Bast, also known as Bastet, is a goddess of ancient Egyptian mythology who represents protection, love, and harmony.
Her appearance is that of a woman with the head of a cat or a domestic cat, carrying an ankh (the Egyptian cross of life) or sometimes a sistrum (musical instrument) since she likes that humans dance and play in her honor.
What is an Ankh? ☥
In Ancient Egypt, this symbol was usually carried by representations of gods and goddesses, indicating their authority regarding life and death. It was also a token of their eternal existence; highlighting the human search for immortality.
The Cult of Bast
Initially, Bast was a fierce lioness warrior goddess of the sun, but later she was changed into the cat goddess that is familiar today, becoming a protective goddess. This happened with the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt, when deities of similar characteristics were joined, losing or gaining attributes.
The cult of Bast was centered mainly around the city of Bubastis, located in the Nile’s Delta. Hertemple was surrounded by water channels, since according to the myth, a fierce and angry lioness settled by the water that surrounded the temple and became a peaceful kitten.
Hundreds of cats were raised within the temple, since they were her representation, and at their death they were mummified and buried in specific tombs for them.
Priests would chose a cat with special traits as an object of adoration and veneration, and this cat would be considered the reincarnation of the goddess.
The popularity of Bast grew from her role as protector of women and the household. Further, women in Egypt were held in high regard and had almost equal rights which almost guaranteed a goddess who protected women and presided over women’s secrets an especially high standing.
Bast Rituals and Celebrations
An Egyptian woman who would like to have children, would wear an amulet of the goddess with as many cats as she would like children.
Pregnant women wore amulets of the goddess to protect them during pregnancy and to help them during childbirth.
The people of Egypt came annually to the great festival of Bast at Bubastis which was one of the most lavish and popular events of the year. Geraldine Pinch, citing Herodotus, claims, “women were freed from all constraints during the annual festival at Bubastis”. Source
Altar, Prayer and Offerings to Bastet
An altar for Bast (Bastet) usually has a white tablecloth, white, green or yellow candles, incenses such as Cinnamon, Frankincense, Myrrh, or Almond, figures and/or images of the goddess (either her figurine or an Egyptian cat) and white wine. Some people usually invoke her by playing music for her, saying a prayer, chanting a hymn, or simply lighting the incense.
Candle for Bast: Black or white
Incense for Bast: Cinnamon, Frankincense, Myrrh, Almond.
Offerings to Bast: Chrysanthemums, Chocolate, Cotton, Feathers, Figs, Honey, Milk, Sunflowers, White wine, Cat figurines.
Bast Prayer for Protection
Find the full prayer here: Bast Devotional on Spells8
Have a blessed week!