When I decided to visit my friends The Poet and The Activist in Las Vegas, NV, they offered a list of places I might like to visit. The most intriguing place on the list was the Goddess Temple, more accurately known as The Temple of Goddess Spirituality.
The Temple of Goddess Spirituality is dedicated to Sekhmet and is located about 45 miles north of Las Vegas.
I didn’t know much about Sekhmet before I visited the temple. According to the temple’s website (http://www.sekhmettemple.com/temple-of-goddess-spirituality/goddess-temple-herstory/84-2/),
Sekhmet…is a very ancient goddess; with her lion’s head and woman’s body, she is the opposite of the Sphinx who has a man’s head and a lion’s body. Sekhmet is the goddess of four thousand names, of which only a few hundred are known to normal humans.
One story about her is that she was outraged at the evil of men and wanted to destroy them but was tricked into submission by drinking a gift of beer which had been colored to look like blood.
Sekhmet is “Mother Fury” and the goddess of fertility. She is the great Being in us all, the liberated planetary human animal who will not allow the destruction of a Mother Earth.
There is an essay on the temple’s website written by Genevieve Vaughn, the woman who provided the land on which the temple is built. In addition to providing the land, Vaughn financed the construction of actual temple as well.
The temple was built in 1993. Several months of construction were necessary to lay the foundation in the shifting sand, to arrange the straw bales and cover them with stucco. I tried to employ women whenever possible. Architect Molly Neiman took my Taj Mahal idea and designed a small and environmentally appropriate structure with simple lines. Yole Reyes, Pamela Overeynder and Jody Dodd managed the site, while a group (called CHAOS) of young peace activists, mostly women, did the actual construction. Later a dome made of seven interlocking copper hoops was made by Richard Cottrell,
and four turrets were constructed by ceramist Sharon Dryflower. The temple houses a statue of Sekhmet made by Marsha Gomez, and facing her is the Madre del Mundo…
Smaller statues of goddesses of many cultures adorn the walls.
The temple is small and open to the weather, with four large arches opening on the four directions, yet inside there is a sense of spaciousness and protection. Gifts of fresh flowers, feathers, crystals, incense, poems and pictures of loved ones from the visitors, pilgrims and activists are placed at the feet of the goddesses.
My friends and I left Las Vegas before daybreak on the Friday morning we’d set aside to visit the Goddess Temple. We drove north through the dark. I’d expected the morning to be hot once the sun rose, but there were clouds in the sky at dawn. When we got out of the car in the temple’s parking area, the air was surprisingly chilly. I’d brought a long sleeve shirt to protect me from the sun, but I ended up using it to protect me from the cool morning air.
One of the cats that lives on the grounds of the temple met us as we approached the area where the guest house and the priestess’ house are. (Yes, the temple has a live-in priestess. Unfortunately she was away at a conference on religion when we visited, so I didn’t get to meet her over a cup of tea.) The cat was black and white and fluffy and accompanied us all the way to the actual temple. Although my friends had never seen the cat that far out on the grounds, it entered the temple with us and stayed in the area until we left, leading us back through a light, cold rain to where the car was parked. I felt we were very well protected.
We were the only folks on the grounds and the only folks visiting the temple that morning. Our visit was very peaceful.
My friends did some chanting/singing from The Poet’s spiritual tradition while I wandered around looking at every little thing in the temple and taking photos.
(Speaking of chanting, in her essay on the history of the temple, Genevieve Vaughn says, “We can be strengthened by chanting her [Sekhmet’s] mantra: “Sa Sekhem Sahu.”)
I absolutely enjoyed my visit to the Goddess Temple, and would love to visit again, especially if there were some event happening and other people to meet and talk with.
(I took all photos in this post.)