To the ancients, the white tree sap or liquid latex (mostly from Fig, Sycamore and Balsam) resembled mother’s milk, with its nourishing and life giving qualities, and its role in strengthening the immune system. This was apparently one of te reasons why the ancients regarded the WHITE MILKY substance as a Sacred or Divine substance.
There was a logical reason to associating Hathor with the milk-giving plants, as the goddess herself was a Milk and Life giver. To the Egyptians, Hathor represented the Babylonian goddess Ishtar, and the Nabatean goddess Al Uzza.
Hathor the cow-headed goddess was the revered protectress of womanhood; the lady of the Sycamore / Fig trees: the lady of turquoise: goddess of love, tombs, music and songs. It was Hathor’s milk that granted the Pharaohs their divinity, thus making gods in their own right. The Pharaohs were said to feed on Hathor’s milk just as the Babylonian kings had fed on the milk of Ishtar.
In tomb paintings, Hathor is often depicted as leaning down from the tree to pour wine and offer bread to souls in the afterlife. This offers an analogy with the Melchizedek communion. Very early on in history, Hathor was thought of as a goddess of healing powers. Her early identification with the tree and the white milky substance indicate that the white sap or latex was extensively used among the shepherds for medicinal purposes. A second possible reason for Hathor’s identification with our mystery substance lies in the fact that Hathor was worshiped as the Mistress of Drunkenness, the sycamore fruit and a variety of wild fig. Nourished by the copper mineral rich soil, these trees might have possessed intoxicating or consciousness altering effects.
As Mistress of Inebriety, Hathor had dominion over all altered states of consciousness, so it would be reasonable to link her with an intoxicating or narcotic sap or fruit. Unfortunately, the secret preparation method of the white sap to produce such psychotropic effects has been lost in time. As for the way in which the Egyptian Hathor cult initiates used the sycamore fig, the wild fig or the balsam plant as a hallucinogen or aphrodisiac, that will probably never be discovered.
Goddess mythology and cultic practices were passed back and forth between Edom, Midian, Sinai, and Egypt. Egyptian turquoise came from the Southeastern Sinai coast, from Temna near Aqaba, and from Wadi Fennan. If New Kingdom Egyptians imagined two great turquoise sycamores growing out of the Sinai sands, then they must have been talking about the Common Fig tree. This is because Sycamore is not native to the Sinai, unless seedlings had been transplanted to some frost-free oasis and carefully tended for years.
We don't know exactly when Hathor decided to take up residence among the copper mines, but it was certainly long before her worship had begun at the Egyptian temple, or in the Sinai at the temple of Serabit el-Khadim, where she was called the "Mistress of Turquoise".
Hathor was described both as the Great Wild Cow, and as the “vast heaven that holds the sun, the moon, and the stars.” These precepts must have been one of the shepherd kings’ abstract notions of divine power. Shepherds must have felt divine presence in the wilderness of the desert, spending their days stalking camels and goats, which grazed on the medicinal and narcotic plants in the area; the shepherds drank the alkoloidal rich milk and ate wild fruit. At nights, they gazed upon the stars, in front of fires created from the wood of the desert trees, and inhaled the fumes. These were the same shepherds who felt Hathor’s powerful presence each time they went into the wilderness, with their natural or milk-induced high. They were the same shepherds who felt Hathor’s wondrous presence each time a woman conceived and gave birth.
According to the shepherds, Hathor was an archaic mother-goddess, the heavenly mother of all the shepherd kings. The cult of Hathor seems to have sprung from the dawn of nomadic shepherd culture. It arose at the time of animal domestication, as humans contemplated death and rebirth, transformation, and alchemy.