For the meeting with Bast you will need a table or shelf to use as an altar. On this place an image of the goddess. It doesn't have to be a statue of Bast, a picture of a cat or suitable cat ornament will do for now. On either side of this place two candles, preferably purple, blue or silver. A vase of blue, purple or white flowers would be appropriate as would some kind of incense and holder. You will also need a small candle in a colour which you feel best represents you. This should be placed in front of your representation of the goddess. Some perfumed oil with which to anoint your personal candle is also needed. Bast likes flowery perfumes for oil and incense if possible. (Eloise's Bast incense recipe is given at the end of the visualisation.)
Traditionally Bast is seen as a gentle goddess. She enjoys music, dancing and perfume. She is Goddess of love and joy and dancing. She is the gentle, nurturing warmth of the sun and the cat who can be picked up and stroked. However, we have to remember that, just like a cat, she does have a fiercer side to her nature as well.
Below is a picture of Bast's Temple as visualised by artist, Ruby, when she took part in one of our workings. You might pick up very different imagery to this - the picture is given only as an example. Ruby's inspired picture of Bast appears later in this article.
Light the altar candles and the incense.
Close your eyes and breathe deeply for a few minutes.
When you are totally relaxed, open your eyes, and light your small candle. Now, close your eyes once more, clear your mind and see only a black void before your inner eye. Imagine that blackness turning into fog, which swirls around you. Gradually, the fog dissipates.
As the fog clears, a scene is revealed before you of a desert landscape of reddish sand. Nearby, you see the mighty pylon of a temple.
Walk towards the temple. Feel the heat of the sand beneath your feet, and the hot sun on your body. How are you dressed in this world? Take note of your surroundings. Use your inner eye to look around. What can you see? Although you are being led in this visualisation, there is still plenty of space for you to add detail. No two people would ever see exactly the same imagery. Begin to build up your inner world. Make it real in your mind.
Now, walk to the pylon and take a few moments to examine the walls rearing above you. Do they have carvings on them, or are they unadorned? Take a deep breath and smell the air. Incense smoke is drifting out from the temple; its heady aroma fills your nose. You can hear faint music; the bleat of pipes and the low beating of drums. Enter beneath the shade of the pylon gate, cross a courtyard, and find yourself in a vast chamber of stone columns. It is quite dark, but on the floor there are bowls of burning oil that emit a flickering light. Here, the air is cooler and refreshing, and the smell of incense is complemented by a strong fragrance of exotic flowers. Perhaps there are people here - priests and priestesses - or perhaps you are alone. Again, spend a few moments looking round. Go to touch one of the columns; feel the rough texture of the stone beneath your fingers. As you look round, add your own details to the scene. Make it come alive for you.
Now, you walk across the hall of columns and pass through a door-way. You find you have entered a small shrine. Against one wall is a large black basalt statue of a seated cat, the sacred cat of Bast. The statue has golden earrings and a collar of faience. Bowls of incense smoulder before her and she is flanked by flickering flames. You see priests and priestesses are in the shrine. They are surrounded by cats, some sitting on the floor, some lying in niches in the walls. The air is full of the music of the cats; their purrs and cries. Pause to pay respect to the sacred cat of Bast. You can talk to the priests and priestesses if you like. They may have something to tell you, or a gift to impart. Stroke the cats around you.
After a few minutes, say farewell to the priests and priestesses and leave the shrine by another doorway. You find yourself in a corridor with painted walls. Again, it is quite dark, but you can see where you are going by the dim lamp-light glimmering on the floor.
Presently, the corridor opens out into a vast room, lined by columns. Ahead of you, at the other end of the chamber, you see a flight of golden steps that leads up to a life-size golden statue of the goddess. She is a cat-headed woman, carrying a sistrum, surrounded by kittens in gold. She wears a long sheath dress and a necklace around her throat, but her feet are bare. The steps are covered in cats, sleeping, grooming, playing. The room is full of soft, but lively music, played by priestesses on flutes and drums and rattles. Other priests and priestesses dance sinuously to the music, like cats themselves. The floor is covered in petals and as you walk upon them, they release their rich fragrance.
Approach the foot of the stairs and gaze up at the goddess. Visualise that gradually, the statue comes alive. The eyes become living eyes, and slowly, the rigid gold turns to furry skin. See the goddess descend the stairs towards you, her eyes full of benevolence and peace.
While this is happening, cast your inner eye back to the room where your statue of the goddess stands before the anointed candle. Imagine that the light of this candle shines into the statue, which is an extension of the senses of Bast in the temple. Through the light of this candle, Bast can see your soul, and recognise you.
Now, spend some time speaking with the goddess. She is a friend to you. She may show you things, give you a symbolic gift or simply offer affection. She may have words of advice for your work to come, or ask you to do something for her in the real world. Let your mind wander freely.
After a few minutes, bow to the goddess, thank her for this audience, and say farewell. See her begin to retreat up the stairs. When she reaches the top she assumes her normal position and turns back into a sleeping statue of gold.
Now, walk back through the temple, bidding farewell to the priests and priestesses, and all the cats. Go out into the desert.
Imagine you are walking into a fog, which gradually turns into a black void. After a moment, the fog begins to clear once more and you are back in your own reality. Open your eyes when you are ready.
Bast Incense Recipe
With this incense I decided to incorporate both solar and lunar influences to reflect Bast's dual attributes as both a sun and moon goddess. I was influenced also by her love of perfume and her various magical focuses such as love, happiness and fertility.
3 parts Frankincense
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Copyright (C) 2000 Lady of the Flame Iseum
Recommended ReadingBast and Sekhmet
by Storm Constantine and Eloise Coquio
The Cat in Ancient Egypt
by Jaromir Malek
An Egyptian Bestiary
by Philippe Germond, Jacques Livet
Feasts of Light: Celebrations for the Seasons of Life Based on the Egyptian Goddess Mysteries
by Normandi Ellis
Eyewitness: Ancient Egypt
by George Hart
The Mysterious, Magical Cat
by D. J. Conway
Cat Magic: Mews, Myths, and Mystery
by Patricia Telesco
The Mythology of Cats: Feline Legend and Lore Through the Ages
by Gerald Hausman, Loretta Hausman & Mariah Fox
Your Magickal Cat: Feline Magick, Lore, and Worship
by Gerina Dunwich
Myth and Magic of Cats
by Arianna Reynolds
Spells for Cats
by Daisy Pepper & Lauren Dorman
The Catswold Portal
by Shirley Rousseau Murphy
My absolute favorite feline shapeshifter novel
Dream Country (Sandman, book 3)
by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Kelley Jones & Charles Vess
This classic collection of short graphic novels includes the brilliant Dream of a Thousand Cats
Some of my favorite ancient Egyptian-inspired music by Ali Jihad Racy, Douglas Irvine, Gerald Jay Markoe,Hossam Ramzy, Jack Wood and Wendy Luck