Author Topic: Egyptian Mythology, Predynastic Period, The Goddess, Hathor.  (Read 40 times)

0 Members and 0 Guests are viewing this topic.

Golden Falcon ☥

  • Administrator
  • Newbie
  • *****
  • Posts: 47
  • Karma: 0
  • Silence Is Golden.
  • Location: Scandinavia
    • View Profile
    • Chateau Sang Royal
Egyptian Mythology, Predynastic Period, The Goddess, Hathor.
« on: April 18, 2015, 11:05:13 pm »
The Goddess, Hathor.

Hathor Goddess of the sky, love, beauty, joy, motherhood, foreign lands, mining, music and fertility

The goddess Hathor wearing her headdress, a sun disk with Uraeus set between the cow-horns
Name in hieroglyphs   Hathorhierogl.gif
Major cult center   Dendera
Symbol   the cow, lioness, falcon, cobra, hippopotamus, Sistrum, musical instruments, drums, pregnant women, mirrors, cosmetics
Consort   Ra, Horus
Parents   Ra
Siblings   Sekhmet, Bast, Ptah, Shu, Tefnut, Thoth, Serqet
Offspring   Ihy, Horus,[1] Imsety, Hapi, Duamutef, Qebehsenuef
Hathor (/ˈhæθɔr/ or /ˈhæθər/;[2] Egyptian: ḥwt-ḥr; in Greek: Άθωρ, meaning "mansion of Horus")[1] is an Ancient Egyptian goddess who personified the principles of joy, feminine love, and motherhood.[3] She was one of the most important and popular deities throughout the history of Ancient Egypt. Hathor was worshiped by royalty and common people alike in whose tombs she is depicted as "Mistress of the West" welcoming the dead into the next life.[4] In other roles she was a goddess of music, dance, foreign lands and fertility who helped women in childbirth,[4] as well as the patron goddess of miners.[5]

The cult of Hathor predates the historic period, and the roots of devotion to her are therefore difficult to trace, though it may be a development of predynastic cults which venerated fertility, and nature in general, represented by cows.[6]

Hathor is commonly depicted as a cow goddess with horns in which is set a sun disk with Uraeus. Twin feathers are also sometimes shown in later periods as well as a menat necklace.[6] Hathor may be the cow goddess who is depicted from an early date on the Narmer Palette and on a stone urn dating from the 1st dynasty that suggests a role as sky-goddess and a relationship to Horus who, as a sun god, is "housed" in her.[6]

The Ancient Egyptians viewed reality as multi-layered in which deities who merge for various reasons, while retaining divergent attributes and myths, were not seen as contradictory but complementary.[7] In a complicated relationship Hathor is at times the mother, daughter and wife of Ra and, like Isis, is at times described as the mother of Horus, and associated with Bast.[6]

The cult of Osiris promised eternal life to those deemed morally worthy. Originally the justified dead, male or female, became an Osiris but by early Roman times females became identified with Hathor and men with Osiris.[8]

The Ancient Greeks sometimes identified Hathor with the goddess Aphrodite, while in Roman mythology she corresponds to Venus.[9]


Cow deities appear on the Kings belt and the top of the Narmer Palette
Hathor is ambiguously depicted until the 4th dynasty.[10] In the historical era Hathor is shown using the imagery of a cow deity. Artifacts from pre-dynastic times depict cow deities using the same symbolism as used in later times for Hathor and Egyptologists speculate that these deities may be one and the same or precursors to Hathor.[11]

A cow deity appears on the belt of the King on the Narmer Palette dated to the pre-dynastic era, and this may be Hathor or, in another guise, the goddess Bat with whom she is linked and later supplanted. At times they are regarded as one and the same goddess, though likely having separate origins, and reflections of the same divine concept. The evidence pointing to the deity being Hathor in particular is based on a passage from the Pyramid texts which states that the King's apron comes from Hathor.[12]

A stone urn recovered from Hierakonpolis and dated to the 1st dynasty has on its rim the face of a cow deity with stars on its ears and horns that may relate to Hathor's, or Bat's, role as a sky-goddess.[6] Another artifact from the 1st dynasty shows a cow lying down on an ivory engraving with the inscription "Hathor in the Marshes" indicating her association with vegetation and the papyrus marsh in particular. From the Old Kingdom she was also called Lady of the Sycamore in her capacity as a tree deity.[6]

Relationships, associations, images, and symbols

Hathor as a cow, wearing her necklace and showing her sacred eye – Papyrus of Ani.
Hathor had a complex relationship with Ra. At times she is the eye of Ra and considered his daughter, but she is also considered Ra's mother. She absorbed this role from another cow goddess 'Mht wrt' ("Great flood") who was the mother of Ra in a creation myth and carried him between her horns. As a mother she gave birth to Ra each morning on the eastern horizon and as wife she conceives through union with him each day.[6]

Hathor, along with the goddess Nut, was associated with the Milky Way during the third millennium B.C. when, during the fall and spring equinoxes, it aligned over and touched the earth where the sun rose and fell.[13] The four legs of the celestial cow represented Nut or Hathor could, in one account, be seen as the pillars on which the sky was supported with the stars on their bellies constituting the Milky Way on which the solar barque of Ra, representing the sun, sailed.[14]


Milky Way seen as it may have appeared to Ancient Egyptians
The Milky Way was seen as a waterway in the heavens, sailed upon by both the sun deity and the moon, leading the ancient Egyptians to describe it as The Nile in the Sky.[15] Due to this, and the name mehturt, she was identified as responsible for the yearly inundation of the Nile. Another consequence of this name is that she was seen as a herald of imminent birth, as when the amniotic sac breaks and floods its waters, it is a medical indicator that the child is due to be born extremely soon. Another interpretation of the Milky Way was that it was the primal snake, Wadjet, the protector of Egypt who was closely associated with Hathor and other early deities among the various aspects of the great mother goddess, including Mut and Naunet. Hathor also was favoured as a protector in desert regions (see Serabit el-Khadim).

Hathor's identity as a cow, perhaps depicted as such on the Narmer Palette, meant that she became identified with another ancient cow-goddess of fertility, Bat. It still remains an unanswered question amongst Egyptologists as to why Bat survived as an independent goddess for so long. Bat was, in some respects, connected to the Ba, an aspect of the soul, and so Hathor gained an association with the afterlife. It was said that, with her motherly character, Hathor greeted the souls of the dead in Duat, and proffered them with refreshments of food and drink. She also was described sometimes as mistress of the necropolis.

The assimilation of Bat, who was associated with the sistrum, a musical instrument, brought with it an association with music. In this later form, Hathor's cult became centred in Dendera in Upper Egypt and it was led by priestesses and priests who also were dancers, singers and other entertainers.

Sculpture of Hathor as a cow, with all of her symbols, the sun disk, the cobra, as well as her necklace and crown.
Hathor also became associated with the menat, the turquoise musical necklace often worn by women. A hymn to Hathor says:

Thou art the Mistress of Jubilation, the Queen of the Dance, the Mistress of Music, the Queen of the Harp Playing, the Lady of the Choral Dance, the Queen of Wreath Weaving, the Mistress of Inebriety Without End.
Essentially, Hathor had become a goddess of joy, and so she was deeply loved by the general population, and truly revered by women, who aspired to embody her multifaceted role as wife, mother, and lover. In this capacity, she gained the titles of Lady of the House of Jubilation, and The One Who Fills the Sanctuary with Joy. The worship of Hathor was so popular that more festivals were dedicated to her honor than any other Egyptian deity, and more children were named after this goddess than any other deity. Even Hathor's priesthood was unusual, in that both women and men became her priests.
One of the most famous women named after the goddess was Princess Hathorhotep, daughter of King Amenemhat III.[16]

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
« Last Edit: September 12, 2015, 11:30:34 am by Golden Falcon ☥ »

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter


Golden Falcon ☥

  • Administrator
  • Newbie
  • *****
  • Posts: 47
  • Karma: 0
  • Silence Is Golden.
  • Location: Scandinavia
    • View Profile
    • Chateau Sang Royal
Another introduction, of the Goddess, Hathor

Hathor is one of the most famous goddesses of Ancient Egypt. 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 Nut, Bat 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.
Another introduction, on the Goddess, Hathor

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 Nut, Mut 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
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.

Hathor from the tomb of Horemheb in the Valley of the Kings copyright Jean Pierre Dalbera   
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 ****) 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.

Hathor copyright Gerard Ducher
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.

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).

Hathor, from the Papyrus of Ani
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!

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.

Source: www.ancientegyptonline.co.uk/