January 27, 2012

B is for Bes

Posted in Netjeru, Pagan Blog Project 2012 at 9:47 pm by

I was all set to write about baths for my second B entry. Between the purity requirements for my daily rite, the Seven Arrows of Sekhmet baths at Retreat, and experiences of ritual bathing in general, I figured I would have plenty to say. But then, as I was sitting in shrine the other day (as is usually the case when these things happen), I was informed that I was to do this entry on Bes.

At first this seemed entirely random. Bes? What on earth am I going to write about Bes, who has yet to really show up in any part of my devotions? But then I realized that it wasn’t actually random at all. I’m in the midst of floating a new addition to my practices: the idea of having Gods who are over various parts of my house, to guard and bless it. This was triggered by, of all things, FlyLady‘s housework zones, which I had been contemplating as a way to focus and improve my overall care of my home. And I’d thought, if I’m going to to be concentrating my practical attentions on different parts of the house, why not bring the Gods into it and blend in a religious element as well? So I pondered and came up with a personal set of household Gods to call upon, as part of a week-by-week routine of house cleaning and blessing.

What room are we on this week? The bedroom. And which God did I select for the bedroom? Bes, who traditionally watches over sleepers, who was depicted in bedrooms and on the head- and footboards of beds, as on the bed of Queen Tiye, shown below.

Ah, Bes, the apotropaic lion-dwarf: holy dancer, mighty laugher, fierce and tender protector. It is Bes who appeases the angry Eye of Ra with merriment and music; who watches over the heedless — the child, the dreamer, the lovers, the woman in the throes of labor; whose image decorates cosmetic items such as mirrors and kohl tubes, the tools that highlight and enhance beauty so as to awaken desire, bringing forth new love and new life.

As I lit my candle for Bes tonight, offering him spicy chocolate and a coffee-flavored frappuchino, I found myself laughing almost involuntarily, struck by humor when I least expected it.

Welcome, Bes, into my home!

Dua Bes — nekhtet!


  1. artemisiaapollo said,

    January 28, 2012 at 11:28 am

    You are the second person who wrote about Bes today for the PBP :)

  2. Setken said,

    January 28, 2012 at 6:23 pm

    This post is cool! Apart from now need to know about the 7 arrows of Sekhmet that you mentioned (I love bathing rituals and made reference to bathing in natron on my blog once), I like the idea of a Netjer in each part of the house. Most recently, I have taken some items from my Shrine to bring them “out” for that reason.

    I am also in the process of working out sculptures for the front of my home – so this blog resonates with me indeed.


  3. helms said,

    January 28, 2012 at 11:59 pm

    Excellent! I was thinking about doing a Bes post as well, but we will see.

  4. Iwa'at said,

    January 29, 2012 at 4:47 am

    great post!
    very informative!

  5. Shefyt said,

    January 29, 2012 at 8:53 am

    Setken, you can see pictures of people undergoing the baths here. This was apparently at a special baths weekend and not at Retreat itself. These pictures are pretty rare in that they actually show priests in Saq with various Gods, something that I don’t think is ever done anymore. Anyway, there are seven baths — obviously — each one followed by a cool-water rinse. The baths are for Sekhmet, Aset, Serqet, Heru-wer, Hethert, Wesir, and Amun-Ra. (I’m not entirely certain I’ve got the order right, but I think I’m close.) They each impart various gifts or blessings. The individual baths are also available at Hemet’s site; the site tells you what each bath is for.

    Glad you enjoyed this post! ^_^

  6. Bes, the Little God. (Pagan Blog Project 2012 #3) | Kemetic Reconnaissance said,

    February 24, 2012 at 12:44 pm

    […] friends Satsekhem and Shefytbast have already written ‘B’ posts on Bes, but he certainly deserves one more. Check them […]

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