The Great Goddess Hathor is the Mother, the Daughter, and the Wife of Ra. Like all the other Daughters of Ra, also Hathor is a manifestation of His Eye (the Right Eye), but, as it is said in this Sacred Hymn from Her Temple at Iunet testifying Her pre-eminence among all the Daughters of Ra, Hathor is the
“Female Horus-Ra, Venerable,
Female Sun, Queen of the Two Lands,
the Shining One Who illuminates the darkness,
the beloved Uraeus of “He Who shines like Gold”,
She Who shines with the Ba (the Soul) of Ra.
The Divine Youth (Ra) shone in the Lotus Flower at the time when He rose from the Primeval Waters of Nun, and an oozing fell from His eye, on His face, and then upon the sand, and a beautiful woman was born from it.
She Who shines like Gold, Her name is “Eye of Ra”,
among all His Daughters She is the One that Ra loves the most.
Iunet (Dendera) is Her in replacement of Iunu (Heliopolis);
the Creator begot Her in Heliopolis,
He gave to Her His own seat on Heaven,
He Who rules the entire cosmos from His Throne.
She is the One Who illuminates His eyes;
He (Ra, the Creator) doesn’t watch anyone before Her.
Queen of the Gods, Sovereign of manifold appearances,
She is Hathor the Great One, Lady of Iunet (Dendera),
Eye of Ra, Lady of Heaven,
Sovereign of all the Gods, She is the Mighty Maat,
She Who is in the House of the sistrum (Iunet, Dendera)”.
(Hymn to the Goddess Hathor from the Pronaos of Her Temple at Iunet, Dendera)
in fact all the Daughters of Ra like Sekhmet, Bastet, Tefnut, Mehyt, Uadjet, and Menhyt, are manifestations/forms/aspects of Hathor (as it is testified also by many myths, first of all the “Myth of the Heavenly Cow” also known as “the Myth of the Destruction of Mankind).
Hathor is also identified with the Udjat, the Left Eye, the Eye of Horus:
“I am Hathor Who brings Her Horus and Who proclaims Her Horus
(…) I am that Eye of Horus, the female messenger of the Sole Lord”
(from the Coffin Texts, spell 331)
“I am the Fiery Eye of Horus, Which went forth terrible,
Lady of Slaughter,
Who came into being in the Flame of the Sunshine,
to Whom Ra granted appearings in glory,
Whose children Ra-Atum made enduring.
What Ra said about Her:
‘Mighty is the fear of You,
Mighty is Your striking Power,
Great is Your Magic in the bodies of Your foes,
and the hostile ones have fallen on their faces because of You.
All human beings have been in the sleep of death because of You and through Your Power,
and those who shall see You shall be afraid of You in this vigorous form of Yours Which the Lord of the Enneads has given to You’,
so He spoke to me, so said the Lord of the Enneads of me.
I have become the Eye of Horus, and vice versa,
I am indeed She Who shoots, and vice versa,
I am She Who triumphs,
the Companion of Ra.”
(from the Coffin Texts, spell 316)
In Her aspect/manifestation of the “Great Celestial Cow”, the Goddess Hathor, the “Golden One”, is the mother of Ra and of the Sovereign (called and represented also as Her calf), connected with the creation of the cosmos, with the Netherworld and the afterlife.
Hathor-headed columns from the Hypostyle Hall of the Chapel of Hathor, “Temple of Millions of Years” of Queen Hatshepsut, West Uaset-Thebes; in the background, the entrance leading to the inner part of the Chapel.
one of the four-faced Hathoric capitals of the Kiosk located within the sacred enclosure of the Temple of Mandulis at Talmis (ca. 50km south of Aswan, now called “Kalabsa”), Lower Kush/Nubia; above, an Uraeus standing inside a shrine and wearing the Solar Crown
- HATHOR AS THE COW-GODDESS:
the Seven Hathors represented as the “Seven Celestial Cows”, together with the “Bull of Heaven”, and the “Four Rudders”;
scene from the CXLVIII spell of the “Book of Coming Forth by Day”, from the “House of Eternity” of Queen Nefertari, QV66, Valley of the Queens, West Diospolis Megale/Thebes.
On the wall at right, Queen Nefertari is represented standing in adoration, and the accompanying text states:
“Words spoken by the King’s Great Wife, Nefertari, Beloved of Mut, Whose word is right and true, before the Great God Osiris” (the “Bull of Heaven” is also the “Bull of the Netherworld”, identified with Osiris)
The names of the Seven Cows are:
(upper register, from right to left)
“Mansion of the Kau (the spirits), Queen of all”,
“Silent one, Who dwells in Her place”,
“She of Chemmis, Whom the God made noble”,
“Storm in the sky, which wafts the Gods aloft”.
(lower register, from right to left)
“Possessor of Life, the vari-coloured”,
“The Greatly Beloved, red of hair”,
and “She whose name has power in Her craft”.
The name of the Bull is: “The Bull, male of the heard, Who dwells in the red castle”.
Before the cows and also before the Bull is an offering table for the nourishment of the deceased
In the lower register are represented the four rudders, connected with the cardinal points:
(from right to left)
“Beautiful Rudder of the North Sky”,
“Beautiful Rudder of the East Sky, Guide of the Two Lands”, “Beautiful Rudder of the South Sky”
and “Beautiful Rudder of the West Sky”.
Queen Hatshepsut enthroned, and Hathor in Her form of sacred cow licking the Queen’s hand;
scene from the facade (outer wall, north side) of the Chapel of Hathor, “Temple of Millions of Years” of Queen Hatshepsut, West Uaset-Thebes
Queen Hatshepsut enthroned, and Hathor in Her form of sacred cow licking the Queen’s hand; behind Hathor is represented Anubis (holding the Uas-scepter of Power and Dominion);
scene from the facade (outer wall, west side) of the Chapel of Hathor, “Temple of Millions of Years” of Queen Hatshepsut, West Uaset-Thebes
Hathor in Her form of sacred cow (wearing the Solar Crown with the Uraeus and an Hathoric necklace), coming out from a shrine; below it, Uas-Djed-Ankh group signs standing on neb-baskets (meaning “all Dominion, Stability, and Life”);
scene from the north wall of the Chapel of Hathor, “Temple of Millions of Years” of Queen Hatshepsut, West Uaset-Thebes
scene from the wall of the eastern exterior colonnade of the “House of Birth” of the Temple of Isis at Philae, second register:
(from left to right) King Ptolemy XII Neos Dionysos kneeling on the symbol of the Union of the Two Lands (lotus and papyrus entwined);
the Seven Hathor-Goddesses playing the tambourines before Isis and Hathor, both enthroned.
Temple of Isis at Philae, scene from the entrance-gate of the west tower of the First Pylon leading to the “House of Birth”, interior, west side, third register:
(from left to right) the Seven Hathor-Goddesses playing the tambourines; and King Ptolemy VI Philometor kneeling on the symbol of the Union of the Two Lands (lotus and papyrus entwined) and offering wine to Harsiesi (Horus son of Isis) and Isis.
From Lepsius, “Denkmäler aus Ägypten und Äthiopien”, IV-26
Temple of Isis at Philae, entrance-gate of the west tower of the First Pylon leading to the “House of Birth”, interior, west side, detail of the third register:
the Seven Hathor-Goddesses playing the tambourines; and King Ptolemy VI Philometor kneeling on the symbol of the Union of the Two Lands (lotus and papyrus entwined) and offering wine to Harsiesi (Horus son of Isis) and Isis (not visible in the photo).
- HATHOR AND OTHER DEITIES:
the ceiling of the North Gate of the Sanctuary of Hathor at Iunet:
the Female Winged Solar Orb representing Hathor, flanked by the Two Uraei (above), and the Winged Scarab with the Solar Orb, representing Horus of Behdet
the first intercolumnar wall (south outer face) of the “House of Birth” of the Sanctuary of Hathor at Iunet:
-the King (the Emperor Traianus) making adorations and offering a clepsydra to Hathor suckling Ihy; behind Her, Ihy in His aspect of youthful God wearing the Double feathered Crown and holding the scepter and the flail;
at left and at right are represented the Two Goddesses as Uraei entwined around a papyrus (Uadjet, at left, wearing the Red Crown) and a lotus stem (Nekhbet, at right, wearing the White Crown).
-on the lintel is represented the Winged Solar Orb (Horus of Behdet) flanked by the Two Uraei; on the top of it, a row of Uraei wearing the Solar Crown;
- in the lower register, papyrus flowers and Rekhyt-birds (representing the Egyptians, that are the devotees of the Gods of Egypt)