Bastet or BastAncient Egyptian Cat or Lioness Goddess
(by Gunawan Kartapranata, CC-by-SA 3.0)
Bastet can be depicted several ways:
1. With the head of a cat
2. As a fierce lioness
3. As a house cat
Bastet sometimes carries or wears the following:
- An ancient rattle or percussion instrument called the sistrum
- A breastplate or 'aegis'
- A small bag over her left arm
- A disk-shaped headdress adorned with a cobra's head
Qualities: PROTECTS THE HOME FROM VERMIN AND DISEASE * GUARDS PREGNANT MOTHERS
Natural protector of ancient Egypt's food source:
Wheat was vital to the ancient Egyptians, so it's easy to see why they worshipped cats. After all, cats are the natural enemies of mice and rats, who are known to destroy grain. For this reason, cats made a good addition to any home, and granaries as well.
Cats were so revered that if you killed one, you could be punished by death! They were so beloved, that many cats were even mummified, which according to myth allowed them to live on in the afterlife. One presumes the cats entombed with their owners would carry on their work in the afterlife. In addition, vast cat-specific-cemeteries containing hundreds of cats have been discovered.
|Mummified cat, ancient Egypt, 2000-100 BCE|
(Wellcome Images cc-by-4.0)
It was said that Bastet possessed the ability to protect mothers during childbirth. As cats are such good mothers with their kittens, she was called upon because her powers of protection were unsurpassed. People liked to wear cat charms for protection, and she was very protective over families. Bastet could fight off chaos using her sharp claws or sometimes even a knife.