Grave Moss & Stars

Archive for the ‘Information & Research’ Category

akhu work

When I asked if I should explore my genealogy in service to my akhu, Nebt-het answered with a firm yes.

So, two weeks ago, I picked up a 14-day free trial to Ancestry.com, which seemed like a good place to start. At the time, I only knew two names of my akhu, my ancestors: my dad’s dad and my mom’s mom, both of whom passed when I was a teenager.

My research exploded. In a single night, I found some 40+ new names of my akhu. Some I had heard in passing from family members but hadn’t memorized; others were entirely new. I found out that my great-great-grandmother’s nickname was the same as the one I bestowed upon my sister when she was 12ish and still use to this very day, which was a delight. I discovered that my great-grandfather is buried three hours away; I had no idea any of my bloodline had been in Texas.

Ironically, my ability to find older generations along either of my “named” lines (that is, my parents’ last names, rather than those who married in) stymied me until my mom sent me a tiny family tree that filled in a couple crucial names… and, last Sunday, I put in more hours following those leads. Determined to make the most of my free trial, I was up until 3 am (thank gods for a holiday weekend!) that Sunday, going through records and tracing the ever-widening web of my akhu.

I found out that my great-aunt was an artist… and an amateur drag-racer in the sixties. I saw pictures of her husband as a child. I came across my great-grandmother, whose name grabbed and held my attention like a punch every time I saw it, and despite having zero personal information for her or photos of her, I realized I had a strong and persistent mental image in my head, unbidden. I found out that an akh-by-marriage had served in the First Special Service Force in WWII, and that his unit’s name was almost identical with the name of the elite unit of a military fantasy novel I’ve been writing. I found pictures of that akh’s sister, whose personality and badassery shone brightly through those photos.

I have been, throughout this entire process, utterly floored by not only what I’m discovering, but at my own reactions to the process. I have never been attached to or overly interested in my blood family outside of my very direct relatives (parents, three grandparents, and my mom’s sister). My own emotional responses as I’m finding photos, obituaries, and just raw names of my akhu are strange and new and strong. This is definitely work I need to do, work that is worth doing, but it is sobering and exciting all at once. One of my akhu lived to 101; one of them died at 15. There are stories here that I can sense under the surface, but that I will probably never know, except possibly by personal gnosis.

This is hard, and good, and worthwhile, and I am grateful to Nebt-het for pushing me to do it, and I am grateful to my akhu for being my akhu.

PBP Fridays: Q is for Qebshenef

Qebshenef is one of the Four Sons of Heru (Horus), a group of netjeri (spirits) associated with the canopic jars that hold the organs of the mummified deceased. The Four Sons also protect the throne of Wesir (Osiris) in the Unseen and assist the deceased through the Duat. Each of the Sons is protected by one of the funerary goddesses and associated with one of the cardinal directions.

Qebshenef, whose name means “cooling his brother (with water),” is hawk-headed and holds the intestines. He is guarded by Serqet (Selkis), the scorpion goddess, and associated with the south.

Imset, whose name means “the kindly one,” is human-headed and wears the nemes headcloth. He holds the liver, is guarded by Aset (Isis), and is associated with the west.

Duamutef, whose name means “praising his mother,” is jackal-headed and holds the stomach. He is guarded by Nit (Neith), the Great He-She, and associated with the north.

Hapy (not Hapi, god of the Nile), whose name means “runner,” is baboon-headed and holds the lungs. He is guarded by Nebt-het (Nephthys) and associated with the east.

While the Four Sons have the above associations in regards to their canopic jars, they also assist the deceased in different ways, including carrying or lifting up the deceased, preparing a ladder into the sky, protecting against attacks and decay, preventing hunger and thirst, bringing the deceased a boat “which Khnum built,” and steering that boat.

The Sons themselves are alternatingly stated to be sons of Aset (Isis) and Heru-wer (Horus the Elder) or Khenty-irty (Horus of Khem), but were also implied to be sons of Heru-sa-Aset (Horus the Younger) by virtue of being the grandchildren of Wesir (Osiris). They’ve also been described as the bau (souls) of Pe (a city in Lower Egypt) and Nekhen (a city in Upper Egypt), along with Heru Himself. In various texts, they’re identified as stars near Ursa Major, as emanations of Heru or as Heru’s bau (souls), and as the king’s “children’s children” (the king being as Wesir, Heru’s own father). They’ve also been identified in spells as the hands, arms, fingernails, and/or feet of the deceased or described accompanying the deceased through the Duat.

Sources:

  • http://www.kemet.org/glossary/
  • http://www.reshafim.org.il/ad/egypt/religion/sons_of_horus.htm
  • http://henadology.wordpress.com/theology/netjeru/horus-sons-of/

Henadology’s article is particularly well-fleshed-out and worth further reading, as my entry here merely summarizes the basics of the Four Sons.

This post brought to you by the Pagan Blog Project.

PBP Friday: P is for Polyvalent Logic

Kemetic Orthodox and many other Kemetics employ polyvalent logic, more commonly known as fuzzy logic, to understand and integrate many of ancient Egypt’s myths. Polyvalent logic proposes that true/false is not a binary, a switch to be flipped on or off, but a sliding scale instead—and with that increased vagueness, more than one thing can be true at the same time (even if one is frequently slightly “less” true than the other).

For example, there are half a dozen or more Kemetic creation myths, none of which reference any of the others; rather than choosing one to be the singularly “true” one, they’re all considered to be true. (With the caveat that most Kemetics don’t take them to be literal truths, but metaphorical or symbolic ones.) Similarly, all the gods involved in those myths are all called creator gods, none excluding the others. Nit (Neith), the Great He-She, Who gave birth to the sun and thus created childbirth as well as all of creation, and Khnum, the artisan, Who created Himself in the primordial waters of the Nun and Who shapes each human’s body on His potter’s wheel, are just as much creators as Ptah, the Master Architect, Who made creation from the thoughts in His heart that He spoke aloud. Neither the gods nor Their stories negate each other as true.

This is, in part, because Netjeru are bendy. They flow into each other’s roles. Over time, one can become equated with, syncretized with, or aspected with another. Older gods will get consumed by the popularity of newer gods and fall into obscurity‚Ķ or They’ll combine, creating an entirely new Netjeru with properties of both. Depending on how you tilt your head, the Horus that you greet may be Heru-wer, the solar warrior and Set’s twin; Heru-sa-Aset, young king and son of Aset (Isis); Heruakhety, of the two horizons; Heru-behdety, the winged disk; Heru-pa-khered, the child; Heru-em-akhet, the divinization of the Giza Sphinx; or others.

I am extraordinarily grateful that Kemeticism supports polyvalent logic, as I have a hard time thinking in true/false binaries myself. I can acknowledge Nit as the Creatrix and Ptah as the Maker of All in the same breath, and neither is false, neither overrides the other. And that fuzzy logic can extend outwards and make room for multiple belief systems in the world, none of them a singular truth and none of them invalidated by the rest. There are many paths we can take, be they spiritual or not, and they are vastly different, and none of them are wrong.

Standard Disclaimer: I do not support paths that promote hatred, unnecessary violence, bigotry, etc. But there are plenty that have a core of love, peace, balance, respect, responsibility, and humility, and those are the ones I write of here.

This post brought to you by the Pagan Blog Project.

PBP Fridays: N is for Neper

Neper (also Nepry, Nepri) is an ancient Egyptian god of grain—He is, in fact, the personification of grain and considered to be immanent in it. Often described as the son of Renenutet, a cobra goddess of the harvest, Neper is linked to Hapy, god of the yearly inundation, and to Wesir (Osiris), Who became associated with grain and the fertility of the land as His cult grew in popularity.

He is depicted as a man holding sheaves of wheat, with wheat in His hair, or covered in dots representing wheat or barley. He can also be shown as an infant suckling at Renenutet’s breast or as Hapy-like with an exaggerated belly and breasts to indicate the abundance and fertility inherent in Their aspects.

He is invoked in an apotropaic spell that possibly references a scorpion come from the grain fields or barns:

Oh Nepri-heti, stretch your arm towards it, scratch and drive away what you have brought!

In the Coffin Texts, there’s a particular spell (Spell 330) for becoming Neper, which is one of the rare times a god is said to live and die; the spell covers not only the cyclical death of the grain and the god, but also its/His pseudo-immortality as part of the cycle of life, as the grain feeds humans and animals, and Neper-as-ma’at (“truth” below) feeds the gods:

I live and I die, I am Osiris, I have gone in and out by means of you, I have grown fat through you, I flourish through you, I have fallen through you. I have fallen on my side, the gods live on me. I live and grow as Neper whom the honoured ones cherish, one whom Geb hides, I live and I die, for I am emmer, and I will not perish. I have entered into truth, I have upheld truth, for I am a possessor of truth. I have gone forth in truth and my shape is raised up . . .

Neper is invoked and identified with in other Coffin Text spells, often in the dual role of providing a supply of grain for the deceased and also feeding other Netjeru, netjeri (non-god, non-human-ghost spirits), and still-living humans. Neper is also called the “god of smoked grain,” which seems to be linked by fragrance or smoke to conveying the deceased soul to various places or even helping manifest the soul visibly. He may be linked to the visual manifestation of souls because grain was such a foundational element for “manifesting” civilization. See Spell 101 for Sending A Man And His Soul:

Go, go, yonder soul of mine, that yonder man may see you in your living face wherever you are. He stands up and sits down when you are in front of him. … It is this grain-god who lives after death and who removes you from the portal of the sunshine, and you go forth from it . . .

Dua Neper, god of all grains, Who feeds Netjeru and humans alike with His essence!

Sources:

  • The Ancient Egyptian Coffin Texts (R.O. Faulkner)
  • Ancient Egyptian Magical Texts (J.F. Bourghouts)
  • The Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt (R. Wilkinson)
  • Nepry on Henadology

This post brought to you by the Pagan Blog Project.

PBP Fridays: I is for Ihy, The Musician

I am writing this late, but yesterday was III Shomu 12, the day of Ihy’s birth… so it is not inappropriate that I catch up on this entry now. :)

Ihy is a child god, son of Hethert (Hathor) and Heru-wer (Horus the Elder), though He is occasionally described as being the son of other Netjeru. His name has been interpreted as “sistrum player” or “musician,” as well as “calf” (being that Hethert often took the form of a cow)—He is called the Bull of Confusion, the Lord of Hearts. He is the youthful patron or creator of music, the sistrum, and the jubilation that emanated from both sound and instrument. While He is primarily a joyful, musical god, He was also linked to the afterlife as “the lord of bread” and was “in charge of the beer,” a boon both for mortal offerings and the cyclical pacification of His mother in Her name of Sekhmet. He has also been linked, as other child gods were, to the blue lotus that represented renewal and birth and was called “the child who shines in the lotus.”

He was usually depicted nude, with the side-lock denoting youthfulness, often with a finger to His mouth; however, he was not always depicted as child-sized and was occasionally shown as large as adult Netjeru. To the right here, He’s shown wearing a uraeus and holding a sistrum decorated with His mother’s face. In some birth houses, He was equated with the king, and scenes celebrated the conception and birth of the divine child, which identified the king with Ihy and bestowed upon him the powers and protections of the child god Himself.

Spell 334 describes His birth:

My awesomeness precedes me
As Ihy, the Son of Hathor,
I am he who begets a begetting,
I flowed out from between her thighs,
In this my name Jackal of the Light,
I broke forth from the egg…
I escaped in her blood,
I am the Lord of blood. I am a turbulent bull…
I came into being, I crept, I traveled around.
I grew, I became tall like my father

In the Coffin Texts, Ihy’s resemblance to His mother Hethert is described:

My perfume is the incense
which my mother Hathor uses for her censing,
My efflux is the sacred oil
which my mother Hathor uses for her flesh…
My intestines are the beads of her menat
which my mother Hathor places at her throat,
And my hands are her sistrum
which my mother Hathor
Uses for her contentment.

And, for His (one day belated) birthday, a modern offering:

A song for You, O Ihy,
most musical of all Netjeru!
A song for You and a song for me,
that we may sing together!
As You shake the sistrum for Your mother
that She may be made glad,
so I shake the sistrum for You
that You may share in my joy!
A song for us, O Ihy,
to exult and celebrate life!

Sources:

  • Egyptian Mythology (Geraldine Pinch)
  • The Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt (Richard Wilkinson)
  • The Routledge Dictionary of Egyptian Gods and Goddesses (George Hart)
  • Hathor Rising (Alison Roberts)

This post brought to you by the Pagan Blog Project.

Last year’s second I post was on isfet.

PBP Fridays: I is for Iah, The Moon

To ancient Egyptians, the deities associated with the sun were usually goddesses, typically playing the role of the protective and vengeful Eye of Ra, and the deities Who were associated with the moon were usually male. Iah, Whose name means “moon,” was not only a lunar god—He was the moon itself, in much the same way that Aten was the sun in the physical-ball-of-boiling-gasses sense. While most of Iah’s attributes were usurped over time by more popular gods like Djehuty (Thoth) and Khonsu, He was originally associated with the symbol of the crescent moon, the ibis, and the falcon. Iah can be shown as the “adult” version of Khonsu, Who is a child god, when Iah wears a full wig instead of Khonsu’s youthful side-lock. In addition to the wig, Iah is depicted with a beard, a tall staff, and a headdress of either the full moon and crescent moon (shown right) or the Atef crown, most commonly worn by Wesir (Osiris), atop the moon symbols; rarely, Iah can also be seen with an ibis head.

While Iah never gained great cult importance or popularity, the moon as the left eye of Heru (Horus) had plenty of mythic significance. In the Contendings of Horus and Set, wherein which the two gods battled for the throne that Wesir (Osiris) had vacated upon His death, Set wounded and/or tore out Heru’s eye. The waxing and waning of the moon reflected its destruction and restoration; that Djehuty often aided Heru in finding or healing His eye only linked Djehuty more strongly with the moon. Lunar eclipses could also reflect tumult among the Netjeru and damage done to Heru’s eye; some myths suggest that Set took the form of a black pig and swallowed the moon whole, only regurgitating it at Djehuty’s intervention. The lunar cycle has also been linked to Wesir’s own destruction and rebirth as the king of the dead, which may tie into why Iah is occasionally depicted with Wesir’s Atef crown.

As a small modern offering:

Hail, gleaming Eye of the moon!
Iah Who shines as the sun in the night,
Whose form is silver and ever-shifting,
I meet Your gaze and admire Your beauty.
Hail Iah, the moon at every shape!
Your face is always turned towards us below
even as You slice into darkness
and then back into purest light.
Hail Iah, Who gives us sight in shadow!
Hail Iah, the falcon’s watchful Eye!

Sources:

  • Egyptian Mythology (Geraldine Pinch)
  • The Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt (Richard Wilkinson)
  • The Routledge Dictionary of Egyptian Gods and Goddesses (George Hart)

This post brought to you by the Pagan Blog Project.

Last year’s first I post was on immanence.

PBP Fridays: H is for Harpy Eagles

Last weekend, I had the pleasure of seeing harpy eagles in person for the first time at the Fort Worth Zoo. The walkway is enclosed beneath their habitat, and the male perched on the wire ceiling of the walkway with his meal while the female periodically flew from one side to the other. We could feel the wind off her wings; she was twice his size. On her last pass over our heads, a tiny piece of white down fluttered down through the wire mesh right in front of me, and I captured it carefully in both hands before it hit the ground.

I don’t usually connect strongly or easily with birds, but there was something special about the harpies (and Andean condors, but that’s for another post). My first step, when an animal catches my attention in that particular way, is to do some basic research and see what I can glean from that on a more symbolic/totemic/mythical level. If my interest or gut instinct continues to ring bells, I’ll do more in-depth research and study to continue interpreting science into symbol. (Yes, I am a zoologist-totemist. Best of both worlds!)

Harpies are very large eagles (but not the largest, as they are often described as being); they live in tropical lowland rainforests, and their wingspans are somewhat short for their overall size so they can maneuver in the dense forests. [Being sizable without forsaking agility; navigating a cluttered environment.] Like other eagles, the females are nearly twice the size of the males, but both sexes will take very large prey, up to their own weight, which is a startling feat of strength when we’re talking flying off with a live animal. [Choosing worthy and challenging targets instead of the easiest possible targets; operating at a level respective to one’s own strength and proficiency.]

Apex predators, harpy eagles primarily feed on arboreal mammals like sloths and monkeys, but will also eat other birds, reptiles, larger ungulates (even deer), or (very rarely) livestock. [Being versatile enough to find nourishment in many forms; being capable of seizing a variety of targets successfully.] Harpies have the largest talons of any living eagle, with claws longer than even a grizzly’s at 5.1 inches; their feet are immensely strong and capable of easily suppressing prey. [Extraordinary innate power, which can be used to anchor oneself or to seize and hold a target; ability to overpower and strangle.] Harpies tend to perch-hunt, scanning for prey while perched on boughs between short flights from tree to tree, but also still-hunt, which involves staying in one location and swooping down on prey when it’s spotted. They can also chase flying birds. [Versatility again in methodry; ability to keep moving or to wait motionlessly or to full-fledged chase, depending on the need.]

Harpies tend to be quiet when not attending their nests; they mate for life and raise one eaglet, ignoring their second egg unless the first fails to hatch. [Vocal when at “home” with family; focused on one partner and one offspring alone.] The nest is large, made of sticks, and frequently built in one of the tallest trees of South America, the kapok tree; it can be used for several clutches, which are spaced 2-3 years apart. [Finding safety and home-ness in high places; having a more stationary sense of home.] Both sexes will incubate the egg and bring back food for the other; the eaglet is fed and tended for the first year or more of its life. [Shared responsibilities, despite inequality in size; devotion to offspring past the point of strict necessity.]

Harpies tend to be aggressive and fearless of humans, leading them to be targeted by hunters, even though they pose no actual threat to human life as predators. [Persecution based on appearance instead of action; fearlessness in defending offspring and home.] Threatened primarily by habitat loss, they are anywhere from Critically Endangered to Near Threatened, depending on the area, but overall are classed as Near Threatened globally.

Overall, I’m getting an impression of lessons in strength (without forsaking agility), versatility (in both prey and hunting methods), and fierce devotion to (a small) family. Two particular tidbits that perked my ears were the boldness around humans and the size and strength of harpies’ talons. I am finding myself very interested… which means I get to do more and better research to see what else I can uncover. :D

This post brought to you by the Pagan Blog Project.

Last year’s first H post was on heka (Egyptian magic).

Procession of Nebtu

Today is the last day of Peret, the ancient Egyptian season of growing; tomorrow is I Shomu I, the first day of the first month of Shomu, the beginning of the harvest and the heat. Today is also marked, on the Kemetic Orthodoxy calendar, as the Procession of Nebtu.

According to Henadology, Nebtu is a little-known consort of Khnum; Her name means “mistress of the region/district,” which sounds like as much a title as a proper name. A litany at Esna involving Her seems to indicate that She was regarded as a goddess of plant growth, especially edible plants, and so linked to the nourishment that comes from the land. With that understanding, it makes perfect sense for Her to enjoy a procession today, walking on the cusp between peak growth and first harvest.

Yesterday, I enjoyed a dinner with my partner and a new friend, who contributed fresh vegetables to our homecooked meal; today, my breakfast was leftover veggies, and half my dinner was a fresh salad. I did not know about Nebtu until I looked at my calendar and found the Henadology article on Her, well after both meals, but I would like to thank Her nonetheless for the green, delicious food I have had yesterday and today.

Hail, Nebtu, Lady in Green!
May You bless our fields,
which grace our tables with crops,
which satisfy our bellies!
I give thanks to You
for every green thing I eat
and for the fertility of the land.
Dua Nebtu!

Sepa, Centipede God

Today is a Feast Day for Sepa, the centipede god of ancient Egypt. Sepa is considered to be a protector against poisonous bites and stings, which is a common attribute among deities of venomous creatures, including scorpions (Serqet) and snakes (Wadjet and others). He’s also invoked against the Uncreated One in its serpent form, reinforcing Sepa’s ability to protect mortals against everyday snakes.

The Kemetic Orthodoxy calendar lists Him as Heru-Sepa, or Horus-Who-is-Sepa, and as a son of Sekhmet. Unfortunately, on short notice, the most reliable information I can find on Sepa is the aforementioned link to Henadology, and the primary reference for that article is in French (which is fine) but not among my personal collection (which is less fine), so I can’t verify it first-hand. Nothing in the Henadology article, nor in the quick’n’cursory research I did, shows me how Sepa is a form of Heru; it seems like Sepa is more thoroughly linked to Wesir (Osiris) and funerary purifications, only encountering Heru when He brings Sepa (linked to the inundation) to Cairo. I freely admit that my initial spark of curiosity about Sepa was due to His being a son of Sekhmet, but without knowing from whence that came historically, I am hesitant to put my full weight on it as a bridge to Him.

All the same, I have been thinking about seeking out Netjeru with Whom I am unfamiliar or unacquainted and saying hello. Centipedes freak me right the hell out, so why not start with their god? (I have a strange sense of what constitutes a good idea.)

Things I have been extrapolating, inferring, and/or contemplating, which I have not verified in any historical source:

  • Most centipedes are primarily carnivorous and only eat vegetable matter when starving, but are otherwise opportunistic feeders. That means I feel pretty good about offering meats and/or cheeses to Sepa, but not fruits, and not really sweets (which are frequently grain-based).
  • Centipedes tend to be nocturnal, which means approaching Sepa after dark is not only a-okay but potentially downright preferential.
  • Centipedes are heavily dependent on water, since they dry out easily, so cool water is an exceptionally appropriate offering for a centipede god of the desert.
  • And since centipedes are so water-dependent, perhaps that partially explains Sepa’s link to the inundation: centipedes flourish as the flood courses through the land, providing them the essential moisture to thrive.
  • Some (unverified) online sites suggest that Sepa is associated with fertility for one or both of these two reasons: centipedes follow along after earthworms, which fertilize the soil as they pass; and Sepa has been depicted with the head of a donkey, linking Him to donkey manure used in fertilization of the fields.
  • Likewise, some sites suggest that part of Sepa’s protective role, especially in regards to protecting Wesir, is due to the fact that centipedes will eat the bugs that feast on a dead body.
  • Sepa has been depicted as a mummiform man with two small “horns” on His head; I wonder if these horns correspond with centipede forcipules?
  • Here (unverified site; I want to look this scene up in a book soon), Sepa is invoked as a god of the east in a purification by a sem-priest; I can only imagine He’s being called upon to purify the body or ka of all toxins.

So, tonight, I did a light purification and laid a modest offering spread for the Feast of Sepa: sausage slices and sharp cheddar, cool water, incense, and a candle. I invited Him in to partake of the food and drink and spent most of the time in shrine contemplating what little I had learned of Him and what other parts I was guessing at. I wondered if I was the only Kemetic who, in that moment, was offering to Him, as He is not a well-known god, but rather than feeling the enormity of a mostly-undistracted Netjeru’s direct attention, I got the distinct sense that He stays quite industrious in the Unseen, in the underworld, working to protect Wesir and to purify the kau who come to be weighed against Ma’at’s feather. I did have the pleasure (eh-heh) of receiving a few impressions of a rather large centipede, enjoying the offerings I’d laid out on my altar; I haven’t the faintest whether it was my imagination, one of Sepa’s netjeri, or Sepa Himself. Took a bit of self-control not to flinch, either way!

I reverted the food offerings, but left the water on the shrine to evaporate naturally (a slow process in a humid environment), my way of providing a longer-term offering symbolic of that which sustains all life—including centipedes.

Dua Sepa! May You never thirst!

Celebrating Feasts, Festivals, Processions, etc

When I was planning my Pagan Blog Project topics, earlier in the year, I listed “Feasts and Festivals” for one of the weeks of F. The Kemetic calendar has a lot of types of holidays, and I thought it would be really useful to my practice, and potentially to my readers, to figure out the differences and how I’d celebrate/observe them.

And then another Kemetic blogger beat me to the punch with a really well-written post about keeping Kemetic holidays, based on what we know and are willing and able to celebrate. *shakes fist!* :)

In all honesty, though, having that post already written sort of nullifies my need to go into great detail, so instead, I’m linking to it for my readers’ benefit and will do a quick, mostly-for-my-own-reference breakdown below.

Please note that I’m discussing how I myself do or will celebrate, not suggesting it be the end-all for anyone else! Holidays are a learning experience for me, and I don’t really do any of ’em the same way twice. Also, I do not actually celebrate every single Kemetic holiday… especially given that there’s one or more almost every day of the year! I pick and choose, based on my available time, my purity, and how close I am (or would like to be) to the Netjeru in question.

Feast: The perfect excuse to have a little extra awesome in one’s diet! I dedicate the meal of the day to that particular god, or offer Them a special small treat or drink.

Festival: No holds barred! I’ll usually base my activities/offerings on the characteristics of the Netjeru in festival and what They’re associated with, such as martial arts for Sekhmet or music for Hethert-Nut.

Procession: This is a hard one for me, as I don’t normally celebrate them currently. My ideas consist of taking a physical representation of the god on a walkabout, or taking myself out for a walk/drive and offering the time and experience to the god in question, almost like a walking meditation.

Saq (Appearance): Like festivals, these can be very flexible holidays, but I think I’d like my fallback idea to be a candle and incense in offering, and a few minutes of quiet contemplation/interaction in shrine. I feel like a Saq is a time for me to be receptive and attentive, rather than proactive and celebratory.

God Birthday: A time for gifts! Offerings of activities (like music-making) or physical presents (like art or flowers), as well as more traditional offerings of food, drink, candles, and incense. Like festivals, offerings and gifts will be Netjeru-specific.

Lunar Celebration: I’m not close to any of the traditional moon gods, so I currently don’t do anything here. What I’d liiike to do is establish one Netjeru as my go-to lunar deity and begin actually getting back into touch with the cycles of the moon…

Major Holiday: There’s usually enough information on the big holidays, like Wep Ronpet (New Year) and the Mysteries of Wesir (Osiris), that I don’t have to invent my own way of celebration, happily.

The Ancient Egyptian Calendar–At Your Fingertips?

The ancient Egyptian calendar is amazing. It is scientifically measured and absolutely filled with festivals, feasts, processions, celebrations, and holy days. Tamara Siuda, accredited Egyptologist, has provided Kemetic Orthodoxy with a month-by-month calendar for years, and I have used it on a near-daily basis for over a year now. It has informed my practice and intrigued my inner reconstructionist; it has brought me closer to my gods, introduced me to new ones, and given me a broader taste of history and ancient Egyptian religion.

And now that calendar is coming into the world as a book!

This Kickstarter was funded in the first two hours, so it’s already going to happen. We get an ebook, huzzah!

But there’s so much more we could get, too. A coil-bound printed copy. Or even a mobile app. How’s that for insanely freaking useful and awesome?

Please, if you can spare a few dollars, back this project and help us bring even more forms of the the Ancient Egyptian Daybook to the public. I’ve been plugging in each new month’s Kemetic calendar into my Google calendar and synching it to my phone; I cannot tell you how excited I am at the prospect of an actual app to do this in a more efficient and user-friendly manner!

If you can’t afford to back the project, please take a few moments and spread the word. The Daybook is of interest not just to Kemetics, but to anyone who loves or studies ancient Egypt; this is both a spiritual and a historical project, and I can’t wait to see it completed!

Kemetic Resources and Academic Discernment

This is a short post to let you know that I have, after a lot of foot-dragging, updated my Kemetic Resources page with a load of goodies: free and legal book downloads, links to scholarly sites and blogs, and other top-notch resources for new and seasoned Kemetics alike. I compiled these links myself, and though I have done my very best to include only reliable and informative sites/books, I cannot lay claim that all of them are 100% perfect. If, however, you have recommendations of links to add (or warnings of links to remove), please do chime in with a comment!

In direct relation to this, I’d like to point you all towards Sarduriur’s Academic Sources Guide for the Unversed, which explains how to discern a poor academic source from a trustworthy academic source. (Please note that this applies to research-based information, not personal experience and UPG!)

God Bios: Seshat (Seshet, Sesheta)

Please note, lovely readers: All of this is a work-in-progress. It will change as I continue digging through books and other sources. Do not take this as a rock-solid encyclopedic entry at any point. :)

Hail Seshat, She of the Golden Scrolls and Infinite Ink!

attributes

– libraries
– all forms of writing and notation
— said to have invented writing (whereas Djehuty gave it to humanity)
— census
— accounting
— record-keeping
— recording lives and deeds of men on the leaves of the sacred persea tree
— recording the pharaoh’s speeches
— recording the inventory of foreign captives and goods
– involved in starting the foundations of major building projects (“stretching of the cord” ceremony)
— architecture
— surveying
– astronomy
– mathematics
– history

appearance

– a woman dressed in the long skirt and leopardskin of a Sem (funerary) priest
— the leopard/cheetah spot pattern of the Sem garb represented the stars, a symbol of eternity, and was associated with the night sky
– crowned by a seven-pointed star or rosette, crowned by downturned horns or a bow
— the horns/bow may be related to a crescent moon shape and thus to Djehuty, Her father or consort
– holding a palm stem, which is notched to denote years (especially the years of the pharaoh’s life/reign)
– holding other tools, such as the knotted cords used to survey land and buildings or a stake and mallet

relationships

– equated with Nebt-het and Nit
– consort to Djehuty (Thoth)
– daughter of Djehuty
– sister of Djehuty
– occasionally considered “just” a female aspect or version of Djehuty
– mother of Hornub, “gold Horus”
— linked to Aset (Isis)

epithets

– The Female Scribe (meaning of Seshat)
– The Seven-horned (Sefkhet-abwy)
– Mistress of the House of Books
– Mistress of the House of Architects
– Lady of Builders
– Foremost in the Library
– Mistress of Books
– Mistress of Potters

notes

– Seshat was the only female depicted in the act of writing, though others have been shown holding scribe implements.
– Spell 10 of the Coffin Texts states “Seshat opens the door of heaven for you.”
– She had priests, but no formal temple.

primary sources

– Egyptian Mythology: A Guide to the Gods, Goddesses, and Traditions of Ancient Egypt (Geraldine Pinch)
– Nebt-het: Lady of the House (Tamara Siuda)
– The Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt (Richard Wilkinson)
– The Routledge Dictionary of Egyptian Gods and Goddesses (George Hart)
– The Ancient Egyptian Prayer Book (Tamara Siuda)