Tag Archive | statuary

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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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

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!

Photo post.

At long last, after promising photos for over a week, I’ve finally got them taken and uploaded!  First, I have a photo of my newly set up shrine.  I finally bought the shelf unit that I wanted from Ikea.  Had to put it off to make sure we had money for Christmas festivities with my family.

new shrine!

On the top are statues of Bast and Aset.  The first shelf is where my Dad is located right now, but I think I’m going to adjust at some point in the future because He feels so far away.  The new statues of Him are both up there in this photo, though with the distance it’s kind of hard to see the detail.  I did in fact win the statue from eBay that I wanted, and got it a few days ago.  He’s absolutely perfect.

The shelf below that is set for my Beloveds at the moment, though right now I only have a votive for Serqet-Aset.  For now it’s covered in a bunch of the cards I got for Moomas.  The space below that is where I plan to place  most offerings and keep my shrine candles.  Also want to use it for festivals and such – like setting it as a Bast specific shrine on one of Her Duas for example. Right now it has Moomas cards, my Bast incense burner, and the flowers that I offered to Hethert-Nut for the Establishment of the Celestial Cow Dua.

Funny story about the flowers.. they were quite wilted and sad looking when I placed them, but now, after even a week sitting in my shrine, they’re beautiful and bloomed.  Makes me feel like my offering was happily received.

The lowest shelf  in the photo is meant for my Akhu shrine, but at the moment it’s not finished.  Though really, I guess none of my shelves are really finished!  There are two other shelves not pictured, one is for supplies like oils, candles, and my dishes, and the very bottom is currently holding all the Kemetic texts that I own.

I mentioned not too long ago that I was having a miniature made from Mimafdet of HoN, and this is a photo of the finished product.  I wasn’t sure how she was going to create Him, and I pretty much told her to surprise me.  I think He came out better than I expected!  And he looks even better painted.

finished Khepera miniature

I received Him in the mail a couple days ago, and she included a Moomas card, which you can see pictured here as well.  She also sent an extra tiny Hethert-Nut that’s signed on the bottom.  It’s in my shrine now, though without a close-up photo it’s really hard to see!

lotus wood painting

This is a wood painting that Meket made for me, and it’s sitting in my shrine now to honor my Dad.  I ended up using the color scheme and overall concept when commissioning the Khepera statue set that I had made by nicolas, which I’ll make a separate posting of because I have so many progress photos.  ^.^

Will update more later.  Enjoy!

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.  (:

Shopping for Statuary

It’s been an awful few days.  I keep meaning to organize my room (I have a flat screen television that I bought over 3 months ago and it’s still in the box!) so that I can set up a makeshift shrine and in general have a better living space.  Problem is, I have one heck of a cold, and it’s trying it’s hardest to shift into pneumonia.  I’m hoping by this weekend I’ll feel well enough to take care of everything, because I’d really like to have my shrine set up so that I can take part in the upcoming fellowship events.  I know I can just set up a few things on a clean surface if worse comes to worse, but after all the time I’ve put off setting it up, I know I’ll feel better just getting it together.

I’ve finally put in a message to nicolas of shadowofthesphinx to create a votive for Djehuty.  I’ve been putting the process off for months (my Khepera piece was finished more than 6 months ago) mostly because I’ve never been entirely sure what I want to do with it.  I sent him a message about a week ago anyways, and told him that I didn’t know what I wanted, but let him know what themes I associate the most with the deity, and asked him to see what he could come up with.  He’s done such a beautiful job on so many pieces (not just mine) and I trust him to come up with something lovely.  Looking forward to the process as it develops.

I also caved an put a bid in on this statue of Khepera, which I’ve had my eye on for quite some time.  The seller keeps relisting it, and one other like it.  This is the lowest I’ve seen it in months, so I’m hoping to win it at 63 dollars.  I don’t think it’s a common purchase for people, and I’ve yet to actually notice someone buying them, so I don’t think it’s too much to hope for.

And while I’m on the topic of beautiful Kemetic items!  I’ve discovered a few etsy shops that have really great products.  I’m wanting to buy prints from Emily Balivet, who paints not just the Netjer, but goddesses from many pantheons, among other figures.  I recently discovered a little miniature store created by Mimafdet of HoN, and I’m madly in love with her little figurines.  I’m hoping she can come up with a darling little replica of Dad for me, and if not, I’m probably going to purchase a Nut figurine, and I’m quite taken with her Heru as well.

I’m in such a shopaholic mood, can you tell?

HoN is getting ready to start up a book club.  We select a book for the month, read it, and discuss it on the forums.  I’m quite excited to do this.  It’ll give me extra incentive to read the books that I already have, and acquire more.  Back when I first got interested in Kemetic worship, my friend Seth sent me fifty dollars to spend on books, and I’ve sadly only finished reading two of the lot that I purchased.  I really need to unearth those from my boxes, and get going.  I’m so distressed by how little I know of ancient practices when compared to others in the House, and others in general, and the only way to make that better is to actively learn.  I’ve been surfing this great site called AbeBooks to try and find great deals on Kemetic books.  I’ve picked up four at this point for less than 15 dollars.  I’m quite pleased with myself!  I also checked out my new local library catalog.  Before now, I lived in a tiny county, and the selection was miserable.  Now I’m finding more than twenty books that I would love to read at my disposal.  I’ve put in requests for a few to start.  I don’t want to get overwhelmed!

I think that’s all I have to talk about right now.  Hope everyone is well.  (:

Serqet in Shrine.

It’s been about a month since I’ve had something to say here.  Normally I would feel bad about that, but I’ve come to the realisation that sometimes, there just isn’t anything to say.

However, I do have some really good news today, and some photos.  I’ve been working with Nicolas of the etsy shop, Shadow of the Sphinx, and together we’ve been designing and creating statues for my shrine that will honor my Family.  The first piece was completed last week, and arrived yesterday.

This piece is for Serqet, and is comprised of four figures to honor the Kemetic number of completion.  The four figures are the forms that Serqet is known for, the poisonous creatures that are most associated with Her – Snake, Spider, and Scorpion.  I chose to have it painted in a dark burgundy with the gold overtones that the rest of Nic’s pieces are known for.

This is the first picture of it as a work in progress, and features the snake as the central figure. If you look at her coils, you can see that they form the symbol for infinity.  This was something that Nicolas added in on his own, and I ended up being a huge fan of.

This is a photo of the next stage, with all four of the forms present on the base.  When I was originally trying to come up with the design, I couldn’t quite figure out how I wanted it all placed together so that it would seem like a cohesive piece.  I threw my concepts to Nicolas though, and he was the one who came up with the spider resting on the snake’s coils, and once I had that image in my head solidly, I was able to picture the whole thing better, and knew that I wanted the snake flanked by the scorpions in a protective pose.

This stage kind of makes me laugh a little because the spider is barely formed, and as someone who has always been pretty frightened of spiders, it just doesn’t look scary at all at this point.  I really loved the scorpions right from the start though, and now kind of wish that I had suggested no claws, because I think they look pretty awesome in this stage, and from what I’ve read, often the scorpions were depicted either without claws, or their stinger, depending.

This is the finished product, painted.  The lighting in this photo is pretty bad, and it doesn’t do the coloring much justice, unfortunately.  Receiving the package was quite hilarious too.  I went outside on our back porch to open it with my mom nearby, and my enthusiasm was noticeable, so she asked me what it was that I had gotten.  I told her it was my first statue for my shrine, and she must have forgotten that I already showed her some preliminary photos because she got excited too.  Of course, when I pulled it out she recoiled and laughed.  My mom is not a fan of the creepy crawly, less so than even I.

The one thing that was out of order was one of the legs of a scorpion broke off in transit, despite Nic’s careful packaging.  With all the appendages though, it’s not as though I didn’t expect something to break off.  It was an easy fix, just a drop of super glue on each end, and holding it in place for a minute or two.  I’m still a little paranoid that I perhaps glued it back on upside down or something, but my mom has reassured me that it looks just fine, and as creepy as it’s meant to.  XD

My shrine area had gotten a bit cluttered over the last month – I’m pretty bad at putting things back where they go when I’m finished with them, so I had scattered candies and other food offerings in various bags under the shrine table, as well as a bowl of used matches and wrappers creating quite a mess.  I cleaned the whole area up, and organized it back the way that it was meant to be, before rearranging the actual shrine so that I could make a place for this new piece.  As soon as I placed it, it felt perfect.  I was a little worried that it wouldn’t measure up or something, or that when it was in place I would realise that I didn’t like it, but nope!  It’s just the right thing, it seems, and I’m very happy.

One step closer to having everyone I love within my shrine, both divine and human.  ^.^