The Temple of Hathor in Dendra
Dendera (The ‘House of God Hathor wife of the God Horus) was the main place for the worshiping the God Hathor, who is the patroness of earthly love, the goddess of healing, and the great feminine source of all nourishment. Hathor also has her horrible aspects; in one ancient myth she is a raging lioness sent to punish mankind for its rebellion.
Dendera by ancient Egyptian is Iunet or Tantere, by Greeks known as Tentyris. Today, we know it as Dendera.
Dendera city is located about 60 kilometers north of Luxor on the west bank of the Nile River opposite the modern town of Qena.
Dendera Temple complex
Dendera Temple complex, located at isolated place at the edge of the desert about 2.5 km south-east of Dendera city, in south of Egypt. It is one of the best-preserved temple complexes in Egypt. The area was used as the sixth Nome (province) of Upper Egypt, south of Abydos, north of Luxor.
The whole complex covers some 40,000 square meters and is surrounded by a big mud brick wall. Dendera was a Holly site from the beginning of history of ancient Egypt. There is evidence that Pepi I (Old Kingdom) rebuilt the temple while other texts refer to Renewal by Thutmose III, Amenhotep III and Ramesses II and III (of the New Kingdom). Additions were made during the Greek, Roman and Ptolemy periods, but the oldest existing building in the compound today is the Mammisi constructed by Nectanebo II –the last of the native pharaohs (360-343 BC).
In her divine role as the goddess of the cycles of life and fertility, Hathor is most associated with the sistrum, a musical instrument similar to a rattle with her face carved on its handle. In ancient times the bells on each of the four bars of the sistrum were tuned to the specific vibration of one of the four elements of nature, and playing the sistrum symbolized both Hathor’s generative powers and her ability to keep the world in harmony and balance. Plutarch, the first century Greek writer and initiate into the mysteries tells us of the vibratory power that playing of the sistrum generates in the warding off of evil influences.
The sistrum also shows that existent things must be shaken up and never have cessation from impulse, but as it were be awakened up and agitated when they fall asleep and die away. For they say they turn aside and beat off Typhon (Set) with Sistra, signifying that when corruption binds nature fast and brings her to a stand, (then) generation frees her and raises her from death by means of motion”
As an essential part of the rites of Hathor, her priestesses and devotees would drink wine, sing, and play their sistrums. Moving sensuously to the compelling beat of her vital rhythms, these worshippers would surrender themselves and become lost in the all-consuming bliss of her divine presence as it flowed within them. As these alternating rhythms of the cosmic goddess swelled and abated they generated states of ecstatic frenzy within the priestesses and devotees which brought them into resonance with her universal cycles of nature, of birth, growth, death and regeneration.
|Another of Hathor’s primary symbolic implements is the menat necklace. Like the sistrum, it was used as a percussion instrument but also as a medium through which her divine power and energy was transmitted. Oftentimes she is depicted offering the menat to the pharaoh, through which she transmits her life-enhancing gifts of feminine power, grace and divine energy.
The hieroglyph of the menat necklace clearly demonstrates Hathor’s tantric aspect as this sacred energy is depicted pouring into and flowing between the representation of a phallic-like symbol representing the masculine and the crescent moon or chalice, symbol of the feminine.