Grave Moss & Stars

Archive for the ‘Magic & Ritual’ Category

small steps back on the path

22 OCTOBER – III Akhet 21: Feast of Shu, Day of Renenutet and Nit

Tonight, I offered incense to Shu, pure water and Celtic sea salt to Nit, and a piece of farmhouse bread to Renenutet. I lit a red candle for Nit on the left and a cream one for Renenutet on the right, and I gave Them thanks and admiration. Shu as the breath of the wind that I adore and that uplifts me, He Who upholds my Mother, Hethert-Nut; Nit as another Name for my Mother Nebt-het, Lady of the Deep Waters, He-She Creatrix; Renenutet as the Lady of the Harvest, Who protects our crops that we may have bread at all.

And then Deathcat decided to nest on my calves, leaning against the backs of my knees, as I knelt before my shrine.

So I stayed a little longer. And it was nice.

Dua Shu! Dua Nit! Dua Renenutet!

Happy Wep Ronpet!

At my (non-Kemetic) partner’s urging, I woke up very early this morning to find that he had made two snake-shaped sweet potato pancakes to be ceremonially slain and nommed destroyed. We did this last year, too – it symbolizes the Uncreated One, Ap-p (Apophis), being defeated and disempowered in the new year.

My partner said, and I quote, “Isfet has never tasted so good.” I laughed very hard at that, and agreed.

I lit a candle, said the sunrise prayer at, um, some time significantly later than sunrise, and painted my new altar shelf. I’d spent last night taking everything down, cleaning it, and reorganizing it, and while I am not 100% done (I’ll be adding another tiny shelf for Set, Heru-wer, and the Jackal soon), I’m very pleased with how the space works right now. New shrine pictures will come in a following post, once the paint on the shelf dries!

I also made a new year’s sigil for Nut/Hethert-Nut, Whose year this is. The pale blue central sigil is Balance; the corner golden one is Hope. And the stars are Hers.

Dua Nebt-het on Her day!

Today is Nebt-het’s birthday, the last of the epagomenal days, five days that fall between the end of the Kemetic year and Wep Ronpet, the Kemetic New Year on August 3rd.

Hail to the Sister of Shadows,
She Who comforts the living
and guides the dead home.

May You bless this coming year
as You blessed Your brother, Wesir,
with Your long sight and Your steadfast protection.

Greyed violet as velvet and the dusk,
as multi-faceted as the changing moon,
Dua Nebt-het, Lady of the House!

A sigil for rest in Nebt-het’s honor.

Dua Aset on Her day!

Today is Aset’s birthday, the fourth of the epagomenal days, five days that fall between the end of the Kemetic year and Wep Ronpet, the Kemetic New Year on August 3rd.

Hail to the Shining Daughter of Stars,
radiant queen upon Her throne,
most devoted mother over Her children.

May You bless this coming year
as You blessed Your son with Your heka;
protect and balm this year as You did Him.

Pure blue as the field of the sunlit sky,
as clever as He Who won this day from the moon,
Dua Aset, Great of Magic!

In Aset’s honor, a sigil for fulfilling: rising to fill the space in which you choose to stand, and to fill the role you choose to take.

Dua Set on His day!

Today is Set’s birthday, the third of the epagomenal days, five days that fall between the end of the Kemetic year and Wep Ronpet, the Kemetic New Year on August 3rd.

Hail to the Progenitor of Chaos,
standing fearless at the sun’s prow
and forever slaying the Uncreated One.

May You bless this coming year
and guard it as You guard Ma’at
in brilliant, crackling, blazing fierceness.

Red as a firestorm behind dark smoke,
as powerful as the inexorable turning of the world,
Dua Set, Great of Strength!

In Set’s honor, a sigil for ferocity.

Preliminary Thoughts on Year 20

My initial thoughts on the Year 20 oracle.

… see the blue of the Great Flood …

Nut -> Mehet-Weret (The Great Flood) -> Hethert-Nut. For me, this is my Mama’s year. =3

The year is about Balance, and Hope, both of which require attention, commitment, and patience. It calls us to remain constant, steady, sure, just as the sky goddess Who oversees and embraces us all.

Consistency has always been a huge weakness in me. But I have created, this past Ptah-year, a greater consistency in many areas in my life than ever before. Even if some of them fell by the wayside eventually, they still paved an easier path between synapses for my next efforts to flow down. I know that I can do more now than a year ago. And I know how to do it. I am growing. I will keep growing.

Balance. Hope. Patience. Consistency.

Patience and consistency in getting finances under control and growing them appropriately; likewise with thriving in the workplace and ensuring my needs are being met in pragmatic matters; likewise with tending my body with nutrients and movement.

Balance and consistency in doing the work of becoming a better person, in my ways, to my standards alone; likewise with spending more time with my gods.

Patience and hope in forging through self-therapy and working through SAD this winter and, for lack of a better term, trauma.

Balance and hope in maintaining my creativity and expanding my crafts as my heart desires.

There is so much more to explore here, but this will do for a start. :)

Dua Nut! Dua Hethert-Nut!

Dua Heru-wer on His day!

Today is Heru-wer’s birthday, the second of the epagomenal days, five days that fall between the end of the Kemetic year and Wep Ronpet, the Kemetic New Year on August 3rd.

Hail to the Way-Lighting Falcon,
soaring through darkening tumult
and deterring the lightning.

May You bless this coming year
so that it may shine as brightly
and stand as tall and rightful as You.

Gold as the noonday sun,
as unerring as the hunting hawk,
Dua Heru-wer, Master of Fear!

In Heru-wer’s honor, a sigil for flight– of the falcon and of the arrow to its target. (Click here to see it in the light.)

Dua Wesir on His day!

Today is Wesir’s birthday, the first of the epagomenal days, five days that fall between the end of the Kemetic year and Wep Ronpet, the Kemetic New Year on August 3rd.

Hail to the Once-Living King,
sacrificed by His brother
so that He may lead the beloved dead.

May You bless this coming year
as You blessed Aset with Your son;
the year stands strong in ma’at as Heru does.

Green as the dancing rushes,
as fertile as the flooding Nile,
Dua Wesir, the Lord of Life!

In Wesir’s honor, the tiniest sigil I have ever painted – it is for growth.

PBP Fridays: L is for Magical Language

I love language. Communication methods fascinate me; subtle details and nuances enthrall me. I am a writer, a free-form poet, a song-maker, and so the artistic forms of communication are bedazzling; I am equally intrigued by the body language of the human animal and the less-conscious processes of our psyches that influence how we communicate and translate what we perceive. Art and science conjoin where human interacts with human. Communication is the core of most of our world, whether we’re broadcasting to a known or unknown audience, interfacing one-on-one, interacting with non-human animals, or simply thinking to ourselves. I cannot think of anything in my life and my self that communication does not touch.

In my spare time in high school, I wrote poetry and children’s stories in French. I also developed a “conalph,” a constructed alphabet called Kalash, around that time. I created a cypher – a code that exchanges one letter for another – in order to pass notes to and from my friends without any chance of the teacher knowing what we wrote if we were caught. (Yes, I was the geekiest deviant possible.) That cypher, Khraenian, led to a simpler and cleaner one, Dannu; to this day, I can write Kalash and Dannu almost as quickly as I can write in my native English. I learned to sing songs that had been translated into Dannu and Khraenian; if I am speaking slowly, I can translate into Dannu on the fly, letter by letter into words. I’ve started crafting a full-fledged model language called Uhjayi, complete with its own grammar, syntax, vocabulary, and pronunciation style; I even created written and audio lessons to help explore/explain it. I play games while I drive where I read street signs and other visible words as though I were a native Uhjayi speaker, sounding them out with non-English pronunciation.

And that’s only touching on the linguistic forms of communication– there is not room enough in this post for me to talk about music, about color and shape, about stance and gesture. It would be half a novella if I did.

So, it is no surprise that I am just as hooked on magical language as I am on language in general.

Language is a huge part of my magical and spiritual and philosophical practices and studies. I wrote about heka, Egyptian magic, which invokes the power of the intentional word to create psychological effect and magical change. For the sigils I create, I use Kalash to encode the phrase powering the invocation. For years, I have written little “charms” in Kalash on whiteboards in my workplaces, tucking them into corners; it befuddles and entertains my coworkers, who guess at the meanings. I always reassure them that I write only positive things.

I am always watching what I say and how I say it. From my initial self-training to be clear and honest with myself in what I wanted and needed to being tactful, courteous, mindful, and still honest with other people, there isn’t a moment when I stop paying attention to the words in my head, between my teeth, and on my fingertips. I am less aware of my body language than my words; it’s easier to listen to myself during a conversation than it is to monitor my facial expressions and posture in a mirror the whole time I’m engaging with someone or something. But I try to be mindful of even that.

For me, anything that betters and enhances the self will improve one’s life overall, and magic is one of the crafts that most benefits from a clear, accurate, heartfelt use of language. From prayer to praise, from symbol to song, from spell to ritual, any time we communicate with the Unseen and the deities and spirits residing there, language becomes magic.

This post brought to you as part of the Pagan Blog Project.

PBP Fridays: J is for Journeying

Plenty of folks have done this topic for the Pagan Blog Project, but I don’t mention journeying very much on this blog, so it’s worth writing about for me.

I journey, or pathwork, whichever term you prefer; I use both. To journey, for me, means to send my consciousness outside of my physical body and into a spiritual and/or metaphysical location; going to the Otherworld, seeing the Unseen, that’s journeying. (I use the incredibly scientific and technical term of “throwing” for when I’m sending my awareness to visit a place in the physical realm; pretty sure others refer to this as remote viewing.)

I don’t claim to know or even guess at how this works in scientific or spiritual terms, and the “how” doesn’t really matter to me. I may be playing pretend, I may be venturing through the astral realm, I may be inducing minor neurological hallucinations, I may be engaging with various psychological archetypes of my conscious and subconscious, or maybe some combination of the above. What matters to me is that journeying has a positive, beneficial, tangible effect on my own person and practices, and it doesn’t bring any detriment to me, and so I continue on my merry way. :)

When I was wee, or at least more wee than I am now, I got my hands on some Wiccan books, an astral projection how-to guide, and Michael Harner’s Way of the Shaman. I never got the hang of astral projection; I was always too aware of my physical body to make that separation, which is how “throwing” came about in its stead. But I learned different techniques for going to different non-physical “places,” and for a while there, I did so regularly as an accompaniment to my totemism practice, experimenting with more traditional forms of journeying with the aid of drums and more neo-pagan forms of journeying that were reminiscent of creative visualization.

I don’t journey so much anymore; my studies in Kemeticism have taken me more towards the in-person ritual than the in-spirit pathworking. But it still feels like a core piece of my spirituality practice and my magical toolkit, and I look forward to the time that feels right for me to return to journeying on a regular basis.

This post brought to you as part of the Pagan Blog Project.

PBP Fridays: H is for Heka, Egyptian Magic

The Kemetic (ancient Egyptian) word heka is most frequently translated to be “magic,” but it’s not quite the kind of magic that most of us in the Western world are familiar with. Heka is word-magic, the power inherent in the written or spoken word, the power of authoritative utterance. It most literally translates to “activating the ka,” which is the part of one’s being or spirit that comprises one’s current personality and psyche; the power of heka is tied to the soul and the innate power of who we are. Unlike a lot of modern magical methods, heka does not require casting circle, creating sacred space, raising or channeling energy, or invoking any entities into your personal space. Heka is language at its most powerful, and as language, prayers can be heka just as easily as “spells” can be heka.

Ancient Egyptians and many modern Kemetics place special emphasis on how they speak and what they say (or write). Heka is in every word that passes our lips and hands, not just the words we intend to be magical or prayerful. As I write this entry, I commit heka. As I pray to my gods and sing Them songs, I engage with heka. As I write my little charms in Kalash on the whiteboards at work, I inscribe heka. As I hold a conversation about silly things or deep things with my friends, coworkers, and myself, I create heka.

One of the things I love about the power of heka is that its strength and effectiveness is solidly backed by science. The power of what we say and how we say it has been extensively studied from almost every point of view, from hard psychology to self-help authors to New Age affirmation gurus to modern magicians. There’s a huge difference in how our bodies and brain chemicals and intangible minds react to “I won’t smoke anymore” vs. “I want to quit smoking” vs. “I am quitting smoking” (or “I quit smoking”).

Heka is the understanding that what you say matters. Ancient Egyptians often offered teaching wisdoms to this point: speak only in surety, do not speak out of anger, holding your tongue is to be the bigger person. The value in speaking with care and deliberation has not lessened as the ages have worn on; as a point of self-control, as part of compassionate interaction, heka has a crucial role to play in how we communicate with others and express ourselves.

Not to mention the power of intentional heka used in prayer and magic! To focus all the power of language into short forms of prayer or ritual or spellwork, written or spoken, is an amazing thing. It’s like poetry, like music, able to distill the immensity of the human experience – or at least one facet of it – down to a singular, streaming flow of words. One can bring to bear all the power of linguistic aesthetics and magical potential, calling on positive phrases and avoiding negative ones, choosing particular words for their beauty and their acute meanings. To craft heka as prayer or spell, written or spoken, is to forge a blade and hone it to a glistening, unwavering edge. With intentional heka, one etches oneself upon the slate of the universe, for good or ill, in the name of willful change or gratitude or whatever one sees fit. We can change the world – the big one outside and the smaller ones inside ourselves – with the shapes of our tongues and teeth and ink-bearing hands.

Heka can come in many forms and trappings, including those we more commonly associate with ritual – light the candle, light the incense, say the words of purification, wash, say the words of prayer or of spellwork, and even add raised energy to the mix. Ancient Egyptians so believed in the power of heka that many of their spells and rituals involved taking on a particular god’s name – and thus, all powers and relationships S/He had – in order to accomplish a goal. At its heart, heka is the power of the language we choose and use. Our words have power, and we are responsible for how that power is dispensed through our vocabulary.

This post brought to you as part of the Pagan Blog Project.

shrine update

I’m toying with the idea of posting photos every month of my shrine, just to see how it changes. Right now, it’s had a definite expansion: I oil-painted two small shelves to give me more surface area, which means more of the things inside the altar itself get to be placed in open air.

Here’s the shrine in total; you can see my corkboard up on the wall where I keep my religious/otherwise sacred jewelry when I’m not wearing it, including Sekhmet’s pendant and Serqet’s amulet:

To the left, I’ve added a red-painted shelf for Sekhmet alone, as I have the most icons of Her and I feel they deserve a special place:

To the right, I added a teal-and-purple shelf. I wasn’t sure Who it’d be for while I was painting it, but I knew I wanted a place to showcase my non-Sekhmet, non-RPD gods icons, so here we have Twtw and Renenutet:

I did a second painting recently for Hethert-Nut, which She requested; She liked the first one, but She prefers the iconography of Mehet-Weret, a golden cow with deep blue stars. I added the dark indigo background as tribute to the royal purple color I associate with Her. (Also, as most of my paintings, this one is metallic, so it takes poor photos. Also also, I did not use a reference for the cow shape, which is why She looks slightly deer-like.)

And lastly, I acquired a gorgeous statue of and for Ma’ahes, made by the ever-fabulous Nicolas of Shadow of the Sphinx. (He also made my little Sekhmet votive and both Twtw’s and Renenutet’s statues.) People, if you ever need any Egyptian statuary, go to this artisan first – there is no one better in terms of courtesy, skill, affordability, and receptivity to custom work.

Today I do senut, which I intend to make a regular practice as a full-fledged, formal ritual on the first weekend of every month. In it, I will offer my gods the following, and then ask each of Them for a message concerning the month ahead, via my divination tools (cards or coins, whichever They each prefer).

hetep-di-nisut, an offering which the King gives:

To Sekhmet, I offer Her the red shelf, a sacred place of Her own.

To Nebt-het, I offer a black bone ankh and a stormy grey-violet amethyst.

To Hethert-Nut, I offer Her the second painting, may it please Her, as well as night-sky-with-stars beads I found today.

To Ma’ahes, I offer the lion statue.

To Serqet, I offer a banana-milk smoothie. (Don’t look at me, She requested it.)

To Ma’at, I offer a white bird made of shell.

To Set, in thanks for His oracle assistance, I offer peppered jerky and two slim jims, as promised.

And to my akhu, I offer a painting of us; may I always think of my ancestors fondly. (I will finish it before senut today and post a picture of it later.)

Dua Netjer!

a prayerbook update

In November, I started my personal prayerbook, a spiral-bound unlined notebook that I filled with the prayers from and for my community, written in a script called Kalash. To date, I have filled over a third of the book; I have just finished doing some major catch-up work that took me over an hour to record. (This means that, my siblings in Kemetic Orthodoxy, if you have requested prayers, I have prayed for you, even if I didn’t leave a comment in the forums.)

More interestingly, though, is that I’ve gone from simply scribing to making it a mini-ritual. Purification requirements are light – clean hands and a clean space – and the tools are simple: a candle, a single offering cup, and incense. I light the incense, light the candle, offer my Mother Nebt-het Her favorite drink, and leave a small bite of chocolate for Netjer. It’s all done at my computer desk instead of my altar; I need the computer to go through the prayer request forums.

And now, instead of simply writing the prayers, I write them and then speak aloud my requests, calling upon the Netjeru in my family to help. I realized, not too long ago, that I essentially have a god for every occasion with me, and it only makes sense to name Them when I pray for others. Nebt-het, guide of the dead, comforter of the mourning. Hethert-Nut, Who provides love and joy. Ma’ahes, protector and upholder of ma’at. Serqet, Who can help with any poison, be it mental, physical, or emotional. Sekhmet, Who is the patron lady of doctors, especially surgeons.

It feels very right to be maintaining my prayerbook this way, involving my gods and making it a mini-rite. I genuinely feel that doing this is an act done in Nebt-het’s name, and that brings me joy and a sense of responsibility and accomplishment.

Dua Netjer! May You hear the words of Your children and bless them.