For nearly four millennia, cats fascinate men. Wherever they lived they were revered or feared (sometimes simultaneously). Their enigmatic gaze, their silent movement, their long incomprehensible behavior (sometimes it still is!) has aroused ambivalent feelings in men and led to many superstitions.
Life is good for a 21st century cat: he lives with the times, happily takes advantage of all that human progress has brought him: automatic cat doors, high-end food in abundance, radiator hammocks, litters that change on their own… But despite this comfort, we must not forget where he comes from and what his very distant ancestors may have known: cult or superstition, good fortune or vicissitude, adulation or persecution…
Cats: protectors and lucky charms
They started to be revered by Egyptians in the guise of two deities, one solar, Ra, and the other lunar, Bastet, around 1500 BC. They were first associated with Ra, the sun godno doubt because of their talents as hunters: in the cult, they are represented raising large knives against snakes, thus symbolizing the fight of the day which rises against the night.
The myth of nine lives
The Egyptians associate the entry of the deceased into the realm of the dead to the underground journey of Ra during the night: the representations of cats on graves therefore multiply, and they are considered as companions of the journey of the dead to the afterlife. In the temple of Ra, in Heliopolis, sacred cats are raised.
The Egyptians attributed to cats a form of immortality because of their ability to survive heavy falls. As they believed in reincarnation, they were convinced that they could reincarnate in human form at the end of their nine lives. It is to them that we owe the origin of the superstition that cats have nine lives.
The feline goddess Bastet
Bastet, the sacred cat, one of Ra’s daughters, is a beneficial and friendly goddess and thanks to it, they are considered as holders of the power of promote happy births and protect the family. The fecundity of females and their maternal behavior are undoubtedly at the origin of this cult. Bastet, first depicted as a lioness, takes on a feline appearance from around 1500 BC. Cats are kept in her Bubasteion temple in Saqqara, and their behavior is carefully observed and interpreted by the priests who read signs sent by the goddess there.
They are also synonyms of magic and enchantments in the middle Ages. In Silesia, girls who caress a small feline are guaranteed to marry a handsome man. However, if they step on his tail, they won’t find a husband!
The cat, a real lucky charm in France
In the Cévennes, the arrival of a cat in a home brings prosperity and happiness, but you have to treat it well. To hold him back, they smear his feet with butter and walk him around the chimney three times. They had already understood everything in the Middle Ages!
In Provence, we think thatthey bring joy to all who love them : the matagot, a black cat, attracts good fortune under the roof of those who welcome it. Who would dare to say otherwise today?
In Aix-en-Provence, on the day of the Blessed Sacrament, the most beautiful cat in the canton, swaddled like a baby doll, is placed in a sort of crib and the peasants come to bow before him offering him flowers and sweets. … cool !
In Dauphiné, during the harvest, we also swaddle a twink with ribbons, flowers and ears of corn ; placed in the shade, it protects the peasants from injury. Its presence is good for crops, as it brings vitality to plants.
Nine lives and tufts of hair
In China, they are likened to an agricultural deity: Li-Shou, a white cat with a black tail and a black spot on his forehead, the “seal of the star” that brings happiness. In some Chinese provinces, people hang a tuft of cat hair above the door of a newborn’s room for eleven days: this talisman is supposed to bring happiness to the baby (I hope the Chinese were expecting that we lick ourselves to recover the hairs…)
According to a Hindu legend, it is the god Shiva who would have given them nine lives. Cool, Shiva! The story goes that Shiva meets a cat in a temple, a great mathematician, claiming to be able to count to infinity… Shiva asks him to reveal this talent to him: the tomcat therefore begins to count, but at the number seven , he begins to yawn and drifts off to sleep after only counting to nine. Shiva then meditates and tells himself that this thoughtless, nameless and formless sleep is the prelude to infinity… He then decrees that the cat will have nine livesand that at their end, he will then access supreme bliss…
The cat and the symbolism of death
Do you remember Bastet? Bastet is a double deity: gentle and cruel, she is as attractive as she is dangerous. And this is where things go wrong for the Egyptian ancestors of felines: considered as intercessors with the afterlife, thousands of cats are buried in underground galleries in the city of Saqqa-rah and around the temple of Bubasteion so that they carry the message of their human to the goddess.
A harbinger of death
They only appear very late in Greco-Roman mythologies, because they are first unknown in the Mediterranean basin. It was not until the 4th century BC that they discovered them. There, as in Egypt, they are associated with funereal deities. In the countryside, it is believed that the death of a cat is a bad omen for its humans and a Tuscan belief is that Death, when called upon, appears in the guise of a cat…
The Cat Sìth among the Celts
In Celtic mythology, the Cat Sìth is a large black cat. He would be a witch holding the power to transform into a cat, then become a woman again, and this, eight times. The ninth, if she transforms again, she will remain a cat forever. The Scots believed that the Cat Sìth could take the soul of a dead person before the gods claimed it, by passing over his body before burial. They therefore watched the body night and day before its burial to ward off the Cat Sìth.
Distractions were arranged near the body to prevent the magic cat from approaching it. There was no fire in the fireplace, for the Cat Sìth was attracted to heat. On the other hand, during the feast of Samhain (the ancestor of Halloween), the Cat Sìth had the reputation of blessing all the houses which had a saucer of milk in front of their door. The other houses would be cursed and their cows would not give milk for the whole year.
Cats, servants of the Devil
Very early on, the Church condemned cats, associated with paganism, and it was from the Carolingian era that they began to be perceived with more suspicion. They become objects of suspicion with the development of heresies.
In a bull of 1233, Pope Gregory IX declared them “servants of the Devil”, just that. He also states that heretics worship the Devil in the form of a black cat. That’s when it started to get seriously scary for the little all-black felines.
From then on, the Church attacks witchcraft and associates them with witches, who are reputed to transform themselves into cats for the Sabbath.
In witchcraft trials appears the belief that the wizard, in the form of a cat, kills men and especially children by suffocation. It is attributed with supernatural powers, and in black cats, only a white spot on the chest or neck (the mark of the angel or the finger of God) prevents them from being zigzagged.
In 1484, Innocent VIII ordered that a cat seen in the company of a woman be considered her “familiar” (a special witchcraft “helper” of sorts) used to prove her guilt and be burned with her. Bad weather for cats.
Today the spirit is in the chat
Humans who work on energies (energetics, mediums, mages…) evoke their ability to eliminate negative waves from people and homes. Negative energies would be made up of waves emitted by bad humans or places that have experienced drama. They would absorb them for rebalance their living space and return them to nature by evolving outside in a natural defense mechanism.
According to people who practice spiritualism, they have the gift of perceiving spirits. When they catch a ghost, their attitude changes: frozen, they observe a specific point in the room for a long time, or circle around a place while meowing. They then pursue the entity in order to understand its intentions: if they deem it dangerous, they then protect their humans by dragging the evil force away. They kick him out of the house by shifting his energy field.
Adopt the totem cat
Shamanism is a practice based on mediation between human beings and spirits. The shaman intercedes with the spirits. The shaman has a keen awareness of nature and maintains a close connection with animals. They were not known to the peoples practicing shamanism in Siberia, Central Asia, Mongolia, North America or even Australia… The traditional animal totems are therefore animals such as the bear, the wolf, the fox , the eagle or the deer.
According to shamanic tradition, humans cannot choose their totem animal, it is he who comes to them. However, it is possible, by trying to come into contact with a totem animal, that it comes to you. By being relaxed and relaxed, the human explores his unconscious and lets his totem animal come to him. He would then appear in the form of a vision. When the cat is a totem animal, it symbolizes different states.
Humans with them as totem animals would exhibit a great desire for freedom, as they hate the idea of being tied down. These humans strive for flexibility, like him, known to be able to get him out of the worst situations.
These humans must also seek curiosity in their lives. Since they have nine lives, they take more risks. These humans must move forward and push their limits. All in all, having the cat as your totem animal involves injecting a bit of adventure and excitement into your life and seeing where that leads…
We would like to say thanks to the writer of this post for this remarkable material
All those myths, legends and superstitions surrounding the cat
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