Imagine her, with her glorious, white fur. So fluffy, so smooth, so soft. A little dirty, perhaps; with speckles of stain here and there. She lives on the street, so there’s no helping it, but see the way she sits, under that chair on the balcony, eyes closed, chin up, ray of sun straight on…A Lady
The netjeru are
Fresh blood and hawk wings
Red in the setting sun
When the N——- first revealed herself to me I had a vision-like daydream of my creation. I saw Bast in a vast darkness, the darkness of creation, and between Her cupped hands flickered a small orb of light. I knew it to be the little ember of my soul newly birthed from the infinite flame of my mother’s heart. The N——- was there in the darkness as well, for she is witness to all forms of creation and destruction, and I thought I heard her say, “That one.” My mother nodded. I took this to mean it was the N——- who chose me as scribe, who first laid claim to my fate and thus determined the path of servitude I’d follow through every life. But I was wrong.
“You think it was she who chose you,” my mother tells me now, “but it was he.” And now I understand. There was a third there in that darkness, a third who is also witness to every moment of every life: death. He chose me. He set me on this path. Of course; how could I have thought it to be any other way?
Bast’s love comforts
Hathor’s love energizes
Inanna’s love ignites
The Morrigan’s love challenges
The face Bast shows me is not young. Artists always depict Her with the ripe, vibrant bloom of the maiden, all hourglass curves and taut brown skin, but this isn’t how I see Her. My mother’s face is lined by little creases above Her brows, the corners of Her eyes, the edges of Her lips. Silver hairs glint in Her long black braids. There is a softness to Her breasts and waist like one who has given Her body to the birthing and raising of many children. Her beauty is not that of potent sexuality; it is the beauty of experience, of wisdom, of time and its endless flow of joys and sorrows. It is a beauty shaped and weighted by so much care that only a goddess could bear it – but oh, is She all the more beautiful for bearing it with pride!
In my dream my mother and aunt wrap their bodies around me, skin to skin, and I am like a babe in their arms, my weary head resting on their pillowed breasts, my small hands clutching at their warm skin, and I am safe, so safe, so safe.
Name my heart Per-Bast
The clash of sistra, the beat of drums
Her face blazing on every wall!
For that is where She resides
Reveal yourself!, I command the raging spirit as it snarls at me. Reveal yourself! It bares long fangs; its red eyes roll wildly with a feral madness. Reveal yourself! It lunges but I do not back down and I do not lower my outstretched arms. Reveal yourself!, I cry and the monstrous spirit howls in fury as my words finally dismantle its menacing facade. It shifts, shrinks, and by the time it regains its true form the howl is only a pitiful wail of despair. I kneel and pick the tiny spirit up, cup her in my hands and hold her close to my heart. She’s just a baby, a kitten barely six weeks old. That’s all the life she got this time around – six weeks. Six short weeks of fear and pain, enough time to experience the world’s cruelties but not enough time to understand them, and then death. She’s not even given the dignity of a grave because there is no one to mourn her. No one to remember her. No one to name her, even posthumously, so her spirit might know peace.
Fear, pain, death. No wonder she became so warped.
I realize I’m weeping, curled over this trembling little soul as if I can shield her from the horrors she’s already faced. Mother, I sob. Mother, I can’t do this. I can’t do this. How am I supposed to do this? I’m not strong enough to bear the weight of these truths; I’m not brave enough to open my heart to these sorrows. I fear they’ll drive me mad as well, that I’ll become a monster if I can’t gentle this awful tide of despair rushing through me. But that wouldn’t be fair to this spirit or the millions just like her who deserve recognition and empathy. If I can’t change the world completely, if there will always be innocent lives falling through the cracks, I should at least offer the solace of grief. Someone should carry the memory of all those lost souls so their brief lives weren’t in vain. I am a daughter of Bast; it is my duty and my honor. I don’t think I’m strong enough, it’s true, but I know my mother thinks I am. I must trust that is enough.
Inside every cat
Burns a spark of Egypt’s sun
I am the sun disk
I blaze! I burn! I destroy!
I see all, know all
Bast be my lit torch
Protect me until day dawns
I walk in your light
I am known as a goddess of love
And yes, I am a lover, a mother, a teacher
Yes, I can be gentle and kind
But do not forget my claws and teeth
Or the blood I have shed on the battlefield.
I have always been a goddess of war;
There is a reason my children are born knowing how to eviscerate their prey, after all.
I have always been a goddess of war;
The war between life and death
Between survival and failure
Between order and chaos.
Love makes life worth living,
But war is how you defend it.
they say “fake it ‘til you make it”
so here I am, a child playing dress-up
wearing my mother Bast’s smile and poise
Inanna’s confidence and Hathor’s positivity
and the Morrigan’s steel spine underneath it all
if I walk like them, talk like them
will I be strong like them?
will I be brave like them?
will I be good like them?
Hetheru, be my armor!
Morrigan, be my blade!
Inanna, be my strength!
Bast, be my courage!
I am a living flame of Bast
None shall harm me or mine!
I call down fire in the name of Sekhmet
I call down fire in the name of Mafdet
I call down fire in the name of Maahes
I call down fire in the name of Bast!
Dua Bast, Lady of the East, Lady of Flame, Lady of Truth
Vengeful Eye of Ra, Protective Mother Cat!
Dua Het-heru, Lady of the West, Sweet Sycamore
Bearer of Joy and Bringer of Prosperity!
Dua Wepwawet, Opener of the Way
Shepherd of the Path, Unique and Adorned One!
Hail Inanna, Queen of Heaven, O Radiant Star
She Who Descended and Arose Again!
Hail to the Morrigan, Phantom Queen and Prophetess
Sovereign of the Battlefield, Carrion Crowned!
Hail to the Sun and Moon, Lords of Darkness and Decay
Lords of Light and Love, of Sacrifice and the Solstice!
Hail and thanks to all!
Bast is the Lady of Joy, yes, and the Lady of Love, and yet She is also the Lady of Mourning. These are not such disparate concepts. To be a goddess of joy is to weep at its loss, to feel every cruelty and injustice in the world as if they were done to you. To be a goddess of love means to be a goddess of mourning, for there is no love without life and no life without struggle and death. Bast is beside every cat in need, though Her children number in the hundreds of millions. This means every starving stray, every sick or wounded feral, every abandoned pet waiting in some high-kill shelter for euthanasia. This means every cat caged for breeding, for research, for torture, for extermination. This means every cat who right this moment suffers from pain and terror and loneliness. Think how many precious, sacred lives that is! How endless the tide of grief! To be a goddess of love is to be present in those moments of greatest agony so those you love are never truly alone, and thus Bast remains with all Her children in their need. What could be the result but continuous mourning?
Oh Mother, who holds You in their arms when You weep? Who lifts the burden of the world from Your shoulders so You may rest for a moment? I am no goddess, I cannot carry Your mantle of responsibility for You, much as I dearly wish I could. Yet I am Your daughter; I can at least share a portion of Your grief so You need not mourn alone. Let me weep with You; let me wail with You; let me bear witness with You. For those of Your children whom I cannot save or offer solace, let me at least acknowledge their pain so someone on this earth mourns their passing. We will grieve together, Mother.
Mother, under Your bright gaze I become a child again!
I am the Six of Cups dancing in the forest
I am the Three of Wands yearning for a new adventure
Mother, under Your patient gaze I become a child again!
I am the generosity of the pentacles
I am the curiosity of the swords
Mother, under Your loving gaze I become a child again!
I am the Fool’s fearless freedom
I am Strength’s courage and the Star’s faith
Mother, under Your holy gaze I become a child again!
Our hearts are one, Mother!
When I rejoice, you rejoice
When you mourn, I mourn
When I am wrathful, you are enraged
When you are joyful, I am delighted
Our hearts are one, Mother!
The psychic said if I keep flying so close to the sun I’ll burn my skin and melt my wings, but she doesn’t understand how good that heat feels when it’s enveloping you in bright white radiance, when you are consumed and infused by divinity, nor does she understand how you’re glad to burn when that blazing force is the love of the divine, searing in its intensity, perhaps, yet uncompromising and unconditional, pure joyful affection which warms you to your core, and so I do not begrudge her words even as I tilt my wings to capture the next updraft into my solar mother’s waiting arms.
The gods appear to us in the forms they choose for a reason.
Bast appears to me close at hand as if I’m a small child and She’s holding me in Her arms. She is an older woman with a face graced always by a gentle, loving smile. Freckles are scattered across her cheeks like stars and perpetual laugh lines gather at the corners of her golden eyes. She is muscled yet soft, in the way a woman who has given birth to many children is simultaneously rounded and strengthened. Her dress is of white linen, Her jewelry of gold, amethyst, and lapis lazuli. Her dark hair is woven through with beads and charms which jingle softly when She moves. She is the quintessential mother goddess with a soft breast to cry on and strong shoulders to lean on. I can feel in Her embrace the latent energy of the war goddess, and know She could change in a heartbeat if any danger came my way, yet to me She always appears in this maternal form.
Inanna appears to me veiled in red silk and firelight so I may only see Her soft belly and pendulous breasts and that sacred place between Her hips for which songs were sung. Sometimes I catch a glimpse of red hair, full lips, a proud hawk nose, but otherwise Her specific features remain uncertain. She is almost close enough to touch but always just out of reach, the way a dancer moves away from your embrace with the fluidity of water. Her face is hidden in shadow and because of this She might be any of the wild, unbound goddesses men have tried to shame for eons: Inanna, Ishtar, Lilith, Babylon the Great. She takes this form so I must face Her innate physicality; if I want to work with Her, I cannot avoid Her divine flesh.
The Morrigan appears to me only from afar as a shadowed figure backlit by heavy red skies. I cannot make out Her face but I can feel the weight of Her gaze, the immensity of Her presence. She is tall and thin as a finely honed blade, and like a blade there is a patient tension in Her form, a promise of deadly grace. She has long, dark hair, I think, and pale skin. She is not young; if I could get closer I would see lines on that gaunt face, especially at the corners of Her mouth and between Her eyebrows. Neither, though, is She frail; beneath Her dark cloak is a body spare yet strong as steel. This is all the Morrigan will let me see just now: the sovereign of the battlefield, the goddess of war and bone.
The gods appear to us in the forms they choose for a reason. What these forms show us – and do not show us – always hints at what we have to learn from them. Bastet is my mother; Inanna is my mentor; the Morrigan is my guide down a dark road.
Long before humanity learned to whisper Her name in reverence or cry it in exaltation, my mother walked this earth. Long before humanity crept from its caves to build crude homes with mud and sticks, my mother stalked this earth. Her eyes gleamed yellow in the firelight; Her fangs glowed like twin crescent moons. In ancient Kemet they called Her Bast, Sekhmet, Mafdet, but in the time before language they simply knew Her as a swift and awful death. Long before they understood what She was, they understood what She could do. Humanity has not always worshipped my mother – but they have always feared Her.
The world feels like an especially dark place right now and like there’s nothing we can do on an individual level to make any appreciable difference. I definitely drown in that feeling of helplessness sometimes and I know others do too. I therefore try to take great comfort in my work with The Whiskers Syndicate, knowing that even just a dollar or two can mean the difference between starvation and survival for a needy cat. A few seconds on PayPal ensures I can do something this very day, this very moment, for a creature who actively suffers. Against all of the world’s ills this may seem like a minuscule drop of good, but in a world where the most vulnerable among us cannot speak their needs it is imperative we speak for them. There are countless charities doing amazing and extremely difficult work every day… but not many for whom just a single dollar can make such a difference. It’s a can of tuna, a hot bath, a drop of flea medication. It’s an oasis of safety and warmth in a land where Bast’s divine children are treated like vermin. It’s a chance to get to tomorrow – how can I deny any living creature that right?
How do I talk to all of you? Near or far, small or big, once or often, financially – most of all – and by shares, comments, love, prayers, encouragements, all of you have relentlessly lent your hand and folded up your sleeve to stand with us through the depth of the battle that swamped…
I am recording the following for my own reference but I welcome any insights or questions anyone may have. I’m not yet sure what lesson or conclusion I’m supposed to reach in all this. On Friday, October 12th Tanim and Daren (though mostly Daren, I suspect) borrowed my wife (okay, she used the word “hijacked”) for a session of unwitting automatic writing while at work – by which I mean she thought she was taking notes on a patient and looked down to see she had actually written the following with her non-dominant hand:
“It was all there on the table.
The candlestick. The rope. The lead pipe. The wrench. The knife. The gun. He trailed his fingertips along each weapon with veneration.
Clue had always been his favorite board game. He loved the idea of giving six people unique opportunities to kill one another. When he played the game as a child, he often concocted complex scenarios that resulted in the deaths of all six guests. He’d been sent to Sister Reverence’s office more times than he remembered. It was always the same.
‘Young man, this is becoming habitual.’
Habitual. Habit. Like that stupid thing she wears everyday. It would be so easy to grab her by it and pull. Up, up, up. A widening grin. Until she turned purple, like that bitter chalice offered every morning.
STOP TELLING IT. YOU’RE TELLING IT WRONG.”
At this point the writing stopped, but she could still see a scene unfolding very clearly in her mind. She provided me with the following notes:
- Took place in the exact same setting as the film “Clue” with the exact same weapons.
- In an arch over the front door, engraved in script: “Do not die before your death.”
- Six dinner attendees, each with a golden enveloped invitation: Bast, Inanna, Mage, Morrigan, Tanim, and Wepwawet.
- Bast: looks like Aya from AC Origins
- Inanna: looks like The Dean from Carmilla
- Mage: looks like season one Carmilla from Carmilla. One silver chain at her hip. Could be the Morrigan’s sister. Makes the other guests very uncomfortable.
- The Morrigan: looks like the character Morrigan from Dragon’s Age Origins. Could be Mage’s sister.
- Tanim: looks like himself. Navy blue suit. A light blue flower-pattern thin scarf with gold tassels.
- Wepwawet: looks like Bayek from AC Origins. Introduces himself as “Anubis”.
- We never quite see Daren as a whole, only pieces of him. Close-ups. He’s dressed as he normally is, in all black, though with the addition of a plain gold band on his finger.
- Tanim ends up with the gun. He never kills anyone.
- When anyone dies, they bleed just as a person normally would. But afterwards, their bodies become golden ashes and they are blown away by the wind, from the top of the head to the base of the feet.
- Daren stabs Mage in the Billiard Room. She is sitting cross-legged atop the pool table and has a drink in her hand. He walks up to her slowly. They maintain eye contact. This almost seems expected. He stabs her directly in the right thigh. She bites back a grunt of pain, squeezes out, “I knew you were going to do that,” and then downs the rest of her drink. Mage escapes from the house, alive, and keeps the dagger. She could have been “set loose” though, as the house was locked tight with the exception of a sole window. In the Billiard Room with the knife.
- The Morrigan kills Bast with the candlestick. Bast is perusing the books in the library when someone cuts out the lights. Bast turns. The Morrigan enters with the candlestick, a long white candle sticking out of it, the wick lit. It’s the only light in the room. The Morrigan approaches Bast. Bast: “What happened to the light?” The Morrigan: “Here.” She removes the long white candle and hands it to Bast. Bast accepts it with a nod and turns back around to look at the books. The Morrigan raises the candlestick and whispers, “The weight of the world,” before striking Bast in the back of the skull. In the Library with the candlestick.
- The Morrigan is killed with the rope. The rope is fashioned like a noose, but the killer unknots it so that it’s a single piece of rope. Wraps a length of rope around each hand and uses it as a ligature and chokes the Morrigan to death. She dies in the Cellar. In the Cellar with the rope.
- Inanna kills Wepwawet with the lead pipe. Wepwawet is in the Observatory watching lightning crack through the rainy night sky. He doesn’t seem surprised when she approaches. His back is to her. Inanna: “Do you know why I’m here?” Wepwawet smiles. “Because you came.” He turns around to face her, stretches out both of his arms, gets down on one knee, and lowers his head reverently. He then raises it and looks up at her, his features peaceful and humbled. “As you will, Queen.” She nods once. She strikes him across the jaw with the lead pipe. We hear his neck crack. She bends down and almost lovingly caresses his cheek. Inanna: “The Duat has missed you.” In the Observatory with the lead pipe.
- Inanna is killed with the wrench. She is in the Ball Room. She seems to be dancing with a ghost. We don’t see anyone else, but her hands are up and she’s spinning as though being twirled by an invisible dancer. We hear music; it’s “Moonlight Sonata” by Beethoven. There’s a piano in the ball room but we can’t tell if the keys are being pressed. The song seems to emanate from the piano, though. Inanna’s invisible dance partner suddenly seems to turn violent, for she recoils as though she’s been slapped across the face. She stumbles back and looks up, hair in her eyes. Inanna: “How DARE you defy me.” She is somehow hurled backwards into the piano. The keys and strings shatter and break. She’s unconscious. The killer raises an arm, a rusty work wrench in hand, and brings it down on her skull. In the Ball Room with the wrench.
- At the very end, we see Daren in the Study. He’s watching the fire in the fireplace. It’s the only light in the house. Tanim enters calmly. He stops in the doorway. The gun is in his hand at his side, but pointed down to the ground. Daren makes no move.
We discussed it all and here are some of our combined observations:
- We first assumed this story meant that Daren is hostile toward the gods I worship and wants them gone. He and Tanim “disappeared”, so to speak, back in March about the time the Morrigan came into my life. Maybe the addition of yet another god made him, or them, mad and I have to choose one or the other. Occam’s razor would argue this is the truth, and Mage’s escape could be in line with that hypothesis.
- However, the wifey pointed out that if Daren were to throw a dinner party, he might indeed think murder would be a nice addition. Better than small talk and party games, right? So… could it be that Daren simply wanted to meet the other gods, perhaps to take their measure or establish some sort of pecking order? Or, to attribute uncharacteristic altruism to his motives, could he and Tanim have wanted to meet the other gods in order to ensure I wasn’t in any danger from them? I’ve always assumed any gods/spirits/whatever are aware of others in the same area or working with the same person, but perhaps that’s not true. Maybe they really don’t know all that much about each other, the way neighbors can see each other every day but not know each other in any meaningful way.
- This is the first mention of a Sister Reverence, which seems to indicate Daren was in a Catholic orphanage or other school before he was involuntarily committed to a hospital/asylum. Chriselle noted that in the past some Catholic orphanages gave the kids who aged out a token of their faith, usually a pendant, watch, or… a ring. This is especially interesting considering all I’ve told Chriselle about Daren’s past (since I don’t know much myself) is that he was held in an asylum called St. Anthony’s.
- Given the gods all represent certain pantheons, the brief glimpse of Daren’s childhood is interesting – could it be intended to in some way corroborate the Satan/Lucifer vibes I’ve been getting from Tanim and Daren?
- The phrase above the front door, along with the things said by the Morrigan, Inanna, and Wepwawet, feel very significant, though I’m not sure of their meaning yet. They seem to imply the gods were bigger players in this game, not simply unlucky party guests, in which case I could be going in totally the wrong direction with my thoughts. (Great!)
- The deaths of the gods seem like a negative omen or threat, but it could be that because gods can’t so easily be killed, the deaths didn’t really “count”. This might explain why the gods stuck around for the murder party in the first place, and also why Daren possibly let Mage escape; she probably doesn’t enjoy that same form of immortality. This seems to be the biggest factor in deciding whether the message being sent is a threatening one or not. If the gods can die and come back just fine, that’s one thing; if they can’t, it paints a much more dire picture.
- We don’t know who killed the Morrigan; my gut says Daren, maybe after he lost the knife to Mage, but Tanim is usually the one who kills with such brute force. We don’t know what unseen force killed Inanna, either, nor whether this force was one of the guests or someone/something else entirely. It seemed she knew and possibly trusted them, or at least trusted her power over them.
So that’s where I am now. More to come, I guess??
I have never felt closer to divinity than sitting in a stuffy little room which smells of cat litter while singing a lullaby Bast helped me write to three nearly feral kittens. They fled at my approach, five days of safety and good food not yet enough to win them over, and stared at me with wide, reproachful eyes as I sat down just inside the door. Then I started to sing – the lullaby first, my voice a little weak from the last traces of a cold. Glancing inconspicuously, I found at least one little face turned my way, though two still hid. I moved on to the songs that have brought me peace over the years, old hymns and spirituals and various songs collected from choir and pop culture. I had two sets of eyes watching me, then, and a still resolute back turned my way. I kept singing; songs that remind me of Bast, of home, of the undeniable divine spark in music from other religions, other cultures, other times. I peeked again and saw all three kittens facing me now, the bravest with drooping eyes and the wariest with unwilling curiosity. My voice could take no more so I started humming whatever gentle tunes came to mind the way a mother might idly hum to her crying babe. When I looked next I could see two little white bodies stretched out in their hiding place, no longer bunched up with the need to fight or flee but relaxed in weary sleep. Even the third had succumbed to so drowsy a state that when I slowly, so very slowly rose to my feet my movement woke, yet startled, no one. I whispered my goodbyes to three little watchful faces that seemed, at least to me, slightly less wary and took my leave for the night, praising Bast for the gift of music as I closed the door.
The mother comes to me first, bearing open arms and unconditional love. In her embrace I learn to be vulnerable with myself so that I may to listen to and follow my intuition. She sets me upon the path which leads to the others yet remains always at my side as I walk it. She is a goddess of war and she teaches me to fight for what I know is right.
The maiden comes to me second, walking naked out of the underworld with head held high. She shows me the beauty of curves, the haughtiness of folds, the rebellion and freedom inherent in self-love. In the mirror I see her staring back at me, daring me to find flaw in this sacred form. She is a goddess of war and she teaches me to fight for myself above all else.
The crone comes to me last, dragging war in her wake. Under her fierce gaze I learn how to live when all the earth’s become a battlefield, how to survive and thrive on death like her black-winged children. She kindles the witchblood in my veins so I may face the darkness without flinching or giving ground. She is a goddess of war and she teaches me to fight, to fight, to fight.
When we lose foster kittens, I always wonder why such innocent lives must be taken so soon. Why we weren’t able to save them; why Bast didn’t save them. I know some can’t be saved, though, neither by human nor god, and the greatest blessing we can give them is to make their last days and hours count. To remember them when they pass.
I couldn’t do it alone – and luckily I don’t have to. Yet this woman does, and only her endless dedication and the small donations from people like you keep these cats safe. Even a dollar goes a long way to helping them. I don’t normally push causes or reblog posts, but this is a cause too near and dear to my heart to ignore.
I guess people get a hunch about these things.Last winter, the two of us had a little Christmas party.I didn’t expect her to celebrate it at this age.But…she said she wanted to have one no matter what.We bought a small cake, lit up the candles…and celebrated together.Then, out of the blue…she asked me to help…
These days I feel very, very helpless in the world. The sheer number of vulnerable lives, both human and animal, in need of saving paralyzes me – I think, if I can’t help everyone, then what’s the point? So every week I sit in front of Bast’s altar begging Her to show me how to function without losing my compassion and how to be compassionate without going mad. Help me be a force of good in the world, I plead. Help me save as many of Your children as I can.
And in Her way, She answers. She makes sure I stumble upon a WordPress post from The Whiskers Syndicate, the only cat sanctuary in Bandung, Indonesia, a city with no animal welfare laws or shelters to protect the cats bred there by the hundreds of thousands. A single amazing woman, Josie, keeps this sanctuary and its 90+ cats alive, and in whatever spare time she has she tries to help as many other cats in the area as possible. Spaying, neutering, life-saving surgeries, even just a little food or a dry place to sleep – these cats rely on her to protect them as no one else in the city will.
I can’t do much for these cats from 8,400 miles away. I can donate money, though, and I can urge others to do the same with a dedication of time on my part. To that end, I’m officially opening up paid tarot readings! It’s the least I can do, and hopefully this will help spread the word so others learn about this vital organization. My guidelines are as follows:
– The readings are on a donation basis, please pay what you think is fair and I promise my full dedication to your question or issue*
– You can donate directly to the organization and send me a screenshot of your PayPal receipt
– I will also accept donations to other cat-focused organizations (humane societies, etc)
– I’m happy to communicate in whatever method is easiest for you, we can swap emails or you can find me on Tumblr or Twitter
– You are welcome to remain anonymous, I just need a nickname or pseudonym for the reading
I am also open to creating custom sigils and prayers for those who are interested, or other witchy-type services/trades. Don’t hesitate to ask. I hope that together we can bring a little brightness into the lives of all the Whiskers Syndicate cats!
(*Please be aware that PayPal donations to foreign countries may carry a larger fee than those made within your home country)
Dua Bast, Mother and Protector!
I pray for Your children across this earth:
for Your wild children whose habitat is shrinking
may they never experience man’s violence, only freedom;
for Your feral children who struggle to survive
may they know much kindness and mercy;
for Your children who are lost or abandoned
may they be welcomed into warm homes and loving hearts;
for Your children who are sick, hurt, or old
may they find healing in this world or peace in Your arms;
I pray for Your children, Mother
and I send them each my love and strength
may they know only joy and light!
Dua Bast, Mother and Protector!
What’s Her personality like?
For me, Bast is 100% Cat Mom. I don’t really ever see Her more sensual/sexual side, though I know it’s there and respect it as an integral part of Her. To me She is a middle aged woman, regal and wise, with laugh lines around Her gold eyes. She embodies all the positive aspects of motherhood – unconditional love, patience, guidance, protection, comfort, and when necessary a dose of tough love. Her sense of humor is never cruel, nor does She withhold affection if She’s disappointed or angry. Like a mother cat, She provides guidance yet knows when to let Her devotee stand on their own. She’ll let you make mistakes along the way because She knows they are an important part of growing up. And believe me, if you’re a follower of Bast then you always have more growing to do, no matter how old you are. That’s a parent for you!
How did you start worshiping Her?
One day back in January 2015 I woke up and just had this inexplicable knowledge in my head that Bast wanted me to work with Her. I know now that it was claircognizance – clear knowing – but at the time I felt a little crazy. I didn’t identify as pagan and knew basically nothing about paganism. Hell, I didn’t even know people still worshiped the Egyptian gods! After a few more mental nudges, though, I bought a statue of Her and a book about working with the Netjeru and started my journey into Kemeticism. Every step I took, whether that was making an altar or buying a tarot deck, felt so incredibly right. It felt like coming home. I quickly realized Bast had always been in my life, yet had chosen a specific moment to make me fully aware of Her presence.
What does your devotion to Her look like?
I usually conduct what I call my “devotions”, or more structured worship, once a week. This involves formally sitting at Bast’s altar, opening and closing with a specific prayer, and offering something edible we can share. I use this time to thank Her for the blessings She’s given me, to talk out any current anxieties or struggles I’m facing, and to ask questions via tarot. Except for the specific prayer and some phrases I usually weave in, this feels much like sitting down with my mother over a cup of tea. The formal structure is nice, though, because it makes this time feel more sacred and sets it aside from the times during the week that I casually interact with Her.
Bast is very much a part of my everyday life as well. I always wear two rings dedicated to Her and often wear other devotional jewelry as well. I’m always lurking in the Kemetic tag on Tumblr, liking and sharing posts, and often save images that remind me of Bast on Pinterest. I say little prayers for any cats I see, as well as prayers for any dead animals I drive past. Most of all, I’m also incredibly lucky in that I am able to foster kittens and cats through our local humane society. During “kitten season” (spring through fall) my wife and I always have a litter of kittens who we keep from anywhere between one and three months until they’re old enough to find their forever homes. We have fostered over fifty kittens already!
Can I worship Her if I’m [insert race/orientation/diagnosis/etc]?
As I said, I came into paganism with very little knowledge of what that path actually entailed. I worried Bast wouldn’t want to work with someone who was asexual and sex-repulsed, or that I wouldn’t be able to work with Her given Her more sensual aspects. I also worried She would get angry if I didn’t pray or give Her offerings a certain number of times each week, or if I missed some because of my depression. My fears were all completely unfounded, of course. Bast doesn’t care about things like race, sexual orientation, or other aspects you can’t control; She primarily just cares if you try to be a good person. I’ve also found Her to be especially supportive and protective of women, children, and queer people. As She said to me once, cats birth kittens of all different colors and they love them all the same – and Bast loves Her followers no matter what society says is wrong with them.
How do I go about initially connecting with Her?
I get this question most frequently and it’s totally understandable – how do you say hello to a god? It’s not as scary as it seems, though, I promise! I usually suggest lighting a candle, setting out a simple offering (water is fine), and introducing yourself. Chances are Bast already knows who you are and why you’re coming to Her so the interaction won’t feel uncomfortable or awkward. If you don’t feel like you’re getting a response, try changing your methods of communication. I doubt Bast will completely ignore you unless you’re being rude or demanding. Just remember, every new relationship takes time to develop. Give your relationship with Bast the time it needs to grow without being forced or stunted.
How should I communicate with Her?
Every follower will have their own method of communicating with a deity and you should find what works for you! I prefer to use tarot to communicate with Bast when I need advice or a more in-depth conversation – She loves throwing major arcana cards at me. In just my day-to-day life I usually talk to Her in my mind and might get an external sign or internal feeling in response. Some of the signs She’ll give me are cats (duh), changes in a candle flame, particular songs/images, or things that just can’t be written off as coincidences. I often look back on something that happened last week or last month and have that “Aha!” moment when I realize it was orchestrated by Bast.
What kinds of offerings does She like?
In my experience, Bast is a fan of all the offerings you can find listed online for Her: chocolate, tea, fruit, alcohol, water, jewelry, precious stones, candles, etc. I like to offer Her chocolate or tea and then share the offering with Her during my devotions, usually while I’m reading a tarot spread or meditating. It brings me joy to give Bast offerings so I do it often but that doesn’t mean She demands them or will scorn you for not offering something often enough or fancy enough. For Bast an offering is all about intent. One thing I have found is that She isn’t happy with lazy offerings. If all you have to offer is a cup of cool water given out of love, Bast will be much happier with that than some random item grabbed out of the back of your pantry and given without any prior thought or intention.
More specific things She likes include: lapis lazuli, fluorite, amethyst, citrine, rings, necklaces, lavender scented or flavored things, sweet black teas (especially those with lavender or rose petals), dark chocolate, baked goods, kombucha, apple cider, scented candles (I usually go for lavender, vanilla, rose, citrus, or other sweet scents), lotuses, roses, sunflowers, The Lion King broadway musical, books with cat main characters (see my top 10 list here!), Geoffrey Oryema’s music, cat figurines, catnip and cat treats given to Her children, donations to cat rescues, purple and gold, moodboards, devotional art/writing, and for whatever reason the song Cosmic Love by Florence + the Machine.
Does She require ritual purity?
While Bast has never required me to be ritually clean or pure before doing anything with Her (devotions, tarot, spells, etc), She does prefer it when I have the opportunity. I usually take a shower before I do my weekly devotions; this gives me time to wash away any stress or lingering anxieties and get into the right mindset so that I feel calm and focused. When my schedule is tight or I need to unexpectedly stop by Her altar, though, I never feel like I’m breaking the rules. I also don’t change any of my habits when I’m menstruating; I’ve never had any issue with it from the goddesses I worship (except maybe to be told I should be resting!).
How does She feel about Her followers worshiping other gods as well?
Bast is my patron and the first deity I have ever worshiped and thus will always hold the “top spot” in my own personal pantheon. That being said, She hasn’t had an issue yet with those who have come after Her (namely Inanna and Wepwawet) and is always encouraging when I reach out to someone or something new. I do have a separate altar for Her, but that’s partly out of simple courtesy and partly because I keep buying more stuff for it! I think that Bast knows we need different teachers and companions in our lives to help us on our unique path, and the only time She might balk at a new relationship is if She believes it will be harmful.
I used to work with Bast but I haven’t in a long time; will She get mad at me or not want me as a follower?
Bast is the epitome of a good mother; Her arms are always open to you as long as your intentions are good. She understands the need to question your spiritual path and wander onto other paths, and will be there if you turn back to Her. Likewise, She understands the many ways our lives might temporarily fall apart – mental and physical health, family issues, work, relationships, etc. While Bast won’t approve of purposefully lax or disrespectful devotion, She has infinite patience for those who are honestly struggling. And if you find another path fits you better, you won’t incur Her wrath. Every kitten needs to go their own way, after all.
I hope this helps someone!