I don’t believe any series on love would be complete without a love goddess being invoked at least once. So today’s
rant post will concern Hathor, the love goddess of ancient Egypt.
Hathor was first named Sekhmet, and her original purpose was not love, but rather punishment. Ra, the creator god, had become sickened by mankind’s cruelty and spoke the mighty lioness Sekhmet into existence to purge the land of the wicked with her sharp claws. But Sekhmet was not sated by the blood of the bad, and continued to kill for pleasure long after Ra commanded her to stop.
To defeat her, Ra taught his priestesses to crush the barley and make beer mingled with the red dye of the ochre plant, which Sekhmet lapped up, mistaking it for blood. Because of her hangover, Sekhmet when a full twenty-four hours without killing, breaking the curse of her power. And Ra met her at the end of the day, and gave her a new name and even greater power than before.
Sekhmet the Slayer became Hathor the Lady of Love, and all humanity became her victims. Like the great cat she is, she hunts us with love, and toys with us. She even lets us believe we have escaped at times. But in the end, we all fall to the pounce of her claws.
Unlike the vain Aphrodite of the Greeks, Hathor is depicted as purringly gentle and kind. Love makes her empathetic to the plight of us mortals, and she is usually seen wishing the best for those she has
cursed blessed with love.
I guess I just really like the idea of a giant, lethal cat as the goddess of love. It makes sense to me, in a strange sort of way (though not that strange since the Egyptians worshipped cats anyway, and thought Hathor up thousands of years before I existed).
Careful of the claws of love, dear readers. They draw blood I hear.