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Hathor - Goddess of Beauty, Music, & Joy

Deities, Concepts, Archetypes

Hathor - Goddess of Beauty, Music, & Joy

Postby BlackTail » Mon Nov 07, 2011 10:48 pm

Hathor (Het-Hert, Het-Heru, Hwt-Hert, Hethara), meaning "House of Horus", was a goddess of many things, from the celestial to the alcoholic! She was a celestial goddess, The Mistress of Heaven. A goddess of love, music and beauty as the Goddess of Love, Cheerfulness, Music and Dance. She was known as the Mother of Mothers and the Celestial Nurse who presided over women, fertility, children and childbirth. Yet she was also a goddess of baser things - she was the Vengeful Eye of Ra, the Lady of Drunkeness, and a goddess of the dead as Lady of the West. As Lady of the Southern Sycamore, the sycamore was sacred to her. It was from the sycamore tree that she was thought to hand out good things to the deceased in the afterlife, and so she was thought to be a friend to the dead.
She was also known as the Mistress of Life, the Great Wild Cow, the Golden One, the Mistress of Turquoise, Lady of Iunet (Dendera) (her cult centre was located at Iunet), Mistress of Qis, Lady to the Limit (of the Universe), Lady of Punt (perhaps an area in present day Somalia - a famous expedition to this land was commissioned by Hatshepsut (1473-1458 BC), of the 18th Dynasty), the Powerful One, the Mistress of the Desert, Lady of the Southern Sycamore... and many other names, besides. She was also the goddess of the third month of the Egyptian calendars, know in Greek times as Hethara.
An interesting story involving Hathor - all the more interesting because it is very similar to the Japanese tale of the sun goddess who leaves the company of the gods to sulk - is the story of Ra's temper tantrum. Baba a predynastic baboon god, taunted Ra who stood for Set becoming ruler rather than Horus, "Your shrine is empty!" With that, Ra stormed off to be alone - presumably this is a story about a solar eclipse - and refused to join the other gods. Realising that they'd gone too far, the others sent Baba away, but still Ra refused to stop sulking. Finally, Hathor decided on a plan. She went into Ra's presence and stood before him and started to dance and strip, revealing her nakedness and lewdly showing him her private parts. The dance caused Ra to laugh, forget his hurt feelings and he once again rejoined the gods.
The reason that she has so many names, one would assume, is because she is an ancient goddess - she seems to have been mentioned as early as the 2nd Dynasty. She may even been associated with the Narmer palette - although the two human faced bovines may also have been a representation of the king or of another ancient bovine goddess, called Bat, who was eventually surplanted by Hathor.
Hathor was also known as the "Great Menat". The menat, a necklace with a special counterweight, is not actually jewelry - it is a musical instrument sacred to Hathor! The counter piece is similar to the fertility dolls found in ancient tombs, while the beaded necklace was believed to represent the womb. It was held in the hand and rattled to convey the blessing of the goddess.

Hathor was also the "Lady of Greenstone and Malachite" and "Lady of Lapis-Lazuli", presiding over these materials as well as being a goddess of the fringes where they were mined. (Malachite is a banded light and dark green semi-precious stone that was ground up and mixed with eye make up. Lapis-lazuli adorned many pieces of ancient Egyptian jewelry. This fits in well with Hathor's role of a goddess of beauty.) She was a goddess of the west, and a goddess of Punt and Sinai and so was a goddess of far off places. This is perhaps why she was also known as the "Lady to the Limit" - the Egyptians believed her to be a goddess who ruled over the known universe!

Hathor relates and connects to many Egyptian goddesses/gods. Many people know that Hathor has, atleast, two sides. Hathor is the bright, happy goddess and then Sehkmet, the warrior goddess that laps up the blood of her enemies. It seems like a huge stretch for a kind loving goddess, but all women have their faces. Like the moon. Goddesses, like women, have many sides and the Egyptian goddesses almost blend together completely. Bast has connections to Sehkmet, very closely. That in turn links her to Hathor. There are many layers of goddesses and gods that connect within eat other.

The egyptian goddess, especially Hathor, Sekhmet, and Bast, are their own beings but also part of each other. All goddesses can be seen as the same goddess and still their own separate goddess. This is the basis of many beliefs. Usually this is applied to Isis being the main goddess. Some people believe Isis is the goddess and other other goddesses in the pantheon are her faces. The same can be said of Horus and the many other gods, but it in some circles Isis represents the entire pantheon of gods and goddesses.

You will find that to work with Hathor is to work with Isis, Bast, Sekhmet, and more. When you understand this concept it is a lot easier to see and call upon her many aspects.

TL,DR- Hathor is a great goddess to get to know. Beauty, Love, Joy, and Celebration are her domain. There are many sides to Hathor, not all of them happy.
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