Monday, 17 October 2011

Sekhmet- blood mirror.

Image by Mark Wilson, (A.K.A. MW Cats).
When the Sumerians wrote about the gods destroying civilisation, water was their lethal element, they described the flood.

When the Egyptians considered their catastrophic past, they chose fire.

The translucent scarab at the center of this beautiful jewelry (once owned by Tutankhamen) is vitrified glass created when the sun came down to destroy all of mankind.

A myth that could possibly describe this event is found in a New Kingdom (1600 and 1100 BC) royal funerary book called the Book of the Heavenly Cow and it describes Sekhmet the lioness, as the wrathful form of Hathor - the eye of the sun - the eye of Re, causing this terrifying event.

The story begins with Re the self-created one.
Re had ruled gods and humans together for millions of years and now he was becoming old. His bones were stiffening into silver, his flesh was becoming gold and his hair hardening into lapis lazuli. His people too- born from his tears- were changing, once loyal and respectful offering praise and prayer, now the people were rebellious and lazy.
Re knew that they were plotting against him.

 He was old and tired.

He wanted to return to the primordial waters of Nun.

But before turning away forever, Re sought advice.
The other gods gave him council. Nun saw how angry Re had become and suggested that pain and fear would stop the people treating Re as if he were ineffectual, Nun suggested that Re set the eye free.

In this image, Maat (order and justice) kneels before Hathor of Dendera, and it is easy to confuse her with Isis.

Hathor wears the solar disc and cow horns because she is both the wife of Horus of Edfu and the great cow of the heavens, who gives birth to the sun. Once a year, two weeks before the new moon in the third month of summer, the statue of Hathor of Dendera was taken out of the temple for the Festival of the Beautiful Union.

The statue was taken down to the river where another statue of Horus was waiting at the quay. Both statues were presented before Maat (possibly as a third statue) before being taken to the Edfu temple for a marriage ceremony.

After fourteen days there, the statue of Hathor was returned to Dendera.

Amongst the first gods people name are  (all seeing and cause of plagues..)

Sekhmet is the 'wrathful' form of Hathor, meaning the cow can become a lioness. She is the Lady of the Wild places (giving birth to all wild things) and the active, fire principle -wife -of the sun. She is an old goddess, 'she who scratches', a wild lioness, a 'mistress of life'. Sekhmet can cause and cure disease and her priests are recognized as healers.

As Pakhet, the lioness, Hathor embodies both characteristics

But, back to the story:
Re gave the order and his gentle daughter, Hathor transformed herself into the wild lioness, Sekhmet. She descended into the desert where she began her lethal game, soon leaving the sand strewn with the dead and stained red with their blood.

The lioness temporarily too well fed to eat anymore returned to Re proud of herself and her efficiency.

But when Re looked at what she had done he was sickened and filled with guilt. He realized the magnitude of the power he had unleashed, and one look at Sekhmet made it clear to Re, Sekhmet enjoyed the terror and destruction and would not stop

Re sent his fastest messengers to Yeba, to order that red pigment be sent from there to Heliopolis. At Heliopolis the priests ordered the serving maids to grind hundreds of baskets of barley. The red pigment was mixed with the barley and 7,000 jars of blood-red beer were brewed.

Re and the other gods inspected the beer and were pleased.

Early, before Sekhmet had left to begin her killing again, Re went to the killing-fields and emptied the 7,000 jars of blood-red beer over the fields so that they were flooded to a depth of three palms...

As Sekhmet drew close to the land she saw the beautiful red beer and thought that it was blood, as she drew closer she was mesmerized by the sight of another lion -her reflection-coming up to meet her. Sekhmet and the red lion drank deep of the blood until Sekhmet could hardly stand.

Sekhmet returned to Re and he welcomed her back...
That would be the end, except Sekhmet, now happy and satisfied becomes the cow Mehet-Waret and Re can no longer tolerate life among people.

Re climbs onto the cow's back and remains in the sky.

Cybele is shown with lions, likewise Durga. The image above is a plate found in Alexandria on Oxus (now Ai Khanum). It depicts a fire alter and in keeping with the Mesopotamian border stone tradition, three symbols in the sky: Venus, the sun and the moon.

In this image, Durga is killing Mahisasur. The picture was taken at Chittaranjan Park, Delhi, Oct 22, 2004 by Mukerjee..

And finally, Inanna.