Go Team Wepwawet!

So here’s the thing… you know that jackal-headed guy?

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No, not him — that’s Anubis (or Yinepu, or Anoup, or Anpu, or… you get the idea).

This guy! This is Wepwawet. Sometimes you might hear him called Upwawet, or Upwaut, or Upuat, or even just Wpwwt. And he’s kind of a big deal.

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His name means “Opener of Ways”, and that can be interpreted in a lot of different ways. A lot. Sometimes it means opening the way for the dead.

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Sometimes it means opening the way for the military, being carried on a standard.

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Sometimes there’s even TWO of him, that’s how important he is.

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He has associations with legitimizing the king’s reign through this thing called the Sed festival. He also makes sure the king gets to the right place in the afterlife. Here he is hangin’ with his BFF, Seti I.

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He looks pretty much like any other jackal-headed deity, to be honest. He gets confused with Anubis/Yinepu/Anpu/etc. quite a lot.  It’s a little confusing, especially when they show up in the same place from time to time.

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He’s  got some bitchin’ nicknames, too. Some people call him He Who Possesses the Two Lands in Triumph. Some people call him Lord of Carnage. Others call him Lord of Joy. (He’s got a pretty good reputation.)

teamwepwawet_zpsl8quoalgSo why am I raving about this most excellent dude? Well, every year the House of Netjer holds a contest as a fundraiser. It’s almost like the Penny Wars, if you ever played those in high school or summer camp. The goal is to collect the most votes for your team. Each vote is a small donation (in this case, anything over $1), limit 1 per day. Don’t forget to write that you’re voting for Wepwawet in the donation notes!

This year, I am pushing HARD to get Himself a spot in the winners’ circle. Don’t you think he deserves it?

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I mean, look at that face.

#TeamWepwawet – let’s get this done!

(You can check the leaderboard here!)

Beware the Pigeon-Hole!

I recently had lunch with a handful of friends for the sake of discussing Wepwawet. It felt good to really dig into a conversation about Him with others who were interested in really engaging — something I’ve missed. I’ve held back from writing about all but my most outstanding experiences with Him over the past few years. I haven’t felt like my perspective was worth sharing, nor did I feel it would be well-received. So I kept quiet. In sharing at lunch, however, I was reminded that even those I consider well-versed in Jackal lore enjoy a good conversation — so I’ll give it a go.

I think we are coming dangerously close to pigeon-holing Wepwawet as “God of Opening the Way”.

Yes, that’s what His name literally translates to — but there’s much more than that. He is connected with the legitimization of the rule of the King; with transforming the King into a royal akh after death; with guiding the dead and opening the mouth; with war and victory; and more. He can be called the First Son and is often associated with Heru-sa-Aset, especially as Heru-Nedjitef, or Avenger of His Father.

It’s important to acknowledge that our gods are multifaceted and complex. Hethert, for example, is a goddess of love and women, but also of the dead and the afterlife. Set is the storm and the Outsider, but also the champion of Ra. Bast is a goddess of creativity and joy, but also a fierce protector and a powerful Eye of Ra. Even if we never need Wepwawet to connect us with the royal ancestors, or to authorize the King to rule*, or to guide us into war, it’s important to acknowledge that this is a part of His work. We don’t pigeon-hole our friends and family, and it would serve us not to do the same to the gods.

* if you’re Kemetic Orthodox like I am, you do need this part of Him!

 

A Prayer. 

A prayer I wrote to my gods recently, as I commuted to my internship site. Feel free to adapt for your own use with your own gods and ancestors. 

O Father mine,
unlock the doors of my heart and mind
that I may walk fully with others.
O Mother mine,
place your fire in my voice and heart
that I may bear your strength and compassion.
O Perfumed Protector,
grant me your softness and warmth.
O Vault of Heaven,
grant me your infinite patience.
O Crescent Moon,
grant me your sharpness of mind.
O Starry Dead,
grant me the wealth of your history.
I do this work always in Your service,
furnished by Your love.