Home' Nova National : NOVA NATIONAL AUGUST 12 Contents One of the most important stone
sanctuaries in Luxor is the one dedicated
to Sekhmet. It is accessed by following a
narrow track that winds between date
palms bowing under the weight of amber
fruit, at the back of the huge Karnak
12 © NOVA AUGUST 2012
Egypt is usually portrayed as a
country of power, masculinity,
pharaohs and monumental
achievements. But the influence
of female goddesses such as Hathor,
Isis, Nut and Sekhmet is still palpable to
Sekhmet the Lioness Goddess, known
as the 'third eye of the sun god Ra', is
directly related to both the creative and
destructive powers of the sun. She is
renowned for the attainment of healing
through uprooting and destruction --
the need to experience turmoil before
achieving peace. On this day, we are
each allowed 10 minutes alone inside
her crypt. For one of our group
members, it will be the highlight of the
trip. Bronwyn is particularly interested
in the ancient White Magic of Egypt
and Sekhmet is her favourite goddess.
The group has affectionately nicknamed
Bronwyn 'The Magician'.
When it is my turn to enter
Sekhmet's sanctuary, I step inside and
the temple guard closes the thick
wooden door behind me. It is pitch
dark, the only source of light coming
from a tiny hole in the roof. As I gaze at
the black granite statue, I swear her
eyes move and am overcome with a
profound feeling of being in the presence
of something or someone truly divine.
Sitting on the stone floor at her feet, I
absorb her energy, battling unidentified
emotions that well from deep within.
Ten minutes or an aeon later, I hear
the temple guard rattling the door bolt.
Time's up. Blinded by the sun, I stumble
back out into the 20th century.
We have been granted a few hours
of free time. Some of the group decide
to explore the temple complex further,
some return to the hotel. Others go
I decide to explore the alleyways not
far from the temple and discover a shop
selling second hand books. They are
mostly copies of the Koran and other
religious missives but among Prohibited
Articles there is a booklet that was
published in the 1920s offering advice
to British tourists. It also contains maps,
the cost of donkey hire, advertisements
for 'tea rooms playing American jazz'
and Arabic phrases the tourist may wish
to utilise such as, 'I want a dragoman', 'I
wish to visit pyramids at moonlight',
'Have you to change me a pound?' and
'By God, I am too much contented
It also contains a list of allowed
and forbidden articles to take into the
'Hasheesh, opium, cocaeen(sic),
hiroeen(sic), tobacco and tobacco seeds,
foreign coins, obscene pictures and
printed matter, living insects and their
Allowed Articles: One telescope per
person, one small camera, 25 cigars in
open boxes, typewriters and gramo-
phones if their value is less than ten
pounds, rifles, pistols and rivolvers(sic).
But rivolvers should be declared.'
It seems odd to me that foreign
coins were prohibited while revolvers,
rifles and pistols were permitted.
Times have certainly changed since the
It's now late afternoon and we have a
Jo Buchanan recounts an occasion
when Egypt's female goddesses
exerted their subtle power.
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