais (where most famous statue of bastet was kept) and Leontopolis (the city of Shu and Tefnut).

Bastet is the final name of the goddess. At first, she was named B'sst which became Ubaste, later Bast and then, at last, Bastet. There was also name Pakhet (She Who Scratches) but it's not know if it was another name of Bast or completely different goddess.

Intesting facts:

- as daughter of Ra, she was also considered a solar deity, showing how many aspects can be attached to one god.

- her other, solad name, was "Lady of Flame"

- During the Middle kingdom of Egypt or the period of reunification, between 2055 BCE and 1650 BCE, Bast was depicted holding a basket or rattle.

- killing of the cat or even hurting it, was a ery serious sin and was cinsidered a bad omen.

- the reason why cats were cinsidered sacret could be that they protected crops and werehouses from vermins and mice.

- Both Bastet and Sekhmet are considered to be the consorts of Ptah. However, Anubis, the jackal-headed god and protector of the dead and mummification, was also a consort of Bastet. Maahes, a lion-headed god of war, and Khonsu, the god of moon and youth, are thought to be the sons of Bastet.

- The Greeks called Bastet 'Ailuros', meaning feline.

- Bastet is the only feline goddess depicted as domestic cat.

written thanks to source: SpiritualRay

My Bastet

For me, as deeply connected with paganism, Bastet has special meaning. I am worshipper of the Moon in its feminine aspect and Bastet, even if not goddess from my pantheon, was moon lady too - I feel her everytime I look in the shiny face on the night sky.
I had also Mau cat named Bastet, when I was little. I still mourn her, as she was sweetest thing ever - and I think she had Bastet spark in her, a real regal and kind goddess of the kitty cats...

Katia and the Egyptian Lord

Funny fact, which I have to share here :) When I was 7, I wrote a story about a girl, who traveled through time thanks to Bastet amulet gave to her by mysterious and little ominous child, called Layla. She moved to Ancient Egypt, got totally lost and met an Egyotian noble who was setting a rebellion against cruel pharaoh. It made no sense, as I wrote then that he was named Nermer and nothing I know tells that Nermer was cruel tyrant ;) But Bastet many times appeared to Katia and gave advices. Silly tale but funny and worthy to mention. Maybe I will make a children book from it? Who knows! Just needs to change the plot a bit.

Bastet in popculture

Bastet appears in many movies, books and games. For example in Disney movie Nine Lives of Thomasina, the cat wakes up from aenasthesia and thinks she is a her. She is also used in Neil Gaiman's novel American Gods and comic Sandman, as supporting character. She is also worshipped in Wonder Woman comic issues and mentioned in Black Panther movie. Stargate SG-1 uses her as Goa'uld villain, an alien overlady who owns many planets under her claws. Bastet is also major god in The Kane Chronicles by Rick Riordan, where she appears quite oftenly. In the series Hercules, she appears in 46th episode: Hercules and the Romans, where Bast is a true goddess of newly built Rome. In one of episodes of Spy Dogs, rebel cats are summoning her to gain control over the world. Bastet is a playable god in the game called SMITE.
As we see, Bastet is quite popular and possibly exists in many more books and media I don't know of ;)

Hedorodus' descriptions of Bubastis and the festival of Bast

"Save for the entrance, it stands on an island; two separate channels approach it from the Nile, and after coming up to the entry of the temple, they run round it on opposite sides; each of them a hundred feet wide, and overshadowed by trees. The temple is in the midst of the city, the whole circuit of which commands a view down into it; for the city's level has been raised, but that of the temple has been left as it was from the first, so that it can be seen into from without. A stone wall, carven with figures, runs round it; within is a grove of very tall trees growing round a great shrine, wherein is the image of the goddess; the temple is a square, each side measuring a furlong. A road, paved with stone, of about three furlongs' length leads to the entrance, running eastward through the market place, towards the temple of Hermes; this road is about 400 feet wide, and bordered by trees reaching to heaven. "
"When the people are on their way to Bubastis, they go by river, a great number in every boat, men and women together. Some of the women make a noise with rattles, others play flutes all the way, while the rest of the women, and the men, sing and clap their hands. As they travel by river to Bubastis, whenever they come near any other town they bring their boat near the bank; then some of the women do as I have said, while some shout mockery of the women of the town; others dance, and others stand up and lift their skirts. They do this whenever they come alongside any riverside town. But when they have reached Bubastis, they make a festival with great sacrifices, and more wine is drunk at this feast than in the whole year besides. It is customary for men and women (but not children) to assemble there to the number of seven hundred thousand, as the people of the place say."

Archaeological news

BBC News Tuesday, 19 January 2010

In January, archaeologists from Egypt discovered a 2000 year old temple of the cat goddess, Bast. The temple was found in Alexandria. The temple is the first trace of royal households of Ptolemaic dynasty found in Alexandria to this date. This confirms the fact that Greeks continued to worshipp Bastet and other ancient egyptian gods.

Scientists say that many of the Greek period egyptian ruins lay under the city of Alexandria, still to be discovered.

The temple is said to belonged to Queen Berenike II, wife of Ptolemy III.

In the temple, archaeologist found statues of holy cats, and the proves that Bast was worshipped by Greeks as moon goddess.

Other artefacts were also discovered in the dig, including pots, a Roman water cistern, and the granite statue of a senior official dating from between 205BC to 222BC.

- written, basing on the source: BBC NEWS



National Post November 12, 2018

Ancient Egyptians were serious cat people, if a discovery in a tomb near Cairo is any indication.

On Saturday the archaeologist found the the tomb with dozens mummified cats, along the figurine of Bastet, around 100 wooden cat figures and signs of cat worshipp cult. They discovered artefacts and cat mummies are about 6,000 years old.

Ancient Egyptian were often burried with mummified animals who were their pets, especially cats. That was meant to ensure that pets will appear with the deceased in the afterlife.

Along with the cats, researchers uncovered gilded statues depicting a lion, a cow and a falcon. There were also wooden snakes and crocodiles and a handful of mummified scarab beetles. Mostafa Waziri, secretary general of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, called the bugs in particular unique.

- written, based on the source: National Post

Statuettes of Bastet



Bastet Art



This drawing of Bastet was done by Doctor Chevlong @ dA. For full version, look here. I encourage visiting whole gallery, too! Used with permission.



This art featuring Bastet was done by Yliade @ dA. For full version, look here. The artist has done many other egyptian gids drawings, check them out!



This art of Bast was done by yumeResonnance @ dA. For full version, look here. The artist has varied, beautiful gallery, too :)

Sitely

Why Bastet? At first I thought I will make Set shrine first, as he is my favourite god. But eventually my love for kittehs won and Bastet became my first full shrine ever. I hope you like the info about one of the most dual gods of ancient world.

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