Hathor – The Lady of Drunkenness

Dendera - Egypt

Hathor is a goddess of many things within the ancient Egyptian story.

Known as “The Lady of the West” (the sun sets in the west), and so the ‘Protector of the Dead’ guiding departed souls.

Hathor Temple at Dendera egypt
The approach to the Hathor Temple in Dendera.

But also Hathor was a maternal figure and often portrayed as the Divine Mother of the reigning pharaoh.

Site guardian shading at the Temple of Hathor at Dendera at searing summer's day
Site guardian shading at the Hathor Temple at Dendera on a searing summer’s day.

Hathor was also the babe of music and dancing.

And of love and sensual pleasures.

pillars and painted reliefs of hathor temple in dendera egypt
In a sea of pillars. Note the single intact Hathor face (bottom-right). The rest had been defaced by early-Christians, as it later served as a church.

But to the everyday people, Hathor was known by a range of titles: “The Golden One”, “She of the Beautiful Hair” and as “The Lady of Drunkenness”, for the joyful swirl of intoxication was part of her worship.

pharaoh with pipe sculpture on outer water of Hathor temple in Egypt
Pass that opium pipe (?) Outer wall sculpture of the temple reminded me of Angkor Wat’s fine decorations.

Let me say now, it was a sober day.

Hellishly hot.

No beer in sight.

Light bulb at Temple of Hathor at Dendera egypt
Light bulb at Temple of Hathor at Dendera – Egypt: In the inner crypt walls—a real crawl down a gap into a passage to this tomb at the rear—shown by gate-keeper. The famous “lightbulb” carving. Did they have electricity, as many ‘Ancient Alien’ theorists claim?

The Hathor Temple at Dendera is gorgeous

Amazingly well-preserved.

Intact stone roofs, carved pillars, painted ceilings.


Intense. Overwhelming. In love.

pillars in temple in dendera egypt
Got dizzy looking up trying to photograph this awesome ceiling art.

The temple was built during the late-Ptolemaic period and completed during Roman-occupied times. 

Walking back in the countryside in the searing mid-day with an elderly villager (who was partially blind) on route to a road to hitch back to Qena mini-bus station for the return get to Luxor.

And, unlike many (older) Egyptian monuments, Hathor’s had close-to-zero reconstructive surgery.

So at around 2000 years old, the ‘Lady of Drunkenness‘ is still a beauty – a stunner, and something to treasure, forever.

Travels in Egypt – 2013

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