How did Hathor get too drunk to kill mankind?
One of the most popular goddesses in ancient Egypt was Hathor. She was regarded as the goddess of love, fertility, beauty, music, motherhood, and joy. In addition, she was associated with the cow, sun, and sky. Hathor was worshipped in various parts of the country, but most notably in Dendera.
One of the Eye of Ra’s manifestations is Hathor. As the protective and powerful entity of the sun god, she can unleash her wrath on enemies. But, she can also turn against humanity and destroy the world. The story of the destruction of mankind is one of the most popular and dramatic myths in Egyptian literature. It can be found in various sources, such as the Coffin Texts of the Middle Kingdom and the Book of The Heavenly Cow.
The Destruction of Mankind
Ra reigned as the king of the gods and ruler of Egypt. But, as he grew old and weak, his people became less respectful and rebellious, and they even tried to remove him. Upon learning about their plans, Ra consulted his eye and sent Hathor to destroy them, who he regarded as a goddess of beauty and love. Upon sending her, Hathor turned into Sekhmet, who was a fierce lioness that devoured humans and drank their blood as a symbol of destruction.
Although Ra tried to stop her, she was still unstoppable. She loved killing and would continue doing so until she had tasted the blood of the men who wronged her. Fearing that she would destroy humanity, Ra consulted with other deities. He devised a plan to trick her. His priests were asked to brew a large quantity of beer and then dye it red with pomegranate or ochre juice. He then filled the fields with the brew, which was about to be used against Sekhmet.
After her violent rampage, Sekhmet saw the red liquid pools. She was thirsty, so she consumed the pools. She then forgot about her mission and fell asleep while she was intoxicated. After she fell asleep, Sekhmet turned back into Hathor. She was then pacified and allowed to return to Ra’s side. Ra was grateful for her efforts in saving humankind from destruction.
The Meaning of the Myth
First, it explains why humans suffer and die in the world. According to the myth, humans were originally immortal and lived in harmony with Ra. But because of their rebellion and ingratitude, they incurred Ra’s wrath and lost his favor. They became mortal and subject to death by disease, violence, or old age.
Second, it shows how Ra withdrew from the world and ascended to the heavens. According to the myth, Ra was disappointed by humans’ behavior and decided to leave them behind. He rose from his earthly throne on a mound called Benben and climbed on the back of Nut, the sky goddess who took the form of a cow. He then traveled across the sky in his solar boat every day.
Third, it illustrates how Hathor played a dual role as a benevolent and malevolent goddess. According to the myth, Hathor could be both a loving and gentle goddess who brought joy and pleasure to humans, or a fierce and violent goddess who brought death and destruction to them. She could also switch between these roles depending on her mood or Ra’s will.
Fourth, it reveals how beer played a significant role in ancient Egyptian society. According to the myth, beer was not only a popular drink that quenched thirst and induced intoxication but also a sacred substance that could appease or deceive gods. Beer was also used in rituals and festivals that celebrated life or mourned death.
Fifth, it reflects how ancient Egyptians viewed their relationship with their gods. According to the myth, humans were dependent on their gods for protection and guidance but also feared their wrath and punishment. They had to obey their gods’ laws and commands but also had to appease their gods’ moods and whims. They had to worship their gods with reverence and devotion but also had to enjoy their gods’ gifts and blessings.