Every year you see lots of Kemetics talking about the beloved Wep Ronpet that occurs every summer. It’s a great set of holidays and its one of the only holidays that I celebrate out of the hundreds of Kemetic holidays and festivals that I have to choose from.
So it’s kind of a big deal.
However, I was noticing that there aren’t very many resources out there for how you actually go about celebrating the holiday. So I wanted to pool some resources here in one spot for others to use so that they, too can celebrate Wep Ronpet!
So what is Wep Ronpet?
Wep Ronpet is the Kemetic New Year. It falls usually somewhere btwn late July and mid-August. The date for Wep Ronpet varies each year, as it is marked by the rising of Sopdet, modernly known as Sirius. In antiquity, the date would have been based off of where the King was living, and for modern temples such as Kemetic Orthodoxy, they base their Wep Ronpet date off of when Sopdet rises at the Tawy temple in Illinois. Figuring out the exact date for your particular location can be a pain. I’m not even going to attempt to cover it here. If you wish to give it a shot yourself, here is the TC thread on how to figure out the date yourself.(See also, Making Bright’s post about Kemetic Calendars).
For those who want to celebrate but aren’t sure when, I recommend a few things:
- Ask a current Kemetic Orthodoxy member, or ask on a forum. Usually, we Kemetics get around and can give you the dates for Wep Ronpet.
- Pick a date yourself- I’ve done this a few times. The world has never ended because I chose my own dates.
Now Devo, you keep saying “dates”- isn’t Wep Ronpet one day?
Yes. Wep Ronpet is in fact one day long. However, there are 5 days of excitement leading up to Wep Ronpet that we typically call the Epagomenal Days, or the Intercalary Days. And, if you’re a part of Kemetic Orthodoxy- the day after Wep Ronpet, you have the annual Sekhmet Baths (which can be replicated to some extent at home).
So all of the festivities surrounding Wep Ronpet can last a full week- 5 days for the intercalary days, one day for the actual New Year (Wep Ronpet itself) and a day after for cleansing and preparing yourself for the upcoming year. For this guide, I will cover all of these days so that you can have a full week’s worth of action.
The Epag. days came about from a myth where Nut got pregnant with 5 kids. Ra got upset about this and forbade her from giving birth on any day of the year. Thoth, being the tricky guy that he is played a game of Senet with the moon, and upon winning this game of Senet, he received a small portion of the moon which he used to create an extra 5 days which she can use to birth her five children.
Traditionally, these days are said to be a little weird because they are ‘outside of the norm’. Usually great care was taken not to take too many risks, and I’ve heard that typically people were very quiet in celebrations on these days. However, I have never seen an issue with partying hard on these days- so you can take that however you’d like :)
So each day is dedicated to the god that was born on that particular day. The order that it goes in is:
- Heru-wer (Horus the Elder)
- Nebhet (Nephthys)
Typically, many Kemetics will set up a small shrine dedicated to the particular god of the day for each day of the intercalary days. The shrine doesn’t have to be complicated. Sometimes, if a person doesn’t have an icon of the particular deity, they will print out a picture of the deity, or draw their name on a sheet of paper. Don’t let your money or materials limit you- the shrine doesn’t have to be fancy in order to be effective.
The most common things I see on a typical Epag. Day shrine is:
- Image of the deity (2D, 3D, whatever)
- Offering plates or bowls
- Libation bowl or cup
- Incense or candles – if needed
Normally on these days, I will present offerings of nice food and drink to the deity as well as incense. I normally wish them well in the upcoming year and spend a little quiet time in front of the shrine.
Other activities I’ve heard related to the gods of the Epag. days is:
- Writing about or for the particular deity of the day
- Reading and sharing stories regarding that deity
- Asking the deity’s assistance in performing a divination about the upcoming year
Feel free to let your mind go wild with what you can do. There are lots and lots of possibilities here.
For many, Wep Ronpet starts with the sunrise. Since Wep Ronpet is all about Zep Tepi or ‘the first time’- there isn’t much more ‘first’ than the first sunrise of the year. So if you’re into waking up early (sun rises in AZ around 4:30am in mid to late summer)- feel free to get up early and welcome the Solar Barque into the new year!
But if you’re not into waking up early, never fear! There are other things you can do to celebrate.
There are two elements to the day of Wep Ronpet in my experience:
- Clearing out the old
For me, clearing out the old typically involves cleaning my house to some extent (or tidying up) and execrations. Cleaning can be as simple or as complicated as you like it to be. I know that many Kemetics will clean in the typical mundane sense of vacuuming, mopping, picking up, etc. But some of us also like to renew warding systems and freshen up any magical type cleansings and protections that we have in the house. Execrations are a common part of Wep Ronpet because you are essentially get rid of all of the bad things in your life to make way for awesome stuff in the upcoming year. The most common execrations performed during Wep Ronpet are: a Red Pot Smashing, or you create a snake cake and destroy it (or you could make anything shaped like a snake and destroy it).
Common Execrations for Wep Ronpet:
Red pot execrations are fairly simple. You can see one that I did here. In order to perform a red pot execration, you will need the following:
- Terracotta pot or some other ceramic piece you can write on that you don’t mind destroying
- Sharpie or other writing utensil. Preferably red.
- Red paint and something to apply the paint with.
- Things to execrate or rid yourself of.
- A place to smash the pot.
You will take your pot and your writing utensil and write all of the things you wish to get rid of onto the pot (things like laziness, anger, sadness, bad habits, etc). You’ll want to focus your mind and energy into this and flow as much of the feeling from these items into the act of writing as possible. Feel free to scream, cry or yell while writing these things onto the pot.
Once you’ve got the items written onto the pot, you will paint it red. Once again, I like to bleed as much emotion into this as possible. Once the pot is painted, you can spit on it or defile it in any fashion you see fit. The act of spitting upon the pot is a means of felling a/pep and was common in execrations in antiquity.
Once your pot is fully painted red, you can place it in a bag (if you want a mess-free clean up) and smash it.
And smash it again and again and again. Place as much of your anger and frustration and emotion into the act of smashing as possible.
And once the pot is thoroughly smited, you will throw it away- preferably somewhere outside of the house like a dumpster.
If you don’t want to do the more traditional red pot execration, you can try performing a paper version of this where you will write the things to be execrated on the paper. You will then stab the paper and yell at the paper and stomp on the paper and tear up the paper. You can then set it on fire and flush the ashes if you like.
If you would prefer a less messy, more tasty means of slaying a/pep for the upcoming year, you could try a common favorite- which is to make a snake shaped cake (or other edible goodie)- usually with some type of red filling in it to represent blood. I’m not going to give you a step by step instruction on cake making, but the general gist behind this is that you will make your cake with the blood inside- and upon cutting the cake to be eaten, you are cutting the serpent into many pieces and therefore slaying a/pep. Alternatively, you could make a snake out of wax or paper and destroy it as well if you’d rather.
Once all of the bad stuff is execrated out of your life, you will typically celebrate. There are many means to do this, and I typically do it by going to a restaurant to eat. Others might do this by having a party with family and friends or by exchanging gifts with loved ones – choose something that is best for you.
However, don’t forget about the gods during your celebrations. Perhaps set up a Wep Ronpet shrine and place a spread of offerings for your main deities (or perhaps all of the Netjeru out there) and share some of the good food love with the gods. You can also offer other things such as Wep Ronpet related art, singing, dancing, prayer, etc. to the gods as a form of celebration and thanks for the New Year.
Another idea I’ve seen for celebrating Wep Ronpet is to take your deity icons and carry them around your house or take them outside (Which is a form of what would have been done in antiquity when the icon of the god was taken out of the temple and paraded around town). Some people like to leave their icons outside to recharge in the sun for a while.
The Day After:
I don’t have a name for the day after Wep Ronpet, but I’ve modeled my practice a bit after how KO does things, and I typically am sure to take the time on the day after Wep Ronpet to pamper myself with a nice long bath. If you’d like to buy one of the bath mixtures that Tamara Siuda uses at the annual baths held at the Tawy Retreat, please visit her online store here. I feel like this helps to recharge my batteries and reset my brain for the coming year. I also like to take this time to reflect upon the past year and the coming year, and to set up any particular goals or objectives for the year ahead.
This is by all means not an entirely exhaustive guide. There are many many ways to celebrate one of the biggest holidays of the Kemetic year. However, I do hope that this guide helps to get some ideas going in your mind and will help motivate you to try celebrating Wep Ronpet in your house!
- Wep Ronpet 2014 on Tumblr
- Wep Ronpet: Shrine of a Shemsu
- DIY Wep Ronpet: Part 1 and Part 2
- The Epagomenal Days
- Happy Wep Ronpet!
- Wep Ronpet 2012.
- Wep Ronpet 2012 (vlog)
- Happy Wep Ronpet!
- Wep Ronpet
- Year 20 Under Nut, and New Beginnings
If you have any resources or posts you’d like added to this guide, let me know!