Sekhmet, Lady of the Place of the Beginning of Time
Submitted by: swampy
“Eye of Horus, Eye of Ra,
Gentle Mother, tooth and claw
Family lover, ruthless maw,
Bast will nuture, Sekhmet awe…”
The Goddess Sekhmet (also sometimes called Sakhmet or Sekhautet) is undoubtedly one of the most ancient Deities. She came into Egypt from a place unknown and unrecorded, and so is also known as “One Who Was Before the Gods Were.” Sekhmet is a fiery warrior Goddess associated with war and divine vengeance. Her name comes from the word ‘Sekhem’ which means strength or power. She is often depicted as a woman with the head of a lioness. Her main center of worship was the Old Kingdom capital of Memphis and there She was worshipped as a member of a divine triad with Her husband Ptah and Her son Nefertem.
What is best known about Sekhmet comes from a single myth called “The Myth of the Destruction of Mankind.” In this myth humans entered into a conspiracy to overthrow the Gods. Hearing of their plan, Ra (the main Sun God) called the most powerful of the ancient of deities together. After a long meeting they decided to send for Sekhmet who would punish all the conspirators. When Sekhmet went among mankind, She destroyed them, night after night, wading in their blood. She became so drunk with the lust for slaughter on the blood that the Gods became afraid that She would destroy all of mankind. They made a mixture of powerful mind altering drugs and blood and poured this liquid out upon the ground. When Sekhmet came to this area She drank all of this liquid and “Her heart was filled with joy” and She no longer wanted to destroy mankind. From that time on, this liquid was used to celebrate (without the blood) at orgiastic festivals. The people danced, played, and shook the sistrum. From that time on Sekhmet was celebrated as “Beautiful” and “Brilliant” and came to represent the ecstasies of love.
However Sekhmet also is known as a Goddess of War, and in this role She was often said to accompany the Pharaoh into battle, where She aided him by shooting arrows at his enemies. Sekhmet is also the “Lady of Pestilence” who can send plague and disease. She is also revered as a healer of these ailments, a role which seems paradoxical in such a bloodthirsty deity.
Sekhmet is also Protectress of the Divine Order and, as such, protects the Gods and Goddesses against evil forces. Like the lioness, She fiercely protects what She loves and that for which She is responsible. She has never been known to initiate an attack, but welcomes the opportunity to respond to aggression and Her power is dedicated to righteous ends. All of Her actions stem from loyalty and love. Sekhmet is a wonderful Goddess to call upon for protection for these reasons.