Throughout the annals of history, cats have been revered and adored by various civilizations as divine beings, protectors, and symbols of mystical power. Their history of worship is a testament to the profound impact these enigmatic and graceful creatures have had on human culture. In this blog post, we'll delve into the rich tapestry of cat worship across different cultures and time periods.
Ancient Egypt: Bastet, the Goddess of Home and Fertility
The reverence of cats in ancient Egypt is perhaps the most renowned example of feline worship. Cats were associated with the goddess Bastet, often depicted as a lioness-headed deity. Bastet was the goddess of home, fertility, childbirth, and protection, and cats were seen as her earthly representatives. The ancient Egyptians held cats in the highest regard, considering them to be sacred and capable of warding off evil spirits. Killing a cat, even unintentionally, was a crime punishable by death. Cats were not only revered but also mummified and entombed with the same care as humans.
Roman and Greek Civilizations: Guardians of Temples and Homes
The reverence for cats extended beyond Egypt into the Roman and Greek civilizations. Cats were believed to possess the ability to guard sacred spaces and homes against malevolent forces. They were associated with goddesses such as Artemis and Diana, symbols of fertility and the moon. Their presence in temples and homes was considered a divine blessing and a form of protection.
Norse Mythology: Freyja's Chariot-Pulling Cats
In Norse mythology, cats were associated with the goddess Freyja, the goddess of love, beauty, and fertility. She was said to travel in a chariot pulled by two large cats. This depiction of cats as sacred and powerful animals is yet another example of the high esteem in which they were held by ancient cultures.
The Cultural Influence of Feline Worship
The influence of feline worship extended to the realms of art, literature, and everyday life. Cats were frequently featured in sculptures, paintings, and written works, serving as symbols of grace, mystery, and divinity. Their image was used to adorn jewelry, amulets, and other decorative objects.
Why Cats Still Act Divine
Fast forward to the present day, and we can see that cats haven't forgotten their esteemed history. Here's why they continue to act like the divine creatures they once were:
Independence: Cats are famously independent, and this trait may be a vestige of their time as revered guardians of temples and sacred spaces. Their self-reliance was part of what made them such mysterious and awe-inspiring creatures in the eyes of ancient civilizations.
Regal Demeanor: Cats often carry themselves with an air of royalty, as if they know they were once worshiped. Their poise and elegance harken back to the days when they were believed to be messengers of the gods.
Mysterious Behavior: Cats are known for their cryptic behavior, which has often been interpreted as a sign of their connection to the mystical. Their penchant for lounging in sunbeams and staring into space adds to their aura of enigma.
Affection on Their Terms: Cats can be incredibly affectionate, but they dole out their attention on their own terms. This mirrors the way they were revered and respected in ancient times – you had to earn their favor.
The Divine Companions of Today
While we may not worship cats in the same way our ancestors did, many of us still treat them as esteemed members of our families. The aloofness and independence they display is often paired with a deep affection for their chosen human companions. It's as if they continue to acknowledge their elevated status in our lives, even if it's in a more subtle and endearing way.
In conclusion, cats' history as objects of worship has left an indelible mark on their behavior and our perception of them. They remain mysterious and regal creatures, and whether they remember their divine past or not, their presence in our lives is nothing short of heavenly. So the next time your feline friend gives you that enigmatic, aloof look, remember that it might just be a trace of their ancient divinity shining through.