STORY BEHIND THE PIECE
Although in time she came to be considered the ultimate personification of kindness and love, she was initially literally a blood-thirsty deity unleashed on mankind by Ra in the form of the lioness goddess Sekhmet, to punish humans for their sins. However, Sekhmet went too far in her destruction leading Ra to regret his decision. He devised a plan to stop her blood lust and ordered Tenenet, the Egyptian goddess of beer, to brew a particularly strong batch and then had the beer dyed red and delivered to Dendera. Sekhmet, became drunk, fell asleep, and woke up as Hathor the benevolent. Humanity was spared destruction and their former tormentor became their greatest benefactress.Following her transformation, Hathor bestowed only beautiful and uplifting gifts on the children of the earth and assumed such high status that all the later goddesses of Egypt can be considered forms of Hathor. She was the primordial Mother Goddess, ruler of the sky, the sun, the moon, agriculture, fertility, the east, the west, moisture and childbirth. Further, she was associated with joy, music, love, motherhood, dance, drunkenness and, above all, gratitude.
The five gifts of Hathor
A part of the initiation into her cult appears to have been a ritual known as The Five Gifts of Hathor in which a communicant would be asked to name the five things they were most grateful for while looking at the fingers of their left hand. Thus, one was constantly reminded of the good things in one’s life and this kept from the `gateway sin’ of ingratitude from which, it was thought, all other sins followed.