The Sun has just entered Libra so I am adequately reposting what I have written about Maat.
The Sun has just entered Libra so I am adequately reposting what I have written about Maat.
I am making a separate entry about the Facebook’s profile of Goddess Nephthys which I have been running since a couple of weeks.
This page had been created by Lisa Frideborg Lloyd who decided to quit Facebook but wanted to keep the page working and asked for a volounteer to become an administrator. I was reluctant at first because I have already been maintaining 6 pages on Facebook (yes, even I can’t believe that ) but the time was running and I couldn’t stand the thought of this page being deleted together with Lisa’s account. So I sent an offer which was accepted and here I am, the new administrator .
I think Lisa was concentrating mostly on the mystical side of the goddess while I have more history and mythology based approach but in the end just like the introduction says this is the page in honour of the great goddess Nephthys. I am personally somehow disappointed that contrary to Isis Nephthys is not included in any ‘regular’ decks of goddess oracle cards that I have come across (and you know I have collected at least several of them). After all she was equally popular in ancient Egypt as her sister and they are often paired in the funeral paintings and sculptures. While Isis with Osiris represent fertility, Nephthys with Seth bring the aspect of ending and rest. It’s sad that modern culture concentrates only on the first aspect. It is neither natural nor healthy. You cannot grow and blossom all the time. Soil needs autumn and winter to rest and to prepare for a new season.
I am not going any further into this topic because I sincerely hope that despite lack of Nephthys’ representations in the card decks I will make a separate post about her sooner or later. And meanwhile I would like to invite you to visit Goddess Nephthys profile on Facebook. Please feel free to like, leave a comment or contribute in any other way.
An Egyptian goddess of cosmic order, justice, wisdom, law, truth, balance, harmony and morality. She was the one to keep the stars in movement, seasons changing and to maintain the order on both Heaven and Earth. According to the Egyptian beliefs the world has not come into existence until Ra the god of the Sun had replaced Isfet (Chaos) with his daughter Maat. Pharaohs were to guard the goddess and to make sure no one would disrupt the balance. Her name was also written as Ma’at, Māt, Maae’t or Mayet and its meaning was probably Truth, Truthfulness.
The earliest writings where Maat is mentioned date back to the Old Kingdom (more than 2300 years ago). Even though she is depicted as a person, she in fact symbolized an Egyptian faith that the universe was logical and stayed in order therefore any disturbances in its functioning must have been caused by people. Maat was a guarantee of an order in Egypt and she represented a cosmic harmony which was in power as long as laws and customs were respected. The Egyptians believed in an inner balance and unity prevailing in the universe which meant that any disturbances could have brought Chaos back and could have caused a danger for people and institutions. It concerned all the aspects of life: authority, trade, seasons changing, movement of planets, religious ceremonies, signing contracts, fairness and truthfulness in everyday life. This is why the Egyptians treated such troubles as e.g. the delay of the Nile’s flooding as a sign of gods’ anger and a pharaoh, the priest of Maat, who did not respect laws would be perceived as a threat (like in the case of Ankhenaten who by the way was said to be particularly devoted to Maat*).
In ancient Egypt the skills of expressing thoughts and writing were highly valued as well as impartiality and the sense of justice (one of the texts quotes the words of Ra that he had created people equal, Maat orders the rich to protect the poor and the weak, not to exploit workers building graves and to take care of the widows and the orphans). Maat was uniting everything in the Universe in one integral wholeness: the world, the state and individuals. Maat was something that we call the SPIRIT of the law, not the exact LETTER of the law. Judges were wearing her image to remember about delivering fair jedgements and keeping justice. Interestingly when Egypt was conquered first by Alexander the Great and then by the Romans, the Egyptian law co-existed with the laws of the intruders for some time but was later replaced (and so women who were so far able to act regardless of men’s agreement and to have their own properties, were deprived of these rights).
At the beginning Maat existed as an independent goddess but later when male and female dieties were paired, Maat became the wife of Thoth god of writing and thus the patroness of scribes. Scribes were very important in Egypt because their abilities to read and write were essential in the correct functioning of the state. They were of course supposed to live in accordance with the laws of Maat. In some beliefs Maat and Thoth created Ogdoad i.e. eight deities worshipped in Hermopolis. Both Maat and Thoth were presented together with Re in his solar barge.
Egyptians believed that Maat was present when the sentence was passed over the soul of a dead person. After death their spirit was going to Duat, the Underworld, where the heart was put on one scale and the feather of Maat was placed n another one (the Egyptians believed that human soul was hidden in heart). If the deeds of deceased stayed in balance with the feather, that person was to go to Aaru, the field of reeds, ruled by Osiris. If their deeds were heavier, the soul was devoured by the lion goddess Ammit and the dead had to stay in Duat. 42 Confessions (Principles) of Maat were also the part of this ritual.
Even though Maat was such an important goddess, it was not until the New Kingdom (around 1500 – 1000 bC) when people began building temples for her. There are proofs that her shrines were situated in Karnak, Memphis and Deir el-Medina.
IMAGES, SYMBOLS AND ANIMALS
Maat was depicted as a young woman either standing or sitting, sometimes winged. She was often portrayed holding the was sceptre in one hand and ANKH in the other. An ostrich feather was her headress (or the ostrich feather itself represented Maat). Her statue was a stone platform depicting the stable foundation on which order was built and the primeaval mound that emerged from the waters of Chaos.
Positive: a peaceful and balanced person who dislikes quarrelling and respects the law. In work this may be a supervisor or a person who watches over the procedures. Someone who likes harmony, is sensitive to the needs of others and delicate while contacting other people.
Negative: a conformist, someone who puts the blame for their faults on others, avoids taking ultimate decisions, is changeable, shallow, superficial and messy. May have problems with law and to be dishonest.
Professions: a lawyer, a judge, a clerk, an official, an auditor, a controller.
In this situation you must be honest, otherwise you will have to face serious consequences. Accept the responsability for the mistakes you have already made. May your thoughts, words and deeds be oneness. You must make choice. Legal or official problem. Ask an attorney or a legal counsellor for help. It is advised to continue studying or to improve qualifications.
If you are in the relationship: depending on your martial status this card signifies either marriage or divorce. It is advised to go to a mediator. Lie. Perhaps you are too hard on your partner and you critisise him/her too much.
If you are single: do not play with the feelings of other people. Make sure you are not giving someone false hope. Be responsible.
Court case. An official control at work. You should keep the letter of the law.
Possible problems with keeping a healthy weight. In negative meaning this card signifies an imbalance (surrounding cards inform what kind of imbalance it is and which system or organ it concerns). A deficiency or an excess. Psychosomatic diseases. Endangered parts of the body: kidneys, lumbar region of spine and back.
Maat with the primeaval mound in Goddesses of the New Light by Pamela Matthews
Maat with scales in Goddess Guidance Oracle Cards by Doreen Virtue
Maat with a jar in The Goddess Oracle by Hrana Janto&Amy Sophia Marashinsky
Maat in Oracle of the Goddess by Anna Franklin&Paul Mason
Maat in Goddess: A New Guide to Feminine Wisdom by River Huston&Patricia Languedoc
Maat with a feather in The Goddess Power Pack by Cordelia Brabbs
Weird and rather ridiculous image of war-like Maat in Goddesses&Sirens by Stacey Demarco&Jimmy Manton
Maat as Justice with scales and ANKH in Universal Goddess Tarot by Maria Caratti&Antonella Platano
*Just like Ankhenaten Hatshepsut seemed to somehow violate then existing order. After her husband’s death she became the regent for her minor nephew but in fact she seized the throne and became the pharaoh herself. She adopted Ma’atkare (Maat – Ka – Re meaning ‘Truth Is the Soul of Re’ or ‘Justice is the Soul of Re’) as her throne name. The legacy of both Ankhenaten and Hatshepsut was rejected after their deaths, their names were being erased, their statues and images destroyed and yet in modern times they became very popular. The documentaries are being made about them, books are being written, webpages created… I shall let you decide yourself whether it is all caused by the protection of goddess Maat .
Bast was an Egyptian goddess of love, fertility and relationships and the protectress of cats. The other variations of her name are Bastet, Baast or Ubasti (which probably meant She of the Ointment Jar).
ABOUT THE GODDESS
The history of Bast’s cult is divided into two stages. She was considered to be the guardian of Lower Egypt, during Old Kingdom of Egypt at least from the times of the Second Dynasty (i.e. from 3 500 b.C. even before the writing was invented). She was worshipped in Per Bast (Bubastis in Greek) where her famous temple was situated. It was described by Herodotus to be one of the most beautiful sanctuaries in an ancient world. Archaeologists discovered the cementary filled with cat mummies near the remains of the temple because cat was Bastet’s sacred animal. During the New Kingdom of Egypt she was more and more identified most of all with the lioness goddess Sekhmet but also with Hathor, Mut and Tefnut and her cult spread significantly to reach even Italian Penisula in the times of the Roman Empire. According to the first myths Bast had been the daughter of Ra the sun god and herself the mother of Maahes , however after being identified with Sekhmet she became the wife of Ptah. There is also a hypothesis that she had been the lioness or the woman with the head of a lion and then to distinguish her from Sekhmet she was presented as a cat (a myth illustrates this change: a wild lioness touched the waves of a lake and took the milder form of a feline)*.
The duality of female nature is reflected in the way the Egyptians worshipped Bast. At first because of her origins she was initially identified with the Sun (as a solar deity she was called Lady of the Flame, Lady of the East, the Goddess of the Rising Sun, Ra’s Eye and The Sacred and All-Seeing Eye. However when the soldiers of Alexander the Great seized the power over Egypt she became the moon goddes under the influence of Hellenic beliefs (Herodotus identifies her as Artemis and in the hellenistic era she is known as Ailuros). In fact it does not seem to be best of the assignements because Bast was taking care of homes and families and was bestowing health and fertility (as a feline taking care of her offspring she was sometimes depicted with kittens). According to myths during daytime Bast sailed in the skies with her father Ra in the boat to which the sun was attached and was observing everything carefully to watch over him. At night she was turning into a feline still keeping a perfect eyesight to protect her father from Apel (Apophis), a serpent who was his biggest enemy and who was eventually killed by Bast.
Thanks to her agility and power she was identified with the goddess of war and she was protecting the pharaoh on the battlefield. Archaeologists found vast cementaries of mummified cats and this shows how important cats were in the family life. They were protecting crops against mice and therefore it is possible these animals had as high status as cows in India. Interestingly cats were also warning against the fire and if any of them was harmed in it, the goddess was reviving them and perhaps this is where the legend of cat’s nine lives came from. Various symbols of Bast were kept at homes, these were the cat figurines to scare mice and serpents away and all-seeing eye to make thieves and plagues keep out of the house. The sculpture of a feline feeding kittens was often given as a wedding present as it symbolized the wish for health and fertility and Bast was considered the guardian of women and children even more than other Egyptian goddesses. Probably because of her name’s etymology she was the protectress of people who manufactured perfumes. Bast was also the goddess of dance, amusement, sensuality and pleasure. During her holiday the priestesses of her temple wearing red, a colour of the goddess, were performing something that we would call an erotic dance nowadays. Celebrations were taking place in April and May and they were very popular; perhaps even 700 thousand Egyptians could have come to Bubastis to sing, dance and drink excessively.
IMAGES, SYMBOLS AND ANIMALS
She was presented as a feline or a slim woman with the cat or lion head. Her attributes were sistrum, a musical instrument of the percussion family, a rattle, a basket or box. Her weapon was an aegis with the image of a lion.
The card of Bast shows a woman who feels fulfilled in many ways , both at work and at home. This is a modern mum who brings her children to kindergarten or school and then hurries to work. It also shows an independent woman or girl who cannot stand cultural and traditional limits and intends live her life in her own way. In negative it signifies egoism, lack of awereness, having too much fun and aversion to commitment in relationships.
Look closer into this situation because something may be hidden from you. Think it over and follow your intuition. Balance the male and female parts of your personality.
If you are in a relationship: Take a good care of your family and pets. If you are thinking of staring your own family this is a good moment for that. Leave the everyday duties from time to time and be more playful. Your father may need your help.
If you are single: Time to have fun. Relax, have a bath, use a body cream, go out, dance and move with grace.
Perhaps you may have to adapt to new circumstances and change your job or profession. Do not be scared of that, this card shows your flexibility and the skill of balancing.
It is a good moment to start excersising yoga or other stretching workout. Endangered body parts: spine and eyes.
Bast in The Goddess Oracle by Hrana Janto&Amy Sophia Marashinsky
Bast in Goddess Inspiration Oracle by Kris Waldherr
Bast in The Goddesses Knowledge Cards by Susan Seddon Boulet&Michael Babcock
Bast in Goddess: A New Guide to Feminine Wisdom by River Huston&Patricia Languedoc
Bast in Goddess Guidance Oracle Cards by Doreen Virtue
Bast in Goddesses&Sirens by Stacey Demarco&Jimmy Manton
and in Universal Goddess Tarot by Maria Caratti&Antonella Platano where she represents Ace of Wands:
Based on the English wikipedia and http://www.goddessgift.com/goddess-myths/egyptian_goddess_bast.htm .
*That is why I considered writing a common blog entry about them but in the end I decided they deserve the separate ones.