Sundry hymns to Hathor!

To Hathor

Mistress of Denderah, Lady of Thebes,
Hathor of many names, my adoration I give to thee!
Bountiful Mother whose breasts suckled Gods and Kings
Wild Cow of the rushes whose dance excites all living things.
Thou art the fiery power of the Uraeus Crown
which spreads terror of the King through all the land.
And thou art the gentle rhythm of the sistrum
soothing frantic passions as it’s shook in the hand.
Beautiful to behold, with thy kohl-darkened eyes
skin of olive, and hair of blackened night.
“How sweet is the name of Hathor!” every lover exclaims,
“Without her to bring us together, life would be unbearable
like the wastes of the Red Land which receive no rain.”
Look kindly upon me Mother as I sing thee this song,
and drain many flagons of beer to thy honor, all night long.

To Hathor II

Hail to you Hathor, Golden Goddess who presides over
the good things in life, and whose fondest wish
is for us to experience joy in living. This is why
your festivals are such joyous occasions, O Hathor,
full of drunkeness, merry-making, song and dance.
For you have inspired the Harper to sing,
“Revel in pleasure while your life endures,
and deck your head with myrrh.
Be richly clad in white and perfumed linen;
like the Gods anointed be; and never weary grow
in eager quest of what your heart desires – do as it prompts you.”
And you delight in the dance, the dance which symbolizes
the movement of the Stars and Sun and Moon,
the progression of life on Earth,
as it undergoes its myriad transformations.
The growth from newborn infant into child,
from child into adult, from adult into old age,
and from old age into death.
Foolish men think that the dance stops there,
but it has truly only just begun,
for from death comes life, and from life death
in ever-repeating cycles.
This alternation or flux as Herakleitos would have it
is the same cyclic movement or cosmic rhythm
which propels and animates the world
from highest to lowest.
And at your festivals Hathor there is always
an air of excitement, of enchantment,
of fiery passion lurking beneath the surface.
Young men look with longing glances
at the beautiful girls performing their leaping dances:
husbands, who just the day before
could scarcely spare their wives a glance,
are all over them, taking them in their arms in heated embrace:
old women discover their cheeks flushed all of a sudden,
and their parts down there smoldering for the touch
of a strong, finely muscled workman:
mothers paint their eyes, don their best wigs,
wear suggestive clothing or none at all,
and rush out into the street, crying, “Take me! Take me!”
This is the work of the Goddess, who is the Mistress of Desire,
that force in the world which brings things together,
without which there could be no union.
All this you oversee Hathor,
known throughout Upper and Lower Egypt,
and even beyond the borders of the Black Land.
You are praised in song by the short, dark men
of Punt famed for its incense, as well as by
the blond-haired and blue eyed Libyans.
In the Phoenician tongue you are called
the Baalat Gebel or “Lady of Byblos,”
and the nomads of the Sinai hail you
as the “Mistress of Turquoise” and the
“Great Golden Cow who brings Deliverance.”
Your worship is known in every land,
and you have numerous names and uncountable titles,
O Lady ever dear to my heart.

To Hathor, Mistress of the Dance

I will dance for you Hathor,
even when my heart is heavy with sorrow
and my soul bruised by life’s afflictions.
I will dance all the more at times like these
for it is then that I need your beauty and joy the most!
Long ago the King of the Gods was inconsolable in his grief
– even Thoth with all his mighty words
could not find the right thing to say
to bring Rē out of the darkness.
But then you came in and smiled
and his spirits began to lift.
The motion of your delicate feet,
your hips agile as gazelles leaping on the mountainside,
your breasts swaying like the rushes caught in a breeze
cast a spell on him so that he could not look away.
When the last of your clothing fell to the golden floor
and you stood revealed in all of your radiant beauty,
his sorrow had long since been banished
and he could scarcely remember feeling anything other
than the pure joyousness that now gripped his great heart.
And so it is with us mortals whenever you are near,
and you are never nearer to men
than when we dance for you in celebration.
With every step I take I trample black despair;
my spinning and leaping about
makes it impossible for sadness to retain its hold,
and when I finally collapse,
exhausted and happy from the dance,
the sweat that covers my limbs and the heat of my flesh
are all the proof I need that purification has been wrought.
So I will never stop dancing for you Hathor,
no matter what’s going on in my life.

To Hathor, Queen of Gold

Hail to you Goddess of the golden face,
shining radiantly in the clear blue Sky,
O Mistress that loves the mountain top
and the harsh Red Lands far from the fertile river.
You are the lovely one who dances in the trees,
she who gives cool shade to those wandering in the West.
You are the Great Cow that suckles the infant King,
and the fierce lion that hunts the foes of Egypt
drinking their blood like the bowls of beer we set out for you.
When you come, O Hathor, may your heart be pacified
by the shaking of the sistrum,
and may your dance excite all who dwell in our noble city,
so that the streets are filled with joyous celebration
and no one is left without a partner to love.

To Hathor, Whom I have Known

Hathor, I have known you my whole life,
though only recently have I come to speak your name.
You were the shadowy one who stood in darkness whispering,
“Fear not, my child, when you’ve reached the end of your days,
for to me you’ll come, transformed into one of the brilliant stars
which burn in the night-time sky.”
And you were the warmth I felt as I lay in my lover’s arms,
our skin slick with sweat, the world made perfect through our union.
And you were the urge I felt to dance,
to rise up on my feet and twirl about,
carried high on the wings of song,
though I am clumsy, a creature of turgid Earth.
I felt you all about me as I’d go out on my nightly walks,
your slender frame manifest in the waifish tree trunk,
your laughter echoing in the rustling leaves.
And I knew you on those rare nights of drunkeness,
when beer had made my head dizzy,
and I dropped my guard and joked with my friends,
telling witty stupid stories that would never dare pass my sober lips.
I have known you always, and will never forget you.

4 thoughts on “Sundry hymns to Hathor!

  1. Thank you so very much for these, Sannion!

    Dua Hathor! Hail to the Mistress of the Turquoise Skies! All praise to my Lady in all Her splendor!

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