Sekhmet, A Goddess for Today
Hear Her Sacred Roar!

In jest we laughed and commented how times had changed!  The newly commissioned life-size and seated statue of Sekhmet, nearly 9 feet tall if standing, was traveling to her mountain grotto temple not by traditional means, along the waterways of the Nile aboard a golden barque, but instead along contemporary highways of asphalt and concrete in a padded pick-up truck!  Her official procession consisted of several cars of male and female clergy who were on hand to help and witness this important occasion.  We imagined all the cars following behind us along the route a part of her sacred entourage.  In the hour and a half it took to make the journey to her new mountain sanctuary, on land still sacred to the indigenous Chumash Native Americans, I remember contemplating Sekhmet’s story and why I believe she is a vital goddess today’s women and men would benefit from knowing as we must find the strength, tenacity and courage to change ourselves and save the world.

Hearing Her Sacred Roar Today*
Do we create deity or does deity create us?  An interesting question left to those with more wisdom than I, however, Neo-pagans, Women’s Studies students and Goddess Advocates are very likely to look at the ancient gods and goddesses through our contemporary lens, as deity, archetype and ideal, with an eye toward  reconstructing a contemporary spirituality using ancient temple stones.  In doing so, one finds Sekhmet has quite a lot to offer humanity, particularly women, both yesterday and today.
In addition to being powerful, regal, authoritative and fearless, most contemporary devotees of Sekhmet see her as a healer, protector, mother, magician and mistress of manifestation.  Unlike other female deities who may have become domesticated or spousified under patriarchy and are a shadow of their former power and glory,  Sekhmet suffered no such marginalization.  Contemporary scholars and devotees alike see Sekhmet as a deity controlled by no male god with absolute authority over herself.  As such, she has become an archetype for personal empowerment for women.  She gives them permission to say “no” without guilt, to set healthy boundaries, to stand up, be counted and find their sacred roar.  She teaches us to know our strength and to never let another, man or woman, take our power away.  She schools us in confidence, and sends lessons our way to test us, to steel and enable us.  She allows us to grow and find the inner drive and determination to see things through.  She is that energy and power down deep inside that can be called up when we must speak up or make things happen.  She helps us to become the best we can be.  As teacher, Vajra Ma says, women come to know their “natural female authority.”    
Sekhmet helps us re-connect with power as life-giver and our cycles and perhaps have a better relationship with and attitude toward our sacred blood.  Candace C. Kant and Anne Key (Heart of the Sun: An Anthology in Exaltation of Sekhmet) quote Jennifer Pinkowski who connects the dots between past and present citing the ochre-colored beer, brewed by women, which flowed in an ecstatic ritual of propitiation to the power of the female divine.   Their anthology brings in the work of Jaana Tiovari-Viitala and Judy Grahn who see the parallel between the aforementioned celebration of the annual  flooding of the Nile and it’s promise of life and fertility with menstruation and the honoring of the power of the female in all aspects.   Normandi Ellis’ perceptions are also included in the Kant and Key anthology as Ellis sees the associations between Sekhmet, life, and blood in her statement, “Sekhmet embodies the cyclical blood that flows at birth and death; the blood that flows from mother to child in the womb; the blood on the battlefields, and the menstrual blood or the blood of circumcision that separates the buddingyoung adult from childhood.”  And what anthology on Sekhmet would be complete without the comments of Genevieve Vaughan who believes Sekhmet ruled over menstruation in Ancient Egypt, connecting Her to the Blood Mysteries and the peaceful renewal of monthly bleeding, which some say is imitated in the patriarchal bloodletting of war.  She believes Sekhmet’s protection comes not from patriarchal authority but from what “Italian Philosopher Luisa Muraro calls “the symbolic order of the mother” not unlike Vaughan’s teachings of the gift economy. 

Associated with the sun, Sekhmet’s aspects can be either life giving and sustaining or under adverse or careless circumstances, deadly.  In understanding this aspect she teaches us diligence and discernment.  As we come into our power, we must also come to know the importance of employing care and personal responsibility in all we do. 
We become the shaman as we, like the lioness, learn from Sekhmet to be nurturing and playful when that is what’s called for or to be fierce and protective when the need arises.  We tap into our intuitive intelligence.  She teaches us a cooperative spirit of working together with other women in “our pride” for the good of the group, focusing on the “us and the we” rather than the “I and me.”  She hunts to feed her young and does not kill indiscriminately.  Greed and exploitation would not be the way of the lioness.  Harkening back to Sekhmet’s destruction of humanity myth, Genevieve Vaughan, foundress and benefactress of the Sekhmet Temple outside Las Vegas, draws comparisons between the legend of Sekhmet where she went on a rampage caused by the evil of people to an 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.  Vaughan said we should heed Sekhmet’s warnings and stop sipping the drug of lies and allowing ourselves to be disemboweled by consumerism and substance abuse.  Vaughan sees Sekhmet as a liberated human animal who will not allow the destruction of Mother Earth. 

I, on the other hand, believe the wanton rampage of Sekhmet is patriarchal propaganda perpetuating the idea the female is not to be trusted, chaotic, unreliable and prone to hysteria.  In other words, a cautionary tale telling men not to trust female power and making women afraid of what's within themselves.  Whatever resonates with you, Sekhmet has become an icon and archetype of immanent Female Power and her message so relevant in the politics of today’s world. 

You can hear more about Sekhmet, Her magick, mystery and miracles by tuning in to my radio show, Voices of the Sacred Feminine, for a special LIVE show on Wednesday, January 30, at 11am Pacific, or catch the show later from the archives!

*Partially excerpted from the award winning, Walking An Ancient Path: Rebirthing Goddess on Planet Earth, Chapters 14 and 17 by Karen Tate


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