Many people learn about ancient Egyptian cultures in school, and have a lifelong fascination as a result.
Popular culture seems to have a moment with ancient Egypt every few years, either with movies like The Mummy, games like Age of Mythology, or travelling museum exhibitions.
The Egyptians were an incredibly advanced society during times when technology was centuries from becoming available.
Their religious practices involve beautiful artwork and mythological stories.
It’s no surprise that, as a people, we’re inspired by them even to this day.
Tattoo artists seem naturally drawn to Egyptian figures.
It would only make sense given the bold lines and epic artwork associated with this culture hundreds of years ago.
Though Egypt’s government became more male dominated over time, female rulers and goddesses play an extremely important role in this culture’s history and identity.
In today’s female forward world, tattoos of female Egyptian rulers and goddesses are becoming symbols of feminine power.
One of the most important mythological figures in this complex belief system is Hathor, the goddess.
Who is the Egyptian Goddess Hathor?
As with many religious figures, Hathor evolved from one idea to another over time, eventually becoming a nuanced goddess with many possible interpretations.
Hathor began as a cow goddess with a cow’s head and a woman’s body.
This has caused some confusion or associations with another Egyptian goddess by the name of Bat.
This particular divine figure had a woman’s face, but with bovine features.
While at one point Bat and Hathor existed at once, eventually Hathor absorbed Bat’s qualities to become one deity.
Hathor will sometimes be depicted as having a cow’s head, and other times just horns or ears.
Sometimes she is not portrayed as human at all, and incarnates as a divine cow.
The milky way is said to be the belly of this celestial cow, also known as Nut- yet another cow goddess who is sometimes referenced interchangeably with Hathor.
Hathor has close associations with other entities besides Bat and Nut- one of them being Mehet-Weret, which translates to “great flood.”
Mehet-Weret is a sky goddess who is said to have given birth to the sun, an action she repeats daily to nourish the people on earth and their crops.
She is also credited with flooding the Nile river once a year, a much needed drink for plant life and people alike!
Because of this association with Mehet-Weret, Hathor is sometimes considered to be the daughter of the sun god Ra.
What Does the Goddess Hathor Represent?
Thanks to her associations with sun energy, cows & cow’s milk- Hathor is ultimately a maternal figure.
She is a symbol of fertility, femininity, and motherly nurturing.
In Greek mythology she is comparable to Aphrodite, the goddess of love and sexuality/sensuality.
Hathor is represented by the element of water, which is free flowing and life giving.
The water element symbolizes all things in the emotional realm, as well as birth.
She is a multi faceted goddess.
Her life giving and nurturing attributes benefit the people of earth but also the spirits of the dead.
She is thought to wait at the underworld and welcome the recently deceased with delicious food.
In short, Hathor is every woman.
She represents the beginning of life but also the end of it in equal loving measure.
She is a sexual goddess, a mother and a caregiver.
She is both the milky way and the Sun. She is also a patron of beauty and music.
What Does a Hathor Tattoo Mean?
You may get a Hathor tattoo if you want to honor your Egyptian heritage and/or the women in your life, such as a long term partner or mother.
You may also want a Hathor tattoo as a woman who gets things done while taking care of the people who matter most.
Perhaps you are a practicing Kemetic- a religious practice that has revived the ancient Egyptian belief system.
Maybe you just have a thing for cows!
Common Themes in Hathor Tattoos
Typically a Hathor tattoo will be done in a traditional Egyptian style, with reverence to her history.
Hathor is often depicted with large wings, though these are more commonly attributed to Isis.
Most signature to Hathor are her large horns with a sun disc between, signifying her connection to cows and the sun god Ra.
The Egyptians also believed that sycamore trees were Hathor’s body on earth- and would specifically make coffins out of this material so that souls would be more readily accepted by her in the underworld.
If you are looking to get a less literal Hathor tattoo, you may want to consider a sycamore tree.
Hathor is also represented by a lioness (sun energy) or a cobra (birth/death cycle.)
Hathor Tattoo Ideas
A Hathor tattoo is something you don’t see every day, so it can be a nice unique piece for Egyptian people, art scholars and history buffs alike.
Because she is ultimately the goddess of love, beauty and divine sexuality/motherhood- you will be able to find a version of Hathor in most traditions.
It may be worth exploring your own background to find out what goddesses are in your bloodline!
If you’re living (and dying) for a Hathor tattoo, check out our gallery for some inspiration.
For more Egypt inspired tattoos go to:
Hathor Tattoo FAQ
Hathor began as a cow goddess with a cow’s head and a woman’s body. Hathor will sometimes be depicted as having a cow’s head, and other times just horns or ears. Sometimes she is not portrayed as human at all, and incarnates as a divine cow. Hathor has close associations with other entities besides Bat and Nut- one of them being Mehet-Weret, which translates to “great flood.” Because of this association with Mehet-Weret, Hathor is sometimes considered to be the daughter of the sun god Ra.
You may get a Hathor tattoo if you want to honor your Egyptian heritage and/or the women in your life, such as a long term partner or mother. You may also want a Hathor tattoo as a woman who gets things done while taking care of the people who matter most.