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Bast

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Bast
Bast

Bast, also known as Bastet, was originally a lion deity who was the guardian and protector of Lower Egypt. With the rise of popularity of Sekhmet, another lioness goddess, Bast became the goddess of cats. Her connection with cats became popularized with the increase in domesticated cats in Egypt and she also began being depicted as a priestess with the head-mask of a cat.

The center of her cult was found in Bubastis, also known as Tel Basta, and featured large festivals in her honour. Cats were sacred in Egypt and where often adorned with jewelry and were given a great deal of respect in the home, even being allowed to eat directly from the plates of their owners. When a cat died the event was marked with great mourning and ceremony. Cats were mummified and buried in the temple found in Bubastis though some were buried with their owners.

Because of the cat's natural ability to combat vermin, Bast was called upon against vermin, snakes, and disease especially in a protective fashion. Because cats have large litters of kittens, she is also a goddess of motherhood and fertility and can be a fierce protector of her children. Her name refers to ointment and so she is also the goddess of perfumes, ointments, and beauty.

She is often called upon for protection of the home, protection from vermin and diseases, fertility, and for seduction.

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