It became said that rather than simple domestic
protector against vermin and venomous creatures,
or fierce warrior, she was a huntress, who
wandered the desert alone at night looking
for prey, gaining the title Night huntress
with sharp eye and pointed claw.
were similar feline war gods, one
for Upper Egypt and the other for
Lower Egypt. Where the two groups
met, at Beni Hasan, the similarity
of the goddesses lead to a new merged
form known as Pakhet (also spelt Pachet,
Pekhet, Phastet, and Pasht, Egyptian
P?.t), meaning (she who) tears.
By the time Pakhet appeared, during
the Middle Kingdom, Bast
was considered less a lioness, and
more a gentle domesticated cat.
Consequently her character lay somewhere
between the gentleness of Bast,
and the ferocity of Sekhmet,
leading to her strength being considered
an inner rather than outer quality.
While this desert aspect lead to her being associated with
desert storms, she was also said to be protector of motherhood,
as was Bast. Consequently some modern feminist theories have
developed suggesting that Pakhet represented the deified properties
of the menstrual cycle, although this tends to be discounted
by more mainstream Egyptologists.
|In art, she was depicted as a feline-headed
woman, or as a feline, often killing
snakes with her sharp claws. The exact
nature of the feline varied between
a desert wildcat, which was more like
Bast, or a
lioness, which was more like Sekhmet.
Her huntress nature lead to the Greeks
identifying her with Artemis, and
consequently, her most famous temple,
which was underground, became known
as the Cave of Artemis. This cavernous
shrine was built by Hatshepsut, and
mummified cats have been found buried
and Goddesses Menu
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