Hathor the Golden Calf


I took some liberties in this design. “Why all the boobies?” you may ask. Once upon a time, boobies were an object of respect, not shame and ridicule. My goddesses have big, bare breasts to represent that mindset. Not that I think boobies should be worshipped; I’m not into biological fertility, and I’m not a “breast (wo)man”. Having breasts myself, I can say they’re kind of a pain in the ass (nor am I an “ass (wo)man”). But there’s so much shame around female breasts these days, I make ’em big and plentiful on deities to remind myself, and hopefully you, that the shame, discomfort, and anger they provoke is about patriarchy, not women’s bodies.

Here’s Hathor as a golden idol:


My favorite interpretation of Exodus 32 posits the Golden Calf was Hathor, a very popular Egyptian cow goddess. I’m running with that in my film. Fun!


Author: Nina Paley

Animator. Director. Artist. Scapegoat.

8 thoughts on “Hathor the Golden Calf”

  1. It is an excellent character design, and quite in keeping with archaic religions of the time. Love that she shimmers!

  2. I love boobies, but for some reason, the animation of Hathor’s front legs looks kind of weird to me — maybe because there’s too little range of motion ?

  3. Why the double standard about male versus female sexual parts? Why are breasts pagan but in your other videos penises (phallic symbols) are monotheistic?

    It’s funny to want to use the Breasts as a pagan symbol of fertility, but in the other videos, a penis is used as a symbol of Moses. That seem unfair to me. Breasts, full bodied women, AND Penises were used as fertility symbols by ancient people. There’s lots of fun myths in ancient Egypt that revolve around Penises, Wombs, Breasts, and certain body floods. If anything Moses de-sexualized worship and a penis shaped Mt. Sinai is not something he’d be happy about. Using a phallic symbol to represent the ancient Israelites seems like a feminist or freudian criticism of the male dominated nature of monotheism. While that’s a creative and valid criticism, it also seems dishonest when we’re comparing Isrealite belief with pagan belief since the Israelites were so prudish they’d probably be just as upset by pagan (and un-snipped!) penises as much as they’d be upset by pagan boobies!

    TLDR: Why can’t Moses smash a Canaanite penis statue?

  4. It` s beautiful. Hindu goddess and apsaras have breasts open, if some neurotics don`t like it they should put their eyes onto glasses. Rounds and wave-movements is beautiful. In Chinese system of Fengshui it means posiive cosmic energy of growth, while sharp straight lines means energy of destruction and illnesses. That`s how huan rase was constructed.

  5. In 1979 a young Israeli scholar, Ze’ev ilan, of Tel Aviv University (a teacher there of Historical Geography, now dead), proposed in a scholarly Tel Aviv Journal (his article was published in Hebrew), that behind the Golden Calf at Mt. Sinai was the Egyptian cow-goddess, Hat-Hor, and Mt. Sinai was the general area of Jebel Serabit el Khadem (“Caverns of the Slaves” in Arabic). His research was presented to the general public via a TV program titled “In Search of the Ten Commandments.” This program was narrated by Leonard Nimoy (Doctor Spock of TV’s Star-Trek Fame). Today (22 July 2020) one can still access this TV Program via YOUTUBE on the internet. Dr. Ze’ev ilan claimed that the Egyptians called the area of Serabit el Khadem “the land of god,” and he noted that Mt. Sinai, in the Bible, was called Har El, “the mountain of God.” God in Hebrew is EL, and ilan noted inscriptions in mining caves at Serabit el Khadem invoked the aid of the god EL. He noted Hat-Hor was portrayed sometimes with a golden body. My research agrees with ilan’s proposal. I have noted that Hat-Hor’s devotees honored her with naked dance, drunkeness, and singing, all of which is said of Israel and the Golden Calf at Mt. Sinai. The King James version of the Bible mentions Israel dancing naked before the Golden Calf, as does the Douay Rheims Catholic Bible. For more info google “mattfeld, golden calf.”

  6. Nina Paley’s Hat-Hor Image is most remarkable for it shows her not in her more common form as Cow, with a cow’s udder, but, rather, as possessing a row of teats as seen on a lioness’ body, with wings, lion’s tail and paws rather than a cow’s hooves. Hathor does appear in art forms with a lioness’ body, with a row of teats, as possessed by lionesses, but this is not a commonly encountered form. In myths, Hat-Hor is associated with the fierce lion-goddess, Sekhmet, with a young woman’s body with a lioness head or face.

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