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Most of us are aware of the concept of vampires as introduced to us through the silver screen. The typical vampire is characterized as a blood sucking night creature with sharp fangs. However this is not a new age concept in reality because vampires have their ancient origins in Egyptian mythology.
The Egyptians were known to be polytheists and one of the gods, rather goddesses that they used to worship had a character quite similar to the modern-day vampire. Sekhmet was the name of the goddess that was known to drink blood. Historical records have shown that Sekhmet was considered to be a warrior goddess in Upper Egypt. The Egyptians would depict her as a lioness that had a reputation of being Egypt\’s most fearless hunter.
The Egyptians also believed that the desert had come into being because of her breath. She was considered to be a protector during times of war by the pharaohs and was also regarded as being the deliverer of guidance.
The same goddess was also known to be a soldier deity. She can actually be seen wearing a solar disk in many of her depictions. Consequently she was associated with attributes like justice and had the responsibility to keep order. Almost all her visual depictions show her dressed in the color red which symbolizes her connection with blood. The eye of Horus, Bast and Hathor were also other prominent deities that were associated with the blood drinking goddess.
Various other powers were attributed to this goddess. These included the ability to bring disease as well as its cure. In fact mention of Sekhmet can also be found in historical records made by ancient physicians. Priests of the time also associated the goddess with doctors.
In 2006, Betsy Bryan, an archaeologist with Johns Hopkins University excavating at the temple of Mut presented her findings about the festival that included illustrations of the priestesses being served to excess and its adverse effects being ministered to by temple attendants. Participation in the festival was great, including the priestesses and the population. Historical records of tens of thousands attending the festival exist.
Sekhmet was represented by the searing heat of the mid-day sun (in this aspect she was sometimes called "Nesert", the flame) and was a terrifying goddess. However, for her friends she could avert plague and cure disease. She was the patron of Physicians, and Healers and her priests became known as skilled doctors. As a result, the fearsome deity sometimes called the "lady of terror" was also known as "lady of life". Sekhmet was mentioned a number of times in the spells of The Book of the Dead as both a creative and destructive force, but above all, she is the protector of Ma'at (balance or justice) named "The One Who Loves Ma'at and Who Detests Evil".
India does indeed play a large part in vampire history. Some scholars believe that vampire mythology actually began in India and spread throughout Eastern Europe to Greece and back along the spice and silk trails. It's hard to know if this is true or not, but what we know for sure is that as European, Indian, and other Asian cultures began to interact more, their stories got shared between the cultures and began to influence one another.