The taming of Sekhmet

Our story continues from where we left off... Sekhmet, the lioness, born out of the Eye of Ra, scoured the mountains and hunted down those hiding there. She then moved to

Published: 02nd February 2012 11:18 PM  |   Last Updated: 16th May 2012 10:24 PM   |  A+A-

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Our story continues from where we left off...

Sekhmet, the lioness, born out of the Eye of Ra, scoured the mountains and hunted down those hiding there. She then moved to the sides of the river Nile and the burning deserts as she scented out the people, killing them, rejoicing in

her destruction.   

All day long, she hunted and by dusk she slept. As dawn broke she would wake up, throat dry and thirsting for more blood. As she ran all across Egypt, her feet red with the blood of those she slaughtered, the Nile turned a deep red.  Delighting at the blood bath she left in her wake, Sekhmet did not spare even the good as she tore the people from limb to limb. N0 one could stop the fearsome lioness as she bounded through the country.

Ra, the great god, looked down to the earth and saw the merciless killing fields below. His heart was filled with pity for the people, those innocents who suffered a gory death for no fault of theirs. The evil had been vanquished but so also the good. This needs to end, he said to himself. He summoned the swift messengers who could race across the earth, silent as shadows but with the speed of storms. “Go down to where the Nile flows. Just below the first cataract where the water fiercely flows through the rocks is the isle of Elephantine. Bring me the red earth you find there,” he commanded.

The swift messengers left immediately and by nightfall returned with the red ochre in large baskets. All day, the priestesses of Heliopolis, in the city of Ra had been crushing barley and brewing beer at Ra’s bidding. “Now mix  the beer with the red ochre ,” he instructed. As the beer mixed with the red earth, it gleamed in the moonlight like blood.

By dawn, seven thousand jars of beer were emptied in the fields that lay before the lair of Sekhmet. When she woke up, Sekhmet saw the land before her flooded with red waters. She laughed roaring like the lioness that she was, thinking it was the blood of those she slaughtered the day before. Greedily she bent down to drink the ochre waters for she thought it was blood indeed!

She drank and drank until she could drink no more. Very soon, she rolled over and fell fast asleep as the beer got to her head. There was no more killing that day as Sekhmet lay in deep slumber. It looked as if the blood bath was over. All day peace reigned on Earth and no living being was harmed.

At dusk as she got up from her drunken stupor, she heard the voice of Ra calling out to her, “Come in peace, my sweet child.” She returned to her father and stood before him gently, her head hanging down. Ra smiled and patted her head. “Fair and gracious daughter, you will no longer be Sekhmet, the slayer and the frightful. From now on, you shall be known as Hathor, the Comforter of Humankind. People shall worship you as the goddess of love and motherhood. Go and rule over them not by fear but with love.”

Thus was born Hathor , the great mother goddess and the people of Egypt had nothing to fear anymore. But afterwards every year, the people celebrated the festival of Hathor on the New Year, drinking huge quantities of beer in memory of the day a fearful goddess turned to an embodiment of love and happiness. As for Ra, he continued to rule over the earth as the first Pharaoh, old as he was.

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