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Is the Ancient Egyptian religion still practiced?
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Ranoferhotep
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 01, 2010 9:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The cat and Bastet is also one of the forms of Sachmet, and as most A.E. Gods dualistic.

I have two cats one feline and one male, very sweet to humanís, but they still like to chase mice (we donít have any more), bugs (flyís, spiders, beetlesÖ) and sometimes a bird (which I donít approve). But one thing I can say for sure, the A.E. revered catís as Godís, and they still know it. Laughing
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Toth
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 01, 2010 10:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ranoferhotep wrote:
The cat and Bastet is also one of the forms of Sachmet, and as most A.E. Gods dualistic.

I have two cats one feline and one male, very sweet to human’s, but they still like to chase mice (we don’t have any more), bugs (fly’s, spiders, beetles…) and sometimes a bird (which I don’t approve). But one thing I can say for sure, the A.E. revered cat’s as God’s, and they still know it. Laughing


Uhm Ranoferhotep, you mean Sekhmet? According to what I have read she and Bastet are two entirely different goddesses and not even related in the most distant way...

Richard, aka
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Ranoferhotep
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 01, 2010 10:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Toth wrote:
Ranoferhotep wrote:
The cat and Bastet is also one of the forms of Sachmet, and as most A.E. Gods dualistic.

I have two cats one feline and one male, very sweet to humanís, but they still like to chase mice (we donít have any more), bugs (flyís, spiders, beetlesÖ) and sometimes a bird (which I donít approve). But one thing I can say for sure, the A.E. revered catís as Godís, and they still know it. Laughing


Uhm Ranoferhotep, you mean Sekhmet? According to what I have read she and Bastet are two entirely different goddesses and not even related in the most distant way...

Richard, aka


They are related, both are daughters of Ra, the feline cat is the gentle nature (form) of the lioness. Sechmet (or Sachmet) is also related to Hathor, who is also a daughter of Ra. A.E. mythology and religion is more complicated than most of us know. And both God's and Goddesses could according to A.E. religion take up many forms, from mythological animals, to real animals, to even trees and plants. Seth, besides his normal depiction, could take the form of a hippo, a crocodile, a boar (swine). Hathor, a cow, a tree. Toth, a baboon, an Ibis. We could say, they were as we call it now ďshape shiftersĒ. It was not applied to all the Godís of the A.E pantheon, e.g. Anubis, is almost always depicted in the same way (jackal, kind of dog?). But the A.E. believed strongly that Godís could manifest them in different forms.
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Toth
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 01, 2010 10:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello again, Ranoferhotep!

Funny that you mention Hathor, because she is "the other form" of Sekhmet

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 01, 2010 11:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sekhmet is basically an avatar of Hathor, who, in the Myth of the Destruction of Mankind was converted to a killing machine doing away with men at the behest of Ra (who got angry that men no longer worshipped him). When Ra saw the devastation Hathor was wreaking, he told her to stop, but she answered him that she would not, saying "I have prevailed over mankind and it does my heart good. I shall prevail over them all." It was at that point that "she who prevails" (/sxm.t/) was made extant.

Bast, on the other hand, was independently established as a goddess by at least the 2nd Dynasty, far before the time of Hathor's cult in the 4th Dynasty. One recent suggestion by Stephen Quirke (Ancient Egyptian Religion) explains her name Bast as meaning "She of the ointment jar." This ties in with the observation that her name was written with the hieroglyph "ointment jar" (bAs) and that she was associated with protective ointments, among other things.

Later association with Hathor gave Bast attributes of the former goddess, which she did not have before the 4th Dynasty, such as association with fertility and music (particulary the sistrum).

Probably both Bast and Sekhmet are based upon leonine deities as their origin, but the asssociation of Sekhmet as a facet of Hathor argues for syncretic action at work, and that Sekhmet herself was likely an independent deity at one time.

In the Middle Kingdom Sekhmet acquires warlike attributes, while Bast, though keeping her leonine aspect, acquires benevolent traits. Also in this period Sekhmet is identified with the uraeus and the Sun's Eye. As a Memphite deity Sekhmet is associated with the great royal gods, while Bast's role is that of a provincial goddess.

The attributes of Bast and Sekhmet are distinct, but both attributes are distinctly feminine. This is expressed in the ancient Egyptian saying that a woman can be "...friendly like Bast, but rages like Sekhmet."

These tendencies are reinforced in the New Kingdom. Sekhmet was identified with other important female deities: Hathor, Mut, Astarte. From the 22nd Dynasty onwards, Bast again acquires a position of prime importance, now increasingly appearing as a cat rather than as a lioness. As a cat Bast represents the benevolent aspect of the Sun's Eye, and in the course of the first millennium she becomes one of the most popular gods of Egypt. Sekhmet was traditionally associated with illnesses and pestilence as well as with the power to heal. Thus, it is possible that Sekhmet and Bast represent two opposite and complementary aspects of the same supernatural being.

Assmann (1992) has noted that two fundamental conceptions existed within ancient Egyptian politics and religion: wrath and love, in order to show the connection of the two realms. In Egypt the goddess Tefnut represents wrath (/bAw/) like the lioness Sakhmet, and love (/Htpw/) like the cat goddess Bastet.

See, on Bast and Sekhmet:

Assmann, J. 1992. Politische Theologie zwischen ńgypten und Israel. Carl Friedrich von Siemens Stiftung Themen 52. Munich: Carl Friedrich von Siemens Stiftung.

Scandone Matthiae, G. 1993. L'Occhio del Sole; le divinitŗ feline femminile dell'Egitto faraonico. Studi epigrafici e linguistici sul Vicino Oriente antico (Verona) 10: 10-19.

HTH.
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Toth
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 02, 2010 12:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you very much for this enlightening explanation of both deities, Katherine, it comes close to the one on the Tour Egypt page as I read it.

Thanks again, Richard aka
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 02, 2010 4:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, I wasn't expecting so much amazing information! I love this place already! Very Happy

Ranoferhotep, I think that's the connection I was missing - the role that cats played in the household. IIRC, Egyptian deities were believed to share attributes with the animals that were sacred to them, so it would make sense that Bast would be associated with protecting the household in that case.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 02, 2010 4:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Swan wrote:
Wow, I wasn't expecting so much amazing information! I love this place already! Very Happy

Ranoferhotep, I think that's the connection I was missing - the role that cats played in the household. IIRC, Egyptian deities were believed to share attributes with the animals that were sacred to them, so it would make sense that Bast would be associated with protecting the household in that case.


Hello again Swan!

And this is exactly why everyone loves Egyptian Dreams, because your questions are answered , at times even more than you were asking for Wink

Richard, aka
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Sivaroobini
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 04, 2011 7:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

On the note of cats still being aware that they are worshipped: my uncle's elegant black cat is very imperious and has my uncle and grandmother well-trained to feed him when he miaows (he will only eat certain expensive brands of cat food, and gets his very expensive morning kibble in a little porcelain bowl trimmed with gold), his scratching post has a gold-coloured soft seat on top, and there are various Egyptian cat statuettes around the house from our trip to Egypt as well as lots of cat pictures; it's like his own temple!

(And when I live on my own, I will have a little statue of Bast to join my Thoth statuette along with the statuettes and paintings of Hindu gods on my altar, and will worship them all the traditional way; Hindu worship is very like Egyptian worship with the milk and flowers and fruits and incense and so on, except that we don't use alcohol. I also have a wedjat pendant I almost always wear, either around my neck or on my wrist.)

On that note, though, I wonder if someone could clarify this for me. As a child I read that Sekhmet was the fiercer aspect of Hathor, and that it was Ra's trickery (with the blood-coloured wine) that helped tame her. However, when researching Bast on various websites, I found that Sekhmet was also associated with Bast, and I drew the conclusion from several websites (sadly I do not remember all the URLs now but Wikipedia and Per-Bast.org were two of them) that Sekhmet and Nekhbet together were the protectors of Upper Egypt while Bast and Wadjet (sometimes unified as Wadjet-Bast, or later absorbed into the Mut-Wadjet-Bast triad) were the protectors of Lower Egypt, and that while Bast at that time was also portrayed as a lioness and not just a cat, Sekhmet was eventually seen as the more powerful of the two, leading to Bast being 'downgraded' and even having the extra diminutive added to her name to make it Bastet.

How much of all that is true, and what exactly is the link between Bast and Sekhmet like? (Besides the whole "She of Upper Egypt/She of Lower Egypt" thing.)
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Osiris II
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 04, 2011 7:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Silveroobini
If you will re-read neseret's post above, you will find the answer to all of your questions. She is a highly regarded contributor to ED.
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 05, 2011 2:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Re-read. Smile I note that some gods' importance seems to wax and wane somewhat through history; are there any political reasons behind this? (Certain provinces gaining importance, certain priesthoods gaining more power, etc.)
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anneke
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 05, 2011 2:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sivaroobini wrote:
I note that some gods' importance seems to wax and wane somewhat through history; are there any political reasons behind this? (Certain provinces gaining importance, certain priesthoods gaining more power, etc.)


One big example would be the god Amun who became very important after the 18th dynasty came to power. I think it may have been specifically Hatshepsut and Tuthmosis III who raised that "cult" to a new height.

Others seem to maintain a fairly steady level of importance like for instance the Priesthood of Ptah in Memphis.

Others are interesting: Hathor at Dendera seems to have had at least a partially hereditary priesthood during the early 19th dynasty. According to the inscriptions in the tomb of Nebwenenef he held the position as HP of Hathor after his father and his son Smatawy held the post after him. Nebwenenef became HP of Amun under Ramesses II.

The goodwill of the Pharaoh may have quite a bit to do with the prominence of the specific gods?
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 05, 2011 6:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Toth wrote:
Swan wrote:
Wow, I wasn't expecting so much amazing information! I love this place already! Very Happy

Ranoferhotep, I think that's the connection I was missing - the role that cats played in the household. IIRC, Egyptian deities were believed to share attributes with the animals that were sacred to them, so it would make sense that Bast would be associated with protecting the household in that case.


Hello again Swan!

And this is exactly why everyone loves Egyptian Dreams, because your questions are answered , at times even more than you were asking for Wink

Richard, aka


Right, it seems like every question is answered in great detail. In the case of this question i was expecting simple answers like "yes" or "yes it is" but most of the answers are in good detail which is more than i was expecting
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Hathorhotep
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2011 12:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

But how many of them really believe?
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2011 4:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I dont know, and that wasnt the question
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