Sekhmet and Bastet: The Feline Powers of Egypt
Avalonia Books ISBN: 978-1-910191-06-4
Lesley Jackson authored the book Hathor: A Reintroduction to an Ancient Egyptian Goddess which was also reviewed in Wiccan Rede Online.
In this new book she continues her research of Egyptian deities in the form of the feline goddesses, Sekhmet and Bastet. Most of us will recognise Sekhmet as the Goddess with the head of a Lion. Lesley writes of the hundreds of Sekhmet statues “commissioned by Amenhotep III(18th dynasty) for his mortuary temple and the Precinct of Mut at Karnak.” I visited this temple precinct in February 2015 and was astonished at the vast array of Sekhmet statues… albeit mostly badly damaged. It was great to read about this temple in Lesley’s book and also about the iconography of Sekhmet.
Bastet also began ‘life’ as “the Lioness-headed daughter of Atum, the first daughter of the All Lord” but she was not depicted as a lioness. She is more familiar to us as a Cat-headed or Cat Goddess.
Lesser known feline deities are also mentioned in this book, such as Mehit, Menhyt, Mestjet and others.
Why were Lions and particularly Lionesses so important to the Egyptians? Lesley suggests that the they were “more perceptive and sensible. The fact that they viewed the Solar Eye as feminine had a great bearing on the dominance of the Feline Goddesses as does the fact that sekhem, the original power, was seen as a female energy. It also explains the nature of the Lion Gods and their power of earth rather than of fire.”
Also discussed are the ‘Festivals & Rituals, ‘Felines in Art and Artefact’ and the connection with the ‘Solar Eye’ and much more. This book is a must for all cat-lovers or those who are interested in the feline goddesses of Egypt.
Image of Bastet, copy of an original in the Louvre Museum: