Hail Sekhmet !

Je ne travaille pas encore avec elle, mais elle fait partie de la famille que j'honore. Son époux et son fils me sont précieux.

Hail !




Noms : Sekhmet

Représentations : femme à tête de lionne.

Domaines :
- la guerre
- la médecine
- ...



Première approche (lien source)

Sekhmet (la puissante) est représentée par une femme à tête de lion portant le soleil - de sa bouche de lionne sortent les vents du désert.

Déesse guerrière personnifiant les ravages du soleil. Elle est l'intrument de la vengeance de Rê contre l'insurection des hommes. Son corps brûlant et ses flèches incandescentes détruisent les ennemis du roi.

Déesse lionne, qui provoque la chaleur et les épidémies meurtrières, et élimine les ennemis de Râ car elle représente la fureur destructrice du soleil. Seuls les rites d'apaisement pouvaient calmer la déesse et ramèner la paix.

Elle est représentée sous la forme d'une divinité à tête de lionne , couronnée du disque solaire et du l'Uraeus. Son principal centre de culte était la région de Memphis Sekhmet est une déesse sanguinaire qui évoque la toute-puissance des radiations solaires. Elle incarne l’œil flamboyant de l’astre solaire, « l’œil de Rê en fureur ».


Lionne agressive, redoutable, imprévisible, elle erre dans les contrées désertiques et sème la terreur en tirant des flèches enflammées et est accompagnée d’une armée de génies terrifiants et cruels. Sa fonction 1ére consiste à anéantir les ennemis du créateur et à éviter que les forces du chaos ne se manifestent. Elle se manifeste en lionne agressive ou, simplement, en femme à tête de lionne. Mais son caractère reste des plus ambivalent, certes, elle incarne la force destructrice de la lionne maléfique mais, calme et apaisée, elle devient chatte et adopte les traits de la déesse Bastet.

Cette déesse guerrière et furieuse crachait du feu aux ennemis de Pharaon. Vu la violence de ses colères, Sekhmet reste, la déesse qu’il faut savoir se concilier, notamment pendant les 5 derniers jours de l’année, là elle se déchaîne et le peuple, craignant un non retour du cycle annuel, lui récite louanges et litanies et lui offre cadeaux et offrandes pour l’apaiser. Mais elle sait aussi apporter une solution à toutes les difficultés, elle emprunte alors l’aspect des déesses paisibles et guérisseuses, telles que Mout par exemple, et protège les corporations de médecins et de vétérinaires. Elle pouvait être un vecteur de la peste, mais son invocation (cf. ci-dessous) par des rites ou des amulettes pouvait éloigner les maladies.


Légende de Sekhmet :

Après les appels à la rébellion des hommes, Râ, transforma alors Hathor en Sekhmet, déesse au corps de femme et à tête de lionne. Sekhmet se jette sur les hommes et sème la terreur dans leurs Rangs. Elle en massacra un grand nombre, mêlant innocents et coupables, sans jamais se lasser de jouer des griffes et des dents. Ce carnage déplaît à Râ, certes, il veut "mater" la révolte, mais il ne souhaite pas la disparition de l’humanité. Il s’adresse donc à Sekhmet et lui ordonne de suspendre son action. Celle-ci refuse et continue à traquer les hommes. Râ attend la nuit et le moment où, épuisée, Sekhmet se couche et s’assoupit.

Il envoie alors des messagers vers l’île d’Éléphantine pour lui en rapporter des plantes et des grenades au jus rouge qu’il fait presser en y ajoutant un peu de sang prélevé sur les victimes de Sekhmet. Le tout est mélangé à une grande quantité de bière dont on emplit sept cents cruches. Puis, silencieusement, Râ transporta cette boisson auprès de la tueuse endormie. À son réveil, celle-ci, assoiffée, se précipita sur l’élixir composé par Râ. Elle en ingurgita tant et tant qu’elle ne songea davantage à nuire aux hommes. La sauvage Sekhmet retrouva l’apparence de la belle Hathor mais si l’humanité avait échappé à la rage de la déesse Lionne, les fléaux et la mort étaient apparus.



Mythologica (lien source)

Déesse lionne, qui provoquait la chaleur et les épidémies meurtrières, et éliminait les ennemis de Rê car elle représentait la fureur destructrice du soleil. Seuls les rites d'apaisement pouvaient calmer la déesse et ramener la paix. Elle était la fille de Rê et formait avec son époux Ptah et son fils Nefertoum la triade de Menphis. Les prêtres de Sekhmet formaient une des plus vieilles corporations de médecins d'Egypte. Son principal centre de culte était la région de Memphis.


Toutankharton (lien source)

Dans l’ensemble du panthéon égyptien, plusieurs divinités féminines possèdent, dans leur personnalité, certains aspect dévastateur de Sekhmet, on les appelle les « déesses dangereuses », toutes symbolisent une forme spécifique de la force solaire. Surnommée « la Puissante », Sekhmet est une déesse sanguinaire qui évoque la toute-puissance des radiations solaires. Elle incarne l’œil flamboyant de l’astre solaire, « l’œil de Rê en fureur ». Lionne agressive, redoutable, imprévisible, elle erre dans les contrées désertiques et sème la terreur en tirant des flèches enflammées et est accompagnée d’une armée de génies terrifiants et cruels. Sa fonction 1ére consiste à anéantir les ennemis du créateur et à éviter que les forces du chaos ne se manifestent. Elle se manifeste en lionne agressive ou, simplement, en femme à tête de lionne. Mais son caractère reste des plus ambivalent, certes, elle incarne la force destructrice de la lionne maléfique mais, calme et apaisée, elle devient chatte et adopte les traits de la déesse Bastet. Cette déesse guerrière et furieuse crachait du feu aux ennemis de Pharaon. Vu la violence de ses colères, Sekhmet reste, la déesse qu’il faut savoir se concilier, notamment pendant les 5 derniers jours de l’année, là elle se déchaîne et le peuple, craignant un non retour du cycle annuel, lui récite louanges et litanies et lui offre cadeaux et offrandes pour l’apaiser. Mais elle sait aussi apporter une solution à toutes les difficultés, elle emprunte alors l’aspect des déesses paisibles et guérisseuses, telles que Mout par exemple, et protège les corporations de médecins et de vétérinaires. Elle pouvait être un vecteur de la peste, mais son invocation (cf. ci-dessous) par des rites ou des amulettes pouvait éloigner les maladies. Légende de Sekhmet : Après les appels à la rébellion des hommes, Râ, transforma alors Hathor en Sekhmet, déesse au corps de femme et à tête de lionne. Sekhmet se jette sur les hommes et sème la terreur dans leurs Rangs. Elle en massacra un grand nombre, mêlant innocents et coupables, sans jamais se lasser de jouer des griffes et des dents. Ce carnage déplaît à Râ, certes, il veut "mater" la révolte, mais il ne souhaite pas la disparition de l’humanité. Il s’adresse donc à Sekhmet et lui ordonne de suspendre son action. Celle-ci refuse et continue à traquer les hommes. Râ attend la nuit et le moment où, épuisée, Sekhmet se couche et s’assoupit. Il envoie alors des messagers vers l’île d’Éléphantine pour lui en rapporter des plantes et des grenades au jus rouge qu’il fait presser en y ajoutant un peu de sang prélevé sur les victimes de Sekhmet. Le tout est mélangé à une grande quantité de bière dont on emplit sept cents cruches. Puis, silencieusement, Râ transporta cette boisson auprès de la tueuse endormie. À son réveil, celle-ci, assoiffée, se précipita sur l’élixir composé par Râ. Elle en ingurgita tant et tant qu’elle ne songea davantage à nuire aux hommes. La sauvage Sekhmet retrouva l’apparence de la belle Hathor mais si l’humanité avait échappé à la rage de la déesse Lionne, les fléaux et la mort étaient apparus. Invocation à Sekhmet : "Salut à Toi, SEKHMET la Puissante, Louange sans cesse pour ton beau visage, Déesse Auguste de la Maison-de-Ptah, SEKHMET Vénérable, Dame du ciel, Diadème de RA, Oeil divin dans le Per-OUR Diadème de RA Oeil divin dans la Maison-Vénérable, Son OUTO dans le palais, Son diadème dans la Barque-de-la-nuit, Sa compagne dans la Barque-du-jour. Puisse-t-elle faire qu’APOPIS soit circonvenu Et qu’elle marche contre lui, après avoir saisi le javelot ; SEKHMET, la Grande, aimée de PTAH, Dame du Ciel, maîtresse du Double-Pays La Reine des Vénérables, la Dame de la Maison de Vie ! Accorde-moi une durée de vie parfaite, qui ne comporte pas de souffrance. Mon corps étant exempt de maux. Mon visage ouvert et mes oreilles perçèes. Sans que ma vie soit raccourcie. Que je sois glorifié comme un glorifié Auguste, Et loué comme Justifié !"



Ancient Egypt Online (lien source)

Sekhmet (Sakhmet) is one of the oldest known Egyptian deities. Her name is derived from the Egyptian word "Sekhem" (which means "power" or "might") and is often translated as the "Powerful One". She is depicted as a lion-headed woman, sometimes with the addition of a sun disc on her head. Her seated statues show her holding the ankh of life, but when she is shown striding or standing she usually holds a sceptre formed from papyrus (the symbol of northern or Lower Egypt) suggesting that she was associated primarily with the north. However, some scholars argue that the deity was introduced from Sudan (south of Egypt) where lions are more plentiful.

She was often closely associated with Hathor (the goddess of joy, music, dance, sexual love, pregnancy and birth). In this partnership, she was seen as the harsh aspect of the friendly Hathor. A temple was constructed by Amenemhet II to Sekhmet-Hathor at Kom el Hisn (Imau in the western Delta) in which she and Hathor are referred to as the "Mistress of Imau". Imau was situated near a branch of the Nile that has since shifted eastwards, but in ancient times the town was right on the edge of the desert on the route to the Libyan frontier. Clearly it was hoped that Sekhmet would protect the border.

Sekhmet's main cult centre was in Memphis (Men Nefer) where she was worshipped as "the destroyer" alongside her consort Ptah (the creator) and Nefertum (the healer).

Sekhmet was represented by the searing heat of the mid-day sun (in this aspect she was sometimes called "Nesert", the flame) and was a terrifying goddess. However, for her friends she could avert plague and cure disease. She was the patron of Physicians, and Healers and her priests became known as skilled doctors. As a result, the fearsome deity sometimes called the "lady of terror" was also known as "lady of life". Sekhmet was mentioned a number of times in the spells of The Book of the Dead as both a creative and destructive force, but above all, she is the protector of Ma'at (balance or justice) named "The One Who Loves Ma'at and Who Detests Evil".

She was also known as the "Lady of Pestilence" and the "Red Lady" (indicating her alignment with the desert) and it was thought that she could send plagues against those who angered her. When the centre of power shifted from Memphis to Thebes during the New Kingdom the Theban Triad (Amun, Mut, and Khonsu), Sekhmet's attributes were absorbed into that of Mut (who sometimes took the form of a lion).

She was associated with the goddesses given the title "Eye of Ra". According to myth, Ra became angry because mankind was not following his laws and preserving Ma'at (justice or balance). He decided to punish mankind by sending an aspect of his daughter, the "Eye of Ra". He plucked Hathor from Ureas on his brow, and sent her to earth in the form of a lion. She became Sekhmet, the "Eye of Ra" and began her rampage. The fields ran with human blood. However, Ra was not a cruel deity, and the sight of the carnage caused him to repent. He ordered her to stop, but she was in a blood lust and would not listen. So Ra poured 7,000 jugs of beer and pomegranate juice (which stained the beer blood red) in her path. She gorged on the "blood" and became so drunk she slept for three days. When she awoke, her blood lust had dissipated, and humanity was saved. In one version of the myth, Ptah is the first thing she sees on awaking and she instantly fell in love with him. Their union (creation and destruction) created Nefertum (healing) and so re-established Ma'at.

The saving of mankind was commemorated every year on the feast day of Hathor/Sekhmet. Everyone drank beer stained with pomegranate juice and worshipped "the Mistress and lady of the tomb, gracious one, destroyer of rebellion, mighty one of enchantments". A statue of Sekhmet was dressed in red facing west, while Bast was dressed in green and faced east. Bast was sometimes considered to be Sekhmet´s counterpart (or twin depending on the legend), and in the festival of Hathor they embodied the duality central to Egyptian mythology. Sekhmet represented Upper Egypt while Bast represented Lower Egypt.

Sekhmet was closely associated with Kingship. She was often described as the mother of Maahes, the lion god who was a patron of the pharaoh and the pyramid texts (from dynasty five) suggest that the Pharaoh was conceived by Sekhmet. For example, one relief depicts the Pharaoh Niuserre being suckled by Sekhmet. This ancient myth is echoed in the New Kingdom reliefs in the temple of Seti I which depict the Pharaoh being suckled by Hathor whose title is "mistress of the mansion of Sekhmet". Ramesses II (Seti's son) adopted her as a symbol of his power in battle. In friezes depicting the Battle of Kadesh, Sekhmet appears on his horse, her flames scorching the bodies of enemy soldiers. But, one Pharaoh in particular seems to have had an obsession with Sekhmet. Amenhotep III (father of Akhenaten, Dynasty Eighteen) built hundreds of statues of Sekhmet in the precinct of Mut's temple (known as "Isheru") south of the Great Temple of Amun in Karnak. It is thought that there was one for every day of the year and that offerings were made every day.



Henadology (lien source)

(Sakhmet, Sachmet or -mis, etc.) Sekhmet, whose name means “the Powerful”, is depicted as a lioness-headed woman, often with the solar disk atop her head. A Goddess of healing and of pestilence alike, Sekhmet often bears the epithet “Eye of Re,” identifying her as the executor (irt, “eye” can also be read as ir.t, “doer” or “agent”) of the will of the sovereign solar power of the cosmos. Sekhmet and Hathor both operate as the “Eye of Re” in the myth from the Book of the Celestial Cow in which Re sends first Hathor, then Sekhmet to strike rebellious humanity. Sekhmet is to “wade in their blood as far as Herakleopolis [Hnes],” on a southward path (referring to the southward course of the sun after the summer solstice), but Re saves humanity by ordering the production of a great quantity of beer with an additive to make it red like blood, with which the Goddess is intoxicated and her destructive mission terminated, perhaps at Kom el-Hisn in the Western Delta. Sekhmet can cause as well as avert all forms of pestilence, whether natural disaster, famine or epidemic, but she is particularly associated with illness and its cure, and priests of Sekhmet played a prominent role in Egyptian medicine. Sekhmet’s consort is Ptah and she is the mother of Nefertum.

Sekhmet’s “arrows” (often specified as seven in number) are a common term for her striking power, as is her “knife” and her “flame”. Several spells exist (nos. 13-15, 20 in Borghouts) which are designed to protect against pestilence associated with the transition into the New Year (hence the title of no. 13 in Borghouts, The Book of the Last Day of the Year) which make frequent mention of Sekhmet and of the demons in her retinue, her “emissaries” (wepwety), “wanderers” (shemayu) or “murderers” (khayti), who must be placated. In many of these spells, it seems that Sekhmet’s protection is won by identifying the individual with Horus—as in no. 20: “I am your Horus, Sekhmet.” Horus is also often called “sprout of Sekhmet” in such spells, in which the word translated as ‘sprout’ is wadj—Horus is thus literally the ‘greening’ of the Goddess who is paradigmatically red with blood (note that the papyrus scepter which Sekhmet and a number of other Goddesses carry is also wadj). The relationship between Sekhmet and Horus is not one of parentage, but rather alludes to Sekhmet being one of the wrathful Goddesses charged with the protection of Horus during his vulnerable infancy in the marshes. The pharaoh is sometimes characterized as “brother [sen]/image [senen] of Nefertum, born of Sekhmet.” State rituals involving Sekhmet were particularly important at the new year, which was linked to the heliacal rising of Sirius and thus took place in late summer (northern hemisphere). The purpose of such rituals appears to have been to prevent the contamination of the new year by inimical forces emanating from the old year as well as to ensure the proper alignment of life on earth with its divine paradigms; hence two of the most important rituals involving Sekhmet at this time were known as the “union of the disk,” focusing on the physical disk of the sun, the aten, and the “conferring of the heritage.” It is important to note that the term iadet, or “pestilence,” which is associated with Sekhmet, is a very broad term, and appears to be identical to a word for “net,” which occurs repeatedly in spells from the afterlife literature to protect the soul from becoming trapped like a fish in such “nets” (e.g., Coffin Texts spells 473-481). Sekhmet can thus be regarded as having power over virtually any misfortune or “net” of circumstances which might “trap” the individual indiscriminately.

Sekhmet is often paired or juxtaposed with Wadjet, who also bears the title “Eye of Re,” as in CT spell 757, where the operator affirms, “My White Crown is Sekhmet, my Red Crown is Wadjet,” referring to the crowns of Upper and Lower Egypt, in accord with a tendency in Egyptian thought to identify defenders of the crown, such as Sekhmet and Wadjet, with the crown itself. In a version of the “Opening of the Mouth” ceremony (BD spell 23), the deceased, whose ka statue has been empowered, states, “I am Sekhmet-Wadjet who dwells in the west of heaven.” In a ritual for offering meat to the sacred hawk that lived at the temple of Horus at Edfu, in which we probably see an adaptation of a ritual performed originally on behalf of the king, we find the interesting invocation, “O Sekhmet of yesterday, Wadjet of today, thou hast come and hast replenished this table of the Living Falcon … even as thou didst for thy father Horus, when thou camest forth from Pe,” (Blackman, p. 60 [155, 8-9]). Sekhmet replenishes the table inasmuch as meat-offerings are identified with the flesh of royal foes, the text’s invocation of Sekhmet turning the occasion of the meal into an enactment of the destruction of the king’s enemies. The identification of Sekhmet with “yesterday” and Wadjet with “today” is unusual and harder to explain, but it perhaps invokes Sekhmet’s protection against the nonbeing of the past. In CT spell 957 Sekhmet is juxtaposed with Nekhbet, the operator affirming, “I have ascended to the upper sky, and I have fashioned Nekhbet; I have descended to the lower sky of Re, and I have fashioned Sekhmet.” Another sort of opposition is posed in the Book of the Celestial Cow, in which Hathor is sent to strike humans in the mountains or desert, while Sekhmet is sent to strike them in the Delta.

Multiplication seems in some fashion essential to Sekhmet, perhaps because power diversifies itself at its points of application; thus she is referred to as “Sekhmet of multiple appearances,” (Edfou I, 278 & IV, 116) and as “Sekhmet the great, mistress of the Sekhmets,” (Edfou VII, 14). In the Tenth Hour of the Amduat book, the healing of the wedjat, the Eye of Horus, is shown being carried out by Thoth, in baboon form, and eight forms of Sekhmet, four with lioness heads and four with human heads.

See also: “The Book of the Celestial Cow: A Theological Interpretation,” Eye of the Heart: A Journal of Traditional Wisdom, No. 3, May 2009, pp. 73-99.


Allen, T. G. 1974. The Book of the Dead or Going Forth by Day. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. [BD]
Blackman, A. M. 1945. “The King of Egypt’s Grace Before Meat.” Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 31: 57-73.
Borghouts, J. F. 1978. Ancient Egyptian Magical Texts. Leiden: E. J. Brill.
Faulkner, R. O. 1973-8. The Ancient Egyptian Coffin Texts. 3 vols. Warminster: Aris & Phillips Ltd. [CT]


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