Bastet the Fierce Protector
Bast was the ancient Egyptian goddess of protection and cats. As protectress, she was seen as defender of the pharaoh. Her image was a fierce lioness. Her name means devourer. Her cult was active from before 3,200 BCE.
As the goddess of protection and blessing, Bast was also 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. While Anubis was the god of embalming, Bast was goddess of the ointments and perfumes.
“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 would be lit inside the Temple of Bast. And from there the light would spread through the town, carried by devotees; and prayers would rise into the night, accompanied by music and incense.” Worshippers came from all over Egypt, leaving offerings, bronze statues, amulets and mummified cats in her temple. Thousands of those cats were later found in underground crypts where her temple once stood. People would give sacrifices to her of spice, water, wine, milk, bread and meat. She also would be given gold, diamonds, silver, perfumes and other riches. They would also dance and sing to her because she was also the goddess of dancing and singing.
Bastet’s father was Ra. She did not have a mother because Ra, as creator deity, was called “The Great He-She”. Her husband, Ptah, was the god of Craftsmen, Rebirth and Creation.