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Felines In Ancient Egypt

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On a normal day in ancient Egypt, an Egyptian could be found sometime during the day kneeling in front of a statue or altar, lighting incense and praying to their gods and goddesses. One of them being a feline goddess called Bastet along with many other feline gods and goddesses. The ancient Egyptians held felines in high regards and cared for them greatly. Felines were not always praised and holy creatures; after the cats helped them with their rodents and snake problems the felines became more welcome and wanted.
As far back as 3,400 and 3000 B.C., ancient Egyptians were worshiping gods and goddesses, some being more feline than others. Lots of Egyptians had problems with mice, rats and snakes. As the Egyptians tried other ways they found
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Bastet is said to have a head of a cat and the body of a human. Bastet is also said to be very protective and gentle (Donn), just like a mother cat would be (Stone). Bastet is the goddess of sexuality, home life and childbirth (“Mythology:). Bastet also had a child of her own named Mihos. Mihos is depicted to have the head of a lion (Alchin). Bastet can be traced all the way back to 3,000 B.C. to 3,440 B.C. in Egypt (Stone). Bastet was seen as a lioness up until about sixteenth century B.C. Now Bastet is seen and depicted as a domesticated cat; sometimes seen as the Sand Cat, which is a breed of wild cat. (“Mythology:). The Egyptians have a festival for Bastet; one writer even going as far as saying it was the biggest and most celebrated festival in all of Egypt (“Welcome”). Bastet was said to be the protector of the Pharaoh. Bastet had her own feline cult; the center of the cult being in the Nile Delta…show more content…
In the tomb of Abydos a vase with Mafdet on it was found and she looked like a cheetah or leopard (“Welcome”). Mafdet was said to be the goddess of protection and was said to be able to spit fire. Mafdet could also be called “The Runner” at times. Other feline gods and goddess are listed here: Bastet the goddess of sexuality, home life, and childbirth had the head of a cat and the body of a woman; Mihos was the son of Bastet and was said to have a lion head; Sekhmet the warrior lion goddess, sometimes called the “Powerful One”; Nefertem was the son of Sekhmet and was sometimes depicted as a lion; Tefnut and Shu were twin sisters, they were depicted and worshipped as a pair of lions; Pakhet, “She Who Scratches”, was a big cat goddess who protected the living and dead from evil; Menhit was a war goddess who had the form of a lion, she sometimes wore the red crown of lower Egypt; Matit was the funerary cat goddess, she had her own cult center in the city of Thinis; Sesmu was the lioness goddess of slaughter and execution. Ra the sun god also once took the form of a cat to defeat the evil serpent Apep (Alchin). The goddess of war and weaving, Neith, also turned into a cat and became on of Mut’s, who was another goddess, sacred symbols. Felines were also put with the oldest goddess Isis because they felines were considered to be great mother’s
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