Weird and Wonderful Things

Here you'll find some information about various objects and things which I've come across which have some kind of Weird Shit significance – either they're associated with Weird Shit experiences, or they're just bizarre enough that anyone interested in Weird Shit should think about giving them a look.

Statues of Sekhmet

The British Museum contains a splendid collection of weird and wonderful things which easily justify a day or two of exploring its vast halls. However, the Egyptian room is the place to go to if you’re seeking the best Weird Shit related items. Amongst all the things found there my favourites are the Sekhmet Statues.

The Sekhmet statues are formed from black granite. She is shown with the head of a lioness and with a large circle above her head which represents the solar disc. In one hand she holds an Ankh, symbolising life, and in this case her divinity. In her other hand she is often shown holding arrows to emphasise her warlike aspect, but in several of these statues she holds a lotus. The particular statues you see in the British Museum were created by Amenhotep III, who apparently made over three hundred of these statues as a devotional act to gain the aid of Sekhmet in an upcoming war.

Sekhmet is one of the more entertaining Egyptian gods. Like all legends there are many versions, but the basic story goes that Ra, king of the gods, became pissed off with mankind because man was forgetting to worship him, and he was not getting what he felt was his due credit as god, and general provider. So Ra decided to teach mankind a lesson, and in traditional style for ancient civilisations, the lesson was not to be a subtle one. He created Sekhmet, the lion headed goddess of war and destruction, and she was set as a blight on mankind.

By all accounts Sekhmet got stuck into her task with relish, slaying, killing, and generally being a right terror to humanity. Fortunately humanity woke up to what was going on, realised it was on to a loosing proposition, and repented as quickly as possible, begging forgiveness from Ra.

Ra took pity on humanity, and called off Sekhmet. Which was were the problems started. Sadly for humanity, Sekhmet had developed a bit of a taste for her work, and wouldn’t stop with the slaying.

So Ra had to come up with a cunning plan – he brewed a large portion of beer, dyed it red with ochre, and poured it around where Sekhmet lay sleeping after a hard day of death and destruction. Upon waking, Sekhmet mistook the beer for blood, lapped it up, and fell into a drunken stupor. At this point Ra was able to pick her up and take her to his heaven where he was able to explain slowly and carefully that, really, her job was done, and perhaps Sekhmet would consider a new career? One with less pointless slaughtering and mayhem, perhaps?

Some stories say that Sekhmet chose to be transformed into Hathor, goddess of love, as a result ‘humanity gained a new joy, and a new source of pain.’

So that’s who Sekhmet is, but what about her statues? You can find eight of them in the Egyptian room, four together in a rather impressive group. Amongst all of the statues, stone work and impressive artefacts in the British museum, these have the greatest buzz about them. They feel different somehow, they… well, at times they seem alarmingly alive.

The Egyptians had a tradition that a sacred statue would have a Ka placed inside it – some kind of astral form of the god it represented – so that being with the statue was being with the god itself. Almost as if the statue became a terminal on the god’s network. Whatever they did, some of the Egyptian statues one encounters have an atmosphere associated with them much more powerful than one might expect.

All I can really say, however, is go and look at these statues, spend some time with them, and see how being with them effects you. Many people may think ‘oh, pretty interesting statues’ (it’s hard not to be impressed given they are, after all, over three thousand years old), but for others the effect is much more powerful – stand in front of the statues, look carefully at them, and allow your mind to wander. I’ve known a number of people who have had their mind suddenly become filled with all sorts of unexpected ideas and images. Be a little careful, though, I’ve also known a couple of people to almost faint after feeling rather over-whelmed.

Incidentally, I’ve heard rumours, and if you can confirm them I’d be interested to hear, that a large number of these statues were packed up and put on ships back to the UK when Britain was going through it’s “What an interesting historical artefact – let’s nick it” phase. However, it’s said that they were just used as ballast on the ships, and many of them ended up being dumped over-board when they were no longer needed. Sticking a sun goddess in the sea doesn’t seem like such a smart move to me.

Know something more about this subject? Know of something else you think I should have a look at? Please contact me, I'm always interested to hear more.