This is a subject that I have been purposely putting off. I don’t feel quite comfortable discussing it, to be honest, but Sekhmet has made it quite clear that putting things off is only fine for so long. She’s at the point where she knows if I don’t get it out then I’m probably going to rant about, which won’t end well. I’ve also felt as though I need to put this off because I don’t know if I can explain myself properly without sounding like an asshole who is the be-all, end-all in Sekhmet UPG and patronage. I am neither of these things: I am merely a follower of a grand dame who has made it clear to me that some of the things going around the Internet in regards to her as a patron, or for people who are her followers, is something that appears to have been put out there for negative reason, whatsoever. So, I’m hoping that I can get this out without ranting and I’m hoping that I can get this out without sounding like some condescending asshole that you should ignore.
I’ve read in various places that giving Sekhmet blood as an offering is “wrong.” The reason behind this seems to stem from the Destruction of Mankind myth. In effect, Re grew tired of the world and humanity. Angry with their plotting against his rule, he sent out the Eye of Re in the form of Sekhmet to bring death and destruction to all of mankind. Growing remorseful with this decision, he tried to talk his daughter out of slaughtering mankind, but she refused having been drunk on the blood of man. So, he conned her into drunkenness (by dying beer with mandrake roots), which led her rage to dissipate while she slept off the effects of the beer and mandrakes. (I will be writing my version of this myth for an M entry in the PBP.) With this myth as a guide, people are out there and telling others that giving Sekhmet a blood offering is wrong and will incite her to riot.
I can understand the reasoning behind the fact that people would be led to believe that giving her blood would lead her into a rage again. The precedence is there, however, it seems to me that after thousands of years of not destroying mankind that we can safely say that her rage is over. It seems that people are only looking at the precedent of Sekhmet as a destroyer deity, a destruction that was (A) brought about at her father’s orders and (B) was ended with a joy-filled revelry of drunkenness. As I did say, since then, Sekhmet has not gone about slaughtering humanity. If nothing else, wouldn’t the destruction of the old ways and the monopolization of Christianity, Islam, and Judaism have set her into a further rage? Think about it: an all-powerful pantheon goes from its status of omnipotent to minor in a few hundred years. Call me silly, but I think that would have brought about some rage from a deity that is a so-called destroyer.
And yet, the world is still here.
I think the issue here is that people are only looking at this deity on a single level. We all have these problems, whether it be with gods or human beings. Let me paraphrase Shrek here when I say that we’re all “like onions. Onions have layers.” So, too, can we say this of every living thing. There are layers to tree, grass, and flowers. There are layers to dogs, cats, and birds. There are layers to children, women, and men. There are layers to deities. As I’ve said repeatedly and in various posts on this blog, gods are multifaceted. In seeing them as a single aspect (as even I have been wont to do on occasion) tends to lead the relationship we have with them in a circular holding pattern, just like planes that haven’t been given leave to land. Learning becomes that much more difficult because we are constantly re-learning the same layers, of ourselves and our gods, over and over again. Only so much can be gained if your running around in circles, re-learning the same damn shit over and over again.
The end result is the same, however, and the relationship stagnates because new layers are not discovered.
The goddess, Sekhmet, is not just a destroyer deity who is excited by the merest hint of blood lust. She is a goddess of justice for it was Re’s justice that she was, ultimately, seeking but it was justice against evil humans who were plotting against her father, as well. In this capacity, she would be the deity to pray to if/when you were having legal troubles. It is also because of this that vengeance would be her realm, as well, but vengeance isn’t just about destroying everything. Vengeance is as varied as the causes behind the need for it. She is, also, a deity to look to when ailing or when you wish to prevent yourself from growing ill. It was during the New Year of ancient Egyptian calendar that the people of ancient Egypt would give one another pendants or talismans in her image to ward off illness. For many New Year’s past, I have posted this image of her pendant on my blog to aid in the healing of myself as well as in others. But, this is neither here nor there. What I’m trying to convey here is that Sekhmet is more than just a bloodthirsty deity who revels in the fact that mankind will one day die and likely at her hands. Blood is important to her, as a goddess, and not just because she wants to see us all dead.
When I talk about giving blood as an offering, I suppose the same image comes to mind of most people. That would be the image of slitting a vein open upon her altar space or perhaps, digging a pin into a soft point on your hand/arm and letting blood droplets drip upon her statue. The images that I see in this seem to stem from movies, for the most part, or the morose poetry of depressed teenagers. To be completely frank, I do not understand where imagery like this comes from. I do not advocate cutting oneself open just to satisfy the desires of a goddess or the thought-of desires of a goddess. I don’t think there is any goddess, whether she be of destruction or hatred or love or grace, that would require a follower to do such to their bodies. In my personal practice, doing thus to someone’s body is not living in ma’at, which is the primary focus of the Kemetic path in paganism.
Now, I do give blood offerings to Sekhmet, but I don’t go about it the way I have described above.
I donate blood in her name.
This was an offering that I thought of on my own. It was after a particular grueling learning-spree that I remembered that my goddess is a goddess of blood, but also of healing. In these two aspects, I set about and started to donate blood to the American Red Cross on a regular basis. I am honoring her in numerous aspects just by doing this and I feel good about it after the fact. If you think about it, the whole process is good. You are giving of yourself, you are donating for a goddess, and you are helping others to heal when it is needed. How can you not feel awesome after the fact?
So, while I am not advocating the act of slitting wrists or pricking your thumbs, I am saying that telling others that a particular goddess cannot have blood as an offering is not fully accurate. It seems to be a trend that began in fear and uncertainty. And while I can understand these reasons and I can understand the aspects behind it, I cannot quietly sit by and merely say, “Well, I don’t agree but to each their own opinion,” any longer. My goddess is a goddess of the blood, but she is also a kind, loving, serene, calm, and wonderful patroness. It is in this that I give of myself on her behalf. And I think, if others begin to explore outside of the box, then they too will see the same things that I do.
(The image above is taken from the Wyrd Shop. This is a pendant that I actually own and fucking adore. Just saying. Anyway, for whatever reason, my HTML and captioning isn’t functioning properly, so I wasn’t able to caption the image.)