Prayer to Bast
Daughter of the Sun
Graceful protectress of mind and soul
Please come forth
And fill me with your strength
So I can slay my own Apep demon
living in the darkness of my Self.
Come forth Shinning lioness
Protect me for I am your little child
Striving to find a path in the darkness
And not to let the opportunities that call me slide.
Bast, Great Healer
I call you to imbue me with your healing powers
To heal my body heart and spirit
Be healthy and well in hours.
Bast Great Mother
Please grant me joy and peace
Let your light shine through my body
And set my heart and mind at ease.
Please guide my footsteps
Please guide my life.
copyrighted by Rev. Iveta A. Woodova
Bast was a cat Goddess and protector of a city of Perbastet (Bubastis). Bast was worshipped since ancient times although she originally had a form of a lioness like Goddess Tefnut and Sekhmet. The more peaceful and calm form of a cat was attributed to her later. One of the first of her roles was a protector of a burial grounds of Mennefed. Goddess Bast also guards the gates to Netter World. In later times she was associated with God Re and was called “an Eye of Re”. Many texts say that she was a Daughter of Re and sometimes his consort or his sister. In Heliopolis she was considered to be a daughter of Atum. She also was a wife of Ptah and was considered to be mother of God Nefertem. Her name was also associated with perfumes perhaps through association with her son Nefertem (God of Perfumes). Greeks have associated Bast with their Goddess Artemis. However Artemis was celibate and Bast was connected to fun and sexuality. Greeks also tempered with Bast´s name to mean to be “ba-Aset” soul of Aset (Isis). They have also associated Bast with the moon although she was originally daughter of sun God Re.
Playfulness, grace, affection, and cunning of a cat as well as the fierce power of a lioness were her attributes. She was worshipped all over Lower Egypt but her main place of worship was in Bubastis. Many cat graves were discovered in ruins of Bubastis. Unfortunately no cat mummies were found in there. On the other hand in Beni Hassan were discovered perfect cat mummies.
Bast was closely associated with cats. Cats were sacred and to harm a cat was considered to be a crime against Bast and it brought a bad luck. Cats were kept by her priests and priestesses in her temples and were considered to be Bast´s incarnations. The Egyptians placed great value on cats because they protected the crops and slowed the spread of disease by killing vermin. As a result, Bast was seen as a protective goddess.
Bast was closely associated with Sekhmet. Both of the Goddesses were mother of Nefertem, wife of God Ptah and “an Eye of Re”. Sekhmet represented Upper Egypt and Bast represented Lower Egypt. Bast was also closely associated with Goddess Hathor and was usually depicted with sistrum (a sacred rattle of Hathor). Dendhera (the place of worship of Goddess Hathor) was sometimes called “Southern Bubastis”. This association was clearly ancient as the two appear together in the valley temple of Khafre at Giza. One of her epithets was “lady of Asheru”. Asheru was the name of the sacred lake in the temple of Mut at Karnak, and Bast was given the epithet because of her connection with Mut, who occasionally took the form of a cat or a lion.
Herodotus, a Greek historian who travelled in Egypt in the 5th century BC, describes Bastet’s temple at some length:
“save for the entrance, it stands on an island; two separate channels approach it from the Nile, and after coming up to the entry of the temple, they run round it on opposite sides; each of them is a hundred feet wide, and overshadowed by trees. The temple is in the midst of the city, the whole circuit of which commands a view down into it; for the city’s level has been raised, but that of the temple has been left as it was from the first, so that it can be seen into from without. A stone wall, carven with figures, runs round it; within is a grove of very tall trees growing round a great shrine, wherein is the image of the goddess; the temple is a square, each side measuring a furlong. A road, paved with stone, of about three furlongs’ length leads to the entrance, running eastward through the market place, towards the temple of Hermes; this road is about four hundred wide, and bordered by trees reaching to heaven.”