cat

She Who is All – The Goddess of Ten Thousand Names

May, 2017

Bast/Bastet

Goddess1

 (Graphic: ancientegyptonline.com)

The Egyptian Goddess Bast or Bastet was originally a Lion-Headed Goddess, who gradually changed into the Cat-Headed Goddess we are more familiar with.

Even though Her outward appearance changed, Her temperament did not. She was still as fierce as a lion, while having the playfulness, grace, and dignity of a cat, sometimes affectionate, sometimes not, depending upon Her mood. Those of us who have a cat for a companion can certainly attest to that!

Goddess2

(Graphic: Wikipedia)

Bast was thought to be the daughter of Ra, and as such, was called the “Eye of Ra”. It is said that She rode with her father in his chariot, pulling the sun across the sky.

She is portrayed as holding an ankh, for immortal life, and occasionally, a papyrus wand, which was a symbol of Lower Egypt, as well as the all-seeing eye of Horus.

She is known to have protected Her father, Ra, from Apophis/Apep, the serpent, who was one of Ra’s greatest enemies. When Ra’s priests could not vanquish the serpent with their magic, Bast, who saw all with her eyes, killed the snake. Due to this, She was known as a Goddess of Protection.

As most Goddesses, She has many aspects and names. Because of Her travels across the sky with Ra, she is known as the Lady of the East and Goddess of the Rising Sun. She is a Moon Goddess, as the glowing eyes of the cat remind one of the radiant moon.

She was the Goddess of Health, as it was believed that she bestowed both physical and mental health. She was the Protector of the Household, as cats protected homes from both rats and snakes.

She has Warrior aspects, as we have seen; but She is also a Lover. She ruled sensual pleasure, dancing and music. At Her temple in the city of Bubastis, Her priestesses wore red and danced erotically at Her festivals. These festivals were always joyous occasions filled with the music and dancing that Bast loved. She also loved erotic scents. The scents most sacred to Her were musk, cinnamon and sandalwood.

Goddess3

(Graphic: Pinterest)

Bast is closely linked to Hathor; She sometimes carried a sistrum which was one of Hathor’s symbols. They are both honored at the Temple of Denderah, which was sometimes called the Bubastis of the South. They are both in the Kafre Temple at Giza – Hathor for Upper Egypt and Bast for Lower Egypt.

The Temple of Bupastis was filled with sacred cats, which Her priestess believed to all be incarnations of Bast herself. When the Temple was excavated, more than 300,000 mummified cats were found at the cat cemetery located there.

Goddess4

In honor of Bast, cats were sacred to the population of Egypt and were cherished. Cats were dressed in beautiful earrings and other jewelry. It was a serious crime to harm a cat and those who did, were punished.

Bast was also honored as a Goddess of Fertility and Childbirth, due to the ease with which cats seem to deliver their kittens, and the nurturing shown to the kittens after their birth.

Bast’s colors were black, silver, turquoise and red; Her gems were lapis lazuli, jasper and, of course, cat’s eye. It should come as no surprise that Her plant was catnip.

No matter which aspect was primary at any one given time, Bast was always who

She was, totally accepting of the being that She was. If there is anything that one can learn from Her, it is that we are who we are and we should accept and embrace ourselves.

Goddess5

May the Blessings of Bast be upon you!

The Mood of a Cat

July, 2015

Cats generally are content to do whatever they are doing at the time, whether that is stalking, eating, or simply sitting and going to sleep. They do not feel guilty that they are not doing something else instead. This is the frame of mind in which the witch should enter the circle; for if he or she feels the sort of conflict that cats do not feel, part of the witch’s spirit will be continually moving across the circle to someplace else, and this will disrupt and weaken it. It is because cats feel content to be where they are and to do what they are doing in the moment that they can cross the boundary of a circle (as can small children) without disrupting it.

In order to have the mood of a cat in circle, the witch must cultivate that mood at different times outside the circle. This is one important reason why cats were often kept as familiars of witches, and cats appear to know that they have something to teach us, and look after us strange, uncomfortable animals. A witch keeping a cat as a familiar would shapeshift into a cat at times, when going on nocturnal journeys or traveling to the True Sabbat in the Summerland. Some witches kept hares or horses as familiars, and some kept dogs, of course; but we hear of cats fulfilling this office quite often.

The witches’ rune found by medieval troubadours which begins “Bagahi laca bacahé” is of unknown meaning, but parts of it suggest meanings, especially the last stanza, which runs “Lagozatha cabyolas, samahac et famyolas, Harrahya!” It seems fairly certain that cabyolas means cabaler, that is, covener. Samahac is opaque; perhaps it means ‘guest.’ Famyolas, however, is almost certainly famulus or familiar. Harrahya is our hurray or hurrah, but at the time of this chant it may have retained its original Mongolian meaning of ‘gathering.’ For when shamans and their tribe wish to raise personal power or ‘windhorse’ (hiimori), they will extend their arms forward, palms up, and make clockwise circles with them while chanting ‘hurrahya.’ In so doing they raise power together, gathering it from the other world. It is conceivable that the khan’s armies performed this rite also before battle, and their European enemies may have adopted the practice as a taunt or perhaps a morale-booster. This is all pure speculation, naturally, but it is perhaps suggestive of something witches can do together.

Witches often meditate when first entering a circle, and if they are in the regular habit of doing so, it will help them to get into a cat’s mood for the circle rite. Witchcraft does not prescribe specific methods of meditation, but recommends witches do it or some form of preparation ‘after their ways.’ Just sitting for a short period of time, say fifteen minutes, in the early morning or late at night (or any time when one is unlikely to be interrupted) can slow down the nerves and allow one to feel content to do just this one thing. Once in circle, one should not feel rushed or think about what one will be doing later. Catholics have a joke among themselves about the last words of their Mass: “The Mass is ended; thanks be to God.” The joke is obvious without having to be explained, but if many Catholics feel that way about their greatest sacrament it is unfortunate, for being in a hurry to get something over with is definitely counterproductive to magic or piety.

After the cone of power has been raised and energy grounded, witches sit quietly and pass around water or wine or ale, and bread or cake. This part of the rite helps to quiet the general mood, and to encourage a feeling of fellowship and leisure among the coveners.

Remember that ‘Sabbat’ means ‘rest,’ and ‘Esbat’ means ‘frolic.’ Neither rite is supposed to feel like work. So leave your work ethic outside.

Oracles and Omens

September, 2010

Omens and superstitions have been around for hundreds of years, maybe longer. The more the tale is exaggerated the more we tend to enjoy it. My Grandmother was the Queen of old wives tales. She put so much emphasis in what she said that I have never forgotten any of her stories or superstitions. I now tell my own Grandchildren. I believe without Superstition our lives would be dull and unimaginative. I hope that you enjoy what you read here and remember, just because it’s a Superstition doesn’t mean it won’t take form in Your life.

The-Black-Cat

*A cat sitting with its back to the Fire is an Omen that the weather will soon change.
*Hearing a cat Cry before leaving on a journey is Bad Luck.
*It is Good Luck if someone gives you a Black cat.
*A cat jumping over a Dead Body will cause the body to become a Vampire.
*If a Cat Follows you, you will soon come Into Money.
*If a Cat Sneezes it Is Lucky.
*When a Cat Washes it Face Visitor’s will soon Arrive.
*Stroke a Cat’s tail Nine times for Luck at Playing cards.
*To Protect a home place a Statue of a Cat on the roof. 

The-Besom

*There is a rule that must Always be followed~ Never Move a Broom from one Home to Another. Negativity will come with it.
*To Purify the home you move from Swing your Broom around your Head Three times in Each Room.
*For unwanted Guests place a Broom behind the Door with the Bristles facing Upward. If the Visitors still Refuse to Leave Stick a Fork into the bristles.
*If a Broom drops across a Doorway, soon you will Embark on a Journey. You Must pick it up Quickly and Do Not step Over it.
*When the Rain continues on, create images of Brooms and paste them to Your doors And fences to Bring Clear Weather and Sunshine.
*If you shall Fall from your Hands while you Sweep, make a Wish Before picking it up.
*If the Desire for Marriage is your Longing, Jump over a Broom nine Times and within a Year, Your Wish will come True.
*To Bring Rain go Outdoors and Swing a Broom in the Air over your Head.
*If it is your Wish to use Your Broom as a Lightening rod. Put your Broom on the porch, it has been Said that Lightening and Electricity are Attracted to Brooms.
*Laying a Broom across a Doorway allows Departed friends and Family to Communicate freely with you.
*If you Feel that Unfriendly Spirits are haunting you, Step over a Broomstick and it will prevent Them from Disturbing you for Ever more.
*When Nightmares keep you from Sleep, hang a Broom from your Bed Room door and place Garlic beneath your Pillow.
*Always sweep in the direction of the Fireplace if you Do Not have one sweep Anywhere, but toward the Front door so you do not your Homes’ Good Luck away. 

The-Eyes

*Blue ~ Intelligence and Divine Powers
*Gray ~ Calculating
*Green ~ Creative
*Brown ~ Flirts before Marriage, but is Loyal Afterward
*Eyelashes of the Right eye curl Down ~ A Good Omen for men; Bad Omen for Women.
*Beware of the One whose Eyebrows meet, because in the Heart there Lies Deceit.
*Eye- shaped Charms are worn often to Ensure good Health, courage And Wisdom.
*A man’s right Eye twitching ~ Good Luck
*The Left eye ~ Bad luck
*A woman’s Right eye Twitching ~ Bad luck
*The Left Eye ~ Good Luck
*Right eye Itching ~ Expect good Luck
*The left ~ Expect Bad Luck
*Eyebrows*
*Arched ~ Imaginative
*Curved ~ Inquiring
*Heavy ~ Blunt
*Straight ~ Alert
*Joins the Nose ~ Lucky, Untruthful, indicates a Vampire or Werewolf
~ Beware of the One whose Eyebrows Meet, because in The Heart lies Deceit ~
*Meeting a Person of the Opposite Sex who is cross Eyed ~ Good Luck
*Eye shadow of Blue on the top Lid and Green on the Bottom will Strengthen Optic Powers and Provide Protection
~ Superstitions are Upheld by people whose Lives are different from those Who Fear the unknown. The Energy of these Forces are used To control and Perform actions to Protect oneself. The negativity that awaits in Every corner is a Risk that the Beholder is Not willing to Take. Perform the Ritual and Believe. It Will happen or Not.

Myths and Legends: Journeys Through Time

March, 2010

Myths and Legends: Journeys Through Time

black-cat

The Cat

Mysterious, intelligent, independent, needy, curious, adorable, cunning and whimsical. These are

a few of many adjectives used to describe an animal. Particularly an animal that thousands

millions even, own or are owned by worldwide. That animal is the closely watched and

regarded with great suspicion sometimes. None other than feline domesticus, the common

cat. Cats are most often accused of being a witch’s familiar or too darn smart for their own

good. Aside from that black cats especially are thought to bring about bad luck and ill news.

Some cultures believe that if a cat goes near a corpse or jumps over one, that person will

return to life as a vampire. Other cultures praised the cat because of their cleanliness and

their wisdom. There is one culture though that held cats in the highest regard. The Ancient

Egyptians held cats in such a high regard that they were considered demigods. Not beings of

of this plane entirely but beings of both this plane and the god’s plane. Cats were so very

important to the Ancient Egyptians that anyone caught killing, or harming one even if by acci-

dent, were killed themselves. The cats guarded the royal granaries and kept out mice and

vermin that would have otherwise depleted the food supply. It’s no wonder then that the

people of Ancient Egypt worshiped a goddess whose duties included protecting cats.

That goddess would be Bast, also known as Bastet. There are many interpretations as to

exactly what Bast was the goddess of. Some interpretations have her as the goddess of fire,

dance, good fortune, music, and secrets. All accounts however agree that Bast was the

Goddess of cats, a goddess of fertility and a protector. The Ancient Egyptians associate with

Ra making her a solar deity. However to the Greeks she is a lunar deity as they most likely

associated her with  artemis. As with most Ancient Egyptian deities, Bast has a temple

of worship as well as a town and cult that worshipped her. The town is called Bubastis,

or Per-Bast. Named after Bast and is located in Lower Egypt. There are many other temples

and many other cities that also worship Bast but the most holy and revered place is Bubastis.

Bubastis is so important because when the prefix “Per” is added to the beginning of a name

the meaning of the name translated loosely to as “home of” so Bubastis, was considered the

home of Bast. Originally Bast was seen as a protector of Lower Egypt and in fact her name

means “Fierce Devourer”. Before her name was changed to Bastet she was depicted as a lion

headed goddess and in charge of protecting the sun god, Ra. This association with Ra lead to

her gaining the titles ‘Lady of the Flame’ and ‘Lady of the East’. Some account say that Bast is a

daughter of Ra’s and that’s why she fights so hard to protect him. Other accounts say she is

simply a protective and avenging deity, a war type deity if you will. When Bast was renamed

Bastet which translates to “female of the ointment jar”, Bast also became known as a goddess

of perfume and eventually as the wife of Anubis, as he was known as the god of embalming.

As Lower Egypt lost more and more wars, Bast’s position in the deity order went lower and

lower, leading to her name change and her being seeing as less fierce and more motherly. It

was at this point at time that she began being depicted as a cat-headed goddess instead of a

Lion-headed goddess. It was also around this time that she became associated with fertility

and motherhood as domesticated cats are very gentle with their young. As cats were asso-

ciated with Bast and so very important, they were mummified. The cat owners would even

go so far as to shave off their eyebrows to show mourning when their cat died. At the temple

of Bast in Bubastis, more than 300,000 mummified cats were found. Also, when an owner died

they were buried alongside their cat. As the years changed Bast’s identity merged with those

of other similar goddesses which lead to the Greeks naming her “Ailuros“which is Greek for

cat and associating her with the moon goddess, artemis.  All in all the stories, history of this

cat goddess is very intricate and has many different facets. Presented here are some of the

basic and more well known facets of this goddess. Also, presented are some slightly lesser

known facets. Suffice to say, this goddess is every bit as mysterious and unpredictable as

the charges to whom she gives protection are.

Works Cited

www.touregypt.net/godsofegypt/bast.htm

www.crystalinks.com/bast.html

www.moggies.co.uk/bastet/bastet.html