July 9, 2012

The Eye of Ra Enters the Horizon

Posted in Festivals, Uncategorized at 5:56 pm by

Water pours from pitcher to glass bowl, a musical accompaniment to the murmured prayer:

    Hail to You Eye of Ra, complete in the horizon.
    Hail to You Bast in Your name of Atemet.
    May You bless us with peace
    and protect us from all the demons of the year’s end.

Garlanded with rose petals, more petals strewn about Her feet, Bast’s statue stares into the west, where the sun has set mere moments ago.

Later, special offerings are placed before the shrine — orange salad, nectarines and kiwi fruit, spicy shrimp cocktail, a key lime tart, and more flowers like flames — and a feast is held.

Dua Bast, great mother and protector, as the end of the year approaches!

 


 

My personal festival calendar (based on the House of Netjer’s calendar, as created by Rev. Tamara Siuda) is still a work in progress. I tend to get a little too ambitious — an earlier idea, of honoring a God of the week, proved to be too much, at least at this point in my life, let alone a God of each day, which was also rolling around in my mind for a while. Too much granularity! I had to step back a little. But what’s quite doable, and now forms a central part of my calendar, is to celebrate a festival for Bast in each (Kemetic) month.

Some months already come with a festival (or more than one) explicitly for Her (Bast Guards the Two Lands, for instance, or the much-beloved Onion Day). For a few, I appropriated a more generic “Eye of Ra” or “Nesret [She of the Flame]” festival. And one festival I borrowed from Hethert, on the grounds that Bast has explicitly told me, I am your Hethert (and hopefully the Lady of Gold won’t mind too much).

This month’s festival is The Eye of Ra Enters the Horizon, to be celebrated, according to the House calendar, with sunset prayers. So yesterday I held a celebration in three parts: a prayer outside at sunset, with incense and water-offering and song before my garden statue of Bast; special offerings as part of my daily state rite; and finally a feast with my housemate.

This is the last Bast festival before the Kemetic year’s end, a mere twenty days away now, and it’s fitting that it should be connected with the sunset, and thus also with the sense of completion associated with the God Atum, whose very name means “The Complete One.” The year is winding down; it’s a time for quiet reflection on all that has occurred in the past months, and also a time to ask for protection against the unruly spirits that haunt the changing of the year.

So may Bast’s warm, golden light guide and protect you all in the days to come.

Dua Bast, Eye of Ra! Nekhtet!

March 7, 2011

…and more festivals

Posted in Festivals, Netjeru, Uncategorized at 7:25 pm by

Shrine to Nut and Geb

The weekend before last, our local group had a get-together in honor of Nut and Geb. It was shortly after Nut’s birthday and in the general vicinity of Valentine’s Day, so it seemed appropriate to celebrate this divine couple, whose love and desire for each other were so overwhelming that they had to be separated by the god Shu in order for life to come into existence between them. Following in that spirit, the get-together was called “Making Hearts for Nut and Geb”: we created heart amulets in the form of cards (printed with semiprecious stone backgrounds such as lapis or agate and then cut in the shape of the Kemetic heart symbol) and wrote prayers for the well-being of our loved ones inside them before offering them to Geb and Nut. It was a lovely, very peaceful gathering. (Here are a couple more pictures, showing the shrine with our heart amulets and close-ups [1] [2] of some of the hearts.)

This past Saturday was the much-beloved festival of Chewing Onions for Bast (or Onion Day, as we like to call it). Sadly, the scheduling didn’t work out for a group get-together, but I celebrated the festival by going out with my housemate to New Hope, where we fed all of our senses on beautiful crafts and music, and then to Outback Steakhouse for the requisite Bloomin’ Onion. Such a perfect day, filled with freedom and delight — dua Bast!

Since we’re now in a new month (IV Peret, the last month of the season of Growing), I’ve given thanks to Heryshef for His gifts and welcomed in the next set of monthly gods: Wenut, the hare-headed Eye of Ra goddess, and Renenutet, the snake goddess who oversees the fertile fields and the prosperity that comes with the harvest. (To a certain extent, I’m honoring the Eye of Ra goddesses in general this month, but these two are my primary focus.) I’ve had some interaction previously with Wenut, as one of the Seven Arrows of Bast, but Renenutet is entirely new to me, so this should be quite interesting. So far She seems extremely pragmatic, which makes rather a lot of sense. Renenutet is one of the few Names I’ve carried over from the “official” Kemetic gods of the months, as She clicked perfectly for me. (Wadjet is the other exact carry-over, although I also have Hethert-Nut in lieu of Hethert and Ra-Atum in lieu of Ra-Heruakhety. All of my other god/month associations are quite different from the traditional ones.) I’m hoping at some point to write up what all of these various gods mean to me and why I’ve chosen them for these monthly devotions, but it may need to wait until I’ve made it through one full year-cycle.

At any rate, now I seem to be caught up again. Whew!

Hail and praise to You, Nut and Geb, who encircle and encompass us all with Your love.

Nut and Geb