Monday, April 4, 2011
Creature Feature: - Cats from Gods to Backstreets to Video games!
Hey y'all today I wanna discuss a animal many of you adore -- or hate but an ancient species of animal that's been around for ages and also happens to be one of my favorite creatures EVER!! - Cats!
Now I am sure you all are very familiar with these creatures especially if you been through Marleybone - that place is jam packed with Cats and rats hm you figure with all the cats there would be no rats. Maybe them dogs down in Scotland Yard should swallow their pride and team up with the O' Leary Gang to take them out!
Now before they were our cuddly friends, characters in a game, and domesticated Cats were worshiped as gods and used in a variety of myths all around the world.
Let's begin with what people most think when they think of Ancient Cats -- Egypt! In Ancient Egypt Ubasti or Bast was a Feline Goddess who was greatly revered now here is the fun part it wasn't until much later that she was seen as a Cat. Before the wars in Egypt between the Lower and Upper Kingdoms Ubasti was seen not as a Cat but as a Lioness. Yes they are relatives but I point this out to inform you and to show you how over time even gods change -- in this case after these wars Ubasti was seen as a less prominent Deity and a Domesticated cat as oppose to a ferocious Lioness.
Before this fall from "Grace" however Ubasti was seen as a Goddess of Protection, Cats, and the Sun. In that time Ubasti was a Child of Ra or Atum or even Atum-Ra who was the God of the Sun more particularly Mid day sun Ubasti was also referred to as Lady of Flame and Eye of Ra! This happened because as a Goddess of Protection in Lower Egypt Ubasti was associated with the Pharaoh who in Egypt was seen as a Physical manifestation of Ra, or an Avatar of Ra.
Now her actual fall can be attributed to the wars and ultimate unification of the Upper and Lower Kingdoms.
As mentioned earlier she was seen as a Lioness; a Protector this was during wars with the Upper kingdom. After the unification she was knocked down by Sekhmet who was now seen as the de facto feline Goddess in this new unified Egypt. Before that though Sekhmet was seen as warrior goddess and healer of Upper Egypt.
Now here are some cool stuff about Sekhmet she was credited with the creation of the desert in Egypt from her breath and that the hot desert winds are her still breathing --whoa that's some harsh breath! She also like her Lower kingdom counterpart Ubasti was seen as a Protector of the Pharaoh; Leading him to battle and a daughter of the Sun god Ra. Let's move on to another goddess associated with Cats Freyja or Freya from Norse Mythology she ruled over her own underworld like place called Folkvangr where half the dead came who died from battle (Debates say Freyja's Folkvangr was for women who died a worthy death) the other half went to Odin in Valhalla. Freyja was said to have a chariot that was drawn by two cats.
All these different backgrounds on cats you figure KI would have put Cats in Krokotopia or even Grizzleheim but they were also important in England, Britain, and other European countries.
Cats in almost all these cultures were seen as guides for humans or even ascended souls! In ancient Europe many superstitions arose with cats such as a witch may use a cat to augment her power and curses. This many experts believe contributed greatly to the Black Plague in medieval times. How do you ask? As sad as it is to mention but during this time of ignorance thousands of cats were killed for fear of witches. This great depletion of cats caused the Plague infested rat population to explode cause there was no predator to keep the population in check. Before this event however cats were kept as pets even on ships to hunt down mice and rats on board the sailing ships which held food.
Another myth about the cat is that a cat has nine lives obvious this isn't true but it varies many different cultures believed cats had many lives ranging from 6 to the well known 9. This is attributed to one main idea cats have what I like to call "Super Luck" they are able to escape extremely dangerous situations but that's just an idea. Here is the facts cats are extremely supple and lithe. They have extreme sense of hearing and sight especially in dim light since cats like to hunt in the dark. They also have a great balance which works automatically this is what causes the cat to land on it's feet and leads to the saying of "A cat always lands on it's feet" Don't go throwing your cats off your Balcony though you can seriously injure the little fella.
Back to Egypt many though cats first became domesticated there about 3,500 years ago however new excavations revealed domesticated mummified cats buried with humans in Cyprus. These graves dated FAR FAR back to almost 10,000 years ago! Wow now that is one old fat cat!
Well that's all for now I'd like to come back to cats someday there is so much to learn about these great creatures and I'd like to further discuss some of the cool things about them. For example did you know domesticated cats are considered the greatest hunters in the feline world this is because unlike tigers or lions domesticated cats hunt prey purely for sport since we humans provide them with food they have no need to compete over it.
Until next time your friend,
Posted by Alric Ravensinger at 3:18 PM
Labels: Creature feature
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I have had a variety of cats over my (many) years. One of my favorite domesticated cats was the Manx. Legend/Myth has it that it lost it tail climbing aboard Noah's Ark right as the door closed.ReplyDelete
As far as wild cats go, though, my all-time fave is the tiger in it many forms and variations. I especially love the White Bengal tiger and Siberian tiger.
Awesome post, Alric! +12ReplyDelete