¨He that loves not his wife and children feeds a lioness at home and broods a nest of sorrows. -Jeremy Taylor

From Skye Alexander´s ¨Your Goddess Year¨ book:

Dates For Inviting Her: July 24-30

At the height of summer's heat, we honor the lion goddess Sekhmet, whom Egyptian myths say created the deserts with her fiery breath. The sun is in Leo this week, the zodiac sign astrologers say is ruled by the sun, and Leo's symbol is the lion. Ancient Egyptians feted the goddess between June and September, the period during which the Nile overflowed and fertilized crops.

Sekhmet often holds an ankh, a symbol of life. It indicates the deity's powers over life and death and her ability to reawaken the dead in the afterlife. According to some schools of thought, the circular top of the ankh symbolizes the sun, while the cross below it represents the earth.

Daughter of the Egyptian sun god Ra, Sekhmet is revered as a warrior goddess who accompanied the pharaohs on the battlefield and protected them. Her name means ¨she who is powerful¨. Myths and artwork depict her as a fearless lioness or as a woman with the head of a lion. Sometimes she wears a disc as a crown, which represents the scalding sun whose intense summer heat withers the earth.

One legend says Ra gave up on human beings and commanded Sekhmet to kill them all. She embarked on a reign of terror and might have slain everyone on earth if Ra hadn't relented and tricked her. He created a lake of wine, or perhaps of beer, stained red with pomegranate juice. When the goddess drank it, thinking it was blood, sho got so drunk she couldn't go on.

This ferocious deity not only engages in death and destruction; she's also a divine healer whose priestesses and priests in ancient Egypt were often physicians. Legends say her intimidating nature scared diseases away. But she's also reputed to have inflicted her enemies and those who disrespected der with the plagues. Thus, she is a creator ad a destroyer goddess, a well-known dichotomy in mythology that suggests before something new can be born the old must die. And so, the cycle of life-death-rebirth continues.

At times we all feel weak, frightened, or inadequate to measure up to the demands and challenges life throws at us. During moments of doubt, you can petition the fierce and fearless Sekhmet and ask her to accompany you onto your personal battleground. She'll make you feel more lion-hearted. Is someone contesting you in your career world? Do your fear the powers of a romantic rival? Is a health issue threatening your well-being? If so, Sekhmet can lend you her courage and show you how to face the adversary face the adversary with strength and self-confidence.

In the early rituals to Sekhmet, devotes performed acts of respect before a different representation of the goddess each day of the year. This week you can engage in an abbreviated version of this age-old practice. You'll need:

- 7 images od Sekhmet (you can download online pictures of the goddess and print them, or you can find artists' illustrations of her in books and scan them. Even better, use figurines of the goddess.

  • Red wine or pomegranate juice.

  1. Position your representations of Sekhmet in a circle, in a place where they can remain throughout this week. If you can't leave them for that long, set them out each day for your ritual and collect them afterward.

  2. Each day, stand before one image of Sekhmet and request her assistance in dealing with the challenge you face.

  3. Engage in a mental dialogue with the goddess, during which you offer devotion to her and receive her guidance.

  4. When you've finished, toast Sekhmet with a glass of red wine or pomegranate juice to thank her for her support.

"I am the dark goddess who shows the way Who strides like a lion in the darkness.”

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