CAT GODDESS BAST AND THE GODDESS MUT
“In the temple of Koptos the goddess Mut of Thebes was called …. Bast…..”(Erman, 1907, p.59) Mut’s sacred animal was the cat, as jars and vases used in rituals for Mut found at the temple of Luxor at Thebes were decorated with cats (Lesko, 1999). Mut was at one point assimilated into Hathor when the power of Thebes was in decline. Then Mut, Hathor and Isis merged. However, during the reign of Hatshepsut in the 18th dynasty, Mut once again found her rightful place amongst the gods and goddesses. During this dynasty, Hatshepsut identified herself with Mut and rebuilt Mut’s temples only to have her worship later banned by Akhenaton. However, under the reign of Tutankhamen the creator goddess was brought to life once again and worshipped until the end of the 3rd century AD. Farther down the Nile from Thebes, at Beni Hasan, Hatshepsut also built temples to another minor cat goddess, Pakhet, meaning she who scratches.