Category Archives: sekhmet

Getting Hung Up on Hathor

Send It [Your Eye] down as Hathor.
This goddess indeed went [and] She slew people upon the desert.

…..Thus did Sekhmet come into being.

-(Translated by Tamara Siuda using the reproductions found in Piankoff’s Shrines of Tutankhamen and DeBuck’s An Egyptian Readingbook. The entire inscription can be found HERE.)

As a daughter of Sekhmet, I understand that some of us get hung up on the idea that our beloved Sekhmet, the Great Mother of ferocity and the very personification of Sekhem or Power (with a capital “P”), could ever be connected to another Goddess. This would be especially true with one like Hathor (HetHert) Whom folks just don’t think of as being so very powerful at all. Sure, Hathor is all about sex, drugs and rock and roll…but really?

I do understand this. I was in once in this place. Years ago, to my mind, Hathor was all about fluffy, motherly, nicey-nice, pinkness and love and squishy sweetness. To me, Hathor was a Strawberry Daqueri when I really wanted a f***ing Hurricaine or a good stiff shot of tequila! The fact that the daughters of Hathor of my acquaintence were mostly very, very nice people, didn’t help overcome my misconceptions about Hathor. In my Sekhmetian logic, I took that niceness for being weakness somehow. Besides, there are those who think Hathor is way too expensive.

Needless to say, that idea is completely wrong. But it took me several years to arrive in the place where I could accept these things.

If we but look at the two animals that represent each Goddess. Sekhmet, represented by the African lioness, is the epitome of ferocity. Nothing is more deadly than a mother lioness protecting her cubs. You get what you deserve and then some if you try to get in the middle. Besides, no one should ever forget that the Lioness Who comes to visit is the one who has most definitely come to eat you.

Then, when one thinks of Hathor, the thoughts immediately go to cows. Oh, those benign bestowers of dairy goodness that are so benign, wholesome and calm as they placidly graze and chew their cud on farms throughout the land. That is the image that you might think of, however, until you try to come between a cow and her calf. If the bovine matron in question in fact happens to be a buffalo, I can tell you from firsthand experience, you had better run very fast, because, baby, if you don;t you are toast! Cows / Buffalo, most mothers, really, do tend to react in the same sort of way. Just don't do it if you want to live.

Animal analogies and symbolism aside, Hathor is one of those goddesses that really represent all that womanhood is. Some of us are very comfortable with our so-called feminine side. We can wear dresses or skirts in the summer and that's perfectly fine. Hell, we might even paint our toenails at the first sign of Spring! Others of us will deny, deny, DENY anything that makes us the least bit feminine or "girlish". We do it because it is too often equated with weakness. There is a tendency to think these things constitute a sort of feminine dishonesty. We’ve all heard the comments: "She wouldn't have gotten nearly so far if she hadn’t worn something that showed off her cleavage, or her butt, so that any males in the vicinity would start thinking with the little head and get stupid." It’s the kind of catty snideness that women seem to say about each other far too often.

With Sekhmet, on the other hand, a woman (or man) can be balls-out, a kick you in the backside, Dominatrix in leather who essentially has the aura of, "Don't you EVER forget WHO you are dealing with!" kind of presence. Sekhmet is about as weak as a pair of four inch, razor sharp stilettoes offered in a swift, unapologetic kick to the groin. She'd eat you as soon look at you – and there will be no apology or shame for having done so. Sekhmet IS Power, and sometimes such power only comes via blood and violence and ferocity. Even birth is a bloody, violent process, and we Sekhmet kids tend to have no problem dealing with that aspect of it.

Hathor well….you know…. How can you hope to appear to be powerful when you're busy being motherly and comforting and …..nice?

What I am about to say now, however, is regarded as secret amongst ourselves. These are things that I have either learned about myself or about my fellow siblings. If it doesn’t fit for you, that’s fine. We don’t have a one-size-fits-all type of Faith. Those that are upset that I would reveal these things and want me to simply shut up, will get a response of a single raised eyebrow.

If you are in fact a true Sekhmet child, you will undoubtedly know what that expression means without me needing to explain.

Sekhmet’s devotees tend to be those who have experienced some soft of personal pain. We Lions and Lionesses are pretty squishy in the middle and so we don’t reveal that vulnerability to any who might be thinking of harming us. We never, or rarely ever, let down the tough facade. By the GODS! We have to make sure that if someone is stupid enough to poke a lion or lioness, they pay…and they pay dearly! It’s best to have that protective exterior to save us from such inconvenience of having to deal with the unpleasant heartache that may result of that vulnerability. However, if it is needed….there can be no room for doubt, and the ferocity can be both a mask and a shield. Soft? Feminine? Sexy? NICE?! How dare you even suggest such a thing!

The other side is certainly true. I have met several of Hathor’s devotees or kids who were almost scared witless when having to confront Sekhmet. She is too much, to hard, too heavy, or just too BIG to deal with. And so they resist Sekmet in favour of something softer, more pleasant and palatable that they see in Hathor. I cannot blame them. Sekhmet can be big and ferocious and scary and more than a little overwhelming. She can be quite frightening.

Speaking for myself, I honestly did not “get” Hathor in the beginning. I wanted as little or nothing to do with Her and placed Her in the “Ignore as Much As Possible” file. Then I went to meet the late Ma Jaia Bhavavati at Kashi Ashram during her birthday celebration. Though Ma was devoted to Kali, I have never met another Sekhmet child that I knew that quickly on first sight. Shortly after returning home from the Ashram, I had a dream about both Hathor as Lakshmi and She handed me a lotus. The one thing that I noticed was Lakshmi/Hathor’s pierced nostril.

Four days later I pierced my own nose as a devotion to Hathor and in acknowledgement of that dream and understanding that side of myself. It is also interesting to note that in the medical practice of Ayurveda, the piercing of the nostril is not just one of ornamentation for women. It has a practical aspect in that it can ease both menstrual cramps and childbirth. I didn’t really realize this until I noticed that I no longer suffered from cramps since then. ME! The one who has spent so many years studying both Ancient Egyptian medicine and Ayurvedic medicine and the cultural exchanges between Egypt and India didn’t even think about it! DUH!

Cranium, meet the Cosmic Clue By Four.

The Hathor and Sekhmet dichotomy, I believe, in some ways represents the totality of emotion and the Power that those emotions and all of those various functions we have to fulfill in our lives. This applies to us, not just as women, but as human beings in the greater order of things. The balance of the Two Goddesses, who seem to be absolute polar opposites on the surface, actually are very well suited to each other. These two help, I believe, come to grips with who we are and to be what is necessary or appropriate at its proper time. Sometimes our anger, our ruthlessness, our ferocity can serve us, and at other times, softening our stance can open doors that would have held fast against a battering ram of unchecked aggression. They balance each other out and balance within us is where Ma’at starts and we can radiate that out into the world.

There are those who have explained Sekhmet as being an “aspect” of Hathor. I have never used the word “aspect” with either deity, and never thought of either Sekhmet or Hathor in that way. Although the Two are in some ways two sides of the same coin, They Both have the capability to at once be both connected and separate. The term, “aspect”, in my view, sells both Ladies quite short in the same way that explaining that Lakshmi and Swaravati are two aspects of the same ideal. If you look at it that way, but most Hindus that I have talked to, really don’t explain it that way. Why mostly Western teachers choose to explain such complex spiritual ideas in such a fashion is mystifying. Perhaps polyvalency just doesn’t come that easily to people after a lifetime of deities and ideas that mostly deal in polarities.

To those who are devotees or children of one or the other of these two Ladies, I would say, be patient. Be patient with both Sekhmet and Hathor and with yourself. It can take a very long time to completely fathom what one or the other side can teach us. However, I do know that it does come.

Relevent Websites & Blog Posts

Hathor: The Original MILF
Hethert Dot Org

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Filed under kemetic, pagan, sekhmet

Sekhmet: The Beauty and the Terror (Update)

The Goddess Sekhmet
A bit ago, I decided I was going to actually publish the work and research I have spent the last ten years doing on Sekhmet. Right now, I am in the final editing process. I am tweaking the formatting and images, getting the cover to look more professional.

As for the work itself, it will be a combination of both scholarly and what I ever-so-affectionately term as “Mystic Woo-Woo”. You see, Kemetic religion draws two distinct groups of people. Those who are into the strictly scholarly and reconstructionist aspects of it, and those who are a little more eclectic and far less precise in the ways which they choose to honour the Netjeru. While it is impossible to be all things to all people, especially when you are a writer, I have divided the book into two sections. There will be citations of ancient work, and the other portion will contain hymns, invocations, rituals etc. that are based off of those in antiquity but are clearly either my creation or those which have come from others.

Sekhmet: The Beauty and the Terror is a labor of love. It is rooted in both ancient and modern practices of both myself and of others who count themselves as Sekhmet’s children. If this labor of love can help someone or give them insight to what Sekhmet is all about, then I am happy. If it does what many other books and projects within the Kemetic community do and sparks dialogue, incites debate or even ignites jealousy – all of which have this wonderful tendency to place a flame thrower to the arse of others who believes they can do it better, then I will definitely have done my job!

I am publishing this book myself as an independent publisher with my own publishing company. Ma’at Publishing, which was officially founded in 1994, but I had been using the name long before that. This work will be exclusive to Amazon for the first 90 days, after which I will release in other forms including on sites such as Barnes and Noble’s Nook, Smashwords, Kobo, and the like. The cover price is projected to be $9.99 USD regardless of platform.

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Filed under book, kemetic, pagan, sekhmet

The Importance of Being Able to Self-Define

Recently, blogger, Star Foster, announced that she no longer defined herself as a ‘pagan’ in large part, she says, because of the community itself. Star’s announcement was met with horror by some, celebration by others, and the odd shrugs of indifference. Really, why would anyone care whether or not someone chose to call themselves a “Pagan” or a “hard polytheist” or soft- polytheist?

This sort of running away from the word ‘Pagan'” seems to be, I believe, a gut reaction to the trend to either embrace or eschew certain labels when they are applied to who we are and what we believe.. This is especially true when the labels do not seem to fit. An example I would use is the realm of Witchcraft. To some, Witchcraft, goes back to the Anglo-Saxon word, ‘wicce’, meaning ‘to bend’. This, word, courtesy of Gerald Gardener and later adherents of the religion he publicised, goes now, by the name, Wicca. There are a few very formal, specific Initiatory groups, namely Gardnerian (named after the founder and the lineage that goes straight back to Uncle Gerald) and Alexandrian, founded by Alex Sanders, who founded it, rather than after the Ancient Egyptian city of Alexandria, where some of the most ignorant of Wicca’s adherents erroneously like to claim their religion came from.

In these groups, there are specific things that are done – the casting of Circles, the worship or honouring of a Goddess and/or God, etc. It is a lovely system to those who are a part of it. It can be “pagan” or some even insist that they are Christo-Wiccans – Witches that see Jesus as the male “God” figure, and perhaps Mary Magdalene or Mary the Mother as the “Goddess” figure. That’s fine. Call yourself what you like, do as you wish. It’s all good if it works for you.

Others who practice Witchcraft, do come from family traditions which are handed down generation after generation. To them, it is a “craft”, not a religion, and is not unlike practicing herbalism, midwifery, embroidery, growing your own food, etc. In fact, many of these things may play a part in any individual’s “Craft” that have nothing to do a religious undertaking at all. They may or may not have a patron deity or saint. Some of them couch their practices well within the Christian bible and are for all outward appearances, Christian. Indeed, if you look in some of the old grimmoires, you see, several instances invoking Jesus, YHWH, the archangels, etc. in order to help effect a spell or magical undertaking. I would certainly put many British Traditional Witches under this heading who are neither Alexandrian or Gardnerian or anything other than their own insular tradition that uses whatever elements that work for them as either individuals and/or groups. They may or may not call themselves “pagan”. Again, it is all very personal and it’s all good.

The problem comes largely from those who are not a part of either of the aforementioned groups who like to assume that all Witches are “just like them”. To these, if you call yourself a Witch (Capital or lower case “w”), then you must be Wiccan. No. There are many who practice witchcraft who would be extremely upset at the ‘Wiccan’ label and there are still others that would waste no time in correcting you if you were to assume that they are pagan. They eschew the very idea, and they want no part of that definition, or the people who wield it and apply it so liberally to anyone and everyone who is not J, C, or I. It is uncertain as to whether this trend is because of the mass marketing of Wicca by authors and publishers in the effort to sell to mostly dissatisfied, do-it-yourselfers who don’t know any better than to just lump everyone together or it goes even deeper than just commercial interests. The assumption on the part of many of these types of folks is that anyone who is not Jewish, Christian or Muslim, is indeed therefore a “pagan”. Is it because of the human need to define who makes up the “Us” and who is “Them”? It is human nature to desire a sort of “assumed commaraderie” with those who are “other” or those who are “just like us”. In the end it tends to feed into victim mentality that so many cloak themselves in when they leave one of the Big Three monotheistic religions. They seem to want constant reassurance that their choice is the right one, yet never themselves being strong enough to stare down anyone who would dare put their personal beliefs under scrutiny.

Offering to Sekhmet

I am absolutely not a Pagan. I am proudly and unapologeticaly Kemetic Orthodox. That makes me a decided monolatrist, much in the same way that specific sects of Hindus are. It was Roman paganism that destroyed the religion of ancient Kemet by outlawing it because it undermined the absolute authority of the Emperor. It was the pagans of the ancient world who did not understand either the indigenous religious views or the Egyptian / Kemetic culture. Look at the discrepencies between Pharaonic Kemet and after Ptolomaic and Roman rule. It is a striking contrast.

This declaration on my part does not mean I am a henotheist, a “soft” polytheist, a “hard” polytheist or anything other than what I just said. I expect and demand that my self-definition will be honoured and that no one would have the temerity to try to correct me about it. I will accord anyone else with that same privilege. This definition means I practice the ancient Egyptian religion in a way that I interpret to be as close, or at least a derivative of what was practiced in antiquity. Thankfully, with Champollion’s deciphering of the Rosetta Stone, the improvements over the last two centuries in ancient Egyptian translation and philology, we can read the inscriptions on the actual temple walls. This more or less provides us with the “crib notes” on how it was all done. Fathoming the 400+ symbols, seventeen tenses, double, triple and even quadruple entendre’s as well as the symbolic meaning of what is being read, can be another matter, and we who practice this way of doing things do disagree quite often.

For the record, most legitimate Egyptologists, do not ever acknowledge that they honour the old gods and the ancestors, nor do they ever even remotely infer that they actually “believe in any of this stuff”. To do so, can very well be the death of a professional career. Professional scholars tend to be rather ruthless about things like that. Personally, I don’t have to worry about it. The scholarly community views folks like me with a sort of amused disdain and the unfulfilled desire to hand us a cookie, pat us on our rumps, and send us out of the room with explicit instructions to quit bothering the adults. To the academic scholars, it makes no difference that the person may have written very well researched papers and books on the subject, or even acquired the relevant degrees to call themselves an Egyptologist, or are professors in their own right. The bias against believing is quite palpably there. I personally know of many within the field who do practice, or it is obvious that they do – but in the interests of professional courtesy or self-preservation, no one breathes a word

This sort of bias can definitely backfire for them, too. Afrocentrist scholar, Professor Maulana Karenga wrote probably the most comprehensive, well-researched book on the ancient Egyptian concept of ma’at ever published. He wrote it according to Egyptology’s own rules. Karenga’s research and referencing are impeccable – there are few, if any who can find fault with his work. Personally, other than the minor detail that he does not put an accent mark between the “A’s” on, Ma’at, I am quite impressed.

What are the benefits of “pagans” – neo or otherwise, even having a community? Even by the loosest of definitions, this so-called “community” is more along the lines of a tenuous peace between tribes that tend to squabble endlessly over the most petty details. Otherwise, they’d have precious little good to say about one another at all. I saw this behaviour years ago within the Indigenous community for decades, and unless there is a concerted effort toward real respect amongst each other, then there is no “community” to speak of at all.

It all boils down to the respect of an individual to allow them to decide for themselves what they personally believe. It’s human nature to want to put the people with whom we identify under the same big tent that we are under in a sense of community. For whatever reason, for some, it is not enough that we are members of the human race, or that we are spiritual beings, but rather it has to be parsed down to a simple either / or dilemma. Either you are Pagan or Not Pagan. Either you are one of “Us” or you are one of “Them”. Respect can consist of simply being a good guest at religious ceremonies and rituals and not necessarily being a member. Respect is about shutting up and listening to how someone speaks of their beliefs without the need to apply any other descriptive other than the one that the individual or group of individuals defines for themselves. To my mind it is such a simple thing, but all too often it just gets lost in the dialogue.

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Filed under kemetic, pagan, politics, sekhmet, traditional witchcract

The Spiritual Art of Letting Go

recumbant lion
I have been having a few thoughts about letting go on 9/11 of this year. This of all days, on the anniversary of 09/11 – a day that is indelibly etched in the minds of most modern adults. Like when JFK was shot or when Challenger exploded, we can never forget where we were or what the day looked like or how we felt. On that day, 11 years ago, I was with my mother, who was dying of terminal cancer. Less than a month from that date, she would pass to the Beautiful West. That day, I got an email from a gentleman whose YouTube videos I had commented on and was so impressed by that I wrote to his private email address late last month. His production values were very high, and I thought it was a definite standard that I hoped my own work could rise to. I was very interested in talking to him about my documentary project.

Three weeks after I had sent that email, and thinking to myself that that he was probably just too busy to answer, or just not interested, I shrugged and didn’t think any more about it. On Tuesday, 9/11, I received a return email apologising for having not replied sooner but was undergoing treatment for a terminal illness that was making him feel, quite understandably, rather crappy. He went on to ask for forgiveness but should be ready to send me a proper reply in a week or so.

I felt completely chastened and humbled by that email. It made me think about an earlier interview I had seen on Youtube on Karagan Griffith’s ‘Witchtalk’ video blog, where he interviewed John of Monmouth about his involvement with the Royal Windsor Coven and the Regency. Both organisations were very closely connected to Robert Cochrane and later traditions, such as 1734 and Clan of Tubal Cain and others that had evolved from Robert Cochrane’s work. In the interview, there was a definite emphasis toward a “letting go of the artifacts”.

As someone who is Kemetic Orthodox and who has felt the pressure that many reconstrictionists feel that you must find only the authentic bits and ditch all recreations and deviations from what is known and archaeologically or scientifically verified, as well as things gained through unverified personal gnosis or abbreviated simply as UPG. You can definitely do this, and I most certainly did for a number of years. However, what you have is a rote set of rites and a list of “shoulds” or “should nots” and there is very little left that speaks to our greater connection to everyone and everything else.

For myself, I searched for many, many years for some semblance of good, solid ritual the way it was intended for the various Egyptian deities, Sekhmet in specifics. What I found was a whole lot of new age bullshit that somebody channelled. I wanted the real deal, not made up nonsense.

My reason?

Because with over 4,000+ years of residual energy surrounding any deity, I have found that it pays to take at least a little bit of historical context into the equation. If you don’t, you’re just flat out being inaccurate. Those energies, particularly the ones considered as volatile and dangerous, have proscriptions in place for very specific reasons. It pays to at least attempt to figure out what the reasons are. Yes, there is always a bit of UPG involved – and it is good to make that differentiation about what part is based in antiquity, and what is adapted vs. what you pulled out of your own consciousness. In the past, I got extremely enraged over a certain, well-known author, married to another well-known author who wrote about Sekhmet and was essentially selling Priestess initiations for the cost of dropping acid and sleeping with him In all of my years of researching Sekhmet and her worship from the extant writings from antiquity and from other egyptologists, et al, those kinds of requirements were definitely not how things were done. He and I had many extremely heated arguments on this topic over the years. Now, several years after his passing, I have let go to the outcome. All I can do is re-educate those who have had the misfortune of reading the book and thinking that is all that there is.

I find that everyone tends to gets their own version of whatever deity that they find themselves connected to. But of course, we as humans can’t make it just that simple. Even reconstructionists in the attempt to try to get to a place of connection find that the rites that went before are there as a guideline. Wanting to connect with those guidelines should not be considered a disease or dogma. It’s just another form of devotion – of being completely enamoured of a particular Deity, whether it is Jesus or Buddha, Allah, Sekhmet, to care enough to want to find out all that they can. Devotions tend to be highly personal for everyone, and no one should dictate that to another.

Another key point in the interview with Karagan and John of Monmouth was about real power is not just the empty, hollow rituals but the real raising of energy and that can only happen when tuning into and experiencing the Rites that you really go beyond description. Language falls far short, and yet so many of us try. The consciousness of interconnection between Self and all that is, is something which is sought in almost every religion, and yet it seems to be a constant battle for people to keep it all pertinent and real. Such an opening does not tend to happen when relying only on what has been set down by others, or by a list of instructions. Each person is unique and therefore while spiritual experiences are in some way similar to one another, they are not ever going to exactly the same for any two people. Also, some of the experiences in any faith, particularly when you do let go and follow it, go far beyond words. There is that occultist’s adage, “To Know, To Will, To Dare and To Keep Silent.” The bit about “Keeping Silent” isn’t always because it is taboo to discuss these experiences, but rather it can also be taken to mean that it is near to impossible to adequately articulate them to someone else. Certainly they are never going to benefit from the telling as they weren’t there and have no frame of reference. Any attempts to do so, more often times than not, fail miserably. Several have done a pretty good job, but those things are very rare and only touch the surface. Still, it is very difficult to look at the works of someone like Hildegaard of Bingen, whether it is her art, her music or her herbals or the art of Michelangelo, the poetry of Rumi and not feel some sense of each of their having really connected to the Divine and everything else on some deeper level.

When we let go of the push toward the logical mind, the part of the brain that must always maintain control, we open ourselves to things that we never before experienced or even imagined. Getting to that place where you are at peace with yourself, that either comes with practice, or maybe it a matter of time. I would like to think that wisdom can be gained not just by simply getting older.

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Filed under akhu / ancestors, kemetic, pagan, sekhmet, traditional witchcraft

Spiritual Musings from the Edge of the World

the Faery UniverseYou can talk to the Divine at any time with varying degrees of formality. practice your faith when just about everything becomes a prayer. You can offer your efforts in cooking a meal as thanks to Netjer for what you have been given, offering a portion of that in shrine. You can pray to Netjer behind the wheel of the car (and I often do that, myself!) or you can go out into nature and just appreciate the infinite variety of manifestations in Creation that shows the Divine to us. Really, it is about your personal relationship and the things you do personally to connect to the Divine. Proscriptions about doing A, B and then C, ad infinitum are ok, but nothing beats the internal, intuitive dialogue that only you can have with your Gods.

The so-called Pagan “community” can be a very petty, very cliquish, undisciplined lot, filled with opportunists of every stripe. Conversely, some within that community can be really wonderful, giving people. I gave up dealing with “groups” outside of the House many, many years ago and prefer to deal with individuals. I have some very close friends who are Elders in the Wiccan, Asatru, Alchemist, Ceremonialist even Diabolist ranks. Each one of them on their own are great people whom I think the world of. However, some of their “buddies” in the groups that they are affiliated with I wouldn’t eat or drink with them because, (let’s face it) they are absolute jerks and are not my kind of folks. So,taken with their customary dish of salt, the groups have their uses.

Some of us would be offended at the Pagan label. Just because something is not of the big three (ie. J, C or I) does not mean it is “Pagan”. Call some Native American religious traditions’ Pagan’, and they will show you the door in very short order. Some Hindus and certainly Buddhists also bristle at the term. Pagan has become a convenient catch-all for those who are not in the Big Three, and that really diminishes them. As Kemetic Orthodox, I do not like the term. I am not a Pagan. I am a monolatrist (not monotheist- there is a huge difference that I won’t go into right now). The bottom line is it is all about everyone having the right to self-identify. Some Satanists call themselves Pagan – and yet, watch the ranks within Wicca, et al scream at the temerity of those bleeping Satanists for doing. The neopagans love to insist that the Satanists and Diabolists are “little more than misguided Christians in rebellion”. That is far from the truth. Nothing is ever that simple that one pigenhole applies. 99.99% of those who believe that have never truly ever asked anyone from those ranks what the core beliefs are or taken the time to learn.

There is no absolutism that it is monolatry vs. paganism. I can see Kemetic Orthodoxy as both. That is the beauty of having polyvalent logic built into one’s spiritual belief. I personally dislike the term “Pagan” because it has for the most part been used as a derisive term against any belief system that does not toe the line or match up with what whatever dominant culture has as its core belief system. I honestly don’t think that the ancients thought about, “gee, if I worship Aset or Mithras or Tausi Melek, would I be considered a “Pagan”?” I find it interesting that modern culture needs to parse it so much. It really is ok, in my view, for people to not really have a name for what it is that they believe. Certainly the ancient Egyptians didn’t.

As a devotee of Sekhmet, I have found that there are those to whom when you do actually take the time to explain to them what it is that you believe, already have preconceived notions over what your beliefs and practices are. This is not at all unlike members of the big three. Pagans like to include you under their spiritual umbrella, especially if it will tend to bolster their numbers. They will also think nothing of conveniently ignoring your protestations about being lablled “just like them” in terms of belief and practice, when in fact, you aren’t. On one hand they are correct – on another hand, there is quite a bit of confusion at any possible objection to being put into the pagan box on the part of those who are not J, C, or I. It There is often also confusion that those who work magic(k) must be, by default, pagan. If we go by the idea that all prayer or focused intent is in fact heka or magic, then that would include every single religious and spiritual belief under that umbrella. In Egyptian belief in magic(k) or heka, it is very much a part of the belief system and is completely integrated into the lifestyle. Every act, ideally, becomes a prayer or heka. However, I think mainstream magical folks seem to have a decidedly different idea of what that means at times than what we as Kemetic Orthodox do!

It isn’t that people find the term Pagan incompatible with Kemetic Orthodoxy. It is just that the ancients really had no concept of parsing religious beliefs down as much as modern people insist upon doing today. Plus, there are many of us within Kemetic Orthdoxy who will never forget that it was Roman Pagans(*gasp*!!) who destroyed ancient Kemet’s religion – not the Christians, as so distressingly many in the Pagan community insist on believing. It’s all too easy for group minds to sink into a sort of meme of “us” vs. “them” mentality and then slap labels onto other groups which those groups would not dream of calling themselves. Those very terms may in fact end up insulting them in the end and yet pagans often seem oblivious or incredulous to this. Pigeonholes and preconceived notions are things we should be at least a little mindful of this. You can never go wrong by asking someone how they prefer to be called and then honouring that request.

But there is always some sort of perceived discrimination on the part of others because you do not follow the norm of the status quo.

So, while I am from the school of thought that our secular lives, though we integrate our religion into it; I still wonder why would anyone choose to advertise it? First of all, it is against the law for anyone to even ask, or discriminate based on that. I am not saying that it doesn’t happen- I sometimes think that people really bring on a great deal of the prejudice against them upon themselves. Wearing pentagrams or ankhs the size of manhole covers is nothing less than advertising. You may as well climb up onto your desk or climb the walls of your cubicle with a megaphone and shout it to all and sundry. Really, with any faith, there needs to be an awareness that wearing loads of crystal, symbols and amulets around one’s neck and a large, pagan-themed ring on every finger might make someone who does not share your beliefs just as uncomfortable in the workplace as you might be seeing an open Bible or Q’aran on the desk of a coworker. Faith is a fine thing. However, putting out a neon sign proclaiming it even to those who have not asked or have no care one way or another really does nothing to foster understanding, either.

As a Servant of the Eye of Ra – Sekhmet / Hathor, the Divine Feminine, and as someone who knows who Amun-Ra, Durga, Aset and Azazel are, and having been down a road where the dominant, herd culture likes to paint the things it does not understand in the worst light possible, I can say without hesitation nothing is ever as simple as people make it out to be. Layer upon layer of lies, deceits, manipulations of half-truths and outright falsehoods designed to mislead people from thinking for themselves, doing for themselves and realizing what their birthrights truly are, still permeate the consciousness of the majority of people outside of our collective groups.

Let’s face it: ‘The Goddess’, be it Sekhmet or Hecate, or the God, whether that be Osiris, Set, Lucifer / Satan, Azazel / Malek Taus, et al, were vilified by the dominant culture in an effort to increase the territory that the Church and the attached governments controlled in all aspects of people’s lives. This was true over the course of current common era (CE) history. My only suggestion is that today we need to take a large step back and look at who the real deceivers were and their motivations for having done so in the first place. The so-called “Beast” is ignorance and complacency and the forgetting of who we truly are and our responsibility to the world and our place within it. We must ask ourselves, what is it exactly that have we learned about the whole of it all? These are the question which bear some serious consideration on all of our part.

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Filed under akhu / ancestors, kemetic, pagan, sekhmet, traditional witchcraft

New Moon, New Beginnings

Friday, August, 17th at approximately 11:54 AM, marked the New Moon for this month. I have been on an absolutely breathless whirl of activity since that time. In between working on two eBooks to get out and onto Kindle Direct, I have been working on the pitch reel for an upcoming Indiegogo book and film project, “Sekhmet: The Beauty and the Terror”. It has not officially launched yet, so if you search for it, you aren’t going to find it. We should be done by the end of the week, if all goes well.

My work with Sekhmet has been going on since the early 90’s, even before we moved out here to the Enchanted Forest that overlooks the Wapsipinicon River Valley. Even after the horrifically hot summer and the terrible drought, the forest has a certain sense of magic to it. On the hill near where I live, on State property, you can see an enormous Faery ring. It is a HUGE circle, about 12 feet in diameter, growing out in the middle of the grass of large puff ball mushrooms! I want to take a picture, hopefully tomorrow or at least before someone gets wise and harvests them. I hear the puff ball mushrooms are very good eating. That they are on State property provides a bit of a deterrent, but out where we are, it probably won’t be one for long, especially since you can see the ring from the road.

The rest of my weekend has been spent either working and getting ready to start back at school tomorrow and cleaning like a mad woman. Our basement here at the log cabin in the Enchanted Forest has had floor to ceiling shelves lined with jars of herbs, tinctures and formulas that I make as an herbalist. I was pretty disorganized for a fair space of time. Finally, everything has been aired out, old herbs recycled to compost wotj new once to replace them, while tinctures and such decanted are ready for use. We’ve added more shelves, installed a deep two basin fiberglas sink, and more work space. The floors and limestone chimney have been scrubbed, the rugs have been beaten, vacuumed and shampooed. And all tools and materials are being arranged for ease of use. On my wish list is a counter-height stainless steel table to work on, but barring this, I may just opt for re-purposing another work table, having Tina mosaic the top and use that instead. I prefer the latter method to spending more money. I get a thrill out of taking something that we no longer use and then giving it new life through another use. Once I am finished getting the space cleared and organized, I promise pictures shall follow.

I have no idea where all this energy came from, but it feels lke a several year long bit of fog has been lifted. Maybe it is realizing that part of this art-thing that I have been doing for the last twenty-odd years is getting out there and actually putting my work in front of people. After sitting on the side wondering if my work is good enough, it’s good to finally just let go and let it out there. Even if someone hates what I do, I will have taken the leap at last.

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Filed under magickal alchemy, sekhmet, update, writing

Sekhmet

Her very Name means “She Who Is Powerful”. Sekhmet personifies the aggressive aspects of the Egyptian Goddesses, or female forms of Netjer. Sekhmet acted as the consort to the Creator God, Ptah, and the mother of the God of perfume and beautiful things, Nefertum. However, it is believed that Sekhmet’s worship pre-dates that of Ptah by at least several hundred years.

Sekhmet is usually portrayed as a woman with the head of a lioness, but as the Daughter of the Sun, Ra, Sekhmet is closely linked to the Uraeus (Buto or Wadjyt) in Her role as the fire-breathing, ‘Eye of Ra’. The pyramid texts themselves mention that the King or Pharaoh was conceived by Sekhmet, Herself.

Sekhmet is one of the oldest known forms of Netjer in Egyptian history. She is the ‘patron’ of the Physicians, Physician-Priests and Healers. Because She is one of the most powerful of all the Names of Netjer, (Her name literally translated means “Mighty One”, or “Powerful One”). Her Name is derived from the Egyptian word ‘Sekhem’, which means “power” or “might”. The word sekhem’ is literally inseperable from Sekhmet and Her worship. Because of these facts, She is often times misunderstood and portrayed only in a negative way. This is probably because of legends of how Sekhmet, as the destructive Eye of Ra was sent forth to punish humanity for its mockery of Her Father, Ra. The myth of Sekhmet’s Creation explains how Sekhmet came into being from Het-Hert (Hathor).

However, in spite of the fact that She is sometimes ‘destructive’, Her qualities as Healer, Mother and Protector are often overlooked. In the realm of ancient Egyptian medicine, almost all healers and surgeons of Ancient Kemet would most certainly have fallen under Sekhmet’s jurisdiction.

Sekhmet was worshiped throughout Egypt, particularly wherever a wadi opened out onto the desert. This is the type of terrain where lions are often found. Many of them having come from the desert in order to drink and to prey upon cattle, both wild and domestic, that come into the area to graze and to drink. It is said that Her worship was possibly introduced into Egypt from the Sudan, because lions are more plentiful there. Sekhmet’s main cult center was located in Memphis (Men-nefer)and was part of the Memphite Triad. This Triad was made up of Ptah, Sekhmet and Nefertum in a form of ‘holy family’. Sekhme, being the wife of Ptah, one of the ‘Creator’ Names of Netjer of the Ancient Egyptians and their son is called Nefertum, who is also closely associated with healers and healing. Because of the shift in power from Memphis to Thebes during the New Kingdom (1550- 1069 BC) the Theban Triad, made up of Amun, Mut (Amaunet), and Khonsu, Sekhmet’s attributes were absorbed into that of Mut, while those of Ptah were co-opted by Amun, who later became Amun-Ra at the cult center in Thebes (Luxor).

This meant that Sekhmet was increasingly represented as an aggressive manifestation of Mut and the Two Goddesses, along with HetHert and Bast were often synchretized. Mut-Sekhmet was the protectoress, Wife of the King of the Gods, Who also was incarnate through the person of the Pharaoh. Within the Mut Precinct were found large numbers of statues of the lioness-goddess which wereerected by Amenhotep III (1390 – 1352 BC) both in the Temple of Mut at Karnak and also at his mortuary temple which was located in Western Thebes.

Sekhmet & Her Function

Sekhmet’s action is always the right, or ‘appropriate action’. When She destroys it is an appropriate destruction or vengence. It is never chaotic or random. It is always what is needed at the time. Even though Sekhmet is not intimately linked with the aspect of destruction, as the god, Set is, Sekhmet removes threats and punishes those who do wrong against the balance or against Ma’at. She was the Goddess whom the ancients principally entreated in rites of healing, and also the one to send plague to enemies. Rameses II declared that he was “born of Sekhmet”, and indeed the Great Lioness lent Her aid to those who enjoyed Her favor.

No monument better reveals just how potentially savage the unbridled force of Sekhmet could be in the eyes of the ancient Egyptian than the Karnak Temple Complex, specifically the Mut Precinct, in Thebes. There is still some disagreement among scholars as to the actual location of the temple however, all scholars agree that the temple was located somewhere in Thebes. There is also some disagreement as to the precise number of statues that were included in the cache of life-sized statues in the Temple, but by some estimates, the group contained some 730 individual statues of Sekhmet. Some were shown seated on a throne, while others were depicted standing. It is thought that rituals were performed at least twice a day to appease Sekhmet and keep Egypt free of her wrath. The reason there were so many statutes of this goddess was due to Her power, which if left unchecked, could be unleashed to the detriment of Egypt and pharaoh himself. It was during the reign of Amenhotep III, which was the zenith of the Egyptian Empire, when the majority of these statues were added. It is believed the Pharaoh’s reasoning for this was he was not well and wished to entreat this particular Goddess for healing and long life. No matter what museum in the world you go to, if you see a statue of Sekhmet, it is more likely than not that it came from this particular cache.


© Ma’at Publishing, 2011

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Filed under kemetic, pagan, sekhmet

Wednesday – Picture that Causes You To Cry

The Unseelie are not easily moved to tears.

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Filed under fiction, livejournal, rochefortian tales