(Music: Derek and Brandon Fiechter – Bastet)
Bastet is the Egyptian goddess of the home, domesticity, women's secrets, cats, fertility, and childbirth.
She protected the home from evil spirits and disease, especially diseases associated with women and children.
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Indeed. Originally, Bastet and Sekhmet were one Goddess : Mafdet - "the Runner" in ancient Egyptian. Her cult dated back to Dynasty I era (c.3100 BC - c.2900 BC), and she was both a judging Diety, defender of houses and Temples, healer of both mind and body, as well as a shredder of evil forces. She was similar to Bastet in appearance, tho sometimes with a panther face instead of a cat's, but was also a warrior goddess and a provider of sickness and healing alike, like Sekhmet.
The full extent of her cult is unknown, but we do know that her healing aspect was put forward the most. Her cult was overthrown by Bastet's around the Dynasty VI era (2374 to 2140 BC). Basically, Bastet was mainly Mafdets friendlier aspect, as a patron Diety of mothers, children and households, a provider of joy, and sometimes as the Goddess of Love (Bastet is assimilated to Hathor, like Sekhmet).
And yes, many descriptions of Bastet say that Sekhmet is her ferocious part. The Lioness Goddess seems to have inherited all of Mafdet's less friendly aspects : a warrior-Goddess prone to frenzy, a sender of plague, disease and other miasmas.
It is said that she was unleashed by Amon-Ra upon Eart once to punish the Humans who had become lazy, insolent, jealous and impious. Problem is that Sekhmet took too much pleasure in inflicting pain and death to the feeble and puny Mortals. Taken by remorse upon the guilt of threatening the Humans with genocide and afraid that Sekhmet's rampage would soon extend to the egyptian pantheon, Ra prepared a special brew of beer tainted in red to imitate the blood Sekhmet so craved. Tired and drunk as a skunk, Sekhmet fell down to sleep and turned either into Hathor or Bastet.
The two Goddesses, Bastet and Sekhmet, are told to participate, either as separate individuals or togather as a panther, to the nightly struggle of Ra against Apep, the Snake of Chaos.