From time to time I get questions about worshiping Bast and so I thought I’d write up a little FAQ, so to speak, in case anyone might find it useful. The following is all based on my own UPG (unverified personal gnosis), though a lot of my experiences align with what I’ve heard from others who work with Her.
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!