Friday, December 19, 2014

Bast Goddess of Pleasure

Bast, from her home in Egypt, ruled leisure and was the official protector of cats.  The daughter of Re, the sun god, and according to one myth, the personification of the soul of Isis. She seemed to have two sides to her personality; a playful and gentle side, and an aggressive and vicious side when she was in full on defender mode.

Egypt adored cats. Cats held honorary positions in Egypt.  It should come as no surprise to learn cats were often treated better than people. The wisdom the goddess imparts regarding cats is uncomplicated, if you're a woman.  Women relate easily to cats, even if they don't consider themselves 'cat' people. Throughout herstory, cats have been there to witness the goddess’ triumphs and tribulations. It was patriarchal jealousy and fear that linked the cat to woman during the witch trials in the 18th Century. Cats were thought to be a witch's portal to the craft and just having a cat welcome a woman with a lusty purr was a threat to the woman's life. Who could have imagined cats could fall from such a lofty existence in Egypt to being persecuted and feared centuries later? 

Cats are as much fun to watch as they are amused by us.  Cats will entertain themselves with anything that catches their eye.  It's the movement that intrigues them. This is their playful side coming out to play. I love to watch bodies in motion.  So long as the body moves gracefully or with great skill, I am a captive audience. Being an artist, I look for inspiration as I watch ice skaters, swimmers, athletes, dancers, and people at play.  I love photographs that capture movement in runners and yoga poses.  The human body is a marvel but the healthy female body is nothing short of poetry. From the curve of a woman's neck, once thought to be the seat of seduction, to the arches of her feet, a woman's body is a sensual playground. Cats are equally intrigued with their own bodies.  The flexibility cats have when it comes to grooming themselves is enviable. For cats, it's all about them when it comes to comfort. I feel the same way when it comes to my own grooming rituals and little deters me after a tiring day.  I need my time to unwind and inhale intoxicating scents on my way to a hot bath.

Cats are also known for being aloof, but I would suggest what we mistake for being aloof could just be catching them in some transition between nap and ready to be seen.  I need more time than the average person to ease into my day.  I'm awake enough to dress for the day but I'm not fit for human interaction until I've had at least 30 minutes of quiet time with my coffee/tea and something to read. Demanding too much before then could force my claws to come out.  I know a lot of people who have their own patterns for entering into a new day. I know of one co-worker who takes the scenic route to work even though it's an added ten minutes to the trip.  They feel it's worth it to start the day less stressed.  I have to agree. Cats and stress just don't go together.

Cats, will, on the other hand, defend their territory or hiss when they feel something or someone is just not right. As women, we've been teased into submission over the mention of our intuition.  This is too bad because our intuition is the trade off we got for not getting the upper body strength men have to knock a predator into next week.  Is it any wonder they make light of it?  It puts us pretty much on equal footing if we keep it sharpened and ready at all times.  That intuition is your guiding light, that nudge you get when you feel that really nice man that offered to carry those bags to the house for you might not be so nice after all. Pushing it down and having that internal dialogue that reminds you how silly you sound for thinking the worst of someone so nice will have you asking yourself later why you didn't listen to your intuition.  Pay attention and don't be afraid to bring out the claws and hiss if you sense danger.  Cats don't slink around feeling ashamed because they caused a scene.  
Cats, like women, are in the world to enjoy what life offers. It's about making the best of each day, taking what comes, and looking our best as we make our way through life.  Enjoy the company you keep, enjoy the meals you take, make time to rest and groom yourselves because you never know when opportunity will knock.  And if you have to, bring out the claws to let the world know you're no push over.

Bast was protector, entertainer, and companion to those who understood the power of the cat. Cats, like the vast majority of women, are graceful, confident, and demand  their own space. Cats don’t want to be treated like dogs because they have the ‘cat thing’ down pat. Cats know what they like and how to get it. Women are on the same wave length. So make time to be alone with your own thoughts and dreams.  Purr when you’re happy and feeling secure.  Hiss and let the claws come out when your instincts tell you to be careful.  Bast would be so proud.