Today, Bastet is one of the more popular Egyptian goddesses. But when you look up ways to honor and work with her in your practice, there’s mostly superficial level recommendations. At least from my research. In this article, we talk about her amazing, divine qualities and provide 9 simple ways to work with the Egyptian cat goddess.
Who is Bastet? A History of the Egyptian Cat Goddess
Bastet, originally Ubaste or Bast, is the Egyptian cat goddess often depicted in Egyptian TV scenes, movies, and books. She is typically represented by the image of a cat. Or she takes the form of an attractive woman with the head of a cat. Scholars believe this goddess might have once been the Egyptian lion-headed goddess of war Sekhmet. But over time, her persona softened and she became a new deity – Bastet.
According to Judika Iles, Bastet’s cult “began in the Nile Delta swamps.” Her worship began around 3500 BC but gained popularity around 950 BC. Her major temple was at the cult center city Bubastis, where her annual festival was held. Boats floated up the Nile River traveling to Bubastis, full of women letting their hair down, so to speak, and ritually lifting their skirts to expose themselves. Sounds crazy today, but then it was a means of laughter and celebrating the female body and sexuality. The ancient festival was a time to drink, dance, celebrate one another’s beauty, and chase away illness and evil spirits.
Bastet’s Magical Domain
Bastet calls to those she feels are worthy. If you’ve been called to work with the cat goddess, consider yourself blessed! If you own a cat, you’re more likely to be chosen by Bastet. She also is patron of mothers, healers, magicians, diviners, dancers, and musicians. She rules over physical and spiritual domains including: protection of the home, women and children, marriage, protection of cats, she wards off illness, promotes fertility, and aids in childbirth. Sexuality, reverie, perfume, beauty, and war are also her domain. She’s associated with the Eye of Ra, the Sun and the moon. She’s also a psychopomp – one who guides the dead to the afterlife.
9 Ways to Honor and Work With Bastet
As you get to know the Lady of Perfumes, the way you work with her in your spiritual practice will grow and be unique to your path. Here are nine ways (like the 9 lives of a cat) to get started working with the Egyptian Cat Goddess:
1. Read and Research
This will always be number one when working with any goddess, god or spirit. Read, study, and research her history, origins, read the myths she took part in. What was her role in Ancient Egypt? Her favorite offerings? Getting to know Bastet’s qualities and stories is number one in honoring her as a goddess.
2. Set Up a Bastet Altar
Designate a shelf, tabletop, or credenza as Bastet’s altar. Place a statue or representation of her there. Also a few candles, incense and burner, and a few of her symbols like the Eye of Ra and the Ankh. Giving her sacred space honors her energy and gives you a place to contact her directly.
3. Offerings for Bastet
Once you’ve set up a Bastet altar, providing appropriate offerings is another way to start working with her. Bastet, being the Lady of Perfumes, loves perfume of all kinds. Give her whole bottles OR spritz some perfume around her altar. Tell her why you’re giving her each offering. Frankincense and myrrh incense is another traditional offering to Bastet. Anything cat-related: particularly the catnip herb is a great offering too.
4. Play the Sistrum
The sistrum is a traditional ancient Egyptian instrument. Bastet holds a sistrum in many of her depictions and statues. It was used in ritual in ancient Egyptian times. Purchase a sistrum online (Amazon carries them!) and play it when you’re invoking Bastet in ritual or simply to honor her.
5. Care for Cats
If you don’t have a cat, adopt a cat in Bastet’s honor. Tell her that you’re adopting a cat in her name. Bastet, being the Egyptian cat goddess, adores people who are cat-lovers and owners. If you can’t care for a cat, volunteer at a shelter or rescue to help care for cats without homes OR donate items for cats: cat food, blankets, toys, etc.
6. Make an Egyptian Cat Goddess Ointment
Bastet’s name translates to “She of the Ointment Jar”. Which indicates she was associated with ointments in ancient Egypt. Craft a special protection ointment for Bastet, be sure to include catnip or other herbs linked to cats or ancient Egypt. Once it’s made, leave some on her altar as an offering and keep some to anoint yourself with during ritual to invoke Bastet’s protection.
7. Throw a Bastet Festival
If your friends or family is willing, throw a Bastet party! Bastet was honored in her cult center the city of Bubastic on a yearly basis. The Egyptians threw a huge festival in her honor complete with drinking, dancing, and crazy revelry! Even having a dinner party with wine and dancing in Bastet’s name would be a huge honor to her.
Bathe in the sunlight and honor Bastet, the cat goddess. After all, cats love bathing in the sun, don’t they? In the summer, throw on some sunblock and go outside. Feel the sun’s warmth and rays and know that Bastet’s energy is vibrating through you. Bask in the sunlight like a cat!
9. Celebrate YOUR Sexuality
It doesn’t matter what your gender or sexual preference is, Bastet beckons to her followers to celebrate their own sexuality. To celebrate their bodies and honor themselves, even when others don’t. By appreciating and loving yourself, all aspects of yourself, you embody the Egyptian cat goddess Bastet. She’s smiling upon you!
As You Get To Know Bastet…
The more you work with Bastet, the more you’ll get to know her. What she likes, how she helps you, how to invoke her in ritual, etc. These 9 suggestions might become second-nature AND you’ll add your own magical and spiritual practices to the list. You’ll even learn things about her that no book or website could teach you.