January 2, 2014

The Procession of Set and His Shemsu

Posted in Festivals, Rituals, Songs, Poetry, and Prayers at 6:59 pm by

Sharing pizza with the Lord of Storms during the Procession of Set and His Shemsu, on the eve of Winter Storm Hercules.

 

He got a song, too. (My microphone is still pretty awful; sorry.)

Dua Set!

March 27, 2013

Ritual for the Feast of Set, Lord of the Oasis

Posted in Festivals, Rituals, Songs, Poetry, and Prayers at 9:24 am by

 
Notes and references follow the ritual. For copyright reasons, placeholder text is used for the incense-lighting prayer; if you don’t have access to the source text, use your own preferred prayer.

Advance warnings: This ritual is based on northern hemisphere seasons and is very UPG. Also includes sexual symbolism.

 

Ritual for the Feast of Set, Lord of the Oasis

Day One, The Pacification of Set

 
Establish two shrines, one for libations and one for Set.

Prepare the “milk of Bast.”* One portion is to be in a glass for offering; the rest in a bowl, with a small red taper candle standing in the center. The milk should be deep enough that the candle flame will eventually be submerged as it burns down.

Make the four-fold libation, as in Senut.

 
Upon the shrine of Set, light flame and incense.
[Lighting incense prayer from Siuda, p. 22]

 
Light the red candle in the bowl of milk.

 
Reading: The Pacification of Set
[see separate file]

 
Words to be spoken while offering the milk of Bast.
Here is Your milk, O Set!
Here is Your sweetness, O Red One!
The Lady of Per-Bast has come to You
in Her name of Mistress of Joy.

 
Song: Lord of the Northern Sky
     Lord of the Northern Sky,
     wearing the crown of winter,
     far to the south Ra’s Eye
     is walking the road in Her season,
     bringing the summer,
     bringing the sun’s light.

     When will You cease Your raging,
     soldier of many battles,
     where is the end of fighting
     when everything has been forgotten
     except for the struggle,
     the thunder and iron.

     Look, here She comes, the Mistress of Joy,
     bringing You sweetness, bringing You love.
     Look, here She comes, Her hands full of pleasure.
     Taste Her milk, close Your eyes.

     Lord of the Northern Sky
     for whom the whole world trembles,
     let go the snow and ice,
     lay down Your mighty scepter.
     Lord of the Northern Sky,
     dream of a desert wind.
     Lie down and sleep for a while
     until the new day.

     And when You waken
     a thousand flowers bloom.

 
Spend time in celebration while partaking of the offering.

 
Words to be spoken when the red candle has been extinguished.
You are pacified, O Set, Lord of Thunder!
You are pacified, O Set, Great of Strength!
May You look upon us with kindness when You awaken,
satisfied like Hethert on the field of Iunu.

 
Lay the image of Set down upon His back on the shrine.

 
To be whispered.
Dua Set!

 
Remove spent offerings but keep the shrine up until the next day.

 

*The Milk of Bast (White Russian recipe)
2 oz vodka
1 oz coffee liqueur
light cream
Pour vodka and coffee liqueur over ice cubes in an old-fashioned glass. Fill with light cream and serve. (Note: You may need to increase the amounts depending on the size of your bowl.)

 
Ritual for the Feast of Set, Lord of the Oasis
Day Two, The Day of Feasting

 
Place flowers upon the shrine; present an offering meal; sing songs and give praises; ask Set for an oracle.

Dua Set!

 


 

Notes

This is one of the festivals that I’ve celebrated most consistently over the last few years, but this is the first year I wrote up and performed a detailed ritual for it. My take on the festival is that it marks the end of the winter storms in my area and thus is a time to honor Set, to thank Him for sparing us from His wrath in the previous season, and to celebrate the changing weather and emerging flowers. (See some previous thoughts on the subject.) This year I further elaborated on it by bringing Bast into the mix to help explain Set’s mellowing mood; the result is the modern myth of “The Pacification of Set,” inspired by a line from Borghouts. (See the story itself for more details.)

I did not in fact ask for an oracle from Set on the second evening; I was really tired, and it slipped my mind. I did, however, “wassail” my early-spring-flowering trees and shrubs with the leftover “milk” from the bowl, with the words, “The Lord of Thunder is pacified. He comes to you as the Lord of the Oasis.”

(See pictures of the festivities!)

Edited to add: I was lucky enough to have a couple of volunteers to help “beta-test” this ritual, and Saryt has posted her experience here!

 
References

Borghouts, J. F, trans. 1978. Ancient Egyptian Magical Texts. Leiden: E. J. Brill. Google Books preview: http://books.google.com/books/about/Ancient_Egyptian_Magical_Texts.html?id=9f8UAAAAIAAJ.

Siuda, Tamara L. 2009. The Ancient Egyptian Prayerbook. New Lenox, IL: Stargazer Design.

March 25, 2013

Administrivia: Another song update

Posted in Administrivia, Rituals, Songs, Poetry, and Prayers at 8:34 am by

Update on the song site:

Lord of the Northern Sky, for Set, based on a very UPG modern myth (I’ll probably post the myth here eventually);
Set Heart, also for Set, an older song;
Song for Ma’ahes, just written over the weekend (it’s funny that I don’t have more of a connection with Ma’ahes, considering He’s a son of Bast, but there you go);
Tyet Song, for Aset.

March 9, 2013

Administrivia: Four (mostly) new songs

Posted in Administrivia, Rituals, Songs, Poetry, and Prayers at 10:26 pm by

Four new songs are up on the song blog:

Lady of Purity, for Wenut, inspired by my Senut for the Seven Arrows;
The Purification of Bast, a theme that’s fascinated me for a long time;
River Song — oh, this song is so old; I wrote it years ago and originally wanted to “debut” it on a trip to Egypt before releasing it, but realistically I’m not going to Egypt again any time soon, so I figured I would just post it and be done; and
Sa Bast, for Khonsu-Heru, also inspired by the Senut for the Seven Arrows and used in the Full Moon Ritual for Khonsu-Heru.

February 26, 2013

Full Moon Ritual for Khonsu-Heru

Posted in Festivals, Netjeru, Rituals, Songs, Poetry, and Prayers at 12:48 am by

 
Notes and references follow the ritual. For copyright reasons, placeholder text is used for a couple of prayers; if you don’t have access to the source text, use your preferred flame and incense prayers.

 

Full Moon Ritual for Honoring Khonsu-Heru as the Young King of the Gods

 
Light candle and incense.

[Lighting incense prayer from Siuda, 22]

[Lighting fire prayer from Siuda, 111]

 
Pour a libation of cool water.

 
Song: Sa Bast
     Nefer neb, sa Bast,
     shining like the plume of Ma’at!
     Sa Bast, neb awt-ib,
     Khonsu-Heru, You make us live!
     Lift our hearts so that we might live!

 
Words to be spoken.

O great disk who illuminates the Two Lands, You are Ra of Upper and Lower Egypt.
You rejuvenated yourself that you might go forth upon the lotus in the pool.
You are the living body, the son of your mother, who goes forth upon the lotus
to travel in accordance with ma’at to the place where Your majesty is.

Khonsu-Heru, son of Bast, rise up and take Your two crowns!
Khonsu-Heru, master of joy, rise up and take Your was scepter!
Khonsu-Heru, young King of the Gods, adorned in white linen,
You shine like Djehuty, You shine like Geb, You shine like Ra.
Your barque sails forth upon the river of stars;
it carries You across the sky.
All things come to fulfillment at Your glorious appearance
in Your name of Khonsu-Heru-Tem.

 
Perform your own contemplations or devotions here.

 
O Khonsu-Heru, may You be satisfied with what is before You!
May Your heart be refreshed; may Your ka be pleased.
Dua Khonsu-Heru — nekhtet!

 
It is come to an end, as shown in writing.

 


 

So. I don’t know how useworthy anyone else will find this ritual or my thoughts on it, given that I’m just about the only person involved with this particular, rather obscure syncretism, and that both God and ritual are enmeshed in my own still-evolving, very-Bast-centric theogeny and ritual calendar. But it might be of some interest, either as a work in itself or as an example of how one person starts from traditional material to create a new religious ritual.

 
Historical

Khonsu-Heru appears to be a relatively late syncretism; He was well known in the Third Intermediate Period and into the Ptolemaic Period (Cruz-Uribe, 186). He was identified as a son of Bast on a naos shrine from Per-Bast (Spencer, 41) and was the fourth of the Seven Arrows of Bast (Rondot, 267). Another attestation is on the gate of Ptolemy III Euergetes at the Temple of Khonsu in Karnak, where He appears as “the left eye who unites with the right eye in the horizon…who takes [the sun’s] place, when [the sun] enters into his mother (Nut)” — in other words, as the moon-son who assumes the role of his sun-father and becomes the king of the Gods in his own right (Kaper, 191-92). In a sense, Khonsu-Heru stands at a point of mythological fusion of the Amun-Mut-Khonsu and Wesir-Aset-Heru triads: Khonsu receives the crown of His father Amun just as Heru-sa-Aset is the heir to the throne of Wesir (Cruz-Uribe, 185-86, 189).

 
Creative

The main prayer of the ritual above turns on this idea of Khonsu-Heru coming into His full power and majesty with the appearance of the full moon, and adds a salting of Bast to the mixture as well. The first part (“O great disk…”) is an adaption of text from a Ptolemaic offering scene featuring Khonsu-Heru (Cruz-Uribe, 174); changes to the original translation include a shift from third-person to second-person, a substitution of “son of his father” to “son of Your mother,” and some general reworking (and/or cherrypicking) of sentences and transitions to help smooth out the poetry. This portion evokes the glory of the lunar disk, restored to its fullness and identified with Ra.

The second part is my own original text and focuses on the attributes of royalty and purity (crowns, scepter, linen; Gods associated with rulership) as Khonsu-Heru becomes King and sets out on His metaphorical and nonmetaphorical journey across the sky (i.e., both the to-be-continued story of His coming reign and the celestial travels of the moon-barque). Ultimately I address Him as Khonsu-Heru-Tem, Khonsu-Heru the Complete One, who has reached the pinnacle of his power and attainment.

The epithets in the song “Sa Bast” (also written by me) are: nefer neb (beautiful lord), sa Bast (son of Bast), and neb awt-ib (lord of joy).

 
Personal

One of the things I struggled with for a long time as a Kemetic was what to do about the moon. So many lunar Gods! I couldn’t figure out who I was supposed to talk to when I looked up and saw the moon in the sky. Djehuty, Khonsu, Wesir, Heru…none of them felt quite right.

Related to this, I wanted very much to do something to celebrate the new and full moons (it’s traditional!), but because I was having difficulty identifying with a moon God, there was no context, and nothing clicked. (Yes, the restoration of the Eye of Heru is a Big Thing, but I don’t have a particular connection with Heru-sa-Aset — or Heru-wer, depending on your mythology — so while it was all very symbolic, it just didn’t have a deeply personal meaning for me.)

What a change when I stumbled across a mention of Khonsu-Heru, lunar God and son of Bast! My vague but unrooted attraction to Khonsu suddenly hooked up with Bast-the-sun-and-center-of-my-life, and all of a sudden we were in business. Moon falcon, white lion, young bull of the Gods, youthful king in the first glorious fullness of His strength — the electric thrill of bright lunar energy blazing against a black sky, excitement, inspiration, the push to accomplish great things — a cool fire, both healing and invigorating, uncompromising but nevertheless gentle — the son of Bast-of-the-sun-and-stars, of the fiery Eye. Wow!

So finally, after taking a little while to get to know Him better (although I still have so, so far to go on that score), I was ready to write my full moon ritual. The result is what you see here.

And as a final note, as I was walking to a mid-day appointment today, I heard a hawk crying out overhead, and I looked up to see it circling above me. I was amused, given that I’d just been working on this ritual only minutes beforehand, so I began to talk about it to the hawk, addressing it as if it were Khonsu-Heru. It continued to circle as I spoke, still calling.

“Are you satisfied with what I’ve done?” I asked at last, and the hawk turned in the smallest imaginable circle — nearly pivoting on one wingtip — directly above my head.

I think I’ll take that as a positive response.

(Now for the new moon ritual.)

 
References

Cruz-Uribe, Eugene. 1994. “The Khonsu Cosmology.” Journal of the American Research Center in Egypt 31: 169-189. Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40000676.

Kaper, Olaf E. 1995. “The Astronomical Ceiling of Deir el-Haggar in the Dakhleh Oasis.” The Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 81: 175-195. Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3821814.

Rondot, Vincent. 1989. “Une Monographie Bubastite.” Bulletin de l’Institut Français d’Archéologie Orientale 89: 249-270. Available online at http://www.ifao.egnet.net/bifao/Bifao089_art_17.pdf.

Siuda, Tamara L. 2009. The Ancient Egyptian Prayerbook. New Lenox, IL: Stargazer Design.

Spencer, Neal. 2006. A Naos of Nekhthorheb from Bubastis: Religions Iconography and Temple Building in the 30th Dynasty. London: The British Museum. Available online at http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/publications/research_publications_series/research_publications_online/a_naos_of_nekhthorheb.aspx.

 

January 9, 2013

Udjat song update

Posted in Administrivia, Creative Fire, Festivals, Rituals, Songs, Poetry, and Prayers at 9:27 pm by

And I actually recorded and posted the “Singing for the Udjat” song today. In time for the festival, even.

Songs and the Procession for Singing

Posted in Administrivia, Creative Fire, Festivals, On Writing, Rituals, Songs, Poetry, and Prayers at 10:11 am by

The light is already visibly increasing, the sun rising earlier and setting later. It seems to have come sooner this year for some reason. Not that I’m complaining! Or maybe I’m just paying better attention.

I can tell for certain when I’ve taken a better spiritual turning — the songs start coming again, both new ones and new inspiration for finishing old fragments. I posted four songs to my song blog last night:

– “Chant for Offering Ma’at to Netjer,” relating to this post;
– “Come, Heru-wer!” written for the Heb Wer festival last week;
– “Hymn to Heru-Sobek,” for tomorrow, when we have a conjunction of the Rekeh Wer for Heru and a procession of Sobek; and
– “Hymn to Temu in His Barque,” a bit of Kemetic research geekery.

Plus I just wrote another one this morning. It started with me singing a little nonsense song to myself about how I didn’t need to take fruit to work because I already had fruit there, and somehow the tune acquired new words and turned into a song for the Udjat “Procession for Singing” celebration, which is part of the Rekeh Wer and takes place today. (My creative process can be very strange.) So…hurray for fruit?

(Oh! I just realized that I have oranges that I can offer to Heru at the Rekeh Wer chat tonight! Nekhtet!)

With this morning’s song, I’ve now finished 94 songs. Counting the ones that are still in progress, I’ve hit 100. This is extremely mind-boggling to me.

Wow.

Hail to You, Netjer, on Your festival of the Procession for Singing! Thank You for inspiring me with Your beauty and Your love. May I praise You all the days of my life.

Dua Netjer! Nekhtet!

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 24, 2012

Fleeting verse

Posted in Rituals, Songs, Poetry, and Prayers at 1:26 pm by

— for Heru-hekenu

silvery wingtip turn
flash of light from a fountain
singing with joy —
Master of Protection, You lift
us up
You lift
us
on high
O Beloved!

 

May 31, 2010

Memorial Day 2010

Posted in Festivals, Netjeru, Rituals, Songs, Poetry, and Prayers at 11:27 am by

Memorial Day shrine

This morning I got up at the crack of dawn to do a small ritual for Memorial Day (as I’d mentioned previously). Out on the front lawn, I set up a little shrine with offerings and read the following prayer out loud at sunrise:

 

A Memorial Day Prayer for Heru-hekenu and the Akhu

Dua Heru-hekenu! O Son of Bast,
You Who travel with Ra through the Duat,
You Who journey on the night barque through the land of Wesir,
You Who preserve the body and protect the soul,
may You preserve and protect all those who have died in service:
our soldiers, our police and rescue workers, our heroes.
May You bring light for their eyes.
May You bring breath for their nostrils.
May You bring fragrant unguents for their bodies and their kas
and every good thing so that they might live.

Great solider, Master of Protection,
may You spread Your wings out above the living as well,
may You bless the ones who put themselves in danger,
fighting to protect all that they love.
May their bodies be strengthened,
may their hearts be pure,
and may they return home safely at the end of their service,
until the day when all the lands are forever at peace.
May there be rest and healing for all the veterans
and great glory for the courage that they have shown.

An offering which the King gives to Heru-hekenu, Son of Bast, at the shrine of Saut-sen Iryt Ra: a thousand of bread, a thousand of barbecue, incense, flame, and cool water for the honored dead of this nation, true of voice. Dua Akhu! May you give your protection and guidance to those who fight today and to all the veterans who have served in the past. May you be remembered for as long as the stars shine in the sky. And may you live.

Dua Heru-hekenu! Dua Akhu! Nekhtet!

 

Afterward I sang “Taps” and then sat in meditation until the incense had burned down.

It was unusual for me, because I don’t usually do anything to celebrate Memorial Day. But this year it seemed right and necessary, as a sort of follow-on to the celebrations of the Beautiful Feast of the Valley. And it was a lovely moment, sitting outside in the early morning, in the cool air touched by the scent of sandalwood incense, feeling a sense of things in harmony, of ma’at in this kind of remembrance.

Heru-hekenu may seem an odd (and obscure!) choice of deity to petition in a ritual like this. It was an intuitive jump at first, but upon further thought it made reasonable sense. As mentioned in the prayer, Heru-hekenu does sail on the night barque with Ra. (In the picture at the head of this page, Heru-hekenu is the hawk-headed figure standing directly behind the ram-headed Ra.) The journey of the sun into darkness and ultimately to regeneration and renewal is also the journey of the deceased; thus Heru-hekenu could be seen in the role of a funerary protector and assistant. According to the Lexikon der ägyptischen Götter und Götterbezeichnungen, He lights the way for the ba of the dead, and He does actually receive offerings in a hotep di Nisut formula (although I’ve written my own here, not having tracked down the original yet). His name is also another indicator — Heru-hekenu can mean “Heru of the unguent” as well as “Heru of praises.” Just as oils and lotions were used to protect the living body against the ravages of a hot, harsh climate, so they were also used to protect the body of the deceased, preparing it for the tomb and its former inhabitant for the journey through the afterworld. Thus Heru-hekenu would be a protector of both the living and the dead.

Heru-hekenu statueSo He seems to have a somewhat more liminal nature than some of the other forms of Heru. Yet he also has that warrior quality, as well as a very primal-seeming raptorial nature, which fits in well with one associated with battle and soldiers. It seemed appropriate, in the end, to call upon Him in remembrance of those who have fought and died for their country, and to ask Him to guard our living heroes as well.

A close-up of the statue I’m currently using for Heru-hekenu. The double crown is appropriate — He appears with it in reliefs from per-Bast — and the pots are about as close as one’s likely to find to perfume jars. The necklace draped around Him is one that I made for Him, and the red tissue-paper poppy came from a veterans’ organization.

Dua Heru-hekenu! Nekhtet!