The Return of the King

I felt completely lost when it came to the Mysteries of Wesir when I first became Kemetic. Wesir was hard for me to grasp, having quite a bit in common with the gods of the faith I had just left — died, resurrected, ruling in the place where dead people go — so maybe I steered clear of Him “accidentally-on-purpose”.

I tried to wrestle with the holiday when I was in the midst of my existential crisis. I wanted to understand it so badly. I felt like if I understood it, maybe I wouldn’t be so scared of it. I threw myself at it, and didn’t have much luck — trying to understand a god by force doesn’t work all that well, I discovered.

This year, somehow, celebrating the festival felt right for the first time. I traveled down to Virginia for a vigil ritual hosted by one of the temple’s ordained clergy, Reverend Heruakhetymose. As myself and fellow w’ab Shefytbast headed south, the landscape became more and more rural, and we noticed how the changing of the leaves mirrored the season of the death of Wesir.

The vigil itself felt like an ordeal we undertook with Wesir, standing at His side as He underwent the mysterious journey from death to life in the Duat1. Each hour, on the hour, we entered the shrine room in silence. The room was variously lit in a dim purple glow or by candle light, and I took up a drum to count the minutes until the hour struck. At the second of the hour I let the drum fall silent, and myself and fellow priests performed the ritual while the rest of those gathered offered henu. After the ritual concluded and we spent a few moments in silent contemplation, I took up the drum again, and we left as silently as we came.

And then we passed the hour until the next one.

We played games, we had snacks, we watched silly videos and talked about everything and nothing. We sat curled under blankets and watched parts of The Mummy. We shared our time and our kindness together — until our alarms chimed that it was time to prep for the next hour’s ritual, and we took up the mantle of silence for Wesir again.

By dawn, we were exhausted. Many of us had napped at least once, but we were pretty punchy. And yet, as we entered the shrine room in silence for the final ritual of resurrection, an unexpected lightness carried us onward. The gods felt… not joyful, but at peace, where the previous hours felt heavy with mourning and transformation. Wesir assumed His throne in the Duat, caring for our ancestors, and providing a home for us after our lives are done.

We made our final offerings of the day to Wesir after we had all had an opportunity to rest and sleep some. We celebrated His re-establishment to life in the Duat, we thanked Him for His sacrifice to create a home for us after death, and we thanked Him for being with us. And then — we snacked on offerings during the day. We wrapped ourselves in blankets and watched cartoons, shared stories, and laughed quite a bit. We watched a wintery storm roll in and ate leftovers. It felt like being with family. And in the end, I think that’s what He wanted: for us to be together, to honor His journey together, and to rise together after the ordeal of the vigil and come together again.

I won’t say I properly understand His mysteries now; but I will say I feel much closer to Him, and that I’m grateful for the opportunity His mysteries gave me to grow closer with my community.


Footnotes:

  1. Underworld, or afterlife, or “Unseen World”. Generally, where gods and ancestors live.

Death Gods and Living

The Mysteries of Wesir snuck up on me this year. I had wanted to celebrate them deeply this year. In fact, I’d wanted to take an entire month to contemplate the gods of the West. After the hurricane, having no home and no space (in my home or head) to contemplate the depth of mortality, that got set aside. I am still pretty bummed that I didn’t prepare even for the Mysteries, though.

This morning I spent some time listening to Important Songs on my way to work, and I let myself think about what the gods of death might have to say. I’d lamented my scattered celebration on my personal Twitter account last night, and gotten a response that the Mysteries, though dealing with death, are about life.

That’s not hugely revolutionary for me; my Father’s message has long been “Life is short, so indulge”. I’ve never spent enough time with other “death gods” to get Their perspective on that, though. This morning, I asked.

Life is short, so live with purpose.
Life is short, so live joyfully.
Life is short, so live compassionately.
Life is short, so live fully.

The answer, whatever the rationale: Life is short, so live.

My meditation today: how can I live to celebrate the sacredness of my own life?

The Mysteries Have Begun

Later today, I will be honoring Wesir’s Mysteries with several Shemsu and Remetj from the northeastern US, with dinner and ceremonies to celebrate Him. In the meantime, here are some thoughts from other people about Wesir and His mysteries:

  • Raheriwesir, a w’ab priest of Wesir in Kemetic Orthodoxy, has been writing about the Mysteries day by day. You can read his thoughts here: Day 1 and Day 2.
  • A few months back, Kemetic Reconnaissance posted a series of instructions for a Mysteries-appropriate project, beginning here, and continuing for eight separate posts.

I hope to have my own reflections to share after tonight’s ceremonies, and I hope you are all well, whether you are celebrating Wesir at this time or simply celebrating the secular holidays of the season.

The God Who Died

We are quickly approaching the Mysteries of Wesir, according to the Kemetic Orthodox calendar. The air is full of frost, the ground is cold and all around me, the trees are bare. The Lord of the Greenery will join them soon.

This holiday is bittersweet. The King of the Gods gives His life to be the King of the Dead, so that the children of the Gods who have stepped into the Duat may be protected. But to do this, He must die. He must pass through the same Mystery we all must pass through. And so His brother will take Him and kill Him.

I have to imagine that even Wesir did not know what to expect of death. Death is foreign to the Gods. It is transformative, without any hint of what will come out on the other side. That alone would be enough to terrify.

What does it mean, then, to have a God Who has died? It’s different than in Christianity, where Jesus died and then rose again. Wesir died, and established Himself as the King of the dead, rather than a resurrected God.

I will be thinking about this quite a lot, as Wesir’s festival approaches. Each year I feel a stronger pull to honor Him this time of year, so I’m very glad that