- Hathor -

Goddess of music, dance, drinking and love, Hathor represents the erotic part of femininity and procreation. She is often represented as a cow, or as a woman with the head or ears of a cow, sometimes suckling a child, stressing her fertile, procreative nature.

Her name, which means "House of Horus" associates her with the falcon-god Horus. Like Isis, she is considered to be the mother of Horus (Harsomtus), but at the same time she is also his wife (Horus of Edfu). She thus plays a pivotal role in the rejuvenation and rebirth of the god Horus.

Because of her fertile, life-bringing nature, she is also the goddess who revives the deceased and welcomes him in the nether world. She is often represented in New Kingdom Theban tombs embracing the deceased.

As the house of the falcon, Hathor is also a goddess of the heavens and thus associated with the solar god Re. One of the many titles bestowed on her is "Eye of Re". As the "Eye of Re", Hathor is also a dangerous, belligerent and aggressive goddess, set out on destroying the enemies of Re, namely mankind, and as such, she is associated with the lion goddess Sekhmet. Her aggression, however, can be turned away from Egypt by offering her beer and wine.

Hathor had many cultic centres throughout Egypt, but her most important and perhaps largest temple was built at Dendara.

Hathor with cow's ears

A column with its capitel decorated with the head of Hathor, in the temple of Hatshepsut at Deir el-Bahari. Note the cow's ears which are typical for this goddess.

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