How do you work with heka? How can you utilize heka more in your day to day life? Any tips for people trying to get started in using heka?
I think it can be difficult for people to figure out how to pursue heka as a practice. We know, in a way, about what it is. That it is speech and action brought together to create change. That it is about speaking effectively and implications that speech can have on the physical world around us. And it’s not too difficult to find examples heka from antiquity – Borghouts book has plenty of examples for reference, and if you’re able to get ahold of any source materials (CT, PT, etc) or books that have rituals based off of rituals from antiquity then it’s not too challenging to see how it was done back in the day.
But I think a lot of us struggle with figuring out how to create new heka, or how to bring it into daily life. Heka is such a vast, and yet intangible thing that it can be difficult to figure out how to do more with it.
Usually when I talk about how I create new stuff in regards to magix, I tell people that I pull it out of my ass. And this is largely true. I often make up stuff on the fly, and it’s very difficult for me to explain to people how they can make stuff up on the go, too. However, I think that my methods really boil down to a few questions/steps:
1. What am I trying to accomplish?
This is pretty self explanatory. What exactly do you want to achieve with your heka? What is the end result? Have you considered all of the caveats of what you’re wanting to have happen? When I mention caveats, I mean unforeseen results or pitfalls of working magix a certain way. A good example of this might be “I want to get rid of my coworker” without thinking about the caveat of “what if my coworker is replaced by an even worse coworker?” Figuring out a very specific end goal is, in my opinion, the best place to start when creating new magix or heka.
2. What supplies do I have on hand? What is the most direct method of achieving my goal?
When it comes to my practice, I usually rely on a few standard methods. I may use these methods in different ways for each working that I perform, but at the end of the day, I have a fair amount of standard things that I rely on for my workings. Typically, this will involve sigil work, edible magix, symbolism and heka-laden symbols from antiquity, destruction (such as execrations) and container magix. And then, of course, there is good old fashioned mundane aspects of my heka as well. These kinds of things could include talking with people, cleaning my house, being proactive with figuring out a practical solution to a situation, etc. I prefer to attack any situation from both sides because I feel that using both mundane and metaphysical tactics usually provides a more successful result.
Experimenting with methods until you have a few standard practices that work well for you is useful, in my experience. Knowing how well certain methods work for you can allow you to know where your strengths lie, as well as helping you to get a feel for how different practices and methods can be modified for new heka.
If you’re unsure what to use for methods, take a look at whatever you’re good at. If you’re good at drawing or painting- use that in your heka. If you’re good with sewing, there are many ways to weave magix into a sewing project. If you like to cook, it is very easy to weave heka into recipes. If you examine the stuff that you’re good at doing, you can almost always find a way to use it in heka practices. And when in doubt, take a look at how the Egyptians did things in the past, or how other modern practitioners make use of heka and magix now.
Because heka often utilizes words in order to make things happen, I often like to include statements that are said over an item, or statements that are written down and placed within an item. If you end up using this method, be sure to be careful about the words you use. Be strong in your statements. Us present tense when you write your statements out (“I am” as opposed to “I will be” or “I might be”). Be sure to be specific in the words that you use, and don’t be afraid to repeat things in different ways. The Egyptians often liked to repeat phrases 4 times for efficacy. So I often do as well.
3. Gather the supplies and do the thing.
That’s really all I do whenever I am trying to come up with ideas for heka. I look at what I’ve done in the past, look into what exactly I’m trying to achieve, and then I format something new. I know that the generalized format for this is probably not very helpful, so let’s pull together some examples for heka that might help to round out how I go about making stuff.
Example 1: How can I protect XYZ thing?
This is a pretty common request that I see around the community. Protecting stuff can be done in a wide variety of ways, and I usually rely on a couple of standbys whenever protection is needed.
First, I rely on symbolism that is already inherent in our religious structure. Sa amulets were often used for protection, as were Eyes of Horus/Ra and scarabs. Flipping through a basic Kemetic symbolism book should produce a number of protective symbols to use.
Then I decide how to charge the symbol, and how to affix it to whatever I am protecting. Charging can come in a number of ways- through words of power, incense, oils, or the gods themselves. If you’re wanting to ingest the protection, you could draw the symbol in frosting on a cake, or create it out of whatever on earth you’re eating (such as making an eye of Horus out of peas on your plate- it sounds hokey, but it is sound in theory). You could also draw the symbol on a piece of paper and affix the paper to whatever you’re trying to protect, or you could drop the paper in a cup of water for a few moments, and then drink the water (this was done in antiquity). All of these things would be helpful for protection, and we’ve only scratched the surface for ideas.
Another example that I can cite for protection that came up recently was using crocheting to create something that was protective. Thread work is something that I love to use in my practice, and if you were to charge the yarn that you are using, and then focus your intent through possibly chanting or listening to a song over and over again while you crocheted your protective item (such as a scarf or beanie), you’d end up with something that is fairly potent. You could make this even more potent by placing sigils or anointing your crochet hooks with protective oil, and then placing it in shrine for the gods to bless once it’s all done. Layers, in my experience, are useful for making the heka more potent.
Example 2: What can I use to help improve my health?
This is a wide topic to cover, and there are many specifics involved when it comes to improving or protecting one’s health. So for this example, I will stick with something that is fairly basic, and can hopefully be modified for other purposes. It’s important to understand that when it comes to dealing with health related issues, it’s almost imperative that you use multiple things to get well. Heka and magix alone will not fix it, and in cases that are more severe (such as chronic or terminal illness), you will have to make changes to your life in order to see results. You can’t expect heka to carry all of the weight.
The first thing to figure out is are you improving a particular illness? If so, is the illness a one-time shot, or something that is chronic? If it’s an illness that will run its course and then be gone, I find that practical things are the most important. Being sure to get plenty of rest, eating the foods that are proper for healing, and taking any medications that will help with healing are the most important aspects. You could, of course, utilize heka in your food preparation. You could place sigils on the cup you’re drinking your hot tea out of, or make a statement over your soup that “this will help nourish me and heal me” or things of that nature.
For chronic illness, I often like to create things that I can wear or bring with me wherever I go. Because my illnesses are hidden, I often like to use spoons for symbols for any heka that I work, but you could find other symbols (the imywt fetish comes to mind- as it would be a type of vessel for healing) that speak to you or work better for your own needs. You could create a small bracelet out of multiple strands of ribbon that you wear to help deal with your illness. You’d simply need to come up with a phrase that suits your needs (“I am whole. I am pure. I am healthy.” as an example) and chant that while you braid up the bracelet. And then if you wanted, you could add a charm to it that is also charged with oils, incense, words of power, etc. to help increase the heka. The Egyptians loved to use the number 4 for totality, so you could also add 4 beads to such a bracelet, or tie 4 large knots into it to help add more stability to the heka. And again, you could place this in shrine for the gods to bless, if you wanted.
Another possibility might be charging clothing with heka. Relying on colors or patterns to help bring life to the fabric in the way that a power suit or lucky tie might. You could write things on your hangers that help to charge the clothes, or you could write something onto a piece of fabric (such as “When I wear this, my illness will have no influence or sway over me. When I am in these clothes, I am invincible. My stance is strong and my grip is firm. Everything I see will be in my grasp.”) and then place it into a pocket or inside of the lining of whatever you’re wearing.
Or you could try placing heka onto your pillow, so that your sleep is more restful. You could create a small satchet with comforting scents inside of it, and perhaps a small amulet for protection and rest (I’d probably use a djed, myself). And again, placing a small statement inside that states that you are restful and at ease in bed, that by sleeping on this pillow, you’re going to get the most awesome sleep you’ve ever had, and that you’ll wake up refreshed.
Little things like this can help to bring heka into every aspect of your life. The more of it you can weave into your daily existence, the stronger it becomes.
These are, of course, very simple examples, and I’ve only scratched the surface with the many many ways you can approach them. Hopefully, though, it is a bit clearer to understand how I go about sorting through different methods that could be used to tackle any particular situation you might come up against.
How can I bring heka into my day to day life?
Many people want to know how to bring more heka into their day to day life, and the simplest way to do that is to be mindful of the words you use and the actions you take. Many times, we seem to restrict heka to a more ritualized sense, but the truth is all of our words have impact. Regardless of the context in which they are uttered, signed, or typed. We must always be mindful of the impact that our words can have, and one of the easiest ways to begin to understand this is to pay attention to how your words effect people, and how other people’s words effect you. As you begin to see the cause and effect that occurs with speech (and action as well), it becomes easier to figure out how to use words and actions to create change in your life and you become more effective at utilizing the right words the first time to cause the change that you want. As you learn to see these patterns in your mundane life, it becomes much simpler to figure out how to bring them into a more ritualized or magix setting.
Figuring out heka can take some trial and error, but it’s definitely worth working with. It has a lot of applications in both mundane and metaphysical situations, and being well spoken never goes out of style.
To read other responses to this topic, check out the KRT Master List
- heka is…
- Heka: The Basics KRT
- Bribing and Threatening Gods: KRT
- Ethics of Curses and Execrations: KRT
- The Mechanics of AE Magical Practice: Ritner
- Magic in AE: Pinch
- Ancient Egyptian Magical Texts: Borghouts
- Heka and application: an ask
- Magix Guides
- Heka tag