For today’s mythical creatures we are going to focus on two slightly similar, but still different Egyptian Goddesses: Bastet and Sekhmet!
I chose to do these two together for two reasons. One: through evolution of cultures these two tended to blend and mesh with each other a lot, mostly as one gained power and the other lost it. Two: it is hard to find long stories to entertain with, instead all I can give is facts about them in their culture.
Bastet is a Goddess with the head of a lion. It is believed that she first had a lioness head, but that it changed overtime to be a cat head. She was the War Goddess of Lower Egypt and was also a goddess of fire, protection, pleasure, and pregnant women. She was seen as a kindly goddess (though she was a war god).
The there is Sekhmet, a lion headed Goddess of War for Upper Egypt. She was also the Goddess of fire, medicine, vengeance, and menstruation. Sekhmet is seen as fierce and wrathful. She was known to send plagues and pestilence as a form of punishment to those who wronged her.
Why the fire? Well when there was a fire in ancient times, hordes of cats were sent in to draw the fire out, the ancient firefighters were kitties! Both Goddesses are closely connected to the sun god Ra. Both females are at times Goddesses of the Sun; the difference is that Bastet is the mild heat from the sun, on like good days. On the other hand, Sekhmet is the more viscous heat when the sun is cooking you with it’s rays.
In one myth, Ra was in battle with Apep, an evil snake deity of chaos. Ra fought each sunrise against Apep with the help of his daughter Bastet. The battle with Apep was said to disrupt the balance of the world. When Apep had the upper hand earthquakes and storms occurred, and when he swallowed Ra, solar eclipses happened. But Ra was always cut out of Apep before the end of the day. In some renditions of the story, Bastet killed Apep in the night in her cat form (she can see in the dark just fine).
In another myth, Ra became very angry at mankind since they did not preserve justice and balance. For punish meant, he decided to send a peice of his daughter, Hathor, in the form of a lioness which became Sekhmet. She went on a rampage, but she was intoxicated by blood-lust and could not be stopped. To stop her, Ra poured almost ten thousand jars of alcohol on her. She became so drunk, she slept for three days and awoke with out rage. In some versions, she wakes up to see Ptah, God of creation and fertility, and falls in love. Since she is the goddess of destruction and him creation, they became a union that symbolized healing and reestablished balance.
If you want to know more about Egyptian gods, in particularly Bastet and Sekhmet, I recommend this website: http://www.landofpyramids.org/
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