Hathor

Other Names

“House of Horus”, “Mistress of the West”, “Eye of Ra”

A hymn to Hathor says: “Thou art the Mistress of Jubilation, the Queen of the Dance, the Mistress of Music, the Queen of the Harp Playing, the Lady of the Choral Dance, the Queen of Wreath Weaving, the Mistress of Inebriety Without End”.

Associations

Deities: Aphrodite, Venus, Bat
Animals: Cow

Family & Other Connections

Hathor is seen variously as the mother, wife and daughter of Ra. She was also worshipped as the mother or consort of Horus.

Stories & Other Information

Hathor was one of the most important goddesses in Ancient Egypt. She was associated with protection, healing, the sky, beauty, love, sexuality, motherhood – from conception to childbirth, foreign trade and mining, the afterlife, joy, pleasure, music and alcohol!

Hathor’s protective side can be seen in her relationship with Horus, when she cares for him after his eyes have been injured by Seth; in her bovine form she protects the king and acts as royal nurse; she is seen as patroness and protector of remote mining camps and as the patron deity of the necropolis she protects and cares for the dead.

As a sky goddess, Hathor was represented by a vast cow who straddled the heavens, with each of her four legs marking the four cardinal points. Her association with the sky also comes from her link with Horus the sky god, and as the “house of Horus” she may be seen as the sky in which the falcon Horus lives.

Hathor is strongly associated with women; as a goddess of beauty, love and sexuality, and in her roles as mother, wife and daughter. The Greeks saw her as Aphrodite and the Romans saw her as Venus. She delighted in her feminine sexuality and was unashamed of her body. She represented the female creative principle, and was sometimes known as ‘mistress of the vagina’. Hathor was believed to assist women in conception and in labour. Hathor was known as the mother of the king, and was depicted as a cow suckling the monarch even as an adult.

She was also a joyous goddess, who was beloved by the population. Hathor was associated with the sistrum, and with music and song. Her priests and priestesses were also dancers, singers and other entertainers. Hathor’s images have been found on wine and beer vessels, and alcohol was used extensively in her festivals. These uninhibited celebrations may well have ended in drunked orgies.

Pictures

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