Tuesday, January 19

Part 2: The Secret of the Sacred Bitch


So, why do I scare you so much? I do wonder!

Is it the divinity in me? Something that I cannot help being.

Was there no other possible way of getting even other than dragging me in the mud, dumping me into the whirlpools of shame, cutting off my throat, burning me, and scattering my remains in hell? Can't you see, you fool, that you're becoming my slave once more? You sure are, for you're dedicating your life to demonizing me, you idiot! And it's not doing you any good. It's not doing anybody any good. Look around you, the whole life lies in ruins.. wounded beyond healing. Just because of the stupidity of a bunch of psychotic idiots who started this machinery in motion.. your glorious grandfathers! Yeah, smile, sucker! You've inherited every bit of their chauvinism, bigotry and greed.

Smile idiot!


At the age of 9, I went on a field trip with my class to the Pharaonic Village in Giza. It is a living museum, a miniature of how life used to be like in Ancient Egypt. What a charming trip it was! We sailed down canals which go through the whole village, passing by replicas of tombs, temples, houses.. watching actors planting, making paper out of papyrus; women weaving and making perfumes. It all left me mesmerized. And that same year I would ask Santa to bring me a time machine! Imagine a kid experiencing this type of nostalgia. Life sucked back then, but definitely it wasn't anything like how it sucks right now.

*Sighs* OK, so we were on this boat, with a nice guide from the Village who told us all the stories behind what we were seeing. We stopped by many monuments of Pharaohs, gods and goddesses. Of all of them, I somehow got very attracted to the statue of the warrior goddess Sekhmet.

Back then I was still being introduced to the world of mythology. I had not known about the existence of similar goddesses in other cultures and found it so interesting that Pharaohs fought battles behind this female goddess. Why did the men choose a female to lead them in warship? It seemed a mystery to me. Why a lioness, not a lion? Certainly a lioness never comes to mind when words like bravery, heroism, fight, battle, glory or the likes are mentioned.. so I could not really understand it. I thought like Pharaohs too must have had their eccentricities.. lol.

So, we continued our trip, took photos and all. Then we went to the gift shop to collect some souvenirs . Mind you, at that time the Village was only a fraction of what it has become today. It has immensely expanded ever since. Yet, for us, what we'd seen was too much already. We'd never seen history come to life in such a way.

My friends started picking their favorite items. I had little money with me, and thought I'd better spend it wisely. It is no surprise that the only thing I thought to be worthy of purchase was the object which had inflamed my curiosity.. I bought a postcard with the image of Sekhmet.

On the bus, while on our way back to the school, I kept staring at her, almost talking to her and begging her to explain it to me. “So what is your story lady?” How have you managed to become the bravest of the brave; the invincible bloodthirsty warrior that you are?


It is amazing how my feelings towards this lady remained unchangeable when many years later I saw her dignified statues in the British Museum. I actually spent a lot of time by her side there, telling her memories of the good old days. I apparently still admire her, although I am a person who utterly denounces all sorts of violence. To me, though, she stood for much better things.

Sekhmet means 'all powerful' or 'the one who is powerful'. This goddess also received many other titles when her religion flourished, all of them depicting how mighty she was. She's been called the Mistress of Dread, the Lady of Slaughter, Lady of Flames, Scarlet Lady (related to blood), the One Before Whom Evil Trembled, and The Avenger of the Wronged. She was also thought to be the reason behind diseases, and thus the only one who has their cures. So, her powers and knowledge were sought after by physicians too.. not only warriors. And as she brought war, she also brought peace.

Now, you see how she gathered polar elements of cruelty and mercy, disease and healing, conflict and reconciliation... etc. Her rage was enough to evoke ultimate destruction. She had to be calmed down, and the only way to soothe her was through music! Music would keep her happy and relaxed.

I absolutely fell in love with this lady.. the lioness with a taste for music; the one who healed the sick and wounded coz she felt responsible for them. Other warrior goddesses wouldn't give a damn about the sufferings of those affected by their wrath. Maybe they deserved to be viewed as bitches in a way.. but certainly not the lioness! It seemed so fitting, though, that men would work around their fear of her by dragging her image into the lowest abyss of shame. Yeah, the same old scenario! Won't you try for once being more creative, dudes?? Just for change?

The 'Labua' Complex

OK.. For those of you who don't know, in Arabic, the worst name to be given to a female is that of 'lioness'.. that is, if a woman is said to be a 'labua' (which is the Arabic word for 'lioness',) it means she is the most disdained being to walk the face of earth.

When I first learned about the horrible implications of this “insult” I found it hard to understand what the metaphor was all about. The common explanation you'd receive was that a lioness sleeps around.. she ain't faithful to one sexual partner! This is just so stupid, isn't it?.. For one, what is the difference between a lioness and any other female – or male – animal in this respect?? Hello!! Anybody seen a giraffe who spends her life with one sex partner?? or even a fish??? WTF is this about?

Ancient Egyptians actually made sense when they chose to fight under the image of the lioness. People used some logic back then, and could clearly see that the lioness was in fact the best hunter in the animal kingdom. So, while Mr. lazy lion lies there sleeping most of his days, she was the one doing everything, including teaching her cubs how to hunt. A lion actually wins his fights by the mere shape and size of his mane!! (How adequate!) But rarely engages in a real fight, or displays actual courage. He depends on his intimidating appearance and counts on the females of the tribe to feed him. Plus, he's not any different from his selfish human counterparts, for whenever he finds an easy prey that does not require much effort, and thus decides to hunt once in a while, he never shares his meal!!

That's exactly why today the lion became the icon of bravery and heroism! You see? Don't you just love our patriarchal societies? I mean, the guys hardly make any effort in identifying with the exact fitting types!.. Not forgetting, of course, to demonize their former goddesses who scared the sh*t out of them.

Macho Macho!

To be continued.. Justify Full


raaasa said...

Nice post. I need to look into Sekhmet a bit more deeply.

Thanks, Fanta.

So good to see you revving up.

Sharm said...

Egyptian thought that lions give them the power more than any thing else ..

Pink Unicorn said...

Dear Fantasia,

Welcome back :)
truly missed reading your posts.

those two posts are just .. Painfully accurate.

there's so much I wanna say in comment but I'll hold that till you finish the posts set, So I can read it as a whole and likewise discuss it.

Really glad you're back :)

Raouf said...

No wonder the Ancient Egyptians chose the lioness, she is the real huntress and the one who brings the meat home.
As for the labwa thing, consider that the lioness does not sleep around but it is the male lion who is given the privilege of mating while he can maintain his position. When he looses it, the lionesses do not disperse but stay together, they ARE the family, the pride. When the new lion comes in he starts by killing all the cubs from the previous lion (nice guy!).

Men are not afraid of women's open power but from the hidden one which is women's intuition. What comes easy and natural for women may be very difficult for a man and it all seems so mysterious to us men.
I was never afraid of women's intuitions but found them always fascinating. I have to say that not all women know how to harness this wisdom but when you come across one who does then it is a sight to behold.

Let me quote from a book called "Women who run with the wolves" by Clarissa Pinkola Estes:

Within every woman there is a wild and natural creature, a powerful force, filled with good instincts, passionate creativity, and ageless knowing. Her name is Wild Woman, but she is an endangered species. Though the gifts of the wildish nature come to us at birth, society's attempt to "civilize" us into rigid roles has plundered this treasure, and muffled the deep, life-giving messages of our own souls. Without Wild Woman, we become over-domesticated, fearful, uncreative, trapped.

And another quote from the same book
A healthy woman is much like a wolf: robust, chock-full, strong life force, life-giving, territorially aware, inventive, loyal, roving. Yet separation from the wildish nature causes a woman's personality to become meager, thin, ghosty, spectral. We are not meant to be puny with frail hair and inability to leap up, inability to give chase, to birth, to create a life. When women's lives are in stasis, ennui, it is always time for the wildish woman to emerge; it is time for the creating function of the psyche to flood the delta...It means to establish territory, to find one's pack, to be in one's body with certainty and pride regardless of the body's gifts and limitations, to speak and act in one's behalf, to be aware, alert, to draw on the innate feminine powers of intuition and sensing, to come into one's cycles, to find what one belongs to, to rise with dignity, to retain as much consciousness as we can.

Welcome to the club of fierce wild women, Fantasia.
You have the fire in you and it shows.
Let it burn true and bright.

haneen said...

Hello to the world of writing again my dear friend Fanta ... I can not express how happy I am when I found you going back again with this interesting subject ... We really needy for a real bond and an advocate for women like you fanta we need you to enlighten us and I have not denied that you are my idol and my teacher in this life indeed ., please come back to life again and don't deprive us of your writing .. welcome back again ...

Dr. Eyad Harfoush said...

Remarkable dear Fantasia, such a well built post. But why ur posts became less frequent dear? Regards

Shimaa Gamal said...

Where r u hiding??

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"When I dare to be powerful - to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid" - Audre Lorde