Divine Felines

I'd love to say I was feeling totally better this
Camera Shy Lola
week and full of the joys of spring but that would be a bit of a fib! 

This bug is certainly lingering and I've crawled home to bed after work this week and done nothing at all. So much so that I woke this morning worrying about what I could blog about, I had a sort of notion about heading out to explore somewhere today but I felt rough as a badgers arse, no offence to badgers and the weather wasn't enticing me to go anywhere any time soon. Huffing and puffing my disgust, I absent mindedly stroked a cat that had decided my chest was the optimum place for a morning nap, my cat Lola reached her paw out and gently batted my nose in sympathy. Having an imaginary conversation with myself I thought I can't write about cats it's not an 'I Love Cats Blog', Lola batted my nose again and yawned, which I'm pretty sure is cat for 'No you silly woman, but you could research Goddess and cats and talk about that' or she might have just been
Egyptian Goddess Bastet

Either way I was mulling it over as I padded round the kitchen yawning and feeding my motley crew of cats, just the 6 of them, officially 3 is enough for the collective noun of a Clowder, also known as a clutter or a glaring. Cloud of fur, Clutter to trip over or just plain Glaring at you when they are hungry I guess, or 'Bloody Longleat' as himself describes our house as!
So, I spent the morning curled up in a snuggly blanket, bedecked in felines researching Goddesses connected with cats. Happy Days indeed. The only one I knew of vaguely was Bastet or Bast an ancient Egyptian Goddess, I discovered that she was known as being the bestower of blessings to the good and the deliverer of wrath to the evil, as well as being the protector of domestic cats. 
Wow, that pleased me immensely as you can
imagine! Freya the Norse Goddess was purportedly given 2 huge grey cats by Thor to pull her chariot and farmers would leave out offerings to farm cats to ensure a good harvest, whilst in Greek mythology Hecate the Goddess of magic, witchcraft, crossroads, herbs and ghosts, shapeshifted (a popular theme) into a cat to escape the monster Typhon - a deadly giant. Even Ceridwen was attended by 2 white cats that carried out her orders form her realm in the underworld... I'd have drawn them into this picture I did a few years ago if I had known!

This is turn had me wondering how long cats have actually been domesticated and how that came about, a bit more research dates it as between 9 and 12 thousand years. 
The most likely theory is that as tribes of people began to settle in communities in one place as opposed to leading a nomadic lifestyle and tilled the land, they ended up with surplus harvest stock of
grain that they stored for the winter months, which in turn attracted mice.
Sleepy Lily
Whether the wild cats came closer to humans for this easy prey or were lured in by the early farmers to guard their supplies is a matter of conjecture. Whatever the reason they appear to have coexisted happily for millennia, growing increasingly more tame as the centuries came and went

Made me smile too to think that the grain would have been the reason they came, the very grain that my Goddess Ker is the Harvest Mother of! Amazing what connections rainy days can bring, almost as amazing, is the fact that this sweet furball snoozing on the dining room chair, Lily who at nearly one follows us round to sit on us or by us, is actually descended from those feral wild cats. 
Before my frazzled brain cells decided to take
Anti Suffrage Poster
a well earned rest, they also mused over the origins of the Crazy Cat Lady stereotype. Often levelled as mockery of 40 something single women, originally historically aimed at gay women or spinsters, it appears that the roots go even further back to Anti-Suffrage campaigns during the fight for Women to obtain the vote. Mocking posters such as these were distributed in an attempt to portray the Suffragettes as silly and fluffy headed women who didn't know what they were doing. Like that worked.. Tabby is another mocking term used for a woman, suggesting low morals most especially sexual.

Hmm.....There seems to be a massive leap from Cat Goddesses such as Bastet who was half Feline and Half Human, beloved mystical creatures who worked with Goddesses or were even shapeshifted into as a form of magical prowess or to outwit enemies to this mockery. 
The decrease of Pagan Worship and the rise of Christianity must be a massive factor. A pivotal point is clearly the Malleus Maleficarum, a book published in 1487, roughly translated as 'Hammer of Witches', which endorses the persecution and extermination of witches,
My Crazy Cat Lady Mug
something that was actually pretty rare until then. This massive shift in belief over the previous centuries, now meant that works such as this viewed cats as being Witch's familiars, proof of their evil doings and evidence of their being in league the devil. The objects of these persecutions were mainly single women who were already on the fringes of society; widows, cunning women, midwives, women who were different, maybe a little unusual, possibly perceived as crazy. We all know where that ultimately led to, the horrendous and infamous witch trials. 
With my 6 felines, they'd have been looking straight at me.
Fortunately for me these days it's quite cool to be a Crazy Cat Lady, my mug brought for me by one of my best friends was done so through love and anyway she's pretty crazy too in an OCD housework kind of way, only joking Tracy - No wonder we are friends! 

So there we are then, Goddesses and Cats, 2 of my favourite things!
Have a Blessed Week x x 

I Found these sites interesting when researching, you might too 
http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/a-brief-history-of-house-cats-158390681 http://catladyconfidential.com/2016/03/14/crazy-cat-lady-stereotype http://pio.tripod.com/magicpaw/catmyths.html


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