The lights in the conference room were dimmed, and in my memory candles are flickering on Her altar, though no candles were lit besides the fake ones that the venue permitted. She had come before Her people embodied; Sekhmet the Great sat before us, enthroned.
I knelt before Her, offering gestures of praise before She bade me to rise and sit with Her. We spoke together of my fears; of the things that have been holding me back. She listened. She offered quiet reassurance. And suddenly, She took up a bottle of frankincense oil, wet Her fingers with it, and placed Her hand on my head. She smiled, and I wondered what She would do.
“You are My priest,” She said, “and you are His priest.”
I smiled and sighed deeply as I realized what She had done.
Earlier in the week, myself and the other lay priests who were present at Retreat were offered the opportunity to take on legal ordination. The distinction between the two priesthoods is muddy, but the main difference is that ordained priests are responsible for pastoral duties as well as liturgical duties. We had planned to announce this formally on Nebt-het’s day, or Wep Ronpet Eve, as is typical for elevations during Retreat.
It would seem Sekhmet had other ideas. The ordination blessing is conferred via anointing with sacred oil–just as She had done. After the ceremony, a fellow priest told me that she knew what Sekhmet was doing the moment She reached for the oil. She knew I was being ordained before I did.
And here we are–I am legal clergy of the House of Netjer and Kemetic Orthodoxy. This does not, and will not change the fact that nothing written at this blog constitutes an official statement from the House of Netjer or Kemetic Orthodoxy. I will continue to share my experiences and my thoughts as they happen, without any sort of authority or official meaning. It has always brought me great joy to do so, as has serving the gods as Their priest.
Once again the year has reached its end and then its beginning, and I am returning from the House of Netjer’s annual Wep Ronpet Retreat. This year was different. Rather than being held near the House’s temple building in Illinois, the retreat was held in Portland — Oregon, not Maine, as I found I would have to clarify multiple times when talking with family and friends.
I was worried that holding our celebrations outside of a formal temple environment would diminish them, somehow. Instead, I found that it reinvigorated them. First: the Kennedy School, where we held our celebrations, was absolutely delightful. The accommodations were well-furnished and pleasant, the conference spaces were comfortable and beautiful, and the staff were respectful and even curious about our activities. In past years, we were asked to make our own arrangements for dining. This year we were served multiple meals and ate together as a group, sharing breakfast and having comfortable, easy conversation in the bright light filtering through the windows. The room where we held our pre-Retreat priests’ meeting was furnished with soft couches for everyone, for goodness’ sake!
More to the point — the gods and ancestors were present. From the moment we opened with amulet-making to the dawn rites of New Year’s morning, They made Themselves known. Sekhmet was present in Saq at Her ceremony — made even more special because it is Her year. The gods were pleased with our morning celebrations, with Ra appearing and blessing our rites. And the Ordeal of Weshem-ib went smoothly, bringing four more children of Netjer into the order of the Shemsu-Ankh.
Change is good, it would seem. And also inevitable. Change is part of being human, being mortal. Even the gods Themselves have been known to change, temporarily and permanently. I am looking forward to sharing some changes here, and making changes in my personal life and religious life. It will be good.
Happy last day of the year! The final day of the year of Heru-sa-Aset. I’ll be heading off to Retreat again as of Friday. I probably won’t be posting much here, but I’ll try to share snippets on Instagram and Twitter.
To celebrate the last day of the year, I’d like to share a playlist of some of my favorite songs for the end of the year and the beginning of the next one. Enjoy!
Wep Ronpet 2016:
- The Violet Hour – the Civil Wars
- The New Year – Death Cab for Cutie
- The Earth Isn’t Humming – Thrice
- This Year – The Mountain Goats
- Morning Has Broken – Cat Stevens
- Silent in the Morning – Phish
- Here Comes the Flood – Peter Gabriel
- Shrine – Beats Antique
- Empty Hearts – Josh Ritter
- Benedictus – Strawbs
- Get Lucky – Daft Punk
- It’s the End of the World – R.E.M.
Once again, I return from the annual Kemetic Orthodox Wep Ronpet Retreat full of energy and things to write about. I am hoping to dedicate more time to solid blogging this year, but I’ll be honest — with my final year of academic work towards my Masters, a wedding, a full-time job, and actual ritual work to do — I’ll probably be doing a lot of photoblogging and microblogging. Hopefully I can squeeze in a few juicy content posts too, as I have some really deep thoughts rattling around my head right now… but only time will tell. For now, I am just checking in to say that I am here, wishing you all the blessings that the new year has to offer. Di wep ronpet nofret! Nekhtet for Kemetic Orthodox year 22, the year of Aset.
My bag is packed and safely in the hands of airline attendants. Fellowship was had, the rites were performed; the year of Heru-sa-Aset begins. As I sit at the gate waiting for my flight home from the annual Wep Ronpet celebrations, I can feel both pangs of loss and waves of joy. Loss, because some of the dearest people to my heart will once again, for all too long, be reachable only though the Internet or by phone; joy, because I have been blessed with a week spent in fellowship with all of them.
Every year I return more invigorated, renewed in my desire to serve the Netjeru and Their people. I refocus myself. It’s almost like recalibrating my navigational systems. I adjust in small, sometimes imperceptible ways, realigning myself with the path I am taking.
It’s just about time to board, but I have much and more to say here. I just wanted to leave my note here, while the feelings are still fresh.