The Mysteries of Asar started this past week and that got me thinking about the nature of the Mysteries and how I was going to attempt to celebrate them this year.
Originally, I wasn’t going to do anything for them, but on Thursday night, I got a huge drive to suddenly set up my… shrine… area? the way that I used to. It became such a strong feeling that I couldn’t ignore it anymore. Since it’s not the traditional format for setting up the shrine, I thought I’d share it here- just in case anyone else wanted to try it themselves.
This idea isn’t originally mine. I got it from my SO, and I have no clue where he got the idea from. When I learned about how he goes about this, I knew nothing about Kemeticism, the Egyptian calendar or it’s holidays. But it felt right at the time, and the more I’ve learned over the years, the more I have felt that it feels right. So more and more, it’s what I do.
When we originally did this- we did it on the last New Moon in February (or if it happened on say, March 1- we’d do it then). We would take up O’s statue and wrap him in a particular blue cloth that we have. We’ve used it on our altar to represent water in the past. And generally speaking, it is O’s cloth. No two ways about it. The night of the New moon, we take this cloth and we wrap O in it. Covering all of his icon up. We then set it on the shrine, leave an offering, spend a few minutes, and leave him there. And he stays there for a month. The next Full moon, we unwrap him, give him a big offering feast, and celebrate. Then things return to normal.
Over the years, I’ve found that little nuances in this ritual just make sense to me. February is the time right before Spring starts. It’s right before things really start to get fertile (in most of the US, anyways). Unlike here in the late Fall- it will take months for things to start to grow. So for us, Feb fit the bill. The New Moon is when the moon is hidden. This is when O disappears from sight. And he stays hidden for quite some time. In some ways, unwrapping him at the Full moon makes sense- but I can understand the full month as well. The cloth also succeeds in hiding him. The blue could easily be water. His drowning. So for me, it makes sense.
So that is what I have done for this year. The other night, as I wrapped him up, tears overcame me- for whatever reason. I let them flow, unsure as to their origin. I thanked him for his sacrifice. And I told myself he would be back soon. For now, Set has been moved away from his statue, and in the future, O will be kept inside my box while Set takes a trip outside of the box. I think in the future, I won’t open that shrine case for the entire month. Leaving the offerings outside, instead. It will be interesting to see what a formal shrine will do to this ritual next year.
That is my current plan. O is currently wrapped up and I look forward to unveiling him in a few weeks time. I will be sure to leave him a nice large offering at that point, to celebrate his return.
If you want a more accurate representation of what happened at the Mysteries. According to my Abydos book, there was often a parade/pilgrimage from Abydos proper to Umm el’Qaab. This was the supposed location of O’s tomb (though it’s likely the tomb of a first dynasty pharaoh). During this procession, there would be agents of Set hiding along the path- trying to ‘stop’ the followers of O from getting to the tomb. I guess they’d fight these people off and work their way to the tomb where they’d perform some type of rite, which isn’t very clear. It’s interesting, though. Everyone want to go pretend beat eachother up in the name of Order overcoming Chaos? 😄