Hathor was a goddess of joy, feminine love, and motherhood. She was worshiped by both royalty and the common people.
The goddess was known as the Mistress of the West, Mistress of Turquoise, and Mistress of Foreign Lands.
Although Hathor was sometimes presented as a woman with the head of a cow, more often she was as a beautiful, slender woman dressed in a headdress with a pair of cow's horns and with a sun disc between them.
In mythology, she had healing powers.
Temples dedicated to Hathor were all over Egypt. Nowadays, the most famous one is located in Dendra, which lies about 60 km (37 miles) north of Luxor. The first shrine of Hathor existed there from the Predynastic Period.
She was known as the mother of god and the daughter of god, the eye of god, the creatrix of the rays of the sun, the embodiment of the circular essence of life. She was the Lady of the Limit or the one who spreads to the edge of the universe and the Lady of the West who welcomed souls to the afterlife.
Hathor, along with the goddess Nut, was associated with the Milky Way during the third millennium B.C. when, during the fall and spring equinoxes, it aligned over and touched the earth where the sun rose and fell. The four legs of the celestial cow represented Nut or Hathor could, in one account, be seen as the pillars on which the sky was supported with the stars on their bellies constituting the Milky Way on which the solar ship of Ra, representing the sun, sailed.
The Milky Way was seen as a waterway in the heavens, sailed upon by both the sun deity and the moon, leading the ancient Egyptians to describe it as The Nile in the Sky.
A hymn to Hathor says:
Thou art the Mistress of Jubilation, the Queen of the Dance, the Mistress of Music, the Queen of the Harp Playing, the Lady of the Choral Dance, the Queen of Wreath Weaving, the Mistress of Inebriety Without End.
The worship of Hathor was so popular that more festivals were dedicated to her honor than any other Egyptian deity, and more children were named after this goddess than any other deity.