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Pachet, Pehkhet, Phastet, and Pasht


Pakhet, Hatshepsut and Amun

Pakhet appeared during the Middle Kingdom during the time that Bast was considered less a lioness, and more a gentle domesticated cat. For some time, people confused her with Bast, before deciding she was a separate entity. As a result her character lay somewhere between the gentleness of Bast, and the ferocity of Sekhmet, leading to her strength being considered an inner rather than outer quality.

She not only was known as a domestic protector against vermin and venomous creatures, or fierce warrior, but a huntress, who wandered the desert alone at night looking for prey, gaining the title "Night Huntress" with "sharp eye and pointed claw". In all likelihood it is assumed that she was a combination of Bast and Sekhmet. As her cult was centered in Middle Egypt, between the faction areas of Bast and Sekhmet. Her attributes of ferocity and femininity further lends strength to this conclusion. Like Sekhmet, she was a lioness-headed woman and was seen as something of a ferocious goddess, for her name means ''the tearer'' or ''she who snatches''. Bast and Sekhmet were ancient deities in the two Egypts who were similar war deities, one for Upper Egypt and the other for Lower Egypt. The range of the two cults met at the border between north and south, near al Minya (now known as Beni Hasan), and here the similarity of the goddesses led to a new form arising in the merged cultures. One of her titles is ''Goddess at the Mouth of the Wadi'', related to those which hunted in the wadi, near water at the boundary of the desert.


Another title is "She Who Opens the Ways of the Stormy Rains", which probably relates to the flash floods in the narrow valley, that occur from storms in the area. Perhaps because of her association with wadis, we can view Pakhet as being another goddess who might be petitioned to ensure that the land became irrigated sufficiently during the Inundation. Her name 'tearer' suggests she might also have had similar attributes to Sekhmet, in that her energy could be harnessed as a weapon to direct against enemies or harmful spirits.

This association with Sekhmet is made clear in her temple where they share many of the same characteristics. Scenes depictions show Pakhet pledging her support for Hatshepsut with phrases such as; 'My fiery breath being as fire against thine enemies'. Another scene shows Hatshepsut giving offerings of incense and libations to the Goddess, here she is rewarded with 'I give thee all strength, all might, all lands and every hill country crushed beneath thy sandals like Ra'. Such depictions are typical of Sekhmet, which suggests that these goddesses were local manifestations of the same deity.


In art, she was depicted as a feline-headed woman, or as a feline, often killing snakes with her sharp claws. The exact nature of the feline varied between a desert wildcat, which was more like Bast, or a lioness, which was more like Sekhmet. Her huntress nature lead to the Greeks identifying her with Artemis, and consequently, her most famous temple, which was underground, became known as the "Cave of Artemis". This cavernous shrine was built by Hatshepsut, who was known and mummified cats have been found buried there.The overlook the river valley.


It is believed that there are 39 ancient tombs that date back from the Middle Kingdom of Egypt, which is believed to be between the 21st century and 19th century in the B.C. era.

The tombs were all created with a similar design, including a carved entrance and a large room. Inside the rooms you will see Egyptian décor as well as some burial shafts. Tombs in Beni Hassan have received much attention for the high quality of their paintings. Of these 39 tombs there are only 12 that have been decorated, since many of tombs were never finished.

The best-decorated tombs belong to the tombs of governors. Only four of the 39 tombs are actually accessible to the general public. These include the second tomb, which is for Amenemhet, a governor under Sesostris I; the third tomb, of Khnumhotep II, which features a graphic depiction of caravans; the fifteenth tomb, Baqet III, which graphically depicts wrestling techniques; and the seventeenth tomb, the son of Baqet of the 11th Dynasty. Having such close ties with Bast and Sekhmet it would make sense that Pakhet would also be associated with Hathor who is also a sun deity.





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