Posts Tagged ‘serqet’
I stepped into the room, exhausted, and looked at my shrine. I had neither the energy nor the focus to perform even my bare-bones daily rite, not after a full day of work, three hours of a root canal, and an evening of thoroughly cleaning in preparation for a house inspection the following morning.
I dug out three tealights: one red, one cream-colored, and one pumpkin-y. I set them on the offering plate and lit them.
I didn’t say any fancy words or even wash my hands to purify. I simply thanked Sekhmet and Serqet, Who helped me through the dental work, and Ma’ahes, Who comforted me when I was afraid and in pain.
Sometimes, it really is as simple as a candle, a whispered word of gratitude, and a feeling of relief for having made it through.
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.
Henadology’s article is particularly well-fleshed-out and worth further reading, as my entry here merely summarizes the basics of the Four Sons.
(…make a pretty good team.)
I rarely experience my gods together. I relate to Them one-on-One, for the most part, though I suspect there occurs the spiritual equivalent of passing in the halls and giving each other a nod and a wave when I involve Them sequentially in ritual.
So it was with some surprise (and an immense wave of gratitude) that I realized that both Sekhmet and Serqet were present when I settled into the dentist’s chair for five hours of less-than-pleasant necessary procedures. It helped to focus on Them instead of the sounds, smells, and sensations of the work being done on my body.
Sekhmet overlaid my dentist (a lovely, skillful lady) with Her crisp I’m-working-right-now red, a sharp difference from the normal stormy, hearth-red that I associate with Her. I knew I was in good hands, both human and divine.
Serqet was a yellow scorpion, roughly as long as my hand, perched on my solar plexus like a cat might sleep atop me. She (or one of Her netjeri?) was a comforting, protective weight keeping me still and calm.
When my focus started to drift too far, I remembered the neopagan tune that goes with the chant, “Isis, Astarte, Diana, Hecate, Demeter, Kali, Inanna,” and adapted it:
Sekhmet, the Red Lady, guides the surgeon’s hands;
Serqet the Scorpion guards me.
I am immensely grateful to Them both for a successful procedure and for Their companionship through those hours… and still a little awed at how right it felt to have both of Them there, working together, in that situation.
Dua Sekhmet! Dua Serqet!
I worked about 55 hours this week. My company is ramping up for their biggest event of the year, and the entire creative group is flooded with requests for assets and new projects. As newly-promoted manager of the department, I get to herd all the cats, from usually-unavailable executives to overworked designers. It is, to say the least, an intense and hectic position, and the crazy won’t ease up until mid-April, after the event.
All week, I have relied heavily on Serqet to lend me Her carapace as protection against the stress and chaos of the fast-paced, long-winded days. I will probably continue to lean on Her until the peak of activity passes and things calm again.
In thanks to Her, I offer this, along with such treats as I create and pour and bake and cook this weekend and in coming days:
Lady of the Golden Carapace,
She of Strongest Skin,
Your radiance is the sun’s light!
Those bathed in Your glow
kiss the ground before You.
Lady of the Stinging Tail,
She of Venomous Kiss,
Your mercy is the sun’s blessing!
Those spared from Your touch
kiss the ground before You.
Lady of the Living Breath,
She of Fearless Heart,
Your power is the sun’s wrath!
Those shielded by Your shadow
kiss the ground before You.
I know I’ve missed several PBP posts, and I will be writing and posting them when I can; in order to keep from falling further behind, I’m going to try to keep up with the “current” PBP letters and backdate as I’m able.
When one has more than one god, occasionally one runs into the problem of… well, rationing one’s time, energy, and offerings between Them. While I am only speaking for myself here, I imagine other pagans have run into this particular quandary, and I’d love to hear how you portion your attention to your gods!
Since late 2005, I’ve been following Sekhmet; my beginning relationship with Her was trepidatious, but over time, I became very attached and devoted to Her. From meeting Her up until the springtime of 2011, She was my only god. Sometimes She was barely present; sometimes I prayed to Her daily. A dear friend gave me a Sekhmet pendant, and it became daily wear for years; it was, and is, the easiest way for me to reach out to Her. I was a one-god pagan, and happily so.
But in 2011, I took the Kemetic Orthodoxy’s beginner course, and I began interacting with other Egyptian deities over the spring and summer. I met Set. I had rich, fleeting interactions with or impressions of Twtw, Renenutet, Ptah, Yinepu (Anubis). I prayed to Serqet, Our Lady of Poisons. Ma’ahes knocked on my door and met me outside at sunset. I met Nebt-het and bonded quickly with Her.
Summer cooled into fall. In November, I underwent the geomantic Rite of Parent Divination and found that my spiritual parents are Nebt-het and Hethert-Nut, my beloveds Ma’ahes and Serqet. I was both surprised and not surprised that Sekhmet was not present. As I began deepening my relationship with those four gods, I found myself spending more time with Set (thanks to my sister’s relationship with Him), too.
It has been a year since I met my Mother, Nebt-het; over a year since I began praying to Serqet, and just under a year since I met Ma’ahes. It has been almost seven full years since I began studying and worshipping Sekhmet.
And I find myself saturated with deities that I love and admire and wish to offer good things to, but no real hierarchy. In Kemetic Orthodoxy, one’s Parent(s) come(s) “first,” but that doesn’t necessarily mean that one has the closest relationship with Them, or that one spends the most time with Them, or that one even gives Them the most/nicest offerings. “First” is a very nebulous definition that I’m still seeking to explore for myself, especially since I am still emotionally closer to Ma’ahes and Serqet than my Mothers.
For all intents and purposes, I have five or six deities in my life on a consistent, long-term basis, and I have no particular hierarchy for Them. I have situations in which I call on one or another first; I have acts or objects I offer to one or the other first, based on what They like and appreciate. All my physical exercise and martial arts practice is an offering to Sekhmet; my keeping a prayerbook is a service in Nebt-het’s name. I call on Serqet when I need Her protection or on Hethert-Nut when I need comfort and love.
On occasion, it perplexes me, my lack of a primary god. So many pagans have patron or matron deities; so many of my Kemetic brethren have one Netjeru to Whom they are the closest. I struggled with “letting go” of Sekhmet as my only deity, even as She pushed me down this path that ascertained other gods would come into my life. Sometimes, out of habit, I will think of Her as my only, as my primary; but I wear jewelry for Nebt-het, Hethert-Nut, Ma’ahes, and Serqet on a daily or near-daily basis, and I do not forget that my life now includes Them, too.
Having been a person with a “matron deity,” if I can give Sekhmet that non-Kemetic label, I do occasionally miss the simplicity and purity of it. It has been a challenge to give what I deem fair amounts of attention and time to each of the gods Who are active in my life, even when only a couple at a time are standing at the forefront. But all in all, I adore each Netjeru I know, and I feel blessed by Their presence, gifts, and lessons in my life.
This post brought to you as part of the Pagan Blog Project.
Slightly expanded from my original morning and nighttime prayers, since I proved incredibly bad at remembering to say the nightly prayer before sleep. This’ll be said in the morning, probably as I’m driving to work.
Good morning, Netjer and Netjeru.
Thank You for all good things of yesterday,
for all the wonderful souls I have been blessed to know,
and for the zep-tepi of each new day.
Thank Nebt-het for compassion and grace,
Hethert-Nut for joy and creativity,
Ma’ahes for strength and affection,
Serqet for guidance and protection,
Sekhmet for will and rightful action,
and my akhu for family and life.
May today be positive and productive;
may I walk with Ma’at in compassion, peace, and joy.
Today is good. Dua Netjer!
Guys, this whole making-jewelry thing is kind of addictive. Just sayin’.
Necklace for Ma’ahes, the Living Lion, with a nod towards His Nubian Name of Apedemak:
Necklace for Serqet, Our Lady of Scorpions:
Dua Ma’ahes! Dua Serqet!
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.)
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.
Guys, I can’t tell you how pleased with and proud of this one I am. This is pretty much the best painting I have done to date. The black, gold (around the pincers), and bronze (around the stinger) are all metallic; the red and white are matte. It is gorgeous in person.
It is a gift for Meket, a daughter of Serqet and a spiritual sibling in the Kemetic Orthodoxy. She has seen it and loves it, so I’ll be shipping it off to her very soon. =3
To my friends and my kindred spirits, if you ever want any art from me, know that I absolutely love doing this and that you should never hesitate to ask. ♥
I place myself in the center of the turning world;
the center is still.
~ A Pagan Ritual Prayer Book, Ceisiwr Serith
May the dark places in my spirit
be only the folds in Nebt-het’s cloak.
May the dark places in my heart
be only the fields in Hethert-Nut’s starry sky.
May the dark places in my body
be only the marrow of Ma’ahes’ bones.
May the dark places in my mind
be only the shadow of Serqet’s upraised tail.
May the dark places in my life
be only the dusk before Sekhmet’s dawning.
May I remember that darkness
only exists where there is also light.
In the past little while, I have accumulated a startling number of offerings for my gods, to the point of having one for each of Them. Tonight, I felt the urge to sit in shrine and give Them Their gifts, since I found myself physically and mentally pure enough to do so in good spirits.
I put on background music – my own personal mix CD of god-songs and spirit-songs – and washed my hands. Lit incense, lit candle, knelt down. Poured a libation of green tea in four cups – I only have four, but I was offering to five gods, so I gave Sekhmet the candle for Her own. (She didn’t seem to mind.)
To Sekhmet, I offered a statue of Her, gold and standing tall, a gift from a good friend.
To Nebt-het, I offered the painting I’d done, and I rededicated to Her the rosary that J had converted to a necklace for me.
To Hethert-Nut, I offered the pendant I’d crafted and the accompanying necklace that J had made, an effort of love from both of us.
To Ma’ahes, I offered a lion plaque that I’d had for years that seemed to suit Him, as well as an ornately decorated Kemetic dagger, another gift from the aforementioned good friend.
To Serqet, I offered a small gold statue of Her in Her form of a woman, a gift from my sister.
I sat with Them and talked for a while, comfortable in front of my beautiful shrine and the objects that represented my spiritual family. I also shut up for a while and listened, counted my breath in time with the song that was playing, relaxed. I thought of more things I want to do for Them – Sekhmet’s painting, a full-length song for Nebt-het, Hethert-Nut’s other painting, a sculpey-ture for Ma’ahes, and the song I’m working on for Serqet.
I was happy. I told Them goodnight, reverted the green tea libations, thanked the candle and blew it out, and found the little Serqet statue something to stand on so She could stay in Her preferred corner, in the shadow of my akhu shelf-shrine.
I am happy. Dua Netjer!
As a language geek, “apotropaic” is a word I absolutely love. In a pinch, it means “intended to ward off evil” – so apotropaic deities are gods and goddesses that protect against evil.
Out of the five Kemetic deities I work most closely with, a solid four of Them are or can be considered apotropaic– but They have different areas of expertise.
Sekhmet, the Red Lady that I have served for years, is an Eye of Ra. As such, She doesn’t so much “ward against evil” as “incinerate evil,” but the protective aspect remains. While I tend to pray for Her help in situations involving sickness and injury, as She is both a goddess of plagues and of healing (and of surgeons), a few years back, She did agree to ward my living space. To this day, no matter where I’m located, the walls, windows, and doors are sealed against malice with Her fire. It’s an immense comfort to me.
Nebt-het, Lady of the Dead, has also been an Eye of Ra in Her more obscure past. More commonly, though, She is invoked to protect against the Evil Eye, which, in the Kemetic definition, is coveting or malicious jealousy. (She has also been called upon to actively punish those with the Evil Eye, implying that She is more than just a passive protective force.)
Ma’ahes, the Great Protector, is one of the few male deities who can be an Eye of Ra. As usual for such a role, He can fulfill a protective capacity, especially when acting as an executioner for the enemies of Kemet (Egypt). I associate Him with the setting sun, the orange light that bridges day and night; I call on Him for protection against darkness, be it physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual.
Serqet is a goddess called on to protect against the very poison She Herself can deliver as a scorpion. Consequently, Serqet is frequently hailed to help heal and protect against spiritual and emotional venom, especially that associated with trauma. I pray to Her when I’m trying to stay unaffected by the emotional or social drama-llamas that can crop up in or out of work situations.
Other apotropaic deities worthy of mention are the sphinx-god Twtw (Tutu, Tithoes), the dwarf lion-god Bes, and any god/dess who can be an Eye of Ra, as well as any of the numerous warrior deities of the Kemetic pantheon. (If I tried to list them all, we’d be here for days, trust me. While many of our war gods and goddesses fall more into the active side of the extinguishing-evil spectrum, many double as guardians, not just executioners.)
If you have any apotropaic deities you’d like to discuss or personal experiences to share, please do feel free to speak up! This may be my journal, but it doesn’t always have to be a monologue. :)
This post brought to you as part of the Pagan Blog Project.