2997 – Sekhmet: Statue of Sehkmet

Physical description:
Grey ceramic statue of Sekhmet.
Museum classification:
18 x 6.5 x 12.5
A lioness goddess of war and destruction originally from Upper Egypt. The daughter of Ra, Sekhmet was born in the fire of Ra's eye and she punished mankind for their disloyalty to her father. Sekhmet is often seen as the dark side of Het-Heru (the nurturing cow headed goddess, also known as Hathor) and Bast (the cat headed deity of Lower Egypt), with whom she was conflated after the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt during the Twenty-Second Dynasty (c. 945-715 BCE). Importantly for some followers of this goddess, Sekhmet is seen as a powerful being that destroys in order to make things clean, banish disease, and bring about progress (see Ana Ruiz, The Spirit of Ancient Egypt, New York: Algora, 2001, p. 117). Some modern followers of goddess spirituality combine deity elements from different traditional pantheons to generate powerful, eclectic and syncretic families of gods and goddesses. Sekhmet in the modern world has a temple dedicated to her in the Nevada Desert know as The Temple of Goddess Spirituality. Besides Sekhmet (and Bast, her sister), the Temple encourages contemplation of various other feminine deities: the Buddhist goddess of compassion Kuan Yin, a Native American Earth Mother, and a painting of the Virgin Mary (based on the Virgin of Guadalupe). A quote from their website (accessed November 2015) illustrates the purpose of the Temple, and the broader underlying principles of Goddess spirituality: 'Goddess Temples have existed since ancient times. Goddess reverence is timeless, and there is evidence of its widespread practice long before the invention of the written word. The Temple of Goddess Spirituality dedicated to Sekhmet is a modern Goddess Temple. Like temples of the past, it is a place devoted to honoring [sic] the Divine Feminine. However, we do not attempt to recreate the past, but rather to draw inspiration from it, focusing on what is relevant to us now, and what is eternal.'