Dua Bast! Dua Bast! A Basti, per em setat, erta-na chu em asui
neter sentra semu hena net'emmit, hetep ab em asui tau heqt.
I've known Bast for as long as I can remember. When I was small, in love with cats and anything resembling them, reading anything about felines that I could get my little paws on, She was there. I must confess that Kemet and its mummies seemed to epitomize death for me, and I remember being horribly frightened of all things Ancient Egyptian. But I couldn't stay away from them. I was inexcplicably and irrationally drawn to Kemet, because Bast was there, and She was the Great Cat. No matter how scary death was, Bast would keep me safe, She'd make sure I went someplace nice. So it was a done deal long ago.
But why Bast?
I was sorely tempted to say, "Why not?" and leave it there, but that wouldn't have been very nice.
I have always found everything about Bast to be incredibly reassuring. She is like a calming breath, the paw that lifts me up when I've slipped on the ice hidden under the snow -- as snow leopards are bound to do at least once, especially when they're just learning how to jump. Her presence is like flowers and dark purple cashmere, with a soft whisper of breath and the sun-shadow that makes its home under the shade of a tree. She gives me strength when I can't find any, and She shows me the way when I'm lost.
She also demands respect. Bast is wild and fierce and graceful and eloquent. She is, after all, the Devourer. She teaches you how to be strong, how to stand up for yourself. She does whatever She wants, goes wherever She wants. She's a cat, She's a human-shaped goddess, She lives in both worlds -- human and animal -- and transcends them. Maybe that's why I admire Her; She is everything I want to be. Cat/human, sometimes it's hard to live like that. Sometimes snow leopard wants out so badly, and I can't give myself that freedom, because my body all human. That's why Bast is reassuring; She understands, She teaches me to define my own existance in whichever way I see fit. Forget about the boxes and the labels. I live, I breathe, and I am feline and poofy with rainwhite spotted fur, and Bast is looking out for me.
I learned long ago that I'm not like most of the people I know. I think it's because I'm more feline than your average person, which is probably very confusing to everyone. So I can definitely understand where they're coming from when they say that I'm strange. I just don't understand why they don't think like I do. And I think that's where Bast helps again. She is beautiful and feline and wild and different, but people love Her anyway, and She is joyful and loving. If they don't understand Her, She doesn't mind. Because She's not necessarily made for everyone to understand. It might be bordering on hubris to compare myself to a deity, but I can't help but feel that people are drawn to/chosen by certain deities because they themselves are like those deities. So I compare myself with Bast in order to understand my life and myself. Snowcat, thrown for some reason into this place full of humans, distanced from them because she isn't what they think a pretty girl should be. But Bast isn't what everyone seems to want Her to be; She's not a sex goddess, nor is she a rattle-waving kitten-herder. She's the Devourer, the Invisible Paw, the Lady of Flame. There will always be people who will ignore Her full nature, just like there will probably always be people who'll ignore my full nature, who'll objectify me and fashion my image into something I am not. But this is their own great loss, and I'll follow in the pawprints of Bast. When they realize their ignorance, I'll be living my strange but lovely cat-life without a second thought for them. I'll be dancing with the Lady of the East in my temple of paradox.
So why Bast?
Bast, because I didn't really have a choice. Because everything about Her is reassuring to me. Because I am like Her. Because She's feline. Because She isn't afraid to fight back. Because She's loving. Because She's wise. Because She's wild and ancient and eloquent and beautiful. Because I love spending my days with Her. She's a good mother.