Figure 1. Hathor with
horns, solar disk and
Figure 2. Hathor with
plumes and vulture
Figure 3. Hathor in her
cow form as "lady of the
(also Het-Heru and Het-Hert)
Her cult center was at Dendera
and there she was worshipped as
a supreme goddess. Her devout
followers believed she created
everything, including all the other
gods. In a Hymn to Ra found
in the Papyrus of Nekht, it is
written "O thou beautiful being,
thou dost renew thyself in thy
season in the form of the Disk
within thy mother Hathor". This
is contrary to the later belief
that Ra was self-begotten.
More commonly she is said to be
the daughter and/or wife of Ra.
In The Gods of the Egyptians,
Budge writes the following:
"She was, in fact, the great mother
of the world, and the old, cosmic
Hathor was the personification of
the great power of nature which was
perpetually conceiving, and creating,
and bringing forth, and rearing, and
maintaining all things, both great and
small. She was the "mother of her
father, and the daughter of her
son," and heaven, earth and the
Underworld were under her rule,
and she was the mother of every
god and every goddess."
Volume I, page 431
Her most ancient form was that
of a cow. A flint found with her
symbols on it dates her worship
to predynastic times.
Hathor is most commonly depicted
as a woman with horns and the
solar disk upon her head, carrying
an ankh and sceptre. See figure 1.
Sometimes she is depicted as a
woman with a head-dress of
plumes and a vulture. See figure 2.
In her role as "lady of the Holy
Land" or the Underworld, she is
seen as a cow emerging from the
funeral mountain or standing on a
boat surrounded by very high
papyrus plants. See figure 3.
Less common representations
include that of a woman with the
head of a lioness and also of a
sphinx wearing a vulture head-
dress. As the cow of the Under-
world and the sphinx she wears the
Menat emblem which represents
pleasure and joy.
Her Egyptian name Het-Hert
translates to the House Above,
referring to part of the sky
or heaven. Another title, Het-
Heru, means House of Horus
and refers to the path across
the sky taken by the ancient sun
Hathor was worshipped throughout Egypt and was associated
with many other goddess. Because of her numerous forms
and manifestations she was at times worshipped as the Hathors.
According to Budge the Seven Hathors of Dendera were:
1.) Hathor ofThebes
2.) Hathor of Heliopolis
3.) Hathor of Aphroditopolis
4.) Hathor of the Sinaitic Peninsula
5.) Hathor of Momemphis (Ammu)
6.) Hathor of Herakleopolis
7.) Hathor of Keset
Other cities had their own unique group of 7 - 12 Hathors,
each being associated with a different city and/or goddess.
Hathor was a goddess of all that was good and beautiful about
women (i.e. the perfect wife, mother, daughter, etc.). She
was a goddess of art, music, dancing, wine, beer and patron
goddess of entertainers of all sorts. She was also a goddess
of love, later being identified with the Greek Aphrodite.
In the Underworld the deceased claims to have the eyes
of Hathor and that she provides him with food and drink and
also encourages him to fight the beast Apep.