(The following is a response to a previous online conversation, dealing with Aleister Crowley’s choice of “Ahathoor” as a noontime god name to be chanted in his set of solar adorations known as “Liber Resh Vel Helios”.)
The first thing to remember when researching Egyptian mythology is that there is not one single “mythology”, but a vast number of myths and legends concerning the different Gods/Goddesses that have morphed and changed over time. Simply put, whoever comprised the ruling class of Ancient Egypt at the time dictated the mythologies in question, and the Dynasties, over a 3000 year period, shifted and swirled about as often as the desert sands.
For example, in the XIIIth Dynasty, one of the chief Gods of the Pantheon was Sobek or Sebek, the Crocodile God, seen as a Solar deity and as a direct representative of the might of the Pharaoh. A thousand years later, however, Sobek was relegated to being little more than an accomplice of Set, and in some stories the guy who carried Osiris’ body down the Nile after it had been dismembered.
In my studies, it does not appear as if Hathor was ever actually considered to be the Eye of Ra. On the contrary, Hathor was seen, at least in some myths, as Ra’s consort, and sometimes as Ra’s daughter. In many cases, she was the one who kept Ra happy/content as well as relatively “in-check”. Some say she was the other half of Ra’s power in a literal sense, but we will touch upon that later.
The one story I have read concerning her connection with the Eye of Ra was when Ra wished to punish mankind, and sent his Eye out to combine with Hathor, changing her into the slathering Lion-Headed fury, Sekhmet. Sekhmet, of course, almost destroyed all of mankind until she was tricked into drinking beer that was dyed red with pomegranate juice to look like blood. She drank all of it, got too drunk and passed out, and Ra was able to withdraw his eye from her once again, changing her back into the usually peaceful and in many cases, sexually-motivated Hathor.
Hathor began as a sky Goddess, and became associated with, at first, the serpent/cobra (according to Allison Roberts, in her book, Hathor Rising, the uraeus serpent was associated with Hathor in some of the earlier dynasties), and later as a Cow Goddess. She was rather Venusian and sexual, and known for showing off her genitals to Ra whenever he got too glum.
Since you are obviously on a Thelemically-oriented kick these days, allow me to throw out a few more tidbits:
Hathor comes from two different titles of the Goddess: Het-Hert and Het-Heru.
First, it should be mentioned that Horus is quite an old God, and in many cases was not seen as the child of Osiris until relatively late in Egyptian History. Horus and Ra became intertwined as the years passed by, so that the “Eye of Ra” is also known as the “Eye of Horus”. The “Elder” Horus was usually referred to, by this point in time, as “Ra-Horakhty”, or, as Crowley phrased it, “Ra-Hoor-Khuit”.
Het-Hert translates to “The House Above”.
Het-Heru translates to “The House of Horus”.
Note that, in most depictions of Hathor, the mighty sun disk is nestled/cradled betwixt the horns upon her head. Horus/Ra is the might of the Sun, and Hathor is the house in which he resides, i.e. the sky.
Compare this to the Venusian Babalon, from Bab-Al, “Gate of God”, and her Solar consort, the Lion-Serpent Beast 666 (666 being the Kamea of the Sun).
Compare also to Nuit, the Lady of Infinite Space (expansion), and her consort, the winged disk (the point of contraction), Hadit.
© Anthony Teth, 2015