Image made with A Moonlit Night scrap kit by Tizzy's Angel.
Celestial Cat, The Devourer
Among the less enduring habits of cats (to humans) is the way in which they maim and destroy birds and mice. The bird, which spends its days in sunlit skies, is a symbol of the life of the soaring spirit. A mosaic found in the ruins of Pompeii, depicts a bright-eyed cat pouncing on a bird, powerfully expressing this dark aspect of the cat, seen as a feminine destroyer of male spirituality.
Because of this old belief, many humans have seen Black Cats as evil through the years and often, the Celestial Black cat is the Devourer.
In life the cat and the snake fight each other. Although the images of the cat and the serpent sometimes overlap in mythology, they more often stand in opposition. When the setting sun took the form of the fiery asp, then it was the cat who incarnated darkness, chaos and death. The cosmic cat in its dark, demonic aspect was the devourer of all that had form.
Devourers of the magnitude of the of the celestial cat that swallowed the sun, are always hermaphroditic. They have not got as far as sorting themselves into male and female. Since the sun, with its penetrating rays, is essentially a symbol of the masculine principle, it was the passive, engulfing aspect of the cat that was emphasized in this context. She emerged as a symbol of the darker aspect of femininity.
The black cat took its place among the great devouring goddesses that are to be found in most mythologies. She joined the ranks of those female deities who played cat and mouse with the handsome young fertility gods of the spring: loving, castrating and finally slaying them. Although the sun goddess, Freya, whose chariot was drawn by a lively pair of cats, primarily represented fruitfulness, she also led the Valkyries to the battlefields, claiming from Odin her right to choose men destined to be devoured by death. As a death goddess, she was known in Germany as Hel, and she represented there the destructiveness of the winter months.
As a vehicle of the German goddess, Hel, or of the Greek Goddess, Hecate, the black cat was considered by many people to be an omen of death. There appears to be no end to the stories told of black phantom cats that have been seen by dying people and/or their relatives when death is imminent. Germans believed that if a black cat jumped onto the bed of someone who was ill, it foretold his approaching death. In Normandy it was believed that if a black cat crossed your path in moonlight, you would probably die from an epidemic within the year, while the Chinese thought a black cat was an omen of sickness and poverty.
The Celestial cat calls the moon for Bastet, as she is most beloved of that deity and leads her people to the hunt. In Egypt, cats were seen as demi-gods as they kept the mice away from the grain stores. That would seem pretty beneficial.
While mice are usually portrayed as demonic, mice also often represent the soul. In Teutonic folklore, they were considered to be souls of the dead. The mouse was sacred to the Greek sun god, Apollo, whose priests kept white mice. The mice had their holes under Apollo's altar and were daily fed as a religious rite. In mythology, when the cat is black and evil, the mice are usually white and numious; when the cat is white and a symbol of spirituality, then the mice appear as black and demonic.
Myself, I am pleased to be Celestial Cat, the huntress. I stalk under the hunting moon, my sleek black furs aglow, looking for the demonic little white mice that eat too much grain!
(Adopted from material at Pawprints and Purrs, Inc.)