Sekhmet was the Egyptian sun goddess of war. Egyptian gods
and goddesses closely resembled the appearance
of humans, but many of their gods, such as
Sekhmet were also
perceived as 'human hybrids' depicted with
human bodies with the heads of animals. These symbols were used as a recognition aid and a device to visually convey the powers, identity and attributes of the deity.
Sekhmet is depicted with the head of a lioness.
Facts about Sekhmet
The following facts and profile provides a fast
overview of Sekhmet:
Sekmet Profile & Fact File
Egyptian Name: Sekhmet.
Alternative Names: Sakhmet, Sachmet.
Sekhmet was also known as Neser,
meaning flame, when she personified
the destructive heat of the sun.
Role & Function:
The function of Sekhmet is described
as being the sun goddess of war and
protector of Pharaohs
Sekhmet was a member of the Memphis Triad of gods
Sekhem scepter of power, the Ankh,
the sun disk with the uraeus rearing
The "Powerful One", "Lady of Pestilence" and
"Goddess of Vengeance" "Avenger of
Wrongs" and the "Scarlet Lady"
Name of Husband:
In the Memphis Triad she was the
consort of Ptah
Sekhmet was the mother of
god of perfume. She was also
named as the mother of
deified god of medicine.
Name in Hieroglyphics:
Translation of Hieroglyphics for Sekhmet:
Sekhem scepter of power, bread (giver of
Sekhmet in Egyptian Mythology - The War
Sekhmet, the Egyptian sun goddess of war, featured in
the stories, myths and legends in Egyptian
Mythology. Depicted with the head of a
lioness she was revered as the "Powerful
One", a protector of the Pharaohs and the
armies of Egypt and like the cobra, was
known for fighting, rather than retreating.
Sekhmet was the fierce warrior goddess of
divine retribution, vengeance, destruction
and conquest. Her sun disk crown is depicted
with the Uraeus rearing cobra that
symbolized the absolute power and authority
of the gods and the Egyptian monarchy. She
was a warrior manifestation of the sun,
causing flames to devour the enemies of
Egypt. In some of the cities in ancient
Egypt the gates of the temples dedicated to
Sekhmet were opened as a signal of the start
of a military campaign. As a lioness
she represented the fiercest hunter known to
the ancient Egyptians.
Sekhmet in Egyptian Mythology - Pestilence,
Plague and Physicians
Sekhmet was greatly feared not only as the
warrior goddess of destruction but also
because she was believed to be the bearer of
plague and pestilence, which she could
deliver to the enemies of Egypt. She was the
goddess who was called upon in spells,
incantations and amulets to ward off
disease. Her priests were physicians,
surgeons and magicians who were consulted by
the royal families for cures of illness and
Symbols of Sekhmet - The Sekhan Scepter
The other symbols associated with
Sekhmet were the Ankh that represented
eternal life and the symbol of her power to
give life or take it away. Her other symbol
was the ritual Sekhem scepter of power
indicated by the following hieroglyphic:
The Sekhem scepter was often incorporated in
names and words associated with power such
as the king's name or the name of gods such
as Sekhmet, the lioness-goddess.
Picture of the Pharaoh Sennifer holding a
Sekhmet and Tefnut - The Lioness Goddesses
Many of their ancient gods were subsumed
(meaning absorbed) into new gods and
goddesses. The practice of creating new
deities by combining them with old gods is
called 'syncretism', meaning the fusion of
religious beliefs and practices to form a
new system. This was the case with Tefnut
the lion-headed goddess of Heliopolis.
When Memphis became the new capital of Egypt
its leaders and priests justified its status
by developing a new creation myth with
Ptah taking the
dominant role. In time Tefnut was subsumed
(meaning absorbed) into a new goddess -
Sekhmet who was raised to the high status
and position of the wife of Ptah.
Sekhmet and the Triad of Memphis
The creation myth was devised by the priests of
Memphis focussing on Ptah, his consort Sekhmet
had a son
called Nefertum. The three gods became
collectively known as the Memphis triad
which centred around the cult of the god
Ptah, the lioness goddess Sekhmet and Nefertem.
The Triad of Memphis was the Lower Egyptian (north)
counterpart of the Triad of Thebes (Amun,
Mut and Khonsu) and superseded the gods and
goddesses of the
Ennead of Heliopolis and the
Ogdoad of Hermopolis.
Sekhmet, Bastet and Ra
She also became an amalgamated deity with the
Feline goddess Bastet and closely
aligned to the
Sun God Ra.
with the sun god Ra and called
Sekhmet-Bast-Ra. The cat goddess Bastet was
said to typify the mild, gentle heat of the
sun whereas Sekhmet typified the vicious
heat of the burning rays of the sun.
Sekhmet is absorbed with the goddess Mut
As Thebes rose to greater prominence in
ancient Egypt, and the triad of gods
became a powerful political and religious
absorbed aspects of other goddesses and was merged with
Menhit and Sekhmet, who were all
warrior lioness goddesses. The power of
Sekhmet was at lasted abated - she was
completely merged with Mut.
Sekhmet in Egyptian Mythology
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Sekhmet, the Egyptian sun goddess of war. The facts
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History, Mythology and Facts about Sekhmet
As the the consort of Ptah she was sometimes
called the "Lady of the Place of the
Beginning of Time"
The hot desert winds were believed to be her
As the protector of royalty Sekhmet was referred
to as the 'mother' of the king
Because of her great power Sekhmet elicited
great efforts of appeasement from the
pharaohs and the Egyptians. Temples and
statues were mounted in her honor.
According to ancient Egyptian mythology in
"The Destruction of Mankind" Sekhmet was the
"Eye of Ra", a vengeful aspect of the
usually benevolent goddess Hathor.
Sekhmet was believed to aid the kings of Egypt
when they went into battle firing arrows of
fire at the enemies of Egypt.
Fact 7: Sekhmet
became a role model for the correct attitude
During the period of the New Kingdom the
favourite epithet for the goddess was
'Sakhmet the Large One, beloved of Ptah'.
In the New Kingdom Sekhmet was often identified
with the goddess Mut, the consort of Amun,
and was eventually 'absorbed' by the goddess