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Hathor - The Cow Goddess

Hathor the cow goddess is among the most famous goddesses worshiped in the ancient Egyptian era. Also referred as "the great one of many names," Hathor had many titles which made her very important in every sphere of ancient Egyptian life from birth until death. Her worship was widespread in the pre-dynastic era as her name was found on the Narmer palette. Hathor was also known as the goddess of motherhood, joy, and love. The goddess was also known to be the protectress of pregnant women and a midwife. Hathor was also known as the goddess of music and dancing, and in this form she was represented by the symbol of the sistrum which is an ancient Egyptian instrument. Hathor was also linked with the inundation of Nile and sometimes credited as being the goddess of moisture and fertility.


Hathor - The Cow Goddess


Representations Of Hathor


Hathor - The Cow Goddess

Originally worshipped as a cow, Hathor was sometimes represented as a cow with stars. Later on, she was represented as a woman having a head of a cow and still later on as a full human. The face then was placid and broad and in some pictures, she is depicted having ears or horns of a cow. Some pictures show her wearing a headdress resembling two horns with the moon disk between them. A cow standing in the boats surrounded by tall papyrus reeds represent her sometimes. As the "Mistress of the Necropolis", she was shown as the head of a cow protruding from a mountainside, where she is wearing a menat necklace symbolizing rebirth.


The Many Forms Of Hathor


Hathor - The Cow Goddess

Hathor took many forms including a woman, goose, cat, malachite, lion, Sycamore fir which are just a few of the many forms she took. The most famous manifestation of Hathor is a cow and even as a woman she is depicted with the ears of a cow or a pair of horns. As a cow, she was always shown having beautiful eyes and she was mostly shown in the color red even though her sacred color was turquoise. Also, an unusual fact with Hathor is that only she and the dwarf God Bes were depicted in portrait form. It’s said that Isis was similar to Hathor in many ways and in some pictures it’s very difficult to say that which of the two goddesses have been shown.


Hathor was considered to be an embodiment of success and power and was not believed to have experienced doubts. Hathor was believed to be very goal-centric and single-minded to pursue her goals. In the form of Sekhmet, she took no pity on the people and did not stop killing them even when she was ordered to stop.


Change Of Role


During later times when the cult of Osiris gained popularity, the role of Hathor changed. She was now known to welcome the arrival of the dead to the underworld. Who dispersed water to their soul from the branches of a sycamore and also offered food. Hathor was also represented as a cow suckling the soul of the dead, thus giving them help during their mummification, their journey to the hall of judgment, and the weighing of the soul. During later time deceased women associated themselves with Hathor whereas men identified with Osiris.

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