Snapshots.

One:

I am young, but old enough that we’ve just covered Egypt in our history class. I’ve been given the cutest book – a short book of facts about the ancient kingdom, its people, and of course it’s gods, written in a tabloid style. I devour the book, reading the section about the gods multiple times. Later, after school when I am playing with younger children at the after-care program, we line up in order of height and play “procession”, chanting the names of the gods while lifting our hands in the air. I can vividly remember praising Nut with particular vigor, enamored of her bright blue skin dusted with stars, the lights of the dead.

Two:

I am a few years older now, a freshman in high school. Adolescence is not kind to me. The changes of puberty have sent me on an emotional tightrope; it takes little to make me curl up on my bed in tears. One night, fed up with the isolation of being an awkward, shy teenager, I am crying and shaking and failing miserably at falling asleep. I try my hand at desperate prayer. “Please, Father – I just need this awful feeling to go away for a little while.”

For the first time in my life, I hear a reply: “Well, okay. Just for now.” This comes in a voice I will eventually grow to know as the Jackal; a warm, musical baritone at the back of my consciousness.

Sekhmet’s Love.

When I came into being, I came full of love. I don’t mean that I was aware of the love of those around me; I don’t mean that I was enamored with them —

What I mean to say is this: imagine that your entire existence is joy and love. I lived in a moment of ecstasy, illuminated in song and wild gladness by my Father, upon Whose brow I rested. Imagine you live there, in perfect peace, unfettered prosperity, dwelling with the gods and watching over mankind. I enfolded them in myself, in my mirth and my affection, and they gave us their love in kind.

Then one day, mankind grew discontent. They spoke cruelly, calling my Father feeble. My Father grew troubled. I am my Father’s Eye through which He sees; I am a part of Him and He is a part of me and oh, how foully their offense filled Our ears! Imagine, you are nothing but love, now confronted with hate.

My Father is wise. He is powerful. He came to me, His beloved one. He told me of this trouble. I am love and nothing else, and he spoke to me of their hatred, their treason, their unbelievable disrespect. He told me that in the starry sky, He saw that I would help Him. Weeping, I rose and turned against mankind, the noisy children whom I loved. Imagine this.

My love grew teeth and claws. My love rose up within me, strong and hot. My love burned me like the desert, so I let it out as rage. My sweet, small children; my beloved ones. My dearest Father, shining and glorious. Love and bitterness swelled within me, and I killed. I killed the men who threatened my Father. I killed those who heard their wicked words. I killed their wives, their husbands. I killed for my Father, and when the blood of His every enemy had been drained – I was blind. I killed their sons and daughters. I killed their mothers and fathers. My Father! I killed to keep Him safe. Perhaps I killed because the love of blood had overtaken my love for men. Perhaps I killed because it had overtaken the pain of rage.

Perhaps you have felt love so great it wounds you. Perhaps you have felt love so powerful it moved you to anger. Perhaps you have been afraid to lose what is beloved. Then, you might know why I killed. Then, you might know why the Lady of Joy turned to the Lady of Terror. I am love, hot and mighty within you; fierce love, love strong enough to kill for.

DIY: Emergency Shrine Kit

After my little “evacu-cation”, I realized how valuable my little emergency shrine was. It was an idea I had a while ago, which was originally much more elaborate. I had put together a little box with a white bowl, white cloths, a big bottle of water, a tealight in a holder, some matches and incense, and anything else I thought I might need. When we evacuated, I grabbed the bare-bones necessities from that box, and was left with only what I grabbed out of my shrines beyond that.

Shrine-in-a-Bag

It boils down to this:

  • Two 1 dram bottles full of water
  • One 1 dram bottle with some natron
  • One 1 dram bottle of essential oil of your preference
  • 1 tea-light & book of matches OR
  • 1 electric tea-light
  • 1 pouch for storing

Since I am working with the Senut ritual, I based my tools on what I would need for Senut. The bottle of natron and one bottle of water are for purifications. I blessed the water and the natron and mixed them together, then wet my hands and rinsed my mouth with the natron water to purify.

The other vial of water is for the libations during the Senut rite. I had also brought a bowl from my State shrine and was able to use a bottle of water for this during Irene, but in a pinch you can use the cap of the vial as an offering dish, and offer a drop of water for each libation.

For incense, all I had was a bottle of myrrh oil. I dabbed a little oil on the top of the vial’s lid with my finger, then re-capped it and set it out as the incense. The smell was strong enough to spread over the shrine and lingered for quite some time. The fragrance is a personal choice. If you want to make your emergency shrine more personal for your gods, why not use one of the ritual oils from Of Ravens and Vultures?

For my emergency shrine I was using an electric tea-light, but you can use a real one if you wish. Personally I recommend using an electric light because you don’t know whether you’ll wind up in a place where open flames are permitted.

This may seem excessively austere, and maybe it is. My goal is to have a small, unobtrusive set of tools to tuck in a drawer and pull out in case of emergency: a hospital trip, evacuation, other unexpected travel – or even going off on a camping trip. I recommend everyone put together something like this – you never know when you will use it. 🙂

At the Feet of the God.

I am kneeling before the shrine, bathed in the brilliance of the candlelight reflected through the crystal lotus candle-holders. The room is pitch dark except for the radiance of the altar, and the soft glow of a candle for the Akhu.

My Father stands on the shrine. His image is magnificent. He is shining silver, crafted into lean muscle and fierce strength but somehow, His face is gentle. His eyes are wide and His mouth quirked into a pleasant, bemused smile. The incense curls around Him like a snake.

I see none of this. I see only the floor, my face pressed down in prostration. The fibers of the carpet are just barely itchy against my forehead. I smell the strong incense. I feel His presence before me as warm pressure, like a hand on my back. He is smiling.

Get up. So I do.

Give me my staff. I am puzzled. He had rejected the scepter that His image came with when I bought it, because at some point it had been damaged, and the paint was worn of in a spot. I want it anyway.

I take it out, and slide it back into His hand. It is the was-scepter, a symbol of strength and dominion. He is satisfied. Somehow His eyes seem to sparkle with silent, Unseen laughter.

You have a thing or two to learn about power, daughter.

I bow once more, kneeling and raising my hands in reverence. I lay my forehead to the ground. Not in fear, not in lowliness, but with comfort and peace. I am at the feet of my Father. I am at the feet of His power. There is nowhere I would feel safer; nowhere I would rather be.

DIY Wep Ronpet: New Year’s

Here is part two of my DIY Wep Ronpet series – New Year’s Day. There’s a few things I like to do on Wep Ronpet if I’m not at Retreat. Like with the Epagomenal day meditations, they aren’t complex, but they make the day special in small ways.

I wake up to see the sunrise, and do Senut at dawn. During Senut, I read prayers to Ra, and to any gods Who have claimed the year; I also read prayers for blessings on the new year. There are prayers that are sent to the members of the House of Netjer, so if you’re a member you can use those; I also supplement with prayers from the Ancient Egyptian Prayerbook.

I make sure to open the curtains in my shrine room so that the sunlight falls on my shrine, and I expose the images of my gods to the light. I don’t do this with any particular ceremony – I just make sure light shines on each shrine at some point.

I take a small poundcake and use colored icing to draw a snake on the top. It’s not fancy. It usually looks more like a green squiggle with a red forked tongue. As long as I know that it’s meant to represent the Uncreated and all the awful evil things in the world, that’s good enough. Then, after I draw the snake on, I cut up the cake into slices and eat it. I like to share this part with my family, especially since I can’t eat a whole cake by myself.

I also try to clean before Wep Ronpet morning, and use natron water to purify my living space. This is a tradition I’ve kind of imported from my family’s beliefs about the secular new year. It is better for your environment to be clean and tidy when the new year starts, because that first day of the year will have an influence over all the other days. I’d rather not spend an entire year in a cluttered space. Right now I’m scrambling to pack AND clean, so that my room can be clean for new year’s morning even if I’m not there.

I hope you all have a blessed New Year! On this last day of year 18, I wish you all safety in the days upon the year and all peace, joy, life, health, prosperity and stability in year 19.

I will be blogging a bit from Retreat itself – so expect to see updates here and there from me during these days as well!