Prayer to Sekhmet for the Vulnerable

The following is a litany to Sekhmet that I wrote for use during this time of COVID-19. It focuses on protecting those who are especially vulnerable. It is not an exhaustive list, and I am open to suggestions for groups to add.

Refrain after each verse:
Sekhmet the Great, be with us now;
save us from danger, watch over us all!

Sekhmet the Great, Mother of All,
Whose Majesty is pacified after Her rage;
be peaceful, be gracious to us, Your children
in this, Your name of Pacified One.

Watch over those who are suffering sickness,
those struggling to find their way back to health;
drive out their illness and chase death away
in this, Your name of Lady of Life.

Watch over the medically vulnerable,
those at greatest risk of sickness or death;
block the path of any disease, and keep them from harm
in this, Your name of Protector.

Watch over those who are pregnant,
whose bodies are working to support two lives;
let them have enough to live and keep illness at bay
in This, Your name of Mighty-Hearted.

Watch over the very young,
those whose bodies have not yet built their defenses;
protect them as Your own children
in this, Your name of Who Protects Her Son.

Watch over the elderly ones,
those whose lifetimes have worn down their defenses;
protect them as Your own family
in this, Your name of Who Protects Her Father.

Watch over the mentally ill,
those who suffer most deeply from isolation and fear;
comfort them and fill them with Your light
in this, Your name of Who Illuminates the Two Lands.

Watch over the victims of violence,
those quarantined with abusers of any kind;
let them know safety and protect them from danger
in this, Your name of Devouring Flame.

Watch over the queer and trans people,
those for whom prejudice raises barriers to effective care;
let them find compassion when needed and let them stay well
in this, Your name of Lady of Kindness.

Watch over the undocumented and the migrants,
those who travel and those without the support of their homeland;
let them receive kindness and the resources they need
in this, Your name of Who Keeps the Two Lands Alive.

Watch over those incarcerated,
those who deserve dignity, as members of humanity;
let them know peace and mercy
in this, Your name of Who Hears Prayers.

Watch over the Indigenous peoples,
those marginalized by colonizers in any land;
grant them safety and the resources to thrive
in this, Your name of Great Noble One.

Watch over the un- and underemployed,
those financially strained by loss of work;
grant them prosperity and keep them stable
in this, Your name of Golden One.

Watch over the sex-workers,
those whose work brings them into intimate closeness;
bring them stability, safety, and freedom of choice
in this, Your name of Beautiful, Magnificent One.

Watch over the doctors, nurses, and all medical personnel,
those fighting against disease, to keep us safe;
keep them strong and free from illness
in this, Your name of Who Wards Off Evil.

Watch over the farmers, grocers, and food-service workers,
those tasked with keeping the people fed;
protect them from disease and from fearful, ill-tempered patrons
in this, Your name of Lady of Nourishment.

Watch over those whose work is deemed essential,
in retail, in law, in public service;
help them keep order and keep them healthy
in this, Your name of Who Destroys the Riot.

Sekhmet the Great, Lady of Jubilation,
be with me and all those I love.
Walk with us until we are safe again,
and bless us in Your many names.

Prayer to Sekhmet against COVID-19

O Sekhmet, Eye of Ra,
Powerful Flame,
Protectress of those whom She created,
O Sekhmet Who lights up the land with Her flame,
Who gives life to everyone:
Come, Sekhmet! Free us!
Save us from the misfortunes of this time.
May they never have power over us, forever.

Powerful One of Fire,
Who makes the virus tremble with fear of Her,
Come to us! Stop all calamity!
May our beginning be life, our middle be health, and our end be strength.
May there be cooperation between us.
May there be protection against all our enemies, living or dead.
Appease in our favor the Great Nine;
Appease in our favor the Lesser Nine;
Appease in our favor all the blessed dead,
as Ra is agreeable to His following,
in this time of our need.

O Pure Mother,
grant that all of the peoples of our world,
the generations we know and generations still to come,
be pure of all evil contamination,
of all bad winds,
and all bad journeys for this time.

Rev. Dr. Tamara L. Siuda, March 20, 2020

“You are My priest.”

The lights in the conference room were dimmed, and in my memory candles are flickering on Her altar, though no candles were lit besides the fake ones that the venue permitted. She had come before Her people embodied; Sekhmet the Great sat before us, enthroned.

I knelt before Her, offering gestures of praise before She bade me to rise and sit with Her. We spoke together of my fears; of the things that have been holding me back. She listened. She offered quiet reassurance. And suddenly, She took up a bottle of frankincense oil, wet Her fingers with it, and placed Her hand on my head. She smiled, and I wondered what She would do.

“You are My priest,” She said, “and you are His priest.”

I smiled and sighed deeply as I realized what She had done.

Earlier in the week, myself and the other lay priests who were present at Retreat were offered the opportunity to take on legal ordination. The distinction between the two priesthoods is muddy, but the main difference is that ordained priests are responsible for pastoral duties as well as liturgical duties. We had planned to announce this formally on Nebt-het’s day, or Wep Ronpet Eve, as is typical for elevations during Retreat.

It would seem Sekhmet had other ideas. The ordination blessing is conferred via anointing with sacred oil–just as She had done. After the ceremony, a fellow priest told me that she knew what Sekhmet was doing the moment She reached for the oil. She knew I was being ordained before I did.

And here we are–I am legal clergy of the House of Netjer and Kemetic Orthodoxy. This does not, and will not change the fact that nothing written at this blog constitutes an official statement from the House of Netjer or Kemetic Orthodoxy. I will continue to share my experiences and my thoughts as they happen, without any sort of authority or official meaning. It has always brought me great joy to do so, as has serving the gods as Their priest.

Carrying Their Light, Every Day

I’ve known for years that I was meant to work in a service-oriented position. In elementary school I thought that meant being a teacher. In high school, I waffled between psychology and music education. As an undergraduate student, I landed squarely on the side of psychology, in a tiny corner called “counseling”.

The funny thing about counseling is that you don’t really get to experience it until you’ve already expended significant effort training in it. The work of counseling is so delicate that you have to be carefully trained – and even then, it takes years of supervised practice in most states before you’re permitted to launch your own counseling practice. So for years, I was chasing a goal that felt as alien as the moon — and yet as dear as the grass beneath my feet. How could I love this field so deeply without experiencing it? Real talk — I have no freaking idea. I loved counseling wildly for all four years of my undergraduate training and for all five, laborious, snail-slow years of my graduate training, and I have no idea how.

Now I have the luxury of sitting in my office, embracing the trials of the clients who come through my door. I love every minute of the chaos, of the heartbreak, of the frustration, of the anxiety. I love seeing the face of someone who hears “I’m in your corner” from another person for the first time. I even love the hard stuff. I love sitting with someone in the depths of psychosis, sick and scared and a world apart, compassionately assessing their needs, and advocating for their treatment. I love extending my hands to hold someone’s grief with them for a short space of time.

I first met my gods when I sought out gods for the work that I wanted to do. Sekhmet was the first deity of healing I encountered; Wepwawet just felt right, for reasons I have difficulty articulating. Wepwawet opens the door to healing, creates the space of safety I try to create in my office. Sekhmet illuminates the space with Her light, chasing away the darkness. My Beloveds, too: Bast brings music and joy, the compassion needed to embrace sorrow; Nut brings patience, endurance, wisdom; Khonsu, the surgical precision that carves out pain and exposes bitter truths; and Nebthet, most recently come to my shrine, brings quiet comfort, a gentle mirror to gaze into and reflect.

Even on the hardest days — the days when I’m leaving job #2 at 11 PM after starting job #1 at 5:30 AM, after I’ve been yelled at, told off, had my training questioned, written and re-written assessments, made mistakes and cleaned them up — I still walk out full of joy, with my chin up, feeling like I am finally in the right place.

My goal since becoming Kemetic has been to carry the light of my gods wherever I go. Through the work I’m doing now, I believe I can.

#teamsekhmet

I’m going to put it straight to you: The House of Netjer needs donations. The only way for the temple to survive is if temple members donate — and only a small number of members actually do so.

I’m putting a call out to my siblings in Sekhmet to change that, this month. I don’t care how you do it — if you donate yourself, if you offer to sell services in exchange for donations, if you pester everyone else until they donate — but the children of Sekhmet are going to smash that donation goal this month. #teamsekhmet, are you ready? We have 31 days to get it done. Let’s do it!

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