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Year of Rites: January

So when I first started this challenge I was thinking that I’d do a post after every rite but I realized pretty quickly that I can only say so much before its redundant so I decided that I’m going to start doing monthly recaps unless a rite is particularly involved or has a lot of commentary attached to it.

Rite for Geb

Satsekhem mentioned that she had a holiday for Geb pop up on her calendar, and made a rite for people to follow if they wanted to participate. It was last minute, but I knew I wanted to try and fit it in because I’m a try-hard, and so I worked to try and get everything done in preparation for it. I had been working for the better part of a day trying to get everything written down and all of the offerings in order, and I was about ready to get started when I had a funny image of Geb enter my mind, and I knew I needed to draw him an icon before I started.

(The expression was all him)

This brings me to the fact that it feels weird to do rituals to specific NTR with the generalized “NTRW” icon that I’ve got going. In some cases, when I am struck with the “inspiration”, I may start to make flat icons to use for rituals moving forward. Thereby adding another offering to the offering pile. Plus it means I’ll have an icon for the next time I want to honor them through ritual.

The rite went off without a hitch and there was nothing else of note that happened.

Propitiation of Sekhmet

I had learned from my previous weeks and decided to actually get a fair amount of offerings for this ritual. Because the propitiation of Sekhmet seems to heavily rely on offerings, I felt it made sense to put more effort into the offerings for this situation. This was the rite that felt the weirdest for the lack of proper icon. I had attempted to make one, but I didn’t like how it came out when I painted it, so I need to remake it.

I had originally wanted to dance for her and play music and stuff, but life got in the way and I could only read the rubric and call it a day. Hopefully next month I will be able to add in all of the other elements for a more rounded rite.

Festival of Ptah

Then Sat talked about this week-long festival for Ptah and, of course, I had to jump on board with it. Performing this ritual day after day really cemented for me that I could be more consistent with rituals at this stage in my life, and that I don’t mind doing them regularly. All in all, I’ve been feeling the urge to do rituals every day, and after doing this daily for a week (with the exception of the rite on Sunday, the 27th, because life got too busy and I had nothing to offer by the time I got home,) it feels really weird not to do something at the shrine every day.

I also attempted to make an icon for Ptah, but I hate it. I tried to make a different image, but I disliked that one more, so I returned to the original icon and fussed with it to see if it would ever come around to a state that I prefer, and it has yet to.

For whatever reason, I found myself having the urge to offer Ptah fresh greens from outside, so I did spend a fair amount of days offering him London Rock and Mallow, since both are in full force outside right now. I messed up my potassium in the process, but yolo or something, right?

Execration

I put off writing the execration rubric way too long. By this point in the month, depression and exhaustion were high, and this was the first point when I really went “I don’t want to do this today.”

But then I did it anyways.

Petitions were written the morning of the ritual and I folded them into snakes because I had no idea what else to do.

I wasn’t even sure how I was going to destroy these things up until I just up and did it. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to take them outside to set them on fire (ideal, because I didn’t want smoke in my room) or if I should put them in my brass urn and burn them elsewhere. I didn’t know if I should put the petitions on the shrine’s offering “table”, if I should open the shrine before starting or leave it closed, or whether I should do the initial execration away from the “holy space” that is the shrine.

I started without really having any of these specifics figured out, and it showed. I opted to just do my basic ritual at the shrine, because I didn’t know where else to do it, and I decided halfway through my rite that I would use my brass urn instead of flushing it or just leaving it in the compost bin, etc. So I had to pause in the middle of my rite and un-bury the urn and clean it out just to use it.  And then I just…. opted to just burn it in my room because I’m antisocial and didn’t want to deal with an audience if I decided to burn things in a more public space.

And so my room smelled of smoke for days.

And as you can see, my offering game is still rubbish. As my depression has set in, its become increasingly difficult to force myself to eat, and so its become very hard to figure out what to offer to the gods. Currently, offerings are still the biggest sticking point, and I’m determined to not resort to votive offerings, but its incredibly hard for me (never get disordered eating, kids! it’ll wreck your life!)

He Goes Forth

I was really looking forward to this rite, but it ended up not panning out as well as I had wanted. My schedule this week has been completely upended several ways, and so I didn’t prep for this ritual as much as I would have hoped. But it still went smoothly and I was able to give Wpwt several petitions to listen to. I can only hope my weak offering game won’t be a problem.

I have a very old icon that was given to me by someone. It was originally for Anup, but I’ve always associated it with Wpwt, so I opted to use that, since I wasn’t having an inspiration about any art. And while I feel like Wpwt was listening, he never said anything that I could catch, so I have very little to report on that front.

Upcoming February Rites

I wanted to have a small section where I talk about how February’s Year of Rites is going to go. As everyone knows, I’ve made rubrics for all of the basic rites that we’ll come across throughout the year, and I’ve been on the fence about whether each ritual for each month should be different, or if there would be benefit to repeating a ritual rubric several times throughout the year. Currently, I’ve decided that I’ll be reusing most of the rites from Jan for Feb. Here’s the breakdown:

  • Monthly Ma’at: This rite will be the same, but I will also be crafting my own version of this over here. I’ll be inserting it into the middle of the rite, right after “She exists before you forever”
  • Akhu: The same rite will be performed as January, with additional parts that are specifically tailored to my grandmother.
  • Propitiation: Same rite as January.
  • Execration: I need to make a new rite that doesn’t include Ptah, technically. More to come on this front.

See what others are doing:

 
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Posted by on January 31, 2019 in Kemeticism, Making Ma'at, Year of Rites

 

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A Shrine for Traveling

I love boxes. Boxes are so useful for holding things ever-so-nicely, and they look nice when they’re all stacked up neatly. I have so many decorative boxes laying around my house just waiting for the right stuff to be placed in them. Some might say that I have a problem, but seriously. I love boxes.

I have been holding onto a box for a long time now. For those of you have been hanging around TTR for a while probably recognize this box. It appeared in my Wep Ronpet 2014 photos, and that’s just how long I’ve been holding onto this box, waiting to give it its purpose.

Travel_shrine_closed

Unlike a lot of my other boxes, I knew exactly what stuff I wanted to put inside of it, but I was waiting for the spoons to make it happen. As soon as my SO had removed his headphones from this Beats box, I knew that I wanted to turn it into a travel shrine due to its size and obscurity. I just needed to find the energy to put it together.

Originally, I wanted to make a custom image to go inside of this box. I was going to create a scene where these shrine boxes would be painted on the back of the interior, and then I was going to have offering tables on either side of each god’s shrine, and then possibly cap everything off with images of stars, the sky, and the Nun. As pretty and nice as it sounded, two years in waiting, I never once managed to sit down and make it happen.

A few weeks ago I was at a craft store for something else, and I noticed this really nice geometric paper. It looked pretty and struck me as something that could go inside of my travel shrine box. Since I wasn’t getting around to actually making the art that was supposed to go inside, and I couldn’t tell when I’d actually have the energy or desire to make said art, I thought that this paper might be a nice work around. It’s shiny and pretty and looks expensive, so it’ll totally work, right?

Travel_shrine_Open_002

I’m actually fairly happy that I didn’t do the artwork that I wanted for this shrine piece. Originally, I had wanted to orient the box to be on it’s side, so that the “wing” you see hanging out on the left in the picture above would actually have been laying flat on the ground, with the drawer being beneath the gods, as opposed to being on the left side. However, I ended up making the drawer a little too tall, and Osiris’ statue didn’t fit in ideally in the original orientation, so I decided to flip things on their side (literally). If I had put all of the effort into the artwork, it would have been a very sad day when I went to put the statues in, and found that they didn’t fit.

The gold back plate is made of nothing but paper that has been cut down to the proper size, and formed into a box. I haven’t permanently adhered it to the interior of the box, as it seems to stay in place fairly well all on its own. The drawer is made similarly- of paper that has been cut down to the proper size and shaped into a box. Originally, this box had a divider that was fairly central, but I trimmed down the edges in order to create the space that you see for the drawer. If I wanted, I could have removed the divider entirely, and utilized the entirety of the interior of the box.

Travel_shrine_Open_005

When you first open this travel shrine, you’ll notice that it doesn’t look like much of anything. I kept the original headphone holder as a sort of “cap” to place on top of the shrine before I close it. That way, all of the contents are very secure inside, and if someone gets nosy and opens it, they might get disinterested and not bother to look beneath the cap.

Once you remove the cap, you can see that I have fabric in place to keep my statues safe during transit. On the left, I have placed a portable offering tray and ritual rubric inside of the black sleeve. I also have enough room that I could easily put a book of matches, incense, amulets, or other relatively narrow items inside.

Travel_shrine_Open_003

Shrine when it’s set up.

To the left of the gods’ naos, I have a drawer where I have stored incense, natron, and some votive offerings. It’s very likely that when I’m out traveling, I’m going to offer actual food and water on actual dishes, but I thought it would be nice to have votive offerings to keep the gods fed while the shrine isn’t in use. Plus, if I ever happen to be in a situation where I don’t have access to these things, I will have backups in place. You can also see in the picture above the small rubric that I’ve made.

Close-up of drawer and its contents

Close-up of drawer and its contents

Originally I had wanted to write the offering formula on the drawer, so that way it would relate to the offerings inside. However, I wasn’t sure about the translations that I was finding, and I was doubly not sure about being able to fit an entire offering formula on the front of such a small drawer. So instead I decided to place ma’at feathers on the front. That way the gods are getting their daily dose of ma’at as well.

Some of the other perks of this setup is that I can easily remove the golden back plate and swap it out for something else if I felt like it. That means that one day, I could actually make the art in the correct proportions, and put that in place if I ever got the spoons to do so. I could also write heka and place it behind the back plate, if I wanted. I could also decorate the outside of the box to include more protective heka, but in this case I’d rather leave the box unassuming in appearance. That way no one gets the inkling to explore its contents. I think that this setup could easily work for a full time shrine on the DL, if you wanted. It would be small, but it would be very discreet.

Travel_shrine_Open

I’m super happy to finally have a travel shrine that is more formal than what I’ve used in the past. It wasn’t quite what I was expecting to make, but I think it’s turned out nice all the same.

 
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Posted by on June 14, 2016 in Kemeticism

 

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Worshiping the Whole

One of the great things about Kemeticism is that our gods are kinda squishy. This allows us a lot of wiggle room when it comes to deity interpretation as well as deity worship. Because of the nature of our gods, as well as the religious structures set up in antiquity, we are capable of working with a single NTR, multiple NTRW (whether while separate or merged into one) or all of the NTRW all at once. There are many posts out there about how to work with one or a few gods, but I haven’t seen anything that goes in-depth for honoring all of the gods all at once.

Why honor the NTRW as a whole?

The most well-known instance of people worshiping NTRW as a whole probably comes from Kemetic Orthodoxy. KO recommends that anyone who is new to the temple take a step back from any gods that they are currently venerating, and to consider venerating all of the gods as a whole for a short period of time during the beginners class. This is done to help the devotee open up to the possibility of other NTRW coming forward and forming relationships with the newcomer.

However, there are a lot of other reasons one might choose to worship the NTRW as a whole. The first might be that you may not have a particular deity that you want to venerate. Sometimes people will come into Kemeticism and never hear from the gods. When this happens, they may decide that it’s easier to worship all of the gods at once as opposed to picking a deity out of a hat. Alternatively, someone may want to try and give veneration that benefits all of the gods at once, and worshiping in this fashion would allow for that.

And of course, just like worshiping multiple deities at the same time, you are able to worship specific NTR while also having a space for all of the NTRW as a whole. Just because you choose to create a space for all of NTRW in their entirety doesn’t mean you can’t still venerate specific gods as well.

How is worshiping all of the NTRW at once okay? Isn’t that disrespectful?

You will probably get different answers from different Kemetics in regards to this, but it is my personal opinion that it is not disrespectful to approach the NTRW as a whole. In antiquity, Egypt’s ideas about the gods varied from hard polytheism down to henotheism, which would have all of the gods being facets of a larger god. If it was okay in the temples in antiquity, it should be more than okay to approach the gods in this fashion in the here and now.

As with everything of this nature, if you begin to worship the NTRW as a whole and you start to feel like someone is displeased with it, you may wish to look into the matter and find out if there is a particular reason why the gods don’t want you honoring them in this fashion. But to my knowledge, there hasn’t been anyone who has gotten in trouble for honoring the gods as a whole.

How do we worship all of the NTRW at once?

Luckily for us, it’s not that complicated to set up a shrine space for the gods as a whole. Unlike a lot of other religious traditions, our gods all tend to have a bunch of offerings and ritual structures that they all like, so it makes it easier to perform rites and give offerings that won’t upset any of the gods.

I think the hardest part for people who are attempting to honor all of the NTRW is trying to figure out what to use as a focal point on their shrine. Many of us have icons and statues of the gods that allow us to focus our attention on them and visualize them better. However, NTRW are this kind of nebulous, intangible concept that doesn’t really fit well into a single statue, image, or icon. Luckily, there are a few symbols that represent the NTRW as a whole, as well as symbols that are vague enough that will work for the purposes of an icon or statue.

First is the seated NTR hieroglyph:

NTR_wilkinson

From Wilkinson’s Reading AE Art

The second might be to use the “flag” hieroglyph:

NTR_FlagWhen it comes to the flag symbol, you would usually want to have three flags in a row to represent all of the gods. So while you can have a singular flag for the focal point, I would recommend drawing three flags if possible.

In addition to the signs above, you could also use something basic like an ankh or the ma’at feather. Since the gods are often equated to both of these (and are sustained by ma’at), they should be good enough to use as images in place of all of the NTRW. And of course, if you don’t want to have a focal icon or image, you technically don’t have to.

Just like with any other shrine, you could easily decorate it with whatever you are drawn to. In many ways, the shrines and temples in antiquity often had a lot of the same elements, regardless of who was being housed in the shrine. Things such as libation bowls, offering plates, incense holders, jewelry, flowers, and fine cloth would have all been common things to find on a shrine. Any of these would likely work for any shrine setup you’d be making here and now.

Here is an example of what a NTRW shrine could look like:

NTRW_Shrine

Image reposted with permission. Please click to see the original tumblr post.

 

For offerings, anything that you find on this list is safe for any of the NTRW- including NTRW as a whole. When in doubt, water, bread and beer are almost always safe offerings to give to the gods.

In regards to ritual structure, the basic outline that is listed here is perfectly fine for this type of shrine setup as well. The basic system of approaching the shrine, leaving offerings, stating any words of power, singing songs, playing music, or dancing before reverting the offerings is always a good mixture to use. You can always add other elements to the ritual, if you’re prefer. Adding things such as lighting incense, lighting a lamp or candle, embracing the icon that you are using (ka embrace), etc. will also work well for this shrine setup. Pretty much anything you’d use for a typical shrine setup will work here.

I know that this shrine setup is not very common within out community, but if you do end up setting up a shrine to all of the gods, I’d love to hear how it works out for you!

Related Posts:

 

 
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Posted by on May 4, 2015 in Kemeticism

 

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Shrine Beautiful

A friend of mine has created a new website, and I wanted to share it with all of you! It’s called ShrineBeautiful.

 

 

Shrine Beautiful is all about beautiful shrines and more. The goal of the website is to become a resource for people- you can go there to get inspiration from the pictures, or you can go to learn about the meaning behind the shrines- why are those items on the altar? What do they mean? If I’m just starting out, what types of things should I include on my shrine? Or as the website itself states:

There are many ‘show off your shrine’ threads on the web, but most of them are path-specific and don’t give you any context- the how and why. What separates this shrine or altar from an interesting pile of knickknacks?

It’s the goal of ShrineBeautiful to expand our horizons, experiencing the breadth of the pagan world through the lens of personal sacred spaces.

Shrine Beautiful is just getting off the ground, and needs more submissions and ideas. If you have a shrine, altar or a shrine implement that you’d like to have featured or would like to share information on, you should stop on by! You can learn more about getting your shrine featured here.

 
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Posted by on May 25, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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