Sekhmet (pronounced sek’ met) is one of the oldest known Egyptian deities. She rules vengeance, conquest, war, divine retribution, righteous anger, and is the defender of spiritual and universal laws. As a solar goddess, she is the both the creative and destructive power of the sun, and as such holds sway of healing, the living, and the dead. Sekhmet is mentioned many times in The Egyptian Book of the Dead as this kind of dual force: the dichotomy of chaos and order, of birth and annihilation.
She is depicted as a lion-headed woman, sometimes with the addition of a sun and ureaus (striking cobra) crown. Her seated statues show her holding the ankh of life, but when she is shown striding or standing, she usually holds a scepter formed from papyrus.
Her name is derived from the Egyptian word ‘Sekhem’ (which means “power” or “might”) and is often translated as the “Powerful One”. She was also known as the Lady of Pestilence, Red Lady, and many other titles indicating her alignment with the desert and powers of devastation. She is the protector of balance and justice, and is often called ‘The One Who Loves Ma’at and Who Detests Evil’.
In some Goddess traditions, Sekhmet is the Crone aspect of the threefold goddess, along with Bast (Maiden) and Hathor (Mother). With her consort Ptah (patron of artisans, lord of creation) and her son/sun Nefertum (god/pharaoh of healing), she forms the Memphite triad. As a warrior Goddess, she protected the pharaohs when they went to war and sacrifices and celebrations in her honor were common after victories in battle.
Sekhmet is the power of anger and rage: a force that can motivate us into action, or drag us to self destruction. The first lesson of this Goddess is understanding that anger is an emotion that produces a feeling, and it is neither good or bad. It is what we do with the rage, the discontentment, which matters.
Emotional, or rather, unrighteous anger, is what most of us are accustomed to. This is anger that comes from a place of ego; we take things personally, which can lead to feelings that are uncontrolled and vicious in nature. From the little annoyances like traffic or long lines, to the discomfort and sense of indignation we feel when we have been taken advantage of, or when we or those we love have been wronged or dishonored. These feelings can be small in nature, but then we swallow them and they build and build, until something as simple as a stubbed toe can send us into a rampage.
Though her popular myth shows her out of control and losing focus in her rage, one overlooked aspect of Sekhmet’s nature is her defense and upholding of righteous anger – the anger that moves us into a space of assertiveness, to stand up for what we know is true and right.
The key here is comprehending exactly what righteous anger is. Righteous anger, or soul anger, can feel the same as emotional anger, but it is controlled and seen with unveiled eyes. It is the rage that rises within us that has nothing to do with our egos; generally spawned from witnessing injustice towards ourselves, our family/friends, the environment, the world. Within this type of anger, our souls recognize that something is off and needs to be healed. In this state, we have the ability to calm ourselves, to begin to think of how we can help or correct the situation.
In this manner, Sekhmet’s power is a tool of transformation. Grudges, old patterns, and negative habits can be changed; forgiveness can enter the heart and peace can be found. Just as Sekhmet is said to transform into the loving and sensual goddess Hathor when her rage has been sated, our temperaments and anger can evolve into triumph and joy.
She is an iconic divine figure, embodying the femininity of woman, the fierceness of the lioness, and the ultimate power of the Sun.
Colors: red, black, gold, yellow, orange, white
Metaphysical properties/rules over: war, conquest, vengeance, divine retribution, death, anger, rage, justice, balance, truth, the soul, the mind, emotional balance, menopause, healing, medicine, surgery, protection, sensuality, sexuality, authenticity
Crystals: carnelian, garnet, onyx, ruby, bloodstone, quartz, tiger’s eye, labradorite, jade, amber, red jasper, yellow jasper, obsidian, golden calcite, black agate, red quartz, hematite, sunstone,
Fragrance: frankincense, myrrh, blood orange, cinnamon, jasmine, bamboo, cedarwood, clove, pomegranate, hops
Feast Day: January 7th
Offerings: red beer, blood, candle flame, lion figurines, sand, red henna
Symbols: the sun (noon), blood, beer, the Eye of Ra, medical tools, lions
Totems: felines, both feral and domesticated; lions, scorpions, cobras, hawks
CLASS – Righteous: The Light of Sekhmet
SEKHMET Goddess Mist from RED Wholistic
Egyptian Goddess Mist and Crystal Set from RED Wholistic
Heart Of The Sun: An Anthology In Exaltation Of Sekhmet edited by Candance Kant and Anne Key
The Goddess Sekhmet: Psycho-Spiritual Exercises of the Fifth Way by Robert Masters
Awakening Osiris: The Egyptian Book of the Dead by Normandi Ellis
Daughter of the Sun: A Devotional Anthology in Honor of Sekhmet by Bibliotheca Alexandrina