All About Bast-Mut

Bast-Mut

Bast in Her role as Queen

Historical Information

Bast-Mut is a syncretization of goddesses Bast and Mut, creating Bast in Her role as Queen. 

Labeled in reliefs as Mut-Bast, She was found in Luxor (Thebes/Karnak/Waset) in in the Karnak Temple, Amun Temple, Medinet Habu, and at Isheru lake, where Mut was prominent.  In those depictions, She appears both as a lioness-headed woman with the solar disk, and as a humanoid woman.  We know that this is Her based upon the hieroglyphic inscriptions included with the imagery.

It is said She also appears in Bubastis (Per-Bast/Tell-Basta/Zagazig), however, the destruction of the ancient city has left us very little historical record in which to find Her.

Bast-Mut and Mut-Bast are both the same deity, however, in the Kemetic Orthodoxy Rite of Parent Divination, the Name that comes first is the god that the one divined will best understand.  For the sake of continuity, and because She is my divined Mother, I will be calling Her as Bast-Mut throughout the page.

Syncretization?

Bast-Mut is still Bast, but She is also Mut.  As an example, let us say that Bast is the color Red and Mut is the color Blue.  Syncretized, they form the color Purple.  This creates a whole new color that you cannot separate.  In this fashion, She gets equal parts of both goddesses and forms it into one.  Spend some time researching both goddesses, and you'll get an idea of how Bast-Mut can be.

We also find Mut-Bast referred to in academic texts.  In essence, they are the same goddess, but there may be differences in how Mut-Bast acts versus Bast-Mut.  As we do not yet have any divined children of the former, I have no point of reference as to which to compare.

Bast-Mut (Mut-Bast) in the Books

Various mentions of Bast-Mut/Mut-Bast in academic publications.  Please see the bibliography section at the bottom of the page for the full texts in-context.

"As on the east jamb of the doorway, one expects Mut with a syncretistic name for the lioness-headed goddess. If she is not simply labeled as Mw .t nb .t p .t, she could be Mut-Bastet (as on the east jamb) or Mut-Sekhmet; there is not enough space for Mut-Weret-Hekau. One notes that in the dedicatory text on the east wall in the bark shrine of Mut in the triple shrine of the Ramesside Court, Ramesses II refers to having made the monument for his mother Mut-Bastet (KRI 2, 615/16-616-1). The prominence accorded to Mut as Bastet on the east wall of the triple shrine mirrors the importance of the lioness-headed goddess in the first register scenes on the east and west jambs of the north portal of the Colonnade Hall. One may also note that the word ms survives in the words spoken by Mut-Bastet on the east wall of the Mut shrine (KRI 2, 616/6), recalling the texts accompanying the lioness goddess on pl. 149."  - Oriental Institute Publications (OIP) Vol 116

"In the first register scenes on the east and west jambs of the doorway, the king is shown in a variant of the hn-gesture, which he performs in the presence of Mut in a feline form, called Mut-Bastet on the east jamb and perhaps called Sekhmet on the west.  The gesture is particularly appropriate for the wandering goddess returning to Egypt for the hieros gamos.  .... A good deal of paint survives to show the coloration of the figure of the lioness goddess.  The goddess has yellow skin, but her lioness face is blue.  This bichromatic treatment is paralleled in other scenes and is also textually attested."   - Oriental Institute Publications (OIP) Vol 116

"The text between the thrones of the divine couple may also support an original p position at the north wall.  Traces of the central text panel (pl. 216G, n. b) indicate that Mut is referred to on the statue as either "[Sekhm]et" or "[Bast]et," corresponding to an epithet of Mut on the north wall, east side, first register, that associate her with Sekhmet.  Doorjamb reliefs on the north exterior facade, east side, depict Mut as the feline-headed "Mut, lady of heaven, Bastet who resides in Isheru" (pl. 144, I. 7).  In the corresponding scene on the west side a similar feline-headed goddess, whose name is now lost, is probably to be identified either as Mut-Bastet or Mut-Sekhmet (pl. 149, n. c). Feline goddesses proliferate in this area, perhaps a reference to their role as protector of the king when he entered the temple complex.  In addition, the texts of the back pillar of the large dyad consist of speeches of Amun and Mut, both of which are to be read from right to left, that is, west to east, favoriting a placement for this statue on the east side of the Colonade Hall."   - Oriental Institute Publications (OIP) Vol 116

"Words spoken by Mut, lady of heaven, Bastet who resides in Asheru: "O my beloved son, lord of the two lands, Djeserkheperure-Setepenre, I am your mother.  I am giving you your suck, that you may suck from my milk, may it enter into you in life and dominion..joy...I have given to you millions of jubilee like Re."" - Oriental Institute Publications (OIP) Vol 116

"Mut the Great, Lady of Isheru, Bast, Mistress of Karnak, possessor of graciousness, sweet of love: I have given you the throne of Geb and the lifespan of Re in heaven." - Oriental Institute Publications (OIP) Vol 107

"Mut, lady of heaven, Bastet residing in Karnak, as she gives all life: I have given to you all life and dominion, all health and all joy like Re." - Oriental Institute Publications (OIP) Vol 1 Part 3

"...he has made as his monument for his mother Mut-Bastet, Lady of Heaven, Mistress of the gods, [the making for her of a] great and noble [place] in the temple ('palace") of Southern Opet, of fine, hard, white stone, the [handiwork?...];[....] of granite, its doors of real cedar of the terraces (i,e., of Lebanon), bonded with Asiatic copper. [He has made] for her upon an everlasting precinct, an adobe for eternity; (and) a great shrine for the Ruler of Thebes, a sanctuary for his Ennead--a place of supplication [..for hearing petitions of gods and men? Rest lost]. ...

This set of texts is of interest for its reference to the compound Mut-Bastet, to the claim of Ramesses II that, even as a prince, he was interested in making new images for Mut, and for its mentions of the shrines of Mut, Amun, and the Ennead." - The Dedicatory and Building Texts of Ramesses II in Luxor Temple: II: Interpretation

"As the consort of Amun-Re-Shu, the lioness goddess of Thebes, Mut as Bastet and Sekhmet, is the solar eye as Tefnut, the moist, tear-filled eye of the sun, herself a representation of the good new year." - Darnell, John Coleman. “The Apotropaic Goddess in the Eye.”

"The lion is also a manifestation chosen by Mut, also the feline of which there is association with Mut and Bastet." - Hart, George. "The Routledge Dictionary of Egyptian Gods and Goddesses."

"I renewed the bark of Khons-the-Child (and) the bark of Bastet residing-in-Thebes, So as to satisfy her majesty with what she wishes." -  Abdel-Raziq, Abdalla. “Sacred Bark of Bastet.” 

"I fashioned a portable bark of Bastet residing in Thebes, with carrying staves of electrum and every genuine costly stone." - Abdel-Raziq, Abdalla. “Sacred Bark of Bastet.” 

“Mut-Bastet, mistress of the Two Lands, Ruler of the banks, great of might in the bark of Re” -Stewart, H. M. “A Crossword Hymn to Mut.”

Personal Experiences with the Queen

Disclaimer: Much of the information listed below falls under personal experience with no verified basis in historical texts.  These are offerings I feel She likes, songs I associate with Her, and other tidbits I find important towards understanding Bast-Mut.  

Trying to Understand Bast-Mut

Syncretization, as explained previously, can be a tad confusing.  There is a lot of fluidity that comes with being a "fusion" of two gods.  Sometimes you get more of one, and sometimes you get more of the other, but they are a completely separate god than the ones that have formed them.  In your experiences with these gods, your mileage may vary, but I will explain my feelings towards Bast-Mut below.

I see the goddess Bast-Mut as "Mut-who-is-Bast", giving me a more queenly and regal Bast upon Her throne.  The deity who is named first will be the exterior "shell" or the "primary," which are both in quotes because it's hard to describe and that is not really what is happening here, but it's the best way my brain wraps around them.  When in the form of Mut-Bast, this is Bast who is in the form of Mut (which could explain Her humanoid appearances in the temples, but that is just another personal theory!)  Remember, however, that She is still 100% Bast and 100% Mut, no matter what section in the spectrum She is playing in at the time.

Bast-Mut is not just the Queen, She is also Bast the Mother (Mut being the literal word for Mother.) She is older, not as impulsive, wise, and watchful.  Mut has many of the attributes of Hethert, and so Bast-Mut tends to feel quite a lot like Her to me.

Building a Relationship

These are my personal experiences with Her, and they may differ from yours or from that of others.  However, this is a good guideline to start with if you are new or haven't met Her yet.

When you first decide to introduce yourself to the Queen, it's important to be formal and respectful.  Only in spending more time and experiences with Her are you allowed to loosen formalities a little.  She is warm and loving, like the sun beaming down in a caress. A nice offering goes over well, as well as honest intentions and being present and respectful in Her presence.  She is Bast, a lover of joy, rich things, and perfumes, but She is Queen and more directing rather than acting. There is a regal air about Her, and She tends to be more on the formal side of things.  Share your meals with Her, speak your mind, and be open and honest.

In my experience with my Mother, Bast-Mut, She is very much Mut in personality, but with Bast-flavoring and exterior.  I see Her as the Royal Cat, large and in-charge, but joyful and kind.  She doesn't roll around like a playful kitten, but instead stands tall and looks into your eyes with the gentlest of smiles.  She shifts between a domestic cat and a black lioness, which I feel brings in a lot of the Mut influence as She too can be a lioness.  I've "seen" Her both as a stern queen as well as Her dancing with sistra in hand in a field of flowers, full of light, laughter, and joy.

Bast-Mut is like the sun. The warmth and glow of Her love shine down and embrace you, never burning. For She is the sun gently kissing the horizon, the one you can glimpse out of the corner of your eyes, still hot and bright, but tender. Regal is Her splendor that dusts the clouds in the royal hues of purple and gold. The sky glows for Her.

When to call upon the Queen

  • When you need some fierce motherly love.
  • When you want some direction, and you're in need of a gentle push to get there.
  • When you are in need of self-care and need a stern but loving Mother to make you do so.
  • When you're stuck in the past or worrying about the future, and you need a reminder to live in the moment.
  • When you need some gentle self-care and some help in finding joy.
  • When you're taking on a leadership role and need help asserting yourself.
  • For a boost of confidence to feel your best self.

Representation

  • Feline-headed woman with double or uraeus modii crown.
  • Lioness, or other another big cat.
  • A domestic cat with cobra between Her paws.
  • Depicted with the Solar Disk as Mut-Bast.
  • Shown in humanoid form as Mut-Bast.
  • Wears a dual-plumed, horned crown with solar disk as Mut-Bast.

Patronage

  • Empowerment & Confidence
  • Self-Love
  • Protection
  • Leadership & Royalty
  • Living in the Moment
  • Inner Strength
  • Joy & Beauty
  • Dawn & Dusk

Epithets

  • She Who Shines in the Horizon**
  • Lady of Heaven
  • (She) who Shines as Gold(en)**
  • (She) who Creates Sunbeams**
  • Lady of the Palace
  • Lady of the Great House
  • Lady of the Isheru Waters
  • Lady of All the Lands
  • The (Great) Young Lioness
  • Lady of Life
  • Great of Strength
  • She of the Beautiful Face
  • Lady of Red Linen**
  • Lady of Cobras
  • Lady of Joy**
  • The (ruling) Queen
  • The Daughter of Ra
  • The Greatly Beloved
  • The Greatly Feared
  • She of the Powerful Heart**
  • Lady of Food
  • Great of Magic
  • The Head of the Goddesses
(A favored selection of epithets that both Bast and Mut have in common. Translated from the LAGG by Akhytsenu.)
**Denotes Extra Love

Family

  • Wife of Amun(-Ra)
  • Mother of Khonsu
  • Mother of Nefertem (Regional)
  • Mother of Mafdet (UPG)

Offerings

Food
  • Dark Chocolate
  • High-Quality Meat
  • Sushi
  • Fruit
  • Bread
  • Honey
  • Nuts
  • Berries
Drink
  • Chai Tea
  • Herbal Teas
  • Cream Liqueur
  • Cool Water
  • Hot Chocolate
  • Pure Fruit Juice
  • Fruity Mixed Drinks
Stones and Colors
  • Lapis Lazuli
  • Labradorite
  • Carnelian
  • Malachite
  • Jade
  • Amber
  • Gold
  • Greens
  • Deep Red
  • Royal Purple
Scents
  • Sandalwood
  • Lotus
  • Vanilla
  • Jasmine
  • Cinnamon
  • Florals
Activities
  • Self-Care
  • Perfumery
  • Applying Makeup
  • Song and Dance
  • Creating Beauty
  • Volunteer Work

Festivals 

I Akhet | August
28 - Offerings to Amun, Mut, and Khonsu of Isheru

II Akhet | September
10 - Appearance of Bast of Ankhtawy
O - New Moon to Full Moon - Opet Festival

III Akhet | October
2 - Return of Mut
20 - Procession of Bast Lady of Ankhtawy in front of Ra

IV Akhet | November
15 - Feast of Sekhmet and Bast before Ra
16 - Feast of Sekhmet and Bast of Isheru

I Peret | December
3 - Feast of the Drunkenness of the Eye of Ra
13 - Feast of Bast
20 - Procession of Bast
21 - Bast Guards the Two Lands
O - Winter Solstice - She is Led Back
29 -  Bast and Sekhmet Protect the Two Lands
29 - Feast of the Bast Water Procession (In Thebes)
30 - Boat Procession of Mut, Lady of Isheru

II Peret | January
18 - Feast of Bast in Bubastis

III Peret | February
13 - Feast of Bast

IV Peret | March
4 - Great Festival of Bast/Day of Chewing Onions for Bast (2 days)

II Shomu | May
16 - Feast of Bast

III Shomu | June
13 - Feast of Bast of Memphis
29 - Feast of Mut

(Please refer to the Kemetic Calendar to see when dates fall.)

Sources and Additional Reading

Siuda, Tamara. The Ancient Egyptian Daybook. Portland: Stargazer Design, 2016. http://www.egyptiandaybook.com/

Galan, Jose M, et al., editors. Creativity and Innovation in the Reign of Hatshepsut. The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, 2014.

“Cat Goddess Bast and the Goddess Mut.” The Great Cat , LA Vocelle, www.thegreatcat.org/cat-goddess-bast-and-the-goddess-mut/.Hays, Christopher B. “The Egyptian Goddess Mut in Iron Age Palestine: Further Data From Amulets and Onomastics.” Journal of Near Eastern Studies, The University of Chicago Press, 2 Oct. 2012, www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/666652.

Gray, Zachery. The Intrepid Wanderer's Guide to Ancient Egyptian Goddesses. Intrepid Spirit Books, 2008.

Hart, George. A Dictionary of Egyptian Gods and Goddesses. Routledge, 2004.

Naville Édouard. Bubastis: (1887-1889): with 54 Plates. Paul, Trench, Trübner, 1891.

Mahmud Abd El-Razik. “The Dedicatory and Building Texts of Ramesses II in Luxor Temple: II: Interpretation.” The Journal of Egyptian Archaeology, vol. 61, 1975, pp. 125–136. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/3856494. Accessed 7 May 2020.

Darnell, John Coleman. “The Apotropaic Goddess in the Eye.” Studien Zur Altägyptischen Kultur, vol. 24, 1997, pp. 35–48. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/25152728. Accessed 8 May 2020.

Hart, George. The Routledge Dictionary of Egyptian Gods and Goddesses. Routledge, 2005.

Abdel-Raziq, Abdalla. “Sacred Bark of Bastet.” Journal of the General Union of Arab Archaeologists, vol. 12, 2011, pp. 1–18.

Stewart, H. M. “A Crossword Hymn to Mut.” The Journal of Egyptian Archaeology, vol. 57, 1971, pp. 87–104. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/3855946. Accessed 19 Nov. 2020.

Appearances

Oriental Institute Publications (OIP) Vol 116 - Reliefs and Inscriptions at Luxor Temple - Volume 2 - The Facade, Portals, Upper Register Scenes, columns, marginalia, and statuary in the colonnade hall
Plate 144

Oriental Institute Publications (OIP) Vol 93 - Medinet Habu - Volume VII - The Temple Proper - Part III - The Third Hypostyle Hall and all rooms accessible from it with friezes of scenes from the roof terraces and exterior walls of the temple
Plate 558

Oriental Institute Publications (OIP) Vol 83 - Medinet Habu - Volume V - The Temple Proper - Part I - The Portico, The Treasury, and Chapels Adjoining the First Hypostyle Hall with Marginal Material from the Forecourts
Plate 261

Oriental Institute Publications (OIP) Vol 142. The Great Hypostyle Hall in the Temple of Amun at Karnak
Plate 66

Oriental Institute Publications (OIP) Vol 107. Reliefs and Inscriptions at Karnak Volume 4
Plate 35