Bast (Bastet), was a feline headed goddess, daughter of Re. She was originally a local deity of Bubastis, but became a national divinity during the XXII Dynasty.
Bast - Eye of Ra
Bast - Eye of Ra

Bast (Bastet), was a feline headed goddess, daughter of Re. She was originally a local deity of Bubastis, but became a national divinity during the XXII Dynasty.

Cats were seen as sacred animals of Bastet, mummies of cats, often with linen bandages forming geometrical patterns and faces painted to give a quizzical or humerous expression, have been found not only at Bubastis but aslo at Saqqara. There is aslo a temple complex near the pyramid of King Teti called the Bubasteion.

Bast or in later times Bastet, was a goddess of Lower Egypt and she was linked geographically with Sekhmet (of Upper Egypt). Her name in hieroglyphs is spelt using a 'bas-jar' and its possible that she is related to perfumes etc. She is also given the title of 'Eye of Ra' in this role she is a protector of the pharaoh.

She was originally a sun goddess, but after contact with the Greeks, she changed to a moon goddess, probably due to the Greeks associating her with Artemis. To those who were in her favor, she gave great blessings, but her wrath was legendary and she was sometimes listed as one of Ra's avenging deities who punish the sinful and the enemies of Egypt.

She is patron of the sun (originally), the moon (after the Greeks), cats, women, and secrets. Her worship was widespread and her cult centre was at Bubastis. Herodotus' description of her temple at Bubastis is that of a place of great splendor and beauty, rivaled only by the temples to Ra and Horus.

It is said that Bastet is a mistranslation of her name and that during the New Kingdom the "-t" at the end of words began to vanish from the spoken language due to foreign influences. In an attempt to preserve correct pronunciation, scribes added a second t to her name to stress that it should be pronounced. This was the scribes' way of telling the reader to pronounce the word as "Bast", and not "Bas", and it should not be taken to mean that Her name is pronounced "Bastet".

She is first depicted during the Second Dynasty (c2890-2686BC) as a woman with a head of either a lion or cat. She became associated with the domestic cat around 1000BC. Often shown holding an ankh or papyrus wand. Herodotus describes the Festivals of Bast as being 'a licentious affair' in which women pulled up their skirts while shaking sistra. However, similar stories existed in the mythology of Ancient Egypt, particularly the Contendings of Horus and Set, were Hathor 'exposes herself' to Ra in order to make him happy again.