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.

December 22, 2013

Two shrines from December

Posted in Festivals, GodBling at 8:07 pm by

Shrine for the Feast of the Lioness Goddesses, with steak offering.

 
A close-up of the statues, taken pre-offering.

 
Shrine to welcome home my two custom-made statues of esoteric aspects of Wenut. (Click for larger version.)

November 18, 2013

Lady of Renewal

Posted in GodBling, Netjeru, Stalking Beauty at 3:27 pm by

At the Procession of Nebt-het earlier this month, each person present drew a ribbon with one of Nebt-het’s names or aspects written on it, as a sort of oracle. Mine was “Lady of Renewal.” I was fortunate enough to win a free painting as part of a promotion for Mythic Curios, and I ended up asking the artist for a meditation on that theme. Here is the lovely result!

 
“Lady of Renewal” by Ty Barbary
Lady of Renewal painting

 
Dua Nebt-het!

November 13, 2013

The Gods want pie

Posted in Being Kemetic, Humor, Netjeru, Silly Shrine Stories at 4:03 pm by

This is a funny story from a while back….

My housemate had made an apple pie, and I was offering a slice of it in the State Rite. Suddenly I “hear” Wenut from the Seven Arrows shrine behind me:

Omigod, I want that.

(Of course, Gods don’t actually say “omigod,” but it gives you some idea of the sheer intensity of want.)

So after the Rite, I went and got another piece of pie — the last piece, as it happened — and offered it to Her, which made Her very happy.

*long pause*

All the other Gods in my shrine room: …WE WANT PIE.

(This is where I perform an anime-style facefault.)

And shortly afterward, from my Akhu, when I reverted some of Bast’s offerings to them: We have pie! (said with great glee)

I swear, my shrine room….

So one of these days, I need to get a whole pie and make a general offering of it to everyone in the room. I just hope they don’t stampede and wreck the place.

Falconized

Posted in Festivals, GodBling at 8:38 am by

 
I am falconized…

 
…and ready to start the day.

 
Happy Feast of the Soaring Falcon!

 

November 12, 2013

Flurries

Posted in Thoughts and Reflections at 1:01 pm by

First snow flurry of the year this morning. Dua Set!

(All right, so it’s not a mighty storm, but one has to start somewhere after taking the summer off.)

* * * *

And just in time for the Feast of the Soaring Falcon (ongoing this week), two statues featuring Montu have been discovered at His temple in Armant.

* * * *

Most interestingly, the day after declaring Zep Tepi and choosing peace, I got the first song that I’ve had in months. It’s for the Feast of Sekhmet and Bast before Ra, which will be this Friday and Saturday, so the timing is good.

Obviously there’s a lesson to be learned here, and in fact I’ve learned it before, and forgotten it, and relearned it, and forgotten it again. I’m not really sure what to do to make it stick.

November 11, 2013

Catching at peace

Posted in Thoughts and Reflections at 12:07 pm by

Driving in to work this morning with the music shuffle off, watching Ra gild the half-bare treetops in his rising, I felt a flicker of peace, and wondered at how fragile and fleeting a feeling that can be, and yet how precious. In the last few weeks, I’ve been angry and unkind, anxious and depressed, scattered and several different kinds of miserable. And I still don’t know how much of it was justified, how much was neurological downward spiral, and how much was self-delusion and grasping at shadows.

It doesn’t matter now. Zep Tepi once again, a chance to start over, to enter a new day. To try to do it better this time.

A gift found while walking at lunch: a cat-head-shaped leaf.

 
O Bast, may You watch over me, now and always, as Your daughter. May You grant me a cool heart and a joyful ka.

November 3, 2013

The Procession of Nebt-het

Posted in Festivals at 11:37 am by

Yesterday we held a festival for the Procession of Nebt-het, for which my friend and fellow priest Imti brought up his state icon from Maryland. I think this might be the first festival at which a Kemetic Orthodox state icon actually processed to visit a different state shrine. (We were originally going to do this last year, but superstorm Sandy interfered.) In addition to the ceremonial procession, the festival was an opportunity to be festive with our Akhu. Here are a few photos:

 
The state icon of Nebt-het of Nekhen Muti Neferty established in the Akhu shrine at Nekhen Saut-sen Iryt Ra. The bowl before Her contains ribbons with Her epithets and aspects written on them; the festival participants later each drew one, as a sort of oracle.

 
The “public” shrine for the festival, with a statue of Nebt-het, mementoes of the Akhu, and various offerings.

 
Close up of the Nebt-het statue.

 
Festival-goers decorating sugar skulls.

 
Bast oversees the festivities.

 
Not shown: The ritual shrine, to which the state icon was processed during the festival and where festival goers were able to spend time alone with Her. (I wish I had remembered to take a picture; it looked really cool.)

Dua Nebt-het! Dua Bast! Nekhtet

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

October 6, 2013

Rituals at the end of September

Posted in Festivals at 9:30 am by

Fall down seven times, get up eight. Right?

So the last month or so has been another rough patch, but hope rises as always. At the very least, I kept up my Tea with Bast chats for the House (I’ve now completed an entire year’s cycle of monthly heka rituals for these chats, nekhtet), and I managed to observe a couple of festivals, in the sense of actually doing something instead of watching as they fly by.

* * * * *

Shrine for the Procession of Bast Nebet-Ankhtawy. As part of this ritual, I performed a protection/blessing heka for my house. (Unfortunately, I somehow failed to save a larger version of this image.)

 
Shrine for the Procession of the Merety (see Henadology for information on these two “Songstress Serpents”).