Search This Blog

26 August 2015

we worship cats, the cats forced us to / Bastet and her Cartouche / predate like an Egyptian / the Song of the Cuckoo

Click to enlarge

It's more than possible that we may be embracing a new -- well, a very old -- religion.

But not because of any sudden revelation, like Saul/Paul had on the road to Damascus. Ours sort of snuck up on us over the last 15 years.

Cat worship.

We had 1 when we married, Elmer Elevator the Maine Coon kitten, a wedding gift we got ourselves. (And the only cat I ever paid money for.)

Now we got 6 cats.

(The most recent is just a temp, Yoda's owner claims she will take him back momentarily. We've had him for 2 or 3 years now. Watch This Space.)

The current lineup:

* Yoda
  looks like the Scottish Wildcat

* Benedict Spinoza Cat
  classic grey alley cat
  now 1-eyed, also called Seerauberbenny

* Stewart Wallace Darnley Cat
  chubby marmalade polydactyl
  (seen walking away, also called Mister Golf Pants)

* Mimi
  all-white ill-tempered shelter rescue

the rescued littermate kittens:

* William (the original Scaredy-Cat)

* Spike
  (geboren Daisy Mae, until vet found testicles) ... so we renamed him Spike, so he wouldn't grow up with gender ambiguity issues, like A Boy Named Sue.

I ain't saying we got no mice. But they are very few, and they are very nervous.

So this random unintended accumulation of housecats has inevitably pushed us toward Cat Worship. I'm sure there've been other Cat Religions besides Ancient Egypt, but the Egyptians really went super-freaky about cat worship and the mummification and ritual burial of tens of thousands of departed housecats. When I finally get to Egypt, the huge Cat Cemetery is big on my list.

For the Rationalists, who reject all purely spiritual and magical answers, there's a Big Reason the Egyptians worshipped their housecats. Cats are superspectacular predators of the vermin -- rats, mice -- who eat (and poop and pee in) grain. Cats protected the Egyptians' graineries, staved off famine (and, as a side bonus, rat-borne plague), and allowed Egyptian civilization to flourish for millennia.

The irrational Egyptians were just rational enough to understand this. So one of their Big Deities was Bastet, the Cat Goddess.

There are a gazillion Egyptian silver nouveau cartouche pendants for sale. But it took me more than a year to find an actual Bastet cartouche. Hieroglyphs are a phonetic system, so if you want a pendant that says Freddy or Billie-Jean or Bee-Bob-aloola, you can crank one out.

Somewhere buried in a movers box is my Budge, the standard reference to Egyptian hieroglyphs.

“Who the hell translated this? It’s completely wrong. They must have used Budge; I don’t know why they keep reprinting his books!” – Daniel Jackson, from movie “Stargate”

But this is the way Egypt depicted Bastet / Bast, and this is her authentic Cartouche. Budge shows you that, top glyph to bottom, the cartouche speaks: Bastet.

I've never been able to pin this down, but S.W.M,B.O. says The Code of Hammurabi forbids imprisoning cats in houses; cats must always be free to roam where they like. The Babylonians were hip to the central role cats played in civilization. (They also seem to have invented Beer, and sang an allegorical hymn to the Beer Goddess Ninkasi.)

I would like to take this opportunity to stick my middle finger in the face of the National Audubon Society, which for years has been urging the mass castration or felinicide of housecats, because housecats kill songbirds. 

Okay, guilty as charged.

But the damn things can fly, for god's sake, and if a winged creature is too dumb to avoid being killed by a non-flying housepet, well, it's a Darwin/Russell thing, the songbird was Too Dumb To Live and Breed. Darwin and Russell don't care how pretty it sings.

My fave songbird is the cuckoo, also I think mockingbird, which sings any song or sound which catches its fancy. I once searched for my ringing cell phone for 10 minutes before I looked up and saw a cuckoo on the phone line impersonating my ringtone. Another bird like that in New Zealand loves to sing the Song of the Gasoline Chain Saw which is  chopping down its environment and dooming it to extinction. It's already a rara avis.

Cuckoos are pretty safe, they save lots of energy by putting their eggs in some other bird's nest and letting Mrs. Not-Cuckoo feed and raise the hatchling cuckoo. I think UKers call it a shrike.

Aunt Nathalie, who finally got to see The Comet her siblings always told her came at her birth (1910), had a fancy Swiss cuckoo clock on a landing, and that crazy thing mesmerized me, I wanted to spend the rest of my life sitting and waiting for that crazy bird to pop out and sing. Hey Pat, in CH are there people with cuckoo-clock-related psychiatric disorders, is it a common Swiss thing?

From the first websites I've read regarding the Worship of Bastet, we will be required to feed Bastet constantly with her favorite tastes, warm her in bed on cold nights, and sacrifice our breakables for her to break. Bastet likes it when I step in Bastet's hairball puke in my bare feet. She likes the noise I make.

No comments: