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Shrine photos!

Alright, so nearly a week later, here are some photos!

Khepera altar

If you didn’t already know, my shrine cabinet is basically a bookcase.  Each level is a separate altar, and then the lower two shelves are what I use to hold my offering supplies and other stuff I use for prayers/worship.  Things like my jar of natron, and my Senut preparation pages, and of course oodles of candles and oils, as well as the typical offering foods I like to keep in stock (dried figs and all natural fruit/sesame bars at the moment).

This shelf here is the altar for my Father, Khepera.  Pictured is the votive that I’ve posted about before, made by Nicolas, the Khepera limestone statue that was purchased on eBay, a scarab bowl that I use for water offerings, the painting by Meket, handcarved scarabs that I’ve had since I was pretty young, my tealights and lotus candle (that I never burn), a mini votive made by MiMafdet, a labyrinth pendant given to me by my sister in law, and a metal scarab pendant that Meket picked out for me.

This is my Beloved altar.  It contains my two votives, both made by Nicolas as well.  I don’t believe I’ve shared a finished photo of my Djehuty altar, or even progress photos!  But as you can see, He is an ibis sitting on top of an open book, with the moon!  The moon is a really love moonstone that I picked out from a bunch of other choices.  I think He came out wonderfully.  In the background you can see some paintings – I had them made by Itenumuti, or Emky, as most people probably are more familiar with.  There are also offering bowls that Meket gifted me, and of course, tealights.

Beloved Altar

Across the top of the shrine cabinet you can see my Aset statue, flanked by bronze Bast statues.  ^.^

Netjer Altar

This is my “general” Netjer altar space.  I make most food offerings here because of the space, and it’s where I put items from heka events with the House, and is of course just my general space to make prayer to Netjer as a whole.  The back is covered with a Nut printing that I received from Meket last year (perfect, since this year ended up belonging to Her!).  It’s fairly bare otherwise, aside from my pyramids, Bast statues and offering bowls.  The brown bowl you’ve seen before, it was a gift from my mom, and I just use a generic clear glass container for water offerings.  The bowl currently contains dried figs as an offering! You can also see a little mini Hethert – a Moomas gift from MiMafdet.

The brown pitcher is a newer item – I had to replace the handblown glass one that I had originally when I broke it on accident.  This one is much sturdier!

I sometimes put flowers here for special events, like the anniversary of my vows and Naming, or sometimes just because I feel like it.  I’m hoping to add more statuary in the future as I get closer to various Names.

Books and supplies!

And here are my supply shelves.  You can see some burnt matches on the small plate there!  As I already stated – natron jar, oils, candles.. and apparently my bag of dice, which I have not figured Who wants those, but I feel like they belong somewhere in my shrine.  The lower shelf has my foods, and also my meager supply of Kemetic related books! There is also a bast down there that doesn’t fit anywhere else, but She seems to like keeping watch!

And for good measure, here’s a final up close shot of my newest addition, Djehuty!

Dua Djehuty!

 

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Monthly Goals and Other Things.

It’s been quite some time since I’ve poked my nose out around here.  I feel a bit ashamed of course, giving up so quickly (once again!) on the PBP, and in general not blogging like I’ve always intended to.  To be fair, a lot of things have happened between now and the last time I’ve posted, though in the end, I’ve just generally been lazy.

That’s not to say that I’ve stopped my Kemetic practices!  I speak to Netjer pretty much every day, I pray, and I generally make offerings of water, flame, and incense (candles in my case) every day as well.  I suppose what really happened here is that because so much of my practice is so routine, I didn’t feel it was necessary to really blog about any of it.

Then again, a blog is about more than reporting what you’re up to, yes?

So, for the month of May, I am dedicating myself to some more goals.  I have already posted about them on the HoN forums, but I will make mention of them here (perhaps a double posting will keep me honest!)  This month I will endeavor to make more use of my blog, I will make an effort to learn about and get close to a Name that is outside of my Family, I will perform Senut at minimum three times a week, and I will remember to make weekly offerings to my Akhu and write a few letters to them.

From my previous list of goals I still need to assemble an Akhu photobook (I have the book, but not copies of the appropriate photos), work on a personal prayerbook (once again I have the book, but haven’t done anything with it), work on completing my Akhu shrine, and spending more time learning about my Family so that I can update Their pages accordingly.

I have a lot to do.  Heh. And I’ve decided to pick up on some other projects as well…

I recently read about a project being done by a fellow Kemetic – you may know her as Emky, though she was also recently named Itenumuti.  She has spent over a year consistently recording prayers in a notebook for our community – a sort of original heka prayer process.  I think it’s an amazing idea, and am wanting to adopt the practice.  I have also signed up to join in on the Kemetic Round Table!  With any luck I shall also resume my PBP activities, though I will likely spend some time with the current letters instead of trying to catch up.  ^.^  I have some photos of my shrine space to share, and I will attempt to get those up before the end of the week once I have them uploaded and resized.  Looking forward to putting more energy back into this place.

Recap.

Over a month ago, I made myself a list of goals.  I meant to come back and see which ones I’d achieved in about four weeks time, but February has kind of come and gone and most of my time was spent with family and friends, and I never really got back here.  So I figure it’s time to take a look at that list of goals and see where I am now that a new month is upon me.

  • Secure the necessary photos for the Akhu photo book I got for myself and create a drawing for the cover space.
  • Find an appropriate plant/flower(s) for my Akhu shrine, and work on completing the altar.
  • Double and triple remind myself of the 6 day Akhu ritual event in February.  I’ve been meaning to attend for months, and always manage to forget.  I even have the white candle necessary, and have had it for at least six months.
  • Light candles and spend a few minutes in shrine to give thanks to Netjer and my Family before settling in for the night.
  • Create a personal prayerbook for original prayers.  Write some original prayers! Also create a morning ritual for my Dad, and at least spend a few minutes at His altar when I wake up until I can come up with one.
  • Stop being a shy feeb and attend one of the Saturday night fellowship chats on stickham.
  • Commission artwork for my Beloveds, Djehuty and Serqet, that will be used as a backdrop on Their altar.
  •  Attend at least one of the Senut support chats that are taking place this month.
  • Spend some time reading about my Divine Family and actually work on updating Their pages on this site.
  • Make an effort to be creative in Netjer’s honor, particularly in ways that I am unfamiliar with.  I’ve been feeling a push to create for Them, but I’ve yet to discover just what it is that I’m meant to do.
  • Unearth the rest of my Kemetic books from my boxes so that I can actually work on getting through them.
  • Either find the oils I already purchased (went missing during the move >.< )  or obtain new ones for offerings.  Replenish candle supplies.

Most of my list was pretty easy!  I’m actually still having trouble finding appropriate Akhu photos though – a lot of them have pictures of other people in them, and some I can’t find copies of at all.  It’s pretty frustrating, all in all, considering the sheer amount of photos we have in this house.

Attending the stickham chat was pretty easy, though at this point I’ve still only attended the one.  Saturday nights are usually one of my first nights of the week to relax, and I generally like to laze about and do nothing.  Socializing is actually something I consider kind of.. taxing.  Heh.

I have actually purchased a clean notebook for a prayerbrook for original prayers, but have yet to really sit down and try to write some.  I have been writing creatively a lot, and I consider it a constant offering to my Beloved, Djehuty.  It’s been incredibly fulfilling and quite the personal journey so far.  I started out kind of small, and am now considering rewriting a lot of my work and putting some new effort into a lot of old projects that I liked but never dedicated too much time to.   I’m quite excited.  It’s not necessarily what I had in mind when it came to being creative in Netjer’s honor, but it’s made me happy thusfar, and I think that’s the important part.

I’ve fallen behind with the Pagan Blog Project, but I’m trying not to stress about it so much.  I have posts in mind for my second C and first D submission, so perhaps I shall get to those before this week is out.  I do also have some photos to share, so I will try to get those up before too long.

Hope everyone out there is doing well!  Dua Netjer!

Getting it together.

My monthlies were over last week, incidentally on the same day that HoN celebrated the Victory Festival of Heru.  The time had finally come for me to commit to getting back into Senut, and surprisingly enough, I stuck to my guns and went through with it.  I say surprisingly because I’m most definitely known for making decisions that seem practical and good, and then finding some way to not follow through.  It’s one of the reasons I rarely make promises unless I’m completely sure about the specifics.

I prepared for the evening by doing some light shopping.  I had to get a few things for dinner anyhow, so I made a point to pick up some mix I found for date bread.  (Don’t look at me like that, baking from scratch is something I rarely have the time or patience to do!) After reading some of Daily Life of the Egyptian Gods I’ve made a point to buy accumulate different things for offerings, including honeyed sesame bars with dried fruit, figs bars, and dried dates.  I’ve never really had Netjer turn down any thing that I’ve ever offered, but I think it’s a nice thing to try to make offerings of things that are either similar to, or the same as things that were offered in antiquity.  I also have a nice stock of scented tea lights that I picked up from Ikea a few weeks ago when I bought my daughter her first big girl bed.

After a busy evening of making dinner for my family and getting the kids cleaned and in bed, I made my date bread and attended the Victory festival.  I always enjoy Wednesday gatherings when there’s a dua, especially ones with heka involved.  In addition to celebrating Netjer, I’m learning something, and experiencing something new.  I’m always surprised at how simple most of it is.  There’s so much power in just our words and intent.

For the first time ever, I decided to try my hand at taking a shower for the purity bathing.  In the past I’ve always taken a bath, and spent at least 15 minutes in the tub clearing my mind and relaxing.  Nowadays my alone time is severely limited, typically to late in the evening after the kids have gone to bed, and sometimes the end of the day is the only time I can get a regular shower in.  I don’t tend to like baths for cleansing purposes, so I wanted to see if I could be comfortable taking a shower and performing the purity ritual.

One thing I learned pretty quickly – use warm water when mixing the water and natron.  Cool or cold water rubbed or poured over one’s body while in a hot shower is not that great of a feeling!  Aside from that though, the process went without a hitch (though I guess what can really go wrong in this situation?  XD )

I got an inexpensive white shirt dress last month for my purity clothing, as for some reason my old Senut clothing disappeared during the move.  I wasn’t ever particularly happy with them anyways, and I had always intended on finding something better suited, so it all worked out anyways.  The garment would be a little short for performing Senut with others during Wep Ronpet, but in private I feel very comfortable.

Going back to Senut for the first time in months was very draining.  I had a lot to say, and the emotions all just kind of tumbled out.  Guilt and shame for not being in shrine for so long, among the more private personal feelings concerning things in my life that I won’t divulge here.  It was very rewarding though, and I slept decently for the first time in a long time.  Since then I’ve managed to get Senut into my evening ritual before settling in for sleep, reading and/or gaming for the night.  I’m always surprised when I realize that it really doesn’t take altogether too much time.

I’ve been spending time reading, mostly about Wicca lately, and I’m interested in reading more.  I’m not entirely sure where this is all going, but it’s catching my attention and holding it, which is more than I can say for a lot of things.  I recently received my copy of Conceptions of God in Ancient Egypt and am excited to get started on it for the February book club selection.  There isn’t nearly as much discussion on the readings so far as I would like, but at the very least, it spurs my motivation for reading the books I’m interested in.

I’ve made some good headway on my list of goals, but there are still a few that I can’t seem to be arsed to spend time with yet.  I’m not sure why, perhaps I’m just not ready, or maybe it’s something less dramatic and I’m just lazy.  (:

On one last note, I’d like to ask for prayers for the ka of Reverend Deena Butta, known at HoN as Mekhatsenyt, who passed away this week.  She was a Shemsu of my faith, as well as a priestess for the Fellowship of Isis.  I did not know her personally, but she has been involved in the lives of many that I know and care for, and her loss is felt deeply by many.

 

Goals.

It’s been a little over a month since I’ve made my return to the HoN forums and to the weekly IRC events.  I feel better spiritually, every day, and manage to find purpose beyond my video games (which are fun, but ultimately just a hobby and shouldn’t be a lifestyle) and the caretaker sort of life that I live.  It’s a wonderful, happy thing for me.

Even so, there’s so much more that I need to do, that I need to work on.

When I first resurrected my shrine, I was on the cusp of my monthlies and unable to perform Senut.  In the time since then, I’ve found numerous reasons not to do so.  I needed new whites, I needed to make a fresh batch of pure natron (my old stuff somehow got wet and I didn’t feel safe using it), I needed to find a comfortable time of day to do it… the list was and is endless.  It’s now back to my monthlies and I am unable again, regardless of my reasons.

Enough is enough though.  No more making excuses, no more hiding because I’m worried that I’ll enter my shrine and hear No One.  I had the same fears when I was first getting ready to start trying Senut, and they were unfounded.  I need to remember the feeling I had back then and hold onto it.  Remember that as a Shemsu of Kemetic Orthodox, Senut is and should be a part of my routinely worship.

Other things I want to achieve in the next few weeks:

  • Secure the necessary photos for the Akhu photo book I got for myself and create a drawing for the cover space.
  • Find an appropriate plant/flower(s) for my Akhu shrine, and work on completing the altar.
  • Double and triple remind myself of the 6 day Akhu ritual event in February.  I’ve been meaning to attend for months, and always manage to forget.  I even have the white candle necessary, and have had it for at least six months.
  • Light candles and spend a few minutes in shrine to give thanks to Netjer and my Family before settling in for the night.
  • Create a personal prayerbook for original prayers.  Write some original prayers! Also create a morning ritual for my Dad, and at least spend a few minutes at His altar when I wake up until I can come up with one.
  • Stop being a shy feeb and attend one of the Saturday night fellowship chats on stickham.
  • Commission artwork for my Beloveds, Djehuty and Serqet, that will be used as a backdrop on Their altar.
  •  Attend at least one of the Senut support chats that are taking place this month.
  • Spend some time reading about my Divine Family and actually work on updating Their pages on this site.
  • Make an effort to be creative in Netjer’s honor, particularly in ways that I am unfamiliar with.  I’ve been feeling a push to create for Them, but I’ve yet to discover just what it is that I’m meant to do.
  • Unearth the rest of my Kemetic books from my boxes so that I can actually work on getting through them.
  • Either find the oils I already purchased (went missing during the move >.< )  or obtain new ones for offerings.  Replenish candle supplies.

A nice size list, but not impossible.  I think I’ll do a goal check in four weeks, which should allow me to have a chance to attend the 6th day Akhu ritual event.

Not always alone.

It’s been an interesting week, spiritually.  Last Wednesday was the monthly Pesdjentiu Dua (one of my favorites, and not just because Djehuty is associated with the moon) as well as Rekeh Wer (Great Festival).  Now, there are always two different times during the week that I can attend the weekly fellowship/Duas – Wednesday evenings, and Friday afternoons.  It’s been that way for as long as I can remember.  Typically I prefer to attend the Wednesday evening grouping because the kids are in bed, and I can have my full attention on the event.

Wednesdays also happen to be a social night of sorts in one of the video gaming worlds that I associate with, and for the past month I’ve been bowing out of it because I preferred to attend the House events.  Last week I told myself that I would join in on the gaming event, and simply wait until Friday to attend the Duas.  However, about an hour before the chat was set to start, I began to feel weird.  Anxious.  I was fidgeting and I kept checking the clock, and most definitely wasn’t performing to my best in my gaming session. At about three minutes before the Dua was set to begin I finally gave up on gaming and succumbed to the odd shoving sensation I was feeling.

I can’t help but wonder if Someone was being insistent that I attend.  I’m the first to say that at this point I don’t “hear” Netjer the same way that other people seem to, but often get random inspiration or feelings of agitation that come out of nowhere.  The second I entered the chat room, an immense feeling of relief washed over me, and I really enjoyed being with everyone and celebrating the Dua.  Interestingly enough, I had intended to attend the Friday session as well, but ended up being unexpectedly busy – another reason to believe that Someone was looking out for me.

I’ve been dreaming heavily lately.  I’m usually the sort to have nightmares and wake up distressed, but lately I’ve been sleeping deeply and comfortably.  I like to think it’s because my room has a better ambiance going on now with my shrine set up (though many recommend that you don’t keep your shrine in your room!) I’ve even been sleeping with my closet doors open, which is something I couldn’t do very well previously.

I recently dreamed that I was celebrating a Dua with people from the House, not online, but in person.  We were all in a large circle, and everyone seemed very happy, both loud and quiet at the same time.  The loudness I think was a feeling, as opposed to a sound.  Like we were all full of joy and happiness that was so large that it felt loud, if that makes sense.

Then suddenly it was quiet, completely.  And a strong voice called out Who will dance with Yinepu? We all stood around looking at each other, wondering who would step up and offer to dance with Him.  The funny thing is that I’m sure if this had really happened, many people would be clamoring at such a chance, but in my dream, we all just stood there waiting, as if we all knew it was meant to be someone specific.  After a few moments, someone stepped forward and I recognized her as being my friend Ekunyi from the House.  I will dance with Him she said in a calm, clear voice, and then He was there, holding a hand out to her.  They danced ballroom style, with all of us watching silently until I woke up to my alarm.

I don’t really know that it means anything, but I’ve never dreamed of Yinepu before, or for that matter, of Ekunyi, or anyone else from the House!  It was an interesting dream, to say the least.

I also had a dream over the weekend that I was performing heka that at this point, I didn’t/don’t recognize.  The dream was largely obscure, but I have a distinct memory of knowing that I was working from a Wiccan perspective.  This one is pretty easy to interpret because I recently had one of my “Someone’s guiding my hand” moments and randomly discovered a book at the library when I wasn’t even looking.  It’s called Inner Mysteries and is a (so far) pretty detailed book on Wicca and pagan practices in general.  I’m reading it now, still going through the histories of Wicca and the word “witch,” and am finding it utterly fascinating.  I’ve been giving some thought to adding some Wiccan flavor to my spiritual practices, and I don’t think that it’s any coincidence that this book found it’s way into my hands.

Khepera Statuary.

As most of you probably know, my Divine Parent is Khepera, god of the rising sun, or Ra in the morning, as some of you may be more familiar with.  He is best known symbolically as a scarab, and there is tomb artwork of Him as a man with a scarab for a head.  He was connected with scarabs because they roll balls of dung around on the ground, and the people of Kemet felt this was symbolic of Khepera pushing the sun through the sky at dawn.  (No, it’s not lost on me that I named my blog the Sky at Dawn before I knew that He was my Father!)

Creating a votive for Him was surprisingly easy for me.  I knew what I wanted long before I ever commissioned the statue, and when it came time to get it made, I added only a few specific details to my concept for various reasons.  Here is a bit of the message I sent to Nicolas, votive artist extraordinaire:

I’d like it to be in a relief style – with the main images being raised off the backing. I’m pretty bad at explaining, as I don’t know artistic jargon very well – but I basically want a winged scarab pushing the sun, and I’d like both of them to be placed on a wall of some sort – part of it, but not a drawing, more of a sculpture that is built off the wall. For the sun, I was hoping that you might have some of those large circular jewels that you use for Isis votives, in an orange or yellow color. At the base, on the flanks of the scarab, I am hoping you can create some lotuses, based on a drawing that a friend has done.

I’ve got a couple photos here for some basis of my ideas. I’m not sure how well I’ve explained this, but hopefully you get the gist of it, or can figure it out!

The lotus is a flower sacred to Khepera, and before I was divined, a friend dreamed of me surrounded by them, and drew and painted the photo I have attached as a result. It means quite a bit to me. The scarab is obviously meant to be symbolic of Khepera, and the rolling of the sun is symbolic of the meanings I find from having Him as my Father.

In my previous post, I included a photo of the aforementioned lotus artwork, which is what I based the colors and specifics on for the design.

This is the initial work that Nic came up with for my approval:

First progress photo of Khepera votive

I don’t think that he could have made it any more perfect if he tried!  I literally almost cried, and then flailed about like a small child when I received this first photo of his work.

Second progress photo of Khepera votive

Here you can see the lotus pieces.  I was shocked at how similar he was able to make them to the drawing I provided him.  His styling for the way the lotuses hold up the relief was admittedly not how I had first envisioned this, but in the end, I was very impressed with what he came up with instead.

Final progress photo for Khepera votive

And finally a fully painted and realized piece!  The small lotus in the front was an extra idea from Nic, and I loved it so.  I had him make a second one so that there would be four lotuses (four is a magic number!) and I use them for oil offerings to my Father.

Nicolas and I are finally planning a third votive for my Beloved, Djehuty.  Looking forward to being able to share the progress!