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There has been much speculation about the true origins of ancient Egypt and Sumeria. Were the stories merely myths or based on beings with god-like abilities who came from the stars? One such being, often overlooked in modern times, was called “Lady of Stars and “Mistress of Heaven and Life,” worshipped in Nubia, Semitic West Asia, Ethiopia, and Libya. If we seek answers, clearly she requires a much closer look.
One badass deity
Her name is Hathor, and her followers worshipped this Mother Goddess from the beginnings of Egyptian religion until the end in c.500 AD. From her mythology, it’s apparent that this was one badass deity, as revered as any male god.
Today, more people have heard of Isis, the mother of Horus, but it was Hathor who came first, the “the primeval goddess from whom all others were derived.”
The Goddess of the Milky Way
In tracing connections to her origins, consider that Hathor was generally represented as a heavenly cow because she represented the Milky Way and the milk flowing from above. She was associated with Venus, the morning star and goddess of the Romans. To the Greeks, she was associated with Aphrodite, the goddess of love.
Hathor was one of the only gods represented in portrait rather than a profile. She would often have a red body and beautifully painted eyes but could also be pure white. Her human face would often have cow horns and ears, with a red disk of the sun between the horns. The red sun disk would later appear in representations of Isis.
Hathor could take many forms, appearing as a lion, a goose, a cat, vulture, cobra, or a sycamore tree. Her relationships with other gods and goddesses are equally changeable. She was married to Horus, but the relationship is curious. Hathor’s name translates to “Domain of Horus,” with the ability to rejuvenate and bring the sun god back to life. She is described as the wife, daughter, and mother of the Sun God Ra at once.
Hathor enjoyed great popularity with common people and royalty alike as the patron goddess of joy, celebration, and love. She played a mysterious instrument called a sistrum to drive away evil from the land. What was this strange device? It appears like a gateway with the cobra in the opening or like a tuning fork, or the Egyptian Ankh in other instances. (see below)
The irony of this association with joy is that Hathor began by wreaking havoc on humans. In a story very similar to the Great Flood of the Bible, the god Ra becomes displeased with humans for forgetting him and unleashes Hathor to destroy them as her evil twin of sorts, the goddess Sekhmet. Sekhmet’s destruction is so overwhelming that other gods ask Ra to stop her destructive wake.
A transformed tormentor
According to Ancient History Encyclopedia, this is when the Mother Goddess changes entirely, thanks to what must be the most important beer in world history.
“Ra regrets his decision and devises a plan to stop Sekhmet’s blood lust. He orders Tenenet, the Egyptian goddess of beer, to brew a particularly strong batch and then has the beer dyed red and delivered to Dendera. Sekhmet, by this time, is crazed with the thirst for more blood and, when she comes upon the blood-red beer, she quickly seizes it and begins drinking.
She becomes drunk, falls asleep, and wakes up as Hathor the benevolent. Humanity was spared destruction and their former tormentor became their greatest benefactress. Following her transformation, Hathor bestowed only beautiful and uplifting gifts on the children of the earth and assumed such high status that all the later goddesses of Egypt can be considered forms of Hathor.
She was the primordial Mother Goddess, ruler of the sky, the sun, the moon, agriculture, fertility, the east, the west, moisture and childbirth. Further, she was associated with joy, music, love, motherhood, dance, drunkeness and, above all, gratitude.”
Thank the gods for that red beer! Without it, where would humanity be today? Instead of eliminating humanity, Hathor instead bestowed joy, music, art, and celebration on the survivors, our ancient ancestors. Not only were the living thankful, but also those crossing on to the afterlife.
“It was believed that ‘Hathor’s motherly character greeted the souls of the dead and assisted them on their final journey to a place called Duat. She even offered them refreshments from the shade of a sycamore tree.”
Hathor was integral to celebrations of the New Year, as priests carried her statue, placed crowns on her head, and carried out secretive rituals, chanted and played music. Today the New Years celebration can be seen on the walls of the 2,000-year-old Temple of Hathor in Dendara near the famed Dendera light bulb. Early Christians damaged her face on sculptures as an attempt to erase her history, but they have failed.
As you can see, the story of Hathor is foundational to the beliefs of ancient Egypt. The goddess representing the Milky Way itself nearly wiped out the human race but then transformed into a beloved patron of joy, prosperity, and celebration.
See the Temple of Hathor below:
More about Hathor from Viper TV: