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Deities

A List of 5 Deities Associated with Cats [With Stories]

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Written by: Tina Caro

A cat has always been considered, across all cultures, a sacred or magical animal. This is both for its physical characteristics (the cat is an incredible neuro-muscular machine with movements of refined elegance) and for its characterological aspects.

In various cultures, the cat is synonymous with freedom, autonomy, intelligence, prosperity, health, joy, luck, and with undoubted thaumaturgical powers. The cat has always symbolized women, femininity, love, fertility, passion. Let’s not forget the parallel between the bright eyes of the cat and the night sky, the moon, the lights of the stars, and constellations.

Precisely for these reasons, cats have been attributed to some goddesses in order to protect and safeguard the health and prosperity of our magical animal.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

Cats have been associated with various deities in different cultures and belief systems throughout history. Here are a few deities commonly linked with cats:

  1. Bastet (Egyptian Mythology): Bastet is one of the most well-known cat-associated deities. She is the ancient Egyptian goddess of home, fertility, and childbirth. Bastet often appears as a lioness or a woman with the head of a lioness or a domestic cat.
  2. Freya (Norse Mythology): Freya, a Norse goddess associated with love, fertility, and beauty, is sometimes depicted with a chariot pulled by two large cats. Cats were sacred to her and symbolized sensuality and independence.
  3. Sekhmet (Egyptian Mythology): Sekhmet, another Egyptian goddess, is often depicted as a lioness or with lioness attributes. She represents the destructive and protective aspects of the sun and was associated with healing and plagues.
  4. Durga (Hinduism): In Hindu mythology, the goddess Durga rides a fierce lion or tiger into battle. This symbolizes her power and courage in defeating evil forces.
  5. Bast (Modern Paganism): In modern pagan and Wiccan traditions, Bast, inspired by the Egyptian goddess Bastet, is revered as a deity of cats, home, and protection. She embodies the qualities of domestic cats, such as grace, intuition, and independence.

These associations highlight the reverence and symbolism of cats in various cultures and mythologies, connecting them to qualities like independence, sensuality, and protective attributes.

5 Poweful Deities That are Associated with Cats

Bastet

Bastet, a feline goddess of ancient Egyptian religion who was worshipped at least since the Second Dynasty, Neues Museum, Berlin

In ancient Egypt, Bastet represented the sacred cat, a cat able to charm and seduce. She is simultaneously peaceful and terrible: like all felines, she was maternal and dangerous, sweet and cruel.

The sweet caring loving version of this goddess is Bastet while the destructive and negative part of her was considered to be Sekhmet, even though some consider them to be two separated deities. Keep in mind that in ancient Egypt the cult of Bastet was spread widely; there was no house nor temple without a cat in it.

And when one cat died, the owner used to shave his eyebrows as a sign of mourning for his cat and to honor Bastes, the sacred cat goddess.

Related:
A Powerful Bastet Prayer [5 Min Goddess Chant]

Kasha

Kasha (火車) from the Gazu Hyakki Yakō. Circa 1781.

Buddhism, in addition to importing cats as “rat-eating” animals and as pets, also brought various legends and superstitions related to this animal to Japan. When Buddha died, all the animals gathered around him and cried, with the exception of the poisonous snake and the cat. Some say that the cat already knew of Buddha’s immortality, so in his wisdom, it would not make sense to cry. Others say that the cat stayed on the sidelines because he had an evil soul.

In any case, over the centuries, many legends about cats have been handed down in Japan, some spoke of their wickedness and their ability to change shape, others of their supernatural abilities, others of their intelligence and wisdom. Kashas were initially seen as Oni or “hellish” messengers tasked with carrying the corpses of people who have been evil alive into the darkness, using their fiery chariots to do so.

Over time their features have changed, becoming a particular version of bakeneko that shows its true essence during funeral rites, when it steals corpses to eat them or transform them into puppets. Once a kasha has taken a corpse with it, the corpse is impossible to retrieve, in many areas of Japan some techniques have been devised to prevent its appearance or to deceive it.

Sekhmet

Sekhmet shown with her sun disk and cobra crown from a relief at the Temple of Kom Ombo.

Both Bastet and Sekhmet are daughters of Ra, the sun god, and constitute one of the “Eyes of Ra” as this double deity was sent by Ra himself to eliminate the enemies of Egypt and its gods. A legend has it that Ra, disappointed by humanity’s improper behavior, sent Hathor to punish men. The latter took on the terrible form of Sekhmet, who began to wreak havoc on everything that stood in front of her.

Later, Ra, made more indulgent by the other gods, tried in vain to recall the furious goddess, until he devised a strategy: the sun god had a liquid prepared with beer and red ocher, so that it was similar to blood, and poured it on the ground. As soon as he saw the red liquid, Sekhmet drank it until he got drunk and fell asleep.

 

Sleep calmed the anger of the goddess, who when she awoke took the form of Bastet and stopped raging against mankind. A variant of the myth states that Sekhmet became Bastet after bathing in the Nile and that she later returned to Par Bastet, the homonymous center of worship of the goddess.

Bastet, therefore, represents in Egyptian mythology the essence of woman and femininity, which can be the emblem of love, sensuality, pleasure, but also of independence and mystery.

Artemis

Artemis the Huntress holding two animals, the cat, “king of the jungle” and the stag, “king of the forest”. Her wings would add the wings, perhaps of the eagle, “king of the sky”. Francois Vase, 6th century BC, Louvre.

Even if the Greeks did not like the cat, they considered him, due to his shrewd nature and his skills as a cunning hunter. He was one of the sons of the goddess Artemis, goddess of the hunt.

According to legend, the goddess created the cat during a trial with her brother Apollo, god of the sun, who enjoyed proposing the most difficult tests to his sister. The goddess was very fond of competing with animals to affirm her courage and strength, so she did not give in to the difficult tests proposed to her.

One day, Apollo, with the intent to frighten her, gave life to the lion, but the goddess was not frightened. In response, she created the cat, a small beast similar to the king of the forest with graceful features, which contained within itself gifts of intelligence, courage, and regal indifference. The sun god laughed at the parody of his creation, thus putting an end to the fraternal challenge.

Freyja

Freja Seeking her Husband by Nils Blommér. Oil on canvas, 1852.

Freyja is considered the goddess of sexual love, beauty, gold, seduction, fertility, Seiὄr, war, death, and prophetic virtues. According to legend, Freyja traveled disguised as a cat. She is important for land, family, and animal care, but also love and fertility. She is highly associated with dogs, cats, and wild boars.

Related:
3 Powerful Deities for Fertility [& How to Ask for Their Favors]
An Enchanting Prayer for Fertility [5 Min Chant]

However, she has a special connection with cats: when she went to the sacred council in Asgard, the goddess rode on a sparkling chariot. Her chariot was pulled by a couple of cats, animals whose fierceness and intolerance towards any bond; the pair of felines symbolized Freya’s amorous restlessness, her being faithful only and exclusively to the flow of passions and desires.

These are the main deities associated with cats! If one of them makes you feel in tune with the energy and you feel a deep connection with them, you can try to establish a connection with them and explore their magical powers from a unique perspective.

Other Deities Associated with Cats

DeityPantheon/CultureDescription
BastetEgyptianBastet is the ancient Egyptian goddess of home, fertility, and protection. She is often depicted with the head of a lioness or a domestic cat and is associated with joy, music, and dance.
FreyjaNorseFreyja is a Norse goddess associated with love, beauty, fertility, and magic. She is often depicted with a chariot pulled by two large cats and is connected to female empowerment and sexuality.
MafdetEgyptianMafdet is an ancient Egyptian goddess who is the protector against venomous bites and the slayer of dangerous creatures. She is depicted as a feline or a feline-headed woman.
SekhmetEgyptianSekhmet is an Egyptian goddess associated with war, healing, and protection. She is often depicted as a lioness or a lioness-headed woman and is both feared and revered for her power.
Li ShouChineseLi Shou is a Chinese deity known as the “Master of Cats.” He is believed to control the population of mice and rats by sending his cats to hunt them, symbolizing protection against pests.
About
Tina Caro

Tina Caro is a witch with more than 10 years of experience, a yogi, an astrologer, and a passionate supporter of all things holistic! She’s also an owner of the website Magickal Spot where she discusses a variety of her favorite topics.

Magickal Spot has helped thousands of readers worldwide, and she’s personally worked with hundreds of clients and helped them manifest desires to have a happier and more abundant life.

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