Tag Archives: Egyptian mythology

Secrets of a Rebel Pharaoh

 Thy dawning is beautiful in the horizon of heaven,

O living Aten, beginning of life.

 

Transformation came to ancient Egypt when Pharaoh Akhenaten banished the old gods and established monotheism around 1350 BCE.

  • The priestly caste lost its power and prestige.
  • Thebes and other royal destinations no longer served as the Paris and Riviera of their time.
  • Pharaoh moved the entire court to an obscure northern desert location that he named Akhetaten after his god.
  • There he built a marvelous white and gold city to honor his deity, a sublime entity depicted by the disk of the sun with cascading rays.
  • For a time during his 17 year reign he lived in pleasant circumstances with his beautiful wife Nefertiti and their daughters.
  • The art of the period relaxed into informality and naturalism.
  • Pharaoh wrote exquisite poems to his beloved god, Aten.
  • He offered a new way to his people, and all seemed well.

 

That was only on the surface, of course, and only among Pharaoh’s most loyal family and supporters.

  • Beneath, in the beating heart of long-remembered Egypt, the old gods stirred.
  • The old priestly caste of Amen-Ra connived to reassert its power.
  • The common people of Egypt longed to demonstrate their unfailing devotion to the deities that had served them well for millennia.
  • Never mind this unrelatable, usurper god who appeared distant and unfeeling.
  • Never mind this heretical Pharaoh who had disrupted eons of stability and tradition.
  • Also, with disproportionate emphasis placed on radical change in religion and little on national security, the wolves were at the gate.

 

Egypt was headed for reversal, with the end result a return to the old gods and old beliefs.

  • Pharaoh, his gleaming white and gold city, and his god Aten were scratched off the stones and monuments, covered by the desert sands, and forgotten by history.
  • He remained unknown until the discovery of his long lost city, now called Amarna, in the 1800s.

 

Upon discovery, the modern world became captivated by the Amarna period.

  • Pharaoh and his revolution were admired.
  • Nefertiti became a subject of fascination and awe.
  • The subsequent discovery of Tutankhamen’s tomb shook the world.
  • My favorites Smenkhkare and Meritaten emerged as mysterious figures that scholars fervently seek to pin down.
  • Some scholars, including Freud, theorize that Pharaoh’s beliefs were instilled by the visiting Hebrew Moses.

 

Again, revel in the beauty of Akhenaten’s words:

Thy dawning is  beautiful in the horizon of heaven,

O living Aten, beginning of life.

 

Cheers & Happy Reading!

Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic in Romance

 

 

Mythic Monday: 13 Little Known Nature Deities

Dryad11

Evelyn De Morgan [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

13 LITTLE KNOWN NATURE DEITIES

The ancients were closer to nature than we. Nightime was dark, seriously dark, untempered by street lamps, store lights, and the steady hum of our modern need for twilight. Only the communal fire offered safety from the terrors looming outside the common grounds. Unlike we, who tend to consider humans apart from and superior to nature, ancient cultures viewed themselves as part of a pattern of wholeness. The divine was immanent rather than than transcendent. Spirits, deities, and the activating forces of nature formed the web of life along with humans, and dwelt within the forms of trees, animals, rocks, mountains, rivers, and the like. Mother Earth was the all powerful goddess who gave birth to each form in the world and, upon death, received the form back into herself. Her greatness and glory were celebrated in the naming of sacred springs, wells, trees, mountains, forests, and all natural formations. Each place on earth held her indwelling spirit. Springtime plantings and April’s Earth Day provide a chance to pay homage to the natural splendor in which we live. In celebration of Gaia, here are several lesser known ancient nature beings associated with Mother Earth.

Abnoba – Celtic goddess worshipped in the Black Forest region, also the name of a mountain range. At one ancient shrine the name is added to that of the great goddess of the hunt, Diana. The roots of the word Abnoba pertain to river and tree, and possibly to naked.
Ash – Ancient Egyptian god of oases and vineyards. Wine jars were often inscribed “I Am Refreshed by Ash.” Evidence proclaims him an ancient deity of protodynastic times.
Cernunnos – Celtic horned god of the wild, made visible in all horned and antlered animals. His was the masculine power that mated with the feminine spirit, resulting in the perpetuation of life. The name itself means horned one. Of particular interest to me is his association with a two-faced Janus-like being by the Celts of the Iberian Peninsula.
HibiscusofRonnie1-11-2015Fan Cheng – Chinese god of the hibiscus. Each flower has its own deity, which to me is a wonderful tribute to nature. And I love hibiscus!
Idunn – Norse goddess of spring who guarded the sacred apples that kept the gods young, allowing only the gods to eat of the fruit. Her name means always young or the rejuvenating one. When Loki attacked her, he caused Idunn and her apples to fall into the hands of the enemy giants. The Norse deities began to wither and age, and Loki was charged with restoring Idunn and her apples to safety and glory.
Korrigans – Spirits of underground healing springs. They were fairy beings of ancient Britany who were beautiful, tiny, and so shining as to be translucent. At night a Korrigan’s form was that of a young maiden, but in the harshness of day she became a withered crone who could be dangerous to any man that interfered with her rituals or sacred ceremonies.
Jurate – Mermaid sea goddess of the Baltic who lived in an undersea castle made of amber and watched over fishermen, allowing them plentiful hauls.
Medeina – Lithuanian goddess of the forest whose sacred animal is the hare. She was a huntress protecting the forest and a she-wolf who ran with the wolves. Her name means tree. Shrines to her have been located in the form of stones with hollows that resemble wolf prints.
Ningikuga – Sumerian goddess of reeds and marshes who wore jewelry made of lapis lazuli, the gold flecked, dark blue gemstone. I find her interesting, as the dwellers of the southern marshlands were generally looked down on as a lesser class by the city folk of ancient Mesopotamia. She is sometimes associated with the great goddess Ningal and sometimes designated as Ningal’s mother.
Ops – Roman goddess of the fruitfulness of earth. She gave grain and fruit to the people and comes down to us in the word opulent.
Qocha Mana – Hopi white corn maiden, also known as Kachina and Goddess Yellow Woman. She gave the nourishing grain to her people.
Tacoma – Earth goddess of the Cascade Mountains who lived atop the snow-covered peaks of Mount Ranier. She was the protector of the natural, fresh waters and nourishment in the form of salmon.
Xochilpilli – Aztec earth god of maize and ecstatic song. His name translates to Flower Prince and pertains to the joy of the soul’s life. The Mayans worshiped him under the epithet Tonsured Maize God, and he was adorned with a mother-of-pearl pendant in the shape of a teardrop.

I hope you enjoyed hearing about these 13 little known ancient nature deities. Which one appeals to you the most? Here’s to a wonderful spring! I hope you receive all the splendor and blessings Mother Earth can give you.

Cheers & Happy Reading!
Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic with Fantasy Romance

Mythic Monday: 11 Reasons to Love Your Library

Story TellerLibraries—why do we love them? Let’s start way back with once upon a time. The goddess Seshat exerted a powerful civilizing influence on ancient Egypt. Her name means “female scribe,” and she was known as the mistress of libraries and secretary of heaven.

Over 3,000 years ago Ramses II inscribed his library in Thebes, Egypt with the iconic words Healing – Place of the Soul. This was one of the first things I learned in Dr. McCrossan’s class, as I sought my Master’s Degree in library science years ago. Does it give you a shiver to think of that ancient library and all the sacred texts it must have contained? It certainly does me.

Another name I always remember from library school is Ashurbanipal of those Sumerian descendants, the Assyrians, who amassed a vast library in Nineveh with thousands of tablets in 600 BCE.

Of course the most famous library was in Alexandria, Egypt, and that spectacular institution housed texts from over the known world. What a travesty for all that wisdom to be lost through fire and war. Historically, at high points in culture when learning is valued, libraries are an integral part of the scenario. Today’s public libraries serve as a cornerstone for literacy and education, and thousands of reasons exist to value and use your free library card. Let’s take a cue from Seshat and look at 11.

You want to read the latest offerings by Stephen King and J.K. Rowling , but your budget is tight right now.  Best sellers and popular reading are plentiful in the library– print, audio, and eBooks.

Your college reading list includes John Keats’ poems, Aeschylus’ plays, and Notes from the Underground by Dostoyevsky. Classic literature is a key component of the public library.

You want to learn Spanish during your commute to work.  Language audios are among the library’s most popular items.

You want to read a book recommended by an out-of-state friend but your library doesn’t have it.  There’s a good chance your library can borrow it for you through the interlibrary loan service.

Your daughter gave you a computer, but you are clueless about how to use it. Computer classes are available in the library.

Your child just told you he has a report due tomorrow.  Librarians will be glad to help you and your son find what he needs to write the report.

Your cousin needs to get his GED.  Library literacy programs can help him prepare.

Your neighbor has always been an avid reader, but now her eyesight is poor. Large print books are an option.

You live alone and are feeling out of touch with people. Numerous groups use the library’s meeting room, including Friends of the Library, artists, and crafters. Library movie nights are good, too.

Your doctor said you need to exercise more.  Tai chi is offered in the library.

Your preschooler needs to maintain her reading level over the summer. Summer reading programs may be the answer.

me, loretta, dylan12-21-13ACROPPEDAfter working in the library for over two decades and as library director for half that, it’s clear the library serves as a community hub. It’s also thanks to the public library that our local writing group, Sunshine State Romance Authors, has a great location to meet each month. This week we are helping celebrate National Library Week. I’ll be at Homosassa Public Library almost all day on Tuesday, April 12, with fellow author Loretta C. Rogers. I have a reading scheduled at 11:30, and Loretta’s is at 1:00. I’ll also be there from 12:30 – 2:30 on Thursday, April 14. Authors will appear all week. Come out and see us if you can! Keeping Seshat in mind, I hope you’ll visit your local library during National Library Week.

More: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC314099/

Cheers & Happy Reading!
Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic with Romance

 

 

Mythic Monday: Scorpio Goddess Hecate

AN00969955 001 l

Richard Cosway [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

“He then the name invokes
Of Hecate; abundant honour straight
Shall follow on his path, if to that prayer
Gracious the goddess leans and opulence
Attends his footsteps; for the power is hers.”
     Hesiod, translated by Sir Charles Abraham Elton, from Theogony

“It keeps eternal whisperings around
Desolate shores, and with its mighty swell
Gluts twice ten thousand Caverns, till the spell
Of Hecate leaves them their old shadowy sound.”
     John Keats, from On the Sea

As the Wheel of the Year swirls into late autumn, the energy of Scorpio mirrors the cooling of earth and the slow descent into dormancy. The mood becomes more distant, less fiery and emotional, yet not detached in the way of an air sign. Rather, the sense is of the closeted dampness of inner earth, where mysteries abound and life and death intertwine. Scorpio is self-aware and also cognizant of various realities. During this time of year we survey with wonder the changing colors around us, the dying of what was new last spring, and we are beckoned toward attentiveness to life’s mysteries. It is time for us to feel the energy of that which cannot be seen with the eyes. There is immense power now. Magic abounds. Honor the mystery and learn from it, while protecting your own sense of self. Things are not always what they seem, and differentiation of your spirit among many is a worthy task. I honor the great goddess Hecate as the 2015 patron goddess of Scorpio.

Although Hecate is considered a Greek goddess, Barbara G. Walker in The Woman’s Encyclopedia of Myth and Secrets traces her beginnings back to ancient Egypt, where she was known as Hekat, the powerful goddess of midwifery and magic. Other spellings are Heket and Heqit. Hekat’s powers flowed from the very source of death and creation. As cosmic midwife, she brought spirit into the body and the world of the living. As priestess, she accepted spirit back into the underworld realm at death. Hekat evolved from an even earlier power, the heq or tribal matriarch of pre-dynastic Egypt. The tribal matriarch commanded the sacred mother’s words of power called the hekau. These magical incantations were vital to gain entrance into various areas of the underworld.

Hecate, or The Night of Enitharmon's Joy, Butlin 316

William Blake [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

To the ancient Greeks, Hecate was a Titan, one of the divinities preceding the Olympic gods. Only she and Zeus had the unique power of being able to grant or withhold at will anything from humankind. Some say her worship came to Greece from Thrace. As cosmic midwife Hecate retained her association with the mysteries of life and death. She existed as a trinity, ruling heaven, earth, and the underworld. In heaven she was the moon Hecate Selene, on earth she was Artemis the Huntress, and in the underworld she became Persephone the death goddess. From the trinity of maiden, mother, and crone, Hecate was most aligned with the dark crone aspect. Hebe or sometimes Persephone denoted the maiden. Hera or sometimes Demeter represented the mature woman. As a triple goddess, Hecate was closely associated with moon goddesses Selene, Artemis, and Diana. Offerings were left for her at crossroads where three roads met. She was the queen of witches and magic, and as Diana this association extended through Roman times and the many centuries following. She was invoked at crossroads at the midnight hour, and magical rites were performed in her name. She was sought after for her powers of healing, guidance, prophecy, and compassion for humanity.

May we all be blessed by the healing and reverence of hidden mysteries as bestowed by one of the most ancient goddesses, Hecate. When you look up at the waxing moon tonight and the full moon five days from now, perhaps you’ll think of the moon goddesses of old.

GuardianoftheDeep_SM (1)Cheers & Happy Reading!
Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic with Paranormal Romance

Mythic Monday: Virgo Goddess Seshat

Sidney Hall - Urania's Mirror - Virgo

Sidney Hall [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

As the Wheel of the Year winds toward autumn, the energy of Virgo surges forth. The focus is now upon practical matters, details, and getting things as right as we can. The time is ripe for delving into human nature, including our own inner selves, and paring complexities down to the core. Pay attention to the world around you. Think things through. See people for who they really are, and realize you have the ability of creating and maintaining positive relationships. Unless your work requires it, save the flights of fancy for another time. However, take care not to work yourself to the bone. Moderation is still a worthwhile pursuit. I honor the Egyptian goddess Seshat as the 2015 patron goddess of Virgo.

Seshat (spelling variations include Sashet, Sesheta, and Sheshat) exerted a powerful civilizing influence on ancient Egypt. She was known as the mistress of libraries and secretary of heaven. Her name means “female scribe.” Her inventions, including mathematics and architecture, advanced the knowledge and wisdom of humankind. She also taught humans to write, keep historical records, and use the process of accounting. Another moniker was “the measurer.” As the goddess of fate, she measured the length of a human life with palm fronds. Like funerary priests, Seshat wore a dress made of a panther skin. On her head sat what is sometimes called a stylized palm frond or flower and sometimes called a seven pointed star. It stands beneath curved horns or a crescent moon. The moon symbol suggests connection to her consort, the mysterious moon god Thoth.

May we all be blessed by the discernment, refinement, and illumination bestowed by Seshat.

Cheers & Happy Reading!
Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic with Paranormal Romance

Mythic Monday: Taurus Goddess Hathor by Flossie Benton Rogers

Head of Hathor LACMA 50.4.9

See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

As the Wheel of the Year spins and day continues to increase in length, we energize with outdoor cookouts and trips to the beach. In Florida the family swimming pool is finally warm enough to fully become submerged in during weekends romps. The expanding focus on home life and togetherness is suggestive of sun in Taurus. The essence of this configuration involves immersion in the physical world, the comforts and rewards in life, beauty, pleasure, perseverance, persistence, sensuality, stubbornness, strength, and loyalty. I honor the Egyptian goddess Hathor as 2015 patron goddess of Taurus.

The powerful goddess Hathor thrived in Upper Egypt from the time of the Old Kingdom, if not before. People in the predynastic era worshipped a cow goddess named Bat, and eventually Hathor enfolded Bat into her own circle of splendor. Looking at it this way, Hathor is indeed a primeval goddess. Her realm is that of the mother, and she governs women’s needs, fertility, childbirth, and children. She represents the vast Milky Way itself, the winged celestial cow, mother of our solar system, from whose breasts flow the milk that sustains all life. Her circles of influence include beauty, love, happiness, earthly delights, artistic spirit, nourishment, maternal instincts, and abundance.

Hathor’s presence permeated every aspect of Egyptian life. Despite her ancient beginnings, she remained one of the most popular Egyptian goddesses of the pantheon. Nor was her worship confined to Egypt, but rather spread to surrounding locales. She garnered many names and epithets, including Lady of Stars and Mistress of Heaven. The sparkling red star Sirius held a strong association with Hathor. The rise of Sirius in the east signaled not only the start of the annual Egyptian inundation or fertile period, but also the birthday of Hathor.

Hathor held particular affinity with musicians, and the sistrum was her special instrument. Her domain flourished with music, song, dance, and artistic expression.

May we all be blessed by the beauty, bounty, and emotional bonds bestowed by the beloved goddess Hathor.

Cheers & Happy Reading!
Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic with Paranormal Fantasy Romance

 

Mythic Monday: Aries Goddess Sekhmet

LordofFire_MEDcroppedEYEeyeAs the Wheel of the Year turns and daylight continues to increases in length, we enjoy the slowly warming temperatures and bursting colors indicative of sun in Aries. The essence of this configuration involves energy, enterprise, action, movement, willfulness, fiery desires, strength, and courage. I honor the Egyptian goddess Sekhmet as 2015 patron goddess of Aries.

Sekhmet’s name means “She Who is Powerful.” Her powers are associated with the sun, a great heart, warfare, fighting, vengeance, and medicine. Fire is her element, and she uses it for destruction as well as for the good of humankind. The goddess possesses a wild nature. Her totem animal is the lioness, and her head is that of a lioness—a fierce presence that cannot be tamed or controlled. Once it is on your side though, you are fortunate and charmed.

Sekhmet’s place in the Egyptian pantheon is always strongly associated with the Pharaoh. She was his personal protector and led his army in war. Her qualities were necessary for Pharaoh’s station to stay strong and flourish.

Scholars often consider Sekhmet as the wild, uncontrollable, more negative aspect of the pleasure loving goddess Hathor and the cat goddess Bast.

One story about Sekhmet focuses on her bloodthirsty rage. She became loathsome of humankind, with their treachery and manipulation. She craved to rid the world of humans once and for all. She was after a bloodbath. Even the gods cringed and hid from her great fury. They sent the sun god Ra to deal with her destructive plans. Despite intense effort, Ra could not calm down Sekhmet. Her anger had reached epic proportions, and only the blood of humans would assuage her. Because Ra wanted to save humanity, he devised a plan to trick Sekhmet. He mixed 7,000 casks of beer with pomegranate juice, hoping she would think it was human blood and drink it. His ruse worked, and Sekhmet became intoxicated. After sleeping off the effects of the alcohol, she awoke calm and free of rage. Her fury had drained away and had been transmuted to a more positive energy. She became able to tolerate humans, with all their frailties. As more time passed, she even came to love humankind. Her great role in Egyptian history was to serve as guardian and war leader for Pharaoh. She served with fierce unfailing courage and ferocious care of her chosen people. On Sekhmet’s feast days, the beer / pomegranate juice mixture became a centerpiece.

May we all avoid the rage and fury of Sekhmet, but may we feel the power of her protective great heart and courage to get things done.

Cheers & Happy Reading!
Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic with Paranormal Fantasy Romance

 

Mythic Monday: Aquarian Goddess Nut by Flossie Benton Rogers

Photography by Alicia, Copyright 2014

Photography by Alicia, Copyright 2014

The Wheel of the Year continues to circle, and days slowly lengthen. With this increase in light, we also experience our coldest temperatures of the winter. It’s as if night, now decreasing in power, blasts out its last hoorahs before the onset of spring. The sun has most recently been in Aquarius, the essence of which involves broad vistas, visionary pursuits, and humanitarian causes. I honor the great Egyptian goddess Nut as 2015 patron goddess of Aquarius.

The Great Goddess Nut’s power was immense in ancient Egypt. Pharaohs were considered the consorts of Nut, and much of their station derived from being so.

Nut is the Egyptian Great Mother who serves as the personification of the night sky. She was visualized as a woman with her body curved over the earth, her arms in one direction, and her legs in the other. Her arms stretched out over the dead to hold them in a loving embrace. The earth god Geb was her consort. He reached out to Nut with an erect penis, as symbolized by the obelisk. Nut is also sometimes pictured as a celestial cow that gave birth to the Milky Way. She was the nurturing waters of life, the maternal source, and the sheltering womb of both the unborn and the dead. I recall what Hermann Hesse said of the mother in Narcissus and Goldmund: “Without a mother you cannot live. Without a mother you cannot die.”

Cheers & Happy Reading!
Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic with Paranormal Fantasy Romance

Tuesday Tales: Shale 12-30-2014 by Flossie Benton Rogers

Tuesday Tales is a weekly blog featuring diverse authors who post excerpts from their WIPs based on word and picture prompts. Today’s prompt is new year, and the snippet is from a work in progress temporarily called by the heroine’s name, Shale. Please visit the other fabulous authors at Tuesday Tales.

The stairs leading to the attic were steep and cramped, as if to keep out Nosy Nellys like herself. Shale grinned. That was a moniker she could take to heart. Helping the spirit would mean looking in all the proverbial nooks and crannies until she found the diary. If it didn’t give her the answers she sought—what then? She’d find another way, no doubt. The Delaney sisters always did. She stepped up to the landing and turned to look down. The stairs had curved around, and she had a clear view of the bottom, though not the middle. There was no sign of Nicholai Zared, thank goddess, and the deafening quiet up here was a little spooky.

Stepping carefully through a maze of boxes and clutter, she made her way to a small clear area and stared around in amazement. A sinking feeling drew at her abdomen. She could spend weeks and not get through all this mess. She didn’t have weeks. Focus, Shale. A burning sensation hit her nostrils. A sneeze was coming on from the dust she had stirred. She closed her eyes and ripped out a good one, drawing a tissue from her pants pocket. Blinking away the moisture in her eyes, she sniffed and surveyed the rambling space. That decrepit looking desk glowing in a sunbeam full of dust motes was a good place to start, and she stepped over an orange crate to get to it.

Twenty minutes later she had piled up a century’s worth of recipes as well as electric bills back to the stone age, but no diary was in evidence. These old desks often had secret compartments, but she hadn’t found one. She had felt inside and beneath the drawers with only a splinter as a reward. Sucking the tip of her finger, she squatted down to view the low slung desk at eye level. An indention in the wood under one of the drawers caught her eye, just as a creak sounded on the stairs.

She rose in haste, bent over, and pretended to look through a wooden box on the floor. When Ivy peeked in at her, Shale exhaled in relief. “Oh, it’s you. Did you see anyone else on your way up here?”

“Nope. There’s a sexy hunk downstairs though. Boy, he could sizzle up a steak in the arctic.”

Exasperated, Shale cast her glance heavenward. Another of her sister’s instant lust attacks. Then heat prickled her cheeks as she recalled that her own reaction to the exotic Mr. Zared hadn’t been exactly lukewarm. “Ivy, stay by the door and keep a lookout. I don’t want anyone to see what I find—if I find anything.”

Her sister’s shoulders lifted in a delicate shrug, but she took up her assigned post with an air of listening down the stairs and still closely watching what Shale was doing.

Shale squatted down again, peering at the slight indention in the wood beneath the drawer. It could just be warped, but excitement fluttered in her stomach. Holding her breath, she pressed her thumb against the spot. Nothing happened. Biting her lip, she pressed again. A tiny slanted drawer popped open. She glanced over at Ivy, whose eyes gleamed in the dim light filtering through the slatted window. Shale reached in her hand and pulled from the cubbyhole something wrapped in a piece of dark green velvet. Her hand shaking, she brushed aside the fabric to reveal a small booklet. On the front was handwritten “Musings of Josette Dupuis, New Year’s Day, 1795.”

Ivy ‘s eyes widened. “You found it?”

Shale’s lips stretched into a smile.

Thanks so much for stopping by. Please visit the other fabulous authors at Tuesday Tales.Tuesday Tales 

Cheers, Good Reading, & Happy New Year!
Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic with Paranormal Fantasy Romance

Mythic Monday: 5 Secrets of Bast by Flossie Benton Rogers

1-5-2015Bast or Bastet comes to us from the dim origins of ancient Egypt. She was a warrioress cat goddess from Lower Egypt, the northern region of the land at that time. Bast is 5000 years old. Her worship can be traced back to around 3000 B.C.E. In her beginnings, she was associated with a lioness but later came to be aligned with the domesticated house cat. Another feline who was associated with a lioness and warrioress is Sekhmet of Upper Egypt. It’s interesting that these two female cat deities diverged even more as the centuries passed, rather than becoming more closely affiliated. Marigold2

Bast is on my mind at this time because recently I was adopted by a special kitty, Marigold, or Mistress Marigold as I sometimes call her. A calico or tortoiseshell, she needed hernia surgery and is now recuperating from it. She has to be confined to a crate and neck collar for two weeks, so as not to rupture her sutures. My friend Meg brought a second crate to attach to the one I bought, so at least Marigold can walk around and stretch in a two-bedroom condo. She was just beginning to make herself quite at home in my lap before the surgery, and we both look forward to her regaining that honored cushion for her royal rumpus. Now let’s take a look at Marigold’s patron.

1) Bast’s name is often translated as “devouring lady,” as befitting a warrioress. However, there is also a connotation to her name that signifies “as precious as perfume.” She is a powerful but accessible goddess. She is a predator and can be blood thirsty, but her stalking qualities help keep out populations of rats and vermin. She thus serves as defender of humans, helping to maintain the food source—grain—and assuring better health for human kind. The cat is also a loving, if always inscrutable, companion.

2) Bast is sometimes shown holding an ankh, or the “breath of life.” From a sacred word, sound, or vibration was born all of creation, and Bast is a divine mother or creatrix goddess, as well as a taker of life, or warrioress. Goddesses often exhibit such an innate duality, as does life itself.

3) Bast is frequently depicted as a woman with a cat’s head. Down through history, cats seem akin to the power and mystery of the female, from goddess to fairy to witch.

4) Cats were sacred to Bast. She was their protectoress, and they freely roamed her temples as symbols and incarnations of the goddess. To kill or harm one was sacrilege.

5) During the earliest era of her worship, Bast was considered the daughter of the sun god Ra. During later Hellenic times, however, when Greek influence imbued Egypt, Bast became associated with the moon goddess Artemis. I think of Yeats’ poem about a cat: “Do you dance, Minnaloushe, do you dance?” and “Minnaloushe creeps through the grass, alone, important and wise, and lifts to the changing moon, his changing eyes.”

Do you like cats? I’d love to see a photo of your feline friend, if you would share.

Cheers & Happy Reading!
Flossie Benton Rogers, Conjuring the Magic with Paranormal Fantasy Romance