The Egyptian solar boat carried the sun around the Earth at night for a new dawn the next day.







The Ancient Egyptians revered cats more than any culture in history. The domestic cat became highly regarded by Egyptian civilization as an animal of awe and wonder. Originating between five and six thousand years ago, domesticated cats came to be praised for their excellent mouse hunting abilities. The Egyptians found cats fascinating, even regarding them as godlike. Because cats were deeply respected, they were often mummified and even buried in great tombs with their owners. Finally, the Egyptian battle of Pelusium illustrates, better than any other example, the importance Egyptians placed on cats.


So highly regarded were cats in Egyptian society that it was considered a high crime to kill a cat, punishable by death. Families owning cats took care that they received attention and respect.


Deep respect was given to cats even after they died. Whenever a household cat died, the entire family would go through a period of grief, shaving their eyebrows to mark their sadness. Deceased cats were very often mummified and entombed with fine jewelry and treasures; a custom usually reserved for only the most powerful and wealthy. Mummified rats and mice have even been found in cats' tombs, signaling the Egyptian belief in a cat afterlife.


Cats were worshiped as Gods. The Goddesses below are Sekhmet, who is lion-headed, and Bast, who is cat  headed.  Bast is the Patroness of the Clan. Hail Bast!


"I am the Cat which battled heroically on the night when the enemies of the Setting Sun were overwhelmed. And who is this Cat? This Cat is the Sun-God Ra himself..."

 From: The Book of the Dead, 3000 B.C.







Bast is the Egyptian Goddess with the body of a beautiful young woman and the head of a cat. She held many, sometimes contradictory, roles. These beliefs were not all necessarily held at the same time, or in the same place. Beliefs shifted over several millennia, and over vast geographical distances.


Bast is first and foremost a protectress; specifically of the royal house and the Two Lands. Later she got the life-preserving goddess of joy and protector of women. However, Bast's original role did not include the "cat as sex symbol" archetype. Worshiped in the Delta city of Bubastis and usually depicted as a cat or in human form with the head of a cat, Bast was seen as a protector of cats and those who cared for them.


In early times Bast (written as 'Bastet' by scribes in later times to emphasise that the 't' was to be pronounced) was a goddess with the head of a lion or a desert sand-cat and was regarded as mother of Maahes, a lion-headed god, and wife to Ptah. She was usually depicted as a cat, or as a woman with the head of a cat or lion. She was also connected to Hathor, Sekhmet, Tefnut, Atem (her father) and Mut. It was only in the New Kingdom that she gained the head of a house cat and became a much more 'friendly' goddess, though she was still depicted as a lion-headed woman to show her war-like side. As with Hathor, Bast is often seen carrying a sistrum.


Now there is some confusion over Bast and Sekhmet. She is given the title the 'Eye of Ra' when she's in her protector form... but Bast and Sekhmet are not the same goddess (unlike Hathor who becomes Sekhmet as the 'Eye of Ra'). This all gives rise to a lot of confusion about these goddesses. Bast and Sekhmet were another example of Egyptian duality - Sekhmet was a goddess of Upper Egypt, Bast of Lower Egypt (just like the pharaoh was of Upper and/or Lower Egypt!)... and they were linked together by geography, not by myth or legend. These two feline goddesses were not related by family, they were both very distinct goddesses in their own rights.


She was one of the older goddesses, mentioned in The Book of the Dead (this was a selection of spells, rather than an actual book).  Even from very old times, as protector, Bast was seen as the fierce flame of the sun who burned the deceased should they fail one of the many tests in the underworld.


Some of Bast's festivals included the 'Procession of Bast', 'Bast appears to Ra', the 'Festival of Bast', 'Bast Goes Forth from Per-Bast (Bubastis)' and 'Bast guards the Two Lands'. There was even a 'Festival of Hathor and Bast', showing the connection between the two goddesses.


Herodotus describes the 'Festival of Bast' where thousands of men and women traveled on boats, partying like crazy. They had music, singing, clapping and dancing. When they passed towns, the women would call out dirty jokes to the shore-bound, often flashing the townsfolk by lifting up their skirts over their heads! When they reached Per-Bast, they made their sacrifices of various animals, and drank as much wine as they could stomach. This was a very popular festival!






Bast is the Goddess of cats, the rising sun, the moon, truth, enlightenment, lesbians, sexuality, physical pleasures, fertility, bounty, birth, plenty, the household and protector of the home, civilization, creation, music, dance, the arts, hemp, and battler of serpents which attack the sun god. Bast also represents the Maiden aspect of the Triple Goddess. She was viewed as the beneficent side of the lioness-goddess Sekhmet. See also Sekhmet.


Name Variations: Bast, Bastet (usually when in full cat form), Pasch, Pasht, Ubasti, Ba en Aset. Sometimes considered to be the Egyptian version of the Greek Artemis and Roman Diana.


Bast was the daughter of Isis and Osiris, the twin sister of Horus, and possessor of his "eye" the sacred and magickal "utchat". As time went on, the utchat became more associated with cats. It was often depicted as cat shaped in later art. It is probable that many of modern Indo-European names for the cat are derived from the word utchat: cat, chat, cattus, gatus, gatous, gato, katt, katte, kitte, kitty, etc. From "Pasht" we get the remaining Indo-European names for the cat: pasht, past, pushd, pusst, puss, pussy, as well as the word "passion". Bast was also married to of Ptah and mother of the lion god Mihos.  Her worship was centered in delta city of Bubastis.









Sekhmet (AKA Sekhmet, Sakhmet, or Sekhmet the Destroyer) is the Goddess of sunset, destruction, death, rebirth and wisdom. She is also sometimes defined as a warrior or huntress goddess. The cycle of life and death was created when the primeval Goddess Sekhmet-Bast divided into two sisters, Sekhmet and Bast. 


Another legend regarding her origins is that she was created by Ra from the fire of his eyes as a creature of vengeance to punish mankind for his sins. Later, she became a peaceful protectress of the righteous, closely linked with the benevolent Bast. The lioness-goddess, worship was centered in Memphis.


Sekhmet is typically shown as a black skinned woman with the head of a lioness. Her eyes and hair are often orange or red. Sekhmet represents the Crone aspect of the Triple Goddess.  Halloween was originally celebrated as the Feast of Sekhmet and Bast.









Many of the god names presented here have several alternate spellings, pronunciations, and in many cases were known by different names in various regions.


AMENTI (ah-MEN-tee; Female): Amenti was the goddess of the land of the west. To the Egyptians, "land of the west", was another way of saying "the place you go when you die." If your cat has a habit of climbing trees, Amenti might be a good choice since the goddess was said to have lived in a tree near the World Gates which led to the Western Lands. She was also said to have had beautiful hair, so this name might be appropriate for your cat if she has a lovely coat of fur. Amenti's symbols were the hawk and the feather, and we all know just how much cats like feathers, especially when they are attached to birds. Since she was said to be the mistress of Amun (see next entry) she was sometimes known as "the hidden goddess."


AMUN (AH'-muhn; Male): This would be a good name for a dominant cat; a strong but silent type that may very well have sired countless offspring. You see, Amun was the god of fertility, reproduction, and sexual power. Due to this attribute, he was also considered god of agriculture. His name signified "the hidden" or secret operations unknown to man. He was the chief god, King of the Gods, not unlike his counterparts ZEUS and Odin. With his ruling might over the gods, Amun soon became associated with the Pharaohs. With the combined powers of regeneration and royalty, Amun became linked to the sun and the great god RA, becoming known as Amun-Ra, which pretty much consolidated his status as supreme god. As with many religions, Amun belonged to a trinity, this one consisting of his wife MUT and their son KHENSU. If you have a family of three cats, you might consider these unique and fitting names.


ANUBIS (ANN-yoo-biss; Male): One of many excellent names for a black cat. Anubis was the jackal headed god of funerary rituals and was the protector of the dead as well as the judge of souls and ruler of the underworld. Since it was his duty to weigh souls (along with the goddess Maat) as a means of discovering the content of honesty, Anubis was also the god of truth. By no means an evil god, his domain of graves and tombs was nevertheless a frightening one, but then, one that offered the chance of an afterlife.


ANUKIS (ann-YOU-kiss; Female): There aren't many cats that enjoy water, but there are some to be found. If you are the caretaker of such a cat, then Anukis might be a suitable name. Anukis was the goddess of the Nile Cataracts, particularly Aswan, and she was associated with the life giving properties of water. Her name means "hugging" or "clasping", so this might also be a good name for a playful and affectionate cat.


APOPHIS (ah-PAH-fiss; Male): One mean and nasty god, and another name appropriate for a black cat, although in this case temperament should be the primary consideration. Apophis was portrayed as a giant snake and was the sworn enemy of the sun, the perpetual foe of RA. Every night, Apophis would wage warfare upon the sun, causing a period of darkness across the earth. Fortunately, he was always defeated, and each morning sunlight returned in all its glory. If your cat has a sulking, sneaky, at times downright wicked personality, Apophis might be just the name to give him.


AUF (Awf; Male): Is your cat the adventurous, nighttime explorer type, prone to roam the dark outdoors until the break of day? Perhaps this name, the aspect of the sun god RA that traversed the Underworld every night, fighting and defeating various hostile forces as he made his way eastward so a new day could begin, would be befitting. Auf made his journey through the rivers of the underworld in the boat of night, safely guarded by the protective coils of his friend, the divine serpent Mehen. In fact, it was Mehen who was responsible for defeating that other serpent we've just discused, Apophis, who never gave up on his obsession to extinguish the mighty solar disk, no matter that he was consistently defeated time and time again throughout eternity.


BANADED (BAA-naa-ded; Male): The Greeks knew this ram-god by the name of Mendes, but besides the name, he was basically the same god. Being a wise, level-headed god, it was his job to act as arbitrator when his fellow gods got into disputes. He was a peaceful deity, preferring equal sided discussion to settle matters rather than open hostilities. If you have more than one cat, chances are that fights will ensue now and then. If you notice that one of your cats tends to calm such situations by the mere fact of his presence, then maybe you should consider this name for your feline peacemaker.


BAST A.k.a. BASTET) (BAHST or BAHS-tet; Female): Mother of all cats, embodiment of the warmth of sunshine, and goddess of the East, this deity in cat form was one of the most popular in all of Egypt. Cats of course were the most sacred of all animals to the Egyptians, but the black cat was particularly sacred to Bast. As a result, the physicians of the time would use the icon of a black cat in their healing practices. She was also considered the goddess of pleasures, which covered a lot of territory. Among many of the things that fell under her patronage were: generosity, music and dance, childbirth, protection against evil, frivolity, and sex. And this is by no means a complete list of all she covered. Not only was she the goddess of all cats, but of all animals in general! If this wasn't enough, she was also the goddess of fire and of the moon. Several temples were dedicated to her, and each was home to countless cats which were treated as literal incarnations of the goddess. It almost goes without saying that any cat beloved and honored by their caretaker would feel quite at ease should they be given this honorable name.





Bast cat



BES (BESS; Male): Let's face it. Not all things are beautiful. This is not only true of cats but of gods as well. However, one shouldn't judge anything by appearance, especially cats and gods. Consider the god Bes, for instance. Bes was portrayed as a fat and hairy, rude little midget with bug eyes and drooling tongue. But as ugly as he was supposed to be, he was nevertheless the guardian and protector of women giving birth and of the newborn infants as well. He also protected sleeping individuals by keeping away the demons of the night. Lastly, he was the guardian of the dead, making sure they were safe during their journey through the afterlife. So, should you come upon a cat that is not exactly the most gorgeous feline in the world, don't let that stop you from welcoming it into your life. You may be missing out on the most loyal and loving friend imaginable. And should you see the beauty and value within the creature, you might well consider naming him after this important god.


BUTO (BOO-toe; Female): This cobra goddess was another deity of protection and specialized in keeping those she favored hidden from the sight of evil. She had several titles including, "Lady of Heaven"; "Lady of the North"; and "Eye of Ra." This is a good name for a savvy house cat that makes certain nothing out of the ordinary takes place as long as she's around.


GEB (A.k.a. KEB or SEB): (GEB, KEB, SEB; Male): This Earth god was very similar to CRONUS (see entry under Greek section) being the father of all subsequent gods. He was both brother and husband of NUT , the goddess of the Sky. Their relationship was often depicted in paintings with Nut, her body filled with stars and other celestial objects, arched over her brother/husband Geb, who takes a somewhat passive role. This is rather unusual in mythologies since most cultures considered the Earth to be female. Together, Nut and Geb brought forth the gods, OSIRIS, ISIS, SET, and NEPHTHYS. Putting aside all issues of sibling incest, should you have two cats, brother and sister, why not give the unsavory arrangement a classical touch by naming them for the gods of earth and sky?


HAPI (HAPPY; Male). Here we have another fat god. He was the god of the Nile and had very large breasts, almost feminine in fact. This was because Hapi was responsible for the prosperity of the crops which depended upon the Nile's annual flooding. He was usually shown carrying a huge plate of food, leaving no question as to the cause of his girth. An obviously appropriate name for a fat cat who loves food.


HATHOR (HAH-thor; Female): The goddess of love and guardian of women, known as the queen of the West and protectress of the necropolis of Thebes. Hathor was also a very important mother-figure since it was her nourishing milk upon which the Pharaohs were said to have nursed, thus partaking the essence of divinity. So it was that the Pharaohs were considered her children and therefore gods themselves. A good name for a protective mother cat.


HEKET (HAY-ket; Female): Another good name for a mother cat, Heket was the midwife for the daily birth of the sun. Her sphere of influence also included resurrection, fertility, childbirth, and the germination of corn.


HORUS (HOR-us; Male): You could write a book the size of the Manhattan Telephone Directory concerning this most complex and important god, but all you really need to know is: A) He was a sun god, specifically the god of the NEW rising sun; B) He was the son of ISIS and her dead husband/brother OSIRIS (sibling marriages were quite a common motif as you may have guessed by now); C) He was associated with cats. Actually, Horus was sort of an all round hero kind of god with several different names and attributes such as, "Horus the elder"; "Horus the great"; "Horus of the horizon"; "Horus who is ON the horizon"; "Horus the child"; "Horus of two lands". Horus is a great name for any male cat, but make sure you stick with plain Horus and not some ridiculously mixed-up aspect of his name like Heruhorsaisetkhretemharakhty. If you choose to ignore this advice, not only will your cat not come when he's called, he'll probably leave town.


IMHOTEP (Male): whose name means "He who comes in peace", didn't start off as a god, but as a mere mortal just like you and me. But Imhotep was such a wise man and a skilled architect (said to have designed the famous "Step Pyramid") that he was made the god of learning and medicine. Naturally this meant he ruled the field of herbs and drugs. This being the case, I can't think of a better name for a catnip addicted feline than Imhotep.


ISIS (Female): The supreme goddess. Arguably the greatest of all Egyptian deities, certainly the most influential on subsequent cultures. She was the ideal figure of womanhood. Usually compared with DEMETER and HERA, Isis nevertheless measured far superior over these pale imitations. Isis was one element of a Holy Trinity, the remaining two figures being her brother/husband OSIRIS and their heroic son HORUS. One of her sacred symbols was the sistrum, which was a sort of rattle that was believed to ward off evil spirits. Isis's sistrum was carved bearing the image of a cat and was representative of the Moon. She was the High Priestess and an omnipotent magician as well as the only Being ever to discover the secret name of Ra. Such a goddess as this epitomizes all the mysteries of divinity and as such, Isis makes a very special name for your very special cat.


KHENSU (KEN-soo; Male): Son of AMUN-RA and MUT, Khensu and his mom and dad belonged to another trinity known as the Theban triad of gods. His name means "He who travels the sky." He was considered the god of the New Moon and was known as an exorcist, of all things. This might be a fitting name for a cat that loves to roam the neighborhood at night, or on a more esoteric level, the name Khensu might suit a cat whose presence seems to disperse negativity wherever he happens to be.


KHEPERA (Male): This third form of Ra was called the god of the rising sun. He represented reincarnation. Since we all know that cats have nine lives, maybe Khepera might befit a cat who has endured more than his share of close calls.


MAAHES (Male): A minor god that must be included since he was the son of RA and the cat goddess BAST. He was depicted as a lion-headed man.


MENTHU (Male): Sometimes depicted as a bull, and therefore possessing solar qualities, and sometimes depicted with a falcon head, in either case, Menthu was a god of war and retribution. In his bull persona, he represented the powerful and destructive heat of the sun. If your cat is one of those tough as nails, street-fighting types with the battle scars to prove it, perhaps he should try this name on for size.


MUT (Moot; Female). This goddess was known as the "World Mother of the Heavens". She was the wife of the great AMUN-RA and is often associated with the Greek goddess HERA. The animals under her influence include the cat and the lioness. This name is suitable for a queenly, spoiled cat that might be prone to giving one the cold shoulder when she isn't getting her way.


NEIT (Night; Female): Known by her title, "The Huntress". She was said to have been the ruler of the lower heavens, and was patron to not only the hunt and warfare, but to the domestic arts and mysticism as well. She was also protectress of women and marriage. Since her primary responsibilities were concerned with hunting, Neit is an excellent name for your fearless nocturnal mouser, particularly given its pronunciation.


NEKHEBET (Female): The guardian of Upper Egypt and protectress of children and mothers. She is often shown as a vulture hovering over the Pharaoh's children, ever watchful in perpetual vigilance. Obviously another fitting name for a good mother cat.


NEPHTHYS (Female): Another progeny of the sister/brother union of NUT and GEB, who in her parents footsteps, married her wicked brother, SET. If this wasn't incestuous enough, she had an affair with her other brother OSIRIS, which resulted in the birth of ANUBIS. Nephthys was known as the "Mistress of the House", and she came to be regarded as the goddess of the Underworld. Along with her sister ISIS, Nephthys gave protection and guidance to the dead. She represented both life and death, and as such, came to be regarded as the patron goddess of dark magic, invisibility, dreams and intuition, as well as of the peace offered in eternal rest. So, how does she measure as a cat name? How about for a dark, mysterious cat, or perhaps for a cat that's particularly adept at hiding. Better still, if you've got a whole slew of cats, all related to one another as is often the case, Nephthys might not only be a good name for one of them, but why not name all the cats after the gods of "The Great Ennead" also known as "The Big Nine" consisting of the most powerful deities of the Egyptian pantheon: Ra, Shu, Tefnut, Geb, Nut, Isis, Osiris, Set, and finally, Nephthys.


NUT (Noot; Female) was the goddess of the sky, sister and wife to GEB, god of the Earth. She was the personification of all things related to the firmament: clouds, stars, even the weather itself. This might be a good name for your cat if she enjoys the freedom and fresh air of the great outdoors.







OSIRIS (Male): Another one of "The Big Nine." Pretty much THE name for a fine male cat who bears a rather heroic stature. Osiris was the brother/husband of ISIS and was considered the noblest of the gods. He was known by many distinguished titles such as, "Universal Lord", "Lord of life after death", "Good Shepherd", to name just a few. In fact, The Egyptian Book of the Dead catalogues over 200 names attributed to Osiris. He was the god of commerce and success, of religion, civilization, and law. He was believed to have taught the Egyptians the various arts and crafts necessary to maintaining society. Unfortunately, his brother SET was a bit jealous of his popularity and saw to it that Osiris was murdered and his body sent far away. After a long and miserable search, Isis found her dead husband and through a miraculous occurrence, was impregnated by him, by which she gave birth to the new sun god HORUS


RA (Male): The Supreme God. The Father of the Gods. The Creator. The God of the Sun. As far as the Egyptians were concerned, Ra was all this and more. He was considered the source of all life and the living power of the Sun. He was the eternal God without end. He represented truth, right, and destiny. He ruled over all rituals and spells, and bestowed prosperity on all he favored. What better name for a comfortably spoiled male cat, especially one who loves basking in the Sun?


RENPET (Female): Goddess of youth. She was associated with the coming of Spring and of new birth. Vibrant and full of playful energy, this might be just the name for the cat who is still a kitten at heart.


SEBEK (Male): This god had nothing at all to do with cats in even the slightest way. Sebek was a crocodile god and was said to inhabit the deepest corridors of the Underworld in a secluded pyramid of complete and utter darkness. A cult surrounding Sebek developed around the time of the 13th Dynasty that worshipped this dark god as the guardian of the royal family. A temple was built in the city of Arsinoe, adjacent to a lake wherein a real live crocodile was kept and honored as the manifestation of Sebek himself. The city was renamed Crocodilopolis (I swear I'm not making this up) and the crocodile and his temple became one of the hottest tourist attractions of the ancient world. Visitors would come from all over the kingdom to present him with gifts of gold jewelry and other trinkets of their affection. Such a fuss was made over this spoiled reptile that he was fed only the finest foods and was even given wine to go along with his dinner. I'm sure it goes without saying that this name, Sebek, is tailor made for a spoiled rotten black cat with a nasty disposition.


SEKHMET (Female): This goddess, known as the "dark sister of BAST", was represented by a figure with a lioness's head crowned with a coiled cobra. She was called "Sekhmet the terrible", for she symbolized the relentlessly fatal heat of the sun. Goddess of war and battle, she was nevertheless a happily devoted wife to Ptah, god of the arts and creativity. A name one might consider for a tough but gentle female cat.


SET (Male): We've encountered this bitter god before. There just isn't a good thing one can say about this guy. He was the god of hatred, evil, cruelty, murder, and the personification of the powers of darkness in conflict with the power of light. Why in the hell would you want to name your cat after a god that went so far as to kill his own brother, OSIRIS? Well, Set was also the god of hunger. If you've got one of those cats that wants nothing more than to eat constantly, you might consider naming him Set. That is, if you can get over the other negative connotations attached to this god.


SHAI (Male); SHAIT (Female): Now here's an interesting case. Sometimes this deity was a god, and sometimes a goddess. What was odd was that this god/goddess was really several individual cells of one central guardian angel type of Being. Whenever someone was born, a Shai came into existence with them if they were a boy, a Shait if they were a girl. This god or goddess, which ever the case might have been, lived right along side their human, directing their fate and destiny. When the human died, Shai/Shait stood by their soul within the Hall of Judgment and gave a report of the persons good deeds as well as their bad deeds. Although the god/goddess might have argued in favor of their human charge, they had to remain impartial, allowing their true account to stand on its own. Once all the evidence was presented, and the character of the person was considered fully, the decision of whether they should receive reward or punishment in the afterlife was irreversible based on the testimony of the Shai or Shait. So remember that next time your cat looks at you in deep thought. He or she might be taking notes.


SHU (Male): Another of the gods comprising the "Great Ennead of Heliopolis", Shu was God of the Sky and the Atmosphere. He is sometimes depicted with ostrich feathers adorning his headdress. He is associated with sunlight making his name another suitable moniker for your sunbathing cat.


TEFNUT (Tef-Noo; Female): This goddess is often compared to ARTEMIS (see entry under Greek culture). Being an inhabitant of the Underworld, Tefnut had a limited realm of influence. She was the goddess of rain, mist, dew, in fact ALL manifestations of moisture. She was also the sister/wife of SHU. One very peculiar detail concerning Tefnut was that she was fed by a group of Underworld gods that ripped apart dead bodies for their blood. What a nice name for a cat that insists on bringing you gifts of dead rats and mice.


THOTH (Toe-th; Male). A.k.a. TEHUTI): Some cats are extremely smart. Such felines may well be touched by the spirit of Thoth, the Great and Mysterious god of secret wisdom, intellect, geometry and other forms of higher mathematics. He was also the god of books and learning, of writing and numbers. And above all, he was the god of magic. Indeed, he was the first and greatest of all magicians, said to create miracles from nothing by the mere vibrations of his voice alone. Within his main temple were said to be stored his books of magic which were open for the edification of all, providing those absorbing this magic understood its sacred content. 


Over the centuries, these books were said to have been carefully translated by various priests of secret orders until finally, the Greeks compiled them as the works of Hermes Trismegistus. One book most everyone is familiar with which is attributed to the mysteries of the god Thoth is the "Tarot", considered to be an unbound book of symbols that may be read in an endless variety of sequences imitating the random nature of existence itself. If you detect that glimmer of otherworldly wisdom in the gaze of your cat's eyes, perhaps the ancient essence of mystery is reaching you through the memory of the god Thoth.







Sculpture in the Ancient Egyptian god style, Ra and Horus. The Solar Lady is a work or art that has been in the making for over 10 years, with Kylie Minogue providing significant inspirational input from her performances.











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