Ptah’s consort, Sekhmet Goddess, was called the “Great Lady, beloved of Ptah, holy one, powerful one.” She was both wife and sister to Ptah, a common situation in Egyptian mythology. Usually she was depicted with the body of a woman and the head of a lioness. Her headpiece consisted of a solar disk, which associated her with the sun god, and a uraeus (or cobra), and she was often dressed in red. Her physical description and her name, which meant “to be strong, mighty, violent,” reflected her character: she was renowned for her violence and power. The Book of the Dead attributed her power to her use of the destructive forces of the sun s heat and also associated her with the hot winds of heaven. Other sources associated the hot winds of the desert with her breath.
|Sekhmet Egyptian Goddess|
Apparently her power was great enough not only to assist Osiris but at times to dominate even him according to the Book of the Dead, at the times of storms and great floods she had power even over the great god of the underworld.
Sekhmet’s father was said to have been Ra himself, and many of her attributes connected her with the sun god. In the early Egyptian writing she was often called the Eye of Ra, which was supposed to have represented the god when he was forced to take action against his enemies and was vindictive and fierce-the traditional evil eye. Judging from the hieroglyph for this eye, we can assume that its power was derived from the combativeness of the uraeus and the heat of the sun. As we saw in Chapter 7 (“Hathor”), when Ra sent Hathor out to avenge his mistreatment by human beings, he sent her in the form of Sekhmet Goddess , the lioness. This merging of the two goddesses accentuates the fact that in later years Sekhmet Goddess was connected with the character of numerous other goddesses, including Hathor, Nut, and Bastet (who as a domestic cat was sometimes said to represent the gentler aspect of Sekhmet). Amenhotep III placed several hundred statues of Sekhmet in his temple dedicated to Mut at Karnak.
|The warrior goddess Sekhmet, shown with her sun disk and cobra crown|
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