BY OPEYEMI PARHAM, M.D.
I was introduced to Sekhmet over 13 years ago. I was doing a deep meditation at a pagan gathering in Western Mass, when a vision of a lion headed woman appeared before me. She said, “You must be a mama lion to your children now.” I was recently divorced, and trying to figure out how to go to battle against my increasingly emotionally abusive ex-husband. I went to my friends at this gathering, and they said, “Oh, that was SEKHMET.”
So, that’s how I met The Lady Cat.
The mask that I am sending was originally formed as a full face mask from a plaster mold of my face. I made it in ritual space with my coven, about 7 years ago. The mask was originally used for ritual work around moving from being a conventional medical doctor into my more witchy self. I used it in a ritual at a Guiser’s ball, going from straight doctor attire through about 4 costume changes into increasingly alternative space, and masking myself with the final change. The mask was shades of brown, copper, and pinks, fringed with my own dredlocks which I had cut off. I wore flowing robes in the same colors.
3 years ago, the mask asked to be renovated. I was taking a workshop in ritual mask-making, and the Sekhmet mask called, “Hey, start with me as a base, and transform me.”
The golden mask before you is the result.
This is my mask of many choices. It was cut down to half face mask from the original. It was layered with rice paper, shredded, from lists of all of the various choices that I have made, was making 5 years ago, and hoped to make. I substituted the arrows for the dredlock hair, creating the sunbeam effect of the many choices flying out in all directions. I have danced with that mask of choices for 3 years. Sometimes, I was able to wear it, and walk my path in balance. Other times, I have been overwhelmed, and unable to dance in the mask.
On March 26, 2005, I took the mask with me, into a hotel room that I rented, and made a very deliberate suicide attempt. I am miraculously and mysteriously still alive, and thank Sekhmet, the archangel Raphael, and Obatala (African Creator God, who brings forth FOCUS) for their protection of me.
I had asked, at this very temple for Sekhmet, back in February 2005, that I be allowed “to get out of my own way, and flow into Right Livelihood.” Now, 3 months later, I am on the brink of beginning a holistic consultation practice, I am using my growing skills as a medical intuitive, and I am supplementing my income helping women and men with “relationship enhancement.”
The mask disappeared from that hotel room (I was found by the police, and I didn’t know what happened to the mask), and didn’t re-appear until after I had completed a month inside the psychiatric system, managing my “intense spiritual emergence” WITHOUT psych drugs, but inside the conventional system…
The masked asked to Go Home, to Nevada. I hope you appreciate the magic and intensity of my story. Sekhmet is a powerful Goddess. I honor her, in her name as “She Who’s Opportunities Escapeth her Not”.
Opeyemi Parham, M.D.
(the name means I am eternally grateful, in Yoruba)
UPDATE: Opeyemi Parham has moved from a 20+ year career as a family physician to a new career as a ceremonialist and healing artist. Her mission is to empower people through ceremony and health education.