Bast great cat goddess has dominion over sex fertility marriage magic music childbirth prosperity joy dance and healing - in short the pleasures of life. She protects humans against infertility dangers of childbirth evil spirits illness and bodily injuries especially those caused by venomous creatures. A tomb inscription says Bastet bestows "life prosperity and health every day and long life and beautiful old age." Bastet offers special protection to women and children and serves as matron of magicians and healers. Her cult began in the Nile Delta swamps.
Her annual festival in Bubastis was Egypt's most popular. A precursor of modern Mardi Gras it was renowned for parties revelry and drunkenness. Herodotus the Greek traveler and historian writing in the fifth century BCE claimed that more wine was consumed in Egypt during this festival than during the entire rest of the year. Although many details are lost Bastet's festival celebrated female sexuality and generative power. Boats sailed up the Nile toward Bubastis. As each barge approached towns and settlements it would halt and the mainly female celebrants on board would loudly hail local women congregating on the riverbanks. They would shout sexual obscenities to each other dance wildly and perform the ritual act of lifting up the skirts to expose the vulva associated with laughter healing and defiance of grief.
The name Bast means '(female) devourer'. In later times Bast became the goddess of protection and blessing and was the protectress of women children and domestic cats.