Grave Moss & Stars

Posts Tagged ‘nebt-het’

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.

PBP Fridays: N is for the Circle of N (Nebt-het, Nut, the Nun, and Nit)

The Circle of N

Nebt-het, She Who Borders The Sea
which was once all that existed
as the Nun, primordial ocean
which is deified as, among other Names,
Nit, the Creatrix, all-gendered
Who begat all the world
and can take the form of
the Celestial Cow
which is Nut, the starry heavens,
the uplifted sky arched over
Her lover the earth;

and this enormous divine cow
is also the goddess The Great Flood
and is a form of not only Nut
but also Nit
Who is likewise a form of Nebt-het
and is also the Nun personified;

and so we come full circle,
the proto-ocean Nun
into the creatrix Nit
into the Lady of the House, Nebt-het,
and that House is the sky, Nut.

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

my daily prayer

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!

Mother’s Day

To my Lady Mother, Nebt-het, Who fashioned my soul,
and to Mama Hethert-Nut, Who also fashioned my soul,
and to my mom, who created my body from her own,
and to my partner’s mom, who welcomed me into her family,
and to all the mothers of my blood, stretching back in time:

Thank you for my life and your love. I love you.

a love poem

To the loves of my life,
my Ladies dressed in dusk,
my thousand-blessed Mothers:

I adore You.

Sweep me aloft and lift me to
the sky-Your-body, the sky-Your-home,
so I may breathe the sweet celestial wind
that is Your breath and Your laughter.

Shroud me in shadows that are Your arms
embracing me when my light is
too deep beneath the waves to be gleaned;
enwrap me and keep me from sinking, too.

Hail to my Mothers, my Makers,
the hearts beating beneath the fabric
of the universe that I know
and all the mysteries that I do not.

Dua Nebt-het! Dua Hethert-Nut!

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.

PBP Fridays: G is for Genderqueer and GLBTQ Netjeru

As a genderfunky and pansexual individual myself, I have a special interest in mythological figures who are also queer in some fashion. To my pleasant surprise, we have several Egyptian gods, or Netjeru, Who have some queerness in Them. This post is meant to be a brief introductions to the ones I know.

Firstly, we have Nit, the Creatrix. Of the handful of primary creator deities in ancient Egypt, Nit was the only one said to be female, but all creator deities are to some extent genderfluid and/or genderless, being gods that have reproduced asexually through various means (masturbation, spit, intentional thought) to create the rest of the gods. Nit Herself, despite being hailed as a goddess, bears the epithet “The Mother and Father of All Things” and has been addressed as “Male Who made female; Female Who made male” at the temples of Esna. She is the God Who bore women and the Goddess Who bore men, and so within Herself contains all sexes, all genders. Nit is said to have created childbirth, and, when referred to as a creatrix, Her name is written with the hieroglyph of an ejaculating phallus. She has been referred to as the deity of the Nun (pronounced noon), the great primordial waters of creation, or as the Nun personified. Another snippet from the Esna inscription reads:

Wide water Who created eternity; water Who made everlastingness;
Who rose in Nun while earth was in darkness.
Living Ancestor, Who had Her origins in Nun, before the creation of Geb and the raising of Nut.
Genetrix, Cobra Who was at the beginning, Mother of time primordial, She Who created Her own birth…

(Geb is the god of the earth; Nut is the goddess of the sky.) For more about Nit, you can read the research I’ve compiled thus far.

Nit has also been identified with/as Nebt-het (Nephthys), Lady of Death. In ancient texts, Nebt-het has been described as being “an imitation woman with no vagina” because of Her barrenness, and She has no children with Her husband, Set, Lord of the Red Desert, which is a striking difference from most Kemetic triads of mother-father-child. Some modern Egyptologists have interpreted Nebt-het as being a lesbian; more to the point, She is sekhyt, a Kemetic word often translated as “eunuch” but more accurately indicates any person who doesn’t fit within the traditional gender roles of male or female, any person who is infertile, and/or a sexless/unsexed person.

That leads us to Nebt-het’s husband and consort, Set, God of Chaos. Set is a highly sexual god; He’s been lured off after Aset (Isis) in guise of a beautiful maiden before, and He’s also tried to seduce Heru-sa-Aset (Horus the Younger), both during the Contendings of Horus and Set, which is the tale of Who would become king after Wesir’s (Osiris’) death. Heru-sa-Aset, in turn, tricked Set into consuming some of His semen on lettuce, also as a part of the Contendings myth. Some Egyptologists suggest Set is strictly homosexual, but He would also be more suited to the term sekhyt, as He’s often considered sterile due to His association with the barren desert, over which He rules. Heru-sa-Aset may or may not be considered bisexual or sekhyt, depending on the source; He does go on to father the four Sons of Heru, showing that He is indeed fertile, but His actions with Set may suggest a bisexual inclination (or just an attempt to gain a political upper hand).

In addition, Hapi, god of the Nile, was a male deity associated with the fertility and life-giving powers of the Nile river; as a result, He was shown as a round-bellied man with full breasts. The breasts may have been symbolic, or He may have been considered a fully hermaphroditic deity, though He did still have a wife.

Fertility was a big deal in ancient Egypt and was the primary requisite for a person receiving the full privileges of womanhood or manhood, but even in the biggest myths, genderbending and alternate sexualities were represented; there’ve also been inscriptions in tombs indicating homosexual relations between men. (I don’t know of any between women; if you do, please share!) Set and Nebt-het, both important deities in Kemet, were sekhyt Netjeru, and all creator deities, especially Nit, held within Them both male and female qualities. If I’ve missed any queer Egyptian gods, please feel free to chime in, or add your opinions/experience with the gods mentioned here!

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

where Hethert(-Nut) and Nebt-het touch

This post is much more of a thought-seed than an essay, so please treat it as such; I lack conclusions. :)

In Hemet’s booklet Nebt-het: Lady of the House, she states:

Nebt-het, or nb.t-hw.t, means “lady of the house” or “lady of the mansion/temple,” as hw.t represents a more formal structure than does the usual pr, “house.”

Some Egyptologists suggest that the “house” in the name Nebt-het should have the same, celestial-oriented meaning as does the “house” (hw.t) in the name of the goddess Hethert (Greek Hathor, Kemetic hwt-hr), but Nebt-het does seem to have a very intimate connection with humanity and not just the sky. In this regard, I believe the celestial component is interesting … but unnecessary for an understanding of Her nature.

Given that my Mothers are Nebt-het Herself and Hethert-Nut, Hethert-as-the-sky, Hethert-the-Celestial-Cow, I am quite interested in this potential connection created by the hw.t, “-het,” in both Their names.

And since yesterday was a holy day for Tasenetnofret, The Good Sister, Whose name is one of Nebt-het’s epithets and yet Who is a form of Hethert, well…

I have to wonder where these two great goddesses might touch or even overlap each other. Nebt-het, goddess of death, guide to the souls of the passed and comforter to those mourning, and Hethert, lady of joy and love and music, in Her form of Hethert-Nut, the great cow of the night sky, upholder of the Sun Himself. Netjeru of the firmaments and all the souls and stars within them. Perhaps it was even Hethert-Nut Herself Who established that the house of the gods was within the sky, when She lifted Ra away from humanity on Earth so that He could watch from a safe distance.

And where Hemet mentions Nebt-het’s intimate connection to humanity, well, I cannot say that Hethert lacks such a connection – She, the Lady of love and pleasure and happiness, which we humans seek out and delight in! Hethert, Who ancient Egyptians praised as one of their foremost goddesses! And if Hethert is still a sky goddess in Her own right, especially in Her name of Hethert-Nut, then surely Nebt-het can also be part of the heavens without being distant from us. Besides, Nebt-het has been an Eye of Ra before, a fierce daughter of the sun, and all the Eyes have always been celestial, too.

So, perhaps it is not such a far stretch to see that Hethert-Nut and Nebt-het can meet in the darkness and depth of the sky, these ladies of life and death, sun and shadow.

edited to add:

According to the 2010 edition of the Nebt-het booklet mentioned above, there is, in fact, a syncretization of these goddesses! Hethert-Nebthet is listed as a Hierakonpolis Netjeru, and Nebthet-Hethert is the Lady of the House of the Sistrum, one of the Seven Hetherts/Hathors. The latter is especially fascinating to me, given that Nebt-het was the first deity I ever played music for, let alone created original music for!

And, from the preface to the 2010 edition, I now find these very relevant lines:

Nebt-het is the Lady of the House. The House is the sky, the place where ancestors shine down from as the twinkling stars, to watch all we do and guide us through our human lives.

Indeed, it looks like the sky is the common ground for Nebt-het, Hethert, and Nut, all the ladies Whom I call Mother. :)

a prayer for comfort

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.

Dua Netjer!

hetep-di-nisu(t) // an offering which the King gives

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!

a painting for Nebt-het and jewelry for Hethert-Nut

I like doing art for my gods; I like being creative and listening until I can feel Their input. This weekend was particularly productive in terms of offerings for my Mothers.

For Nebt-het, I did a painting – this makes a complete set of paintings for the gods of my RPD! (Sekhmet is next, though I don’t yet have the skill to do what She wants done.) It’s a simple painting, and as usual, photographing metallics is a terrible idea; the colors and especially the backgrounds are much more subtle and dark in person, but this is the best I can do. I do like how it came out. (There’s a shinier version here if you’re curious!)

The symbols belong to Her other aspects; the red is Nit’s symbol, and the yellow is Seshat’s. Once I’ve gotten some face time with both of those deities, I’d like to do another painting with Them more fully present, but I need to know Them before I can paint them, so this will suffice for now. :)

For Hethert-Nut, I wanted something wearable. I love having jewelry that reminds me of my gods – I have a lion ring for Ma’ahes, a silver pendant for Sekhmet, and Serqet’s scorpion necklace. But I don’t have anything for Hethert-Nut or Nebt-het. With the help of my partner, who is both talented and experienced with making jewelry, I’m going to turn a rosary I got for Nebt-het into a wearable necklace, but that still leaves me lacking something for Hethert-Nut.

So, having no idea what I was getting into, I decided to create a pendant out of sculpey. Long story short, my partner helped me with the wire “skeleton” and was entirely responsible for weaving the cord and doing the beadwork (though I did pick out which beads to use with Hethert-Nut’s guidance). And I created and painted the pendant. It’s considerably larger than I expected, so it’ll only get ritual wear, not daily wear. And since I never quit while ahead, I’m already planning a much smaller pendant for daily wear that can be traded out on the necklace.

I love how this came out. I am, quite frankly, awed at how well the paint colors (chosen by Hethert-Nut in the store weeks ago) and the beads (picked from our existing stock) go together. They exemplify Her.

Dua Nebt-het! Dua Hethert-Nut!

PBP Fridays: A is for Apotropaic Deities

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.