More on Bast

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Forums -> Misc Topics -> More on Bast

More on Bast
By: / Novice
Post # 1
Here's more information on Bast, I found while researching. A lot of it is from various websites I looked at, I own none of the information. I only reworded it slightly.

Peaceful and friendly, the goddess Bastet was often shown in the form of a domesticated cat or as a woman with a cat's head. Bastet was worshipped as a goddess of fertility and joy. Many statues of Bastet show her surrounded by kittens or holding a musical instrument called a sistrum. At the site of Bubastis, there are enormous cat cemeteries where worshippers of Bastet could present cat mummies as votive offerings in her temple. Bastet is also associated with the moon and in one myth, she was thought of as the moon's eye.

She is the Goddess of Protection, Fire, Passion, Birth, Dance, Music, and the Home. She is the Lady of the East.

Bast's Worship began around year 3200 BCE during the second dynasty in Northern Egypt and her city is Bubastis. There, and in many other ancient cities, Egyptians celebrated Bast?s feast day, October 31st, with great joy and enthusiasm honouring their goddess, their protectress. Related to Neith, the Night Goddess, Bast symbolized the moon in its function of making a woman fruitful, with swelling womb. She was also the Egyptian Goddess of pleasure, music, dancing and joy, and associated with the Eye of Ra, acting as the instrument of the Sun God's vengeance.

Bast is the Sacred Cat and her name means devouring lady. She is depicted as having the body of a woman and the head of a domestic cat. She holds the sacred rattle, Sistrum, and she possesses Utchat, the divine, all-seeing eye of Ra.

Indeed, the people of ancient Egypt turned to Bast for protection and for blessing, as she was a renowned and beloved goddess. She was the protectress of women, children, and domestic cats. She was the goddess of sunrise, music, dance, and pleasure as well as family, fertility, and birth.

The goddess' protection can still be invoked for modern cats in homes and apartments.

Cats were very sacred animals to the ancient Egyptians. They held a high, honoured position in many households and were more important even than humans. Cats were demigods in ancient Egypt. Anyone caught harming or killing a cat, even by accident, was punished by death, for cats guarded the royal granaries keeping them relatively free from vermin which threatened the food supplies.

Though the cat-headed goddess Bast was revered and loved throughout Egypt from the earliest of times (her worship was formalized at the end of the First or beginning of the Second Dynasties), there were several cities sacred to her cult and which hosted several large, important and influential temples. Among the more well-known cities were Memphis (Mennefer), Heliopolis (Iunu) and Herakleopolis (Henen-nesut); among the dozen or so cities important to the Bast Cult, none was more important or holy than Bubastis.

Located in the Eighteenth ("Prince of the South") Nome of Lower Egypt, in the southeastern portion of the Delta, the city the Greeks called Bubastis was originally known simply as Bast; early in its long history it became known as Pwr-Bast or Pwr-Bastet. The Egyptian word "pwr," commonly rendered as "per," can be translated either as "house" or "realm," so the city would have been known as the House of Bast. Exactly why this city, relatively unimportant in Egypt's larger history until the advent of the Twenty-second Dynasty in the Tenth Century BCE, should be so important to the Cat Cult, or become so identified with the goddess Bast, is one of the many mysteries of Egypt lost in the proverbial mists of time, unlikely to leave physical traces in the archaeological record.

During the Bubastite period (22nd dynasty), cat cemeteries became popular, and a huge profusion of cat amulets were being made. Cats were mummified and ritually buried. In 640 AD Bubastis was still alive and people were still worshipping cats there.

Once per year, a great festival was held in Bubastis to honour Bast, attracting devotees from all over the country. According to Herodotus, the original accidental tourist, upwards of 700,000 people attended, most traveling by barges to the sound of flutes and percussion instruments. Though this was a religious festival, gaiety was rampant along the riverbanks and through all the avenues of the city, and in character it could easily be compared to Mardi Gras. One aspect of the festival, however, was quite moving, and came on the last night - in a town of silence, a town of darkness, a single light is lit in the Temple of Bast, and from there the light spreads through the town, carried by devotees; and prayers rise into the night, accompanied by music and incense.

All things come to an end, and so it came to Bubastis, destroyed by the Persians in 350 BCE. Today, only ruins remain of Bubastis, and the once-proud temple is nothing but tumbled blocks. One of few sights to see these days is the famous cat cemetery, where so many beloved pets journeyed to the Other Realm

Another aspect of Bast is her twin sister, Sekhmet. Sekhmet is also a goddess, depicted as a woman with the head of a lioness. She represents the negative, darker side of the goddess. As the lioness goddess, Sekhmet symbolizes the destructive forces in Nature and in human nature, while Bast is everything pure and good and life-giving. Together, the sister goddesses make up a whole - the balance of good and evil

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