Seeking Autumn, Seeking Wesir.

Autumn has begun here. This is the season when I feel the closest to Wesir, my Akhu, and the gods of the West. By the Kemetic Orthodox calendar, the mysteries of Wesir’s death and ascent as King of the Duat will be celebrated soon.

While I know Wesir is truly a god of green things, the rejuvenation of the earth from dirt, I connect strongly with Him as Lord of the Duat. He is the god who dies to care for the dead; the only god Who passes through the tranformative trial that every mortal passes through.

Autumn is His time with me. While I watch the leaves turn crisp, and see His green things wither for winter, I am reminded of His own gift to the people. I am reminded of my own Akhu, and their transformation through the Duat to become shining ones above.

Episode 7: Seasons and Holidays; the Kemetic Calendar

I celebrate the seasons of the year according to the festival calendar researched and compiled by Rev. Tamara Siuda – so the dates of my calendar are aligned according to the astronomical events relevant in Kemetic Orthodoxy. Other dates for similar festivals might differ!

The year, for me, begins in August, with the festival of Wep Ronpet, or the Opening of the Year. There are three seasons: Akhet (the first season), Peret (the second season) and Shomu (the third season), each with four months. There are five days at the end of the year known as the Days Upon The Year, which are days that do not belong to either year, existing in a different kind of time between the years.

There are a number of major festivals: Opet, which is a Theban festival celebrating Amun-Ra, Mut and Khonsu; the feast of the Beautiful Reunion, celebrating the marriage of Heru and Hethert; the Beautiful Feast of the Valley, celebrating the ancestors and the Theban triad. There are some minor festivals that have become fairly beloved in Kemetic Orthodoxy: Aset Luminous, a feast of Aset, Mother of God; The Feast of the Establishment of the Celestial Cow (or “Moomas”), celebrating Nut and Hethert; the seasonal feasts of the Eye of Ra, as She flees South.

Even as I am so far from the land of the gods I serve, I am immersed in the rhythm of its festivals. Right now, we are approaching the feast of the mysteries of Wesir. This is a solemn festival of the death of the God Wesir and His establishment in the Duat as judge and lord of the Akhu. I have never been very in touch with Wesir, but even I feel the appropriateness in this festival; as the leaves turn brown and fall away, the greenness of the land dissolves – the lord of the green growth, the lord of fertility, prepares to die. As He is established in the West, the green returns.

As the days grow colder, I am reminded of the cycle of the Eye of Ra as She now turns toward the South, gracing them with Her light until She returns in the Spring. At the summer solstice, She flees, leaving each day growing shorter and colder without Her light. At the winter solstice, She begins Her return, and the days grow longer as She moves closer to us.

I have found that the best way to celebrate a Western land in a Kemetic context is to remember the spirit of the seasons – in seasons of abundance, growth and heat. To meditate on all of these things at the appropriate times, and to honor them each in turn. The festivals that occur throughout the year may or may not have relevance in my life; the major ones do, for sure, but I’m not so sure about all of the minor ones. I’m taking the calendar step by step, to be honest – if you’ve ever seen the Kemetic festival calendar, with a holiday every friggin’ day, you know it’s all you can do.

Cast in a New Light

Well, today was the first full day of winter. The winter solstice was sort of a poignant holiday for me this year. I was keenly aware

Looks like Wepwawet wants some light too.
Looks like Wepwawet wanted some light here, too.

of the change of seasons this year – the days growing darker during the Mysteries of Wesir (late November), as the son of Nut and father of Heru dies and takes His throne in the Duat. I reflected on death. God has died. This God, unlike Jesus, stays dead. He stays dead because the ancestors living there need a King. Now that’s love, if you ask me– I’m sure He could come back to life just fine if He really wanted, but he doesn’t. And the world is dark, and getting darker. The plants are dying, everything is cast in a cold, hard shadow. And then, in the middle of winter, there is light. The solstice signifies the return of the Eye of Ra, who has wandered to the South. At this time, She turns back to us, and is bringing Her light back to us. She is carrying with Her a new light, a growing light, to warm and brighten the Nation. We have spent some time contemplating the darkness of the death of Wesir and now, we once again return to a place of joy and celebration, illuminated with Her love.

This past weekend, I celebrated a festival of Bast with some local Shemsu. We sang, lit candles, and played sistra for the Perfumed One. The quiet fellowship, the solemn ritual and the joyful song and dance renewed my faith with great fervor. I stepped from that time of quiet, dark contemplation, and into a light of joy and fellowship with my brothers and sisters in the faith. I had some deep, burning questions answered by Bast, through a little bit of informal fortune cookie divination. But most of all, I remember what I love most about this religion. Not the stories, though they are intricate and beautiful, not the making of offerings and the reverence, but the pure delight of being in the presence of God alongside others who share in that joy. It is one thing to stand before one’s altar and sing and dance, but to do it with others with no fear of feeling foolish– that is one of the single greatest things I have ever experienced. I vowed as I left to invigorate my spiritual practices– well,  just as soon as my sinuses de-stuffed from sleeping with four cats.

I really do feel as though I am cast in a new light, and I look forward to the experiences I will be sharing in light (pun intended) of this.