RSS

Tag Archives: ntr

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:

 

 
2 Comments

Posted by on May 4, 2015 in Kemeticism

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Steadfast in Eternity

aka: Devo’s guide to figuring out Osiris.

Mandatory Disclaimer: As with everything, this guide is exactly that- a guide. Gods can change rules at the drop of a hat, and my interactions with Osiris might not match your interactions with Osiris. This guide contains my own personal thoughts and interactions with this deity as well as interactions I have witnessed other followers experience over the years. This guide is merely meant to be a general overview for those who are new to working with Osiris.

____________________________________________

I’m currently in the middle of my Mysteries preparations for Osiris and I decided that part of my rites for this year would involved writing about various aspects of Osiris. I asked my readers and fellow Kemetics what they might want to know regarding Osiris and his mythology and it seems that not many people know what he is like, or what to expect when they work with him. I dug around on the Internet and found that there isn’t much on Osiris from a devotee’s perspective. He just doesn’t seem to get around a whole lot. So, to start off my Mysteries work this year, I decided that a general guide to Osiris was in order.

So what is it like to work with the Lord of Eternity (Djet)? What can you expect when working with him?

1. Prepare to be trolled.

When people ask me about Osiris, I like to make an analogy that compares him to Set. If your life is a house, working with Set is the equivalent of your house being hit by a tornado. You will likely wake up one morning to find that your house’s walls have been completely decimated and that you’ve got to start your house over from scratch. Set enters your life and takes no prisoners. He makes a scene and hands you a broom and expects you to clean up after him. Osiris, on the other hand, is more like a tree that is just outside of your window. It’s an old tree whose roots run deep. So deep that the roots are secretly infiltrating your foundations and you won’t realize it until there are cracks in your floor.

Osiris is quiet. Discreet. He does not tend to be flashy in how he operates. If he wants you to make a change, he will do so in his own way and you probably won’t realize it. So by the time you do realize it, you’ll realize that he’s been playing you for weeks, months, or possibly years. And every time you think you’re getting wise to him or the upper hand, you’ll find out that the rabbit hole goes deeper. And deeper. And deeper. He’s got his moves planned out for the next few years and planned for everything that is occurring. That’s just how he works. Which brings me to point number two…

2. Prepare to get confused. A lot.

I call Osiris Mr. Wingdings (as seen in this post here). This is because he speaks in riddles (the official language of the astral) and symbols and pictures. Often times, these pictures make absolutely no sense to me (or anyone else for that matter). I have not been able to confirm if anyone else experiences this from him, but I certainly do. For the first year or two that I worked with him, he said all of about 5 words to me. Everything else was through direct action (I do this thing to you with no explanation) or through imagery (duck-tree-canoe-oranges) that made no sense.

I don’t know why he refused to talk to me, but such was the case- he almost never spoke. I only got his cryptic images. And that left me entirely confused. So confused that I quit going to him for advice because his advice never made any sense.

And then one day he finally spoke. But instead of showing me the duck, the tree, the canoe and the oranges- he just said “duck, tree, canoe, oranges” and smiled at me.

I have yet to figure out why he does this.

3. Be prepared to develop a lot of trust.

Because Osiris rarely explains his methods, motives, or reasons, you can anticipate that you’re going to have to learn to trust him in order to get anywhere. I think this is probably true of most of the deities you work with, but the lack of communication and explanation from Osiris made it even more the case for me.

For example, I’ve mentioned that a lot of our work occurs in a River. However, in order for the River to work, you’ve got to succumb to the water- which is a poetic way of saying that you have to drown, or die. You can’t do this without some trust. The first few times that I found myself being submerged under the water, I completely freaked out and put a stop to the whole thing. It was only through the development of trust in him and his motives and methods that I was able to move into the second level or step of our relationship. You may find that this is similar for yourself as well.

4. Expect Love to be a recurring theme.

Love yourself. Love your neighbor. Love the cat. Love that plant. Love everything. Osiris is a man of making peace (in my experience- even though he is also known as the Lord of Dread in the Pyramid Texts). Many times I have shown up at the River angry and hurt. And many times he has urged me to forgive the people that have wronged me. To let go of the anger that I held in my chest and in my stomach. To let love take its place. Not necessarily the love of the person who wronged me, but to let my love for myself and my health to be more important to me than the anger and hatred for whomever or whatever has hurt me.

This has culminated in his teaching me how to transmute and transform feelings like this into more neutral, happier feelings. Feelings of love and joy and contentment. For myself personally, this has been his biggest goal for me- to learn how to let go of anger so that I can replace it with love.

5. Expect to develop and receive patience.

If there is something I can say about Osiris, its that the man is patient. You know the tree roots I mentioned above? That tree did not get those roots overnight. So it goes with Osiris. He is very much a Big Picture type of deity, and he will take as long as is needed to get what he wants. If you push away today, he will try again the next day, and the next day, and the next. And if method one doesn’t work, he will try method two, three, and 489358 until something works for you. His patience has been a blessing throughout my trials over the past year.

However, you will need to cultivate your own patience with him. Setian patience is different from Osirian patience, though. You develop patience with Set because Set is chaotic and flaky and unreliable sometimes. You develop patience with Osiris because he is so steadfast. You can’t force him to change. You can’t goad him or push your weight around with him. He truly is like the pillar that represents him- he is stable, and to some extent, timeless. He may give you a cryptic answer and you will rail at him and scream and throw a fit and he will just smile at you and wait for you to calm down. Or he will pat you on the head and tell you that he knows and walk away. Sometimes his lack of emotion or reaction can be really really frustrating. But that’s how he is. And he doesn’t change for just anyone. So the patience you develop will be centered around that.

Many people have described Osiris as being distant or uncaring, but I don’t think that’s the case. I just think that he is a quiet, more subtle deity, and that his methods of communication are different from what we’re used to. With enough time and patience, you can begin to hear his messages and you can begin to forge a relationship with him. Despite my setbacks in understanding him, I have definitely found that working with him has helped me to heal in a lot of ways, and Osiris has been a great support throughout the shifts in my religious practice over the years.

 
16 Comments

Posted by on December 1, 2013 in Kemeticism

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

KRT: The Importance of Mythology

Mythology: How necessary is it? Does it affect your practice? Should it?

If there is one thing that ancient Egypt has a lot of- its myths. Myths of all shapes and sizes and variations- some of which are zaney while others are completely mind boggling. Mythology is one of those great topics that can spawn off lots and lots and lots of interesting and thought provoking conversations. However, mythology can also be a source of headaches and rage amongst Kemetics because many times, we don’t see eye to eye on the myths at hand. I personally find it very interesting to see how other Kemetics use mythology because it really runs the gamut. Some Kemetics don’t use mythology at all, and some take it as a sort of gospel truth.

I, personally, lie somewhere in the middle.

Mythology is very important to me. I feel like myths help us to understand the nature of the deities that we work with. Only by understanding the Osirian myth cycle can I even begin to understand how Set and Osiris might function together and why they might put aside their differences to work with me. I also find that a lot of the symbolism and actions that both gods use with me are heavily tied to their own myths.

Because of this, I feel like if I didn’t know the myths surrounding my gods – to some extent, I’d be missing a huge chunk of what makes up both Set and Osiris. It’s kind of like not knowing your spouse’s childhood, or what your best friend’s favorite foods are.

But its more complicated than that because Egypt’s mythology changed over time. The Osirian myths that I focus on changed multiple times over the course of 3,000 years and it can create so many problems. Most of us know Plutarch’s version, but its entirely inaccurate in comparison to the Egyptian version – and even the Egyptian version changed over the centuries. For just this myth alone, there are probably 4 or 5 versions. So as you can see, it becomes very murky very quickly. Its because of this that I can’t take the myths literally, and I feel like picking one myth while throwing out all of the other variations misses the point all together, because each version of the myth holds some truth to it.

So how does myth come into play in my practice?

Well, sometimes myths will help me to form rituals for holidays. The Mysteries ritual that I use stems from the mythology and symbolism surrounding the felling of Osiris. As he fell into the water and sank into nothingness, I wrap him in blue, watery fabric and store him away in the kar shrine for a month- so that he can come out whole and new again. Mythology also teaches us important concepts such as Zep Tepi- which comes to play in my Osirian ritual (as well as my shrine setup and shadow work).

I also use a lot of mythology in what I offer to the gods. It is said in the Contendings that Set’s favorite food is lettuce- so I am always sure to have romaine lettuce on hand for him. Other myths discuss how Set is related to the foreleg of an ox, and that links to the Big Dipper- which ultimately links to meteors and iron- so I offer him pieces of iron and iron pyrite because the mythos and symbolism tied to him says he would like it.

But above all, I use the myths to understand how these two gods act.

Osiris’ role in his own mythology is very passive. He undergoes his felling with minimal confrontation. He succumbs to the water, he lays inert. Only in a few versions does he actually free himself- instead its always his son who gets him out of the mess he’s in. The mythology tells me that Osiris is likely to be a more passive deity. He will likely be calm, quiet and understated- because that is how the myths present him.

But he is more than that. In the myth where he coaxes Ra to give up his Atef, we see that Osiris can be petty and egotistical- by not only seizing a crown that he is ill prepared for, but also by forcing his brother to give up his lands and bow down to him. Osiris isn’t always the shrewd man that we make him out to be. He can aim high and miss the mark, too.

Set is a very violent and forward god in most of myths. He goes after what he wants and he gets it – provided the other gods actually allow him to. According to Griffiths, he also shows remorse for what has happened regarding his brother, and both Meeks and Naydler mention that there was more going on than meets the eye- so it’s possible that Set carries guilt and can understand hard choices and making mistakes. His myths also indicate that he understands what its like to get the short stick or raw end of a deal- as he has had plenty of those in his own time.

The mythology surrounding these two brothers also reveals that there is a hard past that exists between them. And that when you first approach them, you should likely take it into consideration. The myths tell us a bit about each of these deities. They reveal small truths that might go missed if you didn’t read the stories that form their past. Even if the mythologies are purely fictional- there are still small truths to be seen- both in how the gods act, and how the ancients perceived them.

I think there is power in that.

And I think that power can reveal things about ourselves, too.

And as the myths slowly bridge the gap between ourselves and the gods, we slowly begin to live and understand the essence of mythological time and how that can affect us. We get intimate with these myths because they are suddenly tied to ourselves and a part of ourselves. And through getting intimate, we can learn even more about the gods we interact with, and the varying levels of complexity that exists within ourselves.

I can take a story about Set felling his brother in a river, and see how sometimes life forces us to make decisions that we don’t like. I can see it from Set’s eyes- how emotion, anger, guilt, and duty can mix and mingle and drive me to make hard decisions because they have to be made. I can understand how Osiris feels as I succumb to the water because there is no other way. Because sometimes life crushes us- and that’s okay- but it is a part of life. I understand the nuance of making the hard decision to succumb to the water because I know that is the only way out of the situation. I learn about being passive and active all in the same moment and how that dichotomy – which seems contradictory at first – can actually benefit me if used properly.

I begin to see myths not only as simple “stories” but as useful tools to understand the world around me. The myth quits being words on paper and actually becomes a living, breathing landscape I can learn in. A safe place to let my mind work out problems and understand things that I might not have otherwise.

Myths are important tools in my practice. Even if its not evident or obvious, the myths surrounding Osiris and Set permeate my practice on every level, because I have picked these myths apart and lived them. I continue to reevaluate what I think each round of myths means and what it means to me and my life and the relationship I have forged with my gods. And every time I think I’ve learned all that I can about the Osirian myth cycle- I turn it a few degrees in a different direction- and I see something else that I had missed entirely before.

The myths keep me learning- not only about the gods, but about myself.

To see the master list for this topic, please visit here.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,