Cats have been associated with female power for ages, so it is no wonder that cats are associated with Witches. The root of animal association hearkens back to our most primal spiritual selves as once our spirituality was Shamanic in nature. To live in the natural world one must honor all that walk in that world, be they two legged, four legged, winged, slithering, or standing still.
The association of Goddesses with the Cat is found in areas currently separated by great distance. Was that always so? I do not believe so. We have the familiar feline representation in Egypt in the forms of Bast (b-ah-st) and Sekhmet (shmt). Once though there was more lion headed Goddesses in Egypt.
Bast and Sekhmet as Goddess forms represent both the protective and destructive aspects of the feminine. Originally both of these Goddesses were represented by the Lionesses and were associated with war. Later as regions we combined Bast, also known as the Daughter of Ra, was tamed to represent more of the protective qualities, as many of the lion headed Goddesses merged into one of the two.
The power of a lion-headed Goddess, speaks to primal female power. Sekhmet was the oldest representation of Deity. The patron of physicians Sekhmet was known also as the "lady of life", the "lady of flame", the "lady of terror", "lady of pestilence", and "the red lady" maintained the original power of the role of the Eye of Ra.
Enter now the period of time known as the Cat Nights ~ Cat nights begin on August 17th and continue until September 16th. The fodder for the stories of the Cat Nights comes from many traditions and sources. Some beliefs are tied to the ability of the Witch (insert powerful woman) to transform, or shape shift into a cat at will, but could only do so nine times, before remaining in cat form for eternity. Hence the term a cat has nine lives.
Cat nights are also tied to pre-Christian harvest rites which had been celebrated since the fourth century CE. A Christianization of an earlier harvest festival and, in many parts of Europe, is known as the Feast of Our Lady of the Harvest.
Cat nights most importantly herald in a time, a short monthly period of time, in which we can work to transform ourselves. It heralds in a time of plenty that has followed a time of fallow (the Dog Days). Like the magickal ability to shape-shift into a cat, we all possess the ability to take a look at where we are in this harvest cycle of our own lives, and reassess, reaffirm, or redirect where we are going and what we want.
While we as living and breathing stars have the ability to alter our course at any time, and to shift more fully into our own beings, the Cat Days mark a period of time when there is more support.
Cat nights occur during the late summer period of time when cats become most vocal. Their singing crying us to sleep or more likely keeping us awake, as the case may be, all the while reminding us to look to our own power.
Kat has been trained and initiated into several Pagan traditions over the years, and is a Clergy level Priestess with over 50 years of study and practice in the magickal arts.