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The artist has a very strong, deep connection to this ancient and powerful female deity, so this will become a full thangka painting soon. Please bookmark and check often to see progress! More about her…
Old age brings wisdom and fierce certainty
“What is this ecstasy about? It is a little hard to tell, because she has the face of a lion, but she is in love with the dharma, wild and fierce in her defense of those who seek it, and she gleams with the fervor of one with a mission. She is capable of goading and shoving and nagging practitioners who are sliding towards the wrong path, but she is always doing it out of love.
SimhaMukha is a female Dakini-form of the great Mahasiddha Padmasambhava, although some say she was his principle Dakini teacher. She is also the Buddhist version of the Hindu warrior goddess Durga who rides a lion or tiger. She is called the queen of the Dakinis, and as in so many instances, where eras and eons bleed into one another through rebirths, new regimes, and archetype re-creations over time, she is also Queen of the Matrikas, 7 ancient Hindu female goddesses. She has some similarities with the Egyptian Sekhmet, and in the West, her essence is what we might call the Crone, the old wise woman, whose looks have fallen away leaving only the wisdom left to see.
She is a wisdom goddess and can be a yidam, a personal protector deity. She repulses psychic attacks, subdues demons, and keeps nightmares and dark energies away. She helps transform anger or wrath into enlightened awareness and subdues misguided beings. She is naked and her hair is disheveled, as are all Dakinis because she represents going beyond the conventions of society. Her mind is calm, there is no background noise, she is completely present here and now.”
From An Etsy Printmaker
Simhamukha is connected to the ancient Egyptian deity, Sekhmet
“Sekhmet (Sakhmet) is one of the oldest known Egyptian deities. Her name is derived from the Egyptian word “Sekhem” (which means “power” or “might”) and is often translated as the “Powerful One” or “She who is Powerful”. She is depicted as a lion-headed woman, sometimes with the addition of a sun disc on her head. Her seated statues show her holding the ankh of life, but when she is shown striding or standing she usually holds a sceptre formed from papyrus (the symbol of northern or Lower Egypt) suggesting that she was associated primarily with the north. However, some scholars argue that the deity was introduced from Sudan (South of Egypt) where lions are more plentiful.
She was often closely associated with Hathor (the goddess of joy, music, dance, sexual love, pregnancy and birth). In this partnership, she was seen as the harsh aspect of the friendly Hathor. A temple was constructed by Amenemhet II to Sekhmet-Hathor at Kom el Hisn (Imau in the western Delta) in which she and Hathor are referred to as the “Mistress of Imau”. Imau was situated near a branch of the Nile that has since shifted eastwards, but in ancient times the town was right on the edge of the desert on the route to the Libyan frontier. Clearly it was hoped that Sekhmet would protect the border.
Sekhmet’s main cult centre was in Memphis (Men Nefer) where she was worshipped as “the destroyer” alongside her consort Ptah (the creator) and Nefertum (the healer).
Sekhmet was represented by the searing heat of the mid-day sun (in this aspect she was sometimes called “Nesert”, the flame) and was a terrifying goddess. However, for her friends she could avert plague and cure disease. She was the patron of Physicians, and Healers and her priests became known as skilled doctors. As a result, the fearsome deity sometimes called the “lady of terror” was also known as “lady of life”. Sekhmet was mentioned a number of times in the spells of The Book of the Dead as both a creative and destructive force, but above all, she is the protector of Ma’at (balance or justice) named “The One Who Loves Ma’at and Who Detests Evil”.
She was also known as the “Lady of Pestilence” and the “Red Lady” (indicating her alignment with the desert) and it was thought that she could send plagues against those who angered her. When the centre of power shifted from Memphis to Thebes during the New Kingdom the Theban Triad (Amun, Mut, and Khonsu), Sekhmet’s attributes were absorbed into that of Mut (who sometimes took the form of a lion).
She was associated with the goddesses given the title “Eye of Ra”. According to myth, Ra became angry because mankind was not following his laws and preserving Ma’at (justice or balance). He decided to punish mankind by sending an aspect of his daughter, the “Eye of Ra”. He plucked Hathor from Ureas on his brow, and sent her to earth in the form of a lion. She became Sekhmet, the “Eye of Ra”and began her rampage. The fields ran with human blood. However, Ra was not a cruel deity, and the sight of the carnage caused him to repent. He ordered her to stop, but she was in a blood lust and would not listen. So Ra poured 7,000 jugs of beer and pomegranate juice (which stained the beer blood red) in her path. She gorged on the “blood” and became so drunk she slept for three days. When she awoke, her blood lust had dissipated, and humanity was saved. In one version of the myth, Ptah is the first thing she sees on awaking and she instantly fell in love with him. Their union (creation and destruction) created Nefertum (healing) and so re-established Ma’at.
The saving of mankind was commemorated every year on the feast day of Hathor/Sekhmet. Everyone drank beer stained with pomegranate juice and worshipped “the Mistress and lady of the tomb, gracious one, destroyer of rebellion, mighty one of enchantments”. A statue of Sekhmet was dressed in red facing west, while Bast was dressed in green and faced east. Bast was sometimes considered to be Sekhmet´s counterpart (or twin depending on the legend), and in the festival of Hathor they embodied the duality central to Egyptian mythology. Sekhmet represented Upper Egypt while Bast represented Lower Egypt.”