The Feast of Sekhmet is celebrated to honor the Egyptian solar, warrior goddess Sekhmet. Sekhmet is the consort of Ptah the Creator; She is a goddess of justice, retribution and war. As a solar deity, Sekhmet represents the power of regeneration and destruction. Some pagans honor this goddess on January 7, but there are actually many days dedicated to Sekhmet throughout the year.
Dates for honoring Sekhmet
Some date the Feast of Sekhmet as occurring in the month of Koiak, which equates to Oct. 17 in the Gregorian calendar. The Pagan Institute Report suggests that Jan. 7 is the date for the Feast of the Decrees of Sekhmet. According to the Pagan Book of Hours, Sekhmet Day occurs on Blutmonath 29 or 30 in the Anglo-Saxon solar calendar: A date that equates to November 29 or 30 in the Gregorian calendar.
On Ancient Egypt Online, it is explained that the word Sekhmet means “power or might” and that the goddess’ name is synonymous with the title “Powerful One.” She is the daughter of the sun god Ra and the sister of the cat goddess Bast. Depictions of Sekhmet include images of a lion-headed female who sometimes has lunar horns and a solar disc or a red disc surrounded by an asp on the top of her head. Sometimes Sekhmet is seated on a throne with her hands resting on her lap and in other instances, she is holding a scepter or an ankh.
There are several different spellings of Sekhmet including Sakhet, Sakhmet and Sachmis. In “The Manners and Customs of the Ancient Egyptians,” John Gardner Wilkinson explains that this goddess is known by many titles including “Sekhet the Great Merenptah, Beloved of Ptah, Mistress of Heaven, Sekhet the Great Urhjek or Menh-Sekhet. Wilkinson also reveals that Sekhmet is the sister to Bast, much like the goddess Nephthys is the sister to Isis. Sekhmet is a goddess of “mixed nature”: One that can be witnessed in her depiction in the role of Mut (meaning mother), where she is portrayed with three different aspects; In such depictions Sekhmet is a three-headed deity with one of a lion, another of a man and another of a vulture.
In “Creation Records Discovered in Egypt,” George St. Clair describes Sekhmet as a goddess depicted holding the “papyrus staff of goddesses” and crux ansata (ankh or handled cross); Alternatively, she is sometimes portrayed holding a basket and a shield. The goddess is the personification of the Sun and she is identified as the “Greatly Beloved of Ptah.” St. Clair also explains that Sekhmet “Sends fire to the face of foes”; She is the “fiery dawn”; Her emblems are the hedgehog and the lion and she represents the “summer solstice in Leo.” Both Ptah and Sekhmet are fire deities. Alternatively, on Mysticology, the softer attributes of Sekhmet are also revealed; She is identified as the patron goddess of healers, priests and physicians.
According to the Magic Spell Casters Association of Egypt, ancient Egyptians often sought to appease the anger of Sekhmet; there were well over 800 statues of the goddess and her priests performed daily rituals to honor her throughout the year. The calendar month associated with this fiery deity is called Koiak and spans from Oct. 17-Nov. 15.
Modern ways of honoring Sekhmet
Since the priests of Sekhmet honored her daily, any day is a good day to make offerings to the goddess Sekhmet in order to keep her fiery energies appeased. Establishing a small area dedicated to this goddess will allow the practitioner to create an area for daily offerings. Since Sekhmet is a solar goddess, lighting a red candle in honor her at any time is also appropriate.
Sekhmet, in her fierce goddess aspect, serves as a reminder of the darker aspect of human nature and the self; When working with Sekhmet, it is a good time to meditate in order to assess the darker side of one’s personality and ways it can be pacified or used in ways that are beneficial instead of destructive. When meditating on the nature of Sekhmet, it becomes possible to explore the concept of balance. The Strength Tarot Card, depicting a woman with a lion, is an ideal image for meditation purposes, as it will take considerable inner strength to tame the darker, often more fierce nature of one’s darker attributes. The Judgment card in the Tarot deck is a good card to use in a meditation session as well; The meditator should focus on self- judgment, while refraining from judging others. The time of reflection can therefore be used to determine what aspects of one’s personality or life can be improved.
If the practitioner is seeking to heal the body, mind, spirit, or family or social relationships, he or she can invoke Sekhmet in her guise as healer; Her fiery nature can be understood as something that cleanses and purifies; Thus, she can be called upon to obtain assistance in eradicating poor health, toxic relationships and negative behaviors.
Since Sekhmet is a fire goddess, all magickal correspondences associated with the element of fire are acceptable in her worship. Spicy foods and herbs are ideal offerings for this goddess including things like ginger or cinnamon. Cats are also sacred to this goddess, so offerings of red meats and catnip are ideal. Some practitioners also make offerings of red wine or beer.
Did you enjoy this article? Please share your thoughts in the comment area and please subscribe to this site by clicking the sign up link above to receive updates about new articles appearing on the Albany Wiccan & Pagan Examiner.