February 21, 2015

Coming back from the field

Posted in Netjeru, Tending the Shrine, Thoughts and Reflections at 4:45 pm by

I had a dream the other night in which I had left my Seven Arrows of Bast statues hidden in the tall grass around the edges of a field. I was going back to look for them, and I was afraid that someone else either had found them or would find them before I could get there. I located Wenut, and I was so glad to hold Her beautiful statue in my hands. I also was reassured for some reason that the next several statues, going clockwise around the field, were all going to be lions (which they aren’t actually — only Nefertem’s statue is actually a lion, although Heru-hekenu and Wadjet could both be depicted in that form).

It was a very vivid dream; also somewhat disturbing. I also came away with an unsettled feeling that Wenut wanted something from me. I thought about offering to Her, then put it off, then wondered if She was angry about that. Today I finally got up and dealt with it: I went into the shrine room, lit the incense that I had offered to Khonsu-Heru on the new moon (why not, since I was in there anyway), and offered Wenut one of Her favorites, warm milk with spices. I still couldn’t quite figure out what, if anything was going on, so I did some divination using Her oracle, which told me that the dream was indeed significant, but that there wasn’t any specific task I was supposed to. (Nor had I done anything to make Her unhappy, which was a relief, because I kept imagining that She was upset with me.) In the end, what She finally got across to me was, Just sit. Sit with Her, drink the milk, spend a few minutes in Her company. My mind stayed jittery, but even so. It was peaceful; it was good.

I think the dream might have been saying that I’ve sort of left the Seven Arrows “out in the field,” as it were. I haven’t been paying them a lot of attention — well, I was largely out of the Kemetic action for nigh on a year, getting my brain meats back in order, and coming back, my first priority of course has been Bast. But I need to not forget about them, even if I’m not doing anything large or profound in relation to them. I need to bring them back to my house.

How long does it take to sit in quiet reflection and drink a mug of warm milk? How long does it take to let a stick of incense burn down until the last pale swirls of smoke have faded? Not long at all. And yet it can make a great difference.

Hail to You, Wenut, She Who Is, She Who Exists. Nekhtet!

Divining with the Wenut Oracle.
Wenut oracle

April 20, 2014

Feast of Wenut 2014

Posted in Festivals at 4:07 pm by

Happy Feast of Wenut! (a.k.a. Easter)

A closer view.

Here I am being all festive and wearing a seshed-band. Because Wenut told me to.

Dua Wenut! Nekhtet!

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 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.

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

May 27, 2013

Gardening with Gods

Posted in Being Kemetic, Home and Temple, Netjeru, Stalking Beauty, Tending the Shrine at 6:01 pm by

Garden madness has struck, I fear. I succumbed to the need to have all the plants, which now means I have to plant all the plants. In our lovely clayey New Jersey soil. I spent several hours today and got half of the irises in. Little by little I’ll get there.

Before I began, I set up a small shrine outside and brought out Bast and Wenut to oversee the work. There’s something remarkable about being in the midst of hard digging and having a sudden cool breeze bring you a powerful waft of incense. Sweetness from the bower of the Gods!

Here they are enjoying some of the annuals that are still to be planted: snapdragons, marigolds, verbena, and fragrant alyssum. Dua Bast! Dua Wenut! May You be satisfied!

April 1, 2013

The Feast of Wenut 2013

Posted in Festivals at 8:26 am by

I think I overscheduled this weekend, and on top of that I got hit with an overwhelming bout of fatigue, so I only managed to celebrate the Feast of Wenut. It went really well, though, even if I didn’t quite manage to do everything for Her that I’d been planning to.

The shrine, with offerings of flowers and chocolate. And apples, even though they’re not at all seasonal, because Wenut really wanted them.

Another view, with incense and cool water.

Wenut having been processed outside to approve the flower plantings. (She looks so tiny!)

We have a lurker. Hello, Shrine Cat!
(The craft paints are there because I was painting a little wooden snake for Wenut.)

Dua Wenut!

March 26, 2013

So much God….

Posted in Being Kemetic, Creative Fire, Festivals, Netjeru at 8:21 am by

Busy, busy week of Godstuff. Yesterday and today I’m celebrating the Feast of Set, Lord of the Oasis; last night was taken up by a ritual I wrote for Him, which resulted with me spending about two hours in the shrine room talking to Set (or talking at Him, at least), singing songs, making a somewhat laughable attempt at drumming, drinking more alcohol than I’ve ever had at one go (which is, er, half a short tumbler of White Russian — I loathe the taste of most alcoholic drinks and so never have more than a sip, but this was pretty good), and generally doing entertaining human stuff. Set seemed to take it well; at any rate, He seemed very mellow and rather amused. Tonight is the feast part of the Feast: barbecued pork ribs and salad. Yum.

I’m also trying to write a mystical short story about Mut for the journal that the House is putting out in connection with its “Queens’ Weekend” celebration later this spring. This doesn’t jibe so well with the Set business, but at least I’ve started it, and hopefully will be able to eke it out later this week.

And then this Sunday has four separate things that I want to celebrate: my modern-day Feast of Wenut, for which I’m gleefully appropriating Easter; an acknowledgment of the first day of a new Kemetic month (I Shomu); “Sunset Prayers and Feasts for All the Gods”; and a special Bast…thing. (Unlike the Set ritual, which I’ve perhaps been a little too eager to prematurely share, this one needs to stay under wraps until I’ve actually done it.) I have the general idea of what these are all going to be about, but I need to concretize ahead of time what I’m actually going to do. So there’s planning and writing that needs to be done.

Next week is kind of busy too, actually, with a four-day Feast of Amun-Ra (who I really need to give more attention to), another Bast thing, and the Sixth-Day Festival. And then I can fall over the following week.

It’s good, though. I’m sure a lot of people out there in the world would totally not understand spending a couple of hours sitting in a room by oneself in the company of a God statue, but hopefully some of my readers here do. In any case, it was definitely worth doing.

March 9, 2013

Pieces of Kemet

Posted in Being Kemetic, Festivals, Home and Temple, Netjeru, Thoughts and Reflections at 10:15 pm by

A collection of bits on variously honoring the Gods….

It was snowing fairly heavily on Friday, so I wore red for His Redness, the Lord of Storms. I’ve posted before about the incongruous-but-not-ness of seeing the master of the desert as the master of winter too. It just occurred to me yesterday that that makes Him lord of the Red Land and also of the White land, and thus He embodies in Himself the traditional unity of red and white. Set-sematawy. Hmm.

* * * * *

I spent much of this morning trying to sketch out and/or list all the interrelationships of Bast with various Gods, and to put some kind of system to it. When my head started hurting and I was on the verge of falling asleep, I pried myself off the couch and went out to run some errands. After that I did some yard work, reclaiming odd corners from the wild raspberry bushes that, in alliance with the multiflora roses, are trying to take over the property. This was a much better use of my time — it fed all my soul/bodies and did service to my Mother and Her shrine. I always have to watch out for getting too abstract and up in my head.

And when I was done and had showered, I sat on the moss on the southern slope, put my face down among the early spring crocuses, and spent a while in their tiny, low-to-the-ground world.

* * * * *

Great festivals with extensive offerings are wonderful, but it’s also a real pleasure to give the Gods small, simple things, things that are easy to give when the Gods suddenly up and request them, that make the Gods happy. On Thursday night, Wadjet really wanted dried cranberries (Craisins!!). Last weekend, Wenut got a very soft, salmon-peachy scarf, which spent most of the week snuggled around Her metal rabbit candle holder. I wouldn’t have thought it was Her color, but She was very passionate about it, in Her quiet way. Both Ladies might be piping up because last weekend was the Feast of Ra and the Eye of Ra, and this weekend is the Feast of the Udjat, and both of them are Eyes of Ra.

Today, in fact, is the second and last day of the Feast of the Udjat, which I’ve been using this year to honor Wenut. I set up my temporary shrine with a white cloth and Her scarf; last night I offered warm milk with honey and spices, and tonight She got salad, at Her request. This afternoon, I gave Her four crocuses afloat in a bowl of water, first of the spring flowers. (The snowdrops don’t count; they’re more like late-winter flowers.) They’re on Her festival shrine right now, but earlier I put them and Her rabbit in the sun for a little while to enjoy their beauty.

Working on my personal festival calendar and rituals would also be a better use of brain space than abstract theology. The new moon is coming up, and I haven’t got anything for it yet. This festival, too — I don’t have a specific prayer or reading for it, so it’s mainly just various offerings, and a little bit of singing.

* * * * *

And speaking of getting out of the abstract, I am long overdue to link to this entry by Kiya on teaching yourself how to have a mystical practice. Go, read, live.

(And don’t forget the sunscreen.)