Bast, the beloved defender of cats - pets
She is the armor of cats, women and children. The antiquated Egyptians celebrated her feastday on October 31 with genial merry making, music, dancing in the streets and drinking with acquaintances - the sort of feast we would recognise instantly.
A great week-long festival was held in the holy city of Bubastis attracting devotees from all over the kingdom to celebrate along the riverbanks and by means of the city streets. Herodotus tells of crowds boil to 700,000. Sadly, Bast and her feast day are overlooked in contemporary times but you could conceivably say that Hallowe'en was formerly celebrated as the Feast of Bast
She holds the mysteries of the cat in her power - those captivating animals with a biting power to fascinate or repel. Let's face it, all of us will admit that we also love cats or we can't stand the sight of them. Historically, the cat was first able with archetypical power in Egypt where it came to be regarded as a Sacred animal. For the cat is identified with Bast and she is most recognised for her interpretation as a woman with the head of a cat. When a cat curls up with its head emotive its tail, it forms a circle, the character of eternity, the figure of the divinity in anything form she has chosen
Bast is the Divinity of the rising sun, the moon, truth, enlightenment, sensuality, fertility, bounty, birth, plenty, the home, music and dance. She was the beloved idol and the protectress of women, small children, and domestic cats.
Bast was the owner of the Eye of Horus, the sacred utchat. Over time the utchat became more connected with cats and was often cat shaped. Egyptian women used these cat amulets as lushness tokens, praying to have as many offspring as cats have kittens
Our advanced names for the cat are resultant from the word utchat: cat, chat, cattus, gatus, gatous, gato, katt, katte, kitte, kitty, etc. One change of her name was Pasht, and from this we get the lasting Indo-European words for the cat: pasht, past, pushd, pusst, and puss
The Wildcats of Egypt first lived in the swamps and marshes along the Nile. As time progressed, and the associates began to grow grains and other cuisine and maintenance it for longer periods of time, rodents and other cockroaches began to thrive. The wild cat was acclaimed for its fierceness and rapacity, qualities it used to keep the rocent people under control, qualities which it also joint with the lion. What a boon was the Wildcat to the Egyptians!
The domestic cats we know today are all descended from the felix sylvesteris, the Wildcat of Africa and associate of the Egyptian farmer. And so began the long domestication process. As the cat was identified with Bast, so then Bast gained gargantuan popularity from 1000 BCE onward. Graceful hunting instincts were honoured, but so was the cat's gentler side as a warm and loving protect to her kittens.
The antediluvian Egyptians must have truly dear the beauty of wild creatures, they took the frightening aspects of animals and curved intensity into beneficial protection. Their gods possessed being character like the precision of the hawk and the asset of the bull. So then, we see in Bast the grace and classiness of a cat, the agility, strength, speed, and the deadly claws. She holds the charm, patience and loving character of a domestic cat, as well as the ability for the raw brute dilution of a lioness.
She also has the gift, like all cats, of looking deep into your soul.
And it's easy to see why Bast has been linked with pleasure, music and dancing for millennia. Just think of your own comfort-seeking cat who loves to be stroked and petted. Cats also love to play, with their attractive activities and drone as musical accompaniment, luxuriating in coordination of movement.
Today, ruins mark the blissful city of Bubastis, the once-proud temple is naught but tumbled blocks. In spite of this the name of Bast endures. For at least 5000 years there have been many who praised her name. Many still do so today.
Take a instant to honour this antiquated Egyptian goddess. Light a green candle, her sacred colour, and be demonstrative to a cat, her loved animal. When you concentrate on a cat, bring to mind you are communication to a hardly divinity, and a human being beloved of Bast.
Susanna Duffy is a Civil Celebrant, grief counsellor and mythologist. She creates ceremonies and Rites of Passage for being and civic functions, and specialises in partying inspired by the divine womanly in A deity a day
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