Jeffrey Mishlove – Thinking Allowed with Luisah Teish

This is an excerpt of a two-part, 60 minute DVD – The Carnival of Life.

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Bast – Part 3: The Cat

“…the ancient Egyptians did not distinguish between wild and tame cats in their descriptions of them. There was one word for cat-and that was miu or mii, meaning “he or she who mews”. – Ilene Springer

Felis silvestris lybica

“There is a cat known as the African wild cat (Felis silvestris libyca)-one of the closest wild relatives of the modern cat. It is larger than the average domesticated cat of today. The feline’s tawny, yellow-gray fur, long tapering tail and striped markings, affording it ideal camouflage among the rocks and sand of the desert. This cat is known as a predator-a hunter of small game-rather than a scavenger.” – Ilene Spencer


African Wildcat - Mara, Tanzania - Copyright © David Bygott

African Wildcat – Mara, Tanzania – Copyright © David Bygott

Felis silvestris lybica is the African wildcat. It is a subspecies that occurs across Northern Africa, extending along the periphery of the Arabian Peninsula and Caspian Sea.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Felidae
Genus: Felis
Species: F. silvestris
Subspecies: F. s. lybica
Trinomial Name: Felis silvestris lybica
Habitat: forrest, steppe, tropical
Prey: rodents, birds, reptiles, amphibians, mammals (occasionally)
Predators: red foxes, gray wolves, other cats, owls, hawks
Weight (Males): 4 to 5 kg (8.8 to 11 lbs)
Weight (Females): 2.7 to 4 kg (6 to 8.8 lbs)
Body Length: 500 to 750 mm
Tail Length: 210 to 350 mm
Breeding: September through March
Gestation: 56 to 68 days
Lifespan (Average): 15 years

“The fur colour of the African wildcat is light sandy grey, and sometimes with a pale yellow or reddish hue. The ears are reddish to grey, with long light yellow hairs around the pinna. Stripes around the face are dark ochre to black: two are running horizontally on the cheek, and four to six across the throat. A dark stripe is running along the back, the flanks are lighter, and the belly is whitish. Pale vertical stripes on the sides often dissolve into spots. Two dark rings are on the forelegs, and hind legs are striped. The feet are dark brown to black.” – “African Wildcat”


African wildcats are solitary and nocturnal. They communicate by squeaking, hissing, and purring. Having well-developed senses of smell and hearing, African wildcats can respond to frequencies up to 25,000 vibrations per second.

Domesticated cats are believed to have descended from African wildcats.


“African wild cats (F.s. libyca) are difficult to distinguish from domestic cats. Their fur is lighter and less dense than European wild cats, and their tails are thin and tapering.” – Tanya Dewey

“Followers of the goddess Bast, the goddess of pleasure, created sanctuaries with bronze statues of cats and mummified hundreds of thousands of cats.” – Tanya Dewey


Hunting of the African wildcat is prohibited in Algeria, Israel, Mauritania, Morocco, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria and Tunisia with regulated hunting permitted in Angola, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Senegal, Somalia, Tanzania and Togo.

Felis chaus

“The other cat native to Egypt is the swamp or jungle cat-(Felis chaus), but it is the wild cat which is believed to have been the cat to “domesticate the Egyptians”.” – Ilene Springer


Felis chaus at the Pont-Scorff Zoo, Brittany, France by Abujoy

Felis chaus at the Pont-Scorff Zoo, Brittany, France by Abujoy

Felis chaus nilotica is a subspecies of the jungle cat that inhabits Kemet.

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Family: Felidae
Genus: Felis
Species: F. chaus
Subspecies: F. c. nilotica
Trinomial Name: Felis chaus nilotica
Habitat: savannas, tropical dry forests, reed beds
Body Length: 50 to 94 cm (20 to 37 in.)
Tail Length: 20 to 31 cm (7.9 to 12.2 in.)
Height: 36 cm (14 in.)
Weight: 3 to 16 kg (6.6 to 35.3 lbs.)
Median Weight: 8 kg (18 lbs.)
Paw prints: 5 x 6 cm
Pace: 29 to 32 cm (11 to 13 in.)

Felis chaus (jungle cat) is native to Asia (southern China in the east through southeast and Central Asia to the Nile Valley on the west). This medium-sized cat is the largest living Felis species.

The jungle cat resembles a small lynx and is alternatively known as the jungle lynx, swamp lynx and reed cat.


“The face is relatively slender. Fur colour varies with subspecies, yellowish-grey to reddish-brown or tawny-grey, and is ticked with black. Vertical bars are visible on the fur of kittens, which disappear in adult cats, although a few markings may be retained on the limbs or tail. The muzzle is white, and the underside is paler in colour than the rest of the body.” – “Jungle cat”

“Although never truly domesticated, a small number of jungle cats have been found among the cat mummies of Ancient Egypt (the vast majority of which are domestic cats), suggesting that they may have been used to help control rodent populations.” – “Jungle cat”


In physique, the jungle cat resembles a Serval (a medium-sized African wildcat that is widely distributed south of the Sahara).


“Felis chaus, the Jungle cat seems to have been bred of its ancestor African wild cat in ancient Egypt for the purpose of hunting wild fowl – afterwards it was mummified and entombed there.” – “Jungle Cat”


Images
  1. African Wildcat – Mara, Tanzania – Copyright © David Bygott
  2. Felis chaus at the Pont-Scorff Zoo, Brittany, France by Abujoy

References

  1. African Wildcat, Felis silvestris, lybica group, IUCN – The World Conservation Union. [Accessed: 2 August 2014]
  2. Dewey, Tanya. Felis silvestris wildcat, Animal Diversity Web. [Accessed: 2 August 2014]
  3. Felis silvestris lybica: African Wildcat, Encyclopedia of Life. [Accessed: 2 August 2014]
  4. Jungle Cat, Of Cats: Resource of everything feline, 2 December 2007. [Accessed: 2 August 2014]
  5. Springer, Ilene. The Cat in Ancient Egypt, Tour Egypt, 1 April 2001. [Accessed: 2 August 2014]
  6. Wikipedia contributors. African wildcat, Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 31 July 2014. [Accessed: 2 August 2014]
  7. Wikipedia contributors. Felis chaus nilotica, Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 30 June 2013. [Accessed: 2 August 2014]
  8. Wikipedia contributors. Jungle cat, Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 22 June 2014. [Accessed: 2 August 2014]
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Bast – Part 2: Epithets

The following are epithets I use for Bast. When I first started working with Bast, I had a long list of epithets. Having gone through the list, I realize that there were a lot that I never even used. The ones listed below are the only ones that remain on my list.

Daughter of Tem
Tem is another name for Atum (sometimes rendered Atem).

Daughter of the Sun
During the Old Kingdom, Bast was considered to be the daughter of Atum (the “complete one”). He was associated with Ra (Atum-Ra), a sun Netjer connected with the morning and midday sun. Atum was connected with the evening sun.

Destroyer of Isfet
Isfet is chaos

Devourer, Devouring Lady, The Tearer

Eye of Ra
This is also an epithet for Het-Heru, Mut, Nut, Sekhmet, Tefnut and Wadjet

Hidden Lady of Per-Bast
Per-Bast (House of Bast) refers to Bubastis (Greek), Her major cult center.

Lady of Ankh-tawy
At Saqqara in Men-nefer (Memphis, means “enduring and beautiful”), Bast was given the title “Lady of Ankh-tawy”. Ankh-tawy means “Life of the Two Lands”. Men-nefer was located between Upper and Lower Kemet.

Lady of Ointments
Bast is associated with the bas-jar. These were heavy and valuable jars in Kemet that were used to store perfumes, ointments and oils.

Lady of the East
Bast was a Netjert of Lower Kemet, which was in Northern Kemet. Lower Kemet was located East of the Nile River.

Netjert of Perfume and Oils
See Lady of Ointments.

Netjert of the Rising Sun
Title earned through Her nightly battles with Apep. Bast represents Ma’at (order). Defeating Apep (Isfet – chaos), She restores Ma’at to the world.

Perfumed Protector
See Lady of Ointments.

Ruler of Sekhet-neter
In the New Kingdom, there was a cult center of Bast in Karnak, at the Precinct of Mut. In Karnak, She was called “ruler of sekhet-neter” which means “Divine Field” (Kemet).

Other Epithets
These are epithets I’ve come across through various sites and books regarding Bast. I, personally, do not use these epithets for Bast.

Ba en Aset (Soul of Aset)
This epithet came about through the Greeks associating Bast with Artemis. Artemis had a twin brother, Apollo. To keep the connection between Bast and Artemis, they linked Apollo with Heru (Heru-sa-Aset = Heru son of Aset). With this connection, they made Bast and Heru twins. (FYI: Aset/Auset is Isis, Heru is Horus)

Lady of Asheru
Asheru is the 19th century translation of Isheru (Lady of Isheru), which was a sacred, “crescent-shaped lake” where lioness-headed Netjerts were appeased. This epithet can be used for any lioness-headed Netjert: Mut (Isheru in Karnak), Wadjet (Isheru near Men-nefer), Sekhmet (Isheru in Men-nefer), Bast (Isheru in Per-Bast).

References

  1. Hatshepsut, Meritites. Bast – The Eternal Purr, Ancient Worlds, 2 April 2008. [Accessed: 2 August 2014]
  2. Hill, Jenny. Ancient Egyptian Gods: Bast, Ancient Egypt Online, 2010. [Accessed: 3 August 2014]
  3. Hill, Jenny. Ancient Egyptian Gods: Ra, Ancient Egypt Online, 2010. [Accessed: 22 October 2014]
  4. Memphis, ancient city and capital of Egypt near Cairo, Tour Egypt, 1996-2013. [Accessed: 22 October 2014]
  5. Wikipedia contributors. Atum, Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 16 October 2014. [Accessed: 22 October 2014]
  6. Wikipedia contributors. Memphis, Egypt, Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 21 September 2014. [Accessed: 22 October 2014]
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Fragrant Aroma

I just got home about 10 minutes ago and there is this aroma in my spiritual room. It smells so good. It’s like a cinnamon-vanilla smell, not overpowering. I can’t figure out where it’s coming from. This morning I burned Sandalwood incense in my spiritual room. I do this every morning. But this is not from the incense, otherwise I would smell it everyday. Another thing is it’s confined to my spiritual room. I can’t smell it in my bedroom, which is right next to it.

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Abosom

Coming across “Abasoms” in the Encyclopedia of Ancient Deities by Charles Russell Coulter and Patricia Turner, one of the first things that stood out was “evil spirits”. Every time I come across something related to Africa being labeled as “evil” I do more research. Unfortunately, I kept coming across the same information.


“To drive the Abonsam from the village or home and to cleanse the area it was necessary to have four weeks of silence. During this period, it was hoped that the evil spirits would be frightened away. This was followed by a night of creating noise; thunderous sounds by rattling pots, beating sticks together and screaming loudly.”


According to the Encyclopedia of Ancient Deities, Abosom is “Probably the same as Abonsam“. Abasoms/Abonsam are spirits in Guinea. The only information I’ve been able to find on Abasoms/Abonsam is the same as found above.

The information in this post will be in regard to information I was able to find on Abosom. The Abosom are spirits in Ghana. The Ashanti/Asante are the largest of the Akan people (34 subgroups) of Ghana and Ivory Coast. In the traditional religion of the Ashanti, Abosom (spirits, plural – ọbosom, singular) assist humans on earth.


“The term Abosom (ah-boh’-som) is an Akan term for Deities, Goddesses and Gods, the Divine Spirit-forces in Creation. The Abosom are the children of Nyamewaa-Nyame – The Mother-Father Supreme Being. The term Abosom can be traced directly back to the Ancestral Akan language of Khanit and Kamit (ancient Nubia and Egypt).” – The Origin of the Term Abosom in Kamit


The original information I came across had the Abosom listed as house, water and tree spirits that were believed to be malevolent. According to Joseph S. Kaminski, “Abosom are believed to abide in other natural objects including trees, plants, rocks, mountains, hills, caves, rocks, brooks, wells, and so on”.

According to Kwasi Bempong, there were divisions of Abosom.

  1. Atano (water)
  2. Ewim (sky)
  3. Abo (earth)

Atano Abosom are spiritual entities that originate from water. These were the “children” of Tano (son of Onyame and Asase Ya (“Old Woman Earth”) and brother of Bia). Ta Kora/Taa Kora, another name for Tano, is the highest of the Akan spirits on earth. He is embodied in the Tano/Tanoe River in Ghana.


“The Supreme Being created lesser powers (abosom; singular ọbossom) to help humans with their lives. Tano, the river spirit, for example, is an ọbossom. Tano is neither a god nor equal to the Supreme Being. Tano is a lesser spirit created by the Supreme Being. After the Supreme Being created everything, he retired to allow decisions to be made by the living.” – Joseph S. Kaminski


Ewim Abosom and Abo Abosom manifest as abrafo. Abrafro is a military term that means “warrior or executioner”.

“The Abrafo are the executioners of the Company, and their emblem is a knife, like an ordinary kitchen knife, with which they attacked their victims. Their duty in battle is to behead those of the enemy killed on the field, who are not removed by their comrades.” – 20,000 Names from Around the World


The Ewim and Abo Abosom “were [in fact] those who saw the laws (mmara) were carried out.”

“Punishment and death were meted out by the abrafo-abosom, while the older group of abosom, the Atano, were deliverers of blessings.”


Another “group” of Abosom I came across are the Akradin Abosom. These are Akan spirits who govern the solar, lunar and planetary bodies.

“The Abosom are the Asunsum, the Spirits, operating through the many Suns, Moons, Stars, Planetary bodies, Oceans, Rivers, Mountains, Wind, Fire and the Black Substance of Space comprising Abode (ah-baw-deh’) or Creation. They are the Divine “Organs” regulating Order within the Great Divine “Body” of Nyamewaa-Nyame just as your organs (smaller bodies) regulate order within the greater body-you. The Akradinbosom are a particular grouping of Abosom identified by Their unique functions within the greater company of Abosom.” – Akradinbosom


As for the Abosom being listed through various sources as evil or malevolent spirits, I came across the following information, both of which are from Asante Ntahera Trumpets in Ghana: Culture, Tradition and Sound Barrage by Joseph S. Kaminski.

“The Asante also make offering to abosom to court their goodwill and to pacify them, for instance the abosom are ambivalent, though, they may manifest as either good or bad. The Asante venerate Tano (the river spirit), for example, by pouring libations and reciting prayers and surrogate speeches to it.”

“The deities are held either to be good and evil or to have powers of good and evil. Thus, unlike Onyame (God), they are not wholly good and hence they are considered in Akan theology and cosmology to have independent existence of some sort; they operate independently of God and in accordance with their own desires and intentions.”


References:
  1. Abasoms, Afro Mythos. [Accessed: 16 October 2014]
  2. Abonsam, Myth Beasts. [Accessed: 16 October 2014]
  3. Abonsam, Mythical Archive. [Accessed: 16 October 2014]
  4. Akhan, Odwirafo Kwesi Ra Nehem Ptah. Akradinbosom, Odwirafo.com, 2012. [Accessed: 16 October 2014].
  5. Akhan, Odwirafo Kwesi Ra Nehem Ptah. The Origin of the Term Abosom in Kamit, Odwirafo.com, 2012. [Accessed: 16 October 2014]
  6. Bempong, Kwasi. An African Theology: [Onyame], [abosom], and [ak]mfo]] in the Akan Belief System, Assata Shakur Forums. [Accessed: 16 October 2014]
  7. Coulter, Charles Russell and Patricia Turner. Encyclopedia of Ancient Deities, McFarland & Company, Inc., North Carolina, 2000, pp. 6, 7, 72, 453.
  8. Kaminski, Joseph S. Asante Ntahera Trumpets in Ghana: Culture, Tradition, and Sound Barrage, Ashgate Publishing Company, 2012, p. 68.
  9. Meaning of the baby name ABRAFO, 20,000 Names from Around the World, 20000-names.com. [Accessed: 16 October 2014]
  10. Wikipedia contributors. Akan religion, Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 19 June 2014. [Accessed: 16 October 2014]
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