Sekhmet: Lady of Life

There is an extraordinary statue of the Egyptian lion-headed goddess Sekhmet in the British Museum in London. In fact, there are several, but one in particular stands out for me. I remember reading the book Voices from the Goddess. In the chapter entitled The Path of the Solar Priestess (a wonderful exploration of Sekhmet and Hathor) the author – Sunflower – mentions a Sekhmet statue in the museum that she described as feeling very ‘alive’. I felt sure that I knew exactly which one that she referred to.

I always pay my respects to this particular statue of Sekhmet whenever I visit the British Museum. She is made of black granite, seated, holding the Ankh in her left hand. She never fails to move me greatly, the hairs on my neck rising in her presence. I find her mesmerising. I also feel a great sense of sadness that she stands here as a museum piece when to me she still speaks so powerfully.

I highly recommend Sunflower’s chapter in Voices form the Goddess for anyone drawn to this extraordinary goddess. Sekhmet, like the Hindu Kali, can appear to be a forbidding and fearful presence and yet when we engage with these aspects of the Dark Goddess we potentially open ourselves to profound healing and transformation. Sekhmet’s awesome qualities serve life – she doesn’t hold the Ankh for nothing. Her destruction is cleansing and ultimately compassionate, offering us the potential to become more authentically ourselves. Sunflower articulates this beautifully:

The dark and bloody Goddesses of transformation are always healers. They direct us to those forbidden inner territories where our blocked energies have been locked up and bolted down for years…Each time I stood in the blinding light, heat and noise of the fires of Sekhmet, it was like being in the alembic of an alchemist, the repetition building on itself, purifying. The alembic of the fiery temple was both my womb and heart, I was able to surrender to the flames of my fear, painful memories, lack of trust and low self-esteem and experience the phoenix-like rebirth of a revitalised spirit.

One of Sekhmet’s titles was ‘The Lady of Life’. Her energies may feel extremely difficult and challenging when we feel them moving through our lives but the clearing of the ground she often initiates protects our best interests; she is an initiator; the catalyst for change and growth. During a particularly difficult time, I once dreamed of a beautiful hedge surrounding a house; someone had set fire to it and I was distressed to see this. I was suddenly shown the inside of the house; as the hedge burned away to ash, sunlight began pouring in through the windows. Sekhmet’s fires cleanse and clear a space for clarity, for realisation, for healing and rebirth. For me, her connection to the gentler cat goddess Bast is most clearly felt in this moment of transition – Sekhmet the midwife of our transformations, delivering us into the renewed trust and joy of Bast.

I include here a poem by Sunflower, a beautiful testimony to the healing power of the Goddess Sekhmet.

 Blessing of Sekhmet

 Do not fear me, you who have come from afar to seek my wisdom,

For I am also the Goddess of Healing.

From the fires of destruction, new life is born.

The hardest of battles is that which you wage against yourself.

It is I who will give you the strength to fight these battles;

Not so you might vanquish your enemy, but that you might struggle

To break through the battle-lines of the warring fragments

Of yourself, that they may at last be re-united.

 

Through me, see your inner anger released, burning like dry reeds,

Turning to black, fertile ash, to scatter on the lands

Of your inner self.

Now you have won your trial by fire,

You have earned the gift of inner light, may you always grow with it.

Come now, kindle a spark from my healing flame,

Let it grow within you.

It is the fire of your spirit,

Which gives you eternal strength.

                                                                         Sunflower

Sekhmet - British Museum

Sekhmet - British Museum

 

Sekhmet - British Museum

Sekhmet - British Museum

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5 Comments

  1. soulwings said,

    September 22, 2009 at 12:24 pm

    Thank you! This is beautiful. Have just visited a Sekhmet such as this in the Australian Museum in Sydney, on loan from the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna. It produced the same emotional reaction as visiting a whole row of them in the British Museum. Thank you for describing this experience so eloquently. Blessed Equinox to you…

  2. luckyloom1 said,

    September 22, 2009 at 1:26 pm

    Thank you Soulwings! How wonderful. Even the photos make the hairs on my neck rise – they are very beautiful and powerful statues – so apt for such a beautiful and powerful Goddess!

    Wishing you many blessing this Equinox
    M x

  3. Timothy said,

    April 9, 2015 at 6:05 am

    Wow!!! This is a very powerful piece you have written about Sekhmet. I am currently completing a school project on her for art. I completely agree with soulwings and your article. I will subscribe to you, I think!!! Absolutely stunning!

    • luckyloom1 said,

      April 17, 2015 at 4:37 pm

      Thank you Timothy! So pleased you liked it!

  4. Carl Markham said,

    December 17, 2015 at 1:13 am

    I’ve been a devotee of Sekhmet for many years – a much-maligned Goddess, and this beautiful blessing fully endorses Her ‘Light’ aspect.
    The most definitive book I’ve found about her is ‘The Goddess Sekhmet’ by Robert Masters. Published by White Cloud Press (2002) ISBN : 1-883991-45-5 (pbk..) Lots more wonderful pictures – and prayers. It is in fact a sort of self-instruction manual and contains a set of psycho-spiritual exercises. Wonderful! (Though I fear it may now be out of print)


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