Matine

When you wake quietly
(Very quietly, mind you,
with all the rush of the still wind
passing over a night-bird’s wings)
and step outside at dawn,
you can hear the song of Ra
as He ascends into the sky;
you can feel the play of His rays
on your skin chiming like music
as they shudder and shine on your bare arms.
Ra rises like a fire in the sky.
Ra rises like a great gold eye,
the round eye of the hawk,
the round eye of the uraeus;
Ra rises like the great gold eye.
Smiling as He shifts and changes
from the stillness and night
into the life, in to the light
and shining chorus of day,
He blesses His children
as we greet him with stretches and prayer.

My New Gods.

No, this is not a post about getting new Gods. This is a post about the same old Gods, seen a new way; little snippets of life with the Precious Two in this year of Zep Tepi.

I have always thought of myself as a servant to my Gods; as a conduit for Their work in this world. Now it seems They’re starting to call me on this, asking me to bow, showing Themselves in a different light.

Most of my brothers and sisters in Wepwawet, for example, find that He doesn’t prefer a lot of bowing and scraping from them. Lately, I find that He demands it. That I bow before Him, and submit myself to Him as subject and servant to His lordship. I had a conversation recently with one, who said that she had been explicitly told in shrine NOT to fully bow before Him. After I mentioned His recent demands, she tried some more bowing. It did not go over well. Me, I feel Him pressing me down to the floor, and I bow.

I kneel before Their shrine, looking up at Their faces lit only by candlelight, and am totally swept away. Sure, I thought Their images were beautiful, but They have taken on an extra beauty now– the beauty of something incredibly powerful: a raging fire, a roaring beast. Of course They were always powerful, but now I am pressed right against that power, my nose right up against the glass dividing us from blinding, divine might.

I am captivated by Their immense magnificence; on Their intense power and beauty. They are the Gods before Whom I fall in awe of Their glory, the Gods Who bring the light to the dawn, Who shine brighter than all the Gods. I have been translating many of Mut’s epithets from the Lexikon der ägyptischen Götter und Götterbezeichnungen. Many of her epithets give testament to Her radiance, to Her magnificence. She is called “Die Mächtige und Prächtige” – the Magnificent and Powerful. There is something striking in that epithet. Magnificent, resplendent, glory enthroned – and power beyond power, to make kings and shatter lives.

Our relationship had been casually loving, at most; words of encouragement, requests, gentle shoves in one direction or another, and the occasional brain-breaking message from the Unseen. Now my New Gods are Here. Now. Demanding, pushing, roaring in my face. And I will, too – roar Their song against the night with Them.

And so it goes.

The sun is beginning to set as I write this; it will officially begin to set in about an hour, but the sky is all mottled with colorful clouds and the sun is big and heavy in the West.

Today is the last day of the Kemetic year, and we begin to enter into a time known as the “Days Upon the Year”, or the Epagomenal Days – the Birthdays of the Five Children of Nut: Wesir (August 2nd), Heru-wer (August 3rd), Set (August 4th), Aset (August 5th), and Nebethet (August 6th). At dawn on August 7th, we begin the new year. These Days Upon the Year are a time between time; days outside the cycle. They are weird, and they are very, very special. I am looking forward to greeting each of them meditatively.

This year, known as Year 16 in Kemetic Orthodoxy, was ruled by Ra and Khnum, and was a year of Creation. It was a very, very hard year for me – mostly, because of the lessons I had to learn. Creation, for one, does not necessarily equal Completion. In fact, it RARELY means completion. I spent a lot of time starting projects, to have them last long term throughout the year. While the Oracle, given to the Kemetic Orthodox faith by Aset through divination, for Year 15 spoke bluntly of being forced to see Truth if we resisted it, Year 17 spoke more subtly. We would be forced to love ourselves, to build with our own hands – or we would reap what we had sown. It said it gently, with deep love – but with an underlying sternness that proved exhausting, to me. I have difficulty trusting my ability to begin projects, and leave them to run their course. I have difficulty allowing myself to express myself – feeling that there are so many others who would be better suited for any position I am filling. In the Oracle we were explicitly instructed NOT to do these things – and I fell into my old habits. My attention was drawn, time and painful time again, to the Lessons of the Year – allow your Creativity. Love yourself. Respect yourself. Build something worthy, with faith for bricks and joy for mortar.

Is this a failure? No, and it has taken me a long while to accept that. It’s all a part of the lesson. Even though I forged against the current through the year, and fell down and stumbled and staggered about – I’m still standing. Nekhtet! May my heart be more open in Year 17 – to the lessons of the Year, among other things.

Time to hold on for the next 5 days, keep my head above water – and let Zep Tepi wash over me with the sunrise on New Year’s Morning.

Zep Tepi: Starting Over.

Today is February 18th, 2008, and I’m starting over. I’ve started blogs about Kemetic things before, never to much success. I tried to make them very formal, very academic. It got to be too much of an effort. I tried to write out full-fledged essays before I published them on my blog, making it very difficult to accomplish anything at all. I’ve decided to toss that idea away, and make a blog that is interesting and personal. I want to make a blog that is nothing but my thoughts, feelings and experiences. I’m starting that right now, with the most appropriate topic of which I can think: Zep Tepi.

One of the most beautiful concepts in Kemet is that of Zep Tepi, the First Occasion, or First Time. I’ve learned a lot about Zep Tepi in my conversations with Rev. Siuda (AUS). Zep Tepi is the act of the creation of the universe and everything in it, the moment at which Atum begat Shu and Tefnut, the moment at which Ptah spoke the world into being, the moment at which the great egg arose from the Nun and gave forth Ra. It is the time at which everything in all of creation is new and clean, free from the touches of Apep (the Uncreated, the force of all wickedness and evil beyond comprehension) and isfet (pure, willful wickedness), free from the mistakes its inhabitants might have made. Tabula rasa, if you wish. All potential and possibility exists in that moment, the possibility of reinvention of oneself, the potential to achieve one’s dreams more fully, the ability to change those things which seem less-than-favorable about oneself. How often do we wish we could have that all the time? Goodness knows, it would be nice to look at the world and call it our canvas.

That’s a funny thing, you see: we can. Zep Tepi occurs constantly. In addition to occurring singly, in linear time (djet) at the beginning of the universe, Zep Tepi occurs repeatedly in cyclical time (neheh). Every year, at sunrise on Wep Ronpet, the Kemetic New Year, Zep Tepi occurs again, in the Unseen world, allowing the world a chance to start over, renewing all that is within creation and everything that exists — And that’s just the most obvious occurrence. Zep Tepi is much more than just the beginning of the Kemetic year. Zep Tepi occurs every month, with the beginning of the month, every week with the beginning of the week. Zep Tepi occurs every sunrise, when Ra rises over the horizon just as He did the very first time He arose, shedding the same light as He did in that First Zep Tepi, when the Uncreated lays slain in its blood on the horizon and isfet is no more for a brief time. Every day, we are renewed; we are given the chance to try again, to start over. We are constantly given the opportunity to reinvent ourselves: to chase that dream, to change that behavior, to fix that mistake and keep on moving.

It can be taken one step further; to say that at every moment that a measure of cyclical time (week, day, hour, etc.) comes to it’s beginning again, we are reminded of this recreation, so that every tiny second, the universe is churning and full of the power of creation and life. That is a stretch, as the primary marker of Zep Tepi is the sunrise and thus truly, Zep Tepi really only occurs once a day, but it is an interesting thing to ponder, and a good way to feel full and brimming with life.

Zep Tepi is more than just a pretty concept to keep us going; in the Unseen world, it is fact. Creation is re-created every new day. It is a blessing that (I feel) is priceless. Every day, when I see Ra in the sky for the first time that day – be it through clouds or unfiltered in the wide, blue sky – I say a silent, thankful prayer. There are many beautiful blessings in this world, it’s true, but I think this power is the greatest, and the best to put to use.

May you be well,

Sobeq