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ALPHAPEDIA

💚 GODDESS SEKHMET: Goddess of Divine Vengeance, Conquest and War

Meaning of the Goddess Sekhmet

Sekhmet was known as the eye of her father Ra the sun god. Goddess of divine vengeance, conquest and war. In Egyptian mythology, Sekhmet (also spelled Sachmet, Sakhet, Sekmet, Sakhmet and Sekhet; and given the Greek name, Sacmis), was originally the warrior goddess of Upper Egypt.

Her name is adapted to her function and means, the (one who is) powerful. She was also given titles like the (one), before whom evil trembles, the lover of fear and the lady of slaughter.

What is the Goddess Sekhmet ?

The goddess of the war with head of lion, Sekhmet, is one of the oldest known Egyptian deities. She protected the great pharaohs and led them in war. From the goddess’ breath, the desert was born.

Her name is derived from the Egyptian word for power, and she was known to be fierce and bloodthirsty.Sekhmet is the Egyptian goddess of sun, war, destruction, plagues and healing. She’s one of the oldest deities and one of the most powerful. She is a member of the triad Memphite (center of worship in Memphis) along with her husband Ptah, the god of creation and wisdom and her son Nefertum, the god of sunrise. She is said to be the daughter of the sun god that Ra created when his eye looked at the earth. She is also sometimes seen as a daughter of Nut, the sky and Geb, the earth.

As the sun goddess, she is connected with the burning, scorching and burning heat of the sun. In this regard, she was known by another name, Nest, which literally means flame. This sealed her fate as a terrifying goddess. Her title of Red Lady associated her with the desert where the heat of the sun reigns.

She is associated with another cat and lion goddess, Bastet. Sekhmet is known as the Goddess of the West dressed in red and Bastet is the Goddess of the East dressed in green.

What Are the Attributes of the Goddess Sekhmet ?

She is represented as a lioness, the most ferocious hunter known by the Egyptians. It was said that her breath created the desert. She was seen as the protector of the pharaohs and led them in war. Sekhmet is also a solar deity, often considered an aspect of the Hathor Goddesses and Bast cats.

She carries the solar disk, and the Uraeus which associates her with Wadjet and royalty. With these associations, she can be interpreted as a divine arbiter of Ma’at (Justice or Order), the Eye of Horus and also connects her to Tefnut. She was imagined as a fierce lioness, and in art, she was represented as such, or as a woman with the head of a lioness, dressed in red, the color of blood. Sometimes the dress she wears exhibits a rosette pattern on each nipple, an ancient lion motif, which can be traced back to the observation of shoulder hairs on lions.

Her seated statues show her holding the ankh of life, but when seen walking or standing, she usually holds a scepter made of papyrus (the symbol of the north or Lower Egypt), suggesting that she was primarily associated with the north. However, some scholars argue that the deity was introduced from Sudan (southern Egypt) where lions are more abundant.

What is the Power of the Goddess Sekhmet ?

To this day, she is honored and respected as a symbol of female power. While the stories speak of excesses, the message is clear: women are powerful, and can be dangerous!

The name Sekhmet means «the Mighty One». She earned the title «Lady of Flames» because her body was said to assume the bright glow of the noonday sun. Her hot breath is also said to be the desert wind. She is the burning, scorching, destructive heat of the sun, a powerful force that must be respected.

Sekhmet is usually depicted with the head of a lion and the body of a beautiful woman. Lions were very powerful beasts in southern Egypt. As the most powerful goddess of Lower Egypt, Sekhmet was seen as possessing the strength and power of the lion.

She represents the power and strength that women can exert when necessary. She gives strength and confidence to young women. To honor her and ask for her blessings, use red crystals such as ruby, red agate and garnet to appeal to her warlike appearance; bright yellow and orange crystals that honor her as «the lady of the flame.

Like citrine and orange calcite; and brown and roasted crystals like amber, topaz and tiger eye, in honor of her association with the lion and its strength. Place these crystals on a small outdoor altar at noon to ask for strength and power in your life.

History of the Goddess Sekhmet

Upper Egypt is in the south and Lower Egypt is in the delta region in the north. As Lower Egypt had been conquered by Upper Egypt, Sekhmet was seen as the more powerful of the two warrior goddesses, the other, Bast, being the similar warrior goddess of Lower Egypt. Consequently, it was Sekhmet who was seen as the avenger of wrongs, and the Scarlet Lady, a reference to blood, as the one who thirsts for blood. She was also seen as a special goddess for women, ruling over menstruation.

It was believed that Sekhmet protected the pharaoh in battle, stalking the earth and destroying the pharaoh’s enemies with arrows of fire. Also an early Egyptian sun deity, her body was said to assume the bright glow of the noonday sun, earning her the title Lady of Flame. It was said that death and destruction were a balm to her warrior’s heart and that the warm desert winds were believed to be her breath.

To appease Sekhmet’s anger, her priestesses performed a ritual before a different statue of the goddess on each day of the year. This practice resulted in many images of the goddess being preserved. It is estimated that over seven hundred statues of Sekhmet were in a single burial temple, that of Amenhotep III, on the west bank of the Nile.

Sekhmet was also seen as a carrier of the disease, as well as the provider of cures for such ills. The name «Sekhmet» literally became synonymous with doctors and surgeons during the Middle Kingdom. In ancient times, many members of the Sekhmet priesthood were often considered on the same level as the physicians.

After Sekhmet worship moved to Memphis, as Horus and Ra had identified each other by the name of Ra-Herakhty, when the two religious systems merged and Ra was seen as a form of Atu. Known as Atum-Ra, therefore, Sekhmet, as a form of Hathor, was seen as the mother of Atum, since Hathor had been the mother of the sun, giving birth every day.

Then she was seen as the mother of Nefertum, the youthful form of Atum that emerged in later myths, and was said to have Ptah, the father of Nefertum, as a husband when most of the goddesses acquired counterparts as paired deities.

Although Sekhmet was identified again as an aspect of Hathor, over time both evolved back to separate deities because the characters of the two goddesses were very different. Later, as noted above, the goddess of creation Mut, the great mother, gradually became absorbed into the identities of the patron goddesses, merging with Sekhmet, and also sometimes with Bast.

Sekhmet was later considered to be the mother of Maahes, a deity that appeared during the New Kingdom period. He was seen as a lion prince, the son of the goddess. The late origin of Maahes in the Egyptian pantheon may be the incorporation of a Nubian deity of ancient origin into that culture, coming during trade and war or even during a period of Nubian domination.

During the Greek occupation of Egypt, it was noted that a temple for Maahes was an auxiliary facility to a large temple at Sekhmet in Taremu in the delta region, a city that the Greeks called Leontopolis, where at that time, a compound was provided to house the lions.

As with the goddess Isis, Sekhmet seems to have been reinvented in the twentieth century. Although she is still considered a powerful force, which must be approached with respect and caution, we can sense a «dilution» of her aspects. In ancient Egypt, it was dangerous and fierce, carrying plagues and retribution, the fire of God’s eye. This was not a benign figure, who could be worshipped and adored as a gentle mother.

Today many women see Sekhmet as a source of strength, independence, and assertiveness, and communicate with its frequency when these attributes need to be enhanced or inculcated. For some, Sekhmet has become the symbol of the modern woman. She is approached as a healer, a bringer of justice, and a guardian or protector, but the emphasis has shifted.

It seems a natural progression that Sekhmet has transformed from what was almost a force of chaos into an icon of immanent female power.

Myths About the Goddess Sekhmet

She was associated with the goddesses with the title «Eye of Ra». According to the myth, Ra was angry because humanity was not following his laws and preserving Ma’at (justice or balance). She decided to punish humanity by sending an aspect of her daughter, the «Eye of Ra».

He plucked Hathor from Ureas on her forehead and sent her to earth in the form of a lion. She became Sekhmet, the «Eye of Ra» and began her rampage. The fields ran with human blood. However, Ra was not a cruel deity, and the sight of the carnage made her repent. He ordered her to stop, but she was in a blood lust and did not want to listen.

So Ra served 7,000 pitchers of beer and pomegranate juice (which stained the blood of the beer red) on her way. She swallowed the «blood» and got so drunk that she slept for three days. When he woke up, his thirst for blood had dissipated, and humanity was saved.

In one version of the myth, Ptah is the first thing you see when you wake up and instantly fell in love with him. Their union (creation and destruction) created Nefertum (healing) and thus restored Ma’at.

Ramses II with Sekhmet and Ptah

Sekhmet was closely associated with royalty. She was often described as the mother of Maahes, the lion god who was a patron of the pharaoh, and the texts of the pyramid (of the fifth dynasty) suggest that the pharaoh was conceived by Sekhmet.

For example, a relief shows Pharaoh Niuserre being suckled by Sekhmet. This ancient myth is repeated in the reliefs of the New Kingdom in the temple of Seti I, depicting the Pharaoh suckled by Hathor, whose title is «master of the mansion of Sekhmet.

Ramses II (the son of Seti) adopted it as a symbol of his power in battle. In the friezes representing the battle. of Kadesh, Sekhmet appears on his horse, his flames burning the bodies of the enemy soldiers.

But, one pharaoh in particular seems to have had an obsession with Sekhmet. Amenhotep III (father of Akhenaton, Eighteenth Dynasty) built hundreds of statues of Sekhmet on the grounds of the Mut Temple (known as «Isheru») south of the Great Temple of Amun at Karnak. It is thought that there was one for each day of the year and that the offerings were made every day.

Sons of the Goddess Sekhmet

Nefertum

The son of the lioness and the creator, Nefertum, was born from a blue lotus bud that floated on the water. He represents the sunrise, and is said to have created mankind from his tears.

Imhotep

His adopted son, Imhotep, was the first known architect, engineer and doctor in history. A wise man and prime minister at the court of Pharaoh Djoser, Imhotep officiated at the construction of Djoser’s step pyramid.

Also known as an important figure in ancient Egyptian medicine, he was granted the status of a deity thousands of years after his death, despite being born human. Later Maahes, was considered as his son, who appeared during the New Kingdom period. He was seen as a lion prince.

Temples of the Goddess Sekhmet

His cult was so dominant in the culture that when the first pharaoh of the twelfth dynasty, Amenemhat I, moved the capital of Egypt to Itjtawy, the center of his cult also moved. Religion, royal lineage, and authority to rule were intrinsically woven into ancient Egypt during its approximately three thousand years of existence.

Sekhmet was identified in some later cults as the daughter of the new sun god, Ra, when her cult merged with and supplanted the worship of Horus (the son of Osiris and Isis, who was one of the oldest Egyptian deities and gave birth to the sun daily).

At that time many roles of the deities were changed in the Egyptian myths. Some changed even more when the Greeks established a royal line of rulers that lasted three hundred years and some of their historians tried to create parallels between the deities in the two pantheons. Tame lions were kept in temples dedicated to Sekhmet in Leontopolis.

To pacify Sekhmet, festivals were held at the end of the battle, so that the destruction would come to an end. During an annual festival held at the beginning of the year, a festival of intoxication, Egyptians danced and played music to calm the goddess’ rage and drank large quantities of beer ritually to imitate the extreme drunkenness that stopped the goddess’ anger.

When she nearly destroyed mankind. This may be related to avoiding excessive flooding during the flood at the beginning of each year as well, when the Nile ran blood red with the silt upstream and Sekhmet had to swallow the overflow to save mankind.

In 2006, Betsy Bryan, an archaeologist with the excavation at the Mut Temple at Johns Hopkins University, presented her findings about the festival that included illustrations of the priestesses who were over-served and their adverse effects that were attended by temple attendees.

Participation in the festival was great, including the priestesses and the population. There are historical records of tens of thousands of festival goers. These findings were made in the temple of Mut because when Thebes reached a greater prominence, Mut absorbed the warrior goddesses as some of its aspects.

First, Mut became Mut-Wadjet-Bast, then Mut-Sekhmet-Bast (Wadjet merged with Bast), then Mut also assimilated Menhit, another lion goddess, already the wife of his adopted son, becoming Mut-Sekhmet-Bast-Menhit, and finally becoming Mut-Nekhbet.

These excavations in the temple of Luxor uncovered a «drunken portico» built into the temple by Queen Hatshepsut, during the height of her twenty-year reign. Amenemhet II built a temple for Sekhmet-Hathor at Kom el Hisn (Imau in the western Delta), where she and Hathor are known as the «Lady of Imau».

Imau was situated near a branch of the Nile that has since moved eastward, but in ancient times the city was just at the edge of the desert on the route to the Libyan border. Sekhmet was clearly expected to protect the border.

In 2016, eight statues of the goddess were discovered during an excavation project at the temple, which was built more than 3,000 years ago. Six of the statues represent her sitting on a throne and holding the symbol of life. Two of the statues represent Sekhmet standing, holding a scepter in her left hand and a life symbol in her right hand. Three were discovered almost complete, while the remaining statues were damaged, and only portions remain.

It is not surprising that Sekhmet is shown in all of the statues with a tripartite wig and a long dress that slides over the body, as both were the fashion in ancient Egypt.

Related Topics

Other Mythological Gods Studied in ALPHAEDIA

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Images, Photos or Drawings of Goddess Sekhmet

IMAGEN DE LA DIOSA SEKHMET / sekhmet goddess of

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THE GODDESS SEKHMET: Goddess of Divine Vengeance, Conquest and War
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THE GODDESS SEKHMET: Goddess of Divine Vengeance, Conquest and War
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The Goddess Sekhmet. Goddess of War and Destruction of Upper Egypt. Facts, Myths and Attributes. Her Symbols, Powers, Sons and Temples.
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ALPHAPEDIA
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