Moon Books ~ Pagan Portals: Sekhmet - by Olivia Church - book review by Helen Brambley
This book is an excellent, detailed exploration of the history, stories, rituals and festivals of Sekhmet, which brings Her worship right up to date into a modern day context. For such a short book - only 120 pages - it is packed full of background facts and research, as well as Ancient Egyptian prayers and spells to give a context in order to understand Sekhmet more fully.
I know plenty of people who love the whole mythology and historical significance of Ancient Egypt, but it's never been something I felt was for me. So reading this book was fascinating from the point of view of someone with no personal or emotional vested interest (ie I probably wouldn't have chosen to read it if I wasn't reviewing it.) What I discovered was that Sekhmet is so much more than I previously thought - definitely not a deity lost in the mists of time, but one who is relevant for today's world.
The author, Olivia Church, manages to convey the depth of amazing power and influence of Sekhmet through her obvious thorough research of historical references. While honouring these roots, she then shows how this can be interpreted and brought into a modern day practice. From reading this book I particularly connected with the idea of a deity who has a dual aspect of destruction alongside healing, as that is how I view nature too - 'balancing the scales' as is explained in the book.
However, this book is much more than simply historical reference material. Olivia brings her own experiences and passion to feed into this book. She shows that Sekhmet has a strong presence even today through the mediums of pictures, objects and words, which Ancient Egyptians believed made things into reality. The author shows this through her description of 'living statues', where people today have been able to interact or have spiritual experiences while viewing them, including her own experience of visiting a statue in the Karnak Temple complex. There are examples of ways to adapt ancient rituals, festivals and prayers (including one written by the author herself) for the modern western calendar as well as how to make your own shrine or altar to Sekhmet.
As Rachel Patterson always says, if you feel drawn to a particular deity do your research, and this book is the perfect place to start if you feel Sekhmet's call. The only down side is you have to be prepared for the difficult names and interpretation of Ancient Egyptian language, which makes reading it a bit slow in places, but it is well worth the effort in order to give the origins of a deity the respect and honour they deserve.
Olivia Church ends the book by saying 'I hope that...Sekhmet's hot breath, rumbling growl and protective paws have been able to reach you in some way through the words of this devotional work.'
It has certainly had an impact on me. 4/5 cauldrons. The book is due for release on January 28th 2022.