Sekhmet-Min.

Typically, when it comes to Sekhmet, there isn’t too much discussion going on. It’s not that people don’t want to discuss her, but I think that since there doesn’t seem to be much mythology outside of the Destruction of Mankind myth, people don’t seem interested in engaging. This upsets me a bit because I have a lot of thoughts regarding Sekhmet (of course) and I want to talk about it. I have a project planned for this year about her various aspects that I’ve come into contact with, but before I get started on that, I think I need to talk about the syncretism of Sekhmet-Min.

Now, anyone who hasn’t been following me on Tumblr or seen my comments about it on my personal Facebook may not be aware of this. And that actually makes sense because it doesn’t seem as though this particular syncretism bares more than a footnote or three in the books. Another reason it’s not so common knowledge is because there appears to be a large debate within the Egyptological community with regard to whether a Sekhmet and Min syncretism even existed.

Let me give you some background before I start talking about how I see and feel regarding this.

This all started, actually, when I found this post and was like, “what the hell is this?” The Tumblr user, intaier, posted another version of this image and tagged me in it so I could see the image more clearly as the original post had cropped out something important: the phallus. I took to Google, of course, to try and figure out what was happening because I couldn’t understand the lack of second arm and I had never seen Sekhmet with a phallus before. It was through Devo and another Tumblr user that I was made aware that imagery depicted thus is usually related to Min in some way. And of course, I found multiple images on Flickr which named this image as “Sekhmet-Min.”

I was completely floored. I had never heard of this syncretism before and I wanted to know more. Google searches for “Sekhmet-Min” came up with nothing besides those Flickr accounts, though. In my off time, I began looking for “ithyphallic Sekhmet.” I found two blog posts on LJ (here and here), which seemed to indicate the images were Mut. However, I found a few books through Google that mention ithyphallic Sekhmet. I decided to leave it alone for a while so I could mull this all over.

I also looked briefly into Min and found this quote: “While earlier generations of scholars inferred from Min’s erect penis that his principal function was fertility, it has recently been argued that Min’s upraised arm and erect penis are, in fact, both manifestations of his protective function, a form of display known as ‘phallic intimidation’ (Ogdon 1985).” All very interesting but I didn’t have anything definitive. While I mulled on it, I began to recognize that it would make a certain kind of sense for Sekhmet to have been syncretized with Min. But I left it at that because I didn’t really understand why it seemed “right” to me to have this syncretism.

A few days later, intaier posted this image where she clearly designates it as Mut. I came back and was like, “No, no. This was the Sekhmet-Min we talked about a few days ago.” And since then, things have rather degenerated. I wouldn’t call it a debate or anything because it’s not actually a debate.

However, people have weighed in with their opinions that the Egyptologists know what they’re talking about so if they call the image Mut, then so be it. I came back with evidence of Egyptologists who had named the syncretism as Sekhmet-Min. Based on my brief Twitter back and forth with Tamara (of KO fame), it would seem that there is no popular consensus within the Egyptological community on the status of these ithyphallic leonine deities. I left it alone until I was tagged again in another picture of the ithyphallic leonine deity, which seemed to indicate (again) that this was a “unique” representation of Mut (based on a quote from Te Velde in Mut and Other Ancient Egyptian Goddesses that intaier provided).

By this time, I was kind of tired of the conversation. I will admit that I am still very tired of the conversation, but I feel the need to put everything in a single place.

And Egyptologists like Budge used to think this way… and look where they’ve ended up.

It feels to me that we’re getting stuck on the prospect that this ithyphallic image is Mut because a bunch of people who may be wrong (because let’s face it, there’s always the possibility of discovering something new that will force Egyptologists to reevaluate their knowledge) said so. And while I definitely tell people that those sources are pretty fucking good to have, I also don’t want us to get stuck in a particular mindset when there is still, clearly, a lot of things that we simply don’t know.

To be perfectly frank, I honestly feel like my thoughts on the subject are being completely ignored in the face of statements made by Egyptologists. I think we’re falling into some mistaken belief that what the Egyptologists say on any given matter is holy writ and that’s something that we definitely need to steer clear from, especially as it pertains to our personal relationships with the gods. “But, Sat,” someone will say, “that’s blasphemy to the historically informed!”

But is it?

How many times have either I or TTR gone off about how Budge should not be used or cited as a resource? His translations have been proved to be inaccurate; he wrote entirely through the lens of a conservative Protestantism in order to garner more funds; he ignored his German contemporaries’ advances in the field; etc. As a resource, he is persona non grata.

Egyptology has come a long way, but there are still issues within the Egyptological community. While reading the problematically titled book, Shamanic Wisdom in the Pyramid Texts, Jeremy Naydler highlights many of these issues. For the most part, the author goes on and on for many, many pages about how the Egyptological community seems hell-bent on maintaining the belief that the ancient Egyptians were a “practical” people, denying any possibility of mysticism within their religious realm, in a seeming need to distance themselves as much as humanly possible from the poor pseudoscience that infiltrated Egyptological circles in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

All well and good – let’s absolutely distance ourselves from malarkey. But from a Kemetic standpoint, this leaves the resources we value so highly devoid of feeling and devoid of what I would like to see: a representation of my religion as it was when it was lived and breathed in its heyday.

But let’s look at this argument as logically as possible.

Let’s start off with the two images’ locations (I’m sorry, but I cannot find the image from the Hibis Temple so I cannot, in all honesty say, how closely related the images are).

Ramsses III censing before a form of Sekhmet-Min

“Image by Hannah Pethen, via Flickr”

The first image we have is the unnamed deity in the Temple of Khonsu at Karnak. Based on my research, this image appears to have been commissioned for Ramesses IV during the New Kingdom. (Based off of this website; translation will be needed.) This would lead me to suspect that the imagery used is Mut, who rose to prominence as the consort of Amun-Re at the spiritual capital of the country, Thebes, during this time period. The fact that the image is found in a temple dedicated to Khonsu, the son of Mut and her consort, Amun-Re, would also lead anyone worth their weight to believe that this is Mut.

However, it is during this period that we see Mut absorbing and usurping aspects of well-known and well-established leonine deities, specifically in this case, Sekhmet. The syncretism makes a lot of sense from various different points of view, but to look at it based on these quotes I think will better assist us here.

The first quote discusses how it was the first name in the syncretism that provided the deity with a physical form to inhabit but it was the secondary name that indicates who the deity actually is supposed to be. The second quote discusses how the gods had limitations and, in order to breach those limitations, syncretism was necessary. Looking at these statements together with regarding to the syncretism of Sekhmet-Mut, we see that the bodily form is that of Sekhmet, I.E. a lioness, where it is the motherly aspect of Mut that provides the power.

The reason I mention this is because prior to Mut’s syncretism of Sekhmet, her bodily form was that of a human woman wearing the double crown and/or the vulture headdress. We see many images of Mut in this way, but it is only when she comes into contact with Sekhmet (and Bast, evidently, according to my research) that we see her as a lioness. This particularly syncretism seems to have been of particular importance during the time that the Khonsu temple image was commissioned…

And that leads me to suspect that it may not specifically be Sekhmet who is syncretized with Min here, but it is a sort of conglomerate Sekhmet-Mut mixed with Min. Taking the leonine features of the face mixed with the bodily form of Min, we have two deities known for protective functions (“…it has recently been argued that Min’s upraised arm and erect penis are, in fact, both manifestations of his protective function…” as quoted fully above) merged into a unified composite. If we add Mut into the mix here, it’s only to denote that she has protective features and as the mother of Khonsu… who has every right to be in a temple dedicated to her son.

But again, in looking at the image, I don’t see anything that would herald that this is Mut in any way. Just because the two had a syncretism doesn’t necessarily negate the fact that Sekhmet may have become of import within the temple precincts in her own right. Based on my understanding of syncretism as indicated by the two quotes linked to above, I have to wonder if we’re missing integral information (clearly, we are) regarding this syncretism and how Sekhmet came to play a role within the cult worship of Mut.

Now let’s look at the Hibis Temple. This temple was built in the Late Period by the Persian pharaohs. By this time, the flower of the religious institutions that we see so well in the earlier periods had reached heyday status. Based on my brief look into this temple, it was built for the purpose of honoring the Theban Triad. This would explain why the ithyphallic leonine deity is clearly designated as Mut-A’at or Mut the Great.

However, this doesn’t actually negate the possibility that this image is, as with my thoughts on the Karnak temple above, Sekhmet. As Pinch states in Egyptian Mythology: “From the New Kingdom onward, Sekhmet was mainly thought of as the aggressive aspect of greater goddesses: first of Hathor, then of Mut, and finally of Isis.” (Bolding mine.) My point being that Sekhmet had stopped, in a manner of speaking, being a goddess in her own right and was seen as merely a part of –insert goddess here–. (What a terrible idea!)

While I don’t know what functions she may have served in her own right by that point, this only seems to indicate that the leonine deities seen at both the Khonsu Temple and the Hibis Temple are, in fact, linked (heavily) to Sekhmet. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be any images available online of the ithyphallic deity known as Mut-A’at, but if it bears any resemblance to the image at Karnak, then I have to assert that – as based on my arguments above regarding syncretism and how I see it – that, named otherwise or not at all, this is Sekhmet-Min.

Seeing that my opinion on the subject has been ignored and any points I may have made also have been ignored, I’m going to finish this off with a few further thoughts.

My issue with the ongoing “debate” is that it takes away from the point behind the images. Syncretism is all about inferring powers from one deity to another, a deity who does not have the abilities they require in order to complete a function. Sekhmet is a powerful and protective deity, but Min’s associations seem primarily with regard to fertility… or at least, some of his functions are about that. If we are basing this syncretism on the idea of fertility and creation, then I think it means that Sekhmet, and therefore Mut, had self-creation aspects that we need to look into.

It was this aspect that Ramesses IV was incensing and libating on the Karnak wall. It wasn’t Sekhmet by herself. It wasn’t Mut by herself. It was an ithyphallic representation of Sekhmet (and therefore, Mut, as based on the wonkiness of syncretism especially from that time period) that he was standing before. It was something about this syncretism that he felt the need to honor. Why? What is it about this particular syncretism that required that it be placed on the temple wall? Was it because he wanted to be able to self-create and was hoping that they would give him this ability? Was it just to make people, down the road, question what the fuck is happening in this scene? Was it some ancient scribe’s joke to the modern world, “haha, fuckers; good luck figuring out what this is about” and we’re all taken in by it?

These are the questions that we need to ask ourselves as devotees of Sekhmet. Why in the fuck did this representation end up on the wall? But more importantly, how does it impact us? We should stop worrying in some respects about what the scholars say and worry more about what our religion tells us. I fully plan on exploring how this impacts me and my relationship with Sekhmet (if at all) in the future and I invited everyone who has a relationship with her to do the same.

Sekhmet: So Much More Than Meets the Eye.

Sekhmet! More than meets the eye!
She wages her battles to destroy the evil forces of isfet!
Sekhmet! Lioness in disguise!
Sekhmet! More than meets the eye!
Sekhmet!

– A modern day hymn as ripped off from based off of the Transformers theme song

When I look back on my early days with Sekhmet, those days when I was very frightened and I had people telling me to stay away from her, I look back now rather fondly. Even though I understand the reason behind why people told me to stay away from her and even though those first few steps towards Sekhmet were some of the biggest and most frightening steps I had ever taken up to that point, I have to admit that I made the right choice.

Sometimes, I sit around and try to see what my life would be like without her… if I had ignored that call all those years ago, and I have to admit that what I think my life would be like is paltry at best and a fog of unending torment at worse. With my entering into this realm with Sekhmet’s open arms ahead of me, I’ve become maybe not the best person I could but I’ve become a pretty damn awesome human being.

As is the case with probably a lot of the netjeru, I’ve noticed this sort of trend that comes and goes in spurts. People seem to get stuck in this particular mindset about Sekhmet and I’ve realized how much it frustrates me, especially now that I’ve begun to actively explore her other aspects and facets. It’s almost as if people can’t even begin to fathom that Sekhmet is an individual with individual wants and desires, hopes and dreams, feelings and regrets. I don’t know if that’s always true of course, but as someone who has begun exploring all the various realms that Sekhmet ends up, I have to say that it appears that way.

Lately, I’ve seen people say things like, “it’s such a hard time working with Sekhmet because she makes me want to kill people” or “I’m such a destroying motherfucker that my spirit guide must be Sekhmet” or “I’m going to burn down everything around me just like Sekhmet did, LOL.”

This mindset really frustrates me as a devotee of Sekhmet and as someone who actively seeks out those other parts of Sekhmet’s soul, those parts that hardly ever get talked about in public. I also think this mindset is incredibly problematic. Let’s talk about that, shall we? (As if you had a choice.)

  1. Tell Me Things Because I Don’t Know How To Research.

I think a lot of people want to be spoon fed and to an extent that’s actually not much of a problem (thus why resource lists are so great). I fully remember how daunting this whole historically informed path was all those years ago and I often felt like I was completely out of my depth when discussing anything with people who had been doing this a while. I often found myself freaking out because they had access to things that I did not or because they seemed to understand the texts that we all had read far better than I. They were able to discern the information out there on the Internet – separate the wheat from the chaff – and that made me feel very insecure and very, very incapable in my devotion to Sekhmet.

I know I spent a lot of my first few years doing this reading and re-reading the same type of things over and over again with regard to Sekhmet. I wanted to understand what it was that I was seeing from those who had been doing this a while and because I wanted them to tell me what I needed to know. I felt disparaged at the thought of all of the resources that I couldn’t fully understand (because let’s face it, a lot of the academic resources out there are not written for the layperson) and all of the resources I wouldn’t be able to get my hands on because they were in other languages. I wanted someone to take me by the hand and explain it to me.

Now that I’ve been at this a while, I’ve found a groove with resources. I’ve been able to better to toss aside the chaff and focus on the wheat. And while I will admit to still feeling upset that there are places I will not be able to go unless someone translates French and/or German texts for me, I would like to think that I’ve finally gotten a good foothold on what I’ve read. And I try very hard, remembering the fear and worry and anger and hopelessness, to explain to people who are new and who may not be aware that Sekhmet is more than a deity of destruction.

However, you can only say the same things so many times before you finally get to the point where frustration takes over. As someone who only minutely associates with the boat paddling phenomena, I probably get far more easily frustrated than those who have been doing the community building longer and more thoroughly than I have.

And that frustration leads me on to point number 2…

  1. Pigeonholing Makes Things Easier for Me

Quite often, I remind people that Sekhmet is more than just a destructive deity. That little check box next to the word destruction? It isn’t the only one that’s been checked, but it seems to be the most often cited. I truly believe that a large part of this, beyond newbie ignorance, is because human beings tend to pigeonhole. It’s almost as if we must always attempt to qualify something within a very strict rubric, which oft-times doesn’t do anyone or anything a damn bit of good.

Let’s be real here: in this day and age, pigeonholing should be jettisoned into space and burned upon reentry into some planets atmosphere. In a day and age where we’re beginning to realize that being uptight about everything and the requirement to shove everything into an “it is this” or “it is that” bullshit dynamic is a complete delusion, I think it’s safe to say that we can do the same with the gods.

Look, I get the whole thing when it comes to Sekhmet. We know she was sent to destroy humanity. Anything that has ever been created about Sekhmet (unless people are just blind and unable to properly read Wiki, which is where 95% of their ignorant information is going to come from) talks about how she destroys some shit. That’s all there is. Like if I had to make an art picture of every damn webpage that pops up when you type in Sekhmet’s picture, it would look like this:

The orange are all the flames she has and the red is the rivers of blood and of course, on her back, she carries DEATH.

The orange are all the flames she has and the red is the rivers of blood and of course, on her back, she carries DEATH.

(Photo credit, bee tee dubs.)

I rather feel as if the reason behind this is because people are too worried and scared at the prospect of looking outside of preconceived notions.

We have the mindset of the early Egyptologists who were really fond of pigeonholing the netjeru into predefined [usually Christian] terms that have no bearing on ancient Egyptian religion whatsoever. We have the mindset of people who cannot or are unwilling to do the research. We have the mindset of people who are too stuck on archetypes that they don’t bother to look into the minutiae. And of course, we have people who just want to blame the gods for all of their issues so they hyper-focus on a single detail of the painting instead of looking at the whole damn scene.

If we have any or all of the above possibilities, it makes it that much easier to not have to think critically about the gods, about their roles in our lives, and how their relationships with us impact us on a grander scale.

We can state, emphatically, that because Sekhmet is a destructive force that is why we, as devotees of hers, behave as such. We can state, emphatically, that because Sekhmet raged at people, then that explains why we feel the need to rage utterly at others. We are stating with these types of reasons for our actions, our thoughts, our feelings in regard to various things is only because we decided to develop a relationship with her… When in fact, it may simply be that the relationship with her is helping us to delve deeper into our own psyche, our own souls to figure out who we are as people, how we actually feel (as opposed to the feelings we couch in terms that polite society can/will handle), and find better ways to handle those things.

  1. I Don’t Need to Explore Our Relationship Further

Above all, I think this one is my biggest pet peeve about the whole thing. By refusing to look beyond that destructive aspect that we all see next to Sekhmet’s name, there are so many rich and rewarding aspects to her that people are missing out on. Yes, that’s right. My biggest problem with all of this is that by doing this, there are so many different parts of Sekhmet that people are not able or not willing to discover because they are too busy thinking of her as C instead of the whole damn alphabet that she entails.

I will admit to a little bit of selfishness with the above, too. It can be really difficult to find people willing to explore their relationships, like me, with Sekhmet. And because there are seeming so few of us out there, it becomes difficult to be open about the changes, the new things I’ve discovered, and all of the UPG that it corresponds with.

I know that sounds weird, right? Since I don’t see people out there who are explorers, so to speak, with Sekhmet, then I don’t want to talk about it. That’s right. I want to be able to express myself in more than simple key smashing (which, I will admit, is how I’ve felt a lot lately regarding her) and I feel that if I could just talk to someone who has experienced even a little inkling of what I’ve found lately then it would help me to crystallize and define things that I’ve discovered.

And it’s exciting.

And it’s neat.

And it’s interesting.

And it’s scary as shit.

Do the thing, you guys, so I can figure shit out.

Let's get some learning on!

Let’s get some learning on!

As bitter as I have been with regard to my relationship with Sekhmet in recent months, looking back, I can see just how much she has truly enriched me as a person and me as a devotee. I want this for everyone who looks in her direction and I definitely think it’s a good course of action to stop thinking of her as belonging in this one box because the myth we have that seems specifically about her discusses her function as an irt-re. Not only is it detrimental to us as people but it is detrimental to her as our goddess. Sure, the ancient Egyptians were scared of her and the netjeru, too, but there is so much more out there. And we, as devotees whether they be long term devotees or passerby devotees, have an obligation to her, to the new people who discover her, and everyone out there who fail to look deeper, to fill in the blanks.

Home, Hearth, and Hetharu.

One of those things you find me talking about often enough is how very, very layered and diverse the gods can be. Too often, we’ll find a website or someone who thinks they know everything they could know about a god’s particular aspect – dark and danger, flighty and pink, motherly and sweet, whore – and that will be the end of it. Now, I don’t talk about this so often because I think my way is the only way (usually), but because too often I get all het up when I see people pigeon-holin’ gods into tiny boxes that just don’t work. So, you’d think that, considering this content and how often I bitch about it, that I’m not guilty of this. But, that’s not true. I’ve found myself guilty of it frequently. The difference is that I strive to get out of that mindset.

Thing is, I don’t always succeed.

When Hetharu came into my life, I thought of her as a kind of sacred whore. (She was intrigued by the title when I came up with it.) She came into my life with the express purpose of helping me work on the sex stuff, although now years later, I wonder what exactly her helping is in that regard. But, neither here nor there, I had a very difficult time when I started seeing her cropping up all over the place and heard, specifically, from Sekhmet that I had to get my ass in gear and work with her sister-self. And the face I made when I first made this intense and surprising discovery was something you should never hope to see on my face. It pretty much means that death is coming to you. The only word that even remotely comes close to describing it would be “thunderous” but I’ve also heard “bitchy” now and again. You can ask the Sister if you don’t believe me. I was not happy when the sacred whore showed up in my life.

I did my research because, as much as I may not be happy about it, I’m not going to just go with my first gut on who a particular god is. There are a lot of different nuances in the ancient Egyptian pantheon that you may not be able to pin your finger on unless you immerse yourself in the mythologies and the descriptors, in the imagery and the professional opinions. I saw that she was a grand dame and that she held dominion over motherhood, the home, as well as the feminine body parts. I also saw that she was related to stars, to beauty. She was the patron goddess of dancers and the sistrum is an item often associated with her cult. Suffice to say that to call this particular goddess’s associations as “varied” is a complete understatement. In earlier times, her cult center usurped and added to its repertoire by overshadowing minor goddesses. Of course, in turn, she ended up going this way via Aset, but prior to that, she had all her fingers in a ton of different pies.

But, my head kept getting stuck on the sacred whore paradigm I was focusing on her. It mainly had to do with one of her epithets, Mistress of the Vulva, but also because I was sorely against working on any of the sex stuff. Yes, I have issues. Yes, I know I need to fix those issues. However, that doesn’t mean that I’m going to be willing and capable of working on it. One thing that those epithets and myths do not tell you about Hetharu is that she is pretty fucking patient when she wants to be.

I guess we could say that the motherhood thing has some merit in fact.

Recently, I decided that while I enjoy her place on my altar and that, one day when I have a home large enough for such a thing, her relegation will be to a place on my home and hearth altar, but that’s effectively it. I don’t feel connected to her. I never really did. But then again, if I really get down to it, I associate my connections on the same level I have with Sekhmet. The level I have with her… is mind-blowing. If there was a way to describe how I feel about my primary goddess, then I have yet to find that word. I’ve looked to others’ relationships with godspousery and all of that… and sometimes, I think how I feel about Sekhmet is akin to what they have going on, but it’s so much more than that and not the same. We’re not married and we’re not going to be. Let’s just face it, I cannot describe how I work with Sekhmet, what I feel about Sekhmet, and all of that. I can only say that it is deep and it is everlasting. And I tend to look at relationships I have with other gods in relation to her and they all fail to come close.

Anyway, with that in the background, I kind of decided that while I enjoy her sphere of influences (baking, in my household) she pretty much was taking the furthest backseat ever. It wasn’t that I don’t want to work on the sex stuff, but I have other avenues that I have to work on first before I can even come into that mode of thought. And so, with my basic background still the sacred whore mindset, I began thinking about her today as I ate dinner. Now, let me just say this: I can bake like nobody’s business and will have a thermonuclear meltdown if what I’m baking turns out badly, but I pretty much can’t cook. I’ll let you in on a bigger secret: I can actually cook, and fine, but I prefer not to because I’m a lazy motherfucker.

I’ve been saying I can’t cook for so long that people actually believe it now. And I get irritated, now, as I step into a more full motherly role and house providing role that I forget that I really can cook. I’m used to saying that I can’t. I’m used to hearing that I can’t. And if you hear it and say it often enough, then it must be true correct? Wrong. I can actually cook. I may have to work on certain recipes and I may have to try my hand at something a time or two, but I can usually get it after only my second try. And as I was eating the delicious dinner I made tonight, I realized that Hetharu’s sphere of influence is a good deal larger than I had ever given her credit.

Sacred whore. That’s what I thought.

Mother, home, hearth. These are the areas that I forget and yet, she has more dominion here, in my life, than I realize. I’m still too busy pigeon-holding my own fucking gods to get my head out of my ass to realize where they actually end up influencing me. And I guess, I guess as I sat there eating dinner, I needed to come to that realization.

Pigeonholing the Gods.

One of the things I have a very difficult time with, and I’ve discussed, is how very easy it is for people to just take a single aspect of a god and then they start running with it. It is at the point with this where I will not do generalized searches for Sekhmet or Sutekh or Hekate because I am sick of seeing all of the dark and dire nonsensical drivel people can think up. I end up wanting to correct or just smack my head against a wall at fifty miles an hour with some of the things that I’ve seen. However, it’s recently come to my attention that this is one of those aspects that we get, not just from the proliferation of the Internet era where everyone can make a website, but also in pseudo-literary books, in feminazi* propaganda, and in the mediocre [American] education of public school graduates.

* After a long discussion with a feminist friend of mine regarding one of the books I’m going to discuss, she remarked that people who apply feminist ideals in all areas are not real feminists because they tend to do it in an effort to belittle others, such as boys and men. She said to me that feminists, real ones, are looking for equality and that anyone who claims to be a feminist but does such a thing as to belittle others is not a real feminist. I’ve decided that they are “feminazis.”

The Sister recently went back to school and has to read the book, The Chalice and the Blade for her English class. This book is distinctly matriarchal in its content. The thing that really started to get to us (as the Sister had to, of course, share it with me) was that the author seems to not understand her mythology in any context. For example, there were a long list of deities that the author considered as a kind of hippy, mother deities. Some of these types of gods are Hera, Ma’at, Nut, Lilith, and Kore. This last god the author appears to be switching with Persephone. However, the fact that the author is pigeonholing gods in this ultra-feminine, mothers-are-awesome way isn’t really the issue inasmuch as the author not understanding in any way that some of the gods she listed do not qualify as “mothers” or as “loving mothers.”

Ma’at has never been anything in regards to a mother. In one instance, as a youth, I read of her as mother to Renenutet and Shai in her capacity as consort with Djehuti. While there is little to no evidence that either of these gods were parents, the one aspect to this particular model that I’ve read is that Djehuti fathered both. However, the generally accepted belief is that his consort as Seshat was the parent deity for these two gods. In regards to Nut, at one point, it is mentioned that she actually eats her children. Taken from Henadology, “In a text from the ceiling of the sarcophagus chamber of Seti I, it is said that Nut is called ‘Sow who eats her piglets,’ referring to the stars. In this text, Geb quarrels with Nut because she eats their children, but is reassured by Shu that ‘they [the stars] shall live, and they shall go forth from the place under her hind part in the east every day [i.e., at sunset], as she gives birth to Re daily,’ (Neugebauer vol. I, 67f).” In which context are either of these goddesses mothers or what the author believes to be good, happy, lovable mothers? Never mind the little factoids that I know about the other goddesses mentioned – Lilith appears to have had demonic associations and in many mythos eats/steals children; Hera did not want to marry her husband, allowed him to eat their children, and tried to kill her husband and therefore destroy the happy family dynamic; while Kore appears to be a reference of Persephone who was not a mother as far as I can recall – where in the world is it feasible to call any of these goddesses as loving mothers?

While discussing the horrors of this book with her English class, the Sister came across another form of pigeonholing in regards to her main mover and shaker, Aphrodite. For whatever reason, the discussion turned into this goddess’s direction. A small child, fresh out of high school, remarked that Aphrodite was “nothing but a whore anyway.” Of course, this is also incorrect. While Aphrodite is a goddess who obviously enjoys the stimulation of her body with other partners, she is also just the simple goddess of love. And while her mythologist tend to associate her with love in regards to that between a man and a woman, she also held sway and dominion over all forms of love – friendship, for instance, being a main example. She also held dominion over beauty, which I believe had something to do with the Trojan war or something. But what she really represents is a woman, content with who she is, what her body can deliver, and not willing to back down even if in a jealous rage or upset because she doesn’t get her way. She is the epitome of womanhood, in my eyes.

All of the goddesses I have mentioned thus far don’t even have “darker contexts” or “darker associations.” I couldn’t help but remark that I was shocked the author didn’t bother to mention that both Kali Ma and Sekhmet were “loving mother” goddesses.

And that, I feel, is a side project of these matriarchal society women who think that patriarchy is bad. I’m not saying that living in a patriarchal society is all roses and sunshine. I pay very close attention to the GOP and their inability to leave the birth control and abortion debates alone after nearly fifty years of not having to worry about having a right to these items. However, we can’t possibly assume (especially with our current psychology) believe that a matriarchy would be any better. Just because it may or may not have worked before doesn’t mean that it would work again. And while I really got irritated by the joke about a woman president being so overcome by PMS she would hit the switch to attack all of our foes with our hydrogen bombs and missiles, one can’t help but wonder how a woman would handle all of that if she had her period… or was menopausal… But, anyway. The point here is that a lot of people who believe that a matriarchal society means a better society tend to utilize goddesses like Sekhmet and Kali to show that they are “supremely awesome wonderful cuddly mothers.”

No.

Sekhmet was a mother in the fact that she gave a child to her consort, Ptah, by way of Nefertem. However, just because she had a kid in the Egyptian mythology does not mean that she doted on him hand and foot. In the Kali Ma mythology, she has a mothering side in which Shiva is sent to her in infant form while she has gone out of control with her blood lust. In seeing the helpless infant, she stops her crazed dance to tend to the infant and so, Shiva saves the world from the lust of Kali. In either of these aspects, both of these goddesses as mothering aspects to them. However, in no way shape or form does this mean that they were down with the motherhood. And in no way does it mean that we should pick and choose generalized mythos in an effort to recreate what matriarchal proponents would want to see. In all honesty, for the longest time, I thought these people were just Wiccans who were trying to work their feminine dynamic around all goddesses and now, I’m just thinking that people are trying to create a quieter spin on two gods who, let’s face it, have destruction in their blood.

In same vein, however, we can’t just pick and choose these two aspects of these goddesses and run with it either. I cannot comment on Kali as my research into her is extremely limited. However, I can clearly say that while she did have some lusting of the blood going on, she also came about to destroy Raktabija, which if you ask me, is a good thing.

When we look to Sekhmet, however, the mythologies that commonly get associated with her, in various forums and blog entries, are merely just the fact that Re sent her down to wreak havoc against humanity for plotting against him. And after he told her to stop, she was so drunk with blood that she didn’t. Obviously, Re fixed that situation, but just because she came down to our home just to destroy us doesn’t mean that she isn’t a deity that we should look to in other arenas. She is a great healer; she is a great proponent of justice. Too many people are so focused on her associated with the hot desert winds (as this was often thought to be her breath) and the Destruction of Mankind mythology that they forget she has other facets.

And this is something, I feel, that I will always be arguing against. I will always end up seeing people trying to pigeonhole her, Sutekh, Kali Ma, and others in an effort to make themselves feel right with the world. Or because they are just too blind to see that the gods are as imperfect as we are. I am a bitch; I open my mouth and volatility spews forth. But, I am also a mother, a daughter. I am also on the path to healing my soul. I am also a pagan. Just as people will look at me and see my white skin, people look to Kali and see her becoming drunk on the blood of humanity.

The gods are faceted and so are we.

So, for fuck’s sake, stop fucking seeing the gods within this tiny keyhole realm. The picture is a lot more broad and varied than you are able or capable of seeing.

Sekhmet II: History, Possible History, and Now. (PBP).

Note: I have been hinting at this entry for months now and I can only say that I seriously hope I do not disappoint. On another note, I would like to mention that most, if not all, of what I write here are based entirely upon my own UPG (unverified personal gnosis) and so, I don’t want anyone to take this as fact to be used in their processes with this or other gods. This is for me, myself, and I but to be shared in a public setting.

As a child, I was pretty fascinated with mythology. I would pull the books out of my library on a fairly regular basis. I read the Greek book they had in the children’s section to near tatters. (Not for lack of care, but just how often I had it in my hands.) In reality, the children’s section didn’t have much in the way of mythological information about past faiths, but I will admit that I was horrifically and enchantingly obsessed with the idea of multiple gods. And by that, I mean that I would sit back after reading a section or the book, cover to cover, only to wonder what it would have been like to worship other gods. While I ended up taking out the Greek and Roman books the most often, this was because it wasn’t until later that I was able to find anything on the ancient Egyptian pantheon. Sure, I had heard it talked about in passing – I believe my teacher felt that the pantheon was too confusing to go into more detail than a basic rendition of the Osiris and Isis myth – but there wasn’t much information about it. This didn’t stop me from wanting to know ALL THE CULTURES and learn about them.

I was still fairly young when I was able to find the first book that I read about ancient Egyptian myth. It was another rendition of the Osiris and Isis myth, based off of the myths of the Greco-Roman era. But it wasn’t enough. I don’t know how I stumbled onto Sekhmet – I just don’t have clear childhood memories anymore – but I remember I was still younger than ten when I first found her. Hell, the timing is probably more along the lines of in relation to when my father died when I was seven and that’s probably why I don’t remember it. But, I remember being fascinated by what I felt was a “first vampire” of sorts, a myth that all other vampiric myths would be based on in future. The myth was child-sized, but since I was a horror buff, I was able to look up things that most kids my age would have shied away from. (THANKS MOM FOR LETTING ME READ AND RESEARCH WHATEVER I WANTED.) I got the less childlike simplicity of her drunken debauchery and the whole shebang with the End of the World, blood drinking, and the red beer that was used to stop her.

I fell out of favor with my mythology obsession, but it wasn’t because I stopped caring. It was mostly because of the reading comprehension and my reading ability. As I’ve mentioned, by the age of nine, I was reading Stephen King to do book reports on (and being called a liar when I turned the papers in). It wasn’t that I didn’t want to learn all that I could about myths and whatnot, but that the books I had easy access to were either too below my reading level or too above my reading level. Child-based mythology books are all well and good for a basic appetite wetting, but they don’t exactly mean that the next one you pick up is Plutarch. And even back then, I had a severe hatred for classic literature. So, while I do believe I did try my hand at Plutarch a time or two, it never felt right, it never read right, and I got bored too quickly. So, back burner for that obsession, but Sekhmet stayed with me in little ways.

For example, as I’ve said in some older posts, I would do searches of things and end up on pages associated with her. (This was also back before the invention of Wikipedia, so some of the pages I would end up on had black background with red font and sparkling pentacles in the corners. Ugh.) This was true even as a youth, but I never paid attention to it. This coincidence continued throughout high school and my general flirtation with the idea of magic and Wicca. (I didn’t know it was called that then and my basic flirtation with it ended with it being just a flirtation.) This coincidence continued in more force when I was working the overnight shifts at the front desk in Texas, back when I first started hearing about Wicca and paganism, at large. (It’s amusing that as someone who has had an Internet presence since I was very young, back when it was AOL or nothing, it was only as a twenty-something that I heard about paganism and from my twenty-plus-years older friend!) Just because these things kept happening didn’t mean that I paid attention to it.

I mean, obviously, I was researching the same things over and over again to get to where Sekhmet would come up. Right?

As the years past and I began to explore paganism more fully, I was always called toward Sekhmet. I remember clearly stating that I had a thing for her to the EM and the Sister. And that, barring that, the only real deity I wanted to get to know, at all, was Kali Ma. (I suppose I just had a thing for ‘destructive’ deities.) Since I was working in a frame work of Wicca, it was considered a bad idea to go down that route, as I’ve said. I think the Wiccan frame work is what stoppered the whole flow, but I can’t be positive. I do know that both the EM and the Sister, with their fear and warnings, didn’t help in that regard. I can clearly recall, though, in those early years that I had a distinctive belief that all gods were their own entities and none of the archetypal stuff that can commonly be found in a Wiccan context. I think that was the basic muck up in the process – the EM, who had been doing all of this stuff longer than both myself and the Sister, felt that archetypal goddesses of destruction were not a good idea because it was obvious (to her) that I would embody that those destructive qualities and, you know, ruin.

It’s only years later, in the now, that I realized just how totally stupid that whole idea is. As I’ve mentioned a thousand and one times in so many different entries, all the gods have layers. I’ve regaled people with the Sekhmet as destroyer, as healer, as fount of justice, and I’ve begun learning of her as the giver of life. (More in a sec.) If I had done proper research into Kali Ma, as I have in passing now and again just because, I would have figured all of this out sooner. But, I was cowed by people older and wiser.

I think that’s when Sekhmet started getting really angry about the whole muleheadedness. I’m not saying that it is because of my goddess that the EM went bat-shit or anything. The girl had problems, but there are days where I idly wonder if Sekhmet had a hand in the spectacular downfall that were our relationships…

When I first began working with Sekhmet, I tended to liken the relationship with me bashing my head against a wall. She was very firm and determined to get me from point A to point H. I think some of the more rapid work in those early months was designed to get me to where I am now after so many years of ignoring her. And yes, I will admit that I often wonder how far I would be on this path or where I would be on this path if I had just listened to my gut in the first place. In the grand scheme of things, I’ve only been working with her as my Lady for three years. I began in 2009. However, I had been having the urge to do so since 2006 or thereabouts. It really makes me wonder how much more work I could have gotten in the three years between my determined commitment and my dreamed-of commitment. I’ll never know, but it does make me wonder about other things…

Over the years, I’ve chafed at her very tight rein. This isn’t because I don’t appreciate who she is or why she is doing what she is doing, but because I’m naturally inclined to do the exact opposite of what people desire. This is no different in regards to my gods. I am quite contrary. And while I know this irritates her, I think there is some pride there as well. It means that while I am willing and able to listen to direction and follow those directions, it doesn’t necessarily mean that I do it with a snappy salute. Sometimes, maybe, I have to realize that the direction being given isn’t because I have to be just this way but for my own good. However, Sekhmet let’s me make those mistakes (of which I’ve made many, many, many) and she is always, always there to help me pick up the pieces.

The only time this has not happened was in an incident with my ex-husband and that is because, well, one day, I’ll get to that.

You know, I can remember a time when I couldn’t hear her. I believe this was actually after she had introduced me to her sister-self, Hetharu. I was supposed to be working with Hetharu, but the H’s methods didn’t jive with the amount of trauma I had going on. Whilst I understood the need for her in my life and I still do, I didn’t want the shadow work to go along with it. (GEE. CAN ANYONE TELL ME WHY HEKATE IS AROUND.) During that time, I turned away from Hetharu only to lose Sekhmet in the deal. And I can clearly remember crying hysterically, like a child who has lost the only toy that will put them to sleep or make their worlds worth living, and wondering why she had left me. Someone told me that, perhaps, the lesson with Sekhmet was over. And I can also remember that she came roaring back (briefly) to assure me, very intently, that my lessons with her would never be over. And that I was stuck with her for life.

This was around the time when I began wondering how long that life was.

You see, I’ve often wondered why I have such a close affinity for her, even as a child. It seems a little weird, right, considering the context I would have learned about her when I was young. She was a destroyer. And for years, I tended to believe that I was like her in that way – I was a Leo, to boot, so you know. But, after a long time, I’ve come to believe very strongly that in this life, she was there when Khnum was molding me for my eventual delivery into this world. I also wonder if it was more in line with her directions that everything happened the way it happened as my conception. You see, in ancient Egyptian belief, there were three goddesses that made the whole baby-making process happen. There was Heqet, who was responsible for the initial conception. Then there was Renenutet who was responsible for the growth of the baby. And then Meskhenet who was responsible for the birth, itself. And while I have little doubt that they probably played a part in it, I think it was more in line with Sekhmet, giver of life, and her desires that all of this came about as it did.

And this, actually, kind of correlates with the past life soul retrieval Dee did for me months ago. In that soul palace was Sekhmet. There was also Heru and Sutekh in that soul palace, but she was there, as well. And I’d like to think that her statue, maybe, was a little bigger than the other two. Not just because she was more important but because she is more important now.

I’ve said a time or two that this is the Time of Sekhmet. Originally, I meant this to mean that it was at her direction that I was following my cues. For example, it was her gentle push that made me ask my friend for an oracle reading with Hekate and at her nudge what I specifically asked. It kind of felt like, well, you aren’t willing to do with the sex shadow work you need to do, so why don’t you work with that crossroad goddess to work out the other stuff first and come back to Hetharu when you are ready? And that’s where I am, right now. I’m working with one goddess because the Main Goddess told me it was in my best interest to do so.

Thing is that while I talk about this particular moment in my life as a Time of Sekhmet… what I’ve really come to realize that my entire life is a Time of Sekhmet. And we have many, many years to see just where this goes.

Sekhmet (PBP).

As a devotee to Sekhmet, I’ve found that one of the hardest parts about wanting to learn as much as I can about my deity is finding the information necessary to learn about her. Too often, I stumble on websites and books that tend to lump her into a category of “Eye of Re” deities. And while this is a component part to who she is as a goddess, it’s only a single layer in the numerous layers that make her up as a god. Another common problem is the fact that she tends to be assimilated into the culture of other goddesses. Too often, I find her as an aspect of Hetharu, Bast, or Mut. (There are other aspects and mash-ups that I’ve seen but those are the most common.) And lastly, another problem I tend to find is that she tends to become a smaller portion to the triad she belongs to (as Ptah-Sekhmet-Nefertem of Memphis/Inebou-Hedjou).

So, finding information about Sekhmet on the Internet can be difficult. Websites proliferate and are rife with information, but how much can be attested to via a historical source? There are few treatises that are not in foreign languages (French and German being the lingua fraças of early Egyptology) that we can look to with clear-cut results. My largest issue with this is the fact that she doesn’t seem to deserve her own “street cred,” even with the Destruction of Mankind myth under her belt, so to speak. This bothers me because (A) as a hard polytheist, I view her as her own deity and (B) because as a devotee of her, I don’t really care how her counterparts and mash-ups were viewed by ancients or even today’s worshipers. I want to know about her.

I think part of the reason finding information about her is so difficult because she is constantly surrounded by goddesses that are larger than life or who proliferated more fully in the later dynasties of ancient Egypt. As I mentioned, more often than not, we see her name linked to Mut, Hetharu, and Bast. I have called this act of syncretism as “sister-selves.” To me, this means that they are separate beings but that they can dress up in one another’s clothes, dawn appropriate accents, and generally pass as one another if the need arises. As a quick lesson: in ancient Egypt, it was pretty well-known that the imagery we would deem as portraits of the gods was only for the human benefit. It was made quite clear that in their natural forms, we had no idea what the gods looked like and that if they so desired, they could take any form they so chose. So, in doing thus, each goddess could become the other if it was warranted. (Although, one has to wonder if this ever ended up with childish games of pretending to be one another to other gods and to followers…)

In her syncretism with Hetharu, the most common form, it is understandable. In the Book of the Celestial Cow, it is shown that when Re tired of humanity, he first sent Hetharu to remove the human threat before allowing Sekhmet a chance to be his agent on earth. (And, boy, was she.) In the case of Bast and Sekhmet being paired together, it tends to be in the arena of two warriors goddesses unifying together. There are some comments about this. In some instances, scholars tend to believe that Sekhmet came from the south and so, she was a protector of Upper Egypt while Bast held dominion over Lower Egypt. Or, on the other hand, we can see both of these leonine goddesses as protectors of Lower Egypt who became conflated together around the Middle Kingdom or so. In either case, the end result appears to be the same: two warriors becoming unified in a single composite deity. In regards to the syncretism with Mut, there doesn’t appear to be a concrete path that can easily inform as to why the two of them were mixed together. It’s possible it merely stems from the two of them being Eyes of Re, but this seems too easy. Sekhmet isn’t always paired with other Eyes. So, I think the mixture between the two stems from the two goddesses being some of the older goddesses in existence. And in keeping around one (Mut, who became a very popular goddess in her own right), we continue to feel the presence of the other.

One thing I tend to fight against, repeatedly, when doing the research and going through what I can about Sekhmet is the constant belief that she is nothing but a blood-thirsty goddess. In Egyptian Mythology by Geraldine Pinch, she tends to paint the picture of a goddess who is only out to destroy and drink the blood of her children. While yes, this was a component part to the mythology surrounded by main goddess, this isn’t the entirety of who she is or even who she was. In The Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt by Richard H. Wilkinson, she is represented with more of a rounded component picture: he mentions more prominently than Ms Pinch that Sekhmet also had a hand in healing and protection against pestilence. There’s also minor mention of her mix with other goddesses (one of whom I forgot to mention above being Pakhet).

On the opposite scale of these issues when researching my main goddess, I tend to find whole websites littered with commentary about her being a “mother goddess.” I think this tends to more be a miscommunication between the representation of Sekhmet-Mut and Mut herself. I’ve commented before about Mut herself, so I won’t rehash old news. But the thing is that when the two were combined to form a composite deity, it appeared that the ancient Egyptians were more about giving Mut a protective side than about giving Sekhmet a kinder side. The protection of a mother, especially a major mother goddess like Mut, would have been best linked with a warrior goddess, such as Sekhmet.

Aside from her blood thirst and her ability to bring pestilence, and besides the fact that she could heal, Sekhmet also stood for justice. In the New Kingdom she usurped Sutekh’s role of standing in the solar barque to protect Re against his enemies each night. And the ancient Egyptian pharaohs harped on her as a protective goddess, as well, especially when it comes to war outside of their country. (Let’s not forget that the ancient Egyptians felt that isfet was almost analogous with foreigners, part and parcel to Sutekh’s later demonization.)

I’ve often said it and I’ll repeat myself again, when it comes to working with gods and goddesses that have a “darker” aspect to their mythos, it’s best if we try to crack through the layers and layers of mythological propaganda. I’m not saying this because I want people to constantly stick their nose in a book – although that would be awesome – but because I think it’s very important to remember that with each new cycle of a dynasty, a god or goddess of ancient Egypt could change. They could be usurped into a larger figure or they could be mixed with others. This is never more commonly prevalent than in watching the mythology and belief surrounding Sutekh carry from a chaotic deity who slays Apep nightly to the devil version we can see as quite popular in Greco-Roman times.

Each god has layers and it’s our job, as their followers, to peel back those layers to know, truly, who it is we are devoted to.

Dark, Evil, Negative: My Feelings on “Those” Gods.

So, in my post about darker gods, I went on about how Sutekh, Sekhmet, and Loki are “pretty evil.” I also was pretty damn sure that I only ended up writing about how “dark” they are using quotations. (I know I didn’t 100% of the time, but I tried to.) I was trying to convey a point with those quotations, but I apparently didn’t get that point across as fluidly as I had desired. The quotes didn’t stop someone from asking me something that I realized I never actually touched upon. The comment in question is from an FB group that I frequent, a Lokean stronghold so to speak. The person in question asked me, Why would you consider Loki to be a “Darker God”? It seems kinda emo to worship Loki as the Dark God of Heathenry, and gives merit to the fundies view of Lokeans. I gave a small response, but realized that I should probably start talking about this stuff in more detail. I can inform on a smaller basis, but what’s the point? I like informing on a bigger basis. So, here goes it.

When I talk about “dark” and “evil” gods, I don’t actually think that they are either “dark” or “evil.” I use those particular words because they’re the best bet to get the point across to those who see these gods as such. There are loads of people, both pagan and otherwise, who view trickster gods in a darker light, who view destroyer gods in a darker light, and who view gods of death in a darker light. I am not one of those people. I don’t think I ever have been. If nothing else, my long-long journey with Sekhmet would have turned me off to that. As far as I am concerned, these gods are more like shades of gray (as I mentioned in that post) than anything else. They have good facets and they have bad facets, but too often people focus on the negative associations, so when I talk about them, I have to try to appeal to those particular people. I want to get the word out there and the only way to do so, honestly, is to use words that they would understand. Words that reflect how they feel.

I have never really considered the gods as shoved into a particular corner like that. For a while, when I first started exploring this whole thing and I found myself drawn to both Kali and Sekhmet, I did some research. I had people who were hyper-focusing on the destruction aspects. Neither one of those goddesses are all about just destroying the world. They have other hemispheres of influence, but they’re not as largely discussed for whatever reason. In the case of Sekhmet, I honestly couldn’t say why people seem to think of her as either the Big Bad Destroyer goddess or feel the need to fluffify her with how motherly she is. (This is a rant for another day.) In the case of Kali, she is a demon slayer. People focus too much on the fact that she became drunk on the blood lust of battle, but she slayed the demon first. She is also seen as a mother (more so than Sekhmet, by the way) when she picks up the squalling infant, Shiva, and suckles him at her breast. They are in a realm of gray that makes them able to heal and aid, as well as kill if the need arises.

When it comes to deities of death, I don’t think of them as dark at all, either. Death is one of those parts of life that is pretty major, but it’s something that happens to all of us. And yes, there is a certain fear of death that most people have within them. I’ll be honest here: I’m pretty scared to die, but not because I worry about what’s on the other side and how I’ll be remembered after my death, but because I don’t know how my family would go on without me if I were to die. (Yeah. See how vain I am?) Who would take care of my son for me? How would the Sister be able to move on without me? Would I have to haunt TH for the rest of eternity just to make sure he never moves on? These are the reasons why death scares me and I don’t harbor this fear in relation to the gods who hold dominion over it. Just as we have gods of fertility, so too do we have gods of death. And neither god can be easily contained in the hemisphere of “dark” or “evil.” They are as natural as death. Again, this is a realm that I refer to as shades of gray. It is as natural as breathing and the fears we have should relate more to the people we leave behind as opposed to the gods that hold sway over it.

And of course, we have all of those trickster deities out there that are considered “evil” and “dark” for whatever reasons. To me, it seems that more often than not this particular heading is derived from an inability to see that their moral code is, again, shades of grey. Sutekh is seen as an “evil” god because he’s chaotic and we all know that chaos is so “bad.” But the thing is that when we draw the Tower card when we do a Tarot reading, we don’t always sit there and say about how “evil” this particular card is. It means sweeping, fundamental changes that, in the end, can be a pain in the ass while going through but are for the basic good of the person asking the questions. From what I’ve gathered from Sutekh kids, this is Sutekh’s main big goal when it comes to entering others’ lives. Devo is constantly telling me that he’s more likely to throw you over the cliff, for your own good, than listen to your reasons why you can’t make the jump yourself. Yes, it sucks when you’re in the middle of all that shit, but that doesn’t make him any more evil than warfare or disease. Yep. Both of those examples also suck and the reasons behind them – such as biological warfare or causing a war based on eugenics – may be evil but those two examples are not inherently evil.

Neither are the gods that cause those things. Neither are the gods that have moral codes that we can’t possibly rap our minds around because we’re so focused on the two-dimensional world we create for ourselves instead of seeing things as three-dimensional. Shades. Of. Gray. People. They are, as I have said before, MULTI-FACETED and in seeing them in a single context is really doing a severe injustice to us, as their followers, and to them, as our gods.

Relevant Post
“Darker” Gods Are Misunderstood, But Necessary.

NOTE I don’t actually discuss Loki’s role in this particular post because I don’t feel that I am able to make big huge commentaries on him, as a god. I don’t know enough, I feel, to make anymore sweeping generalizations than I already have.

“Darker” Gods Are Misunderstood but Necessary.

I’m one of those odd pagans that like to learn new things. I ask questions and sit back, waiting for the information to role in. When it comes to others’ paths, I am doubly fascinated. On Twitter, I know a ton of people with different spiritual and religious practices. I know ceremonial magicians and I know Heathens, I know Vodouisants and hoodoo root workers, I talk with Asatru and Kemetics and CRs and Hellenismos. Pretty much on my Twitter feed, if you’ve had anything to do with anything with paganism, I’ve got someone in that particular tradition or path added in some form or another. When I can’t find answers in groups or via the Internet or I’m just beyond mind-blown with information and can’t possibly handle looking up more, I turn there for answers. I received a bunch of answers to my questions today by TreeGoldandBeeGold and Semiotechnic.

I was asking about the Troth because apparently, they’re against Loki being saluted in public or something. I didn’t understand why this was. So those two lovely users explained that it was due to his roll as the adversary, so to speak. I likened it to his being like Lucifer: There are Christians out there who salute him in some way, but they’re in the minority. And in effect, that seems to the case with this Heathen/Asatru organization.

And I found myself thinking about this.

For a while, I was likening it a bit to people’s misunderstanding of both Sutekh and Sekhmet in the Kemetic pantheon. There are a lot of people out there who get hung up on the more negative associations with these two gods. On the one hand, we have Sekhmet who went off on a bender and tried to kill humanity, first at the request of her father and then later, because she was drunk with the blood of humanity. People seem to get hung up on this because this is the first and really, only, myth about Sekhmet. They don’t seem to realize that if she wanted to go on a bender again, she would have. The same can be said for people with Sutekh, and actually more often than is the case with Sekhmet. They’ll hear that someone is a Sutekh kid and jump back in fear. He’s an “evil” god of chaos and what they don’t seem to understand is that he was very part and parcel to the Kemetic pantheon, once upon a time. His image went through a very long and drawn-out vilification process.

The thing is that people (and gods, too) change. The things they once believed or held dear may morph into something new. The things they did in the past may not hold as much weight today as they did then. And from what I’ve felt from my working with Sekhmet, she isn’t the kind of “beastie” that would just go off and kill humanity for shits and giggles anymore. She laughingly has referred to that part of her life as her “youth-filled days.” She’s thousands upon thousands of years old now and has learned a lesson or two in all that time. But, with Sutekh, there’s something different I want to go on with this one. It leads into the rest of this post, but let me first add this little caveat: I am not a Sutekh kid. He has never once approached me. The information I’ve gathered about him is mostly gleaned from forums and blog posts of Sutekh kids. (In other words, if I get someone wrong, someone say something please!)

In regards to Sutekh, he seems to have come to the realization that what he did against Wesir and Heru were necessary evils. This is something that people don’t seem to realize happen, either in the realm of the gods or in the realm of humanity. Some evils that are committed are necessary. For example, if we have another Hitler coming into power and someone has the ability to kill that person, then for the greater good of humanity, isn’t that one of those necessary evils that should be committed? In killing the person and going against the laws of ma’at, we are also upholding ma’at.

The case of Sutekh is very similar to this. If it wasn’t for him, then ma’at would not have been Photobucket upheld. I can’t quite comment on how he was upholding ma’at when he was getting rid of Wesir or fighting it out with Heru, but Sutekh is at the head of the barque of Re. He is the god that faces Apep each night on the journey in the underworld. Each night, Sutekh is sitting there with his spear while the gods behind and the mortals behind arm themselves with knives and magic spells. Each night, Sutekh and Apep battle it out and each night, Re remains victorious with the help and aid of the “chaotic” and “evil” god that is Sutekh. If not for him and his spear, there is no telling if the end of the world would have happened already. Even though he is such an “evil” guy he goes through the battle each night and he comes out victorious. This, however, is part of the god that people don’t seem to either remember or understand.

He upholds ma’at by aiding and abetting the solar barque. Chances are, he was upholding ma’at by fighting with Heru and by taking the kingship from his brother. Though an “evil” god, he still has his place in the role of ma’at.

Now, as I understand it, there is a similar concept in Heathenry. In Kemetism, the whole big shebang is led about by ma’at, which can be construed as order and truth. In Heathenry, if my research is telling me right, their version of this is called orlog and wyrd. Now orlog seems to be translated as “primal law.” In effect, from what I’ve been reading, it is this law that all beings follow. Everything that is created is done with the rules of orlog in effect, which leads me to believe that this may be the case with necessary evil, but I’m getting ahead of myself. The other word, wyrd, seems to mean a kind of fate. From what I’ve been reading about it, it’s kind of like the energy you put into orlog. Now, I will fully admit that I can’t really wrap my head around these concepts and someone was nice enough to point out that these are things people can spend, literally, their whole lives trying to understand. But, from my perspective in Kemetism, it kind of seems to me that orlog is ma’at under a different name. It is all things and it is nothing. It is the way of the world, but it is through wyrd or heka that it is put into play. (NOTE: Anyone with a Heathen, Asatru, vague Nordic background want to try to learn me on this, do it. Please. I am begging you. You have no idea how long I’ve been hemming and hawing about this particular section.)

It is with my background in Kemetism, my worship of Sekhmet, and my friending of a number of Sutekh kids that I get to the gist of all of this. (OH MY GODS. THIS WAS ALL JUST LEADING UP TO SOMETHING?!?!) What I’m thinking is that we’re taking this whole basis of the “darker” gods being dark, but we’re forgetting that they have significant roles in the lives of the gods and ours as well. We can lump them under some happy-toned little group and leave it at that, but they all have necessary roles to play during all of this. Loki’s is, ultimately, to bring about Ragnarok. Sutekh’s is to, ultimately, steal the kingdom from his nephew, as he did steal it from his brother. Sekhmet’s is, ultimately, to bring about the end of mankind again. Each one of these gods has a very negative connotation, but they also have significant positive roles to play in our lives and in the realm of the gods. Sekhmet is the goddess of healing. Sutekh protects Re from Apep and succeeds, every night. And Loki seems to have helped the gods, to either positive or negative effects, when needed.

I guess what I’m saying is that these gods all have negative looks and feels to them but these are necessary evils. These are all things that are bound to happen and that the laws of the realm, the world, the gods, the universe, the Flying Spaghetti Monster, the whatever all need. Without light, there is no dark. Without life, there is no death. Without law, there is no disorder. I kind of went through this when I was talking about ma’at for the first time, in my isfet entries. (Link below.) Just because they’re all seen as bad doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re not around for the greater good. These beings are all so “evil” and everything, but we forget that sometimes you need a little evil. Sometimes, the darkness is as necessary as the lightness. Otherwise, what’s the point?

Relevant Post
1. Isfet…

Hetharu and I: We Make A Pair (PBP).

Hetharu came into my life with an express purpose. She knew what she was coming for and the second I caught a glimpse, I knew as well. I went running in the other direction, my head faced behind me to make sure she wasn’t following. (I’m sure there was much tripping where she nearly caught up to me each time I fell ass-over-tea-kettle in that metaphysical sense.) I could run and run, but Sekhmet said I was being stupid and with those words in my head, I stopped running and let her catch up to me. So, then, I fought this connection harder than I have fought against anything in my life. Her purpose was to remind me that I have womanly parts that crave attention just as much as my ego does. She was coming forward to remind me that half a dozen sex attempts in a seasonal period wasn’t enough, would never be enough, and that I was being retarded. There’s a reason she likes it when I call her ‘The Lady of the Vulva.’ That was her purpose and my, oh my, how things have changed…

I knew the second she stepped forward at the prodding of Sekhmet why she was coming. Sekhmet is all about healing, no matter if it is psychological, emotional, or physical. Though she has a dark side and though she can be particularly blunt when she feels that you are ignoring things, she wants to make things better. And it was via Hetharu that she could make this happen. So, Hetharu came into my life and I went through the motions. I bought her a statue. I bought her a place to live that wasn’t beside her sister-self* (though, they live together now, just fine, on my combined altar space). I let her into my life in tiny increments that did absolutely nothing for the overall purpose: fixing what was once broken and has since been re-broken, as well as ignored and dismissed. Sekhmet was proud that I was finally stepping up and letting Hetharu in.

But, you know, just because I say I’m going to do something doesn’t necessarily mean that I’ll actually be doing it.

So, I bought all of these things and I gave her breakfast every morning and I did nothing to work with her. I was doing smaller things to forge a better connection with my Main Gal, but I pretty much ignored the fact that Hetharu had work for me, too. Due to this, she fell to the wayside and because of this, so too did Sekhmet. The two of them had plans for me and I wasn’t interested. Sure, I wanted to fix and heal (as evidenced by bouts of sobbing tears to TH post-coital in which I beg him to keep loving me even though I am “broken”), but it was too much and I wasn’t ready. I’m still not, truth be told. So, since I was so busy ignoring and because work was a bitch, I spent about six months last year ignoring everything spiritually-speaking and went through a fairly deep Fallow Time. (Sometimes, I find it ironic that spirituality came back into my life about a month prior to my getting fired.) That particular Fallow Time was a lesson for me: ignoring the gods and what they desire can mean that they’ll stop working with you, no matter how much you protest.

Since then, things have been different. The Lady of the Vulva and the Lady of the Flame have both come back to me. They both live prominently in my home (it’s the first thing you see when you come into my home, actually: Legba, Hetharu, and Sekhmet all together). The thing is that, Hetharu has since seen that forcing the issue is not the way to go with me. Though Sekhmet is more willing to do this in regards to other things, she also has a way with me that Hetharu does not. Though I was working on building some form of relationship with her sister-self, I wasn’t working as hard as I have with Sekhmet or as willing, either. And even though Sekhmet can be pushy about things when she wants things done in such-and-such a way, the same cannot be done for me via Hetharu. My relationship isn’t as strong and I’m not as willing to walk down that gnarled path. She’s realized this and changed tactics.

The ultimate goal is to fix me. The ultimate goal is relish my sexuality and to live with it. The ultimate goal has always been the same, but the tactics are different. Instead of facing things head-on as they both desire, they’re going a back route. It’s an interesting dance that they’re both taking part in and I enjoy the fact that I no longer approach Hetharu with clear-cut dread as I once did. This has left my UPG of her and the practice I’ve been working with her in a constant topsy-turvy state. This is actually a good thing because it keeps me on my toes.

Whilst once, I only saw her as a sexual being. I saw her as a divine whore who relished in all things the body can arise within us. I saw her as a golden being of infinite light with the ability to bring orgasm with the mere thought. But, as she has changed tactics, so have my views on her. I no longer see her as a divine whore, lover of the bodily sensations that only lovers can give unto you. I’m finally seeing her in all of her aspects: a lady of magic, a lady of childbirth, a lady of motherhood, and a lady of sexual love. And while this last epithet still leaves me shaken and uncertain, worried and forelorn, it is the rest that I must begin to focus on. I am a mother. I am researching magic. Yes, I am a broken sexual being who needs to get off her ass and finally get to the point where an orgasm doesn’t bring tears of pain, I cannot look there yet.

I’m just not ready.

So, with Hetharu walking beside me, I turn away from the painful bits. I walk beside her and feel her hand upon my shoulder as I pull out my Tarot cards for glimpses of futures unknown. I feel her gentle tugging upon my hand as I open up books and websites based on hearthcraft. I feel her laughter when I discover something new and interesting about myself that pertains to motherhood, home, and magic. Hetharu, to me, is no longer a simple aspect of sex and sensuality. She is a multifaceted woman, just as I am and just as any other woman who may read this is. She is many things and I walk beside her on this ever-changing, mystically bewildered spiritual turnpike.

* Sister-self is my interpretation of syncretism that exists in the ancient Egyptian pantheon.

It Takes Only a Brief Moment to Restrain the Heart.

I’m a little upset with someone’s comments on a post I had created on the Pagan Forum. I merely wanted to ask how other people interacted with their netjer and how the netjeru they worshiped interacted with one another. I had mentioned that Sekhmet and Hwt-Hrw are on opposite sides of the room from one another (now) and that Sekhmet was busy making faces at Hwt-Hrw from across the room. I didn’t define why she is doing this and I didn’t say “making faces” but that she was “making fun of” Hwt-Hrw. This started a very lively debate that kind of irritated me with the initial comments of someone.

The debate rages/ed on about how it was possible that I wasn’t actually interacting with a netjer at all because it didn’t sound like something Sekhmet would do. I’m insulted on behalf of her (although she’s smirking-ly amused by all of this) and really wanted to lash out. However, I didn’t because I know that everyone has an opinion about something. However, if the person in question doesn’t worship Sekhmet as devotedly (and bitchily) as I do, then how are they to know that it isn’t Sekhmet who is making the faces at Hwt-Hrw?

I think I’m offended that my perception is “so wrong” that I could be worshiping something else in the presence of my statue.

Sekhmet has a sense of humor. It’s not something that she shows to a lot of people because that’s just not who she is. She and I are both reserved people who keep ourselves in check in the face of losing our tempers. We tend to do this with humor. I’m not saying that Sekhmet’s current behavior is entirely due to her being upset about something, but like I said, she has a sense of humor. We both tend to do little things like that to convey a whole plethora of things: amusement, enjoyment, affection, etc. That’s just… how we are.

Sekhmet is, in reality, showing Hwt-Hrw a lot of things by doing all of this. She’s showing affection and amusement in the face of the current living arrangement. (Originally, Hwt-Hrw was going to be beside my side of the bed but I decided that my primary patron deserved the space.) She’s also doing this in an effort to warm her up for me, as well. Hwt-Hrw has been incredibly austere with me in the last few days, even though she’s been very excited at having a home. It’s as though she’s waiting for me to do something or say something or give her something (I have no idea what, though) and in the mean time, she’s going to hold me at arm’s length.

Thus meaning that I am pretty much attached to Sekhmet at the hip.

Metaphorically speaking, that is.

I think another thing that bothers me about all of this is the fact that since not all of these people worship the aspects of netjer that I do, then how could they say for sure that what I’m describing isn’t a Sekhmet behavior? I mean, a lot of people that I’ve met on the Kemetic path have had Djehuty, Aset, Wesir, Wepwawet, Yinepu, and various other deities as a patron or are in connection with them. I’ve only met one other person who has worshiped Sekhmet as I do currently and she’s only just starting out! So, in reality, why couldn’t Sekhmet be doing these things?

I’ve always thought that we were created in the image of Ra. As humans are shades of gray, so are the gods we are modeled after. If we have deep feelings and sense of humor and morality and five senses and ten toes, then why don’t the gods have the same attributes?