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Hathor - The Cow Goddess

Hathor the cow goddess is among the most famous goddesses worshipped in ancient Egyptian era. Also referred as the great one of many Names, she had many titles which made her very important in every sphere of life right from birth till 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. Also known as the goddess of music and dancing in this form she was represented by the symbol of the sistrum. Hathor was also linked with the inundation of Nile for being the goddess of moisture and fertility goddess.


Hathor - The Cow Goddess


Representations of Hathor


Hathor - The Cow Goddess

Originally worshipped as a cow she was sometimes represented as a cow having 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 Hothor


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. The most famous manifestation of Hathor is a cow and even as a woman where she is seen having 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 do the same.


The 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 deceased 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 as men identified with Osiris.




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