egyptian

Review: 2019 Lunar & Seasonal Diary (Northern Hemisphere) by Stacey DeMarco

December, 2018

Review:

2019 Lunar & Seasonal Diary (Northern Hemisphere) by Stacey DeMarco

Rockpool Publishing

ISBN: 978-1-925682-13-7

List Price: $21.95 USD / £16.99 GBP

The 2019 Lunar and Seasonal Diary is a beautiful, spiral-bound calendar, richly illustrated with pleasing sepia color pages. As one would expect, it tracks the waxing and waning of the moon and the lunar eclipses of the coming year. It also provides the astrological house of each new and full moon and features the eight annual festivals of the wheel of the year.

I reviewed the Northern Hemisphere edition of the Seasonal Diary. Both Stacey DeMarco and Rockpool Publishing are based in Australia, which is why special care is made to tie the festivals to the seasons themselves instead of calendar dates. After all, our calendars follow the reality of the Earth and her seasons, not the other way around.

Especially well fitted to the new pagan, the diary has a well written introduction the hows and whys of spellcraft and the basics of working with crystals. The moon phases are introduced, as well as the elements, directions and the wheel of the year – not enough to complicate things, but enough guidance to use the daily and monthly prompts that follow. Each month features a specific deity, as well as an appropriate ritual or spell, drawing inspiration from traditions as varied as Slavic, Celtic, Hindu, Norse, Egyptian, Greek, and Shinto. I think the selection is broad enough to be interesting for almost any pagan.

I found the Lunar & Seasonal Diary a beautiful resource to keep me connected to the monthly rhythms of the earth. Each month begins with a page questioning “What am I devoted to?” – asking us to simultaneously reflect on what we have been wrapped up in the month just past as well as what we would aspire towards in the month ahead. Prompts are given for important dates and goals to focus on and manifest in the month ahead.

This monthly return to focus seems a positively recharging reset to our frame of reference, especially during those stressful times when we’re just happy to it through one calendar page to the next. It reminds us to recall what we are working for in the first place, reminding us that the daily grind is a process and not an end in itself. This monthly taking-stock can allow you to stay open to the living world around you, to stay fast with what is truly important to you, or to shift your focus and goals each month, working on different aspects of your life just as the energy of the earth changes through different phases around you.

With the space for taking notes, prompts for both reflective and aspirational record keeping, I think this is a great notebook for any pagan who sees the value of the occasional ritual to keep one in tune with the seasons, and it especially shines for those new to the pagan path.

2019 Lunar & Seasonal Diary: Northern Hemisphere on Amazon

GoodGod!

June, 2018

Meet the Gods: Bes

 

 

Merry meet.

Bes was an Egyptian god who brought comfort and protection to mothers and children. The somewhat comical, somewhat sinister-looking bearded dwarf looks human but is often also portrayed as part animal – generally a lion with a mane and tail, or with wings. He has a plump body, bow legs, prominent genitals and is sticking out his tongue. He is always shown facing forwards, unlike most Egyptian Gods who are shown in profile. On occasion, Bes is wearing a plumed headdress or a crown, and carrying a rattle, drum, tambourine or knife.

 

 

Also known as Bisu and Aha, he was a deity and a demonic fighter. A god of war, “he was also a patron of childbirth and the home, and was associated with sexuality, humour, music and dancing,” according to ancientegyptonline.co.uk. “Although he began as a protector of the pharaoh, he became very popular with every day Egyptian people because he protected women and children above all others. He had no temples and there were no priests ordained in his name. However, he was one of the most popular gods of ancient Egypt and was often depicted on household items such as furniture, mirrors and cosmetics containers and applicators as well as magical wands and knives.”

Apparently, he got the name Aha, meaning fighter, because he could kill lions, bears and snakes with his hands. Although labeled a demon, there he was not considered evil, but rather, drove evil spirits away.

Laboring mothers would call on Bes for help. It is said he would stay on after birth to protect and entertain the child, and that when a baby smiled for no apparent reason, it was because Bes was making funny faces for them.

 

 

Using dance and music, he would also chase away bad spirits during sex and sleep. That’s why he could be found carved into the legs of beds – to protect people during the night when they were most vulnerable.

Egyptians would put a statue of him near the door to protect their home from evil spirits wanting to cause harm. He appeared on the walls of temples and homes, and was on thousands of amulets and charms, protecting people from the dangers of everyday life such as menacing animals and food going bad.

 

 

Bes is the first subject to be identified in early Egyptian tattoos, according to “Tattoo: Symbol and Meanings,” by Jack Watkins.

Performers often had tattoos of Bes because of his association with dancing and music. It is also thought that sacred prostitutes may have had a tattoo of Bes placed near their pubic area in order to prevent venereal diseases, but it is also possible that the tattoos related to fertility,” Watkins wrote.

Bes’ wife, Beset, was the female version of himself. Images of them naked were painted on walls.

Merry part. And merry meet again

***

About the Author:

Lynn Woike was 50 – divorced and living on her own for the first time – before she consciously began practicing as a self taught solitary witch. She draws on an eclectic mix of old ways she has studied – from her Sicilian and Germanic heritage to Zen and astrology, the fae, Buddhism, Celtic, the Kabbalah, Norse and Native American – pulling from each as she is guided. She practices yoga, reads Tarot and uses Reiki. From the time she was little, she has loved stories, making her job as the editor of two monthly newspapers seem less than the work it is because of the stories she gets to tell. She lives with her large white cat, Pyewacket, in central Connecticut. You can follow her boards on Pinterest, and write to her at woikelynn at gmail dot com.

 

GoodGod!

December, 2017

Meet the Gods: Thoth

 

(art by Samantha Sullivan)

Merry meet.

This month we look at Thoth – the Egyptian god of scribes and of the moon, as well as the father of magic, writing and occult wisdom. He was among the most important and perhaps the wisest of the gods.

According to one story, Thoth (pronounced Toth, rhymes with both) was a god without a mother, born from the lips of Ra at the moment of creation. In another tale, Joshua J. Mark noted in an article on ancient.eu, Thoth is self-created at the beginning of time and, as an ibis (a sacred, stork-like bird that waded in the Nile, was a popular pet and was associated with wisdom), lays the cosmic egg which holds all of creation. He was always closely associated with Ra and the concept of divine order and justice. His judgements were believed to be wise and fair.

Mark writes that Thoth was also said to “be self-created or born of the seed of Horus from the forehead of Set. As the son of these two deities, who represented order and chaos respectively, he was also the god of equilibrium and balance and associated closely with both the principle of ma’at (divine balance) and the goddess Ma’at who personified this principle (and who was sometimes seen as his wife).”

Thoth was often depicted with the head of an ibis. He sometimes wore a lunar crown upon his head. Sometimes he appears only as an ibis, and when he is A’an, the god of equilibrium, he appears as a seated baboon, or a man with the head of a baboon – sometimes with a lunar disc above his head.

In this form, “Thoth presided over the judgment of the dead with Osiris in the Hall of the Truth and those souls who feared they might not pass through the judgment safely were encouraged to call upon Thoth for help. … His home in the afterlife, known as the Mansion of Thoth, provided a safe place for souls to rest and receive magic spells to help them against the demons who would prevent them from reaching paradise. His magic was also instrumental in the revitalization of the soul which brought the dead back to life in the underworld,” Mark stated.

Along with written language, Thoth is credited with beginning law, philosophy, science and religion. He is also credited with inventing the 365-day calendar, said to have gambled with the moon to win the extra five days.

Thoth was worshiped by scribes throughout Egypt; many had a painting or a picture of him in their place of work. It is because of him the ibis became a symbol for a scribe. Scribes were said to offer the first drop of their ink to him before beginning their work each day. Writing cases, palettes and other tools of the trade were offered in his name.

His cult center was built at Khemenu in Hermopolis. In his honor, millions of mummified ibis were buried. His festival – Lord of Heavens – was celebrated on the New Year.

For ThoughtCo., Patti Wigington wrote that Thoth can be called upon for workings related to magic, wisdom and fate, and offered ways to honor him today:

Make an offering of handcrafted writing tools – inks, paper, or a quill pen – if you’re working on anything to do with writing or communications – creating a Book of Shadows or writing a spell, for instance.

Are you speaking words of healing or meditation, or mediating a dispute? Offer a prayer to Thoth, praising him for his wisdom and guidance.

Water, beer or bread are typically acceptable offerings for any deities in the Egyptian pantheon – use these in rituals honoring Thoth. Bonus points if you brew the beer or bake the bread yourself!”

Merry part. And merry meet again.

***

About the Author:

Lynn Woike was 50 – divorced and living on her own for the first time – before she consciously began practicing as a self taught solitary witch. She draws on an eclectic mix of old ways she has studied – from her Sicilian and Germanic heritage to Zen and astrology, the fae, Buddhism, Celtic, the Kabbalah, Norse and Native American – pulling from each as she is guided. She practices yoga, reads Tarot and uses Reiki. From the time she was little, she has loved stories, making her job as the editor of two monthly newspapers seem less than the work it is because of the stories she gets to tell. She lives with her large white cat, Pyewacket, in central Connecticut. You can follow her boards on Pinterest, and write to her at woikelynn at gmail dot com.

She Who is All – The Goddess of Ten Thousand Names

May, 2017

Bast/Bastet

Goddess1

 (Graphic: ancientegyptonline.com)

The Egyptian Goddess Bast or Bastet was originally a Lion-Headed Goddess, who gradually changed into the Cat-Headed Goddess we are more familiar with.

Even though Her outward appearance changed, Her temperament did not. She was still as fierce as a lion, while having the playfulness, grace, and dignity of a cat, sometimes affectionate, sometimes not, depending upon Her mood. Those of us who have a cat for a companion can certainly attest to that!

Goddess2

(Graphic: Wikipedia)

Bast was thought to be the daughter of Ra, and as such, was called the “Eye of Ra”. It is said that She rode with her father in his chariot, pulling the sun across the sky.

She is portrayed as holding an ankh, for immortal life, and occasionally, a papyrus wand, which was a symbol of Lower Egypt, as well as the all-seeing eye of Horus.

She is known to have protected Her father, Ra, from Apophis/Apep, the serpent, who was one of Ra’s greatest enemies. When Ra’s priests could not vanquish the serpent with their magic, Bast, who saw all with her eyes, killed the snake. Due to this, She was known as a Goddess of Protection.

As most Goddesses, She has many aspects and names. Because of Her travels across the sky with Ra, she is known as the Lady of the East and Goddess of the Rising Sun. She is a Moon Goddess, as the glowing eyes of the cat remind one of the radiant moon.

She was the Goddess of Health, as it was believed that she bestowed both physical and mental health. She was the Protector of the Household, as cats protected homes from both rats and snakes.

She has Warrior aspects, as we have seen; but She is also a Lover. She ruled sensual pleasure, dancing and music. At Her temple in the city of Bubastis, Her priestesses wore red and danced erotically at Her festivals. These festivals were always joyous occasions filled with the music and dancing that Bast loved. She also loved erotic scents. The scents most sacred to Her were musk, cinnamon and sandalwood.

Goddess3

(Graphic: Pinterest)

Bast is closely linked to Hathor; She sometimes carried a sistrum which was one of Hathor’s symbols. They are both honored at the Temple of Denderah, which was sometimes called the Bubastis of the South. They are both in the Kafre Temple at Giza – Hathor for Upper Egypt and Bast for Lower Egypt.

The Temple of Bupastis was filled with sacred cats, which Her priestess believed to all be incarnations of Bast herself. When the Temple was excavated, more than 300,000 mummified cats were found at the cat cemetery located there.

Goddess4

In honor of Bast, cats were sacred to the population of Egypt and were cherished. Cats were dressed in beautiful earrings and other jewelry. It was a serious crime to harm a cat and those who did, were punished.

Bast was also honored as a Goddess of Fertility and Childbirth, due to the ease with which cats seem to deliver their kittens, and the nurturing shown to the kittens after their birth.

Bast’s colors were black, silver, turquoise and red; Her gems were lapis lazuli, jasper and, of course, cat’s eye. It should come as no surprise that Her plant was catnip.

No matter which aspect was primary at any one given time, Bast was always who

She was, totally accepting of the being that She was. If there is anything that one can learn from Her, it is that we are who we are and we should accept and embrace ourselves.

Goddess5

May the Blessings of Bast be upon you!

She Who is All – The Goddess of Ten Thousand Names

December, 2016

MA’AT – EGYPTIAN GODDESS OF JUSTICE

maat1

(Photo Credit: Wikipedia)

Ma’at may seem, to some, a strange choice for a Goddess during the Winter Holiday Season, but after the US election outcome, this will not truly be a normal holiday season for some who are afraid of what the future may hold, and so, in a feeling of hopefulness, which I have lacked these last couple of weeks, I call on Ma’at, the Egyptian Goddess of Justice and Truth.

Ma’at can be recognized, always, by the ostrich feather on her headdress. She represents truth, justice and morality. She was also known as the Lady of Judgement Hall and Mistress of the Underworld. She was the daughter of Ra (sun) and wife of Thoth (moon).

Ma’at represents the stable universe; She kept the stars in motion, She maintains the order of Earth and Heaven; She changes the seasons. As the concept of order and balance, She brought balance to the daily life of the Egyptians, which was extremely important. Ma’at represented “ma-akheru” or “true of voice”, which was the aim of every Egyptian if they were to have a good afterlife. As such, Ma’at became, in principle, the the morality and ethics of Egypt that each person was expected to follow; She was the rules that became the basis for all Egyptian laws. The thought became, “will there be karma to be paid at this action?”.

Pharaohs became known as the “Beloved of Ma’at” and would carry a small statue of her to show that his regime was on of harmony, order and truth.

maat2

(Photo Credit: goddessschool.com)

The Vizier of Justice was always a Priest of Ma’at and wore a feather to identify him. He would draw a green-dyed feather across his tongue to signify that his words were true and that his judgement was balanced and fair.

“Crimes against Ma’at” were jealousy, dishonesty, gluttony, laziness, injustice, ingratitude. You were punished by death for violating Her spirit and then you would face punishment again in the Underworld in the Hall of Two Truths in the “Ceremony of Justification”. Written in the Egyptian Book of the Dead is a spell called “Forty-two Declarations of Purity” or “Negative Confessions” and they were read as:

I have not committed a sin.

I have not committed robbery with violence.

I have not stolen.

I have not slain men and women.

I have not stolen grain.

I have not purloined offerings.

I have not stolen the property of God.

I have not uttered lies.

I have not carried away food.

I have not uttered curses.

I have not committed adultery; I have not lain with men.

I have made none to weep.

I have not eaten the heart.

I have not attacked any man.

I am not a man of deceit.

I have not stolen cultivated land.

I have not been an eavesdropper.

I have not slandered.

I have not been angry without any cause.

I have not debauched the wife of any man.

I have not debauched the wife of man.

I have not polluted myself.

I have terrorized none.

I have not transgressed.

I have not been wroth.

I have not shut my ears to the words of truth.

I have not blasphemed.

I am not a man of violence.

I have not been a stirrer up of strife.

I have not acted with undue haste.

I have not pried into matters.

I have not multiplied my words in speaking.

I have wronged none, I have done no evil.

I have not worked witchcraft against the king.

I have never stopped water.

I have never raised my voice.

I have not cursed God.

I have not acted with arrogance.

I have not stolen the bread of the gods.

I have not carried away the khenfu cakes from the Spirits of the dead.

I have not snatched away the bread of a child, nor treated with contempt the god of my city.

I have not slain the cattle belonging to the god.

**************************************

maat3

(Photo Credit: forums.smitegame.com)

But all who successfully reached the Underworld would be judged. This judgement consisted of the weighing of their heart or soul (resources vary on which it was). The heart/soul was placed on one side of Ma’at’s scales to be weighed against Her ostrich feather. Resources also vary on whether it was Osiris who did the weighing, or if it were Anubis who oversaw the weighing, and then brought the heart/soul to Osiris for judgement. If the heart/soul was lighter than the feather, then that person would leave for the Afterlife. If, however, the heart/soul was heavier than the feather, indicating evil, then that person would immediately be eaten by the Goddess Ammit, who stood by waiting. Ammit had the head of a crocodile, the front legs of a lion and the back legs of a hippopotamus.

Normally, Ma’at was shown standing or seated upon a stone platform or foundation. She has outstretched wings attached to both of Her arms, and sometimes holds a scepter in one hand and an ankh in the other. The stone foundation which holds Her represents the stable base on which Egypt’s balance and order has been built.

The heiroglyph for the word “truth” is a feather. It is part of Ma’at’s name in heiroglphyics : the Feather of Truth, a symbol for bread, which equals a provider of food, a feminine egg and Ma’at herself, in a seated position

maat4

maat5

(Photo Credit: goddessschool.com)

Ma’at’s colors were black and purple and Her symbols are the ostrich feather, the platform throne and the ankh. She is the element of Air, the scent of Rose, and the Amethyst crystal.

There is a small temple dedicated to Ma’at at Karnak, inside the precinct of Monto. it is the smallest of the temples there and is believed to be built by the beloved Hapshepsut. There may be evidence to indicate that a temple to Ma’at was built by Amenhotpe II at Ipet-Isut.

In the name of Ma’at, I wish everyone a Blessed Yule/Winter Holiday Season, and to everyone around the world, a wish for truth, justice and freedom. So Mote It Be.

Brightest Blessings

)O(

Resources:

The New Book of Goddesses & Heroines by Patricia Monaghan

The Mysteries of Isis by DeTraci Regula

ancient-origins.net

crystallinks.com

A Year and A Day

September, 2013

Pantheons

 

Many Wiccans are polytheistic, meaning they worship in many gods and goddesses as part of their belief system.

 

A ‘pantheon’ is a set of gods and goddesses from a particular religion or mythology.  Popular pantheons include Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Norse, Celtic, Hindu, Japanese, and Native American.

 

Sometimes there is overlap between deities from different pantheons.  For example, Greek and Roman deities often overlap, however are given different names.  Celtic deities often overlap with Gaulish and Brittanic deities.

 

Some Wiccan groups insist that you work within a singular pantheon, however some groups find that working with deities from different pantheons is acceptable.  Most Wiccans agree that you should work with a group of deities that you feel particularly called to.  Whether you follow your ancestry or look elsewhere, your connection to the divine is deeply personal and subjective.  Listen to your intuition!

 

Below are some of the major pantheons used in Wicca and examples of some of the more popular deities.  This is by no means an exhaustive list – do you own research to find what speaks to you!

 

 

 

 

 

CELTIC

Cernunnos  – ‘The Horned One’. Ancient God of fertility, nature, and animals.

Dagda – ‘The Good God’.  God of protection, knowledge, warriors.

Danu – ‘Great Mother’, mother of the Tuatha Dé Danann. Goddess of the earth, rivers, wells.

Lugh – God of the sun, craftsmanship, and many other skills.

Brigid – Triple goddess; fire of inspiration (poetry), fire of the health (healing, fertility), fire of the forge (smithcraft).

Morrigan – ‘Great Queen’, ‘Phantom Queen’. Goddess of war, death, prophecy.

 

 

 

 

 

NORSE

Odin – ‘All Father’, ruler of the Aesir. God of war, death, wisdom and magic.

Frigg – Goddess of marriage.  Wife of Odin.

Thor – God of thunder and lightning, strength and protection.  Son of Odin.

Baldur – Gentle, handsome son of Odin.

Freyja – Goddess of love, fertility, war, divination and magic.  Sister of Freyr.

Freyr – God of virility, fertility, and prosperity.  Brother of Freyja.

Loki – Trickster god and shape-shifter.

Hel – Goddess of the dead and underworld, ruler of the Land of Mist.  Daughter of Loki.

 

 

 

 

 

EGYPTIAN

Ra – God of the sun.

Nut – Goddess of the night, sky and heaven.

Isis – ‘Divine Mother’.  Goddess of nature, magic, fertility, family and rebirth.

Thoth – God of the moon.

Osiris – God of vegetation and the otherworld.

Anubis – God of funerals, guardian of the dead.

Bast – Goddess of the sun, moon, lions, cats, fertility and war.

Hathor – Cow goddess of love and music, protector of women.

Horus – God of war and the sun.

 

 

GREEK / ROMAN

Zeus/Jupiter – King of the gods, ruler of Mount Olympus. God of the sky and thunder.

Hera/Juno – Queen of the gods, the goddess of marriage and family.

Demeter/Ceres – Goddess of fertility, agriculture, nature, and the seasons.

Dionysus/Bacchus – God of wine, celebration, and ecstasy.

Apollo/Phoebus – God of light, knowledge, healing, music, the sun, youth and beauty.

emis/Diana – Goddess of the hunt, virginity, childbirth, the moon and all animals.

Athena/Minerva – Goddess of wisdom, defense and strategic warfare.

Aphrodite/Venus – Goddess of love, beauty, and desire.

 

Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twelve_Olympians

http://www.thenileandegypt.com/deities.html

http://ayearandadaywicca.wordpress.com/

 

Gems of the Goddess

February, 2013

Bastet – Egyptian Cat Goddess

The Egyptian goddess Bastet, also known as Bast, Ubasti and Baset, has been worshipped since the Second Dynasty. In the third millenium BC, she was depicted as a priestess with the head of a lion. Later, in the first millenium BC, with the popularity of the house cat, her lion’s head often transformed into that of a cat. Though her physical image differed, her demeanor did not. She remained both tame and wild, gentle and fierce.

Daughter of the sun god Ra, she is also known as Lady of Flame and Eye of Ra. She is wife to Ptah, god of carpenters and shipbuilders, and mother to Nefertum, who it is said was called forth from a lotus flower to help raise the sun into the sky.

Unlike other goddesses, Bastet has a very unique duality. When her head is that of a cat, she is a moon goddess, and when a lion, she is a sun goddess.  It is in these very powerful aspects of nature that she reminds us that to be true to oneself requires the acceptance of our own opposite natures.

With her feline mystique she is associated with playfulness, grace, sexuality, and affection, though none can deny her predatory nature. Contradictorily, it is this very predatory aspect that made her a protection goddess, much in the same way a domestic cat protects the crops and food stores by killing vermin.

Priests of Bastet’s temples were known to keep sacred cats who, when they passed over, were mummified and presented as offerings to the great goddess. To do harm to any cat would not only bring her wrath, but also that of the community and justice systems, as the penalty was death.

Bastet shows us the eternal sacred quality of the feminine, along with the beauty of a feral protectress. She reminds us that solitude and independence shows strength, but also that unity in relations binds our souls.

You can honor her with offerings of sweet liquids and foods, mint, honey, statues of cats, items of silver or gold, or a bowl of cool water placed on your altar.

 
correspondences –
Color: green, gold, red
Stones: Agate, cat’s eye, jasper, Sunstone
Planet: Sun
Herbs: catnip, cinnamon, vervain
Incense: Musk, cinnamon, frankincense, myrrh, hemp, sandalwood
Aspects: protector from contagious disease and evil spirits, as well as the home, cats and women

Moon Owl Observations

September, 2011

Anubis

Anubis is one of those that most people would recognize but may not know who he is or what he stands for.  He is an ancient God who was widely worshipped in Egypt. He is the guardian of magical secrets and is the patron of embalmers, mummification and the dead on their path through the underworld. He has the body of man and the head of a jackal. It is believed that the reason he is portrayed with the head of a jackal is that jackals are scavengers who prowl along edges of desert and in cemeteries. He also has a host of messenger ‘demons’ that would carry knowledge and other things to help humanity, but these messengers could be used for good or evil.

Since he is so ancient, the story of his origin has changed numerous times but the most widely believed is that Nephthys is his mother and Osiris his father. Osiris, Nephthys and Seth are siblings, with Seth and Nephthys being husband and wife as well. Seth was jealous of all of Osiris popularity and power and plotted to kill him, however Nephthys and Osiris ended up sleeping together before this could happen and when Seth found out he cursed the child- who turned out to be Anubis.

When Osiris did die, Anubis was very upset and decided to wrap the dead Osiris in bandages, thus making him the first mummy. He wrapped Osiris so the air would not corrupt the body. Egyptians believed that if this process was good enough for the gods, it was good enough for them. Anubis then became known as ‘the lord of the mummy wrappings’ and it was believed that if a body was not properly embalmed of mummified he would dig up the body and eat it.

Anubis ended up joining Osiris in Tuat ( the underworld) and joined him in the ceremony of weighing the heart.  Anubis would escort the recently deceased into the underworld and he would take their heart and measure it on the ‘Scales of Truth’. The heart would be weighed against the feather of Ma’at. If the heart was as light as a feather that meant the soul was pure and Anubis would escort the soul to Osiris. If the heart was heavier, the soul would be declared as wicked and it would be fed to Ammit.  A very popular picture of this happening is shown below:

The cult centers for Anubis were Cynopolis ‘ city of the dog’ and Heliopolis ‘city of the sun’.  Both places are long gone but there is still the Temple of Re-Atum obelisk from Heliopolis. The symbols for him are embalming equipment, a hide hanging from a pole and of course, the jackal. By worshipping Anubis, people hoped to invoke him to protect their deceased from natural decay. Also, when mummification was popular, priests who supervised the preparation of the mummy would wear a jackal-headed Anubis mask.  Anubis may not be as popular as he used to be, but he should still be well respected and honoured.

Gems of the Goddess

June, 2010

Sekhmet

sekhmet

Sekhmet is a powerful Egyptian Goddess.  There are some variations to the spelling of her name – Sachmet, Sakhet, Sekmet, Sakhmet, Sekhet and Nesert.  She is also known as Sacmis, which is a Greek name.   She was the sister and wife of Ptah.  Some places have her linked with the Goddess Hathor.
Sekhmet is a Warrior Goddess and her name means “The Mighty One”.  She was also known as (One) Before Whom Evil Trembles, the Mistress of Dread, the Lady of Slaughter and the Lady of the Flame.  Her head is depicted with a lioness’ head.
She was known as a Solar Goddess and you will see many of her statues, in addition to having the lion’s head, has a solar disc on the top.   Many see her as a Goddess of War and Destruction.  She is tasked with protecting the Pharaohs when they went into battle by shooting arrows.   Sekhmet could be vengeful and could destroy by sending plagues, disease and misery to people.  However, she could easily reverse the effects, which shows the balance between her ability to destruct and to heal.
Sekhmet is part of the story “The Destruction of Mankind.”  Re, a Sun God, created Sekhmet from the fire in his eye to stop people that were plotting against him and being disrespectful.  Sekhmet was always enthusiastic about her slaying job and, once she got a taste of vengeance, she did her job so well she almost eliminated humanity.   Re put a stop to it by getting Sekhmet drunk beer that was colored to look like blood.  She was so tipsy that she abandoned her plans to finish off humanity and they were saved.
To avoid her wrath again, there were daily rituals (every morning and afternoon) performed to Sekhmet every day of each year.  Many statues will built in her honor – over 700.
Sekhmet is identified with Bast (Bastet).  She is known to wear red while Bast wore green.  Sekhmet was considered the Goddesses of the West while Bast was considered Goddess of the East.   Both had the lioness heads.
Her symbols are the lioness, cobra and Urjat (the eye of Horus).   To work with her, let her help with getting rid of anger and dealing with vengeance for a situation but it’s important not to get carried away.  Handling a situation properly will help you see the lessons of the experience much clearer than deal with problems when you’re in a temper.  She helps to transform the anger – letting you be safe to express yourself but stopping you from getting consumed by the fire.
Connecting with Sekhmet is easy – use interactive ways to do so.  Take a shamanic journey or work on doing some interactive meditations.  She is there to help you heal from your demons while acknowledging and facing them.

The Darker Side of the Higher Ones

May, 2006

Sekhmet

(Sakhmet, Sachmet, Sekhet)



-*Powerful one*-

-*Sun Goddess*-

-*Destroyer*-

-*Mistress of Dread*-

-*Lady of Pestilence*-

-*Avenger of Wrongs*-

-*Scarlet Lady*-

-*One Before Whom Evil Trembles-*

-*The Lady of Slaughter*-

-*Lady of Flame*-

-*Goddess of Healing*-

-*Defender of Ma’at*-







Sekhmet is depicted as a lion-headed woman with the sun disk and uraeus serpent headdress. Although she is connected with Bast, she has no relationship with the cat goddess. They are two distinct goddesses in their own rights – the Egyptians did not claim they were siblings of any kind. Bast and Sekhmet were an example of Egyptian duality – Sekhmet was a goddess of Upper Egypt, Bast of Lower Egypt (just like the pharaoh was of Upper or Lower Egypt)… and they were linked together by geography, not by legend. However , another source says that Bast and Sekhmet (Hathor) are sisters , goddesses of war, and therefore one ruled over the upper and the other the lower kingdom of Egypt.



In Tibet she is known as Senge Dong-ma, lion-headed dakini, "Guardian of the Secret Tantric Teachings". She is called Simhavaktra, in India where she also has a male reflection in the lion-headed incarnation of Vishnu, Narasimha. Pure shakti, she is doubtless a close relative to lion-mounted Durga, "Keeper of the Flame". Indeed, another Egyptian title for Sekhmet is Nesert, the flame. In the ancient Near East she was called Anat, Ashtoreth and Astarte.



The lion headed goddess Sekhmet is thought to be a member of the Memphis triad. She was the wife of Ptah and the mother of Nefertem. She is the war goddess of Upper Egypt and retribution and said to pierce her enemies with fire- her breath being the hot desert wind as her body took on the glare of the destructive force of the sun. However being the mother of Nefertem, who is a healing god, she also has the power to take ailments away.


She came into being when Hathor was sent to earth by Ra to take vengeance on mankind. She was the one who slaughtered mankind and drank their blood.



The story goes that Ra, creator of the world, was ruler over all lands for thousands of years. He set rules into place and the people were happy and praised him for his goodness. But, since he made himself as man, he became old and his body withered. Soon the men would jeer and make fun of Ra. He became angered and gathered the gods and goddesses together in secret to plot his revenge on mankind for their disobedience of his laws and the evil that had entered the race. Ra’s mother Nun said: "My son Ra, the god greater than he who made him and mightier than those whom he has created, turn your mighty Eye upon them and send destruction upon them in the form of your daughter, the goddess Sekhmet." "Send against them the glance of your Eye in the form Sekhmet!" cried all the other gods and goddesses, bowing before Ra until their foreheads touched the ground.



So at the terrible glance from the Eye of Ra his daughter Sekhmet came into being, the fiercest of all goddesses. Like a lion she rushed upon her prey, and her chief delight was slaughter, and her pleasure was their blood. So into Upper and Lower Egypt she went to slay those who had scorned and disobeyed him. All whom she saw she slew, rejoicing in slaughter and the taste of blood.



Ra looked out over the land and saw what Sekhmet had done. He called to her, saying: "Come, my daughter, and tell me how you have obeyed my commands."

Sekhmet answered with the terrible voice of a lioness as she tears her prey: "By the life which you have given me, I have indeed done vengeance on mankind, and my heart rejoices."



But soon after, Ra began to pity mankind. However, no one cold stop Sekhmet! For it was determined that she was to stop slaying by her own accord.



So Ra became cunning and commanded his army of swift messengers who were able to outrun Sekhmet with the speed of "storm winds" . He then commanded them to go into the island of Elephantine and collect red ochre . So the messengers ran and collected the ochre from the island and brought it back toRa. Then he commanded "Mingle the red ochre of Elephantine with the barley-beer. " It was done, so that the beer gleamed red in the moonlight like blood.



"Now take it to the place where Sekhmet proposes to slay men when the sun rises," said Ra. So during the night the jars of beer were taken and poured out over the fields so that the ground was covered to about nine inches .When day came Sekhmet came also, licking her lips at the thought of the men whom she would slay. She found the place flooded and no one in sight; but she saw the beer which was the colour of blood, and she thought it was the blood of those whom she had slain.



Then she laughed with joy, stooped and drank.Until she becane to drunk to kill . She stumbled to where Ra was waiting and he said: "You come in peace, sweet one." And her name was changed to Hathor, and her nature was changed also to the sweetness of love and the strength of desire. And henceforth Hathor struck men and women only with the great power of love.

Afterword she became known as Sekhmet Hathor. But later Sekhmet and Hathor were split up as two separate deities both haveing claim to the "Eye of Ra" because they were so vastly different.


Her cult center was in Memphis, before the New Kingdom’s seat of power was shifted to Thebes.



In order to soothe Sekhmet’s wrath, her priesthood felt compelled to perform a ritual before a different statue of her on each day of the year, leading to it being estimated that over seven hundred statues of Sekhmet once stood in the funerary temple of Amenhotep III, on the west bank of the Nile. It was said that her priests protected her statues from theft or vandalism by coating them with Anthrax! Sekhmet was also seen as a bringer of disease, to be prayed to so as to cure such ills by placating her.



The name "Sekhmet" literally became synonymous with doctors and surgeons during the Middle Kingdom. In antiquity, many of Sekhmet’s priests were often considered to be on the same level as physicians.



Tame lions were kept in temples dedicated to Sekhmet at Leontopolis.

To pacify Sekhmet further, festivals were celebrated at the end of battle, so that there would be no more destruction. On such occasions, people danced and played music to soothe the wildness of the goddess, and drank great quantities of beer.



There is a modern day Temple built to honor Sekhmet in Nevada! www.sekhmettemple.com




A Hymn of Sekhmet says:

Mine is a heart of carnelian, crimson as murder on a holy day.

Mine is a heart of corneal, the gnarled roots of a dogwood and the bursting of flowers.

I am the broken wax seal on my lover’s letters.

I am the phoenix, the fiery sun, consuming and resuming myself.

I will what I will.

Mine is a heart of carnelian, blood red as the crest of a phoenix



An Invocation to Sekhmet

"The Powerful, powerful in her existence, She that impurity fears.

The one who’s face is beautiful, remarkable of image, who thrusts back sadness.

The solar feminine disc, radiant, rejuvenating, illuminating the country.

The Mistress of the sky, appearing in her sanctuary.

Sekhmet, powerful against the enemies, inspiring terror in the rebels.

The Mistress of Iunet, entering into her chapel, whirling and dancing in her temple."

(translated into English by Kerry Wisner, 1999-2000, from the French text "Dendera – I Traduction" by S. Cauville)



Sekhmet Incense Recipe

by Eloise Coquio

This is a rich red incense that smells spicy and immediately conjures an impression of heat and fiery sunlight. It is a pungent smell that echoes the strength and power of Sekhmet.

3 parts Frankincense.

1.5 parts dragon’s blood.

1 part each of copal, juniper, cinnamon, benzoin and red sandalwood.

3/4 parts clove

Few drops each of frankincense and orange oil.






links used:
www.touregypt.net/godsofegypt/sekhmet2.htm

www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sekhmet

www.tatooheaven.com/Sekhmet.html



**Special thanks to Joan, and Lilith who are members of the yahoo group Witches_of_the_Dark. They provided me with some of the site links that I used in this article.



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author bio:



Michelle is a member of the yahoo group Witches_of_the_dark.

She was a Pentecostal christian for 15 years and and for the last 3 has been following an eclectic pagan path based on Egyptian and oriental beliefs from her past lives. Comments, questions can be sent to her at MysticalChaos13@aol.com