miwu: Bast of many layers

by Quil

In the wide scope of theology, ultimately, you cannot limit a god to one function. Bast is not a god "of" something. She reaches the world in certain spheres of influence, but no one can box Her, label Her, set Her on a little table as an objet d'art. She is not a decayed piece of mythology, with a name you can forget or apply to your pet cat.

Neo-paganism, and to some extent the modern Kemetic community, thinks of gods as narrowly defined beings fulfilling a function. Sekhmet is the goddess of war. Bast is the goddess of ... none of these are historically accurate, mind you ... love, lust, sex, sunrise, moon, marijuana, pleasure.

She's not the god of anything (nor the goddess. Gender-defined terms bother me; I tend to use 'god' for all deities. Besides, who says They even stick to our own binary definition of gender?) She's a god. Period. And because She doesn't stick to one prescribed duty, Her presence is even more real.

You catch a whiff of Chanel No. 5 during a boring Egyptology lesson. Your cat leaps up onto your bed; for a moment you imagine he's more than mortal. As an archaeologist, you cradle a cat-mummy in your palms. As an artist, you notice that the hues of your painting are Bast colors, green and gold and silvery blue. When you're getting your ears pierced, She's leaning over your shoulder, tugging at your earring.

Bast is no enigma if you look for Her; She doesn't mind your worries, your fear. A person can confide in Her and sleep quietly that night. Bast is there, curled by your side, resting one paw on your shoulder.

I see Bast in rivers. I see Her in the blue heart of a candle flame, the rainbow interior of an abalone shell. She's multi-natured and multi-layered, and like all gods, She sometimes seems abstract, beyond reach. But I reach and there She is. In polytheism, the gods can be distant and also comfortingly concrete.

How can anyone visualize Bast? A barefooted, cat-headed woman? A leopard with a silver-blue pelt, a domestic Egyptian Mau, a cheetah, a jungle cat. Whichever name and aspect you hold closest, Bast's universal touch is found in the oddest places.

God of the moon? No. On darker nights, perhaps, when the sky is like cobalt glass -- I see Bast in the moon. God of pleasure -- maybe, but what is pleasure, anyway? Or protection, another trait attributed to Her?

Bast is my protection, my pleasure, my god. The gods are more than one, but many, and more than one aspect is contained within her. Meta-polytheism.

Find Bast in every place you can.

She'll be there.

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