​Hat-Hor, Mistress of Song and Dance

Walter R. Mattfeld

Revisions through 10 October 2021

In the King James Version of the Bible Israel dances before the Golden Calf in a state of nakedness, with loud song:

Exodus 32:25 KJV
"And when Moses saw that the people were naked; (for Aaron had made them naked unto their shame among their enemies)..."

Below, a portion of a painted leather hanging or banner, from the Hathor ( Hat-Hor) shrine at Deir el Bahri, Egypt. A naked male (note his swinging penis and testicles) dances to an Egyptian female musician's harp. She is seated in a vine arbor with clusters of grapes (associated with the making of wine, and with drunkeness). Dancing, singing, and drunkeness were aspects of the cult of Hathor. Beer and Wine were consumed in Hathor's honor (models of grapes were votive items for Hathor shrines). Females in other votive scenes are shown dancing, sometimes fully clothed, sometimes partially nude. Jerome's Latin Vulgate Bible states that Israel danced "naked" before the Golden Calf. As the Vulgate was written in the 4th century A.D., and as Egyptians still honored Hathor and other Egyptian bovine gods as late as this century, perhaps Jerome knew of nude dancing in Egyptian cults and added this to his Vulgate edition? (cf. Plate 54. Geraldine Pinch. Votive Offerings to Hathor. Oxford. Griffith Institute Ashmolean Museum. 1993)
Below, partially-clad (with exposed naked breasts) dancing girls are performing an erotic dance (celebrating the coming forth at dawn of the sun-god Re and Hathor), accompanied by fully garbed ladies clapping their hands to maintain the dancing beat and rhythm. Such dancing was done before Hathor, as well as Pharaoh, nobles and ladies of the court, as ritual and as entertainment. (cf. fig. 38. p. 30. Alison Roberts. Hathor Rising, the Power of the Goddess in Ancient Egypt. Rochester, Vermont. Inner Traditions International. 1997)
Below, a fully garbed dancing girl celebrates "the Coming Forth of Hathor" at a Sed Festival honoring Pharaoh Amenhotep III (ca. 1386-1349 BCE). The dancing bull-calf is symbolic of Pharaoh, who, according to the Old Kingdom Pyramid Texts, is born of Heaven as a Golden Calf (Hathor was the cow-sky-goddess who gave birth to the Sun as the Golden Calf). (cf. fig. 35. p. 28. Alison Roberts. Hathor Rising, the Power of the Goddess in Ancient Egypt. Rochester, Vermont. Inner Traditions International. 1997)
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