Tag Archive | festivals

Days Upon the Year, Day Two

Today is the day we celebrate the birth of Heru-wer, or Horus the Elder.   He is the Golden One Whose Body is Sky and Whose Eyes are Moon and Sun.  A little later in the evening I will be joining the House in prayer and heka to honor Heru-wer, and will offer him flame, incense, dark chocolate, and rum.

Hail to the Lord of the Sky!  May we always have your strength and wisdom at our backs.  Dua Heru-wer!

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Days Upon the Year, Day One.

Year 20 is finally behind us!  Aside from the fact that it was the Year of Nut, I can’t say that I’m sorry to see it go.  It’s been a hard year for me, particularly in my secular life.  I’m looking forward to a new year and new oracle.

Spiritually, I could probably say that this past year has been a disappointment as well.  I didn’t learn near as much as I wanted to, I didn’t maintain this blog very well, I didn’t keep up with the Pagan Blog Project.  The list of things that I didn’t do is pretty extensive.  When I was reflecting on the past year, that was the one big thing that stuck in my mind.

However, I didn’t stop there.  Because while there are lots of things on my list of unfinished tasks, there are many things I did do.  First and foremost, I got closer to the Kemetic community.  The sense of comfort I’ve developed with my fellow House members (and some non-House members) has made me feel really good, and I’ve come to think of it as one of the more important things I wanted.  When I first discovered the House of Netjer, community was one of the things that I was looking for in a spiritual home, and I like to think that I’ve found a relatively good one.  I was even able to meet a newer Remetj (who was quite literally just Named) in person and spend time with her.  It was very exciting for me, because there just really aren’t many members in my area and I haven’t even had the option to gather and celebrate holidays with anyone until now.

My altars for my Father and Beloveds are “complete.”   (parenthesis because there’s always room for more if I find new objects!) I pulled together photos for my Akhu altar, and while I don’t have everything that I want for it, it’s in working order.  I feel comfortable with my Divine Family and with my spirituality.

These are the things that are important to me, and the thoughts that are with me as we enter these Days upon a year and celebrate the birthdays of the Children of Nut.

Today we celebrate the birth of Wesir, Lord of the West, and King of the Akhu.  Dua Wesir!  Kheperu!

In His honor, and in the honor of my Akhu, today I will write a few letters to some of my more recently deceased relatives – my grandmother in particular, who passed away this year.

Enjoy the day, my friends!

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.

Pagan Blog Project 2013: A

Last year I made a half-hearted attempt at taking part in the Pagan Blog Project for 2012.  I think I made it through C – five or six entries.  I was behind to start with, which curbed my enthusiasm, and then I just stopped blogging altogether.  Anyways, now that the secular year has restarted, so has the Blog Project, and this time I’d like to make a better effort to participate, if only to keep working on my writing skills.

To start, I’m going to borrow Ekunyi’s subject for the first submission for A!

A is for Arranging Sacred Space!

Having a sacred shrine for Netjer is pretty crucial in Kemetic Orthodoxy.  If you have not been divined, your sacred space should be neutral, to Netjer as a whole, or if you so choose, devoted to gods and/or goddesses that you feel are active in your life, or that you have a special affinity for.  The reason we are expected to have such a space is for a ritual called Senut, one of the main cornerstones of the faith.  Senut was designed by the Nisut (AUS), and is unique to the faith, though many of the components are derived from familiar places such as The Book of the Dead.

The ritual is meant to be performed daily, and you must be purified before entering your shrine space.  This includes taking a bath with natron salt and a little heka, and then donning clean ritual whites.  The rest of the ritual takes place before your shrine, thus the importance of creating your own sacred space.

When I initially began my beginner’s course, I was instructed to create a shrine that would be neutral and leave me open to Their influence.  While I had plenty of great statuary for such a shrine, I was nervous for the longest time about assembling one and performing Senut.  It wasn’t until my class was over that I finally pushed myself to make a shrine.  I wanted to do my RPD, but I wanted to be comfortable performing the rite before I made that next step.

I never took photos of my initial shrine because I was still at a stage where I didn’t feel comfortable sharing my private space with anyone.  I don’t think this is uncommon – shrines are not meant to be a public spectacle.  In fact, they’re supposed to be kept in a private place that is not frequented by people, even covered or closed up if possible when not in use.  It is also recommended that you do not keep your shrine in your bedroom, but for some of us (like me!) that isn’t possible with the living space that we are afforded.

So, while I do not have a photo of my initial beginner’s shrine, I do have one of my offerings from the night of my RPD that I have posted in the past.  The main things that you really need for a shrine are a light source, preferably a candle, a way to burn incense or hold oils, and cups and plates for offerings.  It’s not strictly necessary to keep these objects as part of your shrine, but you’ll want them handy, as any time you’re in shrine you should at least offer cool water, light, and scent.

RPD shrine

In my photo you can see that I have a two plates of food offerings, I believe lotus buns, mangoes, and cherries.  I also have three cups with liquid offerings, red orange juice, soda, and wine.  I have two scented candles lit, offering both light and scent, and an incense holder with some burning, as well as a vase of flowers which also provides a scent offering, as well as beautification.

The statuary is the same that I used for my “neutral” shrine.  In the top right corner is an incense holder with statues of Bast at the base.  I believe She’s been in my life for most of it, constantly appearing, and I just didn’t listen until recently.  It’s fairly common as I understand it for Bast to guide people to Netjer and the House.  In the top left corner is a statue of Aset (Isis) with her wings spread, though when in shrine at the time, I focused on the statue as representative of Ma’at, our Lady of Truth and Justice.  The cloth is a simple white linen, traditional for a Kemetic shrine, though you may use what you feel is most appropriate for your gods, especially if They make it known that They prefer something else!

You can also see a wooden scarab there, that I placed on a whim, before I knew Khepera was my Father, and before I really knew anything at all about him.  Scarabs have just always been a huge symbol of Kemet for me, and I read in a few places while I was taking my beginner’s class that they were a symbol of protection and guidance for students.

You can choose as I often do, to create separate shrine areas, or alter your space for specific Duas (festivals).  Most (probably all, but don’t quote me!) of the Names have special days that honor them, and if you wish to make a space for Them on the days that call to you the most, that is a great idea!  In the past I have created an offering space for Bast, on Her Day of Chewing Onions. I’ve posted the photo previously as well, but will stick it here for posterity’s sake.

Day of Chewing Onions for Bast

No less than four statues in Her honor, as well as my incense burner again, and a bowl of sweet red onions cooked with honey mustard.  I can’t for the life of me remember what liquids I offered though!

Once I had my RPD completed, my shrine space slowly changed as I obtained pieces meant for my Divine Family.  You still want to keep the vitals – incense, light, plates, and cups, but your statuary is where you can really get creative.

Serqet-Aset in shrine

This photo is from after I received my Serqet-Aset votive.  At this point I just moved things around, didn’t really have to remove anything.  You can also see my copy of the Prayerbook written by Hemet (AUS) that was gifted to me by a member of the House, Nityinepu.

My bowls and cups  are not currently present, but my candles are generally a stationary part of my shrine.

This next photo is from a time right after I received my Khepera votive, which I just posted about.  The photo quality is a little blurry, I apologize for that.  It’s also a bit messy because I started to run out of room for all the things I wanted to keep in shrine.  As you can see, in addition to the Khepera votive, I also have a large white lotus candle, a new set of three small offering bowls (gifted by Meket on my birthday), and a larger fourth plate with a scarab stamping (gifted by my friend Cory on my birthday).  The small coil in front of the Khepera piece is a scarab necklace that Meket gave me when I started my beginner’s class.

Khepera in shrine

Shortly after this was assembled, I had to pack it all away and we moved.  It was not until recently that I finally reassembled a makeshift neutral shrine for temporary use until I could afford to get the shelving unit that I had wanted for months as a shrine space.  I recently posted this photo in a regular entry, but will post again!

New shrine space

It’s just a simple wooden bookcase from Ikea, nothing fancy.  I wanted multiple shelves because of the way I envision my shrine space.  A space for my Father, a space for my Beloveds, a space for my Akhu, and a space for Dua offerings and for Netjer as a whole.

There are a lot of new additions here, namely the Khepera statue on the top shelf, a recent acquirement, the Khepera miniature, and the lotus painting.

Right now the space is still kind of set up from the Kemetic celebration of the Establishment of the Celestial Cow – hence the “Moomas” cards.

My shrine is still a huge work in progress, and I think it always will be.  I see new things nearly every day that I want to add to it, and of course the offerings you make keep it changing all the time.  I imagine once I get the remaining statuary that I’m fiending for it will look a lot less like a mess, but in the meantime, I’m happy with what I have.

The most important thing (in my opinion) to keep in mind when building your shrine space is to keep it true to your heart.  Your shrine be as cluttered as mine, or clean and concise.  It all depends on who you are, and Who is directing your hand during your creation.  Above all else, honor the Names and your Akhu!

This post is part of the PBP 2013

*Banner courtesy of Emky of HoN

New Year.

With New Year’s fast approaching I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the Kemetic New Year, which takes place right around the beginning of August by secular calendar.  It’s called Wep Ronpet, and we celebrate the birthdays of Wesir, Set, Heru-wer, Aset, and Nebt-het. They are the children of Nut and Geb, who were born on the five days that exist outside of the year because Ra decreed that She could never have children on any day of the year because he did not want his earthly throne to be usurped.

Because Djehuty loved Nut, he promised to help Her and He subsequently made a bet with Khonsu, a moon god, and won.  His prize was enough light to create five days that didn’t exist within the regular year (which is why the moon disappears each month!)  and it is during those days that Nut was able to bear Her children.

Wep Ronpet is a celebration of new beginnings, what we call Zep Tepi, and a restoration of cosmic balance.  It is the biggest event within Kemetic Orthodox, and as such there is a Retreat where the children of Netjer gather for the five days and perform heka and rituals for the gods to bring in the new year.

Last year I was too new, and too shy to even contemplate going.  This year, I want to go.  After much deliberation on the money issue, and battling with myself I’ve decided that not only do I want to go, but that I will go.  I don’t have an actual job, just an allowance really, for being my niece’s caretaker, and for keeping my parents’ house because they’re both ill, but I think with the seven/eight months of time that I have to save, I can manage to set aside enough for the costs.  Because I want to be serious about this, I’ve already created a separate bank account to stash money in.

There haven’t been any specific announcements yet on the event (last year they were posted up on January 10, so I’m expecting them any day now), but I’m basing my estimate of costs on last year’s postings and the things that I want to do.  Most of the events are part of the general admission, but there are a few things that are optional and cost extra because of supplies needed, etc.

Admission for the event:  $275

Sekhmet baths: $75

Fedw divination class: $50

Guesstimated airfare: $400

Guesstimated hotel cost (sharing with a second person, hopefully Meket): $160

Food/gas/general spending money: ~150 (I’d like to have more just in case, but this I think is the bare minimum)

Current total estimate of needed cash: $1,110

It’s a lot of money.  Definitely nothing to sneeze at.  The Sekhmet baths and Fedw class are optional things I want to do, so if it really comes down to it, I can leave that cost out, but I’d really like to have the whole experience if I’m already shelling out this kind of cash in the first place.

I’m really hoping that Meket will join me.  I know she’s wanted to go as well, but in the past has decided not to because of her anxiety with traveling and meeting new people.  With her, I will definitely have a roommate I’m comfortable with, but otherwise I’ll have to find someone who doesn’t already have a partner in mind, because I definitely don’t think I can afford a hotel room for four nights, even with the reduced group pricing.  The other consideration is the Shemsu-Ankh ceremony.  As of today, I’m not ready for that next step, but it’s something to keep in mind over the next few months as a possibility, and it would be an additional 50 dollars.

Mm.  Putting this out here and seeing the numbers so concretely is a bit daunting.  I’m trying to remain positive about it though, and determined.  I’m really pretty sure that if I asked my grandmother for a birthday gift (my birthday is in May) of money towards a spiritual retreat, she would happily oblige.  She’s always commenting that my generation isn’t religious enough, and I know she’d want to fund something that meant I was being spiritual.  As long as she doesn’t ask me what religion I practice (which she won’t, she’ll just assume Christianity) I’m set!

Things that make me smile

It’s been a pretty busy and rough week, but I’ve been trying to stay positive and focus on the things that make me feel good, the things that I can control.

I had a meeting with the Nisut (AUS) on Wednesday.  I’ve never scheduled an appointment with her before, and to be honest, some of the reason that I did was simply because I never had before.  I probably could have talked to other people about the subject matter, but I decided that maybe hearing a neutral voice of reason would make that much more of a difference to my head.  She didn’t tell me anything that I haven’t really known or thought myself, but I have a way of doubting my own rationale and all that.  I think that’s pretty normal for a lot of people.  All in all, it was really nice to sit down with her and have that one on one time.

After that I took part in the Wednesday evening Dua for the week, which was celebrating the Return of the Eye of Ra.  The actual day of the event was Friday, but I think I’ve mentioned before that the House does celebrations twice a week in a chat to try to get the maximum number of people involved.  It was my first Solstice celebration with the House, and it was quite lovely.  I offered Hethert a plate of clementines, some chocolate chip cookies, and a glass of orange juice and played one of my favorite songs (Gone with Leaves from the Hero soundtrack) during a part of the litany that called for joyous music.

I decided to wait to burn my red candle until the actual day of the Solstice though (yesterday) mostly because I didn’t want to leave a candle burning in my room unattended, but also because it just felt right.  I performed my own little shrine ceremony that I pretty much just ad-libbed as I sat there and made new offerings and lit my candle.  I was pretty proud of myself, even though I did stumble over what I wanted to say a few times.  For the most part it felt pretty natural though!

In other good news, I won the statue of Khepera that I was bidding on, and I should receive it the first week of January.  Mimafdet of the Kemetsy Shop that I spoke of in my last entry is currently finishing up a custom piece of Khepera for me as well.  She’s sent me a few progress photos, and He’s just amazing.  Once I ask her permission to post the photos, I’ll pop them up here for people to see.

Another really great moment for me this week was receiving Moomas cards finally.  I was getting to the point where I didn’t think that anyone was going to send me any, mostly because I joined the list so late and people had already sent out cards.  It was starting to sting a little, because I hate being left out, but as of yesterday I’ve received four cards.  They were all quite lovely, one of them custom made with a golden cow covered in stars.  The best part for me was that they were all personalized – mentions of how great it is to see me back in practice and on the forums, and even a “welcome back home,” which almost made me cry, because it’s practically my exact words, that this faith has felt like home to me.

So, it’s been a hard week, but there have still been quite a few things that have fed my ka.  (:

Moomas, Saq Nisut and other things.

For most people, it’s that time of year again.  Time to give and receive presents, to bake cookies and pies, decorate trees, and put lights in the front yard.  Christmas has always been a part of my life.  When I was a child, it was very directly tied to my Christian upbringing.  As I got older, it moved away from the religious aspect, and became a focus on family time, generosity towards others, and of course, presents.

The reality is, I’ve never enjoyed Christmas much.  Sure, I like getting presents.  I’m probably one of the most materialistic people out there, as much as I’m ashamed to admit it.  But Christmas at my house, and December in general, has always been a time where things go wrong.  My dad had his holidays ruined by a vindictive stepmother, and the tradition stayed with him.  Two years in a row I had someone close in my family nearly die in a car accident – oddly enough on the same day both years.  A few years back my maternal grandfather died, and we spent a lot of the month dealing with my mom and her personal demons, as well as a funeral that none of us wanted to attend, and then I found out I was pregnant with a man I was no longer in love with.

This entry is already more personal than I expected.  Funny how that happens.

Last night was the first fellowship meeting I’ve attended in months, and it was perfect timing really.  It was a Saq Nisut – which is basically a session where we get to sit with Hemet (AUS) in a chatroom as she passes on her teachings.  It happens once a month usually, barring schedule conflicts.  The subject of the meeting was celebrating Kemetic festivities during Christmas and how to deal with meshing the traditions of everyone else while doing so.  I felt like the whole thing couldn’t have been more perfect, because I had been wondering the very same thing ever since I journeyed back to the forums and found that we were getting ready to celebrate something called “Moomas,” which I only vaguely heard about in months past.

The point I want to get to is that there is no Christmas in Kemetism.  Hemet (AUS) doesn’t celebrate Christmas, culturally or otherwise, and hasn’t since 1987.  And even though I don’t enjoy Christmas I find myself confused about what I want to do, and how I want to continue my life.  I don’t and haven’t celebrated Christmas from a religious aspect in a long time.  It’s purely cultural for me, and has nothing to do with Jesus, or God, or anything else like that.  But I find myself attracted to this idea of just not celebrating.

Christmas is a pretty big deal to everyone in my family though, and I know that my brother in particular, would be offended if didn’t participate.  He’s very traditional and he likes things just so.  I know he doesn’t care what religion I choose, but I know he’ll be annoyed if I don’t give his children gifts.  And the reality is, even though I’m planning to teach my child about Kemetism, I don’t want her to be left out of something that is a huge part of the lives of everyone around her.

I’ve kind of come to the conclusion that it’s going to be a bit of a mind over matter thing.  Hemet (AUS) suggested that if it’s difficult to get out of the cultural celebration of Christmas that we make it our own, find ways to relate it to our Kemetic practices.  This month is actually filled with many festivals, celebrating the Return of the Eye of Ra, and the beginning of Nut as the sky.  (She is referred to as the Celestial Cow during these festivities!)  Some of her examples were attending a midnight mass but using the time to speak to Nut and reflect on Her and all She brings to our lives.  It is also customary to eat round things (omg pie!) and things that are orange because of the return of the Eye of Ra (Sekhmet) after She nearly destroys the world.

So, it’s not like it will be really awkward, or difficult.  Giving gifts isn’t bad either, and somewhere along the way the Shemsu came up with the concept of Moomas – a play on Christmas and the celebration of the Celestial Cow (Nut as I said before).  There’s even a card exchange going on in the spirit of Moomas.  I’ve spent the last two days filling out over twenty cards, which I struggled with choosing at the store.  Finding cards that don’t mention Christmas or Jesus was INCREDIBLY difficult, which I expected.  But they have moved more towards making neutral holiday cards that are appropriate to send to just about anyone.  I happened to find a set of cards that features cows, which made me ridiculously excited.  A lot of people are making their own cards, but I don’t really have time for such a thing, and most people started at the beginning of December.

Anyways.  Looking forward to experiencing my first Moomas, and learning about the different (and many!) celebrations that come with this month.