December 23, 2010

Ten days of joy (2010): Day 10

Posted in Ten Days of Joy at 11:13 pm by

Today was a perfect day, from walking out my front door this morning into bright, silvery sunlight and a whirl of the tiniest snowflakes, to finding exactly the right last-minute holiday gifts in the artsy little town of New Hope, to celebrating my Mother’s festival, the Feast of Bast Guards the Two Lands, with special offerings and powerful heka.

I give thanks for all the many joys that Bast has sent to me — for Her blessings today and always.

Dua Netjer! Dua Bast! Nekhtet!

December 22, 2010

Ten days of joy (2010): Day 9

Posted in Festivals, Ten Days of Joy at 9:09 pm by

Today is the festival of the Procession of Bast, and today’s joy has been the joy of understanding at last and letting go — of a lesson finally sliding home as I knelt before the shrine in prayer.

May Bast walk through your day and your nighttime in this season of Her festivals, bringing Her insight and wisdom.

Dua Netjer! Dua Bast! Nekhtet!

December 21, 2010

Ten days of joy (2010): Day 8

Posted in Ten Days of Joy at 10:39 pm by

Today’s joy: the wonder of waking in the early morning hours to catch the trailing end of the Solstice lunar eclipse. Kneeling before my window, I said prayers and rang a bell a few times to help frighten off the shadow and welcome the return of the light. A once-in-a-lifetime moment of amazement and awe.

Dua Netjer! Dua Bast! Nekhtet!

December 20, 2010

Ten days of joy (2010): Days 4-7

Posted in Festivals, Ten Days of Joy at 9:28 pm by

I fell a bit behind due to the Northeast region’s Bast festival last weekend, so it’s time to catch up.

Day 4: The joy of a truly luxuriant shower, warm and fragrant and soothing. O great gift of cleansing waters!

Day 5: The joy of a shiver of ecstasy, the ringing of the sistra loud and silvery in the silent night, the singing for Bast as the candle flames burn brightly, the Shemsu gathered together in devotion.

Day 6: The joy of accomplishment, of getting all the necessary things done and then resting in satisfaction.

Day 7: The joy of seeing the full moon floating above the horizon, palest rose in twilight sky, and then golden ivory once the sun has set — of walking in the night, all senses alive, caressed by beauty.

Dua Netjer! Dua Bast! Nekhtet!

The shrine just after our ritual for the Festival of Bast Guards the Two Lands

December 16, 2010

Ten days of joy (2010): Day 3

Posted in Ten Days of Joy at 8:45 pm by

Today’s joy is the joy of being challenged — the fierce joy of feeling something rise up in heart and soul and body in response to that challenge, shaking off fear and lethargy. The fire of Ra dances; the Eye burns dazzlingly bright.

O Mother, may I prove worthy of Your flame! Dua Netjer! Dua Bast! Nekhtet!

December 15, 2010

Ten days of joy (2010): Day 2

Posted in Stalking Beauty, Ten Days of Joy, The Wild Sky at 7:54 pm by

Today’s joy was the sudden touch of sunrise light falling on my face — both the simple beauty of it, and the wonder of its uniqueness. Every morning on the drive to work is different — sometimes gray, sometimes gold, sometimes silvery pale, sometimes struck with piercing brilliance or with flushes of deep, vivid color — transforming the daily commuting routine into a celebration, a meditation. Every day is Netjer’s gift.

Dua Netjer! Dua Bast! Nekhtet!

December 14, 2010

Ten days of joy (2010): Day 1

Posted in Ten Days of Joy at 8:12 pm by

Today’s joy was snuggling into the warm, so-soft blue hat that my housemate knitted for me, feeling protected from the cold, feeling loved.

Dua Netjer! Dua Bast! Nekhtet!

December 27, 2009

Bast guards the Two Lands

Posted in Being Kemetic, Festivals, Ten Days of Joy, Thoughts and Reflections at 9:59 pm by

Candle in sand

A major part of the process of settling and growing in Kemetic religion is figuring out one’s calendar. With some hundreds of known festivals filling almost every day of the year, it can be entirely overwhelming! Most people seem to prune it down to a handful of focused observances, with at best a quick candle lighting or a moment of prayer to acknowledge some of the other days.

The festival known as Bast Guards the Two Lands (sometimes called Bast Guides the Two Lands) is one of my big ones, and this year it was even more of a production than usual, with the Northeast gathering on one weekend, my own personal observance on the following Friday, and the Ten Days of Joy meditations spanning both. It included fellowship, singing, the decoration and shaking of sistra, the lighting of candles, offerings of chocolate and flowers and cookies and oranges and roast duck (among other things), long bouts of contemplation, a renewed sense of purity and the beginnings of a shift in spiritual focus, and through it all, the overpowering warmth and presence of my Mother’s love.

Six years ago, I celebrated this festival for the very first time, although I didn’t realize it then. It was a time of deep reflection, as it still is today, a time of sitting in darkness and opening to the light, a time of stillness and profound listening. And yet it’s also a festival of song and rejoicing, of group celebration and festivity, of laughter. It was interesting to me that the Ten Days of Joy also seemed to swing between stillness and exuberance, inward and outward, contemplation and action. Perhaps one could say that joy and love both reconcile all opposites.

Praise to You, Bast, pre-eminent in the field of the god! Mistress of Heaven, O Peerless One, Firstborn of Tem! May You guide us, may You guard us, in every day and every hour, as You guide and guard the Two Lands! Nekhtet!

(The picture above is from after the group celebration, when everyone else had left and our burned-down celebrant candles were removed from the bowl of sand, leaving just Bast’s central candle in place.)

December 25, 2009

Ten days of joy: Day 10

Posted in Festivals, Ten Days of Joy at 9:48 pm by

Today is the Feast of Bast Guarding the Two Lands. In the dark time of the year, She is the flame that never dies, the Eye that never ceases in Its vigilance, the great Goddess Who acts without faltering, effective in the upholding of ma’at.

Today, even while it was a day of rest and holiday, I pushed through my inertias and anxieties — not with force but gently, and yet with an engaged will. I slept in the shrine room overnight, overcoming the nervousness that comes with trying something new. I worked on craft projects, despite being tempted to procrastinate and put them off until tomorrow. I achieved a goal in my reading, rather than lying down for a nap in the afternoon. And I honored my Mother with offerings and time spent in the shrine, despite a cold that kept me from being pure enough for formal rites.

Today’s joy was the joy of a balanced strength, of inner victory without inner violence, of peace in the midst of action and action arising out of peace. Today’s joy was the grace of doing, the shining flame of desire and accomplishment.

Dua Netjer! Dua Bast! Nekhtet!

December 24, 2009

Ten days of joy: Day 9

Posted in Ten Days of Joy at 10:34 pm by

Today’s joy was supremely simple: the joy of being at home. Holiday shopping done, presents wrapped — nowhere else that I need to go for the next day or so, nothing planned but reading, relaxing, and celebrating. I can just be here, in the place where I am. And I give thanks for my good fortune, that I have this place: my own house, my sanctuary that surrounds me with warmth and shelter, with peace and satisfaction.

Dua Netjer! Dua Bast! Nekhtet!