The name Sekhmet literally means “the powerful one.” Shown with the body of a woman and the head of a lioness, she was the bloodthirsty daughter of Ra, the Egyptian sun-god. The disc on her head symbolizes the sun. As goddess of war, she was a destroyer, but she was often invoked as the protector of the pharaoh and thus as a healer. Hundreds of images of Sekhmet are known. Many were commissioned by Amenhotep III (reigned 1411-1375 BCE) for the temple of the goddess Mut in southern Karnak. He also installed sculptures of Sekhmet at Thebes. The four sculptures at Hearst Castle, carved from diorite (dark granite), date from the New Kingdom of Egypt (c. 1550-1070 BCE) and are the oldest works of art at Hearst Castle. Hearst bought them from different sources; at least one was in his collection in New York before being sent to San Simeon. On his recommendation, Julia Morgan combined them to create this impressive grouping on the esplanade of the Enchanted Hill.
Egyptian. Head on the left, 18th Dynasty (c. 1550-c.1295 BCE); three others, 19th Dynasty (1292-1189 BCE).
Few historical places on earth perpetually spur such a strong sense of mystery and interest as ancient Egypt. Though millennia have passed since the days of the pharaohs, mythological figures whose presence adorn myriad walls, monoliths, and scriptures, continue to inspire those who find meaning in what they represent. Among them is the powerful lioness goddess Sekhmet, perhaps the ultimate mythological representation of female power.
Sekhmet, also spelled Sachmet, Sekhet, Sakhet or Sakhmet, was one of the oldest gods and goddesses in the ancient Egyptian pantheon who went by many names and titles, appearing often in her characteristic red dress. She is often associated with the goddesses Hathor and Bastet and is depicted with the Uraeus, associating her with the Wadjet.
Above her upright head, as if postured for battle, is the celestial solar disk, and in her hand, grounded steadfast in the earth is the ankh, the Egyptian symbol of life. When standing or striding, she often holds the papyrus specter symbolizing Lower Egypt.
Scholars note that her scepter is one of the most significant representations of the goddess. And, because Sekhmet has the head of a lioness,some have surmised that her likeness may have been inherited from Sudan, Egypt’s neighbor to the south, where lions roamed in great prides.
The Myth of Sekhmet: Solar Deity, Daughter of the Sun God Ra
According to Sekhmet’s story in Egyptian mythology, the sun godRa grew angry at mankind’s lawlessness. He decided to enact a punishment by sending an aspect of his daughter, the Eye of Ra, to earth in the form of a lioness. She became Sekhmet, and her rampage turned the fields red with human blood. But, as myth would have it, Ra was not a cruel deity, and he ordered Sekhmet to stop the destruction. Yet, she would not obey.
Knowing that Sekhmet’s desire was fueled by blood, the sun god decided to show her what she wanted to see. He resorted to pouring 7,000 jugs of beer and pomegranate juice (which stained the beer blood-red) in her path. She gorged on this ersatz blood and became so drunk that she slept for three days. Upon awakening, Sekhmet’s blood lust had waned, and humanity was saved. Regardless, it was Sekhmet’s tenacity and power as one of the fiercest hunters that would never be forgotten.
An Enduring Symbol of Female Empowerment
Sekhmet, whose name may be translated as “she who is powerful,” naturally inspires female empowerment because she bears the immense and ubiquitous heat of the sun, which is the most powerful entity known to humankind.
From her awesome status, she had garnered the name Nesert, meaning flame. Although also associated with healing and medicine, above all Sekhmet was the destroyer of the enemies of the sun god Ra.
Sekhmet, the goddess of the flame and warrior goddess of Upper Egypt, was an elite protector of the pharaohs during the war. Her fierceness and otherworldly powers were the focus of ancient celebrations and sacrifices meant to appease her and avoid her terrible wrath.
While Sekhmet was known as one of the more terrifying Egyptian deities to her enemies, those in her graces would benefit from her power to avert plague and cure disease. On the other hand, as the “Lady of Pestilence,” she could cast plagues against those who angered her. Ironically, this lady of terrorwas also known as the “lady of life.”
Hieroglyphic carving of Sekhmet
Her name can be found in the famous Egyptian Book of the Dead as both a creative and destructive force — but above all, she remains the protector ofMaat (balance or justice), having been referred to as “The One Who Loves Ma’at and Who Detests Evil.”
Karen Tate, the author of Goddess Calling, wrote, “I believe Sekhmet teaches courage, strength, and integrity. Those who fear Sekhmet fear their own power. For women she is particularly important because she teaches us to empower ourselves, to know our strength, and to never let another take our power away… She allows us to grow and find the inner drive and determination to see things through. She is that energy deep down inside that can be called up when we must stand up and be counted, to speak out, or to make things happen. She teaches us to say no.”
Of all the female empowerment quotes, one of the most outstanding comes fromSyma Kharal, owner of the Flourishing Goddess School. Kharal teaches that Sekhmet “is that part of you that will not tolerate you playing small or dimming your light to let others shine. She is the fire of your unbridled rage, required to release and transform what holds you back. She is the part of you that will take a ferocious stand against every way that you have compromised yourself.”
TheSekhmet Sisterhood was started as a non-profit organization devoted to empowering women. Founder Michelle Shapiro uses Sekhmet as an acronym for sisterhood, empowering knowledge, harnessing mentorship, and evolving together.
Shapiro’s daughter Milliesaid, “Sisterhood to me means a group of empowered women who help and support one another to achieve their dreams and not only do they help and support each other, they are happy for each other when these dreams are achieved. Having a sisterhood makes you feel empowered and less alone, they bring you up with them and they want everyone to succeed, and be happy.”
Archaeological Finds of Sekhmet, Warrior Goddess
Curators atThe State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia, explained that in the second millennium BCE, the capital of ancient Egypt was relocated southward from Memphis to Thebes. At that time, Sekhmet came to be identified with the local goddess Mut. The Theban Triad of Gods included Amun-Ra; his wife Sekhmet-Mut and their son; and the god of the moon, Khonsa, who lived in Thebes’ Karnak Temple.
A statue of this goddess of war was discovered among the ruins by the Russian traveler and writer Abraham Norov (1795-1869), at the Temple of Sekhmet-Mut. It was originally adorned with hundreds of two-meter-high depictions of her.
More than a hundred years later, northwest of the temple and across the fertile Nile, another great site was found, further revealing the majesty of Sekhmet. Since 1998,archaeologists on the west bank of the Nile, near the ancient city of Luxor, have recovered 287 statues of Sekhmet, which stand as testimony to her importance in ancient Egyptian life and religion. The black granite statues were discovered at the funerary temple of Amenhotep III, the ninth Pharaoh from the ancient nation’s 18th Dynasty.
Modern-Day Sekhmet Temple Honors the Goddess
Thousands of years after her reign, Sekhmet has traveled across the deserts of time, from ancient Egypt to the desert of Cactus Springs, Nevada. Here, feminist and teacher Genevieve Vaughn erected the modern-day Sekhmet Temple in 1993.
The temple is small and open to the elements, with four large arches open onto the four directions. Inside,said Vaughn, there is a sense of spaciousness and protection. “Gifts of fresh flowers, feathers, crystals, incense, poems and pictures of loved ones from the visitors, pilgrims, and activists are placed at the feet of the goddesses.”
Vaughn said she feels blessed to offer the temple as a gift to Sekhmet. “One story about her is that she was outraged at the evil of men and wanted to destroy them but was tricked into submission by drinking a gift of beer which had been colored to look like blood. This is a particularly appropriate warning for us now because we allow ourselves to be drugged into giving up the political and economic power that we could use to stop the destruction of the Earth.
It is good to have the temple near the [nuclear] Test Site, to take a stand against the nuclear radiation that can damage our genes and destroy our fertility. The spirits of the past are counting on us to heed Sekhmet’s warning to stop sipping the drugs of lies and allowing ourselves to be disempowered by consumerism or substance abuse.”
The Enduring Image of Sekhmet
It is a tribute to Sekhmet’s enduring impression upon humankind that her legacy has been rekindled thousands of years after her dominance in the lives of ancient peoples along the Nile River. From her fierce and powerful countenance, modern women still find inspiration in her, seeing the importance of their roles in life, including culture, the arts, and history — all integral to the past, present, and future of humankind.
The story is familiar: chaos reigned before order; darkness filled the void before light; waters crested and ebbed to shape the land and mountains; generations of gods and humans battled over power and control. These are shared mythologies that run through continents and civilizations. Out of all the creation narratives, one name rises above the rest — Tiamat, the ancient Babylonian goddess considered the foundational force of the universe.
Ancient Babylonia, part of the Mesopotamian empire, was renowned for its beautiful gardens, astronomy, and astrology, and as a cultural bridge between Africa and Asia. The legend of Tiamat is told through the ancient Babylonian creation myth, Enuma Elish, thought to have been scribed byHammurabi, the sixth ruler and considered the first king of the Babylonian Empire.
The Enuma Elish: The Seven Tablets of Creation
Enuma Elish is the Babylonian creation story, predating and influencing early Judeo-Christian texts. Comprised of 1000 lines etched on seven clay tablets, the Enuma Elish is the primary source for Mesopotamian cosmology and tells the story of how the order was shaped out of swirling chaos. The shaper is Tiamat, goddess of the deep salt waters, who with her mate Apsu, the god of fresh, clean water, gives birth to the first generation of deities. The opening passage sets forth how raw and unformed the world was prior to Tiamat’s efforts:
When on high the heaven had not been named,
Firm ground below had not been called by name,
Naught but primordial Apsu, their begetter,
(And) Tiamat, she who bore them all, Their waters commingling as a single body;
No reed hut had been matted, no marshland had appeared,
When no gods whatever had been brought into being,
Uncalled by name, their destinies undetermined—
Then it was that the gods were formed within them.
This early generation of deities is violent and power-hungry, ready to overthrow Apsu and assume power, launching Tiamat into her second, more violent stage. Many scholars view Tiamat through two phases — the nourishing, creative force, and the destructive, vengeful goddess.
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Tutu (Egyptian god)
Ancient Egyptian deity
A relief depicting Tutu. He wears the headdress of a king, has a human face, the body of a lion, the wings of a bird, the tail of a cobra and he stomps on Sekhmet's arrows.
|Major cult center||Kellis|
|Symbol||Lion, Sphinx, weaponry|
Tutu (Ancient Egyptian: twtw - meaning "image"; Tithoes in Greek) was an Egyptian god worshipped by ordinary people all over Egypt during the Late Period. The only known temple dedicated to Tutu is located in ancient Kellis. However, reliefs depicting Tutu are seen in other temples, such as the Temple of Kalabsha. Tutu's title at the Shenhur temple was "Who comes to the one calling him". Other titles of his are "Son of Neith," "the Lion," "Great of Strength", and "Master of the demons of Sekhmet and the wandering demons of Bastet".
Tutu's iconography is anthropomorphic, consisting of the body of a striding, winged lion, the head of a human, other heads of hawks and crocodiles projecting from the body, and the tail of a serpent. He was the son of Neith, who was considered as a "dangerous goddess". Other goddesses in the same aspect were named as Mut, Sekhmet, Nekhbet and Bastet. This meant that Tutu is placed in a position of power over demons. It was his role to slay demons sent out by "dangerous goddesses"; other sons of these goddesses performed the same function. These were Maahes, Khonsu and Nefertem. Originally the protector of tombs, Tutu later guarded the sleeping from danger or bad dreams. Tutu was also regarded for ordinary people to worship, offering and rituals were made on portable altars. Offerings included goose and bread, and rituals were for protection from demons and bad dreams. Tutu was stated to have given protection from demons, giving longer life and protecting people from the Netherworld.
- Kaper, Olaf E. ( 2003): The Egyptian god Tutu: a study of the sphinx-god and master of demons with a corpus of monuments. Peeters Publishers
- Sauneron, JNES 19 (1960) p 285
- Hart, George (2005). The Routledge Dictionary of Egyptian Gods and Goddesses, Second Edition. Routledge.
Daily Angel Oracle Card, from the Crystal Wind Oracle Card Deck, by Antonio DeLiberato: Sekhmet
Sekhmet: “Channel Your Intensity. Get it done.”
Card meaning: “Do not be intimidated by a situation, or succumb to anxiety, hopelessness or apathy. Like a lioness protecting her cubs, take appropriate action for personal dignity and safety. Channel your anger at injustice into activities that promote well being for the injured and oppressed. You are attracted to the healing arts and the law. Shine like the midday sun and dispel all shadows. Roar and the way opens before you.”
Card Interpretation: “Sekhmet, or “She Who is Powerful” was the great Egyptian solar goddess of war, as an arbiter of justice. Her ferocious actions served to protect Ra and the land. Hers was the power of righteousness retribution, not willful destruction. Sekhmet can symbolize the anger we experience in an unjust situation that compels us to take positive action. Her capacity for anger is balanced by her role as the goddess of physicians and surgeons. As ancient Egypt’s patron of the healing arts, Sekhmet is an example of the knowledge of physical defense: the skills necessary to heal, revive and survive.”*
There is no backing down! You must continue to take action in spite of an obstacle in your path; be it a person, (even someone close to you), or a hitch in plans that was not expected. This is not the end, it is not time to hide, or panic, or curl up in a ball… it is time to stand your ground, speak your truth and know that you are on the right path. Warriors, take action! Now is the time to dig deep into the well of inner wisdom and knowledge; you have everything you need to succeed and you must believe this in order to get to the next level. Shield yourself with the help of Archangel Michael, against those who would take your power or psychically attack you; whether this attack is purposeful or subconscious. Imagine yourself surrounded by bright white light, penetrable only by love. In doing so, you stop your energy fields being affected by those who are lower vibrational than you are; while simultaneously helping them to raise their vibration, just by being close to you.
Don’t get into arguments with people who just don’t understand where you are coming from; this is your dream, and you have the power to make it come true. In fact, you are more than half way there! Instead, connect with Sekhmet, and find your roar of power! This does not mean yelling or shouting to get your way, it means stating your truth clearly and concisely and then leaving it at that, no further discussion needed. By connecting to this power, you are tapping in to the Law Of Attraction and letting the Universe know just how serious you are about attracting the things that you need to succeed; and they will come in droves!
Breathe! Stay centered, spend a little time alone today collecting your thoughts, journaling, meditating or visualizing. This is only a speed bump in the road, and your vehicle is more than powerful enough to get over it to smooth roads ahead! Keep Going!!
*Crystal Wind Oracle Card Deck, by Antonio DeLiberato
.RAGE SEKHMET (No Fran Loren btw) - Summoners War
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