Information about the Egyptian Goddess Bastet, symbol, myth, story. The role of Bastet in the Egyptian Mythology.
Bastet; The Egyptian cat goddess was probably at first associated with a lioness rather than the domesticated cat. The cat-headed goddess had her cult town at Bubastis, where a necropolis housed mummified cats. Other deities that either protected a species or took an animal form also had cities sacred to the particular creature. At Fayum, where the god Sebek assumed the shape of a crocodile, the incarnate deity splashed about in a temple pool, from which his worshippers partook holy draughts. Though the greatest animal cult was undoubtedly that of the Apis Bull, Herodotus was amazed to note that ‘as they bury oxen, so they do with all other beasts at death’.
Cats were revered in the household. ‘When a fire breaks out’, the Greek traveller continues, ‘very strange things happen to the cats. The Egyptians gather in a line, thinking more of the cats than of putting out the flames; but the cats dart through or leap over the men and spring into the fire. Then, there is great mourning …. Dwellers in a house where a cat has died a natural death shave their eyebrows; where a dog has died, the head and body are shaven.’ During the festivals of Bastet it was impious to hunt lions, a favourite sport of the pharaohs.