Category Archives: Goddesses

The Great Cackler

The Ancient Egyptians welcomed and honored all sorts of creatures in their art,  in hieroglyphics, as well as in the depiction of the goddesses and gods. Egyptian artwork includes more than seventy species of birds and they can be seen in dozens of hieroglyphs. The wide range of birds in Egyptian art, mummified remains of birds, and textual references clearly indicate that birds played an important role in ancient Egyptian society and religion.

Waterfowl, including wild and domestic species of ducks and geese, were treasured offering (and eating) birds. There is evidence that the Ancient Egyptians actively bred geese and ducks as an environmental conservation measure. To go by the numbers recorded as part of temple offerings, Ramesses III, for example, donated over 430,000 individual waterfowl to temples during his thirty-one year reign. Obviously breeding and preserving the ducks and geese would have been of prime importance.

A Roman historian, circa 60 BCE wrote that the Egyptians, ‘raise them by their own hands, by virtue of a skill peculiar to them, in numbers beyond telling…..’ (Diodorus Siculus, Book I, 74).

 

Sanctuary ducks
Contented ducks at our Sanctuary (we do not eat our ducks!)

One of the oldest Gods, being part of the Ennead (the Creators), is Geb the God of the Earth,  whose wife is Nut, the sky Goddess. Geb is often represented as a man with a goose on his head, or simply a goose and he is known as the Great Cackler. He was believed to have fathered the primordial egg from which the sun hatched.
For Geb, it is written:

Behold, I rejoice on my standard, on my seat.
I am the Creator of Darkness, making my place in the limits of the Sky,
The Ruler of Infinity.
I am the Son of the Earth,
Sprung from the Egg of the World.
I rejoice in the Lord of the Palace.
My Nest is unseen; I have broken the Egg.
I am the Lord of Millions of Years.
I have made my Nest in the limits of the sky,
And descended to the earth as the goose who drives out all sins.
~The Leyden Papyrus

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Geb – the Great Cackler

Goddesses of Destruction and Creation

The Goddess of Destruction and Creation, Mother Nature, Aset, the 10,000 faces of the Goddess; it has been said (over and over again) “don’t mess with Mother Nature.” The Divine Feminine, Mother Nature, is stronger than man/humans. Throughout history She is honored, feared, worshiped, and, discussed here.

With Goddess Pele now creating fear and tremors in Hawaii, I see her in the Egyptian image of the Goddess of Destruction, Sekhmet. The Goddess is worshiped throughout the world with different words and images, however in the end they are all related, if not the same.

In Egypt, the lion represented the ferocious destructive aspect of the heat of the sun. Sekhmet, the Lion Goddess, is the Goddess of destruction and known as the power that protects the good and annihilates the wicked. She is the bringer of justice, a guardian and the Goddess of the sun, war, destruction, plagues and healing. She was created by Fire as a weapon of vengeance to destroy men for their wicked ways. Having once unleashed her powers for the destruction of mankind (it was a bloodbath!) the Egyptians feared a repeat performance by Sekhmet. The Egyptian people developed elaborate rituals in hopes she could be appeased. This ritual revolved around more than 700 statues of the goddess.The Egyptian priests were required to perform a ritual before a different one of these statues each morning and each afternoon of every single day of every single year. Only by the strictest adherence to this never-ending ritual could the ancient Egyptians be assured of their ability to placate Sekhmet.

Sekhmet
Sekhmet – “The Powerful One”

Tutu Pele the Fire Goddess is one of the most well known and revered Goddess in Ancient Hawaiian religion. She is the Goddess of Fire, lightning, dance, wind, volcanoes and violence. One of her names is Ka wahine `ai honua – the woman who devours the land; and like Sekhmet, she is both a creator and destroyer. She throws molten fountains into the air and governs the great flows of lava. With her power over the volcanoes, she created the Hawaiian Islands, and to this day, Pele has been known to reveal herself in the lava that is still continuing to grow and change the Hawaiian Islands.

The Face of Pele
The Face of Pele

Pele is known as the “Destroyer,” yet she is also considered a Mother Goddess. She contains within her both the destructive and creative powers of life. These powers are still very evident in Hawaii where Kilauea has been erupting. The creative force in Pele’s nature is shown in the synchronization of the elements during the eruption process. All four elements work together. Earth and fire mix creating lava; lava possesses water characteristics in the liquidity of its form, while air is represented by the billowing clouds of smoke during eruption. Air and water are also present in steam when the lava reaches the ocean forming new landmass. It is in this way that the Hawaiian archipelago was formed, and Pele is credited with its creation.

Face of Pele in Steam
Face of Pele in Steam

 

Homage to Mothers and to Re

The following is an homage to Mothers  (on behalf of Mother’s day which resonates with this ancient Priestess with several children and grandchildren):

“O my heart which I had from my mother ! O my heart which I had from mother !
O my heart of my different ages ! May there be nothing to resist me at the judgment. May there be no opposition to me from the assessors. May there be no parting of You from me in the presence of him who keeps the scales ! You are my Ka within my body, which formed and strengthened my limbs. May You come forth to the place of happiness whereto I advance. May the entourage not cause my name to stink, and may no lies be spoken against me in the presence of the god ! It is indeed well that You should hear !'”

Connected with this is an homage to Re~

“Here begin the praises and glorifications,
going out and in the domain of god(dess),
having benefit in the beautiful West,
coming out by day [Re],
taking any shape he [she] likes,
playing at Senet, sitting in a booth,
and coming out as a living soul.
After he [she] has arrived in port,
Osiris, the scribe Ani, said:
‘It is beneficial to him/her
who does it on Earth.'”
Book of the Dead, Chapter 17 (Ani & Nebseni)

 

 

Serket the Scorpion Queen

Serket (also known as Selkis or Serqet) is an Egyptian goddess of fertility, nature, animals, medicine, magic, and, above all; healing venomous stings and bites. Her name means “she who causes the throat to breathe,” and as well as “she who causes the throat to tighten. In addition to stinging the unrighteous, Serket could cure scorpion stings and the effects of other venoms such as snakebite.

One of the most dangerous species of scorpion, the Deathstalker, resides in North Africa, so Serket was considered a highly important goddess, and sometimes she was the patron deity of  pharaohs. She had a close association with the early rulers as their protector, most notably the rulers Scorpion I and Scorpion II.

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Our Sanctuary has many scorpions, most of which do not sting.

As the protector against venom and snakebite, Serket was said to protect the other deities from Apep, the snake-demon. Also, since the bite from many of the venomous creatures of Egypt could prove fatal, Serket was considered a protector of the dead, particularly being associated with venoms and fluids causing stiffening. She was the protector of the tents of embalmers and of the canopic jar associated with venom. Serket gained a strong association with Neith, Isis, and Nephthys, who also guarded the canopic jars. Eventually, as the Egyptian pantheon evolved, Serket began to be identified with Isis, sharing imagery and parentage.

Serket was shown as a scorpion or as a woman with a scorpion on her head. It is unknown if she had her own temple, however she had a good number of priests in many communities.

Nefertari’s tomb has the following utterance to Serket:

Serket, mistress of heaven and lady of all the gods. I have come before you [oh] king’s great wife, mistress of the two lands, lady of Upper and Lower Egypt, Nefertari, beloved of Mut, justified Before Osiris who resides in Abydos, and I have accorded you a place in the sacred land, so that you may appear gloriously in heaven like Ra.

— McDonald, J.K. 1996, House of Eternity: The Tomb of Nefertari, p. 69

 

 

“In the Beginning”

“In the beginning there was Isis (Aset): Oldest of the Old, She was the Goddess from whom all beginning Arose. She was the Great Lady, Mistress of the two Lands of Egypt, Mistress of Shelter, Mistress of Heaven, Mistress of the House of Life, Mistress of the word of God. She was the unique. In all Her great and wonderful works She was a wiser magician and more excellent than any other god.” ~ Ancient Egyptian texts

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Egyptian Woman holding sitrum

“Come to me. Come to me, for my speech hath in it the power to protect, and it possesseth life. I am Isis the goddess, and I am the lady of words of power.

Isis, the goddess and great enchantress at the head of the gods. Heaven was satisfied with the words of the goddess Isis. The great lady, the God-mother, giver of life. The divine one, the only one, the greatest of the gods and goddesses, the queen of all gods, the female Ra, the female Horus, the eye of Ra, Lady of the New Year, maker of the sunrise, Lady of heaven, the light-giver of heaven.

Queen of the earth, most mighty one, lady of warmth and fire, the God-mother. The lady of life, lady of green crops, lady of bread, lady of abundance, lady of joy and gladness, lady of love, the maker of kings, the beautiful goddess, the lady of words of power. Wife of the lord of the abyss.

Let the blood of Isis, and the magical spirits of Isis and the words of power of Isis, be mighty to protect us all and keep safely…”

~ From the Book of the Dead, translated by E. A. Wallis Budge

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Temple of Isis at Philae

 

Invoking the Goddess

I offer to and invoke Aset the goddess of love, fertility and motherhood. She is the devoted wife, mother and protector of the poor and enslaved. Aset gives a voice to the voiceless and all that she represents is needed for the progression of humanity.

We offer to Aset!

We offer to Hathor!

Let us Celebrate this day and honor the Goddesses of love and righteousness!

Solstice, the Re-Birth of Horus

Over five thousand years ago Ancient Egyptians celebrated the re-birth of the sun at this time of year. The midwinter festival celebrated the birth of Horus, son of Aset.

The feast days were for 12 days, to reflect the 12 divisions in their zodiac sun calendar.  Ancient Egyptians decorated with greenery and especially with 12 palm shoots as a symbol of the completed year. It was believed that a palm put forth a shoot each month.

I have not kept track of the frequency of our palm shoots, but perhaps the temple cats know.

Temple cats
Blessings of the light

 

Karnak Temple was built in alignment with the Solstice in order to focus light on a shrine to the Sun god.

The Karnak Temple
Karnak Temple
Solstice in karnak
Solstice at Karnak

 

 

 

Flame of Protection

Intense, destructive fires are all around us here in California. When meditating upon these flames, I found a  protection prayer – call it spell – to protect those “kings” (and queens), who are fighting these fires; and to protect those “kings” (and queens), whose homes and animals are at risk. Furthermore,  let us send safety and healing to those whose homes and animals have perished in the flames.

Sacred Flame

“Lighting the Flame” was a daily ritual in the ancient temples. At daybreak the priests would light the sacred fire just before the sun – Ra – rose in the east. The sacred flame of Ra is warm and life-giving.  Fire has been a “savior” to human-kind, providing warmth and light, protecting us from the dark and cold.

Prayer for Protection

O Sekhmet, Eye of Ra, Great of Flame,
Lady of protection who envelops her creator,
Come towards the King, Nb-twy (Lord of the Two Lands) . . .
Protect him and preserve him from all arrows,
And every evil of this year . . .

O Sekhmet, who fills the ways with blood,
Who slaughters to the limits of all she sees,
Come towards the living image, the Living Falcon,
Protect him, and preserve him from all evil,
And every arrow of this year.

Triad of Ramesses II with Amun and Ma’at

Hymn of the Seven Hathors

In the Temple of Dendera (5th Crypt), is found the Hymn of the Seven Hathors. Today, according to the Ancient Egyptian Calendar, is a day of celebration; therefore, wishing to carry on the beauty and celebratory spirit of Hathor, I present this to you.

Hymn of the Seven Hathors

We play the tambourine for your ka,
We dance for your majesty
We exalt you – to the height of heaven.
You are the Mistress of Sekhem, the menat and the sistrum
The Mistress of Music for whose ka one lays
We praise your majesty every day
From dusk until the Earth grows light,
We rejoice in your countenance, O Mistress of Dendera.
We praise you with song.
You are the lady of Jubilation, the Mistress of the Iba dance,
The Lady of Music, the Mistress of Harp playing,
The Lady of Dancing, the Mistress of Tying on Garlands,
The Lady of Myrrh and the Mistress of Leaping.
We glorify your majesty – we give praise before your face.
We exalt your power over the Gods and Goddesses.
You are the Lady of Hymns,
The Mistress of the Library – the Great Seshat.
At the head of the Mansion of Records,
We propitiate your majesty every day.
Your heart rejoices at hearing our songs.
We rejoice when we see you, day by day.
Our hearts are jubilant when we see your majesty,
You are the Lady of Garlands, the Mistress of Dance
The Lady of Unending Drunkenness.
We rejoice before your face, we play for your ka.
Your heart rejoices over our performance.

Inside Temple of Dendara