From around the third millennium BCE Bast (also referred to as Baast, Ubasti and Baset) originated as a protector Goddess of Lower Egypt (the delta of the Nile River), where she was seen as the defender of the ruling pharaoh, and consequently Ra, the Solar deity. This gained her the titles of "Lady of the Flame" and "Eye of Ra", thus symbolising the fertilising force of the Sun's rays. By 930 BCE, the power of Bast was acknowledged by all Egyptians.
Bast's role diminished over time however as, after the unification of upper and lower Egypt, Sekhmet, a similar Lioness war deity, became more dominant. In the first millennium BCE, as domesticated cats were becoming more and more popular as pets, Bast began to be represented as a woman with the head of a cat. In some images, she was depicted as a cat carrying the Sun. By the Middle Kingdom, the domesticated cat had appeared as her sacred animal, and later during the New Kingdom, Bast was depicted as a woman with the head of a cat or a lioness, carrying a sacred rattle and a box or basket.