A lioness stalks her prey to defend her master. She bounds from branch to branch. Her long claws gleam in the light of the moon as they chip away the bark from the trees. She sees a tail move in the grass. Making her way closer to the edge of the water, she analyzes its movements. Her master sits on his boat in the water, and the slithering tail grows closer. She arches back ready to strike and take down any that may get in her way. The coiled mass slinks its way through the water, inching ever closer to the boat. Scales slide over the edge of the boat, and she leaps. The lioness lands with her claws extended. Her jaw is agape with her teeth ready to tighten around her prey. Once she lands, she finds the snake limp against her cheeks. Her master gives an appreciative glance as she gnaws the prey by his side.
The lioness returns home and prepares to find a place to rest. She walks to the throne of her master and moves to sit there in wait. The very same beast that viciously defends her territory, curls up and purrs on the mantle. She listens to the soothing music of the sistrum as she sleeps. Two halves of the same creature. One, is a force to be reckoned with, in the form of a lion. The other, is elegant and calm like a small cat. This is Bastet. She both protects and defends the home.
Bastet is the daughter of the sun god. She carries both a sistrum and an aegis in sculptures and carvings. The sistrum is used to play music. The aegis is an item of clothing thrown over the arm or chest to defend the body. However, the true use of the aegis is unknown. The aegis is depicted as different items, but is usually a shield-like object, Neck covering, or arm covering. Bastet is also one of the most decorated goddesses in statuettes. Her dress is more elaborate than designs of other goddesses. Perhaps her clothing is more intricate to imitate the fur of a cat.
She was a goddess of fertility and joy and the protector of children and the home. She was represented by either a cat or a woman. As a cat, she could be depicted alone or with kittens. She was depicted as a woman with a cat or lion head. Worshipers would bring these statuettes to her tomb to present to her as thanks or to ask for her help. Her primary temple was located in Bubastis in the Delta.
Bastet gave birth to the god of the moon as khonsu. She represents a dual nature of both threatening and pleasant. As such, her symbols are opposites of each other. She is the goddess of the moon as a cat, and the goddess of the sun as a lion. Celebrations of Bast were said to involve great amounts of drinking and celebration. She was quite popular. People would come to the city of Bubastis to have their pet cats mummified there. She was originally seen as a protector and a violent force that acted in the defense of Re, but later became more representative of the home.