Tag Archive: sopdet


Goddess Hathor

“Hathor ‘s themes are joy, love, femininity, beauty, sexuality and the sky. Her symbols are mirrors, cows, sandalwood and rose incense and rattles.  One of the most beloved sky Goddesses in Egypt, Hathor brings happiness, romance and an appreciation for musical arts into our lives. Sacred or erotic dances are a welcome offering for Hathor, as is any effort to beautify the body. As the patroness of the toilette, She also protects women and embodies the pinnacle of feminine qualities. Her favorite musical instrument, the sistrum (a kind of rattle), was said to banish evil wherever it was played.

[Known as the Month of Hathor] from September 17 until October 16, Hathor reigned in Egypt. To honor this Goddess, make an effort to make yourself as physically appealing as possible, then spend some time with a significant other or in a social setting. In the first case, Hathor’s favor will increase love and passion; in the second, She’ll improve your chances of finding a bed partner.

To fill your living space with Hathor’s energy, take rice or beans and put them in a plastic container (this creates a makeshift rattle). Play some lusty music and dance clockwise around every room of the home shaking the rattle. Perhaps add a verbal charm like this one:

‘Love, passion and bliss
By Hathor’s power kissed!’

This drives away negativity, generates joyful vibrations, promotes artistic awareness, and increases love each time you kiss someone in your home.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

“One of the world’s greatest Goddesses, Hathor was worshiped for more than a millennium longer than the life, to date, of Christianity. For more than 3,000 years Her joyful religion held sway over Egypt.

Small wonder, then, that a profusion of legends surrounded Her, or that She was depicted in so many different guises: at once mother and daughter of the sun, both a lioness and a cow, sometimes a woman, and sometimes a tree.  Goddess of the underworld, She was also ruler of the sky. Patron of foreigners, She was mother of the Egyptians. Like Ishtar to the east, She was a complex embodiment of feminine possibilities.

“Hathor” by Hrana Janto

One of Hathor’s most familiar forms was the winged cow of creation who gavebirth to the universe. Because She bore them, She owned the bodies of the dead; thus She was queen of the underworld. Again, She appeared as the seven (or nine) Hathors who materialized at a child’s birth and foretold its inescapable destiny. Then too, She was the special guardian spirit of all women and all female animals.

‘Habitation of the hawk and birdcage of the soul,’ Hathor was essentially the body in which the soul resides. As such, She was patron of bodily pleasures: the pleasures of sound, in music and song; the joys of the eye, in art, cosmetics, the weaving of garlands; the delight of motion in dance and in love; and all the pleasures of touch. In Her temples, priestesses danced and played their tinkling tambourines, probably enjoying other sensual pleasures with the worshipers as well. (Not without cause did the Greeks compare Her to Aphrodite.)

Her festivals were carnivals of intoxication, especially that held at Dendera on New Year’s Day, when Hathor’s image was brought forth from Her temple to catch the rays of the newborn sun, whereupon revels broke out and throbbed through the streets. (In this capacity She was called Tanetu.) She was a most beloved Goddess to Her people, and they held fast to Her pleasureful rites long into historical times” (p. 145 -146).

J. Hill tells us that “She was known as ‘the Great One of Many Names’ and Her titles and attributes are so numerous that She was important in every area of the life and death of the ancient Egyptians. It is thought that Her worship was widespread even in the Predynastic period because She appears on the Narmer palette. However, some scholars suggest that the cow-headed Goddess depicted on the palette is in fact Bat (an ancient cow Goddess who was largely absorbed by Hathor) or even Narmer himself. However, She was certainly popular by the Old Kingdom as She appears with Bast in the valley temple of Khafre at Giza. Hathor represents Upper Egypt and Bast represents Lower Egypt.

She was originally a personification of the Milky Way, which was considered to be the milk that flowed from the udders of a heavenly cow (linking her with NutBat and Mehet-Weret). As time passed She absorbed the attributes of many other Goddesses but also became more closely associated with Isis, who to some degree usurped Her position as the most popular and powerful Goddess. Yet She remained popular throughout Egyptian history. More festivals were dedicated to Her and more children were named after Her than any other god or goddess of Ancient Egypt. Her worship was not confined to Egypt and Nubia. She was worshipped throughout Semitic West Asia, Ethiopian, Somlia and Libya, but was particularly venerated in the city of Byblos.

She was a sky Goddess, known as ‘Lady of Stars’ and ‘Sovereign of Stars’ and linked to Sirius (and so the Goddesses Sopdet and Isis). Her birthday was celebrated on the day that Sirius first rose in the sky (heralding the coming innundation). By the Ptolemaic period, She was known as the Goddess of Hethara, the third month of the Egyptian calendar.

As ‘the Mistress of Heaven’ She was associated with NutMut and the Queen. While as ‘the Celestial Nurse’ She nursed the Pharaoh in the guise of a cow or as a sycamore fig (because it exudes a white milky substance). As ‘the Mother of Mothers’ She was the Goddess of women, fertility, children and childbirth. She had power over anything having to do with women from problems with conception or childbirth, to health and beauty and matters of the heart. However, She was not exclusively worshipped by women and unlike the other gods and Goddesses She had both male and female priests.

Hathor was also the Goddess of beauty and patron of the cosmetic arts. Her traditional votive offering was two mirrors and She was often depicted on mirrors and cosmetic palettes. Yet She was not considered to be vain or shallow, rather She was assured of Her own beauty and goodness and loved beautiful and good things. She was known as ‘the mistress of life’ and was seen as the embodiment of joy, love, romance, perfume, dance, music and alcohol. Hathor was especially connected with the fragrance of myrrh incense, which was considered to be very precious and to embody all of the finer qualities of the female sex. Hathor was associated with turquoise, malachite, gold and copper. As ‘the Mistress of Turquoise’ and the ‘lady of Malachite’ She was the patron of miners and the Goddess of the Sinai Peninsula (the location of the famous mines). The Egyptians used eye makeup made from ground malachite which had a protective function (in fighting eye infections) which was attributed to Hathor.

She was the patron of dancers and was associated with percussive music, particularly the sistrum (which was also a fertility fetish). She was also associated with the Menit necklace (which may also have been a percussion instrument) and was often known as ‘the Great Menit’. Many of Her priests were artisans, musicians, and dancers who added to the quality of life of the Egyptians and worshipped Her by expressing their artistic natures. Hathor was the incarnation of dance and sexuality and was given the epithet ‘Hand of God’ (refering to the act of masturbation) and ‘Lady of the Vulva’. One myth tells that Ra had become so despondent that he refused to speak to anyone. Hathor (who never suffered depression or doubt) danced before him exposing Her private parts, which caused him to laugh out loud and return to good spirits.

As the ‘lady of the west’ and the ‘lady of the southern sycamore’ She protected and assisted the dead on their final journey. Trees were not commonplace in ancient Egypt, and their shade was welcomed by the living and the dead alike. She was sometimes depicted as handing out water to the deceased from a sycamore tree (a role formerly associated with Amentet who was often described as the daughter of Hathor) and according to myth, She (or Isis) used the milk from the Sycamore tree to restore sight to Horus who had been blinded by Set. Because of Her role in helping the dead, She often appears on sarcophagi with Nut (the former on top of the lid, the later under the lid). She occassionally took the form of the ‘Seven Hathors’ who were associated with fate and fortune telling. It was thought that the ‘Seven Hathors’ knew the length of every childs life from the day it was born and questioned the dead souls as they travelled to the land of the dead. Her priests could read the fortune of a newborn child, and act as oracles to explain the dreams of the people. People would travel for miles to beseech the Goddess for protection, assistance and inspiration. The ‘Seven Hathors’ were worshiped in seven cities: Waset (Thebes), Iunu (On, Heliopolis), Aphroditopolis, Sinai, Momemphis, Herakleopolis, and Keset. They may have been linked to the constellations Pleiades.

However, She was also a Goddess of destruction in Her role as the Eye of Ra – defender of the sun god. According to legend, people started to criticise Ra when he ruled as Pharaoh. Ra decided to send his ‘eye’ against them (in the form of Sekhmet). She began to slaughter people by the hundred. When Ra relented and asked Her to stop She refused as She was in a blood lust. The only way to stop the slaughter was to colour beer red (to resemble blood) and pour the mixture over the killing fields. When She drank the beer, She became drunk and drowsy, and slept for three days. When She awoke with a hangover She had no taste for human flesh and mankind was saved. Ra renamed Her Hathor and She became a Goddess of love and happiness. As a result, soldiers also prayed to Hathor/Sekhmet to give them Her strength and focus in battle.

“O Gold, Hathor” by ~MysticalMike

Her husband Horus the elder was associated with the pharaoh, so Hathor was associated with the Queen. Her name is translated as ‘The House of Horus’, which refers both to the sky (where Horus lived as a Hawk) and to the royal family. She had a son named Ihy (who was a god of music and dancing) with Horus-Behdety and the three were worshipped at Denderah (Iunet). However, Her family relationships became increasingly confusing as time passed. She was probably first considered to be the wife of Horus the elder and the daughter of Ra, but when Ra and Horus were linked as the composite deity Re-Horakty She became both the wife and the daughter of Ra.

This strengthened Her association with Isis, who was the mother of Horus the child by Osiris. In Hermopolis (Khmunu) Thoth was the foremost god, and Hathor was considered to be his wife and the mother of Re-Horakhty (a composite deity which merged Ra with Hor-akhty).

Of course, Thoth already had a wife, Seshat (the Goddess of reading, writing, architecture and arithmetic), so Hathor absorbed Her role including acting as a witness at the judgement of the dead. Her role in welcoming the dead gained Her a further husband – Nehebkau (the guardian of the entrance of the underworld). Then when Ra and Amun merged, Hathor became seen as the wife of Sobek who was considered to be an aspect of Amen-Ra. Yet Sobek was also associated with Seth, the enemy of Horus!

“Hathor” by Deborah Bell

She took the form of a woman, goose, cat, lion, malachite, sycamore fig, to name but a few. However, Hathor’s most famous manifestation is as a cow and even when She appears as a woman She has either the ears of a cow, or a pair of elegant horns. When She is depicted as entirely a cow, She always has beautifully painted eyes. She was often depicted in red (the color of passion) though Her sacred color is turquoise. It is also interesting to note that only She and the dwarf god Bes (who also had a role in childbirth) were ever depicted in portrait (rather than in profile). Isis borrowed many of Her functions and adapted Her iconography to the extent that it is often difficult to be sure which of the two Goddesses is depicted. However, the two deities were not the same. Isis was in many ways a more complex deity who suffered the death of Her husband and had to fight to protect Her infant son, so She understood the trials and tribulations of the people and could relate to them.  Hathor, on the other hand, was the embodiment of power and success and did not experience doubts. While Isis was merciful, Hathor was single minded in pursuit of Her goals. When She took the form of Sekhmet, She did not take pity on the people and even refused to stop killing when ordered to do so.” [1]

 

 

 

Sources:

Hill, J. Ancientegyptonline.co.uk, “Hathor“.

Monaghan, Patricia. The New Book of Goddesses and Heroines, “Hathor”.

 

 

Suggested Links:

Altunay, Erhan. Thewisemag.com, “Hathor and Isis: The Great Goddesses of Ancient Egypt“.

Barkemeijer de Wit, Rhiannon. Pyramidcompany.com, “Who Is Goddess Hathor…“.

Goddess-guide.com, “Hathor the Egyptian Goddess“.

Houser, Kelly. Order of the White Moon, “Hathor, Queen of Heaven“.

Journal of a Poet, “Hathor“.

Mydailygoddess.blogspot.com, “Hathor: Pleasure“.

Revel, Anita. igoddess.com, “Hathor: shape-shift & shine“.

Seawright, Caroline. Thekeep.org, “Hathor, Goddess of Love, Music and Beauty…“.

Starlight. Goddessschool.com, “Hathor“.

Took, Thalia. A-Muse-ing Grace Gallery, “Hathor“.

Thewhitegoddess.co.uk, “Hathor – Eye of Ra“.

Wikipedia, “Hathor“.

Goddess Sopdet

“Sopdet” by BlueSilver

“Sopdet’s themes are fertility, destiny and time. Her symbols are stars and dogs.  The reigning Egyptian Queen of the Constellations, Sopdet lives in Sirius, guiding the heavens and thereby human destiny. Sopdet is the foundation around which the Egyptian calendar system revolved, Her star’s appearance heralding the beginning of the fertile season. Some scholars believe that the Star card of the Tarot is fashioned after this Goddess and Her attributes.

The long, hot days of summer are known as the ‘Dog Days‘ because they coincide with the rising of the dog star, Sirius. In ancient Egypt this was a welcome time as the Nile rose, bringing enriching water to the land. So, go outside tonight and see if you can find Sirius. When you spy it, whisper a wish to Sopdet suited to Her attributes and your needs. For example, if you need to be more timely or meet a deadline, she’s the perfect Goddess to keep things on track.

If you’re curious about your destiny, watch that region of the sky and see if any shooting stars appear. If so, this is a message from Sopdet. A star moving on your right side is a positive omen; better days are ahead. Those on the left indicate the need for caution, and those straight ahead mean things will continue on an even keel for now. Nonetheless, seeing any shooting star means Sopdet has received your wish.”

(Patricia Telesco, “365 Goddess: a daily guide to the magic and inspiration of the goddess”.)

“Sopdet – Cosmic Auset” by TRSkye (available for purchase on Etsy.com).

“Sopdet (‘skilled woman’, also known as Sothis) represented Sirius, the Dog-Star. Sirius was the most important star to ancient Egyptian astronomers because it signalled the approach of the inundation and the beginning of a new year. New year was celebrated with a festival known as ‘The Coming of Sopdet’.

In fact, the ‘Sothic Rising’ only coincided with the solar year once every 1460 years. The Roman emperor Antoninus Pius had a commemorative coin made to mark their coincidence in CE 139. The Sothic Cycle (the periods between the rising of the star) have been used by archaeologists trying to construct a chronology of Ancient Egypt.

Sopdet was the wife of Sahu (‘the hidden one’), the constellation Orion, and the mother of Sopdu (‘skilled man’), a falcon god who represented the planet Venus. This triad echoed the trio of Osiris, Isis and Horus, but the connections were not always simple. Sopdet became increasingly associated with Isis, who asserts that She is Sopdet (in ‘the lamentations of Isis and Nephthys‘ c 400 BCE) and will follow Osiris, the manifestation of Sahu. However, as well as being considered to be the spouse of Orion (Osiris), She is described by the pyramid texts as the daughter of Osiris.

 

Although Sopdet started out as an agricultural deity, closely associated with the Nile, by the Middle Kingdom She was also considered to be a mother Goddess. This probably related to Her growing connection with the Goddess Isis. This connection was further strengthened by Sopdet’s role in assisting the Pharaoh find his way to the imperishable stars. It may be no coincidence that Sirius disappeared for seventy days every year, and mummification took seventy days.

         

In the first Dynasty ivory tablets Sopdet was depicted as a reclining cow with a unidentified plant-like emblem (possibly signifying representing the new year) between Her horns. However, She was most often depicted as a woman wearing the white crown of Upper Egypt topped by a star or a headdress with two plumes.

Less often, She is portrayed as a large dog, and by the Roman period the hybrid Goddess Isis-Sopdet was depicted as a woman riding side-saddle on a large dog.

Sopdet was occasionally shown as a male deity. During the Middle Kingdom the male Sopdet was in associated with Horus as one of the gods who held up the four corners of the earth and held Nut (the sky) in place. During the Greek period She was linked to Anubis as Sopdet-Anubis, possibly because of Her canine associations.” [1]

 

 

 

Sources:

Ancientegyptonline.co.uk, “Sopdet“.

 

Suggested Links:

Agaliha. Mysticwicks.com, “Thread: Sopdet/Sothis {Goddess of the Week}“.

Cowofgold.wikispaces.com, “Sopdet“.

Crystalinks.com, “Sirius“.

Egyptianmyths.net, “Sopdet“.

Thegoddesshouse.blogspot.com, Sopdet – The Goddess of the New Year“.

Herebedragons.weebly.com, Ancestral Memories,”Get Sirius“.

MXTODIS123. An Inner Journey: The Moon, Mythology and You, “Sopdet“.

Sabrina. Goddess A Day, “Sopdet“.

Schwader, Ann K. Goddessschool.com, “Sothis/Sopdet: Star of the Eastern Horizon“.

Seawright, Caroline. Articles by Caroline Seawright, “Sopdet, Goddess of Sirius, New Year and Inundation…“.

Tribe.net, “Sopdet“.

Wikipedia, “Sopdet“.

Writing, Jimmy Dunn. Touregypt.net, “Sah and Sopdet (Sothis), the Egyptian Astral God and Goddess“.

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