Sekhmet is the Ancient Egyptian Goddess of pestilence, health/illness, destruction, war and wisdom. Associated with sunset and retribution, she uses arrows to pierce her enemies with fire, her breath being the hot desert wind as her body takes on the glare of the midday sun. Sekhmet represents the destructive force of the sun, is depicted as a lion-headed woman with the sun disk and uraeus serpent headdress and has eyes and hair which blaze orange or red.
Although Sekhmet is connected with Bast, she has no relationship with the cat goddess. They are two distinct goddesses in their own right and the Ancient 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 whilst Bast was a goddess of Lower Egypt and they were linked together by geography, not by myth or legend.
According to the Ancient Egyptian myths, Sekhmet came into being when Hathor was sent to earth by Ra to take vengeance on man. Sekhmet was the one who slaughtered mankind and drank their blood. She was only stopped by trickery when Ra poured red clay into the Nile to resemble blood, which was then drunk by Sekhmet and left her so inebriated; she then fell into a deep sleep and mankind was spared. Sekhmet was therefore the destructive side of the sun and a solar goddess who was given the title – Eye of Ra. Her cult center was in Mennefer (Hikuptah, Memphis) but during the New Kingdom when the seat of power shifted to Waset, Sekhmet’s powers were absorbed by Mut. Sekhmet was soon represented as Mut’s aggressive side, rather than a goddess in her own right.
Sekhmet is the consort of Ptah who is known as the master architect and God of craftsmen by the Ancient Egyptians. Many of Sekhmet’s statues can be found in temple and building entry ways due to her protective nature as well as her connection Ptah whom passed on masonry knowledge to the Ancient Egyptian people. Sekhmet is also the mother of Nefertem, who himself is a healing god and this gives her a strong protective side which manifested itself in her aspect of goddess of healing and surgery. Part of her destruction side was also disease and plague, as the ‘Lady of Pestilence’ but she could also cure said ailments so was frequently prayed to and venerated. The Ancient Egyptian priests of Sekhmet were trained surgeons of remarkable calibre as they were specialists in the field of medicine as well as the arts and were linked to ritual and magic in these areas as part of their craft.
In astrology, Sekhmet will resonate strongly with Saturn, the dwarf planet Pluto and the asteroid Chiron. Sekhmet wants renewal and healing for everything and relentlessly creates the conditions for us to keep growing and changing. The way Sekhmet does this is by moving us out of static patterns and into the dynamic quality of new experience so in the tarot she can appear as The Tower major arcana card. Sekhmet’s day is Wednesday and she is the Goddess of the month of Khoiak of the season of Akhet (Inundation) in the Kemetic calendar which was from approximately mid October to mid November. In modern times the winter and summer solstices can celebrate Sekhmet in her aspects of entering and exiting our lives due to her connection of the sun and its movements.
Here is an invocation I would like to share with you, which I wrote to her when she first called me to service. I have used this invocation successfully in rituals for protection and strength with Sekhmet’s aid:
Lady of Flame
Whose power is in thy name
Aid us this night
With your presence and might
Ruler of the White Hot Sun
This rite’s magic has now begun
Great One of Magic
Banish anything that’s harmful and tragic
Goddess of Pestilence and Wars
Help us heal our emotional sores
Mother in the Horizon of Heaven
Death to negative energies and their brethren
Queen of the Wastelands
We leave our past failures disposals in your hands
Destroyer of Rebellions, those against you quake with fear
Help us to move forward and put our future into positive gear
Protectress we ask our idleness and weakness for you to destroy
As strength, wisdom and health we seek to employ,
Powerful Great Defender
Shield us from past, present and future pretender
Mistress of the Scorching Eye of Ra
Cleanse us from evil near and far
Most divine and greatest of healing
Preserve us from physical ailments and ill feeling
Keeper of the universal and karmic lore
Help us accept the past is gone and dwells no more
You are she who is pure and sacred – most holy one
Make sure all curses sent our way are smothered and undone
Lady whose enemies bend at your will
We will persevere and survive with your added skill
We call you forth to aid us in our plight
As we come to you in love and understanding – not fright
© T. Georgitsis 2003
For more information on Sekhmet you can purchase the devotional I edited in her name on Amazon: