Sekhmet was know in ancient Egypt as a fierce warrior goddess, the healer, the hunter and the protector of the Pharaohs. Her following was so dominant throughout the land that the Pharaoh Amenhemhat I moved the capital of Egypt to Itjtawy. Itjtawy would erect an enormous temple in the name of Sekhmet where various holidays, rituals and daily sacrifices would be held in her honor. The city was said to have had thousands of statues erected in her honor as well over 700 in one funerary temple alone.
According to writings found in the tomb of Seti, Sekhmet was said to be the daughter of Ra, An ancient legend tells of the end of Ra’s rule on earth. Ra sends Sekhmet to destroy all humans that had conspired against him. The legend states that Sekhmet’s blood lust had not been sated by the end of the battle, her thirst drove her to nearly destroying the human race. Ra poured out beer laced with red ochre so that it would appear as blood. Sekhmet drank the laced beer and became so drunk that she abandoned her murderous spree peacefully and returned to Ra. After this Ra would refer to her as “The one who comes in peace” naming a holiday in her honor, “The Festival of intoxication”. Sekhmet would now also be known as the protector of the undead, a ruler of the underworld.
Both the living and the undead sought her affections and would vie for the position of initiate at her temple. Candidates were tested brutally, they would endure the ritual of death while facing the demons that awaited them in the underworld. Those that did not succeed in overcoming their fears, if they survived, were disqualified. Those that were successful moved on to become Sekhmet’s priests and priestesses which were considered extremely powerful. Sekhmet’s clergy were known to posses great powers as both physicians and practitioners of the dark arts, having the ability to command and destroy demons.
Egyptian demons were separated into two groups, one that served Sekhmet and the other that were of the underworld. Sekhmets’ demons were dispatched upon the land as avengers of those guilty of wrong doing, with them they would bring disease, chaos and pestilence to punish the evil doers.