I contact a man I had seen on a television programme who called himself “King of Witches”. During our two telephone conversations he informed me his coven had six hundred members and the conversation revolved around himself and his achievements while avoiding my questions. I did not contact him again and later discovered this person did not have a favourable reputation within the Pagan world.
My husband and I were unable to visit Cornwall each year as our financial situation prevented us doing so. During a visit to a local marketplace I met a woman who sold crystals. She advised me to keep a small citrine crystal in my purse, as it would help financially.
We planned to visit Cornwall in August 1999 to view the total solar eclipse. It was the only area of the U.K where the total effect could be seen and was an experience too rare to miss! The Cornish Pagans on the internet e-lists were concerned that this event would attract thousands of tourists who may wish to view the eclipse from sacred sites to enhance their experience. This could result in damage of the land, so they were working magically to build energy and protect the sites by awakening the Spriggans. (Elemental site guardians). I worked with them on this from December 1998 creating a personal chant for energy raising. I thought it a privilege to work towards the protection of the Cornish landscape and its community.
I had subscribed to the Pagan Dawn magazine and considered working within a magical group. I had experienced the powerful energy raised when working alone and was curious about the amount of energy a group could raise. I noticed an advertisement for new members to join an Egyptian group entitled ‘The Temple of Set’. They met ten miles away from my place of residence, so I contacted the priestess and arranged to visit her. She resided in a large bungalow and my husband was impressed by its tidiness and cleanliness as he assumed Pagan homes were generally unclean and untidy.
The priestess was an intriguing woman, small and thin with wild frizzy ginger hair. Her Egyptian statues fascinated me and I noticed a golden asp that stood by the entrance to her home as I entered. The priestess believed she was an Egyptian servant girl in a previous life who was murdered by a stab in the back. I told her about my life and when she heard my birth sign was Leo, she introduced me to Sekhmet.
She gestured towards a small but beautiful statue of her placed in a prominent position upon the shelf. Sekhmet was a Sun Goddess, a golden statue with the head of a lioness. It was difficult to take my gaze from her in order to give full attention to the conversation. The Egyptian Priestess had five members in her group and she warned us that the magic invoked strong energies that were in total contrast to the energies of Wicca. As we continued the conversation, the priestess sat upon the floor, but then felt the need to move as she felt energy passing between Sekhmet and I. The Priestess invited us to join her group and we accepted.
A few days later I returned to the large marketplace. I passed a stall selling vintage clothing and noticed a box on the floor containing fabric. A long slim object protruded out of the box, so I approached it and pulled out the object.
I was delighted to discover a wooden statue of Sekhmet approximately eighteen inches tall. I purchased her for only four pounds and it surprised me that she was the only Egyptian artefact on the stall. On my next visit to the Egyptian priestess I presented her with my statue and explained where I found her. She examined it and then placed it on a table. The priestess observed Sekhmet during our conversation and then decided something was needed to calm her as she experienced trauma through misuse. The statue’s energies were apparently rocking the room and giving the priestess a headache. She covered it with various incenses and anointing oils. The priestess held a hooked wand towards it and after a minute or so, explained that a ritual to ‘open the mouth’ had been performed at Sekhmet’s request. From that moment she would need regular food offerings. The statue was in need of a ‘make-over’ and I was advised to visit the British Museum and study the statues of Sekhmet for ideas.
My visit to the British Museum was a fabulous experience! As a child I did not appreciate the history during Museum visits, but this time I felt the incredible energies that emanated from them.
After visiting the Museum I painted my statue black. I adore her and she has been a protective energy throughout my journey.
One particular ritual performed with the Temple of Set stands out in my memory. The lounge in the Priestess’ residence was at the end of a long corridor. It resembled the long thin entrance that led to an Egyptian tomb. The group members processed along the corridor towards the lounge. I carried a bowl of burning charcoal incense and another member walked beside me carrying a candle. When the circle was cast a red beam of light had to be visualised instead of the blue light used within Wiccan magic. The energy was significantly different within the sacred space and when the elementals were invoked, they were visualized as four ‘spitting snakes’. The Priestess warned us that we may feel their tongues lash at our legs and feet.
My husband was given a written invocation to read for the Egyptian God Set. As he began, the door at the entrance of the house shook wildly. It startled us, but the Priestess instructed him to continue and the door shook during the invocation but ceased soon after. The Priestess thought it may have been a spirit from an unexpected death that was confused or afraid. Some would think her an eccentric due to her opinions but I found her unusual personality fascinating.
During this time I was studying Aromatherapy and Reflexology. It surprised me to discover that Reflexology was thought to have Egyptian connections, as images were discovered of Egyptians holding one another’s feet as if to massage them.
The Egyptian Priestess received training with ‘The Fellowship of Isis’. I considered purchasing books about Egyptian ritual but she advised me not to read them as their way of working would differ and would not help.
I was excited about our forthcoming vacation at the beginning of August to view the solar eclipse in Cornwall. It would be an ideal opportunity to network with local Pagans before our eventual move. I had completed the N.V.Q levels 1,2, and 3 in Beauty Therapy, which allowed free time to plan.
During one of my first meditations, I saw a small woman with short spiked grey hair wearing a purple robe. The word ‘Zana’ (that’s how I assumed it was spelt) also came to mind. The name was somehow connected to this woman but I was unsure about the meaning. I sensed she may have been a spirit guide and wrote the details of the meditation in my magical diary. The true meaning was not revealed until years later.