Sekhmet, Egyptian Goddess of Medicine

Sekhmet, Egyptian Goddess of Medicine

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Credit: Los Angeles County Museum/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY


Caption: Limestone menat (or possibly unglazed faience) of the Egyptian Goddess Sekhmet, Egypt, New Kingdom (1569-1081 BC). In Egyptian mythology, Sekhmet was originally the warrior goddess as well as goddess of healing for Upper Egypt. She is depicted as a lioness, the fiercest hunter known to the Egyptians. It was said that her breath created the desert. She was the goddess who meted out divine punishment to the enemies of the gods and of the pharaoh. In this capacity she was called the Eye of Ra. She also accompanied the pharaoh into battle, launching fiery arrows into battle ahead of him. She could also send plagues and disease against her enemies, but was sometimes invoked to avoid plague and cure disease. Sekhmet also is a solar deity, sometimes called the daughter of the sun god Ra. She is the patron of divine retribution, vengeance, and conquest.

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