Do you know that some ancient cultures worshipped cats as little deities? Do you want to meet the Egyptian cat gods? Better to know not just one, but 5 cat gods worshipped in ancient times. Take note of this historical post.
Of all the domestic animals, cats are without a doubt those who have fascinated us the most. Admired and feared in equal measure, cats have even been worshipped as gods, did you know?
Cats were a very important part of Ancient Egyptian culture due to a religious theme, since the cat, being a feline, belongs to the same family of animals as the lion, the God of the Sun Ra for the Egyptians. Surely you have heard of Bastet, the Egyptian cat goddess, protector of the home and goddess of happiness. If you think that Bastet is the only case of cat god, this article is for you! – Time to get cultured, 5 god cats of old.
The Cat Gods
If you want to know about the cat gods then look below:
1. BASTET the Egyptian cat god
The name Bastet is one of the most popular Egyptian cats. But do you know who Bastet really was? The cat goddess Bastet has identified with the star Sirius a place that has a lot to do with the earth, but that’s another issue. She was represented as a woman with the head of a cat, or simply as a beautiful dark cat. positive of the solar rays, harmony, and happiness She was also a faithful domestic protector, guardian of pregnant women, and of childbirth since she had the power to ward off evil spirits.
She was thus a protective and peaceful goddess, but she also had a fierce and violent side that could wake up unpredictably.
In the ancient city of Bubastis, which was consecrated to the cult of Bastet, hundreds of mummified cats appeared, the photos of which we have all seen at some time. It is believed that for the Egyptians cats were the living representation of Bastet, and therefore cats lived in temples and at their death were honored with mummification, like pharaohs and nobles.
It is also known that some Egyptian owners were buried with their cats by express order of these people. Although now this seems aberrant to us, the Egyptians did not do it out of cruelty but on the contrary, they did it as an “extreme act of love” in their way of seeing things, since they were horrified by the idea that their beloved cats became homeless and sick. That is to say, the Egyptians preferred to euthanize their cats rather than abandon them to their fate on the street to a life of hunger, disease, suffering, or loneliness.
Another sample of feline love is seen in the legend that tells how the city of Pelusio (Port Said) was lost to the Persians. It is said that the Persians held cats on their shields and thus won the battle, as the ancient Egyptians preferred to surrender rather than hurt a cat.
In general, the Egyptians thought that the eyes of the cat reflected the power and the light of the sun on the earth during the hours of darkness, and therefore they saved us from the eternal night and protected us against bad luck. In fact, Egyptian women imitated the cat’s eyes, painting theirs with bold lines of black or blue kohl. Furthermore, when sleeping in a circle or in a ball, cats were believed to symbolize eternity and wisdom. Be that as it may, it seems that our society still has a lot to learn from the ancient Egyptians on how to appreciate and treat these magical animals.
If you like Egyptian culture, we recommend that you read our post on Egyptian Cat Names. So you can be inspired for a future kitten that comes into your life….
2. SEKHMET, the Egyptian Lioness Goddess
Sekhmet is another example of an Egyptian cat goddess, or rather feline. Also called “the most Powerful” or “the Terrible”, Sekhmet was a feline deity with the body of a woman and the head of a lioness crowned by the solar disk. It was said that this cat gods was the daughter of Ra. It embodied war, revenge, and strength, but also healing.
Is the alter-ego of Bastet, say that embodied the most violent part and negative to the cat goddess. But if it could be appeased, it would grant strength and healing magic. She was a very strong and powerful goddess, and her duality represents something like when we say “I’m very good, but badly …” In fact, in Egyptian mythology, Sekhmet came close to destroying humanity once, and they had to pacify her with much wine until she fell asleep and forgot her fury.
3. FREYJA, the Norse Goddess and her Chariot Of Cats
Freyja was one of the 2 most important goddesses in the Norse and Germanic pantheon. Her name means “The Lady”. We don’t have much information about what pre-Christian pagan cults were really like, but we do know that Freyja was the goddess of love, beauty, and fertility. As in the case of the Bastet, she was especially protective of women, who invoked her to obtain their protection in pregnancy and childbirth. However, she also had her severe side, and there she became a goddess of wisdom, magic, war and death.
Freyja’s peculiarity is that she was travelling in a cart pulled by large cats, probably Norwegian Forests. It was a war chariot, and it should be noted that only the most important deities used chariots, a symbol of status. In addition to this function, the cats were also his advisers. For Frejya the cat is her sacred animal, and they were a gift from the god Thor. The ancient Nordic peasants worshipped Freyja and her cats, to whom they left offerings to ensure good harvests.
4. LI SHOU, the Chinese Protective Cat God
Cats were also important to the Chinese. From China they spread to other countries in Asia, reaching Japan in the fourth century. The Chinese said that the cat was a cross between a monkey and a lion, due to the shape of its body and its movements. Li Shou was an ancient cat god, a fertility-related divinity to whom offerings were made to improve crops.
The history of the cat gods in China is one of the most curious. It is said that the gods, after creating the world, named the vigilant cats of the order of creation, and for this they had the gift of words, to be able to communicate with the gods and tell them how everything was going. The bad thing is that every time the gods called the cats for consultations, they found them playing, sleeping or relaxing – how strange.
The little cat gods ended up confessing that they weren’t interested in ruling the world, that they had better things to do, and that they yielded to men who were greedy for power. The gods accepted and took away the gift of speech from cats, to give it to us. However, the gods realized that men did not understand anything of the divine, and they forced cats at least to be the guardians of time. So in ancient Chinese mythology, a cat is more to be trusted than many people – to later be painted as treacherous.
5. The Japanese BAKENEKO
The Bakeneko of Japanese mythology did not reach the status of cat god nor were they considered a deity but they did have supernatural powers. Its name could be translated by “ghost cat” or “cat that changes”. They could fly, shape-shift, throw fireballs, walk on two legs like humans, and some even had the power to raise the dead. They were authentic transformist cats capable of transforming themselves into a person.
Returning to the topic of cat deities, these 5 ancient cat gods from Egypt, Germany, China and Japan are not the only examples that exist of cat gods. In fact, we find more examples of cat gods in Greek, Celtic, Peruvian, Thai, Indian or Sumatra mythology. Beyond one or another folklore, nature is in us and we in it and in the end we are all one, right? Personally, I do not believe that cats are gods, but it is undeniable that they are divine beings.
Hope with this article you have a clear idea of cat gods and their existence. For more information on cats simply visit our CatsBuz website and know more.