The Egyptian goddess Bast, sometimes spelled Bastet, is best known in Her role as the Cat Goddess. There was a good reason for the Egyptians to revere cats, because they kept down vermin during times of famine, but Bast was not always a domesticated goddess. When a cat curls up with its head touching its tail, it forms a circle...the symbol of eternity... the symbol of the goddess in whatever form she has chosen. Bast began Her life as a
protector goddess of Lower Egypt. She was as a fierce lioness; Her name is given to mean devourer. She is usually shown in art as a cat-headed woman carrying a basket or as a whole cat. Quite often though, they are kittens at her feet in the pictures. A woman who wanted children sometimes wore an amulet showing the goddess with kittens, the number of which indicated her own desired number of children.
Bast is the protector of cats, women and children. There are many legends connected Her as an ancient sun and War Goddess... one saying that She accompanied the sun god, Ra's, boat of a million years on its daily journey through the sky, and at night, She fought his with enemy, the serpent Apep. As a protector, She was seen as a defender of the Pharaoh.
Her name translates as female of the ointment jar; hence She would gradually become the Goddess of Perfumes and Oils. In connection with this, when Anubis became the god of embalming, Bast, as goddess of ointment, came to be regarded as his wife.
Bast was a happy and benign deity who brought good fortune, music, dance and joy to all. Statues of cats are commonly passed off as facsimiles of Bast, but this is incorrect. The cat was indeed Her sacred animal and the people of the time tended to see the Goddess in every cat that walked past, but Her original depiction was as a royal lady or a priestess with a cat's head. The ancient Egyptians celebrated her feast day on October 31st with lots of merry making, music, dancing in the streets and drinking with friends. Sadly, in modern times, Bast and Her feast day are overlooked, but you could perhaps say that Halloween was originally celebrated as the Feast of Bast.
She also has the gift, like all cats, of looking deep into your soul.Take a moment today to honor this ancient Egyptian goddess. Light a green candle, Her sacred color, and be affectionate to a cat, Her cherished animal. When you address a cat, remember you are speaking to a little divinity, and a creature beloved of Bast.