Pursuing natural health & thinking beyond the superficial. Deconstructing Culture.

‘Meow’ to you underlings. (Though the general cat-call is more like ‘Mau’ and so whenever our Kitty calls Mum it sounds like ‘Ma’).

As you can tell from that greeting today’s post has a cat connection; today being World Cat Day 🙂 Well it was, we started this post yesterday and now it’s the 9th but hey it’s still the 8th across the ocean.

I could open by saying cats are a strange species, but then aren’t we all? It’s just easy to associate mystery and capriciousness with cats isn’t it? As far as known human history goes the little furry menaces have been associated with divinity, other-worldliness, regality, nobility, detachment, cunning, independence yet loving and affectionate – a creature to be treated with respect, awe and the usual ‘awww SO cute!/beautiful!‘ factor. I guess it could be said that they have an x-factor 😉 and as a predator rank higher up in the human psyche.

Big cats and small cats generally share the same reputations and both have also been associated with femininity; for good and bad reasons. From poetic descriptions of their grace and elegance to a lioness’ fierce protectiveness over cubs (well they have to with male lions attacking/killing cubs that aren’t theirs) to the notion that ‘women are like cats, and men are like dogs‘ similar to the assertion that ‘women are from Venus and men are from Mars‘ both trying to distinguish and separate the two main human sexes. Of course that has no bearing on favourites with many men liking/preferring cats and women liking/preferring dogs or those who like both.

Their importance to us being emphasized with the terms we’ve attributed to them such as a female cat being called a ‘Queen‘ and male who is a progenitor a ‘sire‘ though otherwise a ‘tom/tomcat‘. In a tongue-in-cheek fashion humans aren’t said to own/have cats, but are tolerated by the furry felines and graced by their presence – again though if you’ve ever shared a domicile with other dominant personalities (*thinks of Harry the parrot, one of my bff’s*) you may have found that mutual tolerance, a sense of humour and mutual adoration is necessary to co-exist peacefully, that or subservience after a bitter war (though the ‘winning’ side can go either way, it can be a close call, perhaps with follow-up coup-de-tats and the ‘winner’ may find they’ve given in a lot in concessions).

That said like any other animal they are also subject to use and abuse such as many ‘faux fur’ items being made of cat, dog and the fur of other ‘small’ creatures not needing to be labelled as real fur. Then remembering the question – where did little cats come from?

Although it has been commonly accepted that cats were first domesticated in Egypt 4000 years ago, their history among human beings goes back much further. Wild cats are now known to have lived among the people of Mesopotamia over 100,000 years ago and to have been domesticated there approximately 12,000 BCE at about the same time as dogs, sheep, and goats. Archaeological excavations in the past ten years have provided evidence that the Near Eastern Wildcat is the closest relative of the modern-day domestic cat and was bred by Mesopotamian farmers, most probably as a means of controlling pests, such as mice, which were attracted by grain supplies.

http://www.ancient.eu.com/article/466/

I hate human breeding practises/farms/mills etc. Like dogs small cats and humans share a special relationship. More noticeably than dogs though kitty history is abit murky and changeable like with most ‘divine beings’ in culture/religion.

French=Chat
Welsh=Cath
Arabic=Kitt
Polish=Kot
Syrian=Kato
Sanskrit=Puccha
Persia=Pushak
Italian=Gatto
Spanish=Gato
Lithuanian=Puize
German=Katze
Russian=Kots
Irish=Pus

http://www.lowchensaustralia.com/names/history.htm

More countries are listed here http://user.xmission.com/~emailbox/say_cat.htm The Cantonese, Chinese, Thai and Vietnamese have the easiest ones imo *(o_o)*

Cats, Reptiles and Witches, oh my!

Cat reverence reminds me somewhat of the reptile position in olde worlde culture; seen as both transport/chairs/beds/pets/companions for the deities as well as deities themselves. There seems a distinction between our big/small cat, snake/lizard populations and ‘more sentient’ beings that resemble them (meaning we’ve attributed more sentience to a supernatural sort rather than the mundane versions); like a ‘people(s)’/dominant race(s) of their own. For example reptilians and cat people (catlings?) commonly found in ancient cultures to references in modern literature usually deemed as fiction/fantasy – but is there more to it than our imaginations anthropomorphizing?

Early on cats and reptiles/dragons were seen like people or super people, having both good and bad members mostly until early Christianity when ‘serpents’ and women were wholesale vilified, and later along with their cats in witch hunts. Yep having a cat was seen as a justifiable reason to accuse/brand (wasn’t much different between being called and condemned really was there, you were doomed either way) women and some men a witch since ‘of course’ cats, Black ones in particular, were a sign of evil and magic – an ability no one other than the chosen one and prophets were allowed to utilize but they of course weren’t doing magic they were performing miracles by the ‘grace of god’ – a familiar and perhaps even the witch herself after transformation. Perhaps the only way to ‘guarantee’ not being ‘ousted as a witch’ was probably by pretending/or being the most pious church goer and doing whatever/succumbing to the desires of the local elites priests included and not getting on their bad side, though heck what if they got tired of you and wanted another snoop/mistress?

The above is an interesting cartoon depicting a magical group of girls who due to the first letter or their names call themselves WITCH and later on features a Black cat that imo isn’t altogether trustworthy, a bit like Salem from Sabrina the Teenage Witch.

Even that killing spree couldn’t eliminate human love for cats though, who are back in ‘pride of place‘ as one of the most popular human companions. Snakes and reptiles are more of an acquired taste (and harder to house properly outside of their wild homes) but other than scaring people witless (like mice do even though they’re prey to many slithery ones) they’ve always been associated with knowledge/intelligence (and the hiding of it) much like the craft of various magicks being kept to initiates. The woman-snake-cat link still prevails in people’s minds and in modern religions it’s often not complimentary unless looking at them further and realizing that earlier woman/en (not the first according to the same literature) were blamed for seeing beyond a deception by ‘higher’ beings and/or having access to their innate ‘magical’ kundalini energy which others were jealous of. One of the phrases associated with ‘witch’ was intelligent woman hence a potential risk/defiant, it has been portrayed to us that it is a crime/sin to be an intelligent woman even when helping others. Amazing how Prometheus who stole fire from the ‘gods’ is deemed a hero by people (obviously not said-‘gods’ who in their usual way came up with cruel, unusual and sustained punishment) and there’s hardly mention of wizards/warlocks/magicians being inherently evil as a group.

That said reptiles and cats don’t often get along in the old stories with cats tending to be associated with the primordial goddesses and their later replacements, and only a few reptile aspects & characters being associated with the primordial goddesses. Reptile and reptilian popularity in general are more common with the male deities and their consorts/later goddesses (the replacements of the primordial/demoted ones).

On a sidenote – cats have been thought as being able to give the ‘evil eye‘ (perhaps partially because they’re so adept at staring and a group of them can be called a ‘glaring‘ 😉 ), perhaps some of that is due to them having very reptile-like eyes and their tails reminding people of snakes, tails which seem to communicate and move of their own volition (like goddesses, deities and ‘higher beings’ then turned into demonized women in history whose hair was likened to snakes or the winners of said history just went the whole way and said such women consorted with reptiles or were reptiles – although I won’t totally overlook such claims with alien abductions, mind control et al ;-)). Birds tend to remind me of reptiles too but with feathers and beaks, birds (and people claiming links with pterosaurs) are another commonly featured animal and ‘race’ in religion/culture but not quite of the ranking of reptiles/reptilians and cats/cat people.

 

CAT GODS AND DEITIES

I’ll start with the most famous/commonly known:

(Get your eyeliner ready there is much crossover with the Egyptian and Hindu – and Norse pantheons. Hinduism later morphing into Buddism – polytheistic originally – and being the basis of modern monotheistic religions though previously fusing with Indo-Med-European ones to make a myriad of other amalgamations such as the Graeco-Roman pantheons. Not to mention the likenesses with Meso-Southern Americans. Yeah those ‘gods’ got upto everything, everywhere particularly covering up via adopting and demoting the ‘Mother cult‘/maa root culture of Earth peoples before them who later also lost it in degrees adopting more general animism/shaman systems.)

ANCIENT EGYPT

Tables from: http://www.landofpyramids.org/cat-goddesses.htm

 

Names of Egyptian Cat Goddesses (not chronological or order of importance)
Bastet: Bast or Bastet giver of blessings to the good and a deliverer of wrath to the evil. Protector of the domestic, or household, cats.
Mihos: Mihos was the name of the lion-headed son of Bastet.
Sekhmet: Sekhmet, the warrior lioness goddess, the “Powerful One”. Her son, Nefertem, god of perfumes, also had a warlike aspect and could be depicted as a lion
Tefnut: Tefnut and her twin Shu were also worshipped as a pair of lions at Leontopolis
Mafdet: Mafdet, the first of the cat goddesses. She was ancient Egyptian lynx, lion or cheetah shaped war goddess, a cat goddess of protection, spitting fire at cobras. She was the original cat deity who killed the enemy of Ra, the monstrous serpent Apep. She was called the “Runner”
Mau: Mau, the ancient Egyptian word for cat, a personification of the sun god Ra, as a cat who killed Apep
Mekal: Mekal was the “fierce devourer” and a goddess of pestilence adopted from Canaan
Pakhet: Pakhet, “She Who Scratches”, was a big cat goddess who protected the living and the dead from evil
Menhit: Menhit was an Egyptian war goddess, depicted in the form of a lioness who sometimes wore the red crown of Lower Egypt
Matit: Matit was a funerary cat goddess who had a cult center at Thinis
Mut: Mut the great Mother Goddess was merged with Wadjet, Bastet, Menhit and Sekhmet, who were all warrior lioness goddesses.
Mut: Sesmu, the lion god of slaughter and execution
Wadjet: Wadjet was primarily a cobra goddess, similar in some respects to Meretseger, but she was also depicted in her aspect of a lion-headed goddess

 

 

 

History, Mythology and Facts about Cat Goddesses 
Fact 1 about Cat Goddesses: Egyptians believed that the journey through the Underworld brought them from the “Jaws of the lion in the West” to the “Jaws of the lion in the East”.
Fact 2 about Cat Goddesses: Cats represented the soothing power of sleep and their beds and headrests were decorated with the heads of big cats
Fact 3 about Cat Goddesses: Pet lions and big cats were kept by the kings and pharaohs of Egypt as symbols of the sun god Ra for their powers of protection who also symbolized fierce combatants
Fact 4 about Cat Goddesses: The lioness was seen as a destroyer who annihilated the enemies of Egypt
Fact 5 about Cat Goddesses: The lion devoured the enemies of the gods and spat them out
Fact 6 about Cat Goddesses: Male big cats were depicted, in their protective role, crouching on the roofs of temples
Fact 7 about Cat Goddesses: The cat was a sacred animal and any person who killed a cat in ancient Egypt, either intentionally or unintentionally, was sentenced to death.
Fact 8 about Cat Goddesses: The earliest cat goddess recorded was Mafdet and described in the Pyramid Texts as killing a serpent with her claws
Fact 9 about Cat Goddesses: Every home in Bubastis would have a small shrine to the goddess Bastet as a protector of the household.
Fact 10 about Cat Goddesses: The domestication of cats in ancient Egypt is believed to date as far back as 3000BC. The first domesticated Egyptian cats were used for warding off snakes and rodents.

An extremely important Goddess not mentioned above was:

Neith or Net or Neit – A Mother Goddess (aka Mother of gods and creation), and as such described in many forms varying from a woman with the head of a lion, a cow to a snake. Her name also means ‘water’ and later ‘weaving’; seen as a warrior and wisdom goddess.

Sidenote – Ra was originally a feminine term and it’s interesting to note the cartoon ‘She-Ra: Princess of Power’ in which AdoRa/She-Ra is the good ‘Ra’ and ‘CatRa’ is the bad ‘Ra’; She-Ra’s enemy and part of the evil Horde. (Also interesting that she’s ‘paired’ as a twin, the one who was stolen/hidden/duped, the other being male who pales in comparison in his lazy attitude as Adam and abilities as He-Man, and his feline friend the frightened ‘Cringer’ who changes into ‘Battle Cat’.) In ancient Egypt male cats were seen as the personification of Ra (masculanized) and The Book of the Dead references the Great Cat-Ra killing a python. (Oh these cartoons and films include everything under the Sun – pardon the pun – I won’t even go into the Dark Mother references in the Sorceress in GreySkull who can’t Herself reach Adora/She-Ra and the proxy/false Dark Mother Shadow Weaver.)

WESTERN ASIA

Egypt didn’t have a monopoly on cat goddesses and associations from the areas around it, other parts of Africa had lion-goddesses though they were more noted in Western Asia particularly in the form of thrones, winged lionesses later becoming winged women and child-like people and of course sphinx like guardians at the doors of important architecture. The Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge comes more into play in Western Asia too.

From: http://www.sourcememory.net/veleda/?p=278

The Goddess on a Lion Throne is abundantly attested in the archaeology of Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Canaan/Israel. First we’ll look at some Phoenician scarabs showing lion thrones, often winged. Then, actual stone thrones from ancient Lebanon, Canaanite ivories with the winged sphinxes, and an alabaster effigy of ‘Ashtart enthroned with winged lionesses. This leads to commentary on some strong biblical parallels. And we’ll look at some late hellenized forms of the Anatolian Lion-Throned Goddess.

SCARABS

Phoenician scarab

Phoenician scarab

Goddess offers benediction to a supplicant, under a winged sun and the planet Venus.

Many of these Phoenician scarabs show a brazier for offering incense.

Scarab from Syracuse, Sicily

Scarab from Syracuse, Sicily

The many Phoenician finds in Sicily exhibit strong Egyptian influence. The Goddess wears the crown of Upper Egypt, with a very snaky uraeus, and holds a lotus sceptre, an attribute of Kemetic goddesses.

THE THRONES

Throne of ‘Ashtart, in her Phoenician chapel inside the Eshmun temple, Sidon, Lebanon.

Throne of ‘Ashtart, in her Phoenician chapel inside the Eshmun temple, Sidon, Lebanon.

The lion thrones in the scarabs depict actual thrones in Goddess temples. Besides this one, examples are known at ‘Ain Dara, near Aleppo, Syria; Dura Europos, on the Euphrates, Syria; and Khirbet et-Tannur, Jordan. Besides these, Inanna, Ishtar, and Kybele are depicted on lion thrones; while Isthtar, QDSU/Qadashah, ‘Ashtart, Asherah (in Tree form), Anahita, and the Hurrian goddess Hebat are among the goddesses shown standing on lions. (This is in no way an exhaustive list.)

THE IVORIES

Goddess thrones with lions or sphinxes have direct parallels in Canaanite ivories:

Ivory from Megiddo

Ivory from Megiddo

The winged sphinxes also appear in ivory furniture ornaments of Canaanite and early Hebrew palaces. She appears to hold a Double Feather crown of Egypt. Note her multiple lioness breasts.

Phoenician platter, circa 700 bce

Phoenician platter, circa 700 bce

The winged beings here flank the Tree of Life, a Goddess form. This is not speculation (see next image, and recall the exampless from the thrones of ‘Ashtart above).

Further south, early Israelite iconography shows the goddess Asherah as this palmate Tree, flanked by ibexes, and standing on a lion, just like Ishtar and Ashtart and Hebat.

flanked by ibexes, and standing on a lion, just like Ishtar and Ashtart and Hebat.

Asherah as Tree, pithos from Kuntillet ‘Ajrud

Asherah as Tree, pithos from Kuntillet ‘Ajrud

This discovery in the Sinai, along with another Asherah inscription at Khirbet el-Qom, finally broke through the long doctrinal insistence on Hebrew monotheism in the early kingdom period. The image combined with the inscription naming this goddess is quite powerful. Some scholars contend that the Asheratw of the inscription, and the asheroth/asherim of the Bible, allude only to a ritual pillar, not to the goddess. But since the pillar is named for the goddess and various prophets inveighed against both, this minimalist interpretation has little to recommend it, except to uphold the dogma that the Hebrews had nothing to do with any Goddess. And this claim conflicts with the testimony of Kings and Chronicles.

The archaeological record, too, shows overlap of Goddess/Tree flanked by rampant ibexes or goats. And more: the Lachish Ewer, found in a Canaanite temple circa 1500 bce, places a vulva in this central position. A goblet from the same sanctuary ties it all together even more dramatically with a menorah between the horned animals, and clinches the Goddess connection with an inscription that labels the goblet “an offering poured out to Elat.” As Joanna Stuckey points out, “the word for goddess, Elat, is positioned right over one of the stylized trees.” [See link above for more.] Descriptions of menorahs in the Bible leave no room for doubt that they represent the sacred Tree.

THE CHERUBIM AND THE MERCY SEAT

Now let’s look at this from another angle that relates directly to the Lion-Throned Goddess. We’ve seen goddesses depicted on the lion- or sphinx-flanked thrones; also represented by betyls on those thrones, and some empty thrones where the divine Presence is not depicted iconically. This last became the primary direction developed in monotheism, with its insistence on no direct representations of deity, now being understood in near-exclusively masculine terms. (There are a few references in the Hebrew Bible to godly motherhood.) Still, monotheism developed against a cultural background of preponderant Goddess iconography, and retained the archaic lion- or sphinx-throne. There are also some images of kings seated on such thrones: a stone relief of Ahiram and an incised ivory of an unnamed Canaanite ruler at Megiddo. But no gods on lion-thrones, only on thrones flanked by bulls, as discussed in previous posts.)

The Torah, however, continues to present the lion-throne as a divine seat, flanked by the cherubim.

Cherubim was the plural of kerūv in Hebrew:ּרוּב, ּרוּבִים, which was latinized as cherubim. It had a special dual form kərūvāyim (a common form in Semitic, but as we’ve seen, these beings typically appeared in pairs). Hebrew keruv has cognates in other Semitic languages: Assyrian karabu, Akkadian kuribu, and Babylonian karabu. The Assyrian name means “great, mighty,” but the Akkadian and Babylonian forms mean “propitious, blessed”. They saw these beings as guardians of the Sacred. In Genesis, cherubim stood with revolving swords of flame at the East of Eden, “to keep the way of the tree of life.” [Gen. 3:24] So when I look at the ‘Ashtart of Galera, I see her, the female Divine in all her Glory, between the same winged guardians:

Lady of Galera, Tutugí, Granada, southern Spain 450bce

Lady of Galera, Tutugí, Granada, southern Spain 450bce

The ‘Ashtart of Galera, Granada, was placed in a Spanish burial circa 450 bce but produced by Syrian or Lebanese artists near 200 years earlier. She is an alabaster vessel designed for libation rituals; the liquid poured in through her head flowed out from her breasts into the basin she holds.

Kybele, Hellenistic era, Ashdod

Kybele, Hellenistic era, Ashdod

A hellenistic Kybele from Ashdod, with her drum and a mural crown borrowed from the Syrian goddess Tyche.

Mater Deum, "Mother of the Gods"

Mater Deum, “Mother of the Gods”

Kybele on a Roman coin, title Mater Deum, “Mother of the Gods. She sits on the lion throne with sceptre and mural crown.

SOUTH AND EASTERN ASIA

Goddesses and deities portrayed as sitting on/with big cats is nothing new, it’s a widespread depiction/description as well as utilizing other animals/vimanas (flying machines that look like animals) but one with a lion head/body is:

Bhadra-Kali

SriMahaPratyangiraDevi

Directly connected to the Divine Mother/Devi Lalita (Lalita TripuraSundari RajaRajeshvari and Her many, many names and then the many names of her direct forms/workers). The name Bhadrakali shows that She is a form of Kali, the Dark Mother – one of the sacred trinity from Lalita, that is Lalita-Kali-Bala (Mother, Dark Mother/crone, Daughter/child). Therefore She is an ancient, primordial Goddess pre-dating the later and current ruling triad and their consorts who’ve taken the liberty of calling themselves the creators though they reluctantly admit they come from a greater force/Mother (who they then repeatedly deceive).

Being a Kali she shares many of the warrior/protector/destroyer characteristics and to the Kerala and Tamil people She is seen as a patron of martial arts.

She is mostly shown having a lion’s face with reddened eyes and riding a lion, entirely nude or wearing Black garments wearing a garland of human skulls; big hair and She holds a trident, a serpent in the form of a noose, a hand-drum and a skull. She is also known by the name Narasimhi, Pratyangira.

33-pratyangira-devi

Technically She is a known as a Matrika, one of the Mother Goddess’ administrators so to speak entrusted and carrying out high-level work/having very high position and is possibly connected to the Bhairavi, essential parts of the Goddess’ home. The Matrika and Bhairavi have later been degraded with claims of being made by and connected to the usurper triad/consorts but they and She pre-dates and incomprehensibly outranks them.

In later depictions wings were added to the lion throne/transport as well as a consort.

By the time She was known as Pratyangira She had been inter-mixed with the ruling patriarchy so her lineage was made murky though Her figure was still mighty (well it would have to be since they invoke primordial goddesses or the Divine Mother Herself to save them whilst they pretend to be innocent) – having 1008 heads, 2000 eyes, 2000 arms, 1000 weapons or thereabouts… Praying to Her was in the hope of countering doshams/evil forces such as Black magic, curses, enemies, disease, accidents and obstacles.

Indo-China

Simamukha

simhamukha

By the time we get to Buddhism things were further clouded and confused.

By this time Matikas were seen as negative, in the usual tradition of demonizing earlier goddesses or characters. The contradiction shows in that people prayed to Her for the usual counter against doshams/evil forces but also against the Matrikas who were seen as negative female forces.

At this point the original Divine Devi Lalita had been usurped by the modern Durga who’d taken over the Shakti title and with two cohorts the title of ‘tri-devi’ hence Simamukha was seen as underneath her but the contradictions and truth are there mixed in and Simamukha’s connection to Vajravarahi/Varahi, the Tara’s (other forms of Kali) and her placement in the centre of the mandala shows her eminence over Durga. Durga is nothing but a wannabe who even claims to have created Kali/change into her but she’s so outdated by Kali it’s not funny, well of course it’s not funny.

In the Tibetan Book of the Dead She is associated with either other animal headed goddesses known as witches/sorceresses or gauris, again this group is a copy and twist of an earlier group aka The Mahavidyas belonging to yet again Lalita. They are not the so-called nine forms of Durga. *Tch*

East Asia

This was also true in China where the goddess Li Shou was depicted in cat form and petitions and sacrifices made to her for pest control and fertility. She too, was a very popular goddess who was thought to embody the importance of cats in the early days of creation. An ancient Chinese myth relates that, in the beginning of the world, the gods appointed cats to oversee the running of their new creation and, in order for communication to be clear, granted cats the power of speech. Cats, however, were more interested in sleeping beneath the cherry trees and playing with the falling blossoms than with the mundane task of having to pay attention to the operation of the world. Three times the gods came to check on how well the cats were doing their job and all three times were disappointed to find their feline overseers asleep or at play. On the god’s third visit, the cats explained they had no interest in running the world and nominated human beings for the position. The power of speech was then taken from the cats and given to humans but, as humans seemed incapable of understanding the words of the gods, cats remained entrusted with the important task of keeping time and so maintaining order. It was thought that one could tell the time of day by looking into a cat’s eyes and this belief is still maintained in China.

In Japan, the famous image of the `Beckoning Cat’ (the maneki neko figure of the cat with one raised paw) represents the goddess of mercy. The legend goes that a cat, sitting outside of the temple of Gotoku-ji, raised her paw in acknowledgement of the emperor who was passing by. Attracted by the cat’s gesture, the emperor entered the temple and, moments later, lightning struck the very spot where he had been standing. The cat, therefore, saved his life and was accorded great honours. The Beckoning Cat image is thought to bring good luck when given as a gift and remains a very popular present in Japan. The cat was regularly considered a guardian of the home and was thought to be the special protector of valuable books. Cats were often housed in private pagodas in Japan and were considered so valuable that, by the 10th century CE, only the nobility could afford to own one.

http://www.ancient.eu.com/article/466/

There are many tales competing for the origins of Maneki Neko and remember that Japanese deities were often local spirits, the above one is just interesting as it related to the ‘goddess of mercy’ – the sex and divinity of the cat in the tales tends to be left out. That said I see this cat example as tenuous, more on the random folk tale side rather than historic but interesting nonetheless in its massive popularity/tradition.

450px-Maneki_neko_Germersheim_2

EUROPE

The widespread Greeks and Romans pretty much copied everyone before them and are easily associated with the Egyptians. That said they weren’t too taken with cats due to their connection with Hecate – a major goddess and version relating back to the root Mother in particular the Dark Mother Kali. They knew her as the goddess of Death, darkness and the triple-face. In that way She continued to represent everything patriarchal people were scared of, the One who’d punish them for their evil thoughts and actions. Additionally the cat being representative of a big cat hidden in the terrain ready to leap, is a primal fear for those who forget that She is also the carer/protector of Mother and child but if you come against Her it’s because you have received judgement (of course villains never want to be accountable and only ever appear to be sorry or act less guilty when they’re about to meet their Maker.)

Before that was Freyja of the Norse peoples whose chariot was attached to two lions or two big cats and sometimes surrounded by child-like people/cherubs similar to the depictions of the ‘mercy seat’ in Western Asia.

Freya_rode_in_a_chariot_pulled_by_two_cats

Celts

In Celtic lore it’s harder to differentiate how they felt about cats; on one hand Brighid had a cat companion and another of her triple persona Ceridwen gave birth to a kitten (Palug Cat) and the lunar goddess triad of which they are a part are associated with prophecy and divination. Yet cats generally seem to be seen as unlucky and unholy due to their very ‘otherworldliness’ and association with magic and it may be partly from this system that Black cats in particular became a link for witches and evil in Christianity. The character Cat Sìth/Sidhe was seen as a trouble making Black cat/fairy and possibly rather than a mythical creature it was a witch that could transform nine times. Perhaps it was their hidden nature and unknown abilities that made them scary/untrustworthy.

Talking cats feature in many of the above systems including this one, they particularly talked to deities or as deities, perhaps a reason many Celts didn’t like them and used them. For example, feline body parts were used in spells/rituals and even:

In Scottish tradition there is a giant demonic cat, named Big Ears, who can be summoned by roasting cats alive in succession, in bags or on spits for four days and nights. According to the story, he shows up and grants wishes.

http://www.truethomas.com/articles/cats.htm

The above link also mentions the Kellas cats which are small cats but commonly thought to be related to the big, dark ‘beasts’ that are sometimes reported even nowadays around Britain but treated as legend and thought to be related to former wildcats in the Scottish highlands.

MESO-SOUTH AMERICA

The jaguar and puma were generally revered and worshipped in the cultures of these lands.

Cocoa

A Peruvian cat god. Despite the nice chocolaty sounding name was generally bad tempered, had control over lightening and hail – wasn’t very helpful for crops.

Ngurvilu

A Chilean water-god. Said to be a wild cat (this part of the world had many to choose from) with a claw on the end of its tail. Not shy about attacking humans.

Some cat references in modern popular culture

From http://www.quizmasters.biz/DB/Pic/Famous_Cats/Famous_Cats.html

Famous_Cats_01_QuizlFamous_Cats_02_QuizlFamous_Cats_03_Quiz

How many do you recognize? 🙂

And one of the more niche popular culture references (way funny to Brits anyway) here’s a Smeeta/Smita Smitten clip from the show Goodness Gracious Me

and on that lighter note I’d like to finish with saying apparently out of the myriad of calls/sounds cats make from wanting food, attention, to be left alone to actually purring when in pain the last one is said to be a healing frequency more than just soothing but actually healing. So along those lines they can try to limit or heal injuries and illness in themselves and those around them or at least try to improve the overall condition. Unfortunately I still don’t understand cat language after years of talking to one though I’m pretty sure I understand the tail… I started this post with the intent of writing about our very own cat goddess or princess as I call her but Mum wanted it this way and now we’re too tired so the Princess Kitty post is next 😉

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Comments on: "World Cat Day" (12)

  1. Happy Caturday! I enjoyed all the new info I learned here about my feline friends, long live the cats ^_^ meow

  2. Kitties are my favorite! I have one back home. Honestly, this was really informative. I especially loved the deity ones because I know some cultures adored cats as deities. Very interesting!

  3. I recognize 28 of the cats, or should that be 27 as Battlecat/Cringer are the same. I wonder when World Cat Girl Day is.

    • Nice score 🙂 I got 33 counting Battlecat/Cringer as one. Hmm I can imagine something like that in parts of Japan along with ‘let’s enjoy being a servant’ Maid Day.

  4. Happy caturday!

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