December 28, 2013

The power of primordial Wenut, or, why I’ve been quiet here lately

Posted in Creative Fire, Doing Heka, Netjeru, On Writing, Thoughts and Reflections at 3:33 pm by

Around the middle of October, I performed a predawn ritual for the Saq-Khmun festival. The focus of the ritual was on a primordial form of Wenut, Wenut at the time of creation — a UPG/inspiration “discovery,” so I have no idea whether there’s any connection to ancient Kemetic myth or practice, but, well, She is definitely a Force. As I described in the earlier post, the ritual was designed to evoke creative energy and to help me get back to writing. And that energy came, all right, but I made two major mistakes: I didn’t have a specific project in mind into which to channel that energy, just a nebulous desire to do something; and I hadn’t addressed what was blocking me from writing. So there was this tremendous surge of creative force that had nowhere to go. I ended up driving around that afternoon for two aimless hours, then went home and went completely mental for the rest of that month. I’m not terribly proud of that period.

At around the same time as I conceived of the ritual, I commissioned a pair of statues from Nicolas of Shadow of the Sphinx, a primordial Wenut and an apotropaic/Eye of Ra Wenut. It took about a month and a half for us to work out all the details and the statues to be completed; they arrived at the end of November, and on December 1 I welcomed them home with offerings. During the time they were being worked on, I was in a sort of retreat, concentrating on rest and on clearing the way of all kinds of anxiety and overwhelm. By the time they got here, I was poking at some story ideas. And I knew that having invited primordial Wenut into my home, I was going to have to engage with Her power in a more constructive way.

This was confirmed when I did a Wepwawet Stone Oracle reading for myself around the end of November. I’d been having that feeling of being stuck in my life, and I asked Him, What should I do about this? Is there Someone I should talk to? How can I move forward? And the reading…could not have been more explicit if glowing words had appeared on the divining cloth. Only one stone landed in the main part of the cloth: the ben-ben, the primordial mound of creation, face down, signifying blocked creativity, lying where Tefnut and Shu, the heart and the mind, are reunited and seek reconciliation. The other four stones all drift in the Nun, the sea of possibility, not currently manifest: the journey toward sweetness (sun barque near Nefertem), perfection’s becoming (four near Khepera), the constructive engagement with the critic-shadow (ibis face down near ram-headed Ra), the fulfillment of service (copper near Atum).

 
Picture of the stone cast (click for larger version).

 
Well. So that was where I committed myself, that writing had to be my priority. And since then, and since Wenut came home to me, I’ve been working, making real progress for the first time in…I can’t even remember how long.

(When I say “writing,” what I mean is not the songs, the rituals, the blog posts, which are all certainly writing and worthwhile creative endeavors. I mean fiction writing, the dance with the characters, the sharing of their stories, that kind of falling in love.)

I’ve been on part-time priest service for the last couple of months while I figured all of this out. And I’ve been trying to work out where my service is going to go from here.

Even before this whole journey of crash and burn and renewal, I had known this: that if for some reason I could absolutely not do both and had to choose one, writing or priestwork, I would choose writing. Some people would probably say that this makes me a terrible and unworthy priest of Bast. But it is what it is. Bast knows, and She has not ever judged me for this. Writing is my service to Her too; She who subsists on joy is made glad by that which brings me joy.

But I want to try to balance them. I truly do. (And I’m not really sure why it’s so hard.)

So for right now, I’m seeing how well I can maintain with part-time priest service and with intensive writing taking place mainly on the weekends. (Of course, I’m off-pure at the moment, so the balance issue is less immediately pressing.) If I can manage to get back to full-time service that would be a plus, but I’m not going to stress out over it.

I’m looking forward to this upcoming year; I think 2014 is going to be a turn-around point for me. It’s definitely going to be dedicated to finishing at least one novel-length original fiction work. (And some long-abandoned but fun fanfiction works as well.) FYI, I do my writing progress reports and other related babble on my Livejournal, if you’re at all curious, though I only started posting there again recently.

So anyway — here’s to a year of creativity!

Dua Wenut in Your Name of Lady of the First Time! Nekhtet!

 
My two commissioned Wenut statues. Primordial Wenut: head of a lion, ears of a hare, body of a snake, coiled about the egg of creation. Apotropaic Wenut: lion-headed woman with the ears of a hare, carnelian sun disk, and uraeus, holding a knife. There are more and better pictures at Nicolas’s store. He has done some amazing work, but I think he really outdid himself here.

October 20, 2013

Saq-Khmun (and cautionary note)

Posted in Doing Heka, Festivals at 6:41 pm by

Shrine for the Saq-Khmun festival, as it would have looked during the ritual. (The photo was actually taken afterward.)

 
The shrine in better lighting. The eight stones around the large bowl of water represent the members of the Ogdoad; there are frogs and snakes drawn on them.

 
Early Saturday morning, before dawn, I performed a ritual for the festival of Saq-Khmun, the “Appearance of the Eight,” honoring the Ogdoad of Hermopolis. My take on the festival, however, focused heavily on Wenut, who was also connected with Hermopolis; there was a lot of abstruse UPG involved. It was meant as a sort of Zep Tepi moment, a new beginning and an evocation of creative energy, since one of my current goals is to get back to writing more.

The ritual ended, I felt fantastic, bursting with energy, ready to take on the world, or at the very least my various writing projects…and then over the next couple of days I went completely off the rails mentally and emotionally.

Now, this could just be my regular cycle coming around, as I periodically suffer from anxiety and depression. But it could also be that I tapped into something potent here that I was not really prepared to deal with. (And this possibility tends to confirm for me that my decision not to post the actual text of the ritual here was probably wise….)

I don’t regret doing the ritual, despite the possible consequences. In fact, in a weird way, I’m looking forward to the post-crash analysis and recovery process; I think various Gods and I may be having some interesting conversations in the near future. But this seems like a good moment to say, for the sake of any readers who don’t already know this: Heka is powerful. Be careful.

/end public service announcement

March 17, 2013

Onion Day 2013

Posted in Being Kemetic, Cats, Doing Heka, Festivals at 8:32 pm by

It’s been a couple of weeks since our get-together for the Day of Chewing Onions for Bast, so I figured I was overdue to post a few photographs, for anyone who might be curious.

 
The first step in the festivities was adorning the house jackal with green ribbons.

 
He got an offering too.

 
Bast, of course, got many more offerings. It being Her day and all.

 
We created “onions” — notecards with onions drawn on the outside and a list of things to purge from our lives on the inside — to be given to Bast for Her to devour.

 
We also wrote prayers on green ribbons, which would later be tied to Her statue.

 
Prayers and offerings finished, we burned the “onions,” delivering them up to Bast.

 
My queen cat, Meera, watches the goings on.

 
A demonstration of my new Bast oracle followed.

 
Afterward, we carried Bast’s statue in procession to the back garden.

 
Sobeq offers incense and Mose pours water.

 
Bast, adorned with all our prayers.

 
Dua Bast!

*Not shown: the eating of the Bloomin’ Onion.

(Thanks to Imti for taking all the photos!)

November 15, 2012

Protection from the storm

Posted in Cats, Doing Heka, Rituals, Songs, Poetry, and Prayers at 1:48 pm by

A prayer to Set before Superstorm Sandy:

Dua Set, great of thunder!
Hail to You, noble Lord of Storms!
May You shelter us under Your arm.
O Set, think of the kittens!
May You protect us today and every day.

 

 

Yes, I actually did this. What can I say? Inspiration or ridiculousness — in any case, we came through the storm with nothing worse than inconvenience.

September 12, 2012

Saq Bast Ankh-tawy

Posted in Doing Heka, Festivals at 9:57 pm by

For last night’s festival, the Appearance of Bast Ankh-tawy, I:

– brought flowers and a statue of Bast to the table for dinner
– cleaned (not as much as I wanted to, since I didn’t have enough time, but at least I made the effort)
– bathed my garden statue of Bast and brought Her inside to guard my shrine room door and to watch over us during the dark months of the year
– did the State Rite, offering the flowers and a pair of lemon tarts for the festival
– performed a purification/protection/prosperity ritual, which involved circumambulating the inside of my house four times (I really need to clean the basement)

I was very tired by the end of it. But it was good.

Hail to You, Lady of the Life of the Two Lands! O Strong Lady, great protector, may You watch over us all! Dua Bast!

June 25, 2011

The year’s end and the power of heka

Posted in Being Kemetic, Doing Heka at 10:11 am by

In a previous post, I mentioned the chaos of the end of the year. The idea is that as the year winds down, things everywhere begin to unravel, including in our personal lives. This disarray reaches its peak in the five epagomenal days, the Days upon the Year that stand outside the rest of the Kemetic calendar. In myth, Nut was forbidden from giving birth to her children on any day of the year; feeling sympathy for her, Djehuty gambled with the moon and won five extra days upon which Nut’s children could be born: Wesir, Heru-wer, Set, Aset, and Nebt-het. These days, being outside the year, and further being a time of birth (always fraught with peril), are considered to be both extraordinary and dangerous. Typically we make amulets at each New Year’s retreat, to help protect us from the demons of plague, ill luck, and despair that haunt the year’s end.

In any case, after making that other post, I found myself regretting it. How am I staying in the moment when I’m pining for the next season? Far better to remain present and to deal with what is. So the other night I asked Bast for some heka that I could use to protect myself. I wanted to exercise my own strength against any threat to my well-being, especially to my inner, spiritual well-being, so that I can better live in the now, without fear or sadness.

She granted my desire, and I wish I could share what she gave me, because it was awesome, and I can already feel its effectiveness. And I think a large part of the experience’s power came from the fact that instead of asking for Her to step in and help me, to save me, I asked for the means to help myself. Clearly I need to do more heka.

Dua Bast! Your words are Your heka, and Your magic is great! May You bless me with Your wisdom, now and always.