Bast
Bast
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Bast the cat goddess was originally she was viewed as the protector goddess of Lower Egypt, and consequently depicted as a fierce lioness. Indeed, her name means (female) devourer. As protector, she was seen as defender of the pharaoh, and consequently of the later chief male deity, Ra, who was a solar deity also, gaining her the titles Lady of Flame and Eye of Ra.

Later scribes sometimes renamed her Bastet, a variation on Bast consisting of an additional feminine suffix to the one already present, thought to have been added to emphasise pronunciation. But since Bastet literally meant (female) of the ointment jar, Bast would gradually became thought of as the goddess of perfumes, earning the title perfumed protector. In connection with this, when Anubis became the god of embalming, Bast, as goddess of ointment, came to be regarded as his wife, the association with Bastet having been the mother of Anubis, was broken years later when Anubis became Nephthys' son.

Eventually, her position as patron and protector of Lower Egypt, lead to her being identified as the more substantial goddess Mut, whose cult had risen to power with that of Amun, and eventually being absorbed into her as Mut-Wadjet-Bast. Shortly after, Mut also absorbed the identities of the Sekhmet-Nekhbet pairing as well.

This merging of identities of similar goddesses has led to considerable confusion, leading to some associating things such as the title Mistress of the Sistrum (more properly belonging to Hathor, who had become thought of as an aspect of the later emerging Isis, as had Mut), and the Greek idea of her as a lunar goddess (more properly an attribute of Mut). Indeed, much of this confusion occurred to subsequent generations, as the identities slowly merged, as with the Greeks during their occupation, who sometimes named her Ailuros (Greek for cat), thinking of Bast as a version of Artemis, their own moon goddess. And thus, to fit their own cosmology, to the Greeks, Bast was thought of as the sister of Horus, who they identified as Apollo (Artemis' brother), and consequently, the daughter of the later emerging deities, Isis and Osiris.

 

Bast
in
hieroglyphs

W1 t B1

The name of Bastet in hieroglyphs

Sekhmet (also spelled Sachmet, Sakhet, Sekmet, and Sakhmet; and given the Greek name, Sacmis), was originally the warrior goddess of Upper Egypt. She is depicted as a lioness, the fiercest hunter known to the Egyptians. It was said that her breath created the desert. She was seen as the protector of the pharaohs. Her cult was so dominant in the culture that when the first pharaoh of the twelfth dynasty moved the capital of Egypt to Memphis, the centre for her cult was moved as well. Religion, the royal lineage, and the authority to govern were intrinsically interwoven in Ancient Egypt during its ten thousand years of existence.
Triple_Goddess
The term Triple Goddess was popularized by poet and scholar
Robert Graves, in his "work of poetic imagination," The White Goddess (1948). Graves showed an archetypal goddess triad occurring throughout Indo-European mythology. archetypes. Graves extrapolated this further into a future world where the present Monotheistic religions are discarded and the Triple Goddess once again rules supremeThe motif as a dream symbol has been explored  Carl Kerenyi,[3] Erich Neumann, and  Carl Jung.[3]  Marija Gimbutas and many others.
 
 
Debunking Bast modern myths @ per-bast.org
 
Bastet Pages @ inanna.
virtualave.net
Isis and Osiris
by
Plutarch
crystalinks.com
/bast.html &
Cat Headed Beings
Pyramid Wall Party @ msnbc. msn.com
The discoveries at the Temple of Mut

the festival — which was held during the first month of the year, just after the first flooding of the Nile — re-enacted the myth of Sekhmet, a lion-headed war goddess.

Another ritual, celebrated several months later in the year and known as the "festival of the beautiful valley," called for the celebrants to get drunk on wine, laced with lotus flowers to promote sleepiness. The lotus could also induce vomiting — which is depicted in some Egyptian wall paintings, Bryan noted.

Ancient Egyptian Sexuality @ thekeep.org
The Golden Calf @piney.com

Herodotus referred to Bastet as Mistress of the Oracle.
Sekhmet by orderwhite moon.org Sekhmet is much older than Ra. It is told that she “came to Egypt from a place unknown and a time unrecorded” (Masters) as shown by some of her titles:

"Lady of the Place at the Beginning of Time
One Who Was Before the Gods Were
Mother of All the Gods" 
Spiral Eye of the Celestial Falcon @ burningman opera.org
THE EYE OF HEAVEN
A Grand Epic Ritual of Global Awakening.. ..unto the End of Time.... 2004
 
Ancient Egyptian beverages: Beer,

Clothing  Women's dresses could be ornamented with beads and the cloth was at times pleated. They covered the breasts most of the time, though there were periods when fashion left them bare Servants and slave girls wore at times little more than skimpy panties and jewelry

Bastet
Costumes at our amazon astore
Trigun: Fleece Cap - Black Cat (Cosplay Hat)
Halloween Vinyl Cat Ears Mask
Sexiest Cat Suit of All - For Halloween Costume or Catwoman Fun! - Mask Only
Purr-Fect Pussy Cat Costume
 
 

 

The mystic cat often appears to be meditating as it adopts a sphinx-like repose, its narrowed eyes give the impression that it is in touch with an inner life.

She is Goddess of sunrise. enlightenment,  truth, & civilization; abundance; protector of the home; physical pleasure, sex & erotic dance; fertility & birth. She is also known as a goddess of love, music and dance. Bast is the enlightened Maiden of the Triple Goddess with Isis and Nephthys 

Her popular notoriety as an Egyptian goddess today relates to her role as a goddess of excess, especially sexual excess in a well documented celebration which closely followed the 5-day July year end pageant celebrating the the death and rebirth of Osirus.  At this "festival of intoxication" which indulged unspoken desires Bast presided over huge gatheriings of party animals.

Bast is an ancient goddess whose stories and associations changed much over the millenniums. She is considered equivalent to Sekmut of Lower Egypt which had been conquered by Upper Egypt, whose is a more fierce lion headed cat.

 
 
 
Satirical papyrus
Bast/Sekmut
Annual Carnival festival of the warrior cat goddess

Bast feast day is celebrated on October 31

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Bast is an extremely ancient Goddess, long predating writing and thus her meanings have changed over the millenniums.

A Daughter of the sun god Re, sister of Sekhmet the Lion Goddess, and the Wife of Ptah. She embodies the creator/nurturer/destroyer aspect of the triple goddess [life, death rebirth] Up until 1000 B.C. Bast was a lioness goddess, but began to be depicted as a cat or a woman with a cat's head. As she was a goddess of fertility, there was sometimes kittens at her feet.

The Bubastis
Geb (taking his phallus in his mouth) under an ithphallyic male sky god and Nut with a snake-headed god under her
Bubastis was made famous by the traveler Herodotus in the 4th century BCE, when he described in his annals one of the festivals that takes place in honor of Bastet. Excavations in the ruins of Tell-Basta  which is the former Bubastis have yielded many discoveries, including a graveyard with mummified holy cats.
"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. "

    -- Herodotus, Histories Book II Chap 60

Is it Bast or Bastet? 

 The confusion in the pronunciation runs deeper than one might think. Firstly, in many cases, the Egyptians did not record vowel sounds--so you might here "Bast" pronounced "BOST" or even "BIST".  We don't really know what the vowel sound was between the "B" and the "ST" sounds.  Secondly, the name "Bastet" has been used because the Egyptians used an extra "T" mark to distinguish a female rather than male personage.  

No life-size -or greater - representations of Bast, in any form, have survived intact, although a great many smaller bronzes and statues have been recovered and can now be seen in museums around the world. But this does not necessarily mean that larger statues didn't exist. In his 'Histories', Herodotus wrote that a statue of the Goddess existed in the main temple shrine at Bubastis, but gives no detailed description of her.

Today, no shrines or temples remain of Bast in Egypt; even Bubastis was mostly ruins by the time Naville got around to it.

There is a "Portal of Bast" on the Giza Plateau (fittingly, near the Sphinx), and statues have been discovered showing Khaefre accompanied by Her.

A painting of Bast is present within the tomb of Nefertari at Abu Simbel, and dozens of bronze statues dating from the Late Period have been discovered amidst the cat cemetery found at Per-Bast.

 

The Greeks equated Bastet with Diana and Artemis and attempted to incorporate her into the Isis and Osiris central myth as their daughter but the Egyptians never went along

Sekmut: warrior goddess

Lionheaded Goddess, she who is the scorching power of the Sun, defender of the Divine Order and the daughter of RE

Image:GD-EG-KomOmbo016.JPG

As Lower Egypt had been conquered by Upper Egypt, Sekhmet was seen as the more powerful of the two warrior goddesses, the other, Bast, being the similar warrior goddess of Lower Egypt.

In the myth, Sekhmet's blood-lust was not quelled at the end of battle and led to her destroying almost all of humanity, so Ra tricked her by turning the Nile red like blood (the Nile turns red every year when filled with silt during inundation) so that Sekhmet would drink it. However, the red liquid was not blood, but beer mixed with pomegranate juice so that it resembled blood, making her so drunk that she gave up slaughter and became an aspect of the gentle Hathor.

An annual festival commemorating this mythical event was held at the beginning of the year, a festival of intoxication, the Egyptians danced and played music to soothe the wildness of the goddess and drank great quantities of beer ritually to imitate the extreme drunkenness that stopped the wrath of the goddess—when she almost destroyed humankind.

Pacifying the destroyer aspect of the goddess  through the Carnaval spirit

http://shs.westport.k12.ct.us/jwb/Art/Power/33.jpg
Egypt (Karnak, temple of Mut), New Kingdom, Dynasty 18, reign of Amenhotep III, 1390-1353 B.C.Stone; Granodiorite
Ancient Egyptians identified the lion-headed goddess Sekhmet (her name means “The Powerful One”) with tempestuous weather, scorching heat, pestilence, and war. Priests constantly strove to calm her destructive and unpredictable nature with ceremonies and offerings. Sekhmet was believed to be especially threatening at the time of New Year (mid-July), for if she was not pacified, the Nile might not rise, the new year could not begin, and the cycle of life would cease. This image of the goddess, brought to Boston from Egypt in 1835, is probably one of 730 erected by King Amenhotep III in the temple precinct of the goddess Mut, Sekhmet’s pacified alter-ego.

According to myth, the bloodthirsty Sekhmet nearly destroyed all humans, but the sun god Re tricked her into drinking mass quantities of ochre-colored beer, thinking it was blood. Once Sekhmet passed out, she was transformed into a kinder, gentler goddess named Hathor, and humanity was saved.

Bast  and Sekhmet were connected to Hathor, , Tefnut, Atum (her father) and Mut. It was only in the New Kingdom that she gained the head of a house cat and became a much more 'friendly' goddess, though though the lion-headed warrior woman image remained. As with Hathor, Bast is often seen carrying the sistrum rhythm instrument.

Even from very old times, as protector, Bast was seen as the fierce flame of the sun who burned the deceased should they fail one of the many tests in the underworld.

Some of Bast's festivals included the 'Procession of Bast',

'Bast appears to Ra', the 'Festival of Bast', 'Bast Goes Forth from Bubastis' and 'Bast guards the Two Lands'. There was even a 'Festival of Hathor and Bast', showing the connection between the two goddesses.

Egypt is given credit as the breeder of the first domestic cats from Africa who likely made good companions to the large grain stores which needed to be protected from mice.

Beer, made from fermented barley bread, was the drink of choice for the festival of drunkenness as celebrated at the Temple of Mut.

Ever watchful, Bast also became known as the “sacred and all-seeing eye”, or "utchat", where the word “cat” is probably derived from

The wadjat, the eye which had been robbed by Seth, and healed by Thoth after its return. The wedjat is the symbol of the power of Re.

The Wadjet (or Ujat, meaning "Whole One") is a powerful symbol of protection also known as the "Eye of Horus" and the "all seeing eye". The symbol was frequently used in jewellery made of gold, silver, lapis, wood, porcelain, and carnelian, to ensure the safety and health of the bearer and provide wisdom and prosperity. However, it was also known as the "Eye of Ra", a powerful destructive force linked with the fierce heat of the sun which was described as the "Daughter of Ra". The "eye" was personified as the goddess Wadjet and associated with a number of other gods and goddesses (notably Hathor, Bast, Sekhmet, Tefnut, Nekhbet and Mut).

The restored eye became emblematic of the re-establishment of order from chaos, thus closely associating it with the idea of Ma´at. In one myth Horus made a gift of the eye to Osiris to help him rule the netherworld. Osiris ate the eye and was restored to life. As a result, it became a symbol of life and resurrection.

As an amulet it protects against the evil eye.


Temple Ceremonies

The temples of Heru/Horus at Edfu and Hwt–Hrw/Hathor at Dendera document this ceremony.

Just before sunrise a procession of priests and priestesses dressed in ritual garb, including sacred masks of many of the Neteru, began deep in the temple. They carried offerings, ceremonial implements and shrines holding gold statues of the Neteru. Slowly climbing the eastern staircase the procession echoed the steady ascent of both Sirius and the Sun. Once on the roof the shrines were opened to greet the morning light.The image “http://imagecache2.allposters.com/images/EUR/1400-15354.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Inscriptions from Dendera take up the narrative. Hwt–Hrw is ". . . the beautiful one who appears in heaven, the truth who regulates the world at the head of the sun barge, the Queen and Mistress of awe, the ruler (of Gods and) Goddesses, Isis the great, the Mother of the Gods." Here Hwt–Hrw’s identity extends to Isis (Aset) and Sopdet— the Ancient Egyptian name for the star Sirius .

Additional inscriptions continue: "Radiantly, above Her father’s forehead, the Golden One rises, and Her mysterious form occupies the bow of His boat. Her rays unite with the luminous God on that beautiful day of the birth of the sun disk on the morning of the new year’s feast"  Rejuvenated by the combined light of Sun and star, the statues were returned to their shrines and the procession began its journey down into the temple via the opposite staircase representing the westerly journey of these celestial bodies.

Inebriation of Hwt–Hrw
Just twenty days after the New Year Festival the ceremony known as the "Inebriation of Hwt–Hrw" occurs. 
 
 

http://inanna.virtualave.net/67.jpg"Come, O Golden One, who consumes praise because the food of her desire is dancing, who shines on the festival at the time of illumination, who is content with the dancing at night.
 Come! The procession is in the place of inebriation, that hall of traveling through the marshes. The drunken celebrants drum for you during the cool of the night" .

 

A maid brewing beerThe idea that a religious holiday would indulge dancing, drinking and sensual festivities occurring throughout the night may be foreign to us but if communion with the gods is the objective and altering your state of consciousness is the path then it is easy to understand the importance of intoxication. This intoxication could, be achieved through the use of alcohol or narcotics. However, inebriation also was achieved through the use of chanting, fasting, dance and music. In essence these were all seen as a means to create an altered state allowing one to become more open to the spiritual forces around them.

In the Ancient Egyptian religious and magical expression all of these methods were frequently applied. The Goddess Hwt–Hrw’s title "Lady of Drunkenness" clearly reveals this aspect of Her nature. This "sacred drunkenness" or "sober drunkenness" can take on many forms.

  "His prayer displays a profound awareness that Maat and Hathor, order and drunkenness, are both needed in the solar circuit. Right action by itself was never the goal of the Egyptian solar cult; nor were excess, delight, wine and fire ever suppressed for the sake of duty–bound moral worth alone. And if it can be said that Maat directs and guides, equally it must never be forgotten that Hathor is the power who moves the desire for life and existence"

"Hathor Rising" Alison Roberts
The Power of the Goddess in Ancient Egypt
. Copyright 1997. Inner Traditions. Rochester, Vermont, U.S.A.

How often have you found yourself caught up in the rhythm of a song or dance; or been swept up in the ecstasy of love, or the passion of sexuality? These are all states of "intoxication." A similar and yet perhaps more profound intoxicating state of mind occurs when communing with the divine.

"Let us go to the place of drunkenness, my place of passion since antiquity"

Found repeatedly in the Goddess’ temple of Dendera. "place of passion" is a metaphor for the intoxicating state of mind in which one is in direct communion with Hwt–Hrw Herself.
By dancing to the rhythm of the drumming and chanting this ancient incantation, the deeper levels of the mind become more open to a state of spiritual awareness.

Egyptian Dance
Mixed gender pair dancing as we know it today wasTwo dancing girls at a banquet; excerpt, Source: unknown. Egyptian dancing may have been influenced by the Nubian tradition, which became very popular in Rome during the days of the empire, and is still alive in parts of the Sudan today. Dancers from the south were brought to Egypt and seemingly much admired.

    Egyptian choreography appears to have been complex. Dances could be mimetic, expressive - similar to modern ballet with pirouettes and the like, or gymnastic, including splits, cartwheels, and backbends.
    A few pictures of acrobatic dancers have been found, generally depicting a number of dancers performing the same movement in unison.

    For sociable banquets the dancing girls were often selected from among the servants or the women living in the harem of the nobleman in whose house the party was held; possibly professional dancers were also hired for these occasions. Pictures of such gatherings show girls performing slow elegant dance steps, which may have alternated with wild acrobatic movements.
 
    Public celebrations were accompanied by dancing, be it spontaneous or orchestrated.


http://i9.photobucket.com/albums/a85/medicinewitch/EgyptianHaremMusiciansPlayLuteHarpD.jpg

 

Dance and Dancers in Ancient Egypt

"[The city] is bestrewn with faience, gleaming with natron, garlanded with flowers and fresh herbs. The prophets and fathers–of–the–god are clad in fine linen, the king’s entourage are arrayed in their regalia. The city’s youth are drunk, it citizens are glad, its young maidens are beautiful to see, rejoicing is round about it, festivity is in all quarters, there is no sleep in it until dawn" p
g229 Lesko, Barbara S. The Great Goddesses of Egypt. Copyright 1999. University of Oklahoma Press, U.S.A.

Triple Goddess
Plutarch tells us that
"on the upper part of the convex surface of the sistrum is carved the effigies of a Cat with a human visage, as on the lower edge of it, under those moving chords, is engraved on the one side the face of Isis, and on the other that of Nephthys."


The face of Isis represents Generation, and that of Nephthys Corruption, and Plutarch says that the Cat denotes the moon,

"its variety of colours, its activity in the night, and the peculiar circumstances which attend its fecundity making it a proper emblem of that body. For it is reported of this creature, that it at first brings forth one, then two, afterwards three, and so goes on adding one to each former birth till it comes to seven; so that she brings forth twenty-eight in all, corresponding as it were to the several degrees of light, which appear during one of theorion moon's revolutions. But though this perhaps may appear to carry the air of fiction with it, yet may it be depended upon that the pupils of her eyes seem to fill up and to grow larger upon the full of the moon, and to decrease again and diminish in their brightness upon its waning--as to the human countenance with which this Cat is carved, this is designed to denote that the changes of the moon are regulated by understanding and wisdom."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nephthys represents death and destruction or the crone inhttp://www.fire-serpent.com/post/nephthys.jpg the triple goddess,  Isis is the mother nurturer and the cat is the maiden forming a bridge not only between good and evil, but between interior and exterior life, and between supernatural forces and the tribe.

Bast was strongly revered as the patron of cats, and thus it was in the temple at Per-Bast that dead (and mummified) cats were brought for burial. More than 300,000 mummified cats were discovered when Bast's temple at Per-Bast was excavated. Egyptians believe, when a cat in the family dies, to show respect, they display the body outside of the home.
There is a Gnostic belief that it was a cat that originally sat in the Garden of Eden guarding the Tree of Life with its knowledge of good and evil.
Drinking:
BEER: Invented & often toasted by the Egyptians
Drink till drunk while enjoying the feast day!
 
Inscription from the tomb of Petosiris, 4th century BCE
M. Lichtheim Ancient Egyptian Literature, Volume III, p.51
The mouth of a perfectly contented man is filled with beer.
Inscription dating to 2200 BCE
 
Woman vomitting at banquet     
    Both men and women were known to get intoxicated. In one tomb picture a woman is seen vomiting, in Pahery's tomb at el Kab a man is depicted saying
Give me eighteen jugs of wine - I want to get drunk, my insides are as dry as straw.

 

A maid brewing beerAccording to Strabo, a geographer living in the first century CE, only the Egyptians brewed beer from barley. Unfortunately his remarks are very general and don't give us any pointers on the methods used:
Barley beer is a preparation peculiar to the Egyptians. It is common among many tribes, but the mode of preparing it differs in each.
Beer, together with bread, oil and vegetables, was an important part of the wages workers received from their employers. The standard daily ration during pharaonic times was two jars containing somewhat more than two litres each. It was a healthier drink than water drawn from the river or some canal, which was often polluted.

    The Egyptians liked their beer cool as can be learned from a complaint against some robbers who had stolen some food and drink:

They drew a bottle of beer which was [cooling] in water, while I was staying in my father's room.
New Kingdom Egyptian publications of Mariette G. Maspero, Etudes de mythologie et d'archéologie égyptiennes vol. 3, 1898

Egyptian Beer Mug

Egyptian beer, with pasteurizing unknown, often turned bad in the hot climate, and dead pharaohs were promised:
bread which doesn't crumble and beer which doesn't turn sour
.
Large scale beer production seems to have been a royal monopoly. Temples had their own breweries, while brewing in towns and villages was farmed out.bast2.jpg One of the earliest breweries found operated at Hierakonpolis during the middle of the 4th millennium BCE and produced possibly more than 1000 litres of beer per day.
Gambling

A pair of ivory dice made sometime before 1500 B.C. have been found in Egypt. Dice are possibly the oldest form of gambling, predating playing cards by hundreds of years. Originally a form of fortune telling in ancient Egypt, bone rolling slowly evolved into a gambling game. The original dice were made of bones and teeth of animals.

The previous version of backgammon was called Senat, as found in Egypt excavations. These ancient boards go back as far as 3,000 BC In ancient Egypt inveterate gamblers could be sentenced to forced labour in the quarries
It is thought that gambling appeared very early in our human history and it is possible that Egpyt was the first

Nudity

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Nudity was an accepted part of Egyptian life and had little to do with sex. According to tomb depictions children were often naked and even grown ups removed their clothes in public when the work they were doing required it.

The ancient Egyptians frequently went around in light, see-through clothing or, alternately, no clothing at all. It was hot, after all.

A Connection to other worlds

Bastet has been known as the "hidden lady of Bubastis." The images of her which bear the "feather of Maat" point to her partial identification with the goddess of balance and equilibrium. The place of the cat as a medium, lies between good and evil, inner and outer life, gods and men - linking and separating the two. If man consults this animal with access to both worlds and allows it to lead him wherever it will, he may receive knowledge that would otherwise remained hidden. If he acquires foreknowledge of future delights in store for him, the cat will appear to be an "omen of good luck." If he receives a presentiment of disaster, he may declare that the prophetic cat was black.

 

 

Music was a lucrative career open to both men and women in ancient Egypt.

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