Hathor: the Egyptian goddess of joy and music

In ancient Egypt, Hathor was one of the most popular goddesses. Revered for her attributes of love, beauty and motherhood, she was also associated with music and dance. In this article, we'll explore the history and myths surrounding Hathor, as well as her importance in Egyptian life and culture.

Hathor, goddess of love and beauty

Hathor was the Egyptian goddess of love, beauty, maternity and fertility. She was considered the mother of all gods and of pharaohs. She was represented as a cow or as a woman with cow horns framing a sun disk. Her symbols include the lotus, the sistrum (a musical instrument) and a milking cow.

Myths involving the goddess Hathor are numerous. The most famous is the story of the goddess who is sent by Ra to punish human beings for their lack of respect towards him. However, Hathor realizes that their punishment is not fair. So she decides to help them by offering beer that looks like blood. When Ra sees this, he believes his children have been killed and abandons his wish to punish them.

Hathor and joy

Hathor was also associated with joy. She was the goddess of festivities and celebrations of life. Numerous festivals were dedicated to her, including the Valley of the Kings, where priests wore masks representing Hathor during the funeral procession. She was also depicted in joyous scenes, such as courtship dances or banquets.

In the afterlife, Hathor was of particular importance. She symbolized the passage from life to death, helping the souls of the deceased to cross the "country of the west" in peace. Tombs were often decorated with scenes showing the goddess waiting for the occupants of the tomb, welcoming them into her domain of eternal joy.

Hathor and music

Music played an important role in everyday life and in the rituals of ancient Egypt. Hathor was considered a goddess of music and dance, and was the patroness of musicians and singers. Her representation in mythology, as goddess of fertility, was closely linked to the idea that music could promote fertility in women.

Musical instruments such as harps, flutes and drums were often depicted alongside Hathor in paintings and sculptures. Priests celebrated her by playing music and singing during festivals and ceremonies. The sistrum, a musical instrument used in ancient Egyptian religious rituals, was considered one of her most important symbols.


In sum, Hathor was an important figure in Egyptian mythology. Her main function was that of motherhood and love, but she was also associated with joy and music. The festivals of the goddess were among the liveliest of the year in ancient Egypt, and her symbols and musical representations have endured to this day. Hathor was more than just a goddess; she was the personification of beauty, love, joy and music, all of which have been key elements of human life for millennia.