Lady of the Flame: Hail Mighty Sekhmet!

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Image: rocky9631, Pixabay

She is known by many epithets, in particular Eye of Ra, Lady of the Red Linen, and Lady of the Flame. Protector of the Pharaoh and scourge of humankind when we acted out like disobedient children. The Lion Goddess Sekhmet springs from ancient lineage and is imbued with the power of a million suns. Not one to be disrespected, and not one to be approached in arrogance and pride. The Goddess waits in the darkness of the Sanctuary, a place filled with eternal silence and terrible power.

How does the supplicant approach this place? Not with a backward glance. She can smell your fear as it seeps through your pores, and hear the frantic beat of your heart. Are you purified in body, soul and intent? Don’t deceive yourself, mercy will not be offered to you on a platter. Why should it? The journey through the burning desert hasn’t been easy, hunger and thirst have assailed you, brought you to your knees. She hasn’t spared you as you haven’t spared yourself.

The hot desert wind is Her breath upon your neck, a reminder that life can be all too brief, that you are prey. She can hear the blood rush through your veins, thirsts for it with a passion. The Lioness weaves Her way through the burning sands, eyes of gold survey the loneliness of the desert wastes, reveal in its bleak and awesome beauty. She calls to you, a song of allure and truth, asks what it is that you seek and want of Life. What healing is needed? She offers it, and more that remains shrouded until you reach the doors of the Sanctuary.

Fire is Her element, wielded with expertise and deadly accuracy. Her jaws open in a snarl, razor-sharp fangs gleam in the midday sun. This is the Eye of Ra in her magnificence, untamed and dangerous. She is the raw power of the Universe, a million Suns scorching and burning false personas. The Goddess waits in the darkness of the Sanctuary, a place filled with eternal silence and terrible power. She calls to you, a song of allure and truth, asks what it is that you seek and want of Life.

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Image: nir_design

The temple shimmers on the horizon, is it a dream or a nightmare? She can smell your fear as it seeps through your pores, and hear the frantic beat of your heart. Don’t look back, there is no path to safety, no road to mendacity. The Portal looms ahead, offering shade and relief from the burning rays. Although you must pass through the realm of the Keeper of the Flame, one who guards the way to the Sanctuary. Are they male or female? Are they human or, something else? Your questions have no meaning in this place, it’s a place not of this world, not concerned with its laws and rules. The Keeper stares at your humanity, parts the flames to other realms, go through, don’t linger, don’t waste time.

She can smell your fear as it seeps through your pores, and hear the frantic beat of your heart. She calls to you, a song of allure and truth, asks what it is that you seek and want of Life. The place approaches, the doorway shimmers like a desert mirage, go through, don’t linger, don’t waste time. The refrain unfolds, stretches into infinity. This is your time of Becoming, an oft-repeated phrase, but filled with deep truth. Her eyes gaze intently, her manner is implacable. What can you say? Is she present? You touch your face and feel her face, touch her chest and feel your chest. Twin hearts beat loudly in this inner chamber, echo throughout the Universe. The Eye of Ra is pleased. The Eye of Ra sings her song of truth, of longing for the First Time, laments forgetfulness. Hear it and do not weep. She is eternal, the unending ocean of Being, and the life-giving rays of the Sun. Her flames consume and bring forth rebirth. It is done supplicant, it is done.

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Beholden

 

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Image: Gustave Moreau, WikiArt

Moreau’s “Promethée” reflects a being who appears at peace with performing the ultimate sacrifice; one that allows humanity to emerge from darkness into consciousness. This is only my perception of the Titan’s  situation. Rather ironic that his foolish brother, Epithemeus (meaning ‘afterthought’ or ‘late counselling’) was responsible in part (with his bride Pandora) for releasing a host of evils into the world.

Prometheus (meaning ‘forethought’) ushers in a new age, one in which humanity has a chance of gaining control over its destiny. In an uncertain world the only certainty is death. Yet, here is a new vision being offered, at great cost to the one bearing the gift of divine fire. Should we not feel beholden to the bearer of light in a world that teeters between chaos and balance? His name lives on as does the divine fire gifted in all compassion. Be at peace mighty Prometheus.

Firebird

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Image: Viorel Marginean, WikiArt

I dreamed of you last night Firebird, vision glimpsed in forests of cedar and myrrh. Flame garbed oracle, portend of endings and regeneration. My memories urged ‘sing the songs of living and yearning. Let Hope bathe the place of sacrifice and resurrection’. To what purpose the inner voice questioned. No answer came.

My song was thus sung, offered in temple of sky and earth. None other spoke, none other saw, save you. You called forth from a place I have been and shall go again. It exists in the place of Coming into Being. Three times you have called and three more times shall it be, three more to end.

What will you have me do? Mine eyes cannot see what the spirit will not allow. There is always a price to pay by the unwary and unready. Deep does your cry take the soul, beyond mere night and eternal silence. Beyond sight and knowing. Beyond grief and joy.

Hush, hush you whisper. Awake, awake you urge. The blood races, heart hesitates and tongue refuses. I scratch in earth, to prepare whose grave? You answer ‘grave or treasure, it is all the same. It is your destiny’.

Your eyes of memory and imagination watch.What appears is not, until I realize it, call it into being. The dirt beneath my feet undulates, breathes. The dragon moves, prepares. We both embrace this dance of possible desolation. The tongue yields and lulls the beast within, soothes and cajoles. It gazes, looks to my very depths and embraces yet again.

I dreamed of you last night Firebird, vision glimpsed in forests of cedar and myrrh. Flame garbed oracle, portend of endings and regeneration. My song was sung, my soul was freed, my answer given.

Ignis – Flame#writephoto

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Image: Sue Vincent

Sue’s writing challenge this week gave me a good kick up the bottom, in the nicest sense I have to say! The creative fires needed stoking, they craved an injection of oxygen. My enthusiasm for writing had been waning for a while, it happens now and again and nothing to worry about. As for the subject matter for this challenge, Ignis, it’s Latin for Fire. Elemental Fire was considered by Alchemists to be an element that was active in nature. It’s masculine, energetic, spontaneous and uniting in quality. It was considered to have a place at the centre of things and be a force of transmutation. Fire was seen to be the seed force of the Universe and had two purposes:

  1. Being an expression of spiritual energy
  2. Being a symbol of regeneration and transformation due to its ability to purify, destroy and burn. Due to such actions does the new emerge from the ashes of the old.

To pass through fire is to transcend the human condition. I speak of things symbolic of course. That most mysterious of animals, the Phoenix, must be mentioned at this stage. It’s a bird of rebirth and symbol of alchemical resurrection and has a part to play in my story and possibly my life.

The action takes place in an Alchemist’s laboratory. There are three participants in this drama, an Alchemist, his daughter and a Phoenix:

The Alchemist stoked the fire slowly and carefully. His face was pensive and tinged with a little sadness. This was the culmination of centuries of work, often filled with disappointment and danger. The charlatans had transformed these ancient mysteries and made them an object of derision and suspicion in these troubled times. Now only greed prevailed. He had the skill to transform base metal into gold but chose to use it sparingly. His real goal was the transmutation of gross matter into spiritual gold, a pursuit he and his ancestors had made the centre of their existence. A woman watched from the other side of the fire, it was his daughter. She was the heir and recipient of every drop of love his soul and heart were capable of producing.

They both stared deeply into the flames as if searching for a sign. Their blood quickened through the veins, its scarlet radiance shimmering with tiny sparks of golden light. Soon, soon would the moment be right. There it was. Both figures stood erect. The significance of this moment would be engraved upon their hearts forever. A tear slid down the Alchemist’s cheek. For all his life experience and wisdom he was still subject to emotions assailing the human condition. His daughter hugged him tightly; overcome by emotion she was unable to utter a word.

The Alchemist’s laboratory faded into nothingness and silence enclosed the two figures instead of walls. An extensive plain opened up before them, with mountains forming a crescent around the plains. Behind them rose a great fire and high above it shone a glorious Sun.

In silence did they make this parting and then the Alchemist’s daughter walked towards the fire. Her robe reflected the light of the Sun, each feather glinting with gold dust. Flames engulfed the human figure, an unearthly light blazing forth during this transformation, in her place stood a Phoenix. The bird’s cries rang across the Universe. The Alchemist’s eyes blazed with wonder and happiness. The Great Work would continue. Few had witnessed this transformation.

The ferocity of the flames died down leaving a mound of ashes in their place. He approached, keen eyes spotting the glint of an eggshell. Many days and nights did he spend guarding that egg. Then, on the ninth sunrise the egg began to move and the infant within increasing its efforts to break through the shell. He willed the infant to persevere. Soon a hatchling emerged, a baby Phoenix. She stared up at the human and flapped her tiny wings excitedly. The Alchemist bent down and gently lifted the hatchling to his breast. She listened to his heartbeat and after a while entered the realm of dreams.