Hekate for Halloween

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Halloween is also celebrated as the witches new year and is the time when the veil between the worlds is at its thinnest and therefore perfect for divination or contacting the dead.  Hekate’s connection to witches can be traced back to classical Greece where they worked with her for various incantations, spells and called upon her for assistance and blessings.

Hekate, the virgin titaness who prefers solitude, goddess of the sea, earth and sky, light bearer and revealer to those who seek, keeper of the crossroads who roams the cemeteries for lost souls, queen of magic and the night, key bearer who has access to the otherworld and can commune with those who have passed between the veils, goddess of ghosts and necromancy, patron of travellers who guides them to their destination.

Goddess of witchcraft, magic and ghosts – Hekate in my opinion exudes the energy of Halloween. During Halloween Hekate, the embodiment of death roams the earth and is therefore one of the most suitable gods to honour during this time.  Since Hekate is known as goddess of the dead, mistress of souls who can accompany the departed between the realm of the living and that of the dead, witches have naturally been drawn to call upon her during the festival of the dead: Halloween also known as Samhain.  Hekate can be called upon as an intermediary to connect you to your ancestors especially since our dearly departed tend to visit us during Halloween.  Also communing with the ancestors during this time can reveal future fate and Hekate can also be of assistance when divining.

Venerating the ancestors and Hekate during this time which also celebrates the last harvest ensures blessings and that fertility to the land is returned in spring.  The ancient Greeks would often leave offerings to Hekate in order for their crops not to fail and for her storm aspect to be pacified.  Considering winter is a time of storms and the earth lays dormant, getting Hekate on your good side with respects to these aspects is forward thinking.

I personally see that during Mabon (Autumn Equinox) is when Hekate, torches in hand, guides and protects Persephone as she descends into the underworld.  At Halloween, Hekate has returned from the Underworld with news from the dead, as she is one of the few gods who can traverse between all the worlds.

Constructing a dumb supper for Hekate and your ancestors is a wonderful way to honour them both by placing a plate of food that Hekate and your ancestors would appreciate then leaving it on a Hekate or ancestor altar, on a crossroads or on your doorsteps ensures they will take on the essence of the food offered.

Offerings to your ancestors can include food they enjoyed during life and offerings to Hekate that compliments Halloween includes apples, pomegranates, garlic, onion, wine, mead and mugwort tea.

Here is a simple ritual for Hekate, Halloween and your ancestors I have composed and used successfully in the past:

Prepare a dumb supper and place in the NW of your circle or on the left of your altar.

Create sacred space.

Light some incense preferably dragons blood, frankincense or livani (which is found at Greek continental shops and I prefer the rose scented type).

Have a candle placed in the middle of your altar before an image of Hekate in red or black so your deceased loved ones can make their way to you whilst invoking a hymn to Hekate (I prefer the Orphic Hymn to Hekate).

Have a key (I prefer skeleton keys) and an image of a skull (I prefer to use crystal) on the left side of your alter.

Any forms of divination should be placed on your shrine which include, tarot cards, scrying bowl or mirror.

Begin the rite by lighting the spirit candle and evoke Hekate with the following Orphic hymn:

“Hekate Einodia, Trioditis, lovely dame, of earthly, watery, and celestial frame, sepulchral, in a saffron veil arrayed, pleased with dark ghosts that wander through the shade; Perseis, solitary goddess, hail! The world’s key-bearer, never doomed to fail; in stags rejoicing, huntress, nightly seen, and drawn by bulls, unconquerable queen; Leader, Nymphe, nurse, on mountains wandering, hear the suppliants who with holy rites thy power revere, and to the herdsman with a favouring mind draw near.”

 

Take the key and tap the top of the skull three times and repeat the following chant:

“Hekate we ask that you open the gates of Hades and allow our ancestors to traverse to us this night

Guide our loved ones who have passed over, to us with your wisdom and might

Bring our ancestors of old and new with you to share with us their gift of foresight

Great Goddess we seek to commune with them in the name of all that is light

Bless us for we pay homage to you and our departed ones in this very rite”

 

Commune with your ancestors and use your divination tools to see what the year has in store for you or ask any specific questions that you have.

Thank and farewell your ancestors and Hekate.

Close sacred space.

(C) T. Georgitsis 2010

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First and Last: A Devotional For Hestia

I have a hymn dedicated to Hestia in a new book released in her name!

Terence P Ward congrats on editing this great devotional.

To purchase your copy go here:

First and The Last: A Devotional For Hestia

 

Basic Hellenic Ritual

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Basic Hellenic Ritual

Set up working shrine with the following: image of God/dess, knife, khernips, khernips bowl, offerings including: barley, flowers, grape juice/wine, blessing cups, libation vessel, olive oil, salt, bread, candle/lamp, incense, charcoal, incense burner, bay leaves and matches.

Purification

Wash your hands in the khernips which is placed in a bowl outside the sacred space.

At this point state, Let all that is profane be gone!

Take barley and throw the offering of cleansing upon the shrine and upon the sacred space and say,
Hekas hekas este o-bebeloi(Afar, Afar, O The/Ye Profane).

Procession

Form a formal procession and walk towards the sacred space carrying the offerings with you.

Present the offerings to the God/desses by holding them up in a gesture of offering and placing them on the shrine before forming a semi-circle around the shrine. You do not need to speak to do this but may say a few words as a statement of purpose if you are inspired.

Sprinkle khernips over offerings to purify them with the words “Xerniptosai (be purified).

Honoring God/s

Read out a hymn to Hestia (the first and foremost) and offer a libation in her name.

Read out hymn to specific God/dess and offer a libation in their name.

Offerings and Blessing Request

Present any offerings.

These can be in the form of items lifted up to the heavens, in the form of hymns or prayers you would like to read out, any petitions of askance, blessings or the like and lastly any jewelry or ritual tools may be consecrated using the khernips.

Pour a libation for God/dess.

Partake of the libations if so inclined.

Closing

Thank God/dess by saying:
“God/dess, in your name we gathered, thank you for your eternal illumination and blessings.”

Ritual is complete.

This is now when the “feasting” part of the ritual takes place ensuring that afterwards the shrine is disassembled and cleaned up.

(C) T. Georgitsis 2012

 

FOI: Isian News, Brigantia 2017

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Linda Iles has produced a great issue this season of the Fellowship of Isis zine which is a free magazine with members contributing from all around the world.

I have contributed an article on the Sistrum used in Ancient Egypt and by modern day practitioners.

Brigantia Issue No. 163, Brigantia, 2017 for the FOI:

Issue No. 163, Brigantia, 2017

(If the link above doesn’t work, try the link below.)

Isian News

Initiation Hymn

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This is the hymn I had to write for my first degree back when I was part of the Elphame tradition in the 1990’s.

I came across it recently in my handwritten BOS.

Please excuse the “old English” style language as I was in my early 20’s and was over exposed to that liturgy technique during inner and outer court.  The AHP and HP at the time used and wrote rituals in this tone and truth be told I personally don’t use this type of language and never have.

Interesting to see how much I have changed yet my devotion is still unwavering over the years.

Initiation Hymn

O Great Goddess of all that is,
I call upon you to be here with me now.
Come to me O Great Lady as I invoke you in your many guises.
I call thee forth for guidance as I walk the old path and strive for spiritual growth and knowledge.

To Athtor I call out, Mother Night.
Bring to me respect of all things,
Power within and heighten my hidden senses.

To Bast I call out, Playful Lady.
Bring to me happiness and all that is joyful in one’s life
and help me to live the life to its fullest.

To Hathor I call out, O Beauteous One.
Bring to me love for all things
and the power of self-love.

To Maat I call out, Bearer of Truth.
Bring to me truth, honour, justice and
the power to speak out against untruths.

To Mert I call out, Lover of Silence.
Bring to me the wisdom of silence
and constraint when needed.

To Isis I call out, Mistress of Charms and Enchantments.
Bring to me the determination and dedication
in finding and learning the mysteries.

© T. Georgitsis 1998

Hekate Self Initiation

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One of the simplest rituals I have created and completed is a self-initiation and dedication to a deity.  Here is a ritual I wrote many moons ago for Hekate which you might find useful and which you can use as a guideline when writing your own ritual:

Hekate Self Initiation

Performed on Sunset/Sunrise in a liminal place.

Items Needed:

  • 1 black candle
  • 2 white candles
  • 1 lighter/matches
  • 2 coins
  • 2 keys
  • 1 glass of wine or grape juice
  • Moon cakes
  • 1 glass of water
  • Salt
  • Hekate incense or similar
  • Charcoal
  • Incense burner
  • Hekate oil or similar
  • Pad and pen

Preparation:

Clean the working space and neutralize energies.  This can be done by completing the LBRP, sweeping the space with a broom, clearing the temple with incense and khernips etc.

Ensure alter is set up with items needed.

Anoint the black candle with the Hekate oil.

Anoint self with Hekate oil between the brow.

Create Sacred Space

In any manner you are accustomed to.

Magickal Working

As a sign of devotion offer Hekate a coin, a white candle and a key.

(The coin can be given to a charity or left at a crossroads after the ritual, the white candle can be used when invoking Hekate and the key can be used when working with Hekate to unlock mysteries or connect to her).

Light the black candle and Invoke Hekate by reciting a prayer written in her name.

Make an offering to Hekate consisting of wine and moon cakes.

Speak to Hekate in your own words.  Tell Hekate that you are dedicating yourself to her service and let her know what you can offer her as her devotee.  Share with her where you are at in your life and what you feel is holding you back and what you want to achieve.  Ask Hekate for her blessings, guidance and help.  Remember to be clear and concise with your words.

After you have done this visualise Hekate unlocking a door and opening it before you, she hands you a key as you pass through the door and there you find a crossroad before you.  Hekate holds her arms up before her in witch pose and lights the appropriate path before you with her blazing torches.  Hekate hands you a torch and beckons you to walk along beside her as she guides you down the illuminated path.  Follow the illuminated path until you find the answer you seek. After you have found the answer you seek thank Hekate for her assistance and farewell her.  Record any insights or advice given.

Close Sacred Space

In any manner you are accustomed to similar to creating sacred space.

(C) T. Georgitsis 2010

 

Athenian Calendar

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The best time to honor Hekate is the Deipnon and Noumenia.  With that said, every year I create an Athenian Calendar to calculate the Deipnon and Noumenia using the Southern Hemisphere New Moons, to ensure my devotions are on the right evenings from my location.  This is calculated by the start off point of the Summer Solstice in Greece of that particular year.

The Athenian Calendar also known as the Attic Calendar was a lunisolar calendar used during the classical period of Ancient Greece during the 4th and 5th Centuries BC.  It was exclusively used in Athens at the time and each month starts at the first sighting of the new moon, with the year beginning just after mid-summer.  It’s become a modern go to for practicing Hellenics and as such, what we use and have today is a reconstruction of what they used around 300-500 BC.  I have superimposed this Athenian Calendar over our modern Gregorian one, to loosely create a festival calendar of 12 months based on the cycle of the moon which starts at the beginning of the Athenian year – on the summer solstice in Athens. The names of the months reflect the gods and festivals honored at that time and have agricultural links to the planting or harvesting of food in the northern hemisphere.

Here is what the yearly Athenian Calendar basically looks like:

Summer (Θέρος)

1          Hekatombaion (Ἑκατομβαιών)           July/August

2          Metageitnion (Μεταγειτνιών) August/September (named after Apollo)

3          Boedromion (Βοηδρομιών)     September/October

Autumn (Φθινόπωρον)

4          Pyanepsion (Πυανεψιών)                    October/November

5          Maimakterion (Μαιμακτηριών)           November/December (named after Zeus)

6          Poseideon (Ποσειδεών)                      December/January

Winter (Χεῖμα)

7          Gamelion (Γαμηλιών)             January/February

8          Anthesterion (Ἀνθεστηριών)  February/March (named after the festival of Anthesteria)

9          Elaphebolion (Ἑλαφηβολιών) March/April

Spring (Ἔαρ)

10        Mounichion (Μουνιχιών)                    April/May

11        Thargelion (Θαργηλιών)                     May/June

12        Skirophorion (Σκιροφοριών)               June/July

 

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Every month lasts for approximately 29-30 days in total.  Each month is broken up into 10 days of three which reflect the moon phases in the following order: Waxing, Full and Waning Moons.

Days 1 to 8 were all sacred to gods or spirit entities and the last day of the month, known as “hene kai nea” translated as “the old and the new”, is dedicate to Hekate as it’s her Deipnon along with the first day of the month, Noumenia which is also dedicated to Hekate.

Here are the details of those 8 sacred days in the Athenian Calendar month:

Day 1: Noumenia (New Moon).

Day 2: Agathos Daimon

Day 3: Athena’s Birthday

Day 4: Heracles, Hermes, Aphrodite and Eros

Day 6: Artemis’ Birthday

Day 7: Apollo’s Birthday

Day 8: Poseidon and Theseus (Mikalson 1975: 24)

Day 29-30: Deipnon

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To get you all started with adapting the Athenian Calendar to the Gregorian one, here is the Athenian Calendar I created for 2016, calculated for Southern Hemisphere practitioners:

21st of June 2016, 1.33 = Summer Solstice in Greece (Winter Solstice in Australia)

Summer (Θέρος)

1          Hekatombaion (Ἑκατομβαιών) July/August

4th of July                   Day 1: Noumenia (New Moon).

5th of July                   Day 2: Agathos Daimon

6th of July                   Day 3: Athena’s Birthday

7th of July                   Day 4: Heracles, Hermes, Aphrodite and Eros

8th of July                   Day 6: Artemis’ Birthday

9th of July                   Day 7: Apollo’s Birthday

10th of July                 Day 8: Poseidon and Theseus (Mikalson 1975: 24)

4th of August               Day 29-30: Deipnon

 

2          Metageitnion (Μεταγειτνιών) August/September (named after Apollo)

5th of August               Day 1: Noumenia (New Moon).

6th of August               Day 2: Agathos Daimon

7th of August               Day 3: Athena’s Birthday

8th of August               Day 4: Heracles, Hermes, Aphrodite and Eros

9th of August               Day 6: Artemis’ Birthday

10th of August             Day 7: Apollo’s Birthday

11th of August             Day 8: Poseidon and Theseus (Mikalson 1975: 24)

31st of August             Day 29-30: Deipnon

 

3          Boedromion (Βοηδρομιών) September/October

1st of September         Day 1: Noumenia (New Moon).

2nd of September        Day 2: Agathos Daimon

3rd of September         Day 3: Athena’s Birthday

4th of September         Day 4: Heracles, Hermes, Aphrodite and Eros

5th of September         Day 6: Artemis’ Birthday

6th of September         Day 7: Apollo’s Birthday

7th of September        Day 8: Poseidon and Theseus (Mikalson 1975: 24)

30th of September      Day 29-30: Deipnon

 

Autumn (Φθινόπωρον)

4          Pyanepsion (Πυανεψιών) October/November

1st of October             Day 1: Noumenia (New Moon).

2nd of October                        Day 2: Agathos Daimon

3rd of October             Day 3: Athena’s Birthday

4th of October             Day 4: Heracles, Hermes, Aphrodite and Eros

5th of October             Day 6: Artemis’ Birthday

6th of October             Day 7: Apollo’s Birthday

7th of October            Day 8: Poseidon and Theseus (Mikalson 1975: 24)

30th of October          Day 29-30: Deipnon

 

5          Maimakterion (Μαιμακτηριών) November/December (named after Zeus)

31st of October           Day 1: Noumenia (New Moon).

1st of November          Day 2: Agathos Daimon

2nd of November        Day 3: Athena’s Birthday

3rd of November         Day 4: Heracles, Hermes, Aphrodite and Eros

4th of November         Day 6: Artemis’ Birthday

5th of November         Day 7: Apollo’s Birthday

6th of November         Day 8: Poseidon and Theseus (Mikalson 1975: 24)

28th of November       Day 29-30: Deipnon

 

6          Poseideon (Ποσειδεών) December/January

29th of November       Day 1: Noumenia (New Moon).

30th of November       Day 2: Agathos Daimon

1st of December          Day 3: Athena’s Birthday

2nd of December         Day 4: Heracles, Hermes, Aphrodite and Eros

3rd of December         Day 6: Artemis’ Birthday

4th of December          Day 7: Apollo’s Birthday

5th of December          Day 8: Poseidon and Theseus (Mikalson 1975: 24)

29th of December        Day 29-30: Deipnon

 

(C) T. Georgitsis 2016

Purification in Kemet

Purification was an important aspect of the daily life of the Ancient Egyptians. It kept Isfet (evil) away which took the form of demons, pestilence and disease – which would run rife without adequate purification practices.   Purification was seen as a way to strengthen the power of protection as well as provide insight through making the way clear and clean.

The Ancient Egyptians would use fumigation as part of the purification process which involved incense made from resins and herbs which would be lit and wafted through temple, royal and residential homes alike.  The Ancient Egyptian clergy and aristocracy would shave their bodies as a way to keep themselves pure and free from pollutants.  The Priests would also keep themselves pure by avoiding dressing in garments made from animals such as wool or leather and only wear natural materials like linen. Another method the priests had for remaining pure was to abstain from specific foods, depending on which God they served.

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Priests had to abstain from any sexual intercourse before rituals as a form of purification even though they normally lived like the rest of the population and married and had children.  The only difference is that they dedicated some time out of the year to honor their gods in their part time vocations as priests of the temple.  Therefore before they re-entered the temple they would abstain from intimate relations to be pure for their gods.

The priests and royalty had lakes they had deemed for divine purification.  There they would ritually bathe themselves with natron, a salt like substance collected from the banks of the Nile river, before entering their temples to perform their religious rites.  Natron was used by the Ancient Egyptians for mummification but the priests also used it for personal purification in which they would wash their mouth out, hands and feet when it was dissolved in water.

Purification of the temple shrine and the associated tools was completed using natron so it was a cleaning agent which was pretty much used for everything.    Natron infused water was used to wash the temple walls and floors and implements as well as the images of the gods.  Images of the gods within the temple sanctuary were sprinkled with water and grains of natron during various times of the day and night when opening, maintaining and closing the shrine occurred.  Any remaining natron water was used to wash the surrounding streets and buildings.

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For practicing Kemetics using abstinence, fumigation, cleaning and bathing still occurs as part of the purification practice today. Since natron was a natural occurrence found on the banks of the Nile and we don’t have the luxury of being able to collect it this way I would like to share with you how to make your own natron.

Two methods I have found to make natron successfully :

  1. Simply mix some baking soda and kosher salt in the blender or in a mortar with a pestle – ¼ part baking soda to ¾ part salt. 
  2. Bake method outlined below which I prefer due to the consistency and its potency:

a. Mix one cup kosher salt and one cup baking soda and place in a cooking pot (shouldn’t be more than ¼ of the depth of the pot).

b. Add water until it covers the mixture and heat on low whilst constantly stirring.

c. Once it reaches boiling point ensure all the ingredients blend smoothly and take off heat.

d. Mixture should be slime like substance which you can now pour and spread over a baking paper lined oven tray.

e. You can put it in direct sunlight to dry out covered by netting so it isn’t polluted by grit or bugs (this can take a month or so) or alternatively place in a very low oven for several hours until the mixture dries out ensuring the mixture doesn’t turn brown as it must remain white in color.

f. Once dry, break apart the sheets of natron into smaller barley sized pieces and store in air tight container so it doesn’t get damp and clump up.

(c) T. Georgitsis 2014

Dumb Supper

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Although Samhain is celebrated in the Southern Hemisphere on the 1st of May, in the Northern Hemisphere its celebrated on the 31st of October, and some here chose to connect to those energies.  Therefore, I thought I would post something I wrote a few years back on Samhain and the practice of the Dumb Supper .

Samhain is also known as the last harvest.  It’s the time of year when the land’s fertility withdraws in preparation for the dormancy of winter.  Since Samhain is when the veil between the living world and that of the spirit world is the thinnest, I use this occasion to make offerings in the form of a Dumb Supper to my ancestors in thanks for the connections to my blood history.  Samhain is also a time of endings and beginnings for the witch, as its the start of the witch’s new year.   Along with ancestor veneration, acknowledging and honoring the Gods of this time – the turning of the seasonal wheel is also of importance.

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A Dumb Supper is a meal, which can include drink created in honor of the dead.  This supper cannot only be for your ancestors but also for friends who have passed or those whom you have a connection to and are no longer in the realm of the living.  Dumb Suppers are a time of silent remembrance so when offering a meal to them, it is traditional to commune with them silently or you can write a note to them and leave it with the meal.  Dumb Suppers can be offered in sacred space, like part of a Samhain ritual or they can be offered at a place at the set table of your Samhain meal you prepare (usually at the head of the table and served first).  Dumb Suppers can be covered in a shroud to symbolize its for the blessed dead, have a candle lit before it so its easy for them to find it on the astral, as well as saying a silent prayer in honor of them.

I like to create a Dumb Supper with things my blessed dead liked to eat in life. I personally include my supper as part of my Samhain ritual, which I use to communicate with them and thank them for their blessings of giving me life. Since candles were used to help spirits find their way home, I place a candle with images of my ancestors, a personal item of theirs and a plate consisting of their food in the North West of my cast circle.  I place a note I have written to them underneath the offering plate ensuring this plate is never used by the living (lest death take those who partake of it).  During my Samhain ritual I also burn the note of correspondence I wrote for them in a cauldron or fire pit so its released to the ether of spirit.

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Whatever you decide to create for your Dumb Supper, ensure you use what’s in season, and connect to the energies of Samhain.  Foodstuff in season can consisting of apples, pumpkins, corn, mushrooms, turnips, pomegranates, garlic, onions, potatoes, wine/mead, meat, nuts, within your meal offering for the ancestors.  Herbs which can be infused in your food and drink which resonate with the energies of Samhain are rosemary, mugwort, rue, tarragon, sage, wormwood, bay, nettle, mandrake, nutmeg, fennel (please note some of these herbs can be toxic with overuse or be incompatible with pregnant women so please refer to a material medica for further detailed information on the herbs you use).

If you would like some recipes check out my food blog:

https://madammagick.wordpress.com/recipes/

(c) T. Georgitsis 2014

Daughter of the Sun Review: Pagan Collective of Victoria

Just received a positive review for the Sekhmet devotional I edited:

Published in Spokes of the Wheel,  The Official Newsletter of the Pagan Collective of Victoria,  Yule 2016 Volume 3, Issue 4

“Daughter of the Sun, A Devotional Anthology in Honor of Sekhmet”

It’s a strange experience discovering a God or Goddess that is unfamiliar to you for the first time.

You may have come across them in a classical painting, a reference in a poem or a book on mythology it catches your imagination or has a spark of recognition. It encourage to find out more and search through obscure references books looking for the earliest of references and may even push you further explore the culture or history of the people that originally worshiped your new God.

And that’s why it’s been such a pleasure to review Daughter of the Sun – A Devotional Anthology in Honor of Sekhmet. Sekhmet is a Goddess I really knew very little about. The joy of this anthology is the diverse views and perspectives on the Goddess that that paints a such a vivid picture.

T. Georgitsis has done a stellar effort here as editor of this anthology consisting of such a diverse range of material this book is full of exciting stories, beautiful poetry and wonderful art.We are introduced to Sekhmet; A Goddess of the ancient Egypt pantheon. Sekhmet is a Goddess of many facets: Avatar of justice, warrior, healer, hunter and mother. You’ll will learn so much about the character of this Goddess throughout this anthology

This book is filled with poetic inspiration and vividly paints a picture of Sekmet very much alive and radiating with power thousands of years later after the fall of Ancient Egypt.

I thoroughly recommend you get copy Daughter of the Sun if you are familiar with Sekhmet you will find it an invaluable resource. If you are just learning about this Goddess for the first time like I am, it is a wonderful introduction.

Ryan, Co-Founder of the Pagan Collective of Victoria