As women, we have been told for centuries that anger is unacceptable. We have been trained to fade into the background – the realm of anger and aggression has always been the realm of men and women were relegated to the “womanly” tasks of sewing, homemaking, childbearing, etc.. Phrases like “nice girl”, “good wife” can be translated to mean women that are non-emotional, compliant, subservient. Women that freely display strong emotions are called “mad”, “crazy”, “unstable” or even “masculine”.
Rage as an emotion does not arrive without a reason. Something is causing that rage, whether an underlying emotional situation, a true pathology or a primal urge (such as the urge to protect and defend). Rage is the messenger that a LIFE ISSUE needs to be addressed and that transformation of self or situation must take place.
Strong emotions ARE the realm of women. In ancient times, women trained warriors and led battles. Many of the ancient Goddesses claim battle and war as their attributes. I am not only speaking though of strong emotions as rage, anger and battle. Love is the strongest emotion that women embrace and embody. The moment I looked into my son’s eyes, I was flooded with a love that could climb mountains and conquer the world. The Power of Creation is women’s birthright and bring potent forces to our lives.
The story of the Goddess Sekhmet teaches us some important lessons about rage.
Sekhmet is an Egyptian Goddess with a woman’s body and a lioness head and depicted frequently with the sun disc on her head. Ra, the Sun God, is her Father and is called the Eye of Ra. Her name is derived from the Egyptian word “Sekhem” which means Power or Might. Sekhmet represents the searing heat of the mid-day sun and one of her names is Nesert, the Flame. Her breath is the desert wind and she is said to have created the deserts themselves.
Sekhmet expresses the universal principle of Detachment. She is the consort of Ptah, the Creator god of Memphis. Together with their sun, Nefertum (the God of perfumes and aromatherapy), they form the Memphis Triad of healing, protection and the manifestation of creation. She is the potent force of the female creative principle, behind (but not subservient to) the male. from my friend and Egyptologist, Mary Lomando
As the Protector of Ma’at (Justice), Sekhmet is known as “The one who loves Ma.at and detests evil.” One of her stories is about Rage and how she almost destroyed the world. Her Father, Ra, became angry that the people were not upholding and honoring Ma’at. Ra sent Sekhmet to punish humanity. Sekhmet went on a rampage of destruction – killing all those in her path and reveling in the bloodbath she had created. Ra was horrified by the destruction and consulted with the other Gods on how to stop Sekhmet’s blind rage. They prepared beer stained with pomegranate juice so that it looked like blood and when she drank it, Sekhmet fell into a three day sleep. Upon awaking, her rage had dissipated and humanity was saved.
Add MeAdd MeAdd MeBalancing her potential for Rage and Destruction, Sekhmet is also known for her healing attributes. She is the “Lady of Pestilence”, meaning that she can send plagues upon her enemies but she also protects from plagues and pestilence. Because of her association with healing, Sekhmet is the patron Goddess of physicians and veterinarians – her Priests were even referred to as doctors in some instances. She is also know as “One of Great Magic” and invoked for magical rituals and sorcery.
How Do We Honor Our Rage without laying waste to our lives and those we love? Honoring our Rage means honoring our shadow side. Sekhmet is the perfect depiction of that balance – Healing/Potential for Destruction. Balance of light and dark is a life work and pathology and dis-ease come when we fall to either side too heavily.
Here are some of my thoughts about the lessons of Rage: Sometimes acknowledgement of our anger and rage is what is required for us to quench the flames. While I don’t recommend drinking beer and pomegranate juice to induce a three day stupor, stepping away from the situation gives us time to calm and analyze. Decisions made in rage are not usually the most productive. Find a way to let off steam that is not harmful – exercise, yell and scream in an isolated place, write it out, start a movement for change – and once you have released the rage, begin the healing process of identifying the underlying cause. Recognition and a willingness to transform the underlying causes leads to healing and solutions. Importantly, identify rage and anger as symptoms, just like pain. They tell us when something needs to be fixed.
There are also times when Rage is pathological and we need to honor the act of moving away from it. In the cases of abuse, addiction, and pathology, people who rage at us are dangerous. You serve yourself by getting away from the situation and identifying your underlying cause for being involved. Just as you would not want to be in the path of Sekhmet intent on destruction, neither do you want to be in someone else’s path who is intent upon damaging themselves and you.
I breathe in the hot winds of the desert. They scorch me – set me alight. Gripped by the Her Red Magic, I lay waste to that which no longer serves me and I accept Her Lotus Wand of Healing into my Power Center. Bless the Mother, Sekhmet!
How can we use rage and the Goddess Sekhmet for Transformation?
These pictures of Sekhmet are from my friends and incredible Priestesses – Mary Lomando and Suzanne Edison …