Hathor The Egyptian Goddess

Hathor the Egyptian Goddess was the beautiful, cow Goddess who was linked to music, dance, joy, birth and death.

Origins and Genealogy: Daughter of Nut and the sun God Ra. In the early myths she is said to be the mother of Horus and is often depicted as a cow protecting the young Horus within a thicket of papyrus. later this role is usurped by Isis and she was reduced to being his protector.

Strengths: Joyful and fun loving.

It was through the assimilation of Bata and her Sistrum rattle that this Goddess's link to music and joy became enhanced. In fact there were more festivals dedicated to this Goddess than any other. Her temples were unusually served by Priests of both sexes, musicians and performers. They also housed midwives and dream interpreters.

Weaknesses: She does not know when to stop.

This darker side of Hathor is shown when she took on the persona of the Goddess Sekhmet. In one myth at the request of her father, she turns into Sekhmet so she can to punish humans for transgressing against him. When she nearly wipes out all of humanity, Ra tries to stop her and eventually succeeds by getting her drunk. She instantly forgets about her task and goes back to being Hathor.

Hathor the Celestial Goddess

Hathor was the lady of the stars, a personification of the Milky Way. This was considered to be the special, celestial waterway upon which both the Sun God Ra and the King sailed. Her name reflects this role as it means " domain (or house) of Horus.

In another early myth, the sun God is lifted to the heavens on the head of the celestial cow.

As the Eye of Ra she was associated with the solar disk and Venus (the morning and evening star).

Later in the Greco-Roman period Hathor was also worshipped as a moon deity.

Hathor the Egyptian Goddess of Birth and Death

The association with the celestial skies also linked her to the flooding of the Nile and the breaking of the waters before birth.

Her role as a fertility Goddess is also highlighted by one of her titles "the gentle cow of Heaven" referring to her plentiful supply of milk which was used to nurse the Pharaoh, making him a Divine being.

After birth mothers were visited by the seven Hathors which determined the fate of their child.

In later times Hathor the Egyptian Goddess became identified with another cow Goddess Bata who in turn was connected to Ba, an aspect of the soul. This is how she came to be associated with the afterlife. In the underworld books Hathor is described as Goddess of the West. Her arms are outstretched as she welcomes the setting sun and  greeted the dead as they began their journey. 

Hathor's Symbolism

The sistrum rattle, the horns and sundisk headdress, the menat a ritual musical necklace and mirrors were all associated with this Goddess.

Hathor the Egyptian Goddess was a depicted as the winged cow of creation who gave birth to the universe. While there are some depictions of Hathor as a woman with a cow's head, this is mainly found only in the later periods. She was also shown as a woman, falcon, hippopotamus, cobra, and a lioness.

Sacred Animals: Cow, hippopotamus, cobra and lioness.

Sacred Bird: Falcon.

Sacred Plants: Myrtle and sycamore trees.

Greek Equivalent: The Greeks identified her with Aphrodite.

 Archetypes of the Egyptian Goddess Hathor

The Mother:

The mother Archetype is a life-giver and the source of nurturing, devotion, patience and unconditional love. The ability to forgive and provide for her children and put them before her self is the essense of a good mother.

In its shadow aspect the mother can be devouring,abusive and abandoning. The shadow mother can also make her children feel guilty about becoming independent and leaving her.

Hathor the Egyptian Goddess is a mother figure because as a solar Deity she brings fertility to the land. This Goddess is also linked to the birth and nursing of infants.

The Lover:

This archetype represents passion and selfless devotion to another person. It also extends to the things that make our hearts sing, like music art or nature.

The shadow aspect is obsessive passion that completely takes over and negatively impacts on your health and self - esteem.

The myths about Hathor her union with the creator made her a patroness of lovers. Hathors festivals were also associated with wild dancing, feasting and drunkeness.

Please follow this link to the Archetypes page to discover which other Goddess Archetypes resonate with you.

How To Work With These Archetypes

The Mother:

You can have this Archetype without being a biological mother. It represents an overwhelming desire to nurture and grow something and can therefore include projects, plants etc.

You are exhibiting the features of the shadow Mother if you smother your children and are over protective. Encourage independence and allow children to make mistakes but be available to give care and advice when it's needed.

The other shadow Mother is the one that abandons her children, or is so busy that she has no time for nurturing her young.

The Lover:

You may be drawn to this stereotype if you are looking to attract a new lover or to re-ignite the fire in an existing relationship. The lover can also be a useful tool to discover what you are passionate about in life.

On the shadow side you need to ask, whether the amount of energy and time you are putting into relationships, or enthusiasm for projects is excessive? If this continues for too long you are likely to suffer from stress and physical ill health.

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