Sekhmet is Bast’s more destructive sister. She is an Egyptian goddess of war, healing, the sun, and plagues.
She is often referred to as a daughter of Ra, and an instrument of his vengeance upon mortals. Her power is vast and terrible, and her bloodlust nearly unslakable.
Sekhmet is depicted as a lion-headed feminine figure. A solar deity, she was often described as a child of Ra and the wife of Ptah, a creator god.
Their pairing forms a dichotomy of creation and destruction. In other legends, Sekhmet is the daughter of Nut, the sky, and Geb, the earth.
She was said to breathe fire and send diseases. As one who has power over plagues, she was also petitioned to end them and cure illness.
In one legend, Sekhmet’s immense rage was so powerful that Ra had to turn her into a cow in order to calm her down.
In another, he sends Hathor to Earth to punish humans who were conspiring against him. Hathor was either a disguise of Sekhmet or became Sekhmet as she doled out his vengeance.
Unfortunately, her bloodlust was unstoppable. Ra eventually had to trick her by dyeing gallons of beer bright red, so the goddess would think it was blood. She drank so much that she became extremely intoxicated and gave up her spree of violence.
In some versions of this tale, she becomes angry again when she finds out she was deceived, and she leaves Egypt until Toth persuades her to come back.
This was reenacted annually in a festival at the beginning of the year. Participants would dance, play music, and drink to great excess in imitation of Sekhmet’s intoxication.
Sekhmet is also akin to a goddess of sovereignty. One of her roles was protector of the pharaohs, even beyond death — once a pharaoh passed away, Sekhmet would bring them to the afterlife.
Symbols & Associations
Sekhmet is symbolized by lions, large cats, and the sun. She’s depicted wearing the Uraeus, an upright cobra used to symbolize power, sovereignty, and divinity. She’s also shown with a solar disk.
She is associated with destruction, chaos, war, plagues, fire, royalty, and the afterlife, as well as with the sun and healing. Her color is red.
As a representative of Ra’s vengeance, Sekhmet is incredibly powerful. She has a nigh-unquenchable lust for battle and destruction. Her warrior prowess aside, she can also:
- Breathe fire. This breath was said to be akin to the sweltering winds at the height of summer.
- Control disease. She can both send plagues and heal any illness.
- Protect the dead. One of her roles was as a protector of deceased royalty on their way to the afterlife.
The best offerings for Sekhmet include:
- Alcohol, especially red alcohol.
- Blood, or substitutes like bloodroot soaked in wine.
- Images of cats or lions.
- Fire, from bonfires to candles.
- Spicy foods.
- Red gemstones.
- Dragon’s blood resin.
Signs Sekhmet is Calling You
Sekhmet may be calling to you if you repeatedly dream of her or her symbols. You may also experience visions of her while meditating or doing journeying work.
An encounter with a large cat (or even a lion) may be another sign that she’s trying to get your attention.
If you feel a powerful, protective, or even intimidating presence around you, that may be Sekhmet.
The sudden urge to take up a martial art or otherwise improve your offensive and defensive skills can be another sign of Sekhmet’s attention.
Crystals Associated with Sekhmet
Sekhmet is associated with the color red, so red gemstones are good for connecting to her. Try stones like:
- Red carnelian. This stone is also said to improve strength and vitality.
- Red agate.
- Red spessartine.
- Cinnabar. This is an ore of mercury — use with caution!
Tiger’s eye is a good stone for working with feline deities and “big cat” energy in general. It can be a valuable addition to other crystals for working with Sekhmet.
Herbs Associated with Sekhmet
Herbs for working with this goddess include:
- Dragon’s blood, a spicy-smelling resin that resembles dried blood.
Herbs associated with power, strength, fire, and the healing of disease are appropriate here. Since her color is red, you may also wish to work with red flowers or plants with red sap or juices.
Working with Sekhmet
Working with Sekhmet is tricky. While she is a very protective entity, she also delights in destroying her enemies.
In the legend of her enacting Ra’s vengeance, she destroyed people who didn’t live according to the principles of Ma’at. One of the best ways to work with Sekhmet is to live according to these ideas.
The seven principles of Ma’at are:
- Truth, the ability to see between fact and fiction.
- Justice, the state of equity between all things.
- Harmony, the state of alignment and balance between all things.
- Balance, both within an individual and with the world outside.
- Order, the state of clarity and a lack of excess.
- Reciprocity, the acknowledgement that what goes around will come around.
- Propriety, performing correct actions to uphold truth, justice, harmony, balance, order, and reciprocity.
You may also wish to make a space for Sekhmet in your home. You can create an altar however you feel called to.
One basic method involves finding a stool or small table, covering it with a red cloth, and adding a candle, incense burner, dish of water, and offering bowl.
You can then adorn it with depictions of Sekhmet, figures of lions, red crystals, depictions of the sun or fire, or other items that evoke Sekhmet’s energy for you.
Spend time at this altar regularly. Light the candle, freshen the water, and make offerings of incense, food, drink, or even song, poetry, or dance.
Sekhmet is a very vital, active goddess, and she appreciates action. You can take a martial arts class and dedicate it to her, or join a group to combat injustice.
Sekhmet stands against those who don’t believe in equity, harmony, and reciprocity, so you can align yourself with her by helping to bring more justice and balance to the world.
You can also volunteer with organizations that help cats, whether that’s by working for an animal shelter, making donations to a zoo with a conservation program for big cats, or aiding anti-poaching efforts.
Sekhmet is often viewed as the destructive aspect of Bast. Where Bast is playful and joyous, more like a kitten, Sekhmet is the lionlike face of chaos and revenge.
Her anger is rarely unjustified, however. A call from her is a call to bring your actions in line with the principles of Ma’at, which revolve around freedom, sanctity, and equity for all things.