Mythology of the cat in the Far East
At present, the pussycat is one of the most popular pet animals in the world. But few species have had such a controversial relationship with man as the cat . From venerated gods to symbols of witchcraft: the mythology of the cat has changed radically over the centuries.
In this article, we will talk a little more about cat mythology. We put special focus on the feline deities that were worshiped by the ancient Eastern civilizations.
The mythology of the cat and the feline deities strong>
During the Middle Ages, cats, especially black ones, were associated with supposed witchcraft rituals . For this reason, its image was related to black magic and the cats were persecuted for centuries.
This type of stories and legends have generated countless false myths about the pussycat and its holding has taken years to get rid of the stigma of 'bad luck'.
However, ancient civilizations have shown great admiration for the pussycat. In fact, the figure of the cat used to represent deities worshiped mainly by Eastern cultures.
Undoubtedly, the Egyptian goddess known as Bastet is the most recognized among all feline deities . But the mythology of the cat also includes other divine representations that occupied a central role in the religion and culture of the Far East.
Bastet, the Egyptian goddess of happiness
The representations of the 'goddess cat 'Bastet, also known as' the star Sirius', were always related to cats. Sometimes, Bastet was represented as a black pussy, others were attributed to a female body and the head of a cat.
The ancient city of Bubastis was consecrated by the cult of the goddess Bastet, and in She has found numerous mummified felines. It is assumed that cats were considered as the incarnations of the very goddess Bastet. Therefore, they were honored after their death with the ritual of mummification, which only the nobles and the pharaohs had access to.
For the Egyptians, the goddess Bastet was the protector of homes and pregnant women , because it had the power to ward off evil spirits. It was also associated with all the positive aspects of sunlight, such as happiness and harmony.
Because of its great guardian spirit, Bastet had a loving and peaceful side, but he also had a fierce facet and determined, that was revealed especially in the face of injustices and threats to their proteges; this feline deity was loved, feared and respected in equal measure.
The mythology of the cat in China and the feline deity Li Shou
The Cat mythology in China is one of the most fascinating, although it is not as recognized as Egyptian. One of the Chinese cosmological myths says that, after completing the creation of the world, the gods have named cats as the divine guardians of order.
The Chinese attributed felines to the privileged gift of the word , so they could communicate how their creation was. Despite offering such an important function, the gods always surprised cats by having fun or relaxing.
When questioned by the gods, the guardian cats would end up confessing that they were not interested in controlling the order of the world .But when perceiving that men understood very little about the divine, the gods forced the cats to become guardians of time.
Li Shou was the most popular feline deity in ancient China, associated with the protection of homes and the fertility of the earth. He was often offered offerings to improve crops and avoid weeds.
The bakeneko in Japan and their supernatural powers
Despite not being Considered as gods, the Bakeneko make up the mythology of the cat in the Far East. The ancient civilizations of Japan attributed supernatural powers to these cats . As examples, there is the ability to change shape, fly, throw fireballs, and even resuscitate the dead.
Ancient Japanese myths describe Bakeneko as ghost cats or transformers, that they were able even to adopt the human form and to be incorporated between people. They also exalt feline intelligence, and attribute to cats the gift of reading, writing, walking on two legs and understanding human language.