When Beer Saved Humanity

The ancient Egyptian goddess, Hathor, was the primeval mother of all gods, including Ra, the sun god. She was often depicted as a cow and was eventually revered as the ultimate symbol of love and compassion, but she didn’t start off that way.

Originally, she was the blood-thirsty lioness Sekhmet, who Ra, sent to punish humanity for their sins and teach them a lesson, much as God did with the great floods of Noah’s time. 

Sekhmet the Lioness

But being the lioness that she was, she got a bit carried away, unleashing an unprecedented reign of terror on mankind, destroying everything and everyone in her path – homes, people, farmland, everything.

Hathor the Cow

Ra was pretty pleased with the situation at first, but the other gods pleaded with him to stop Sekhmet from destroying all of humanity. After all, with everyone dead, who would worship them?

He came to regret siccing the lioness on the people and so devised a plan to stop her. He god the god of beer, Tenenet, to whip up an extra strong brew, which he then dyes red, and delivers to the town of Dendera.


When Sekhmet, already frenzied with blood-lust, sees the red beer, she drinks it down thinking it’s more blood. She gets very drunk and passes out for a long time.

When she awakes, she has transformed into Hathor, the benevolent goddess, who would eventually come to be associated with, among other things, love, motherhood, agriculture, the sky, the moon, music, dance, and of course, drunkenness. 

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