Bast (or Bastet, or Phasht) was the Egyptian goddess who appeared in cat form. The Egyptians highly revered cats; the word for cat, mau, also denoted light and was cognate with the word for mother. The cat is a lunar animal and also a solar animal representing the power of the sun as reflected in nature. Since the cat is an earth animal, Bast is also an earth mother goddess, a giver of life and abundance. In touch with her wild, instinctual nature, she also is a protector of women during childbirth. Like a cat, she is fiercely independent and belongs to no one but herself. Bast is one of the more joyful goddesses; her elaborate festivals in the town of Babustis were renowned for their joyful dancing. Embodying a cat's gentler aspects, Bast is a personification of life and fruitfulness. The quintessential life-affirming mother, she reminds us to be playful and relaxed like a cat and to find occasions to celebrate life.