While trying to decipher the meaning of a vision that I received while working with O, it was suggested that perhaps I do an execration. I considered this, and sat down with Set to get his thoughts on it, and he agreed it would be a good idea. For whatever reason, I decided I would try a formal execration. I chose the first execration rite listed in Eternal Egypt. This is my first time of doing an execration from a book, and I wanted to document some of it for others to see and consider.
The purpose of this execration was to “clear the board” (Set’s words). He had told me that I had enemies I could see, and enemies I couldn’t see. Things I was considering, and things that I wasn’t considering. So I chose the first rite in an attempt to keep the ‘enemies’ specific (for the ones I could list), but yet still cast a wide enough net to knock out things that I couldn’t see or consider in my current position.
So let’s go over what is needed for a formal execration. Reidy has the following “ingredients” for an execration:
- Candle or oil lamp
- An image of the serpent-enemy made of beeswax
- New sheet of papyrus with enemies names listed in green ink
- Copper brazier or pan
- Herbs to replace bryony
- Iron knife or nail
- Black thread
- Blade of flint
- Red clay pot, sand, and a lid or means to seal the pot
Because of limitations, I made a few changes to the above ingredients list. I used regular paper, instead of papyrus. My beeswax image was made from a candle. Instead of a copper pan, I used a brass bowl. And for herbs, I used a lemon. Reidy states in his book that bryony would have been acidic, and I felt that a lemon would be one of the most acidic things I could find. Instead of an iron knife, I used Set’s knife (stainless steel). I chose to use his knife because he is part of the reason I’m doing this at all. And, his connotations of smiting a/pep daily anyways. For my red pot, I chose an old pill bottle that I had. I cleaned it and painted it red.
Once I had all of my stuff together, I set it up all nicely in one spot so that I could do all of my work in one area and not have to leave to go get stuff. The execration was going along alright. Nothing major or exciting, though it was odd to actually speak words during my rite (I am a silent ritualist, usually). And everyting was pretty ho hum until I set stuff on fire.
Yes. Set stuff on fire. And holy crap. Did it burn. It burned for a long long time. In fact, I had to bring in a pot lid to smother the flames so that it would stop burning. It got so hot that the wax started to sizzle in the base of the pot. It was seriously like standing in front of the stove while cooking.
And after it was done, it looked a lot like this:
And it was at least 20 minutes before the brass was cool enough to touch.
Afterwards, I took the remains and poured them into my bottle. I added the lemon juice (as well as the lemon as a whole) and poured sand on top. I then took my red candle and melted hot wax over the lid and let it drip down (It didn’t quite pan out as I had hoped it would, but ohwell). Since I didn’t have the means to bury it somewhere, I placed it in a dumpster on the other side of my apartment complex where it will eventually be taken to the landfill and ‘buried’ there.
Now it’s time for the learning curve!
As mentioned in the title, there is a bit of a learning curve to this whole ‘formal execration’ thing. It’s really easy to take a piece of paper, write on it, scream at it, tear it up, burn it and pitch it (and call it good). But when you get into the more formal style of things, there are a lot more problems that can crop up during the ritual. There are also more considerations that need to be made while doing the formal style, and I wanted to go over some of my findings, pitfalls, and areas of suggestion so that your formal execration can go smoother.
- Make sure your execration pot (the thing you burn stuff in) is sturdy. You saw how hot my stuff got. If I had gone with a lesser bowl, its entirely possible that I could have run into serious problems. The bowl could have broken (or shattered) and I would have had hot molten wax all over my table, my person, and possibly my hands as well. Be considerate of the materials you’re using. Make sure that your execration brazier/pot can really withstand high heat.
- Be considerate of your surroundings. In conjunction with above- make sure you’re performing your execration in a place that can handle high heat. Despite using a brass bowl, I ended up with a black circle on my silverware box. I also ended up with tons of tiny wax droplets all over my box, table, and person. Make sure that you do your rites in an area that can handle high heat, messes, and potentially escaping fire or wax.
- Be considerate of your clay pot. My jar was extremely hot after placing that wax in there. I wanted to drip the wax down the side of my jar, so that it would actually seal the jar up. However, the wax was still so hot inside, I couldn’t pick up the jar for fear of breaking the glass, or burning my hands. Be sure that wherever you’re filling the jar at can also handle high heat, or potential jar breakage.
- Don’t make a huge a/pep effigy. My a/pep was made out of a large taper candle. That was dumb. It should have been a lot smaller. I think a lot of my fire issues stemmed from the sheer volume of wax that was in the pot. Be considerate of the size of your burning pot, and the size of the problems you are execrating when you create your a/pep figure. Next time, I think I will make something smaller in size.
- If you’re going to have a large a/pep figure, make sure you burn your paper before adding the wax. There was so much wax in my bowl, the paper never entirely burned. If I had burned the paper first, that wouldn’t have been a huge problem.
- Have water, oven mitts, perhaps a large pot lid (for snuffing out fire), and something like sand or baking soda on hand. This is in case fire spreads.
- Make sure your knives are sharp and can handle some pressure. I had a lot of problem with my knife not wanting to cut this massive wax figure. I ended up doing divots in the wax, and snapping the snake apart… which was quite gratifying. But at least be aware that it can be an issue.
All in all, I’m glad I tried a formal execration out. I think that each format of execration is useful, and really serves different purposes all in all. I love basic execrations where all I’m doing is focusing on smashing the crap out of something. I don’t need to worry about words or structure, it’s all about the emotional release. However, the formal style is pretty cool too, because you seriously feel like you’re beating something much larger up. Especially when the wax started to really go off- I was like “Damn, this is crazy. What the hell did I just unleash?” The styles and feelings are different, and that each format is better for certain situations over others.
It is my opinion that Formal Execrations are good for large scale, long term goals. For example, let’s take losing weight. You’d start with a Formal Execration to get you started. And then you’d do lots of smaller execrations along the way to keep you going. The best way to find out which is best for you is to try one of each version and compare and contrast their results.
I urge you to try a formal execration and see how it feels!
Other posts on Execration:
December 6, 2012 at 8:39 am
December 6, 2012 at 8:53 am
Excellent! Putting the “Forge” pot on top of a trivet or heavy heat-proof tile would be a good idea too.
December 6, 2012 at 9:22 am
This was really neat to read! I’m a little hesitant to try burning anything for execrations because I’m paranoid things will catch fire and my fire alarm will go off, and that will cause all sorts of problems as my house has a sprinkler system. But it seems like a really satisfying act and I hope to try it one day.
December 6, 2012 at 9:23 am
That’s part of why I had to snub out my fire- the smoke was getting too thick and I was worried that the fire alarm would go off D: It certainly would be better to be able to do these outside!
December 7, 2012 at 8:48 am
Reblogged this on The Darkness in the Light.
December 10, 2012 at 10:36 am
This seems like a particularly powerful ritual, even if a bit tricky in terms of managing the flames indoors. Thanks for sharing; all of the photos made your process very clear. (Also, I second Helms on the trivet or tile! 😀 )
♔ la dauphine ♔
March 4, 2013 at 10:34 pm
Congratulations! You’ve been nominated for the Liebster Award! Hope you accept! http://tinyurl.com/a8ttahw
October 19, 2014 at 1:51 am
Great post! I read this awhile ago and just never got around to replying. I burn paper in my execrations in a small cauldron I have. I use Florida Water and a fire-starter to burn it. I give offerings to Aset and Sekhmet-Mut. Thank you for both of your posts on execration.
I do have a few questions though. Have you ever changed your clothes after doing an execration? I know you don’t do many formal rituals, but have you done a daily rite before or after an execration. Which has worked better for you?
October 19, 2014 at 12:08 pm
I almost always change clothing after an execration because I dislike the smoke smell that hangs out in my clothing XDDD
Usually, when I do a formal execration, I’ll include my daily rite at the beginning of it. I’ll light the incense, do the ka embrace, all of that. And then after I give the offerings, I go into the execration phase. Then at the very end I’ll usually return my ritual implements to the shrine, offer them back up to the gods, and then do the typical closing of the shrine box , etc.
Though I think you could do another rite later in the day, or afterwards if you wanted. For whatever reason, I’ve always felt compelled to combine the two :>
October 19, 2014 at 1:14 pm
I felt inclined to do Senut first, then perform the execration rite directly afterwards. I wonder if there is a reason for that.
October 19, 2014 at 1:21 pm
Not sure. I think part of my inclination is because I based a lot of my stuff off of Reidy’s text, which incorporates a lot of the basic ritual structure in the first half of the execration rite (and ironically, reading something called the “Ancestor Ritual” in Roberts’ book- the same situation occurs. They do a standard ritual first before doing the ‘ancestor’ portion). I also feel ilke maybe doing a basic ritual first calls the gods to you, enlivens their statues, so that they are present. Feeds them so that they are not worrying about their stomachs (or, alternatively: gives them payment for them sticking around to help out) and helps to empower your workings afterwards.
but that’s largely speculation on my part.