Grave Moss & Stars

Archive for the ‘In Praise & Prayer’ Category

a prayer for execution

According to the Kemetic Orthodox calendar, today, II Shomu 7, is the Day of the Executioners of Sekhmet. This holiday could be interpreted in a few ways, including a day to pacify Sekhmet and Her executioners (or plagues or vengeful netjeri (spirits)) or a day to honor Sekhmet’s physicians in their roles of executioners of illnesses and hurts. This prayer is to and for both.

. . .

Hail to you, Executioners!
Blades in hand, you sweep the earth
and cut into, cut apart, cut away.

Turn your faces towards isfet
and there direct your precision
and your sharpening hunger.

Devour that which harms,
excise that which uncreates,
and establish ma’at with your hands.

Sekhmet favors me,
so spare my healthy flesh
and attack only the shadows of sickness.

I praise your names
as you strike to bring balance
and unbloody Ma’at’s white feather.

Your knives separate hale from fel
and etch a line between strength and weakness
so we know where we must work hardest.

Today is your day, Executioners,
and I take up the knife with you
to expel isfet and preserve ma’at.

Dua Sekhmet, Who Wards Off All Evils!

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.

Sekhmet and Serqet

(…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!

Dua Tefnut, Dua Shu!

Today is the birthday of Tefnut, goddess of moisture, and Shu, god of wind. I have been waffling about posting this prayer-poem, which is spontaneous and personal, but really, what’s the point of this spiritual blog if I’m not sharing things true-of-heart?

Tefnut—
if I may be so bold
as to touch You,
I would like to rest
my head against Your skin,
my hair mingling with Your fur
which is rain
which is fur.
I am in love
with the very idea of You,
You water-lioness,
a god-form of me,
so much greater and so deeply unknown.
You live in my head
richly adorned with greens and blues,
and I would praise Your name
with every drop of sweat,
every tear,
and every humid heartbeat.

Shu—
if I may be so bold
as to touch You,
I would like to open
my wings to Your breath,
alighting upon Your currents
like a leaf in the pulse
of the crosswinds.
I am made alive
by the wind that is Your domain,
and I have known You,
You of gold and silver light
gleaming translucent in the breeze.
Knowing You are here
to uphold the sky
and let us taste each precious breath,
I praise Your name
with every sigh,
every song,
and every filling lung.

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!

A New Prayerbook

In November 2011, I began recording prayer requests from the Kemetic community in Kalash, a script of my own invention, and in that way offering my energies and prayers to those who needed them. Over time, it evolved into a weekly ritual of its own, complete with offerings of food and drink, candle and incense, and a light purification. I did it for my community, but it has always been a service I performed in my Mother Nebt-het’s name.

A couple weeks ago, I filled my prayerbook. I have been searching since then for its successor, and it took me until last weekend to find the right book. It’s handmade from the Lokta plant by Nepalese artisans; I chose it because it supports the global community (and fair trade), and also for the cover art that reminds me of both my Mothers. On the right side of the below photo, you can see the initial book blessing/dedication/opening blanket prayer; the first three pages are that lovely night-blue, while the rest are cream-colored.

Beginning this book has made me realize that, roughly once a year, I will fill my prayerbook and go seeking a new one. The thought of having a small stack of books filled with handwritten prayers some years down the road makes me smile. It is a very small thing, praying for my siblings in the faith, for my family and friends, but I am glad to put forth the time and words to do so.

gratitude to our warriors of ma’at

Hail Montu, The Great Bull, Lord of Heaven,
Sovereign of the Gods, Who Dwells in the Army!
I praise Your strong arm and Your fierce heart;
I praise Your might and Your dauntless courage!

Hail, all you staunch children of Montu,
you warriors and soldiers, you protectors and guards!
I praise your strong arms and your fierce hearts;
I praise your might and your dauntless courage!

I give thanks to Montu, Of Everlasting Power,
and to those who follow in His great footsteps,
who watch over the weak and the wounded,
who battle and conquer isfet and wickedness.

Dua Montu!

Exultation for 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:

Hail, Serqet!
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.

Hail, Serqet!
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.

Hail, Serqet!
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.

Hail, Serqet!

blessings of the moment

The sky turned slate-cloudy, and the world’s breath blew colder as the sun sidled out of sight behind the low horizon. We lit a fire in the hearth, smelling of good smoke and warming our toes. Dinner was simple and satisfying, white fish and red rice, with milk and whole wheat gingerbread after.

Running on a paltry four hours of sleep was enough to drag my love to doze a full three hours before I normally slept, so we retired to the bed. He curled up around me, head pillowed on my shoulder, and our dog circled at his back before thumping down against him and resting her muzzle on his hip.

I pressed my palm to her glossy, warm fur and kissed my love’s forehead as he dreamed.

I am deeply blessed with small moments of sweetness such as these, and I offer my gratitude and adoration to Netjer for each breath.

Invocation of Hethert(-Nut)

from the Papyrus Chester Beatty, Stanza 3:

I praise the Golden Goddess, I exalt Her Majesty, I raise the Lady of Heaven up.
I make praise for Hethert-Nut*, and chants for my Mistress.

*orig. Hethert

I wanted to share this because it strikes me as particularly beautiful and devotional, and I want more short and sweet things with which to praise my Mama. ^_^

on Nut’s birthday

Hail, Nut!
Lady of Heaven,
She Who stretches over the world
and welcomes the blessed dead
as stars into Her skin.

Hail, Nut!
Glorious One,
She Who consumes Her son, the sun,
and gives birth to Him again
each and every dawn.

Hail, Nut!
Beautiful of Face,
She Who gives us the blessings
of balance, of patience, and of hope
in this Her year.

Dua Nut!

for Nit

O Mistress of the Bow, Ruler of Arrows,
Nit the Great Who Opens the Way,
May You string Your bow with the Uncreated’s gut
and fletch Your arrows with the white feather of Ma’at!
Lay forth Your arrows into all isfet
and drive it bleeding from Your crashing shores!

O Eldest, O Mother and Father of all things,
praise and prayer and festival unto You!
You Who created all life and all gods,
Crocodile Nurse, Cow Mother, Creatrix,
blessed and beautiful are Your name and Your face!
Hail Nit, Mother of the Gods!