Monday, May 28, 2012

Pagan Blog Project-H is for Hathor

Pagan Blog Project- H is for Hathor
Hathor, an Egyptian Goddess, ruled many domains. She was a fertility goddess, funerary goddess, sky goddess, moon goddess, sun goddess, goddess of agriculture & moisture, a mother goddess, goddess of beauty, love, music and dancing as well as a creator goddess. Evidence of her being a fertility goddess can be found in many Egyptian works of art (whether statues or wall paintings) that show Hathor nursing infant gods or pharaohs. They would later become known as the sons of Hathor.

As a funerary goddess her main function was to welcome the newly dead and offer them food and drink. She is represented as a lunar goddess by the horns she wears in which represent the horns of the crescent moon. Hathor was also known as the Mother of the Gods and Queen of the Heavens and was said to be “brought forth in primeval time herself, never having been created” thus also giving her the title as a creator goddess. Although Hathor is mainly seen as a nurturing goddess, she also has a dark side. Like Kali, she can drink the blood of gods and men who cross her and as Sekhmet; she is the destroyer of mankind. In the Story of Re, she was created by her father as Sekhmet, th
e destroyer of men, who were disobedient to him. He sent her down to earth to wreak havoc and punish man for this disobedience. Lather Re changed his mind, but he could not stop Sekhmet/Hathor from killing the humans. He then disguised beer as blood so she would drink the beer and become drunk. Once she drank too much, the killing stopped and she fell asleep. When she awoke, she was once more Hathor, goddess of love. Hathor is also known by Het Heret, Athor and Athyr.

Hathor has been represented in many ways. She has been portrayed as a cow goddess, a woman wearing a crown of cow horns with a solar disk or even as a woman with cow ears. The use of the cow symbol represents her as an earth mother, nurturing the world with milk. She is also often shown wearing turquoise or red dress. She may be carrying the “was” scepter and may hold a papyrus stem or sistrum. She has been presented as mother and daughter of the sun, lioness or cow and even sometimes a tree.

She has also been associated with many other goddesses worldwide including Aphrodite, Ishtar and Innana. She also has many of the same attributes as Isis and sometimes they are seen as each other. Both have been portrayed with cow horns and a solar disk. Her many titles include Mistress of Heaven, Lady of the West, The Vengeful Eye of Ra, Goddess of the Dead, Mistress of Life, Lady of Malachite, Lady of Turquoise and Great One of Many Names.

Hathor was worshipped by both royalty and commoners and the temple of the cult of Hathor was at Dendera. Here the columns of the temple are designed as sistrums to honor the goddess Hathor as a goddess of music, dance and love. On the first day of the New Year, the priestesses would climb to the roof and present her image to the rising sun. After returning from the roof top, the people would then have a big party with singing, dancing and drinking. The priest/esses of the temple would also let the sick stay there in mud brick cubicles, where they bathed in water from sacred lakes to promote healing. Thus Hathor was also represented as a healing goddess as well. Hathor’s temple was still used up to Greco-Roman period and is one of the best preserved. Unlike other temples, this temple faces north rather than east-west.

Her birthday is thought to be August 29th and she has many festivals which are attributed to her which occur March 2, May 12 and June 6 as feast days; Festivals on March 19, April 16 and July 7; the feast of Hathor as Sirius is November 29.

This goddess was worshiped in many different a
reas which included Egypt, Sinai Desert, West Asia, Ethiopia, Somalia, Libya, Byblos and Nubia. There is also evidence that she was also worshiped at one time in Israel. In the 11th century BC, at the holy city of Hazor, which the Old Testament says Joshua destroyed, in which relics and/or other evidence was found that she existed as a goddess here. Hathor is an ancient goddess, worshipped as early as the 2nd dynasty.

Hathor is also associated with the 7 Hathors. These women were holy midwives associated with the 7 heavenly spheres. It was said that when a child is born, the 7 Hathors came to his or her bedside to announce their fate. These women were believed to know the future and the moment of death for every Egyptian. A person’s destiny depended on the hour of their death and the luck of ill fortune was connected with it. It was believed that the Hathors would exchange a prince born to ill fortune with a more fortunate child, therefore protecting the dynasty and the nation. They were shown as a group of young women playing tambourines and wearing the horn disks of Hathor. During the Ptolemaic times (when the Greeks ruled over Egypt), they were identified with the Pleiades. The 7 Hathors were Hathor of Thebes, Hathor of Heliopolis, Hathor of Aphroditopolis, Hathor of Sinai, Hathor of Momemphis or Ammu, Hathor of Herakleopolis and Hathor of Keset.

Hathor is considered the daughter of Ra and later said to be his wife or mother. It is also said she could be the daughter of Nut, of whom she also has many of the same attributes as especially as a sky goddess. This goddess is personified as the female principle; she is primitive, fruitful, creative and nourishing. Other sources show Hathor as wife of Horus and mother of Ihy. It is also said she was the wife of Thoth (she absorbed the attributes of Shesat).

Her cardinal point is South, her element is fire, her special days are Sunday and Friday and her season is summer. Other correspondences include:

Herbs: anise, apple, banana, cypress, dandelion, dill, feverfew, hibiscus, jasmine, lemon, mandrake, rose, willow

Incense: myrrh, cedar, dragons blood, jasmine, myrrh, rose

Crystals: amber, angelite, celestite, diamond, emerald, fluorite, galena, garnet, granite, jade, lodestone, malachite, moonstone, opal, pearl, rose quarts, turquoise.

Metal: gold, copper

Wood: maple,

Color: red, yellow, black, orange, turquoise
(This is certainly not a complete list**)

Hathor is the goddess of beauty, love, music and dance. So by bringing thes
e qualities into your life you can bring Hathor into your life as well. For example: appreciating beautiful things like art, music, flowers, etc. If you feel you need Hathor’s energy try singing to her or dancing to arouse her spirit. She is also a fertility goddess, so if you are trying to conceive whether it is a child or idea, pray to Hathor for guidance, she will hear you. Hathor is also a mother goddess, so if you need nurturing for yourself or help in giving nurturing to others, pray to Hathor, offer her libations or gifts. She will acknowledge you and help you with your needs. As a funerary goddess her main function is to welcome the dead and offer them food and drink. Hathor can also help those grieving for loved ones by offering them comfort as well. These are just a few ideas of how to bring Hathor into your life. When all else fails, just simply pray or talk honestly to her, she will hear you.

Reference list:
Gods and Goddesses, edited by Elizabeth Hallam 1996
The Woman’s Encyclopedia of Myth and Secrets by Barbara G. Walker 1983
Legends of the Earth, Sea and Sky-An Encyclopedia of Nature Myths by Tamera Andrews 1998

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