Wednesday, May 11, 2005

The Cat As Symbol

from Lionrhod (emphasis mine):

Mischevious, playful, alluring, intuitive, cats embody the essence of magick and mystery.

As totems and spirit guides they offer protection, independence, psychic power, sensuality and self confidence.

They are associated with the Moon, the Night and the element of Fire.

Traditionally seen as the archetypical witch's familiar, cats are a magnificent aid to grounding, and just stroking their fur can bring calm, healing and a sense of peace.

With their mysterious airs, it is no wonder that cats have been revered, mythologized and sometimes even feared since ancient times. During the Burning Times, cats were firmly entrenched in our mythology as the familiar animal of witches, and often murdered along with their owners. The lack of cats to kill rats allowed the Black Death to spread swiftly across Europe.

In sharp contrast, the Egyptians treated them as gods and kings and even mummified them after their deaths, and killing a cat (even by accident) was punishable by death. The Egyptian goddess Bast, protectress of the Pharoah and of women, was seen as a cat or a cat-headed woman.

Because of the cat's penchant for freedom, the Romans depicted the goddess of Liberty as having a cat at her feet. Freya, the Norse goddess of passion and fertility was associated with cats, and Shosti, the childbirth goddess of the Hindu mythos rides a cat. In Celtic lore, heroes were often seen battling giant cats rather than dragons.
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