Bastet was worshipped in Egypt from the Second Dynastic period, appearing as a cat-headed female, hence the large feline hieroglyph represented here. She was closely linked to the lion-headed goddess Sekhmet, the two frequently misidentified. Eventually Bastet and Sekhmet were identified as the same goddess, with each figure representing different aspects of her divine personality. Sekhmet was the ferocious, lion-headed goddess of warfare and protector. Bastet was the gentler feline, goddess of children, pregnancy, fertility and the arts. As a cat goddess, Bastet was known as the daughter of Ra and Isis and a patron of lower Egypt. She was associated with the Eye of Ra, a separate entity of Ra’s power, female in nature and thus associated with certain female goddesses. The sun-disk on this scarab would reiterate Bastet’s connection with Ra, and call upon the god’s power and protection also.
To find out more about Ancient Egyptian amulets please see our relevant blog post: Egyptian Amulets and their Meanings.