People interacted with their deities most completely at festivals where women regularly played important roles such as the two virgins who would perform at the festivals of Osiris.Priests maintained the temples and cared for the statue of the god, and the people visited the temple to ask for help on various matters, repay debts, give thanks, and seek counsel on problems, decisions, and dream interpretation.Historians Bob Brier and Hoyt Hobbs note how women were equal to men in almost every area except for jobs: "Men fought, ran the government, and managed the farm; women cooked, sewed, and managed the house" (89).Men held positions of authority such as king, governor, general, and a man was considered the head of the household but, within that patriarchy, women exercised considerable power and independence.A cult in ancient Egypt would be the equivalent of a sect in modern religion.
In some versions of this tale, however, it is the goddess Neith who brings creation and, even where Atum is the central character, the primordial waters are personified as Nu and Naunet, a balance of the male and female principles in harmony which combine for the creative act.
Following the creation and beginning of time, women continue to play a pivotal role as evidenced in the equally popular story of Osiris and Isis.
This brother and sister couple were said to have ruled the world (that being Egypt) after its creation and to have taught human beings the precepts of civilization, the art of agriculture, the proper worship of the gods.
Even the passage of the year was viewed as feminine as personified by Renpet who notched her palm branch to mark the passage of time.
The goddess Bastet, one of the most popular in all of Egypt, was a protector of women, of the home, and of women's secrets.