Sekhmet the Empowerer

200px-Luxor_Sekhmet_New_Kingdom

Sekhmet from the temple of Mut at Luxor

Sekhmet, daughter of Ra, the sun god, is a goddess that, next to Hekate, has my utmost admiration, reverence and devotion. Her name is related to such words as strong, mighty and violent, and thus to the creative and destructive power of the Sun. The ancient Egyptian word “sekhem” meant power. She is a goddess included in the so-called Triad of Memphis, which included her consort the God Ptah (the Creator of the World) and the God Nefer-Tem (the Healer and Physician), their son. In Memphis, a Mystery School called the House of Life was devoted to worshiping the Triad.

Sekhmet is a very ancient, primordial goddess, as Robert Masters put it:

“She came into Egypt from a place unknown and at a time unrecorded. Some of Her Names refer to this very great antiquity—Lady of the Place of the Beginning of Time, and One Who Was Before the Gods Were. As a form of the Great Mother, Sekhmet is also known as Mother of All the Gods.“

The most well-known myth associated with her is the Myth of the Destruction of Mankind. In that story, humans rebelled against the gods, who decided to punish them severely. Sekhmet proved the most vengeful: she could not stop slaughtering humans and, allegedly, got intoxicated by drinking their blood. To me, this myth shows that the mighty power of Sekmet is indeed boundless and bloodcurdling. That a female deity would get into a killing frenzy was utterly unthinkable to subsequent consensus myth interpreters, who popularized that one myth as a warning against the feminine power they were afraid of. Like Ishtar, she was also the goddess of war: fire, pestilence, plague and drought were her ways of destroying her enemies. Her beloved roaming place was the desert, where she often walked in solitude in full body of a lioness. In the city of Denderah,  a popular festival was held in her honour, the aim of which was to pacify her wrath by indulging into the ecstasies of love, trance dancing and playing. The participants called Sekhmet Brilliant, Beatiful and Adorable to win her favours.

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A relief from the Temple of Kom Ombo

Sekhmet’s power is derived both from light and darkness. Primarily, she was the goddess of the Kundalini energy symbolized by the Uraeus (the royal cobra) which she bears on her head together with the solar disk. One of her chief epithets was the Great One of Healing; as mentioned above, her son by Ptah was Nefer-Tem, the god of healing. Sekhmet was a conduit of the psychic energy of Shakti: it was this boundless cosmic energy that gave her all her power. Robert Masters asserts that ancient Egyptians knew about the mystery of Kundalini and Chakras:

“There is a Tradition which says that there once existed an elaborate system of sexual mysticism and magic originating with Sekhmet and which later was lost, perhaps taken away by Her. Important for this system were both the Kundalini energy and those centers of psychic energy known in India as chakras. … The word shakti is itself a Hindu derivation from the name Sekhmet.“

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Temple of Mut

As she was a goddess of such importance and magnitude, it is appropriate that no other Egyptian deity had so many large statues erected in his or her honour. Furthermore, in the magical tradition, there were as many as four thousand Names or epithets of her. They were Words of Power used in the practice of initiation and meditation on the goddess. I am listing some of them below:

SEKHMET, GREAT ONE OF MAGIC

MOTHER OF THE GODS

ONE WHO WAS BEFORE THE GODS WERE

LADY OF THE PLACE OF THE BEGINNING OF TIME

AT WHOSE WISH THE ARTS WERE BORN

PRE-EMINENT ONE IN THE BOAT OF THE MILLIONS OF YEARS

ROAMER OF DESERTS

WANDERER IN THE WASTES

SELF-CONTAINED

OPENER OF WAYS

LADY OF TRANSFORMATIONS

GIVER OF ECSTASIES

SATISFIER OF DESIRES

INSPIRER OF MALES

RULER OF SERPENTS AND OF DRAGONS

RULER OF LIONS

COMPLETE ONE

SUBLIME ONE

ENLIGHTENER

EMPOWERER

400px-PtahTemple-Karnak-Sekhmet_statue_chapel-2

Temple of Karnak

SPARKLING ONE

MOTHER OF THE DEAD

GREAT ONE OF HEALING

DESTROYER BY FIRE

LADY OF THE WATERS OF LIFE

MISTRESS AND LADY OF THE TOMB

GUIDE AND PROTECTRESS FROM THE PERILS OF THE UNDERWORLD

GREAT ONE OF THE PLACE OF APPEARANCES IN SILENCE

THE SOURCE

WINGED ONE

THE AWARE

THE GLEAMING ONE

SEKHMET, WHO REDUCETH TO SILENCE

LADY OF JUBILATION

ADORABLE ONE

SHINING OF COUNTENANCE

MIGHTIER THAN THE GODS

PROTECTRESS OF THE DIVINE ORDER

THE ONE WHO HOLDS BACK DARKNESS

THE BEAUTIFUL LIGHT

WARRIOR GODDESS

GODDESS OF LOVE

GREAT LADY OF THE HOUSE OF LIFE

LADY OF THE HOUSE OF BOOKS

DEVOURING ONE

ONE BEFORE WHOM EVIL TREMBLES

LADY OF ALL POWERS

LADY OF THE MANIFOLD ADORNMENTS

MOST BEAUTIFUL AMOUNG THE GODS

BOUNTIFUL ONE

SEKHMET, WHO GIVES JOYS

UNWAVERING LOYAL ONE

BELOVED TEACHER

BELOVED SEKHMET

Sekhmet was also called The Lady of the Red Garment and was closely associated with the rich symbolism of that colour, as Candace C. Kant and Anne Key explain:

“Often referred to as The Lady of Red Linen, Sekhmet wears a close-fitting dress that reaches to Her ankles. The color red links the ideas of life and regeneration with fire, blood, and the ochre-colored funerary henna. The word for ‘red‘ (desher) formed the word ‘desert‘ (deshret), meaning the red land. In contrast to the black land, which was fertile and habitable, the red land was dangerous and unpredictable. ‘Wrath‘ (desheru), associated with Sekhmet through the myth of the Destruction of Humanity, had its roots in the word ‘red.‘ Thus the color red was associated with anger and destruction signifying the fierce nature of the radiant sun, and as such the color was used for the serpent amulets representing the Eye of Re, the fiery protective and potentially destructive aspect of the sun deities. The color red also signified the beginning of life. When the yearly inundation of the Nile began, the waters looked greenish before they turned an opaque, dark ruddy color from a type of red algae pushed out of the central African tributaries and downriver by the melting snow and flood waters.”

inundation

Sekhmet is the goddess of regeneration and renewal that come after a period of chaos, when the waters of the Nile flood the land and a new cycle of fertility begins. She opens the path to transubstantiation by burning away all past attachments and outdated forms, and letting New Life be born.

rosicrucian museum, San Jose, May-2005, 215

Rosicrucian Museum, San Jose

Sources:

Heart of the Sun, An Anthology in Exaltation of Sekhmet, edited by Candace C. Kant and Anne Key

Robert Masters, Goddess Sekhmet: Psycho-Spiritual Exercises of the Fifth Way

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32 Responses to Sekhmet the Empowerer

  1. jbertetta says:

    Nice introduction to a beautiful goddess

  2. Pingback: Sekhmet the Empowerer | lampmagician

  3. I’ve lived in SF for 25 years, & STILL never been to the Rosicrucian museum! 😦

  4. willowmarie says:

    Thank u for this- I especially appreciated the words of power and will use them in circle.

  5. kimfalconer says:

    Reblogged this on The 11th House and commented:
    Another wonderful post by the Symbolreader, a perfect way to celebrate asteroid Sekhmet into Scorpio today! Where is this powerful goddess transiting your chart? How will you honor her?

    • Yes, Ceres is definitely there, also Hekate and Vesta, so quite a prominent crowd. I would love to get the Goddess Oracle. Thank you for commenting here and sharing your connection with Sekhmet.

    • Violet Hour Muse says:

      This morning I received an insight into a symbolic correspondence
      between the dedicated parenting of the female hamadryad (King Cobra) and the function of the Heart Protector (Pericardium) in the architecture of the energy anatomy of 5Element TCM. Wadjet.

      You could make your own “Goddess Oracle” inspired by the principles of SoulCollage that was introduced by Seena Frost who embraced the Neter energies. SoulCollage trended strongly in the USA about 8-10 years ago, although I am not sure how it went in Europe. Didn’t seem to catch on in Australia, where I am.

  6. Incredible post Monika; you write with a palpable reverence for Sekhmet.

    I am thrilled to learn so many connections between her and kundalini, and the description you share resonates deeply on an intuitive level. I am also blown away to learn more of Sekhmet and the Lion connection; as I have dreamed of Lioness before and connected deeply with her while living in Kenya.

    It is such an incredible time in history when we are able to make so many connections across cultures and see this feminine energy manifest in so many deities across time and space; to see these connections between India and Egypt make such perfect sense to me.

    All the more reminders that a woman truly in touch with her Shakti is utterly unstoppable.

    Love,
    Amanda

  7. Profound and beautiful, a perfect archetype for this time with Venus and Jupiter conjunct in Leo and Mars approaching Saturn in Scorpio, among numerous other connections. I am going to share this on my astrology facebook page. I am grateful to learn more about this Goddess from you.

  8. Great post, Monika! I always wondered whether there was a correlation between Sekhmet and the Jewish Shekinah, which is the feminine aspect of the godhead. Shekinah is not associated with destruction, though, so I am leaning towards no. Thanks. Definitely gained insight from your post. Cheers!!

  9. Alethea Eason says:

    Kali! I loved learning that the word “red” and “desert” are related.

  10. thefirstdark says:

    Reblogged this on The Darkness in the Light and commented:
    my patron, my closet confidante, my fire….#BlessedSekhmet

  11. shreejacob says:

    Ah…a refreshing read! The first part of the post reminded me of Lord Shiva for some reason and the list of names for the Goddess Sekhmet sounded a little like that for the Virgin Mary…during rosary prayers..not all of course…hehe.

    • Yes, so like a litany to Mary. You know, already as a child I disliked going to church but that litany to Mary kept me mesmerized each time. So happy to see you here again – Thank you!

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  14. Pingback: Goddesses of Wrath and Protection: Sekhmet and Asajj Ventress | The Writing Wampa

  15. Ali Cat says:

    Thank you for one of the best and easy write ups I have seen in a long time. Your clarity and sythesis of information from Keys and Masters is eloquent.

  16. Pingback: Mercury Retrograde in Virgo | Gray Crawford

  17. Silvia says:

    I LOVE SEKHMET… SHE IS WITH ME ALWAYS.
    SHE COMES AS A LION…A BIG CAT… AND AS THE KITTENS THAT HAVE BEEN ARROUND ME ALL MY LIFE.
    AS BASTET… WARM AND GENTLE KITTEN..LONG AGO I WAS TOLD OF THIS MAGNIFICENT GODDES… AND THROUGH THE YEARS SLOWLY MORE AND MORE PIECES OF THE GREAT GIGSAW HAVE ARRIVED MAKING MORE SENSE OF AN ABSTRACT THOUGHT.
    HER COMPLETNESS… HER IMPOSING POWER AND SUBLIME LOVE FOR CREATION… IS AN ENDLESS SOURCE OF STRENGTH.
    SHE IS ALWAYS IN OUR HEARTS… SHE AWAKENS US TO WHO WE REALLY ARE… SHE GUIDES US THROUGH THE JUNGLE OF OPINIONS…RULES…AND BRAIN DISTORTIONED IDEAS… TOWARDS OUR AWAKENING… FOR WE ARE HER CHILDREN… AND HER LOVE HAS NO TIME…
    WE ARE FELINE ENERGY… STAR SEEDS.. WE ARE LIGHT TRAPPED IN THE THIRD DIMENSION…
    SHE COMES IN MANY GUISES.. TO PROTECT US. AS A WINGED WHITE LION… SHE BRINGS THE WISDOM OF AGES TO HUMANITY HER CHILDREN.
    SHE COMES FROM A WORLD WERE NO FEAR… NO HUNGER… NO DEATH EXISTS.
    WE MUST AWAKEN REMEMBER AND RAISE OUR FREQUENCIES TO THE FREQUENCIES OF THE LIGHT.
    IN LOVE WITH SEKHMET THROUGH TIME.
    LIONESS S.

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