Grave Moss & Stars

Posts Tagged ‘music’

a million of music

My body speaks, my lips repeat
pure Ihy-music for Hethert.
Music, millions
and hundreds and thousands of it,
Because You love music,
a million of music for Your ka,
In all Your places.

~ King Antef (source: Hathor Rising, A. Roberts)

Personal conjecture: Ihy is Hethert’s (Hathor’s) son, Whose name reflects the jubilation of musical instruments in the sound they produce and in the act of playing them. “Ihy-music” in this may indicate both Ihy, Whose music soothes and pleases His mother, and also, more generally, ecstatic music.

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!


  • 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: F is for Feeding The Ka

To feed the ka is to nourish one’s spirit, one’s soul. Ancient Egyptians considered the soul to have multiple components; the ka was one of the two most important, as it contained one’s incarnate personality and, after death, would be transformed into one of the blessed dead. The nourishment of the ka in life for many modern Kemetics is just as vital as nourishment of the flesh, and I wanted to share a few things that have been feeding my ka lately.

Feeding my ka is a unique feeling, one not mistakable for “just” happiness or satisfaction; it is marrow-deep and suffuses every part of me with well-being, as though I have feasted on joy and no longer hunger. When I feed my ka, I feel a powerful sense of balance, of groundedness, as though the earth would have to crack before I would lose this fulfilled feeling. It is not something I feel all the time, and I do not seek out ka-feeding activities and situations as often as I would like to… but I realized recently that listening to certain music floods my ka with nourishment like almost no other.

A year or so ago, I discovered The Piano Guys, a cellist and pianist who so loved their music and were so skillful in their passion for the art that their joy was contagious and inspiring. I listened to their Youtube songs on repeat during hard days at work, and their happiness and their music filled my heart when I couldn’t see past the stress. One of my absolute favorites is One Direction – What Makes You Beautiful; if you sample no other piece of their music, at least give this video a watch and a listen.

Another piece of music that uplifts the spirit and fills my heart is Rootless, by SJ Tucker (you can listen to it at that link!). Everything from her voice to the lyrics makes this song deeply impactful and personally meaningful to me (and a whole lot of other pagans, I reckon). Listening to this song alone reminds me of my roots, both spiritual and communal, and honors the hard work that this path sometimes demands.

And lastly, but so far from least, my most staple of spirit-foods is the sky. Stepping outside, breathing, and looking up always stills the frantic pace of the human world, dulls down the sharp edges, and gentles the twinges and aches. The sky is my Mothers, and well before I ever did a thing with Kemeticism, the sky eased my heart.

I hope every one of you has the opportunity to feed your ka regularly; may you never run dry on this strange and wonderful path we choose to walk.

This post brought to you by the Pagan Blog Project.

Last year’s second F post was on feral.

a meditational Tool

So, has anyone else ever meditated to Tool’s Parabol + Parabola?

Click here to hear both songs together.


so familiar, and overwhelmingly warm
this one, this form I hold now

embracing you, this reality here
this one, this form I hold now

so wide-eyed, and hopeful
wide-eyed, and hopefully wild

we barely remember
what came before this precious moment

choosing to be here, right now
hold on, stay inside

this body, holding me
reminding me that I am not alone

this body
makes me feel eternal
all this pain is an illusion


we barely remember who or what came before this precious moment
we are choosing to be here, right now
hold on, stay inside
this holy reality, this holy experience
choosing to be here in

this body
this body holding me
be my reminder here that I am not alone in
this body
this body holding me
feeling eternal, all this pain is an illusion


in this holy reality, in this holy experience
choosing to be here in

this body
this body holding me
be my reminder here that I am not alone in
this body
this body holding me
feeling eternal, all this pain is an illusion

twirling ’round with this familiar parable
spinning, weaving ’round each new experience
recognize this as a holy gift and celebrate this
chance to be alive and breathing
a chance to be alive and breathing

this body holding me reminds me of my own mortality
embrace this moment
remember, we are eternal
all this pain is an illusion

Bonus PBP: C is for Creating With God

Disclaimer #1: Where I say “God”, substitute your preferred term. God, Goddess, the Divine, the Great Spirit, Netjer, an individual deity’s name, etc. This is shorthand, not exclusion. :)

Disclaimer #2: This post will make me sound pretty crazy. That’s okay. Creation is a weird, intense thing.

If you’ve seen this blog’s past entries at all, you know I like to create things. I’ve made paintings for my four primary Egyptian gods (and one more is planned for the Red Lady), a sculpey pendant for one of those four (and planning another as a gift, plus a sculpey-ture), and several songs or mini-songs for all of the above. I’ve also been writing a re-imagined Egyptian fairytale, combining the myth of the Destruction of Mankind with the myth of the Distant Goddess.

And, since I keep inundating this journal will the results of such creativity, I figured now is not a bad time to talk about the process of creation, especially when there’s one or more gods involved.

When I write “regular” fiction, my characters drive the story. I may have the vaguest seed of an idea or a well-planned plot and setting, but once I start writing, the characters take the wheel, and I wind up being a side-seat driver or, at best, a navigator. “No, no, turn left up here, trust me.” It’s an incredibly enjoyable process, but it’s not exactly an exercise of logic and intellect for me. I’m just along for the ride, taking notes as I go.

Working on a project for or with God is even weirder more out of my hands. I’m not imagining the end result and working towards it; I’m stating my intention to create X for/with Y and then listening. It’s a full-body listen, like my mind cracks open and stretches out, no longer a self-contained sphere. I’m receptive and open and subconsciously, intuitively aware.

Writing a song, I’m not analyzing the words or carefully structuring a rhyming pattern. (I’m bad at rhymes, anyways.) I’m relaying a story that’s slowly coalescing in my head. I’m asking the song what chords or notes it wants, what tempo, what texture of voice. I’m asking God, “is this okay? is this part right?” and I can always feel, quite strongly, if it’s right or not. There may be a point in the song where any of three chords will work musically, but there’s always one right chord and two wrong ones. I have editorial license – I can rearrange verses or choose synonyms or use a capo sometimes – but the core always comes from outside of me when I’m making spiritual music.

Same with paintings. I’ll have a vague idea of the overall layout of objects/figures in the painting, but God picks the colors. I have argued, on two different paintings, about the colors God has chosen, but I used the preferred colors, and God was proven right both times. (I have since stopped arguing, although I still express my incredulousness sometimes.) By the time the painting is done, I may be exhausted and not very impressed with my limited skills, but by gum, the painting feels right. The god I’ve made it for likes it, because that god had a hand in the whole creation process.

In the end, when I’m creating something for God, it’s always co-creation. I always have the god in question leaning in, a presence in the space around me, giving me wordless nudges towards this color or this chord. And that’s magic, right there. That’s my interactive prayer. The times when I am co-creating with my gods are when I am the closest I get to Them, and as challenging as it can be, I love it and appreciate it immensely.

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

a song for Ma’ahes

Cripes I wrote a war song.

So, I’m still pretty new to this whole song-writing business, right, and since I’m participating in FAWM, with the challenge to write 14.5 brand new songs in the month of February, I’m a little intimidated. It feels like it did before my first NaNoWriMo – exhilarating and terrifying. I think the month will give me a heap of experience in songwriting, music-playing, and being creative consistently and frequently, but that makes it no less daunting to leap in head-first!

I was listening to the FAWM Jukebox all day at work yesterday. I was getting really excited and impatient to get home and start trying to make music. And when I got home, I had dinner, then started brainstorming. Too many ideas, none of them rooted enough to start playing with. I picked up my classical guitar, then traded her for a scandalous affair with J’s electric guitar (and got lost for a little bit in the fun of amp effects). I got a simplistic chord progression and a crappy first verse for… something that just wasn’t clicking. I put the electric back.

I hit that unfortunate-yet-common spot in the creative cycle where my brain says ALL I DO SUCKS AAAGH and got sad. I kept trying, wanting to push through; I hit that low point when I was doing Nebt-het’s painting, too, but that came out alright! I can do this! …but eventually, tired and whiny, I stopped.

See, I did not realize that Ma’ahes wanted a song.

My sister clued me in when we briefly chatted and I begged her for musical help. I started writing a couple lines for Him, got distracted by other things, and it fell by the wayside. After I got tired enough to quit, my stubborn side reared its bulldog-like head and sent me into the (quiet, distraction-free) bedroom to write down the lines and see if I could, at least, make a little more progress on them. Anything to make this evening not be a musical wasteland. Some better note (pun intended) to end on, before I slept.

Some short time later, I had a song for Ma’ahes. It did not merely flow as I wrote it down; it poured out like water over a broken dam. And it is not like anything I’ve done or attempted to do before. It’s rough, of course, but that’s the idea of FAWM: to create, not to spend endless hours polishing and perfecting. And I think I really do like it.

If you’d like, you can listen to it and read the lyrics right here.

Dua Ma’ahes!

The Blessing of Brigid

From The Virtual Abbey:

Our celebrations, always full of spontaneity, are grounded in our own liturgical traditions. On Brigid’s day, we culminate with this song adapted from “The Blessing of Brigid” in Carmina Gadelica:

One group sings over and over:

I am under the shielding of Brigid each day,
I am under the shielding of Brigid each night.

While others sing in counterpart:

Brigid is my comrade-woman,
Brigid is my maker of song,
Brigid is my helping-woman,
my choicest of women,
my guide.

This is incredibly heartfelt and gorgeous.

My Lady of Verse and Chord

O Hethert-Nut,
Lady of Stars and Sistra!

Mistress of the Night,
Whisperer of Lullabies,
Beautiful One in the Sky,
Inspirer of All Music,
Celestial Cow Who Uplifts The Sun,
She For Whom Songs Are Sung,
Divine Heavens Who Hold The Blessed Dead,
Goddess of Voice, String, and Drum!

I humbly pray that You bless me
with Your endless grace and glory
so that You may be my Muse
in this, the wintry month of fire,
newly-become the month of music
that I create in Your name
and out of love for You.

O Hethert-Nut,
All-Encompassing Mother,
Joyous and Infinite!
May Your radiance shine through my work
like the spirits of the akhu through Your skin;
may I honor You with my earnest efforts
and make You smile with my newborn songs.

Dua Hethert-Nut!

[In other words, I’m trying FAWM for the first time and need all the help I can get!]

PS~ When I was proofreading this, my eyes skimmed a little too fast and briefly read the second line as “Lady of Sitars and Sistra,” which is fabulous. XD

a song for Hethert-Nut

I started writing this on December 11th or thereabouts, when I was sick and had lost my voice. I had invited Hethert-Nut to lend Her touch to my music-making efforts, and She gave me three words as a song-seed, which became the title of this song. I did a very weak recording to let my sister hear it, then proceeded to let my poor vocal cords recover.

And now that I can play the chord progression fairly confidently, I made a stronger recording to share with you all. =3

Click here to listen (or right-click to download the mp3)!

I’m very happy with this. It is a devotional song, a prayer-song, and it serves its purpose perfectly.

Dua Hethert-Nut!

Mother May I

Mother, may I come in
and join You in the skies
my feet are stained with dirt
from walking all these miles
and as much as I enjoy the grass
I like the feel of stardust, too
Mother, may I come in
and stay with You a while

Hethert-Nut, lady of the night sky

Mother, may I breathe here
in the vastness of Your arms
the sun’s tired out my eyes
and night’s coaxed them closed
and as much as I love the light
I like the soft, snug shadows, too
Mother, may I breathe here
and drift on solar winds

Hethert-Nut, lady of the night sky

Mother, may I borrow
some of Your boundless love
my heart is prone to aching
and it needs a tender touch
and as much as I want to care
I need someone to care for me, too
Mother, may I borrow
Your compassion and Your grace

Hethert-Nut, lady of the night sky

Mother, may I love You
without hesitation or doubt
all I want is to praise You,
to give You music and my joy
and as much as I am wary
of offering perfect trust
Mother, I want to love You
and dance within Your smile

Hethert-Nut, lady of the night sky

a song for Nebt-het

My sister is doing some amazing work with writing songs for Netjeru, and thus inspired, I took the little thing I wrote for Nebt-het and a candle and my beloved classical guitar to the bedroom. (J was in the living room, alternately rocking out on his electric guitar or coffee-painting.)

Let me preface this: I am not a confidant guitarist. I am learning. I know a few chords, and I haven’t played regularly since before the move, so I am rusty in the muscles. I am blessed to occasionally be able to write songs in terms of vocal melody + words, but putting chords to it is still a massive challenge to me, and one I have not attempted more than once or twice, ever. Hell, I can’t even get a strum pattern down beyond a simple 1-2-3-4.

So, I lit the candle, pulled up the words, and sang through it a few times, then started fumbling with chords. I didn’t set up formal ritual and invite Nebt-het in, but I made it abundantly clear that She was welcome to sit with me and/or help with the music for Her minisong. Due to several recent silences in response to my invitations, my expectations were low, but to my cautious delight, I got a sense of Her presence fairly quickly.

Nebt-het, to me, is very tall and very slender, with long slim hands that are cool to the touch. Her color is a velvety purple-tinted medium-light grey. She was constantly behind me, slightly to the left, just as She had been when I lit a candle for Her on Her birthday and wrote the minisong in the first place. After working on it for a while, I figured out all the chords and could, stutteringly, play and sing at the same time.

I offered Her more blackberry-grape water when She wanted some; it was what I had given Her on the first night. (The color of that drink, too, became Her color.) The candle burned low and blue as I kept going. Despite the struggle of doing something hard and new, I was gleeful. I was putting music to words and I was the one who wrote the words and I could sing and play and I even had a strum pattern. Holy crap.

I ran out of energy, and my callus-less fingertips were raw; the candle extinguished itself when She said goodnight to me. I told Her I would do better, keep practicing and make it sound better, and She told me that what I had done was enough. Not in the sense of “no, stop here,” but in the sense that what I had done was perfectly sufficient, completely worthy. I tried to wrap my head around that idea when She thanked me for the music, and I thanked Her (about fifty bajillion times) for sitting in with me.

I am going to try to get smooth enough with the chords and strumming to record a version so you can hear, but for now, I wanted to record this experience. Whatever comes of it, I am grateful and happy and blessed.

happy birthday, Nebt-het

Nebt-het seems a sad story to me. Always playing second to Her sister, Aset; married to Set, but living with Aset and Wesir, and possibly for this incongruency, She was called “an imitation woman with no vagina” in one of the Pyramid Texts; had a child by Wesir, upsetting Aset, but was never Wesir’s chosen wife, though She mourned faithfully along with Aset when He died. She is guide to the newly deceased and comfort to the surviving relatives, perhaps because She lost Wesir– perhaps because She knows how it hurts and thus how to comfort, and perhaps because She wanted to guide Wesir safely through the Duat but could not, so She instead guides the human dead.

I lit a candle, prayed, and shared my blackberry-grape water with Her.

lady of darkness
sweep away shadows
bring the fallen one into light
help those left upon this earth
move on and brave a precious rebirth

lady of darkness
draw close the shadows
hide the new child safely
help your lord’s son grow into strength
so he may one day take your lord’s place

Uh, that last line is referring to Heru-sa-Aset, who Nebt-het helped protect and hide during His vulnerable childhood, becoming king in His father Wesir’s stead.

Also, that totally has a tune to it. Sweet. Click here to listen! (An interesting note… the tune is derived from my sister’s song to Set. I looked to Nebt-het when it popped into my head and asked if it was okay, and got the distinct impression that She has no problem with using a melody similar to Her husband’s song.)

happy birthday, Set

I couldn’t possibly do more honor to Set than my sister’s already done Him, so instead, I will point to the song she wrote for Him. Listen to it a thousand times over; it is beautiful.

Set wisdom of the day: Isfet is a terrible and grievous thing and must be extinguished, but people are not isfet. People do isfet; they themselves are merely lost.

Dua Set!

happy birthday, Heru-wer

I sat in the backyard next to a candle lit for Heru-wer, and this got stuck in my head as a looping singsong chant.

Thanks for the tune, Heru-wer. Good timing. Henu to You.

(Y’all can click here to listen. Mediocre recording quality, but it gets the point across.)

Heru-wer has wakened
and so comes up the sun;
and now that Heru-wer has risen,
inward flows the dawn;
and now that Heru-wer has spoken,
isfet is overcome.

For those who have no clue who the hell Heru-wer is and what isfet is and why I’m wishing random entities happy birthday:

I’ve dug myself a homey nest in the fertile ground of Kemeticism, specifically with Kemetic Orthodoxy (the aforementioned awesome spiritual group). In other words, I am studying and beginning to practice a soft-reconstructionist version of ancient Egyptian religion and spirituality. I will be writing about this a lot in days to come.

Right now, we are within the five days considered to be outside the year – the intercalary or epagomenal days. (Started Friday, ends Tuesday. Wednesday, August 3rd, is New Year Day.) Each of the five days is a major god’s birthday. So I’m lighting a candle for each one and, apparently, writing a little sommat for Them. (Or, in this case, singing it.)

Yesterday’s god, Wesir (Osiris), is lord of the underworld. Today’s god, Heru-wer (Horus the Elder) is a solar warrior. Those two sentences are heinous over-simplifications, but they’ll work for those who are totally unfamiliar with Egyptian mythology. :)

Oh, and isfet = bad shit. Going against the rightness/order of the universe – more like “chaos” than “evil.” And henu is a form of deep respect accompanied by physical gestures.