Sekhmet ~ Understanding her Shadow Path
Over time and across patriarchal societies, women have been vilified, revered, shamed, and cherished all due to their Divine Femininity. When we are maidenly, motherly, nurturing, comforting, docile, healers and helpers, we live up to what it means to be “good girls” and “virtuous women.” Yet, when we are seductive, sexual, passionate, dynamic, confident, and powerful, we no longer suit that narrative, we become threatening, and society seeks to silence our cries and dim our fires. When Sekhmet calls to us, it is an invitation out of the shadows, the silence, and the shame!
Sekhmet is most well known for being called forth by Ra as an ancient goddess, or some say created by Ra as his daughter, when humankind tried to overthrow divine sovereignty, filling the world with immorality and malevolence. Sekhmet was charged with re-establishing justice and order, and to do so, the Warrior Goddess reached deep within her depths, unearthing her unbridled rage, unleashed it onto the world, and let it flow like the blood that ran through the fields and fed her insatiable blood lust.
Out of righteous indignation at the lawlessness and in the name of what was right, Sekhmet raged. As priestesses of her medicine, we too must know when and how to delve deep within our depths and bring our long-repressed rage to a boil, whether it is to reclaim authority over our lives, give testament to the injustice we witness, or to purely breathe life into parts of ourselves that have been socially suppressed or emotionally repressed due to our own fear and shame.
Priestesses of Sekhmet soon come to know the release and bliss the goddess experienced when she was drunk on blood and beer, her fury spent, and her power fully realized. To ease Sekhmet’s fury, Ra not only supplied beer infused with pacifying herbs, but he also reminded her of her true nature. Ra mollified Sekhmet by calling her peaceful one and gracious one. This was when she was reborn as a healer, protector, and goddess of love.
According to some, this is also when Sekhmet was reborn as Hathor, Queen of Heaven. In either instance, the wisdom of this myth is that until our pain, grief, rage, and fury are fully expressed, we cannot fully embody love, grace, and compassion. Until our shadows are uncovered, the love serves as just another obstacle between us and our shadows. It is not a poultice for our pain; it is a band-aid masking the pain beneath it.
Truly, what can someone who never had to bear life’s tribulations or witness its injustices and inequalities do for those who have? By facing her fury, tasting the bitterness of mankind, and realizing that not even a mighty goddess like herself could cleanse the earth of its ugliness in totality, Sekhmet was able to exemplify the compassion, kindness, and nurturing needed to bring medicine to those the world has wounded.
Beautiful Light, The Empowerer, Great Healer, Beloved Sekhmet, these epithets were not bestowed upon her for being a “good girl” and a “virtuous woman.” Sekhmet’s beauty, magnificence, and mercifulness resulted from unleashing the darkness, making way for, and ultimately becoming one with the light.
Sekhmet’s shadow path begins with awakening to the inner primal roar, donning the solar crown of brilliance, and reigniting the flames of passion. The Lioness teaches us to embrace her ferocity and that of the Divine Feminine herself, without apology or shame. The medicine of The Great Healer teaches us how to use our voice to call out the injustices, share our spiritual illumination to bring light to the world, and become impassioned helpers, healers, and change-makers.