This year I decided that I was going to celebrate the Mysteries like I used to once upon a time. In recent years I have done work Over There with Osiris for his yearly holiday (if it can be called a holiday), but I haven’t done too much out here to mirror that. Due to an inability to do anything last year here or there, I decided that I would make sure that I did the physical trappings of the holiday in my home this year, even if I couldn’t do anything else.
Originally I had wanted to do more, but Osiris wouldn’t let me. He’s been consistently telling me that he doesn’t want me to do anything more than my standard rites. It’s not that I haven’t offered to do more, it’s that he doesn’t want me to do more. “You need to take care of yourself” has been the motto. I’m not really sure how sitting on my thumbs when I could be running some community heka is taking care of myself, but he was very firm in his request. I didn’t want to ignore his demands, as that might be missing the point that he was trying to drive home, but I have been less than happy about being told to do what I equate to nothing.
Nothing is not something that I excel at. Even when I fully want to sit around and be lazy, I have a hard time letting myself indulge in the behaviour. Even when I know that I need to stop and rest, I have a hard time actually following through. I have been raised to always be busy, even when it’s not particularly productive or helpful to me. However, Osiris has told me many times over that doing nothing is important. It’s part of his process, part of his Mysteries, if you will. After you die, you do nothing. You lay there completely inert and helpless. You are at the mercy of the world around you. Your only hope is whoever you have around you to help assist you in the process. In the case of the Mysteries, those people would largely be Anup, Aset, Nebhet and Heru. In a more human sense, it would be whomever outlives you- usually family members and friends.
Nothing is part of the process. In order to really understand and embrace Osiris’ ways, you have to learn to do nothing and be somewhat okay with it.
This year’s rites were not that different from the ritual I linked to above. I cleaned out my shrine and the surrounding area. I removed all excessive decoration and made sure that everything was clear of dust. I selected a range of re-ment offerings to leave in the shrine box with Osiris for the next month. I focused largely on bread and beer, as they have a lot of significance to Osiris due to his associations with grain. I also included some greenery and placed the bread offerings on top of a lily pad to represent new growth. I included an egg and a bowl of nuts for fertility. Incense in a shade of green to invoke growth and to also bring the gods forward, as they love good smelling things. I included scarabs, which are all about rebirth. I placed a chicken leg on top of the bread because it’s the closest thing that I have to a beef foreleg, and has ties to Opening the Mouth ceremonies and symbolizes strength and power. And a chocolate, because who doesn’t love chocolate.
What is different from past years was that I included myself in the shrine box for once. I placed myself opposite of the offerings and Osiris, as a means to invoke a follower giving things to their god. I’m not sure if that would be historically supported, but he gave me the permission to do so, so I thought I would try it.
I also changed up some of the wrapping style this year. I included my amulets with him. The djed pillar tucked close to his back for stability. The sekhem wrapped up close to his chest for strength. And the ma’at feather to help him achieve balance in his endeavors. You would include amulets with a mummy, so I felt that it was applicable here as well.
I placed everything in the shrine and probably stared at it for 20 minutes before I could bring myself to close it. Once it is closed, you can’t open it until the following new moon, and that weighed on me particularly heavy this year. I asked him if it ever got easier- going through this process of death every year. He told me no, and that that was the point. If I was not being effected by it, then I was not truly open to what I was experiencing.
Once I could finally bring myself to do so, I closed the doors and locked them up. One month of not being able to access anything inside. One month of doing “nothing” or whatever it is that Osiris has tucked up his sleeve.
And it’s not just one month for me, either. It’s one month for Set as well. The downside to performing the rites in this fashion is that he loses his home as well. A yearly reminder that stability and Order come at a price. A reminder that nothing is truly ever stable or eternal, but that only through the consistent work of everyone can stability or eternity hope to be achieved. A reminder that his place within the pantheon of the NTRW will always be a little bit love-hate.
Although it might seem weird to place Set in front of the shrine, since he was the one who initiated Osiris into these Mysteries, I think that it can be fitting. He stands guard in front of the shrine, protecting its inhabitants in the same way a shrine bolt does every day. He is the one who bore Osiris’ coffin across the Nile to the necropolis, and even Griffiths had surmised that Set felt some sorrow or remorse for what had happened. I think it may seem a little weird from a purely Osirian context, but my experiences with both of these gods together has led me to believe that Set can protect Osiris from harm while he is inert. That which has the propensity to harm us can also save us.
I place Anup on top of the shrine to watch over the process. It is through his skill and knowledge that Osiris can become reborn and whole again. And I include Aset with Set to help with the mourning process. It is through the work of everyone’s hands that Osiris makes it through the tribulations of death and the Duat.
All there is to do now is wait and see what “nothing” brings.
- The Mysteries: Prologue, Pt 1
- The Mysteries: Prologue, Pt 2
- The Mysteries: Death Lays You Bare
- The Mysteries: The Process, Pt 1
- The Mysteries: The Process, Pt 2
- Building a Mystery
- Mysteries Master Post