The White Moon Gallery Presents
Selket: Goddess of Magic and the Underworld
created by Heathwitch

 

Selket
"Selket", courtesy of
http://www.selket.de/selket.htm

Lady of the Beautiful House
I stand in the Beautiful Tent
and work My magic there
My scorpions at My heels

Beware ye, the unjust
for death shadows you
and may come swiftly
with My stinging touch
or it may be slow
with a lingering venom
under the noonday sun

But ye who are just
fear not your death:
My breath brings life anew
should it be so deserved,
and your Afterlife is bright

To all, mortals and gods alike, I say:
My protection lasts through life,
into death and beyond.
Know My creatures,
know My hand,
feel Me throughout
the desert's sand

 

Selket: The Scorpion-Headed Lady
Selket (Selkis, Selkit, Selqet, Serket, Serket) is the ancient Egyptian Goddess of magic[1], whose symbol is the scorpion. She is usually depicted as a tall woman with a scorpion on her head but has also been known to be two-headed: a lioness with a crocodile projecting from the back[2].

Selket's cult centre is thought to be in the western delta, but She was worshipped all over ancient Egypt[3] because of Her protective qualities. She rules over all poisonous creatures, especially scorpions, spiders and snakes, and embodies both the venom and the antidote. As such, She also protects the other Egyptian Gods from the snake-demon Apep[4] and also helped Isis protect her son, Horus, from scorpions[5], as well as offering this protection to the peoples of Egypt, especially pregnant women and children.

 

All Hail Selket, Lady of the Beautiful Tent
As Selket held the secrets of poisonous venoms and their antidotes, most of Selket's devotees were healers and magicians -- in ancient Egypt, medicine combined folklore, science and magic. Her priests were trained to heal venonous bites and could be found throughout the land.

In addition to Her healing role, Selket is known as the "Lady of the Beautiful Tent" or "Lady of the Beautiful House", which is a reference to Her as protector of the embalmer's tent[6]. Her protective qualities did not only cover life but also death and the afterlife as well, and She was revered for giving both the kiss of death and the breath of rebirth[7].

Selket's magic came from knowing the land and its creatures, and understanding the roles of life, death and rebirth. "In the pain of the scorpion's sting is the pleasure of another life."[8]

 

Follow the Scorpion: A Meditation with Selket

Before you begin, make sure your phone is switched off and you are somewhere where you will not be disturbed -- a dark room is best. If you wish to light candles, you may do so, and if you want to burn an incense choose something musky like frankincense or Egyptian Kyphi.

Make yourself comfortable by sitting in a straight-backed chair or lying on the floor. If you need to use a cushion to support your head, neck, small of the back or knees, that's okay.

When you're ready, close your eyes and take a deep breath in. Hold it for four, release for four, pause. Breathe in for four, hold it for four, release for four. Repeat twice more, then continue breathing at a rate that is comfortable for you.

Picture yourself in the middle of a desert, with sand all around you. The noonday sun beats down on you from above and you can feel its heat on your skin. You look around yourself and see a trail of small indentations nearby; it continues in a westerly direction.

You begin to follow the trail across the desert sand, up and down the large, shifting dunes.

Selket (from the Egytian Museum)
A statue of Selket from the
Treasures of Tutankhamun Gallery

(c) Egyptian Museum in Cairo

 

After a while you find that the trail peters out into nothingness and you stand in the middle of the desert, which looks exactly the same as the place where you began. You begin to feel dispirited and thirsty, and you sit down for a rest. You place your hands either side of you, on the sand itself, and feel the scorching touch of the grains as you do so. You slide your fingers into the sand until you cannot see them.

Suddenly, there is a sharp sting to one of your hands and you pull your hands from the sand in shock. There is a deep red wound on the back of one hand, and you can see a scorpion walking away from you. You start to feel dizzy and close your eyes.

When you open them again, you find yourself lying on a cool stone floor inside a dimly-lit temple. The scorpion is beside you, seemingly dead. You reach over and touch it gently, only to find it crumbles into sand. You stand, uncertain. A husky laugh echoes from behind you and you turn your head.

A tall woman walks towards you, and you see another scorpion twining in and out of Her hair, which She wears loose. Snakes curl around Her wrists and ankles. She calls you by your name and you instinctively incline your head towards Her. This is the Goddess Selket.

She reached out a hand and touches the place where you were stung in the desert. There is a rushing coolness inside your veins and the wound disappears. "Welcome to My temple," She tells you. "What do you seek? What must die within you in order for you to be reborn?"

You pause, thinking, and then answer Her question. Depending on the answer you give, Selket may offer you some advice, or ask you further questions. Her words can be as swift and accurate as a snake's killing blow and She sees to the centre of your fears and problems. Spend some time with Selket and listen to what She has to say.

When She judges that you have heard enough, Selket takes your hands again and hugs you gently. Thank Her for your time, and, if you feel it is appropriate, ask Her what you can give Her as an offering when you return to the mortal world. Remember Her reply.

As She releases you from Her embrace Selket breathes gently into your face. The breath stings your face and you close your eyes. You feel yourself tumble backwards into darkness, calm and safe. Inhale deeply and let the breath out, becoming more aware of your surroundings as you do so. Repeat twice more, then open your eyes and return to your room. Welcome back!

Make a note of your journey, and Selket's words, in your Book of Shadows or magical journal. [9]

 

Selket References
[1] Ann, Martha, and Dorothy Myers Imel. Goddesses in World Mythology: A Biographical Dictionary. Oxford University Press : New York (1995).
[2] Lesko, Barbara S. The Great Goddesses of Egypt. University of Oklahoma Press : Norman (1999).
[3] Ibid.
[4] Tour Egypt: Serqet, Goddess of Scorpions and Venomous Creatures, Magical Protection and the Afterlife. http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/serqet.htm
[5] Ibid.
[6] Ancient Egypt: The Mythology - Selket. http://www.egyptianmyths.net/selket.htm
[7] As [4].
[8] Personal Meditations and Rituals with Selket.
[9] Ibid.