Sekhmet “Goddess of Destruction” is a warrior goddess as well as goddess of medicine. Sekhmet is also a solar deity, sometimes given the epithet ‘the eye of Ra’. She is often associated with the goddesses Hathor and Bastet.

Roles Sekhmet is the daughter of the sun god, Ra, and is among the more important of the goddesses in the Egyptian Pantheon. Sekhmet acted as the vengeful manifestation of Ra’s power, the Eye of Ra. Sekhmet is said to breathe fire, and the hot winds of the desert were likened to her breath. She is also believed to cause plagues (which were described as being her servants or messengers) although she is also called upon to ward off disease and heal the sick. In a myth about the end of Ra’s rule on the earth, Ra sends the goddess Hathor, in the form of Sekhmet, to destroy mortals who conspired against him. In the myth, Sekhmet’s bloodlust was not quenched at the end of battle, and this led to her going on a bloody rampage that laid Egypt to waste and almost destroyed all of humanity. To stop her, Ra and the other gods devised a plan. They poured out a lake of beer dyed with red ochre or so that it resembled blood. Mistaking the beer for blood, Sekhmet drank it all and became so drunk that she gave up on the slaughter and returned peacefully to Ra. The same myth was also described in the prognosis texts of the Calendar of Lucky and Unlucky Days of papyrus Cairo 86637.

Worship During an annual festival held at the beginning of the year, a festival of intoxication, the Egyptians danced and played music to soothe the wildness of the goddess and drank great quantities of beer and wine ritually to imitate the extreme drunkenness that stopped the wrath of the goddess—when she almost destroyed humanity.In 2006, Betsy Bryan, an archaeologist with Johns Hopkins University excavating at the temple of Mut in Luxor (Thebes) presented her findings about the festival that included illustrations of the priestesses being served to excess and its adverse effects on them being ministered to by temple attendants. Participation in the festival was great, including by the priestesses and the population. Historical records of tens of thousands attending the festival exist. These findings were made in the temple of Mut because when Thebes rose to greater prominence Mut absorbed some characteristics of Sekhmet. These temple excavations at Luxor discovered a “porch of drunkenness” built onto the temple by the Pharaoh Hatshepsut during the height of her twenty-year reign.