Maahes (Mahes, Mihos, Miysis, Mysis) was a solar war god who took the form of a lion. He was first referred to as a specific god in the Middle Kingdom but he remained fairly obscure until the New Kingdom. He seems to have been of foreign origin, and may have been an Egyptian version of Apedemak, the lion-god worshipped in Nubia. His name can be translated directly as "(one who can) see in front". However, the first part of his name is also the first part of the word "ma" (lion) as well as the verb "maa" (to see) and it is spelled with the symbol of a sickle for the sound "m", linking it with the word Maat (truth or balance). However, Maahes was rarely referred to by name. Rather he was usually referred to by his most common epithet, "The Lord of the Massacre". He was given a number of other bloodcurdling epithets including; "Wielder of the Knife", "The Scarlet Lord" and "Lord of Slaughter". Yet, he was not seen as a force of evil. He punished those who violated the rules of Ma'at and so promoted order and justice. Thus he was also known as the "Avenger of Wrongs" and "Helper of the Wise Ones". The Greeks gave him their epithet "The Kindly One,". Lions were closely linked to royalty in Egyptian mythology and Maahes was considered to be the patron of the pharaoh. As such, he was described as the son of Bast (who could take the form of a lion or sand cat and was a patron of Lower Egypt) and the son of Sekhmet (who was usually depicted as a lioness and was a patron of Upper Egypt). His father was thought to be either Ptah or Ra. Maahes was so closely associated with Nefertum, that it is sometimes suggested that he was only an aspect of this god, who did occassionally take leonine form. This connection gives Maahes an association with perfumed oils which was sometimes indicated by the depiction of a bouquet of lotus flowers near to his image. He was also linked to Shemsu (also a lion headed god), and Shu (who could take the form of a lion). His cult centre was Leontopolis (Nay-ta-hut, "city of lions") in Lower Egypt, where tame lions were lovingly cared for in his temple. He was considered to be the personification of the burning heat of the sun. Maahes was often depicted as a lion-headed man carrying a knife and wearing the Double Crown of Upper and Lower Egypt, the atef crown or a solar disk and Ureas (royal serpent). Less often, he was depicted as a lion devouring a victim.
© J Hill 2010
Sekhmet (Sakhmet) is one of the oldest known Egyptian deities. Her name is derived from the Egyptian word "Sekhem" (which means "power" or "might") and is often translated as the "Powerful One". She is depicted as a lion-headed woman, sometimes with the addition of a sun disc on her head. Her seated statues show her holding the ankh of life, but when she is shown striding or standing she usually holds a sceptre formed from papyrus (the symbol of northern or Lower Egypt) suggesting that she was associated primarily with the north. Sekhmet's main cult centre was in Memphis (Men Nefer) where she was worshipped as "the destroyer". Sekhmet was represented by the searing heat of the mid-day sun (in this aspect she was sometimes called "Nesert", the flame) and was a terrifying goddess. However, for her friends she could avert plague and cure disease. She was the patron of Physicians, and Healers and her priests became known as skilled doctors. As a result, the fearsome deity sometimes called the "lady of terror" was also known as "lady of life". Sekhmet was mentioned a number of times in the spells of The Book of the Dead as both a creative and destructive force, but above all, she is the protector of Ma'at (balance or justice) named "The One Who Loves Ma'at and Who Detests Evil". She was also known as the "Lady of Pestilence" and the "Red Lady" (indicating her alignment with the desert) and it was thought that she could send plagues against those who angered her. When the centre of power shifted from Memphis to Thebes during the New Kingdom the Theban Triad (Amun, Mut, and Khonsu), Sekhmet's attributes were absorbed into that of Mut (who sometimes took the form of a lion). Sekhmet was closely associated with Kingship. The saving of humankind was commemorated every year on the feast day of Hathor/Sekhmet. A statue of Sekhmet was dressed in red facing west, while Bastet was dressed in green and faced east. Bast was sometimes considered to be Sekhmet´s counterpart (or twin depending on the legend), and in the festival of Hathor they embodied the duality central to Egyptian mythology. Sekhmet represented Upper Egypt while Bast represented Lower Egypt.
© J Hill 2010
Goddess Durga is the mother of the universe and believed to be the power behind the work of creation, preservation, and destruction of the world. Since time immemorial she has been worshipped as the supreme power of the Supreme Being and has been mentioned in many scriptures, Yajur Veda, Vajasaneyi Samhita and Taittareya Brahman. The word "Durga" in Sanskrit means a fort, or a place which is difficult to overrun. Another meaning of "Durga" is "Durgatinashini," which literally translates into "the one who eliminates sufferings." Thus, Hindus believe that goddess Durga protects her devotees from the evils of the world and at the same time removes their miseries. Durga incarnated as the united power of all divine beings, who offered her the required physical attributes and weapons to kill the demon "Mahishasur". Her nine appellations are Skondamata, Kusumanda, Shailaputri, Kaalratri, Brahmacharini, Maha Gauri, Katyayani, Chandraghanta and Siddhidatri. Durga is depicted as having eight or ten hands. These represent eight quadrants or ten directions in Hinduism. This suggests that she protects the devotees from all directions. Like Shiva, Mother Durga is also referred to as "Triyambake" meaning the three eyed Goddess. The left eye represents desire (the moon), the right eye represents action (the sun), and the central eye knowledge (fire). The lion represents power, will and determination. Mother Durga riding the lion symbolises her mastery over all these qualities. This suggests to the devotee that one has to possess all these qualities to get over the demon of ego. Devi Durga stands on a lion in a fearless pose of "Abhay Mudra", signifying assurance of freedom from fear. The universal mother seems to be saying to all her devotees: "Surrender all actions and duties onto me and I shall release thee from all fears".
Narasimha, also spelt Nrusimha, Narasingh, Narsingh and Narasingha, is an avatar of Vishnu the Hindu God and of Hinduism's most popular deities, as evidenced in early epics, iconography, temple and festival worship for over a millennium. Narasimha is often visualized as half man/half-lion, having a human-like torso and lower body, with a lion-like face and claws. This image is widely worshipped in deity form by a significant number of Vaishnava groups. He is known primarily as the "Great Protector" who specifically defends and protects his devotees in times of need. The main story concerning Narasimha goes as follows: A king named Hiranyakashipu had obtained the gift of immortality but with some conditions. He was safe except from a being that was neither man nor beast, at a time when it was neither day nor night, and in a place that was neither inside nor outside his palace. Hiranyakashipu's son Prahlada, however, was a worshipper of Vishnu and when Hiranyakashipu threatened his life, Narasimha came to save him. Narasimha is neither man nor beast, but both, and he seized Hiranyakashipu at sunset (neither day nor night) in the porch of the palace (neither inside nor out) bursting dramatically from a column of the verandah. Throwing the king across his lap he tore him apart. In addition, the scriptures describe Lord Narasimha as prominently manifesting all six attributes of God (strength, wealth, renunciation,splendor, energy, wisdom): "In Narasimha, Rama, and Krishna, all the six opulences are fully manifest." Lord Narasimha Himself is recognized in the scriptures by a variety of forms, they enumerate more than seventy forms of Narasimha. Most of these forms are distinguished by the arrangements of weapons in the hands, His different postures, or other subtle distinctions.
Shiva, meaning "The Auspicious One" is one of the most revered Hindu deities. He is considered the Supreme God within Shaivism, one of the three most influential denominations in Hinduism. He is regarded as one of the five primary forms of God. He is "The Destroyer" or "The Transformer" of the Hindu Trinity of the primary aspects of the Divine. He is described as an omniscient yogi, who lives an ascetic life on Mount Kailash, as well as householder with a wife (Parvati) and two sons, Ganesha and Kartikeya. Shiva has many benevolent as well as fearsome forms. He is often depicted as immersed in deep meditation, with his wife and children or as the Cosmic Dancer (Nataraja). In fierce aspects, He is often depicted slaying demons. He is commonly connected to the practice of Yoga. Shiva has a trident in the right lower arm, with a crescent moon on his head. He is fair like camphor or like an ice clad mountain. He has fire, Damalu and Mala (a kind of weapon). He wears five serpents, one on his neck which denote wisdom and eternity. Shiva is often depicted with a third eye and smears his body with Bhasma (ashes); the ashes represent the final reality that a human beings will face the end of all material existence. He is often shown seated upon a tiger skin, an honor reserved for the most accomplished of Hindu ascetics, the tiger represents lust, he is sitting on the tiger's skin indicates that He has conquered lust. Shiva is a god of ambiguity and paradox, whose attributes include opposing themes.
Kālī, also known as Kālikā is the Hindu goddess associated with empowerment, shakti. Kāli is the Goddess of Time and Change. Although sometimes presented as dark and violent, her earliest incarnations as a figure of annihilator of evil forces still has a major influence. Various Shakta Hindu cosmologies, as well Shakta Tantric beliefs, worship her as the ultimate reality. Kali is represented as the consort of Lord Shiva, on whose body she is often seen standing. Shiva lies in the path of Kali, whose foot on Shiva subdues her anger. She is the fierce aspect of the Goddess Durga. Kali is portrayed mostly in two forms: the popular four-armed form and the ten-armed Mahakali form. In one of the most common iconographic images shows each hand carrying variously a sword, a trident, a severed head and a bowl or skull cup. Two of these hands (usually the left) are holding a sword and a severed head. The sword signifies Divine Knowledge and the human head signifies human ego which must be slain by Divine Knowledge in order to attain higher states of being. The other two hands (usually the right) are in the abhaya which represents fearlessness and varada the blessing mudras, which means her initiated devotees (or anyone worshipping her with a true heart) will be saved as she will guide them here and in the hereafter. She has a garland consisting of human heads, variously enumerated at 108 an auspicious number in Hinduism, or 51. Hindus believe Sanskrit is a language of dynamism, and each of the letters in the alphabet represents a form of energy, or a form of Kali as well. Therefore she is generally seen as the mother of language, and all mantras. She is often depicted naked which symbolizes her being beyond the covering of illusion since she is pure, being consciousness-bliss. She is shown as very dark as she is brahman in its supreme unmanifest state. In spite of her seemingly terrible form, Kali Ma is often considered the kindest and most loving of all the Hindu goddesses, as she is regarded by her devotees as the benevolent Mother of the whole Universe. And because of her terrible form, she is also often seen as a great protector. She has no permanent qualities, she will continue to exist even when the Universe ends. It is therefore believed that the concepts of color, light, good or bad, do not apply to her. She is the pure, un-manifested energy, the Adi-Shakti.
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It is interesting and remarkable to find in ancient cultures around the world how the Lion and Feline Beings were revered as spiritual masters, deities, or gods. A conclusive evidence about this worship can be found in Germany where an ivory sculpture is the oldest known zoomorphic (animal-shaped) sculpture in the world and one of the oldest known sculptures in general. The figurine was determined to be about 40,000 years old approximately. The sculpture shares certain similarities with French cave wall paintings, which also show hybrid creatures, this leads to the possibility that the lion-figure played an important role in the spirituality of humans of the early Upper Paleolithic.
For a long time dark circles of power deliberately hid the history of this world, galaxy, and others in order to prevent humankind from empowering ourselves. They also have supressed the Divine Feminine and have caused us humankind to spiral down. But the time for change has come. We have an opportunity now to heal, to return to living in our hearts, instead of our heads, and to live in Love, Light and Joy. At peace with each other and All That Is. Below is a brief overview that will help guests of this site to begin to remember our Feline friends and guides, these nine Leo Beings are here ready to help and to prepare us for the next step on our path. Namaste.
Ix, or Balam, means "jaguar" in several of the Maya languages. The jaguar is an animal with a prominent association and appearance in the cultures and belief systems of pre-Columbian Mesoamerica. Quick, agile, and powerful enough to take down the largest prey in the jungle, the jaguar is the largest of the big cats in the Americas, and one of the most efficient and aggressive predators. An absolute master hunter. Endowed with a spotted coat well adapted for the jungle, hunting either in the trees or water, the jaguar was and remains highly revered among the indigenous Central and South Americans. At night or by day, the jaguar was truly all that a warrior could hope to emulate and embody themselves, and integration of the jaguar into the sacred and secular realms of the Maya is proven in the archaeological record. Often depicted on artifacts are the gods the Maya revered, and it is no coincidence that these gods often have jaguar attributes. The jaguar is said to have the ability to cross between worlds, and for the Maya daytime and nighttime represented two different worlds. The living, new beginnings, and the Earth are associated with the day, and the spirit world, death, renewal, and the ancestors are associated with the night. As the jaguar is quite at home in the nighttime, the jaguar is believed to be part of the underworld. The jaguar's brilliant and beautiful coat made it quite desirable. However, not all were allowed to don the jaguar pelt, as wearing it was an identification of the ruling "royal" class of the Maya. Not only did Maya kings wear jaguar pelts, or cover their thrones and shields with them, but they also adopted "jaguar" as part of their names, as a symbol of their might, divinity, and authority. One such ruling family to incorporate the jaguar into their name is known as Jaguar Paw, who ruled the Maya city of Tikal in the fourth century. In addition to the ruling class, the jaguar also was associated with warriors, hunters, and especially with priests or shamans. The reason for giving this particular day, and those born on it, the title of Ix is that it is a reflection of nature, like most all of the 20 sacred Tzolkin calendar day-signs, many of which are based on jungle animals. For example, the Ix shaman or priest was recognized as having the natural ability to be his own type of master hunter, able to divine Truth, to hunt it down, whether as the best path for the tribe as a whole, or as an individual's cause of spiritual or physical sickness. Guided either by spirit guides, divination, or natural intuition, Ix, with one foot in the physical world and one foot in the spiritual world, was like the jaguar, at home in both planes of his "hunt".
Ix Chel is associated with the sacred animal of the Maya, the jaguar. She is the ancient Maya goddess of fertility and healing. Ix, here then means jaguar goddess. Chel, means rainbow or light. In other words, she is the: Lady of the Rainbow, Goddess of the Rainbow and Lady of Sacred Light. She is always associated with bodies of water, lakes, streams, rivers and creeks. Anywhere you would be likely to see a rainbow. It may sound strange to many for one Goddess to govern both love, war, birth, and death, but Ix Chel is a Goddess of the duality of nature. Birth, midwifery and pregnancy being the beginning of life, and death being the end of that cycle. As the Maya moon goddess, sometimes called "Lady Rainbow", she is often pictured as a serpent crone wearing a skirt and crossbones. She carries an upside-down vessel in her hands which represents the nourishing gift of water, our most essential life giving element. She wears a serpent on her head . The snake, has always been associated with medicine or healing powers. As the Goddess of Medicine, the snake also symbolizes intuitive forces. She is the goddess of fertility, motherhood , the moon, and menstrual cycle. She is mother of all. She holds a rabbit in her hand as a symbol of fertility while sitting in the crescent moon. As the goddess of fertility and childbirth she is responsible for the formation of the baby in the womb and determines the sex of the child. She is in charge of medicinal plants, healing, and moon phases. She carries a lot of spiritual knowledge. She sometimes is seen holding a clay pot of rainwater and herbs. When she is in a good mood she blesses the earth with rain, and when in a bad mood she sends floods and hurricanes.
Bast (known as "Bastet") was one of the most popular goddesses of ancient Egypt. She is generally thought of as a cat goddess. However, she originally had the head of a lion or a desert sand-cat and it was not until the New Kingdom that she became exclusively associated with the domesticated cat. However, even then she remained true to her origins and retained her war-like aspect. She personified the playfulness, grace, affection, and cunning of a cat as well as the fierce power of a lioness. She was also worshiped all over Lower Egypt, but her cult was centred on her temple at Bubastis in the Lower Egypt. Her name implies that she is sweet and precious, but that under the surface lay the heart of a predator. Bastet was depicted as a cat, or as a slender woman with the head of a cat, a sand cat or a lion. She is often shown holding the ankh (representing the breath of life) or the papyrus wand (representing Lower Egypt) and the sistrum a rattle used as a musical instrument. She occasionally bears a was-scepter (signifying strength) and is often accompanied by a litter of kittens. Cats were sacred to Bast, and to harm one was considered to be a crime against her and so very unlucky. Her priests kept sacred cats in her temple, which were considered to be incarnations of the goddess. The ancient Egyptians placed great value on cats because they protected the crops and slowed the spread of disease by killing vermin and also kept them as loved pets. As a result, Bast was seen as a protective goddess. Thus it is perhaps unsurprising that Bast was so popular. Bastet, goddess of sensual pleasure, protector of the household, bringer of health, and the guardian saint of firefighters; she was the original mistress of multi-tasking. Agile and lithe, Bast was recognized as the goddess of music and dance. Consistent with her cat-like image and her status as a fertility goddess, Bast was associated with childbirth, perhaps because of the mother cat's continuous production of litters and the loving way she fiercely defends and cares for her kittens. the goddess Bastet could be invoked to prevent the spread of illness. Bastet, more than any other of the Egyptian goddesses was perceived as a protector and friend of women and young children.
© J Hill 2010