On June 9, 2012, we once again flocked to the New Jersey beach to lay around, goof off, and celebrate the joy of the sun. This time, some of our contingent arranged to arrive at dawn, to say good morning to Ra as He rose. Unfortunately, I will only rise before dawn for one holiday a year (Wep Ronpet), and therefore wasn’t there – but many kudos to those who were!
Apparently there was some sun before dawn, but when I arrived at the beach, it was pretty solidly overcast – and rather chilly, too.
But we made do. Nekhtet made a pretty fantastic sandcastle! I didn’t get a picture with all the little wooden bits he used for bridges and towers, unfortunately.
Once everyone arrived, we set out an image of Ra and offerings for Him!
This must have pleased Him, because after we gave Him the offerings, the sun came out! 🙂
It didn’t last forever, sadly. Ra went behind His clouds again and it started to rain later in the afternoon; we went off to a local restaurant for some dinner, and parted ways full of food and happiness. 🙂
I know we already have a myth for why the sunrise is so colorful, but I choose to believe this as well:
When the sun rises, and the uncreated lays bleeding on the horizon, broken and defeated by the Son of Nut, Ra and His daughter move into the sky, and She dances. She touches the hem of the night with Her joy, stitching in the seams of dawn with red and golden thread. She sings the clouds into a fury of color, and each step of her slender feet sends neon splashes darting over our heads. She celebrates Her father’s triumph, and sends Him to rule the day with all the beauty Her love can create.
I am particularly thinking of Bast here, but you can substitute any Eye you’d like. 🙂
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!
An old sun rises,
breaking over the buildings
and reinventing the landscape –
repainting the buildings
that sprawl and strut along the sidewalk.
The new sun stirs,
a rumbling tumult
of dreams and confusion
tangled in the old sun’s rays.
What the dawn touches is glazed
in amber, copper, gold,
mead and honey,
sweeter and lighter.
In taking in its glamor
I am overcome,
the waves of light break over me
and I am knocked to my knees,
a mouth full of wonder.
Remarkable, unimaginable –
the world fills itself
swelling with its own numinous presence.
Labyrinthine and powerful –
how perfect a thing to love in,
to give love to.
As I posted, this past Saturday I gathered with a number of local Shemsu to honor Ra with a tradition we seem to have created for Him – “Take Ra to the Beach Day”. A few years ago, some of the Shemsu in the New York tri-state area decided to get together periodically to honor a different deity we were not familiar with. In attempting to come up with something different to do, we decided to take a trip to the beach to honor Ra. It was such a wonderful time that we decided to do it again the next year – and the next after that.
The celebration is traditionally a simple one. We arrive, with beach gear in tow. We stake out a comfortable spot, and establish a small altar for Ra on a beach towel. This year we also brought along a small image of Mehet-Weret (in the picture frame, courtesy of Imyt-set’a Shefytbast) as it is Her portion of this particular Kemetic year, and we were in the presence of what is indeed a great body of water. We offer Him gifts and snacks; on His altar, there are SunChips, orange soda, a grapefruit, some oranges, some popcorn and crackers, orange juice and grapefruit soda. Then we spend the day basking in His brilliant rays – or in some cases, hiding from His burning glory under umbrellas! This year, there was even quite a bit of swimming.
Personally, I think these kinds of celebrations are wonderful. We acknowledge the presence of the gods where we are, and then enjoy Their gifts. The pretense is simple – spend time with others and enjoy their company. Stay connected to the gods through each other and through your surroundings. I hope you all find time to honor the gods in your surroundings, and in the joy they can bring. 🙂