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.
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.“
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
OPENER OF WAYS
LADY OF TRANSFORMATIONS
GIVER OF ECSTASIES
SATISFIER OF DESIRES
INSPIRER OF MALES
RULER OF SERPENTS AND OF DRAGONS
RULER OF LIONS
Temple of Karnak
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 GLEAMING ONE
SEKHMET, WHO REDUCETH TO SILENCE
LADY OF JUBILATION
SHINING OF COUNTENANCE
MIGHTIER THAN THE GODS
PROTECTRESS OF THE DIVINE ORDER
THE ONE WHO HOLDS BACK DARKNESS
THE BEAUTIFUL LIGHT
GODDESS OF LOVE
GREAT LADY OF THE HOUSE OF LIFE
LADY OF THE HOUSE OF BOOKS
ONE BEFORE WHOM EVIL TREMBLES
LADY OF ALL POWERS
LADY OF THE MANIFOLD ADORNMENTS
MOST BEAUTIFUL AMOUNG THE GODS
SEKHMET, WHO GIVES JOYS
UNWAVERING LOYAL ONE
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.”
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
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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
Nice introduction to a beautiful goddess
Thank you. I appreciate your comment.
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I’ve lived in SF for 25 years, & STILL never been to the Rosicrucian museum! 😦
Perhaps this is a sign to go, who knows?
Thank u for this- I especially appreciated the words of power and will use them in circle.
Thank you. I was also awestruck by those Words.
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.
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.
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.
I have come across information that the leonine goddess originated in Africa indeed. But perhaps the true place of origin is within and it makes no sense to attach too much importance to where the energy manifested first. I deeply appreciate your comment.
Mother Sekhmet is also associated with the number 13 and Bru Na Boinne Ireland.
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Thank you for this elaboration.
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.
Thank you, Gray. I find the interplay of Leo and Scorpio as the most profound astrological influence of this time.
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!!
Hi Jeff, gteat to hear from you. My heart tells me that they must be related. I actually do not see how creation and destruction can be separated – to me they are inseparable light light and shadow.
Hmm. Very good point. Thanks, and I hope you have a wonderful day 🙂
Kali! I loved learning that the word “red” and “desert” are related.
I am so much into etymology. This particular connection made perfect sense to me. Thank you for bringing up Kali.
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Reblogged this on The Darkness in the Light and commented:
my patron, my closet confidante, my fire….#BlessedSekhmet
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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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.
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Thank you very much.
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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.