Rite of Bastet


Bastet, the ancient Egyptian goddess of music, is perfectly at home performing this ritual dance. I wanted the background to look like a nighttime celebration, with the flames coming from something like a village bonfire. If this piece had a soundtrack, I imagine it would be intense and jubilant drumming.

Goddesses Gonna Slay It

Goddesses Gonna Slay It

The Egyptian goddesses Neith, Bastet, and Sekhmet are gonna slay it together!

That could be meant literally as well as figuratively. In Egyptian mythology, each of these goddesses could be portrayed as warriors and huntresses (although Bastet is perhaps better known as a patron of music and dance), so it would make sense for them to be BFFs (best friends forever). Maybe they could be hunting or fighting buddies.



The Egyptian goddesses Sekhmet and Bastet (left and right respectively) are having a little spar together. Don’t worry, it’s the friendly kind.

Obviously I hatched the idea after watching a clip from The Mummy Returns, which has the two leading Egyptian ladies prize-fighting for the Pharaoh’s entertainment. It’s historically inaccurate and racially miscast to atrocious degrees, but at least it was a fun concept. It’s also why Bastet is wielding sai even though those come from Japan.

Normally Sekhmet is the one portrayed in red clothing, with one of her epithets being “Lady in Red”. But here I wanted to reference the two goddesses coming from different parts of Egypt. Bastet was associated with Lower Egypt (in the north, downriver) whereas Sekhmet represented Upper Egypt (in the south, upriver). Therefore Bastet gets red clothing in reference to Lower Egypt’s red crown, whereas Sekhmet has a white/blue palette in allusion to Upper Egypt’s white crown. That’s also why the goddesses in my portrayal have different skin colors, with Sekhmet having darker skin since Upper Egypt is immediately downriver of the Sudan and Lower Egypt is adjacent to the Mediterranean basin.