*Please note that the bulk of this post is entirely UPG and is a theory that I am currently experimenting with. This entire post has a large YMMV disclaimer on it.*
It is my understanding that Netjeri are the little guys of the Duat. While they can be powerful, well-known little guys, they are still under the gods in rank and typically work for the gods in some fashion or another (typically, I’m sure there are exceptions to the rules). And in a modern context, it doesn’t seem that many Netjeri get any notice from Kemetic practitioners, and on the by and large, they are pretty much unknown, or disregarded.
I question if this is a good thing.
When you think about it, the gods have Netjeri in their service. They command netjeri (often written as “demons”) to go do things for them. However, if their netjeri are receiving no sustenance from the Kemetics who know that they exist, or if the gods are forced to share their meager offerings with the netjeri in their service, it seems to me that all parties would be weaker or suffering out of a lack of support through offerings by devotees/practitioners.
I would like to share an experience that I’ve had recently as a form of reference for this line of thinking.
At the river, there is an offering table where I will place a variety of items that are specifically for Osiris or his entourage. Normally, these offerings are very simple- incense, water and bread. Usually, when I arrive at the river, I will leave offerings on the table and they go to… wherever they go to. Once I’ve returned later, I will find the offering table is clean, and the process starts over again.
One evening, I was bored and decided to sit down in front of the offering table and stare off at the river below. I noticed when I looked back down at the offering table that the offerings I had placed there earlier had disappeared.
Thus began the experimenting.
I decided to start small. I’d put a jug of water here. A few rolls there. And I’d wait.
And slowly but surely, each item would disappear.
So I slowly added more items of a variety of natures. I’d bring out the standard beer and water, fruit, cheese and bread. But after a while, I got even more curious, and I’d place out bowls of candy, chocolate and other junk foods.
Everything would disappear. It’s almost like the table was a portal, and on the other end, O’s staff was taking the offerings in and processing them. Jokingly, I stated that I hoped it wasn’t a netjeri who oversaw this, because O would return to find his staff incredibly buzzed off of a ton of beer and chocolate. It would be a mad house.
It’s from this experience that I really began to question if the gods have staff, and who or what feeds the staff that work for the gods. Is it our offerings? Is there sustenance that comes from the Duat? Is is ma’at (what gods are said to live off of)? Is it something else?
And with that- should we be considering a deity’s entourage when we put offerings out?
One of the most common ways that netjeri get mention in modern Kemeticism is under the question of “are you sure it was a god that you were talking to, or was it actually a netjeri?” This is commonly the response given when you have a weird experience with a “deity” or when you’re getting odd vibes or responses from your gods. You see, when the gods are out doing their thing, netjeri often pick up the phones and scribble down our messages for the gods to check later. They also like to sometimes pretend to be gods when they are obviously not. So we often get weird experiences from time to time at the hands of a bored or hungry netjeri.
However, if we were to start paying attention to netjeri, and leaving small tokens out for them, don’t you think it possible that they could become a useful part of your Kemetic toolbox? Perhaps if you were to show them that you notice that they exist, they’d be a little more attentive when they scribble down your message, and maybe they’d make sure that your message is the first to get to the god in question. Perhaps they wouldn’t have to pretend to be a deity in your presence because they know they’ll get something from you with or without the deity mask on their face.
Sometimes, paying attention to the little guy can bring benefit to you. It also brings benefit to the gods because their staff is actually being fed – and so the whole structure can become stronger for it. If you consider it in today’s standards- feeding only the gods is like only feeding our CEOs and hoping that the little people beneath the CEOs actually get something from it.
Because of this, every time that I go to the river now, I try to leave out a small bowl of candy for the netjeri. I make sure that there are enough rolls and other things for multiple people to survive off of. I try to make sure that I give enough that any staff or entourage may be able to partake in the food. I do this in hopes that the entire group may benefit from it, and to show my thanks that they continue to help make the cogs of the Duat turn and still help the gods with their tasks.
Have you ever worked closely with netjeri? Would you consider leaving offerings for the netjeri?