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Bast(Bastet, Ubasti)
Egyptian cat goddess.
A goddess of the home and
of the domestic cat, although she sometimes
took on the war-like aspect of a lioness.
Daughter of the sun god Re,
although sometimes regarded
As the daughter of Amun.Wife of Ptah
and mother of the lion-god Mihos.
Her cult was centered on her
sanctuary at Bubastis in the delta region,
where a necropolis has been found
containing mummifiied cats.
Bast was also associated with the
eye of Re' acting as the instrument
of the sun god's vengeance.
She was depicted as a cat
or in human form
with the head of a cat,
often holding the
sacred rattle known as the sistrum.
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Egypt, a land in the desert,
a land of fiery spirit, of Pharaohs
who with great courage fight their enemies,
Egypt, what better object of worship
could be considered for that land,
than the Sun? And what animal
better to represent the Sun
than the feline?
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Bast is one of the most complex deities
in one of the most complex belief systems
in the world. However she was so popular,
and still is today
especially with cat lovers.
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The appearance of Bast as a
Cat headed Goddess immediately
followed the introduction of the
domestic cat into Egypt.
How this new species was created
is still a matter of hot debate
and is unimportant to this discussion.
Before the introduction of the domestic feline,
the Egyptians had been worshipping
other felines, such as the lion and
the ocelot, as solar deities.
This association beween felines
and the solar divinities appears,
for instance, in the Sphinx
(an effigy of the sun God
as a human-headed lion),
Sekhmet (the lion-headed Goddess,
symbolising the destructive,
and purificating powers of the sun)
and Mafdet, (a lynx or ocelot goddess,
who defends humans against snakes).
Even Ra (a sun god, later considered
the father of Bast) is called a cat in
as he is said to take the shape of a
solar cat and kill the serpent
under the persea tree.
Thus light triumphs against darkness.
And Bast herself was originally a
Lion Goddess before she was worshipped
as a cat,
though it was the latter form of her
which became immensely popular in Egypt
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