Sekhmet and Bastet: Why They Aren’t the Same

Sekhmet and Bastet: Why They Aren’t the Same

Today we are going to focus on two slightly similar, but still different Egyptian Goddesses: Sekhmet and Bastet! Bastet is the goddess with the head of either a lion and a head. In the beginning, she had a lioness head, but it changed to that of a cat in time. She was the War goddess and the protector of women, family and pleasure. In spite of her rather violent nature, she was a kind goddess that many people worshiped.

Both Sekhmet and Bastet are closely connected to the sun god Ra. Both females are at times Goddesses of the Sun. The only difference is that Bastet is the mild heat from the sun, while Sekhmet is the vicious heat.

In one myth, Ra was in battle with Apep, an evil snake deity of chaos. Ra fought each night against Apep with the help of his daughter Bastet. The battle with Apep could disrupt the balance of the world. When Apep had the upper hand, earthquakes and storms occurred. But Ra was always managed to win before the end of the day. In some renditions of the story, Bastet killed Apep in the night in her cat form.

Sekhmet and Bastet: Why They Aren’t the SameSekhmet and Bastet

In another myth, Ra became very angry at mankind since they did not respect the gods anymore. For punish meant, he decided to send his daughter, Hathor, in the form of a lioness which became Sekhmet. She went on a rampage, but she lost control, induced by bloodlust, and no one could stop her.

To stop her, Ra offered her a beer mixed in with red dye, to make it look like blood. She drank it and passed out, sleeping for three whole days. In this time, Ra brought her back home, where she awoke without rage.  In some versions, she wakes up to see Ptah, God of creation and fertility, and falls in love.

Since she is the goddess of destruction and him of creation, they became symbol of healing and reestablished balance. The connection between the two goddesses somehow lessened, and Bastet lost her role as a goddess of war. This was to better differentiate between the two.

 

 

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