SEKHMET, THE LION GODDESS
You wish to know the history of Sekhmet, the exterminating goddess of humanity according to ancient Egyptian beliefs? You want to understand the link between the eye of Ra and Sekhmet?
Lovers of Egyptian stories, let us tell you the story of Sekhmet.
Sekhmet was sent by Ra, the creator Sun god, to punish humanity for its disobedience. A man-eating lion goddess, the myth of Sekhmet is one of the founding myths of Egyptian civilization.
In this article, you will discover:
- Who is Sekhmet
- What role does Sekhmet play in the punishment of humanity
- How does the famous myth of Sekhmet end
You will soon know all about the story of the lion goddess and her divine mission.
Let's get started without further delay!
1) Sekhmet in Egyptian mythology
Sekhmet is the lion goddess of the Sun, war, destruction, plagues and healing. She is one of the oldest Egyptian deities and one of the most powerful. Sekhmet. Sekhmet, along with her husband Ptah (god of creation and wisdom) and her son Nefertum (god of sunrise), forms the Memphite Triad (the principal gods of the city of Memphis, formerly the capital of Egypt).
Sekhmet is best known for having been sent to Earth by Ra to punish men. However, to tell you more would spoil the discovery of this beautiful legend that is Sekhmet: let us discover it together without further delay.
A statue of the goddess Sekhmet from the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities in Turin (Italy).
2) The legend of Sekhmet, a goddess punishing mankind for disobedience
In the beginning, humanity was born from a tear of Ra, the creator Sun god falcon, moved by the beauty of the cosmos he had just created. In their early days, mankind was ruled by the perfect sovereign god Osiris. However, his perfection quickly created envious people.
At a party, Osiris was assassinated by his brother Set, the god of chaos ravaged by jealousy towards Osiris. Ra, who had gone far from the earth to the heavens, refining the creation of the stars, did not immediately realize this terrible act.
The death of Osiris, the good and just ruler, made known to the world evils hitherto ignored: theft, extreme greed, murder, war, and famine became the daily life of mortals. Men flouted the supreme rules set by Maat, the goddess of justice, in the form of 42 laws that must be complied with.
When his long work of creation was completed, Ra returned to Earth proud of himself, eager to discover the extent to which mankind had evolved virtuously. Needless to say, the Sun god was immensely disappointed.
Ra, furious, asked his eye, which had created mankind with a tear, to eradicate these children who had failed to respect the laws of Maat. Answering his request, his eye went out of its orbit to transform itself into a formidable lioness exterminator: Sekhmet.
The latter began her work first with indifference and then with a growing taste for slaughter, going so far as to rave about the blood of her human victims.
It was too much for Ra, doubly afraid to see his daughter Sekhmet turn into a violent and cruel monster and his former beloved human children murdered without mercy. So Ra poured 7000 jugs of beer and grenadine into the Nile to give it the color of the blood that Sekhmet loved so much. Trapped, the goddess, quickly drank the alcoholic mixture which put her to sleep for three days, allowing her to come to her senses. Humanity was saved!
In commemoration of how they were all saved from Sekhmet by Ra, the ancient Egyptians drank beer mixed with grenadine every year.
3) Beliefs about Sekhmet in ancient Egypt
Sekhmet has greatly increased the popularity of lions in Egypt. The pharaohs thought they were protected by Sekhmet during the wars who supposedly watched over them as the warrior goddess of Egypt. At the end of the wars, blood offerings were made to Sekhmet to quench her thirst for war and to mark the beginning of a period of peace.
Sekhmet is said to be the goddess of plagues, the "Lady of Terror," because she is highly experienced in mass murder. Knowing perfectly the human anatomy thanks to her experience in massacres, she is also the goddess of healing, the "Lady of Life". Following the doctrine of their goddess, the priests of Sekhmet were known to be excellent doctors, always seeking to improve their knowledge.