Gods and Goddesses


Role: Goddess of war and vengeance

Center of worship: Memphis

Relations with other gods: wife of Ptah, mother of Nefertem

Sekhmet was not a goddess to mess around with! Her main job was to get even with anyone who wronged Re. She was believed to wander the desert, spreading terror wherever she went. In fact, the ancient Egyptians thought the hot desert wind was Sekhmet's fiery breath. In order to calm her rage, a five-day festival was held in her honor at the end of every year. It was feared that if she was not satisfied, she would go on a rampage and prevent the next year from coming.

In one myth, her temper nearly wiped out humankind. Re had learned that the mortals were plotting against him, so he sent Sekhmet after them to dish out some divine punishment. She kept killing and killing, and wouldn't stop because she was enjoying the carnage so much. Worried that she would kill every last human, Re dyed some beer red and poured it all over the fields. Thinking it was blood, Sekhmet stopped to lick it up. She became so intoxicated that she forgot about her murderous rampage. Once calm and quiet, she became Bastet, a much cuddlier goddess!

Sekhmet's fury was also believed to help the pharaoh in battle. She supposedly rode ahead of him, shooting flaming arrows at the enemy. Sekhmet also had the power to send out plagues, but she could also be called upon for cures.

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