Sekhmet, also know as Sakhet, Sakhmet or Sekhet. She is the Lioness-headed Goddess, fiercest hunter of Egypt. Her name comes from the word Sekhem (Power), and her name means: "The One Who Is Powerful".


Some of the titles given to her are:

  • Lady of Life.
  • Lady of Pestilence.
  • Lady of Slaughter.
  • Lady of Terror.
  • Mistress of Dread.
  • One Before Whom Evil Tembles.
  • Red Lady.
  • She Who Mauls.

There are some variations in who are her parents or how she came to exist, some believed she is the Daughter of the Sun God Ra (for this she was consider a Solar Deity), other think she is the daughter of Nut and Geb, wife and sister of Ptah, mother of Nefertum (Other sources think she also gave birth to Maahes in the New Kingdom).

She is usually represented as a woman with the head of a Lioness, dressed in red, sometimes with a Rosetta pattern located in her breast, but sometimes she is naked. She also wears the Solar Disk and Uraeus, which associates her with Wadjet.

Sekhmet was consider a warrior Goddess and Goddess of healing for Upper Egypt, in which she was the Patron of Physicians and healers. Her priestess where consider skilled doctors and healers. Also she would be invoked to fight against the "demons" of plague and disease, but people believed also she could send these demons against her enemies.

She represented the power and heat of the Sun at Midday, which explains why she was also know as Nester, The Flame. Also was a divine arbiter of the Goddess Ma'at in the Judgement Hall of Osiris.

Egyptians believed the desert was created from her breath and that she was Protector of the Pharaohs, who she led them in war. Example of the faith Pharaohs on Sekhmet are Ramesses II, who took her as symbol of his power, and Amenhotep III, who built over 600 statues of the Goddess to use on a ritual, which we will discuss later.

Another Goddess she was related, was Hathor, in this partnership, Sekhmet was the evil, harsh aspect of Hathor.

There are not too many myths about her, one myths says that during the Battle of Kadesh, she appeared on Battle on a horse, and set into flames the bodies of enemies soldiers, but maybe the most well know myth about her is this one:

When Ra wanted to punish mankind for ignoring the Gods, he sent the Lioness-headed Goddess (a variation says that she was created by the fire of Ra as a weapon of vengeance against humans), becoming the "Eye of Ra".

Once in land, the Goddess started a slaughter, killing men, women, and kids alike. Her blood thirst had no limits, and she almost extincted humankind. To stop her, the Gods tricked her. They flooded a field with Khakadi (a mix of beer and red color that looked like blood). The Goddess gorged herslef into it to drink, getting drunk and passing out.

When she woke up, the first thing she saw was Ptah, falling in love with him almost instantly. From this union, it was born Nefertum (Healing) and Ma'art  was re established. After this she was consider part of the Triad of Memphis, along with her partner Ptah and son Nefertem.

There was a festival to celebrate the Goddess at the beginning of each year know as the Intoxication Festival. During the festival, people would drink in excess wine and get drunk, just like the Goddess when she was stopped by the Gods when she almost destroyed mankind.

Also it's believed that the festival was related to averting the flooding during the inundation at the beginning of every year, when the Nile river ran with the sit from the upstream, and the Goddess Sekhmet had to swallow the overflow to save mankind.

Beside this festival, her priestess had to perform a ritual before a different statue of the Goddess each day of the year, (remeber the 600 statues built by Amenhotep III?).

She didn't have a temple of her own, but she  was worshipped on a temple as "The Destroyer" among with Ptah and Nefertum in Memphis, which is consider to be her center cult. Also there was another temple at Kom El Hisn to honor the Goddess Sekhmet-Hartor.

Her symbols are the lioness, cobra and the Udjah (Eye of Horus).

Return From Sekhmet To Egyptian Myths Page

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