Kate Austen

Season: 1–6, Episodes: 108, Faction: Survivors

Overview

Katherine Anne Austen, more commonly known as Kate, was one of the survivors from the crash of Oceanic Flight 815. Before the crash, Kate spent years fleeing the law after killing her abusive father. To achieve her goals, she would commit several other crimes and would turn to bank robbery, assault and seduction.

On the Island, she became an integral member of the survivors’ society, forming strong bonds with Jack and Sawyer and also becoming close with Claire and Sun. Resourceful, quick-witted and mysteriously reclusive, she participated in many missions while attempting to hide her troubled past from the rest of the survivors.

Kate was captured by the Others along with Jack and Sawyer, but she eventually escaped the Island with five other survivors. Kate went on trial for her various crimes and accepted a ten-year probation order. She was briefly engaged to Jack, but his drug and alcohol problems ended their relationship. She also raised Aaron Littleton as her son, but she finally decided to return to the island to rescue his mother, Claire.

Once she returned to the Island, Kate was stranded in 1977 with the other survivors. She worked for the DHARMA Initiative and saved a young Benjamin Linus’s life. She then time-traveled to 2007, where she found an “infected” Claire. Kate joined the Man in Black’s side, but she did not trust him. She helped Jack to kill the Man in Black and then escaped the island with Claire. Jack and Kate were reunited in the afterlife and moved on with their friends.

Sun (Fire)

Fertility (Water)

Fertility (Vegetation)

Childbirth

War

Protection

Moon

Childhood

1×02 – Pilot, Part 2  |  1×03 – Tabula Rasa

Kate was born between May 21 and June 21, 1977 and grew up in rural Iowa. (“Pilot, Part 2”)  (“Tabula Rasa”)

2×09 – What Kate Did

   

She was raised by her mother, Diane and Sam Austen, the man that she believed was her biological father. Her actual father was a man named Wayne. Sam and Diane divorced when Kate was five, and Kate lived with her mother. Diane married Wayne, even though he was an alcoholic and physically abused her. Wayne may have made sexual advances towards Kate during her childhood as well. (“What Kate Did”)

5×16 – The Incident, Part 1

   

In 1989, a store clerk caught Kate and her friend, Tom Brennan stealing a lunchbox from a small convenience store. A stranger intervened and paid for the lunchbox, tapping her nose and telling her to “be good.” (“The Incident, Part 1”)

1×22 – Born to Run

   

On August 15, Kate and Tom placed a recorded message, a toy airplane and a baseball into the lunchbox and buried it under a tree as a time capsule. (“Born to Run”)

A Fugitive

2×09 – What Kate Did

   

In 2001; Kate discovered Sam served in Korea when she was conceived, suggesting that Wayne was her biological father. Horrified at the thought of being his actual daughter, took out an insurance policy and blew up the house with Wayne inside it. Her mother was horrified and called the police on her. A U.S Marshal Ed Mars arrested her when she tried to flee to Tallahassee, but a horse forced their car off the road, letting her escape.

   

During her early days as a fugitive, Kate visited Sam Austen and confronted him about her true parentage. He explained he’d hid the truth because he knew that she’d kill Wayne, then he gave her an hour’s head start before calling the police. (“What Kate Did”)

3×15 – Left Behind

   

Two months later, she visited her mother with help from Cassidy Phillips, a con artist she’d saved from a police encounter. Cassidy cased Diane’s house disguised as Kate and discovered agents watched it continuously.

   

Cassidy later spilled food on Diane at her diner, sending her to the bathroom where Kate hid. Diane defended Wayne and warned Kate if she ever visited again, she would yell for help. (“Left Behind”)

1×22 – Born to Run

   

When cancer attacked Diane, though, Kate returned, with help from Tom, now a doctor.

   

The two dug up their time capsule and briefly kissed, then Tom smuggled Kate into Diane’s room.

   

Diane screamed for security, and Kate and Tom fled in car. The subsequent police chase killed Tom with a bullet to the head, and Kate continued alone on foot. (“Born to Run”)

Life on the run

3×06 – I Do

   

Though still a fugitive, Kate tried to assume a new life by relocating to Florida under an alias: Monica. She fell in love and married a police officer named Kevin Callis who knew nothing of her true identity. She contacted the marshal begging him to stop chasing her, but he said that either way she’d find she couldn’t settle down.

   

Sure enough, Kate soon discovered she couldn’t deal with domestic life after a pregnancy scare. Surprise honeymoon tickets reminded Kate that she lacked a valid passport and couldn’t continue lying to Kevin. She drugged her husband and left him. (“I Do”)

1×12 – Whatever the Case May Be

   

In 2002, Mars informed her that he had Tom’s toy airplane in a New Mexico bank. Kate, now calling herself “Maggie Ryan” conspired with a gang to rob the bank. Kate posed as a hostage, and her new boyfriend Jason led the robbery. When Jason tried shooting the bank manager though, Kate shot him and the rest of the gang. She then retrieved the toy plane from a safety deposit box. (“Whatever the Case May Be”)

1×03 – Tabula Rasa

   

Kate then worked on Ray Mullen’s farm in Australia and was planning to subsequently travel to Bali, but Mullen discovered her wanted poster at the post office, and attempted to turn her in to Edward Mars. Kate realised the plan, but when her escape attempt endangered Mullen’s life, she chose to save him rather than escape.

   

Mars consequently captured Kate and prepared to extradite her to the U.S. aboard Oceanic Flight 815. (“Tabula Rasa”)

Oceanic Flight 815

1×23 – Exodus, Part 1

   

At the airport, Edward Mars taunted Kate in order to explain to an officer why it was necessary that he bring five guns with him. (“Exodus, Part 1”)

1×02 – Pilot, Part 2

   

On the plane, he continued to taunt Kate. During the flight’s turbulence, luggage flew from the overhead luggage bin and rammed into Mars’s forehead and knocked him out. Kate stole his keys and unlocked her handcuffs and then placed the oxygen mask on his face. According to Kate, she remained conscious during the crash. (“Pilot, Part 2”)  (“Tabula Rasa”)

On the Island (Days 1-44)

1×01 – Pilot, Part 1

   

Jack Shephard noticed Kate walking out of the jungle and asked her to stitch up his wound, to which she agreed reluctantly. Later that night, they introduced themselves to each other properly.

   

During her second day on the Island, Kate, Jack and Charlie Pace went on a mission to retrieve the cockpit’s transceiver from the plane debris. They tried to rescue the injured Pilot, but the Smoke Monster attacked them for the first time. (“Pilot, Part 1”)

1×02 – Pilot, Part 2

   

When they returned, Sayid Jarrah repaired the transceiver. To receive a signal, Kate, Sayid and several other survivors hiked to higher ground of the Island. During their journey, Sawyer killed an attacking polar bear with the Marshal’s gun. Kate removed it from his possession, but she feigned inexperience with the weapon. Eventually, the transceiver picked up a chilling distress signal. (“Pilot, Part 2”)

1×03 – Tabula Rasa

   

Back at the camp, Kate visited the injured Marshal. He attacked her, further straining his injuries. Kate told Jack that he should euthanize the dying man, but Jack questioned her true motives because he had learned about her criminal record.

   

She returned the gun to Sawyer, who agreed to end the Marshal’s life. Kate offered to tell Jack why she had been arrested, but Jack said that all the survivors deserved a fresh start. (“Tabula Rasa”)

1×04 – Walkabout

   

Kate went on a mission to triangulate the distress signal, but it failed after the monster appeared to Locke. She helped an injured Michael back to their camp. (“Walkabout”)

1×06 – House of the Rising Sun

   

Kate accompanied Jack to the caves to scout them out, but when he suggested the survivors move there, Kate refused because she did not want to end up like the skeletons that they had found there. (“House of the Rising Sun”)

1×07 – The Moth

   

While Kate was again assisting Sayid in triangulating a signal, Sawyer informed her that Jack had been trapped in a cave-in. Kate hurried to the caves to help. (“The Moth”)

1×08 – Confidence Man

   

Kate agreed to kiss Sawyer to find out the location of Shannon’s inhaler, showing contempt for Sayid and Jack torturing him. (“Confidence Man”)

1×11 – All the Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues

   

After Ethan kidnapped Claire and Charlie, Kate tried to track them down with Jack. They were able to find and revive a hanging Charlie(“All the Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues”)

1×12 – Whatever the Case May Be

   

Kate discovered the Marshal’s Halliburton case but had to let Sawyer take it when she could not find the key. She eventually told Jack about the guns in the case and they exhumed the Marshal’s body together to recover the key.

   

However – Jack decided that he should open it with her. Inside the case was Tom’s toy plane. When Jack questioned her about the toy, Kate admitted the plane belonged to the man that she had both loved and killed. (“Whatever the Case May Be”)

1×15 – Homecoming

   

Kate helped in the mission to capture Ethan, where Claire was being used as bait. (“Homecoming”)

1×16 – Outlaws

   

Kate negotiated a deal with Sawyer, offering to help him hunt down a boar to acquire one of the guns in his possession. They bonded over a drinking game of “I Never,” during which Kate revealed her marriage and the murder that she committed. (“Outlaws”)

1×20 – Do No Harm

   

Kate and Jack were together when Locke brought an injured Boone, but Kate was forced to deliver Claire’s baby while Jack tried to save Boone’s life. (“Do No Harm”)

1×21 – The Greater Good

   

Kate attended Boone’s funeral with the other survivors, and tended to Jack after he collapsed due to exhaustion.

   

Later, when Jack woke up, they chased after Shannon who stole a gun to shoot Locke in revenge for Boone’s death. (“The Greater Good”)

1×22 – Born to Run

   

Michael built a raft and Kate tried to gain a spot on it by convincing Sun to poison Jin’s water. In preparation for the trip, she stole a dead woman’s passport to assume her identity. Michael accused Sawyer of Jin’s poisoning, which led to Sawyer revealing Kate’s fugitive status to the other survivors. (“Born to Run”)

1×23 – Exodus, Part 1

   

Kate left the camp with Jack, Locke and Hurley to retrieve dynamite from the Black Rock. (“Exodus, Part 1”)

1×24 – Exodus, Part 2

   

On the way back to the Hatch, she threw dynamite to free Locke from the Smoke Monster’s clutches. (“Exodus, Part 2”)

1×25 – Exodus, Part 3

   

Kate continued to the Hatch with the rest of the group. They were able to blow it open with the dynamite. (“Exodus, Part 3”)

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Continue Reading

      

   

Associated LOST Themes 

     

   

Associated DHARMA Stations

      

   

Decoded Family Members & Lovers

Diane Janssen (Mother)

Wayne Janssen (Father)

Sam Austen (Step Father)

Jack Shepherd (Ex-Fiancé)

Kevin Callis (Estranged Husband)

Aaron Littleton (Foster Son)

Decoded Season 1 Characters

Edward Mars

Seth Norris

Michelle

Tom Brennan

Ray Mullen

Duncan

Decoded Season 2 Characters

Ticket Agent

Tom Friendly

Alex Rousseau

Beatrice Klugh

Decoded Season 3 Characters

Cassidy Phillips

Johnny

Man

Federal Agent

Juliet Burke

Danny Pickett

Mikhail Bakunin

Karl Martin

Aldo

Jason

Decoded Season 4 Characters

Karen Decker

Pilot

Co-Pilot

Margo Shephard

Carmen Reyes

David Reyes

Woo-Jung Paik

Mrs. Paik

Decoded Season 5 Characters

Dan Norton

Carole Littleton

Clementine Phillips

Key Episode(s) to Decoding the Character

1x20 "Do No Harm"

2x09 "What Kate Did"

2x11 "The Hunting Party"

4x10 "Something Nice Back Home"

5x16 "The Incident, Part 1"

6x17 "The End"










(Bastet; the extra ‘-t’ probably added by scribes to show that the final ‘t’, usually silent in Egyptian, was to be voiced. The name is also sometimes written with an initial w, i.e., Ubast(t) a trace of the vocalization of which can be seen in the Greek spelling of the name Petobastis.) A Goddess both protective and maternal, Bast is depicted originally as a lioness-headed woman but later, increasingly, as a cat-headed woman or as a cat. She is distinctive among Egyptian deities in exhibiting aspects of the feline nature different from those conveyed by the lioness. Bast’s maternal aspect is exhibited in icons in which she appears as a cat with kittens, or even as a pregnant cat-headed woman. In authoritative representations Bast bears three characteristic items: a sistrum or rattle; an aegis or breastplate, often adorned with a lion’s head; and a basket. Bast sometimes wears a long robe decorated with geometrical motifs, a garment perhaps Syrian in origin on account of the location of her cult center at Bubastis near Egypt’s eastern border. Bast is associated with certain unguents utilized in the embalming process, which perhaps explains the occasional identification of her as mother of Anubis; more typically, she is regarded as the mother of Mihos or of Nefertum.

Bast always retains a wrathful, even dangerous aspect, as can be seen from PT utterance 467, where the deceased king affirms that he has not “succoured Bast” (sometimes translated as not having “approached” Bast, i.e., in observance of some taboo, in order to avoid the surprising negative) or from BD spell 135, which promises that its possessor “shall not succumb to the heat of Bast.” Similarly, a spell to protect against various forms of demonic miasma (no. 18 in Borghouts) claims as its effect that “the (fire-)spewing of Bast will fail against the house of a man,” and another, to empower an instrument for purifying foods and spaces against the plague (no. 20), enjoins “Let your murderers retreat, Bast!” A text known as “The ritual of bringing in Sokar” states that “As for a servant who follows his lord, Bast shall not have power over him,” (21, 2; “The Bremner-Rhind Papyrus – II,” p. 14). A wrathful aspect is similarly implied by depictions of Bast accompanied by a cat who is devouring a bird. The wrathful aspects of deities, however, are also those potencies by virtue of which they can offer protection to the individual as well as the cosmic order, and so Egyptian theology finds no contradiction in a deity being at once wrathful and beneficent.

Bast’s beneficence is frequently expressed in maternal terms. In PT utterance 508, for instance, the king states that “My mother Bast has nursed me, she who dwells in Nekheb has brought me up.” In juxtaposing Bast and Nekhbet, the Goddess of Upper Egypt, this text takes Bast, whose cult center Bubastis was in the Delta, as a symbol of Lower (northern) Egypt. Bast is the wetnurse of Horus in a spell (no. 93 in Borghouts) which says of him, “A cat has nursed you in the house of Neith.” Sometimes Bast is conflated with Sekhmet, so that (e.g., in BD spell 17) Nefertum, generally the son of Sekhmet, is regarded as a son of Bast, and CT spell 60, which identifies the deceased with “the fair of face … Ptah-Sokar in the bow of your bark,” affirms that “Bast the daughter of Atum, the first-born daughter of the Lord of All, she is your protection until day dawns,” where a reference to Sekhmet, Ptah’s usual consort, would perhaps rather be expected. BD spell 164 fuses the two Goddesses, invoking “Sekhmet-Bast.” It is conventional, however, to contrast Sekhmet and Bast as wrathful and beneficent Goddesses, as in the Stela of Sehetep-Ib-Re (12th Dyn.), where it is said of the king that “He is Bast who guards the Two Lands, he who worships him is sheltered by his arm; he is Sekhmet to him who defies his command,” (Lichtheim vol. 1, 128). Bast’s combat prowess is equally well attested, however, as when Seti I describes himself as “valiant in the very heart of the fray, a Bast terrible in combat,” (Scott, 6).

Frequent reference is made to Bast projecting her potencies in the form of seven ‘arrows’, each of which is made up of a demon or group of demons. These seven demons or demonic groups may be wielded by other deities, such as Nekhbet or Tutu (and indeed, their connection with the latter is especially close; see Sauneron 1960), but there are indications of a unique connection to Bast. Each ‘arrow’, in addition to its complement of demons, is attributed to a certain deity. No complete list of the tutelary deities of the arrows survives, but the most complete list, from Philae, lacking the fifth and seventh arrows, shows in its attributions a preponderance of associations with Bast, attributing the first arrow to “Bast, mistress of Bubastis,” the second to “Nefertum, son of Bast,” the third to Horus-Hekenu, a form of Horus local to Bubastis, the fourth to “Khonsu-Horus, son of Bast, master of joy,” and the sixth to “Wennut, Eye of Re,” (Rondot, 267). The demons actually making up each ‘arrow’ are depicted at a number of sites, with a certain degree of variation (Sauneron 1960, 281 supplies a table with the principal versions).

Prohibitions associated with Bast are revealed by the affirmation of Ramesses IV that he had not “netted birds nor shot fierce lions on the feast of Bast,” (Scott, 6).

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Further Info

Other Names: Bastet, Ailuros

Patron of: the sun (originally), the moon (after the Greeks), cats, women, and secrets.

Appearance: A desert cat, or a woman with the head of a cat (this form possibly dates after the domestication of the Egyptian wild cat).

Description: Probably the most famous Egyptian goddess after Isis, Bast was said to be the daughter of Ra, though long after he created the primal gods. She was originally a sun goddess, but after contact with the Greeks, she changed to a moon goddess, probably due to the Greeks associating her with Artemis.

Like Artemis, Bast was a wild goddess. To those who were in her favor, she gave great blessings, but her wrath was legendary and she was sometimes listed as one of Ra’s avenging deities who punish the sinful and the enemies of Egypt. This is of course in keeping with her totem animal, the cat. Cats were sacred to Bast, and to harm one was deemed a great transgression. Bast’s importance in the Egyptian pantheon might be due to the great value placed on the domesticated cat by the Egyptians. Cats curtailed the spread of disease by killing vermin, and though the idea of microbes was unknown to the ancient Egyptians, they must have noticed the connection between rats and disease.

Her worship was widespread, and her cult apparently had a great deal of power. Bubastis was even the capital of Egypt for a time during the Late Period, and some pharaohs took her name in their king-names. Herodotus’ description of her temple at Bubastis is that of a place of great splendor and beauty, rivaled only by the temples to Ra and Horus.

Worship: Worshipped widely throughout Egypt, her cult center was at Bubastis.

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Wiki Info

Bastet is the name commonly used by scholars today to refer to a feline goddess of Ancient Egyptian religion who was worshipped at least since the Second Dynasty. Her name is also spelled Bast, Baast, Ubasti and Baset.

Name

Bastet, the form of the name which is most commonly adopted by Egyptologists today, is only a modern convention, which offers one possible reconstruction. In early Egyptian, her name appears to have been bȝstt, where ȝ represents an aleph. In Egyptian writing, the second t marks a feminine ending, but was not usually pronounced, and the aleph ȝ may have moved to a position before the accented syllable, as witnessed by the Aramaic spelling ȝbst. By the first millennium, then, bȝstt would have been something like ‘obest’ or ‘ubesti’ in Egyptian speech.

The town of Bastet’s cult (see below) was known in Greek as Boubastis (Βούβαστος). The Hebrew rendering of the name for this town is Pî-beset (“House of Bastet”), spelled without Vortonsilbe.

What the name of the goddess means remains uncertain. One recent suggestion by Stephen Quirke (Ancient Egyptian Religion) explains it as meaning “She of the ointment jar”. This ties in with the observation that her name was written with the hieroglyph “ointment jar” (bȝs) and that she was associated with protective ointments, among other things.

From lion-goddess to cat-goddess

From the third millennium BC, when Bastet begins to appear in our record, she is depicted as either a fierce lioness or a woman with the head of a lion. Images of Bast were created from a local stone, named alabaster today.

Originally she was viewed as the protector goddess of Lower Egypt. As protector, she was seen as defender of the pharaoh, and consequently of the later chief male deity, Ra, who was also a solar deity, gaining her the titles Lady of Flame and Eye of Ra.

Her role in the pantheon became diminished as Sekhmet, a similar lioness war deity, became more dominant in the unified culture of Lower and Upper Egypt.

In the first millennium BC, when domesticated cats were popularly kept as pets, Bastet began to be represented as a woman with the head of a cat and ultimately emerged as the Egyptian cat-goddess par excellence. In the Middle Kingdom, the domestic cat appeared as Bastet’s sacred animal and after the New Kingdom she was depicted as a woman with the head of a cat or a lioness, carrying a sacred rattle and a box or basket.

Bubastis

She was a local deity whose cult was centred in the city of Bubastis, now Tell Basta, which lay in the Delta near what is known as Zagazig today. The town, known in Egyptian as pr-bȝstt (also transliterated as Per-Bast), carries her name, literally meaning “House of Bastet”. It was known in Greek as Boubastis (Βούβαστος) and translated into Hebrew as Pî-beset. In the biblical Book of Ezekiel 30:17, the town appears in the Hebrew form Pibeseth.

Temple

Herodotus, a Greek historian who travelled in Egypt in the 5th century BC, describes Bastet’s temple at some length:

“save for the entrance, it stands on an island; two separate channels approach it from the Nile, and after coming up to the entry of the temple, they run round it on opposite sides; each of them is an hundred feet wide, and overshadowed by trees. The temple is in the midst of the city, the whole circuit of which commands a view down into it; for the city’s level has been raised, but that of the temple has been left as it was from the first, so that it can be seen into from without. A stone wall, carven with figures, runs round it; within is a grove of very tall trees growing round a great shrine, wherein is the image of the goddess; the temple is a square, each side measuring a furlong. A road, paved with stone, of about three furlongs’ length leads to the entrance, running eastward through the market place, towards the temple of Hermes; this road is about four hundred wide, and bordered by trees reaching to heaven.”

The description offered by Herodotus and several Egyptian texts suggest that water surrounded the temple on three (out of four) sides, forming a type of lake known as isheru, not too dissimilar from that surrounding the Temple of the goddess Mut in Karnak at Thebes. Lakes known as isheru were typical of temples devoted to a number of leonine goddesses who are said to represent one original goddess, daughter of the Sun-God Re / Eye of Re: Bastet, Mut, Tefnut, Hathor and Sakhmet. Each of them had to be appeased by a specific set of rituals. One myth relates that a lioness, fiery and wrathful, was once cooled down by the water of the lake, transformed into a gentle cat and settled in the temple.

Festival

Herodotus also relates that of the many solemn festivals held in Egypt, the most important and most popular one was that celebrated in Bubastis in honour of the goddess, whom he calls Bubastis and equates with the Greek goddess Artemis. Each year on the day of her festival, the town is said to have attracted some 700,000 visitors (“as the people of the place say”), both men and women (but not children), who arrived in numerous crowded ships. The women engaged in music, song and dance on their way to the place, great sacrifices were made and prodigious amounts of wine were drunk, more than was the case throughout the year. This accords well with Egyptian sources which prescribe that leonine goddesses are to be appeased with the “feasts of drunkenness”.

The goddess Bast was sometimes depicted holding a ceremonial sistrum in one hand and an aegis in the other—the aegis usually resembling a collar or gorget embellished with a lioness head. Bast was a goddess of the sun throughout most of Ancient Egyptian history, but later when she was changed into a cat goddess rather than a lioness, she was changed to a goddess of the moon by Greeks occupying Ancient Egypt toward the end of its civilization. In Greek mythology, Bast also is known as Ailuros.

History and connection to other gods

Cats in ancient Egypt were revered highly, partly due to their ability to combat vermin such as mice, rats – which threatened key food supplies – and snakes, especially cobras. Cats of royalty were, in some instances, known to be dressed in golden jewelry and were allowed to eat from their owners’ plates. Turner and Bateson estimate that during the Twenty-second dynasty c.945-715 BC, Bastet worship changed to being a major cat deity (as opposed to a lioness deity). With the unification of the two Egypts, many similar deities were merged into one or the other, the significance of Bast and Sekhmet, to the regional cultures that merged, resulted in a retention of both, necessitating a change to one or the other. During later dynasties, Bast was assigned a lesser role in the pantheon, but retained.

In the temple at Per-Bast some cats were found to have been mummified and buried, many next to their owners. More than 300,000 mummified cats were discovered when Bast’s temple at Per-Bast was excavated. The main source of information about the Bast cult comes from Herodotus who visited Bubastis around 450 BC during the heyday of the cult. He equated Bastet with the Greek Goddess Artemis. He wrote extensively about the cult. Turner and Bateson suggest that the status of the cat was roughly equivalent to that of the cow in modern India. The death of a cat might leave a family in great mourning and those who could would have them embalmed or buried in cat cemeteries – pointing to the great prevalence of the cult of Bastet. Extensive burials of cat remains were found not only at Bubastis, but also at Beni Hasan and Saqqara. In 1888, a farmer uncovered a plot of many hundreds of thousands of cats in Beni Hasan.

The lioness represented the war goddess and protector of both lands. As the fierce lion god Maahes of Nubia later became part of Egyptian mythology, during the time of the New Kingdom, Bastet was held to be the daughter of Amun Ra, a newly ascending deity in the Egyptian pantheon during that late dynasty. Bastet became identified as his mother in the Lower Egypt, near the delta. Similarly the fierce lioness war goddess Sekhmet, became identified as the mother of Maashes in the Upper Egypt.

As divine mother, and more especially as protector, for Lower Egypt, Bastet became strongly associated with Wadjet, the patron goddess of Lower Egypt. She eventually became Wadjet-Bast, paralleling the similar pair of patron (Nekhbet) and lioness protector (Sekhmet) for Upper Egypt.

Later perception

Later scribes sometimes renamed her Bastet, a variation on Bast consisting of an additional feminine suffix to the one already present, thought to have been added to emphasize pronunciation; perhaps it is a diminutive name applied as she receded in the ascendancy of Sekhmet in the Egyptian pantheon. Since Bastet literally meant, (female) of the ointment jar. Her name was related with the lavish jars in which Egyptians stored their perfume. Bast thus gradually became regarded as the goddess of perfumes, earning the title, perfumed protector. In connection with this, when Anubis became the god of embalming, Bast, as goddess of ointment, came to be regarded as his wife. The association of Bastet as mother of Anubis, was broken years later when Anubis became identified as the son of Nephthys.

Lower Egypt’s loss in the wars between Upper and Lower Egypt led to a decrease in the ferocity of Bast. Thus, by the Middle Kingdom she came to be regarded as a domestic cat rather than a lioness. Occasionally, however, she was depicted holding a lioness mask, hinting at her potential ferocity.

Because domestic cats tend to be tender and protective of their offspring, Bast also was regarded as a good mother, and she was sometimes depicted with numerous kittens. Consequently, a woman who wanted children sometimes wore an amulet showing the goddess with kittens, the number of which indicated her own desired number of children.

Eventually, her position as patron and protector of Lower Egypt led to her being identified with the more substantial goddess Mut, whose cult had risen to power with that of Amun, and eventually being syncretized with her as Mut-Wadjet-Bast. Shortly after, in the constantly evolving pantheon, Mut also absorbed the identities of the Sekhmet-Nekhbet pairing as well.

This merging of identities of similar goddesses has led to considerable confusion, leading to some attributing to Bastet the title Mistress of the Sistrum (more properly belonging to Hathor, who had become thought of as an aspect of the later emerging Isis, as had Mut), and the Greek idea of her as a lunar goddess (more properly an attribute of Mut) rather than the solar deity she was. The native Egyptian rulers were replaced by Greeks during an occupation of Egypt that lasted almost five hundred years. These new rulers adopted many Egyptian beliefs and customs, but always “interpreted” them in relation to their Greek culture. These associations sought to link the antiquity of Egyptian culture to the newer Greek culture, thereby lending parallel roots and a sense of continuity. Indeed, much confusion occurred with subsequent generations; the identity of Bast slowly merged among the Greeks during their occupation of Egypt, who sometimes named her Ailuros (Greek for cat), thinking of Bast as a version of Artemis, their own moon goddess. Thus, to fit their own cosmology, to the Greeks Bast is thought of as the sister of Horus, whom they identified as Apollo (Artemis’ brother), and consequently, the daughter of the later emerging deities, Isis and Ra. Roman occupation of Egypt followed in 30 BC, and their pantheon of deities also was identified with the Greek interpretations of the Ancient Egyptians. The introduction of Christianity and Muslim beliefs followed as well, and by the sixth century AD only a few vestiges of Ancient Egyptian religious beliefs remained, although the cult of Isis had spread to the ends of the Roman Empire.

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Mythological Family Members & Associated Deities

RA (Father)

ANUBIS (Consort)

MAAHES (Son)

NEFERTEM (Son)

SEKHMET

NEKHBET

PTAH

SEKER

HORUS

NEITH

ATUM

TUTU

KHONSU

WENNUT

ISIS

MUT

TEFNUT

HATHOR

WADJET

AMUN

NEPHTHYS

ARTEMIS

APOLLO


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