I've been racking my brain all day to think of something I wanted to write about for the C project today - this has proven to be such a popular letter with so many varied and interesting things being written - most of what I wanted to cover had already been written. And then it came to me - the one C word that is closest to my heart is Cats. I adore them - I have three of them and would have more if hubby would let me.
My familiar cat - Felix - however I lost nearly two years ago. He was my boy - he'd been with me for 17 years and I still feel lost without him. None of my others have taken his place - they are not familiars they are just cats and I suppose I'm lucky they choose to live with me. I've always had an affinity to cats - from my very first black cat when I was 8 years old. A feat in itself as my father would not allow animals in the house but somehow I managed to sneak her in and she stayed with us until the age of 13. When I had my own house I had another black cat - Holly but he only stayed with me for 9 years, then came Felix, then Megan, then Pepper, then Oscar.
Let me introduce you to my cats:
Felix (RIP) and Pepper Age 4
Megan - our old girl now age 14
Oscar - new cat on the block age about 3
What is it about cats? My husband is definitely a dog lover - we have a dog and I love her too - but dogs are just so dependent on you - my husband loves the attention a dog gives - I love the attention a cat gives cause you know they don't give it away lightly - so you must have earned it! My husband loves that the dogs comes when she is called, I love the independence of cats - it speaks to me as an independent woman. I find them so relaxing to look at - they look so comfortable when they are asleep - so elegant when they walk, so powerful when they hunt, so at one with their surroundings if you let them experience the outdoors. My cats are free to enjoy what the Goddess has made for them, they love lying in the sun, yes they even play in the snow, they come and go as they please. They are the ultimate pleasure seekers - have you ever watched a cat settle itself down on to some fine soft fabrics? Domesticated they may be - but tame? Who hasn't owned a cat and suffered at one time or another from the slash of its claws - and watch that tail - its mood is written in its tail. Ignore it at your peril! lol!
Historically attitudes towards cats parallel those toward women: when women have been respected and honoured cats are beloved and even deified; when women are perceived as dangerous cats have been degraded and demonized. No other animal in the Western world is as identified with witchcraft as the Cat, particularly black cats. These poor animals are still the hardest for cat rescue centers to find homes for.
The most famous sacred cat is Bastet, the Egyptian cat goddess who cult became so popular it even eclipsed that of Isis. The Egyptians built a great temple to Bastet at Bubastis which was set on an island surrounded by water except for the entrance passage. The shrine was 50 feet long and made of sparkling red granite set within an inner and outer enclosure. Bastet is a protective Goddess and is always gentle. However when roused to anger she transforms into the lion goddess Sekhmet. It was probably Bastet's link with cats that led to them being persecuted alongside women accused of witchcraft during the Middle Ages.
Ruins of Bastet's Temple
"Other temples are greater and more costly, but none more pleasing to the eye than this." - Herodotus, Histories Book II, Chap. 137
One of the simplest ways to please Bastet is to show her special creatures care and compassion. Spend some time around cats, easy if you have some of your own but, even so, pay a bit more attention to your own cats. Draw or paint a cat on a circle, tape the circle onto a window so that the light of the moon can shine through - the moonlight will bring Bastet's gentleness in through your window.
Let me know if you're a cat person - I'd love to pop along and meet your feline friends.