Hathor wears her name in her crown, which is the hieroglyph for “home” with the Horus falcon inside. When she wears the quail-wing and cow-horns crown, she is Isis as Hathor, mother of Horus. Hathor is your mother. Hathor is the warm, nurturing comfort of the daylight. Hathor is the romance of caresses in the moonlight. We honor Hathor on Mother’s Day. She is Isis at her most graceful and lyrical. She is music and art, dance and romance. She is the Nayture of affection and the bright, warm memories of mother and child. She is the entire role that a woman plays in creating the environment of the ego, the shaping of the child who shapes the adult. Hathor is the Nayture of nature and nurture. Great pleasure is found with family and loved ones. Within that circle you are safe.
“The Golden One” is a favored name of Hathor. She is evoked in beautiful love songs that show the deep emotional life of the ancient Egyptian heart. She is the giver of the inspiration of love. Hathor is Isis as mother of Horus. She is the holy cow, Meh Urt, “She Who First Gave Birth,” and she can feed the world from her breasts.
The Seven Hathors who attend the birth of every child were a standard part of everyone’s life. Despite the superior quality of Egyptian medical knowledge, the nation’s child mortality rate was always dismayingly high. Childbirth was treated as carefully and reverently as they knew how. There was a special birthing room, which was freshly plastered and prepared as the day approached. Flowers were placed there, garlands of green leaves. A “throne of bricks” was built and the mother sat upright to give birth. A euphemism for being pregnant was “on the bricks.” Women giving birth while on a throne appears in very old sculptures. This seated position has recently been shown to be a natural and effective posture for childbirth. The mother-to-be had a host of childbirth-guardians to call upon, from the regal majesty of Isis and Hathor to the bawdy, physical humor of the dwarf-Nayture Bes and the giant hippo-woman Taueris. These characters and their role in a woman’s life survive today in folklore and fairy tales as the fairies or fates — good and bad — who attend your birth.
Bastet is the cat-headed Nayture and parties were held in her honor all along the Nile, with much beer, wine and dancing — and lots of flowers.
The sensuality of the cat has entranced human beings from the very first, a symbol of the leisure time made possible by civilized life and the joy of the senses. Like the cat, fun has to be cultivated. Fun has to be had to be enjoyed and fun is increased when shared.
Having fun can be hard, especially when you feel overwhelmed by anxiety or depression. Too much fun can be harmful, both on your flesh and your associates, at work and at home. Fun is different from pleasure. There are many things in life that bring pleasure. Work can be pleasure. Sleep can be pleasure. Birth can be pleasure, parenting, walking, etc. We don’t necessarily think of these as “fun,” but pleasure is involved. Pleasure can even be had in taking revenge or venting anger, but that does not involve fun.
The ancient Egyptians loved Bastet — they loved fun, which apparently did not interfere with building the Pyramids. A balance can be found. They used their complex calendar to find the balance: a time to work and a time to play, a time to sow, a time to reap. And always — a time to dance!
Sakhmet is the hot-blooded rage to live, the living fire that burns in every cell in your body. She was called upon by healers and, together with Thoth and Isis, she was the guiding spirit of Egypt’s excellent medical technology, the most advanced of its time.
She is all forms of passion, the passion of the cell to live, of the child to grow. She is the passion of love, the passion of man and woman, of family for each other, the passion of doing the work you love. She is the partner of Ptah, the Worker, and between them they create Nofertum, who is a “Beautiful Time,” the joy of participating in reality.
Sakhmet is the also original fury, the archetype from which every harpy is born. Sakhmet is hunger, wild savage hunger beyond the simple appetite-for-life of the cat. Her name is from sexem, the spirit energy of the X. When your emotions boil over, endangering your self-control, Sakhmet earns her title, “Mighty Lady of Flame.” The control of high passion requires love and clear thinking.
Such high passions carry a price and a caveat. One day Sakhmet was driven by depression and disgust with life to destroy the world. Rae and Isis mixed beer with the blood Sakhmet drinks. She was tranquilized into sleep and recovered from her suicidal depression. Sakhmet is the passion which you bring to your life.
Pain has the power of passion. The force of the emotion is just as strong whether positive or negative. Either way, it is energy you can use to power your life. Too much can disrupt the journey. Too little can end it before you get started.