Enjoy the calm before the storm. The silence before the carnage. The sweet before the vengeful. Sekhmet, lioness goddess of Ancient Egypt, is the powerful precursor to the more docile, fun-loving Bastet. She’s known as the Lady of Terror, Mistress Dread, and Lady of Flame. Yes, she’s fierce and a goddess of war. But she also has a protective, healing side that many sources don’t tap into. Like a lioness, Sekhmet watches over her pride, and will hunt and defend as the need arises. Learn about Sekhmet Goddess of War and Healing and how to work with her energy in your spiritual practice and daily life.
Sekhmet is an ancient Egyptian goddess of war whose belief and worship was born in Lower Egypt. Next to Bastet, Sekhmet is the most important and influential of leonine goddesses in the Egyptian pantheon. She’s known as the Eye of Ra, one of his formidable daughters, of whom he employed to punish humanity when he got sick of us. She nearly destroyed the entire human species with her wrath and fiery breath. Sekhmet is a lioness, but she is also a representation of the blazing, hot desert sun. Her name likely means “strong”, “powerful”, “violent” or “mighty”.
Some sources see Sekhmet as a manifestation of the powerful creator god Ra. Her fiery breath not only destroys, but it creates. And according to author Judika Illes, her “hot breath created the desert”. In addition to using her fiery breath to destroy, she also has the power to call on plagues for further death and destruction. We see a sacred polarity with Sekhmet, as she indeed has a softer side and grants healing to those she deems worthy. In fact, at one point, Sekhmet’s physicians were the most well-known and beloved.
Sekhmet’s cult was heavily centered in Memphis though she had many other temples throughout Upper Egypt at her height of fame. According to Richard H. Wilkinson, there was a sanctuary built in her honor in Abusir as early as the fifth dynasty. And her name was known and honored in temples through the early Graeco-Roman period. She was also syncretized with other beloved goddesses like Hathor.
If you haven’t already figured out, Sekhmet is first and foremost a goddess of war and destruction. She is the Eye of Ra, and he called on her to exact his revenge and wrath in the old myths. It’s said that when Sekhmet rained wrath down upon humanity, the only way to stop her from destroying us was by pouring out red-dyed beer to trick her into thinking it was blood. She drank it and became intoxicated which stopped her. This was an act completed by Ra when he realized he had to stop her.
Sekhmet is also known to bring plague, or call on epidemics, yet has the power of giving life and healing to those she feels are worthy. The “Seven Arrows of Sekhmet” were feared by the Egyptian people and certain rituals were performed and offerings given to appease this terrifying goddess. Sekhmet is the hot breeze of the desert and a solar deity.
Conversely, Sekhmet is a known healer, therefore granting life on the other side of death and decay. We’ve mentioned her priests being physicians: they were originally established to worship and honor Sekhmet to appease her. And to keep her wrath at bay. Eventually, they would play a crucial role in medicine by reciting spells and prayers to Sekhmet while also applying herbal remedies to those in need of healing. Amulets were worn in the shape of Sekhmet to appease her and to invoke her protection and healing. Her priests performed a rite known as “appeasing Sekhmet” to ward off pestilence and plague. Many spiritual healers and magical practitioners today call on her for healing and powerful protection.
“Then said the gods and goddesses, bowing before him with their foreheads on the ground, ‘Send forth thy daughter, the apple of thine eye, against them.’ And at once there came the daughter of Ra. Sekhmet is she called, and Hathor, fiercest of the goddesses; like a lion she rushes on her prey, slaughter is her delight, and her pleasure is in blood. At her father’s bidding she entered the Two Lands to slay those who had rebelled against the Majesty of Ra, and had turned their rebellion to jest and laughter. In the land of Ta-mery she killed them, and on the mountains which lie to the east and west of the great river. To and fro she hastened, slaying all who crossed her path, and before her fled the rebels against Ra.”
What does Sekhmet look like when she manifests in vision and dream? How did she appear in statue and temple in ancient times? She was frequently depicted as a lion-headed woman with the headdress of a solar disk. Often she was seated on a throne and wears a long red dress. This is why she is sometimes referred to as the Mistress of Scarlet or Mistress of Red Linen. The red dress is a nod to her wrathful nature and fiery breath. Sometimes she has symbols painted over her nipples, which are assumed to be illustrations of lioness fur OR a representation of stars in the Leo constellation. With which she is inherently linked.
There were some six hundred statues of Sekhmet erected at the glorious temple of Karnak, commissioned by Pharaoh Amenhotep III. Scholars believe this was his attempts at healing his ailments, by calling on and appeasing the leonine goddess of healing. Sometimes you will see statues or depictions of a lion-headed woman with a sceptre or crown. This is usually when she’s been syncretized with Mut or Hathor…but still just a powerful!
What if Sekhmet was calling you to her…as a friend, devotee, child? Would you listen and follow her? Work with her to make change in your life? Here are the signs that Sekhmet is calling you:
Everyone’s relationship with Spirit and the Universe is unique and special. You might believe in multiple gods and goddesses and work with them each as though they are close, personal friends. Or maybe you believe the old gods are reflections of Spirit and Universal energy and that you can learn a lesson from the myths and vibrations they bring. However you incorporate these myths in your practice is up to you. But here are our ideas to get you started:
The first way to get to know someone, specifically a goddess like Sekhmet, is to dive into their history and qualities. Begin by studying the myths, verses, and incantations featuring this fierce goddess. Read about her connection with Ra, syncretization with goddesses Mut and Hathor, and how she might be the predecessor of the cat goddess Bastet. Then read about the culture from which she arose. Then study some more. Keep a section in your journal dedicated to Sekhmet.
Set aside some space in honor of Sekhmet. This can be an elaborate large altar or as simple as a small shelf or corner of a counter. Place a representation of Sekhmet there, be sure to cleanse the space before you invite her in. Include her color red, her symbols, and representations of lions and the sun. This will be a space that reminds you to connect with her and her energy. To bring that ferocity and self-protectiveness to your daily life.
Everyone likes receiving presents. Sekhmet is no different. Give her beer, pomegranate juice, representations of arrows, gold, and incense like frankincense, myrrh, and kyphi. You don’t have to give her offerings every day, but when you feel it is appropriate.
Women are beginning to realize they are their own people. And they’re beginning to stand up for themselves. If you find yourself in a situation or a relationship in which you’ve allowed yourself to be used or abused, Sekhmet is in your life to teach you to stand up for yourself. Invoke her power and energy to aid you in speaking your truth, being your own person, and standing in the sunlight of your own soul and personal power.
Obviously Sekhmet is a solar goddess and therefore she enjoys warmth, sunlight, and hot climates. So why not get out in the sun and do a little sunbathing like a cat?
If you have the chance, consider taking a pilgrimage to Egypt and seek out the places where Sekhmet’s energy can still be felt strongly. Karnak is one. The Temple of Millions of Years on the Theban Bank in Medinet Habu is another. But truly you can feel Sekhmet’s fiery breath anywhere in the desert of Egypt and in the hot, blazing sun. You’ll also find her relics and statues at certain museums through Egypt and in Britain.
Sekhmet was once a mother goddess of war and healing in ancient times. You can tap into her healing vibrations by learning a mode of alternative medicine. Consider taking a class or reading a book on herbalism, DNA activation, past life regressions, or energy healing modalities like Reiki.
If you’re in need of extra protection at home or at work, or anywhere for that matter, call on Sekhmet to guide and shield you. While performing your protection rituals at home, such as cleansing, shielding, and warding, invoke Sekhmet’s energy to set up a barrier of fire around your home. She will only allow those with good intent to cross it. Wear an amulet dedicated to Sekhmet while traveling or leaving the home to keep her protective shield around you at all times.
One of the best ways to channel divine energy and tap into goddesses like Sekhmet is through meditation and dreaming. You will find a plethora of guided meditations on YouTube that will lead you to your spirit guide or god/goddess. Try those if you have a hard time meditating on your own. In addition, ask Sekhmet to visit you in your dreams and teach you lessons that you currently need to learn. Then record every encounter with her in your journal or grimoire.
If you’ve never watched the lioness move in the wild, now’s your time to. Watch videos on YouTube, documentaries on the TV, and read books about how lionesses hunt to feed their prides and defend their families. This is how the lioness moves, and this is how Sekhmet moves.
Fire burns and protects. The fire element is one of the fiercest and yet required …September 16, 2023