Hethert - HetHeru - Hathor Picture

This is the fifth in my series dedicated to modern interpretations of Netjeru, ancient Egyptian Deities.

This image is intended to represent Hathor, a very prominent and multifaceted Goddess. Her popularity and importance rivalled that of Isis/Aset with whom She has often been confused, associated, merged, etc. Hathor and Isis/Aset share a similar headdress composed of two curving cow's horns embracing a sun disc which often adds to the confusion. Hathor's long-lived cult can be traced from the Old Kingdom though the Greco-Roman period, in fact, some of the last hieroglyphic inscriptions written before the knowledge of the ancient Egyptian language was lost for centuries are located on a Ptolemaic temple of Hathor at Dendera.

Hathor was many things to the ancient Egyptians: a Goddess of the sky, Mother and Protectress of the pharaoh, a Patron of music and dance, the Lady of the West who provided nourishment to those after death, the Mistress of Foreign Lands, as well as a Deity of sexual love, joy, and general merriment. In Her manifestation as the Goddess Sekhmet/Sakhmet, She also possesses a wildly destructive streak. Although She also had associations with the snake and the lioness, Her main animal counterpart is the cow, and She has been depicted in various forms ranging from wholly bovine to wholly human with a headdress of cow's horns. Interestingly, She is one of the very few ancient Egyptian Deities to be regularly represented frontally rather than in profile - Her full face, human except for protruding cow's ears, surrounded by a thick wig with swirling ends, can be found on the capitals of columns as well as on mirrors and sistra, ceremonial rattles. Hathor, literally translated, even means "House of the Face" (the name of the God Horus is derived from the same linguistic root as the second portion of Hathor's name, which has also led Her name to be translated as "House of Horus").

When I began to contemplate a modern role for Hathor, I envisioned a fun-loving, cowgirl bartender. I see Her as sassy, flirtatious, and with a quick wit. Although She is interested in how Her appearance highlights her sensuality and femininity (as well as attracting customers), She has a sharp mind and tongue and is always willing to lend a sympathetic ear. I can even imagine Her speaking with a light twang. She is also willing to entertain with story or song in order to brighten the spirits of Her patrons.



Other images in this series:
Wesir/Usar/Osiris
Bast/Bastet
Re/Ra
Mertseger/Meretseger
Wepwawet/Upuat/Apuat

Media: watercolor, sumi-e ink, acrylic, Prismacolor colored pencils
Size: approximately 8.25" x 10.5"
Continue Reading: Sun