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The Magic of a Hug

I want to talk about how magical and religious hugs really are.

No seriously.

This concept started with a conversation. I was talking on Facebook with another Kemetic who happens to be blind. She was asking about the ka embrace. This was a particular sticking point for her because she didn’t happen to have an icon of the deity she worshiped. Why would she? It makes perfect sense, really. She wasn’t sure what to do about the ka embrace portion- there was no point in buying an icon just for the ka embrace, but it seemed wrong to completely omit such an important part of the daily ritual.

For those of you who don’t know what the “ka embrace” is, its a section in Reidy’s daily ritual where you ritually embrace the icon. This action transfers your ka energy into the statue, thereby animating it and rejuvenating it. Hieroglyphically, it would look a lot like this:

So what do you do if you don’t have an icon?

I said the answer was simple: hug yourself.

I know, it sounds funny. But I think that we don’t give enough credit to what the ka embrace (and hugging) accomplishes on so many levels. On the most basic level, you have the sentiment that comes with giving a hug- happiness, consolation, a sense of understanding or care. Usually, when it’s given freely between two people, a hug is comfort and human connection. In Egyptian symbolism, an embrace is a sign of protection and usually shows an intimate relationship between two entities (Reading Egyptian Art, Wilkinson). But this is only one layer of symbolism. Let’s go a little deeper, shall we?

The act of comfort and protection are good- but its also a sign of love in most modern contexts. So to hug yourself could also be read as a form of self love. When you weave in the concepts of transferring the ka, you’re replenishing and renewing your own energy. You’re funneling love and protection and all of that fun stuff right back into you. And we all know that the gods are all for self love (NSFW).

But Devo, you’re not a deity. You can’t replace a deity icon with yourself- because you’re not a deity, right?

Wrong! Most Kemetic myths have everything coming from the Nun and a Creator deity (or set of Creator deities). Therefore, everything is divine. You, me, the table my computer is sitting on. We all come from the same place, and so at our most basic level, we’re all made with the same divine stuff. So why couldn’t you swap out a deity’s icon with yourself in this case? You’re embracing your divinity (for lack of better word) and acknowledging the divinity that is within you. Once again, all good things that help to build you up, which typically helps to make you a more stable person- which always benefits the gods. Plus, if you subscribe to the idea that all of ours kau go back to the original ka of the Creator deity- in a way, you’re transferring your energy to your ka- and so on and so on down the line to the gods themselves.

It seems to me that hugging yourself could be an offering to the gods all by itself. So maybe the next time you’re in a pinch for rituals, or want to give the gods something on the fly, you should give them a hug by hugging yourself.

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Kemetic Round Table: Ritual purity – what does that mean for my practice?

The Kemetic Roundtable is a new blogging project. Go here to learn more about it!

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Ritual purity is a really interesting topic in the Kemetic sphere. What makes it interesting is that there are such extremely different views and approaches on it. Everything in regards to ritual purity really needs a “Your Mileage May Vary (YMMV)” tag on it, and most approaches to ritual purity are very personal.

So, what is ritual purity?

Ritual purity is the idea that certain rituals require certain levels of cleanliness or grooming requirements before performing them. I don’t like using the word “pure” because it is a baggage laden word for many of us. So let’s use “clean” instead.

To bring it out of a religious context and into a more mundane aspect: let’s consider social standards for day to day activities. As you go about life, there are certain activities that require more formality and/or cleanliness than others. For example, you don’t necessarily need to shave and shower before you go to the gym. It’s understood that you will be getting sweaty while there- and you don’t need to be all prim and proper before showing up. However, it’s fairly common to dress up and make sure you’re really clean before going to a job interview- because you’re trying to make a good impression. Similarly, it’s common to want to be somewhere in the middle of these extremes for family get togethers or a party. Using parties as an example- you will likely need less time to get ready for a child’s party over a cocktail party. The grooming standards for a child’s party are generally fairly low. Where as cocktail parties require more grooming and cleaning before hand.

In short, different events have different standards of how you should look – which can translate into how much grooming you perform before the event.

Much like events, ritual purity states that certain rituals require more cleanliness preparation than others. As an example, in ancient Egypt, state rites had very specific (and sometimes very intricate) ritual cleanliness standards. Where as the average Joe Hotep was likely to only be washing his hands before he performed any rites at his household shrine. Most of the ritual standards that we know of today (like most of everything we know about Egyptian religion today) were applicable to the priests of ancient Egypt – not the common man.

What types of restrictions were included in ritual cleanliness standards in antiquity?

To be honest, the restrictions and rules for performing the highest levels of rites in ancient Egypt ran the gamut. These rules also varied era to era, nome to nome, temple to temple and deity to deity.

aka there are no hard and fast rules.

Most of what we know about ritual cleanliness in antiquity comes from the Greek historian Herodotus (which I never put a lot of stock in, to be honest), which means most of what we know comes from the later eras of Egyptian history. The most common ritual cleanliness practice included being washed with water from the temple lake, washing your mouth with natron, and wearing of clean linen robes and sandals. However, beyond that, the rules could vary greatly. According to Sauneron, common ritual cleanliness practices included (but were not limited to) shaving of all bodily hair (for practical purposes of keeping louses away), circumcision, abstinence from sex while on duty, and abstinence from certain foods depending on the deities you served. And according to Reidy, you weren’t to wear anything made with animal products into the temple either.

I think it’s also important to note that ritual cleanliness standards did not just apply to priests in antiquity. It also applied to offerings. Much like in Islam (as I understand it), there were certain ways to properly dispatch a bull for offering to the gods. And only certain animals would make the cut. Another prime example is incense- you wouldn’t want to use incense with urea in it, as it conflicts with purity standards. These are both forms of ritual cleanliness/purity.

What are the standards for a modern Kemetic practitioner?

Much like in antiquity, modern standards run the gamut. Most people’s restrictions and rules vary based off of the deity they serve and the rules set out by the temple/coven/group they are a member of (if they are not practicing solo). Kemetic Orthodoxy, a common Kemetic group/temple, has specific rules/requirements for their rituals. For every day shrine work- the standards are set btwn the practitioner and their deities. For Senut, their signature daily rite, the ritual standards required are: being of sound state of mind and body (aka not sick), washing of the body and orifices with a natron/water solution, the wearing of white clothing that you only use for Senut (optimally) and that you aren’t bleeding (menses or otherwise). There are a series of monthly rituals online that KO hosts and some of them have no requirements for ritual cleanliness, while others require you to be of the same cleanliness as you would be if you were performing Senut. KO also has state rites that have the same ritual cleanliness requirements as would have been required in antiquity (generally speaking- shaving all of your hair off, for example, is not required).

For those of us who aren’t within an established temple or group, we usually have to create our own guidelines for ritual cleanliness and preparation for each ritual. For myself personally, I have little to no ritual cleanliness standards for day to day rituals. I do not change my clothing (sometimes I perform rites while in my pajamas, even). I do not wash with a natron solution before performing rites. Sometimes I perform rites while I’m ill. I literally have little to no standards for day to day rituals.

For more formal rituals, I will take a shower while focusing on cleansing myself on all levels. I will put on clothing that is comfortable and suitable for what I am doing (this is particularly important when performing execrations which involve fire). And that’s it. If I’m performing a ritual that is somewhere in between these two extremes, I might wash my hands and face and call it good.

How do I decide what standards I should include in my own practice?

This is a tricky question- because each person’s rules and requirements will be different. I am an anomaly- most people will have more requirements for their practice than I currently do. I think that building your own cleanliness standard is very personal and should be approached with common sense in mind. To start, ritual cleanliness standards were for the priests of ancient Egypt- we are not priests. We don’t have a fully staffed temple to keep our shrines running. We are average folks with day jobs and a million other things to do. Much like how we no longer perform 4 hour rites to the gods ever morning, I think it needs to be kept in mind that we will likely not be adhering to every single ritual standard ever written. Its just not practical or necessary. It’s also important to remember that ancient Egypt was a hot, sandy place. The ancient Egyptians didn’t live him homes that are virtually sealed off from the outside world. They had no indoor plumbing, modern soaps or air conditioning. They got a lot dirtier than we do. I think many of our modern cleaning products (shampoo, soap, toothpaste, deodorants) work just as well as natron when it comes to cleansing ourselves. So I think many of us can get away with modified cleansing standards for ritual practice. Perhaps we don’t need a ton of natron to be clean- we can get away with a nice animal product free bar of soap and a breath mint.

Your ritual cleanliness standards will also be determined by your deity. My gods don’t have many ritual requirements for me. They ask that I show up. They don’t really care what condition I’m in- they want me to be there. That is their standard- so that is the standard that I follow. Each deity is different- some will require you to bathe, some might stop you from eating fish, others might ask you to cover your hair while in shrine, etc. This is something that you would discover in time (if at all) as you practice more. Not every deity will have a ton of rules for their followers- so if your gods don’t make demands, don’t worry. So long as they aren’t getting mad at you- that is what is important.

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Posted by on February 6, 2013 in Kemetic Round Table, Kemeticism

 

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Formal Execration: The Learning Curve

While trying to decipher the meaning of a vision that I received while working with O, it was suggested that perhaps I do an execration. I considered this, and sat down with Set to get his thoughts on it, and he agreed it would be a good idea. For whatever reason, I decided I would try a formal execration. I chose the first execration rite listed in Eternal Egypt. This is my first time of doing an execration from a book, and I wanted to document some of it for others to see and consider.

The purpose of this execration was to “clear the board” (Set’s words). He had told me that I had enemies I could see, and enemies I couldn’t see. Things I was considering, and things that I wasn’t considering. So I chose the first rite in an attempt to keep the ‘enemies’ specific (for the ones I could list), but yet still cast a wide enough net to knock out things that I couldn’t see or consider in my current position.

Execration Altar Setup

Execration Altar Setup

So let’s go over what is needed for a formal execration. Reidy has the following “ingredients” for an execration:

  • Candle or oil lamp
  • An image of the serpent-enemy made of beeswax
  • New sheet of papyrus with enemies names listed in green ink
  • Copper brazier or pan
  • Herbs to replace bryony
  • Iron knife or nail
  • Black thread
  • Blade of flint
  • Red clay pot, sand, and a lid or means to seal the pot

Because of limitations, I made a few changes to the above ingredients list. I used regular paper, instead of papyrus. My beeswax image was made from a candle. Instead of a copper pan, I used a brass bowl. And for herbs, I used a lemon. Reidy states in his book that bryony would have been acidic, and I felt that a lemon would be one of the most acidic things I could find. Instead of an iron knife, I used Set’s knife (stainless steel). I chose to use his knife because he is part of the reason I’m doing this at all. And, his connotations of smiting a/pep daily anyways. For my red pot, I chose an old pill bottle that I had. I cleaned it and painted it red.

Once I had all of my stuff together, I set it up all nicely in one spot so that I could do all of my work in one area and not have to leave to go get stuff. The execration was going along alright. Nothing major or exciting, though it was odd to actually speak words during my rite (I am a silent ritualist, usually). And everyting was pretty ho hum until I set stuff on fire.

 

Yes. Set stuff on fire. And holy crap. Did it burn. It burned for a long long time. In fact, I had to bring in a pot lid to smother the flames so that it would stop burning. It got so hot that the wax started to sizzle in the base of the pot. It was seriously like standing in front of the stove while cooking.

Damn.

That’s crazy.

And after it was done, it looked a lot like this:

Execration Remains

And it was at least 20 minutes before the brass was cool enough to touch.

Afterwards, I took the remains and poured them into my bottle. I added the lemon juice (as well as the lemon as a whole) and poured sand on top. I then took my red candle and melted hot wax over the lid and let it drip down (It didn’t quite pan out as I had hoped it would, but ohwell). Since I didn’t have the means to bury it somewhere, I placed it in a dumpster on the other side of my apartment complex where it will eventually be taken to the landfill and ‘buried’ there.

execration bottle

Now it’s time for the learning curve!

As mentioned in the title, there is a bit of a learning curve to this whole ‘formal execration’ thing. It’s really easy to take a piece of paper, write on it, scream at it, tear it up, burn it and pitch it (and call it good). But when you get into the more formal style of things, there are a lot more problems that can crop up during the ritual. There are also more considerations that need to be made while doing the formal style, and I wanted to go over some of my findings, pitfalls, and areas of suggestion so that your formal execration can go smoother.

  • Make sure your execration pot (the thing you burn stuff in) is sturdy. You saw how hot my stuff got. If I had gone with a lesser bowl, its entirely possible that I could have run into serious problems. The bowl could have broken (or shattered) and I would have had hot molten wax all over my table, my person, and possibly my hands as well. Be considerate of the materials you’re using. Make sure that your execration brazier/pot can really withstand high heat.
  • Be considerate of your surroundings. In conjunction with above- make sure you’re performing your execration in a place that can handle high heat. Despite using a brass bowl, I ended up with a black circle on my silverware box. I also ended up with tons of tiny wax droplets all over my box, table, and person. Make sure that you do your rites in an area that can handle high heat, messes, and potentially escaping fire or wax.
  • Be considerate of your clay pot. My jar was extremely hot after placing that wax in there. I wanted to drip the wax down the side of my jar, so that it would actually seal the jar up. However, the wax was still so hot inside, I couldn’t pick up the jar for fear of breaking the glass, or burning my hands. Be sure that wherever you’re filling the jar at can also handle high heat, or potential jar breakage.
  • Don’t make a huge a/pep effigy. My a/pep was made out of a large taper candle. That was dumb. It should have been a lot smaller. I think a lot of my fire issues stemmed from the sheer volume of wax that was in the pot. Be considerate of the size of your burning pot, and the size of the problems you are execrating when you create your a/pep figure. Next time, I think I will make something smaller in size.
  • If you’re going to have a large a/pep figure, make sure you burn your paper before adding the wax. There was so much wax in my bowl, the paper never entirely burned. If I had burned the paper first, that wouldn’t have been a huge problem.
  • Have water, oven mitts, perhaps a large pot lid (for snuffing out fire), and something like sand or baking soda on hand. This is in case fire spreads.
  • Make sure your knives are sharp and can handle some pressure. I had a lot of problem with my knife not wanting to cut this massive wax figure. I ended up doing divots in the wax, and snapping the snake apart… which was quite gratifying. But at least be aware that it can be an issue.

All in all, I’m glad I tried a formal execration out. I think that each format of execration is useful, and really serves different purposes all in all. I love basic execrations where all I’m doing is focusing on smashing the crap out of something. I don’t need to worry about words or structure, it’s all about the emotional release. However, the formal style is pretty cool too, because you seriously feel like you’re beating something much larger up. Especially when the wax started to really go off- I was like “Damn, this is crazy. What the hell did I just unleash?” The styles and feelings are different, and that each format is better for certain situations over others.

It is my opinion that Formal Execrations are good for large scale, long term goals. For example, let’s take losing weight. You’d start with a Formal Execration to get you started. And then you’d do lots of smaller execrations along the way to keep you going. The best way to find out which is best for you is to try one of each version and compare and contrast their results.

I urge you to try a formal execration and see how it feels!

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Posted by on December 6, 2012 in Devo Magix Series, Kemeticism

 

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Osirian Mysteries: A Ritual

Long before I came to Kemeticism, when I still identified as a Wiccan, my SO concocted a rite to do for Osiris, which he taught to me. I can’t really say where he got the idea from- neither of us really knew much about Kemeticism or its holidays. But the rite seemed to fit, and the more I’ve learned over the years, the more I see the correlation between it and the Mysteries of Osiris. I had written about my rites briefly last year, but this year I’d like to do a full ‘tutorial’ on the rites I perform every year for O. This is based entirely off of UPG, but I think that this UPG is rather applicable to this holiday. The rite I’ve written out below isn’t exactly the original format- the ritual has grown and changed a little bit over the years that I’ve done it. It’s a growing practice and feel free to modify it to fit your needs as well.

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The first step is to cleanse yourself in whatever format you feel works best. You will then want to cleanse your shrine area and icon as well. This can be as simple as wiping it down with a cloth, or going as all out as using natron, incense, etc.

Then, create mound of sand in center of shrine area. In my case, I placed the sand in a small dish- so that it wouldn’t go everywhere. I use the sand for multiple reasons. One, it purifies the area. It creates a clean space to place the icon on (this was typically done in the Opening of the Mouth rites as well (Eternal Egypt, 292)). For me, the mound of sand recalls Zep Tepi, the first time. It stands for rebirth, change, and growth- which is what the Mysteries is all about.

I then take my icon, and wrap it in its entirety in a specific blue cloth that I have. This cloth is only used for this purpose. I don’t use it for anything else. Originally, the blue represented the water. For me, Osiris is the river, it is his domain (and in some cases, the location of his felling), so the blue made perfect sense. According to Wilkinson, the color blue could “represent the heavens as well as the primeval flood, as will be seen, and in both ways it functioned as a symbol of life and rebirth. …Blue could represent the river Nile and its associated crops, offerings and fertility..” Once again, we have rebirth as the theme.

If you don’t have a blue cloth, I think the next best choices for colors would be green (for the vegetative aspects of the Mysteries), black (for the black fertile silt that allows the crops to grow) or something that is remniscent of the sky or Nut- such as a cloth with stars on it (this is tied to the Imywt fetish and also the practice of painting Nut on the lids of coffins- she is often used as a vehicle for his rebirth).

You will then place icon on the mound of sand.

I then perform a Ka embrace on the statue. You can say whatever you like, or nothing at all. The typical words that accompany the Ka embrace in Eternal Egypt are:

Djehuty has come to you. Awake when you hear his words.
I have come as the envoy of Atum.
My two arms are upon you like those of Heru.
My two hands are upon you like those of Djehuty.
My fingers are upon you like those of Anpu.
Homage be to you, I am a living servant of Osiris/Wesir.

I then present offerings to Osiris. These are to accompany him during his trip to the Duat. Typically, I will offer incense, water and bread. I think that flowers would also be appropriate. Use your discretion, and use something that won’t go horribly bad if left out for quite a while. And, yes, Re-ment is still an option here. You can present these offerings with words, or without.

I then close up my shrine for the duration of my celebration (which I celebrate for a full month- New moon to new moon). If you don’t have doors, I’d recommend draping a cloth of some type over the shrine.

I do this for a couple of reasons. One, this is the time when Osiris is gone. He’s been taken from us, he’s in the river, Aset is searching, Heru and Set are battling it out- it’s a time of chaos and loss. This is the field after the seeds have been planted. You know that the seeds are there- but you can’t see the plants just yet. The whole purpose is to notice a loss. And for me, it doesn’t really sink in as a loss until I can’t see him for such a duration. For my own personal practice, the point is to mourn his loss. You can’t mourn him if you can go see him in shrine (see the icon) every day.  Second, I go a full month for cycle and completion. The moon disappears during the New Moon phase, as Osiris has disappeared from us. And I feel that waiting out the full cycle of the moon helps to bring out the full cycle of rebirth that Osiris goes through.

I then place my Anup and Aset statues on top of my shrine. If I had a representation of Nebhet, I’d place her there, too. These three are heavily laced with the mythology of Osiris. Anup helps to protect and embalm Osiris. He helps Aset and Nebhet find pieces and put him back together. Aset and Nebhet are the primary mourners of Osiris’ loss. So I like to involve them in the process.

I keep the shrine closed for the full month. During this time, I will leave offerings on the outside of the shrine. Offerings could be of any format- words, food, candles, items- whatever. I usually use this time to notice how my practice and life feel different without him being right there. I usually reflect on the nature of death, rebirth and sacrifice.

Once the month is up, I open the shrine, revert the offerings (I typically won’t eat these ones :P), unwrap the statue and set the shrine back up in its normal format. I then lay a big spread out for Osiris and celebrate in his return, his rebirth.

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I know that many people don’t consider Osiris’ mythos to be that of rebirth, but for me it plays a heavy role. I tend to work with Osiris as a vegetative deity. A god of the land, of agriculture. He is the land of Egypt. He is what sustains the people. And every year, the river, land and vegetation of Egypt go through a cycle of death and rebirth. The river recedes, the land dries up, the plants die. And then the waters issue forth in the inundation, the silt is deposited, seeds planted, live is grown, cared for and cut down to feed the people. For me, he is intrinsically linked to all of this, so most of my rites to him involve layers of death and rebirth- as well as sacrifice, as he has to sacrifice himself so that others may live.

Please let me know if any of you try this format of ritual and the type of response you get from it. I think that the Mysteries can have a profound effect on you, as you continually consider what life and death mean to you, and the fact that death must occur in order for life to continue. I’d love to hear anyone’s experiences from any Mysteries rites that participate in this year!

Also, please check out my article about this over on Shrine Beautiful. There are more pictures of my setup there for you to enjoy!

 
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Posted by on November 29, 2012 in Kemeticism

 

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Devo Magix: Execrations


Most Kemetics know about execration, or at least, we know of them. Execrations are highly misunderstood within the Kemetic community, and in some ways, they are generally feared. I wanted to clear up some ideas about execrations, and how you can bring them into your practice- whether you’re Kemetic or not.

Execrations Then:

Back in antiquity, execrations were a daily practice in the temples. It’s considered that they might have occurred multiple times daily, even. Execrations were considered integral to keeping the kingdom and all of the Created world safe. Execrations were generally exacted against agents of a/pep and all enemies of the king and/or ma’at.These rituals weren’t optional- they were mandatory. Ma’at, and all of creation, was always at risk to being undone. To quote Meeks:

From the moment of its creation, the world was threatened by the Forces of the uncreated, forces that the mere existence of a world drove back toward its periphery. There was no escaping these forces, even if they were pushed further and further back as the domain of the Created expanded. Because they had not been brought into being by the act of creation, they could not be definitively destroyed. They could only be defeated periodically; their repeated onslaughts made it necessary to wage unending battle to maintain the integrity and equilibrium of creation. (quote taken from Eternal Egypt).

Creation was not something to take for granted. And it’s still not. In our modern world we forget that things aren’t certain or guaranteed. The gods still fight a/pep daily. They still work to maintain order even though the majority of humanity has fallen deaf to the need or the call. Just because our lives feel more secure doesn’t mean that Creation is any more secure than it was before. The Egyptians fully appreciated the precarious nature of Creation. The wrong flood levels, a bad cycle of crops, invaders, plague- any of that could deal massive damage to the nation and its people. Creation needed everyone’s help to survive- and this is where execrations came into play.

Execrations Now:

Execrations almost seem non-existent in the modern Kemetic’s practice. Most Kemetics have a mindset that execrations are bad- that performing an execration will cause negativity to come back upon you (reminiscent of the Threefold Rule that really has no place in Kemetic mindset or practice). This is a crying shame, in my opinion. Execrations have so many uses and potential for creating happier, healthier people. I really think that everyone should consider making some form of execration a part of their regular practice. Most people consider execrations to be nothing more than a ritual against a/pep, but they can be used for so much more than that. Execrations are good for letting go, for moving on, for destroying bad habits, or for getting negative things out of your life. Anything and everything that could eat away at the happiness in your life could be counter acted with an execration.

Don’t like that you’re broke? Execrate anything and everything that is in your way (you could use a ‘foes of Ra’ approach to this). Don’t like that you’re overweight? Execrate your bad eating habits, laziness, or other factors that could be holding you back. Heavy shadow work that you’re trying to work through? Blast that stuff away with a strong execration. Anything and everything can really be enhanced via execration. Execrations are there to demolish things that are blocking your path.

So how do you do an execration?

Traditional execrations can be pretty extravagant. The more complex execration rituals in Eternal Egypt include an ‘ingredients list’ of: water, natron, incense, candle or oil-lamp, a wax figure of a/pep, sheets of papyrus, green ink, copper pan, wood or charcoal, herbs (dragon’s blood, nettle, etc), iron knife or nail, black thread, flint blade, red clay pot, sand and a lid for said pot.

That’s a lot of stuff! But execrations don’t need to be that complicated (and in Reidy’s defense, there are execration rites in Eternal Egypt that require little to no supplies to perform). Most execrations have elements that are similar, despite the technique being different. Here are the basic elements of any execration:

  • Creation and identification of an item with a/pep and the things you wish to execrate (in this post, the item would have been the red pot).
  • Defiling this item via stabbing, spitting, trampling, or other destructive means.
  • Burying, flushing, or disposing of said item.

The steps are pretty simple and straight forward. I have found that a lot of what makes an execration effective is the emotion you put behind it. There is some sort of release in ripping apart a piece of paper, stabbing a figure, smashing a pot, etc. It allows your emotions to be let out in a safe manner that helps you to move forward and eradicates things that hold you back.

While using an ‘old school’ execration rite from antiquity is awesome, sometimes we don’t have the ability or desire to use something from ‘back in the day’. But no worries, you can easier come up with your own rites and methods to execrate the unwanted or unneeded. To create your own execration, you’ll first need to determine what you wish to execrate. You could try to execrate anything and everything in one go, but I recommend taking a few things at a time and doing multiple, smaller execrations. Once you have decided what you might wish to get rid of, you’ll want to determine what item will best work for your means. You could go the traditional method and use red pots or wax figures. You could use fresh paper. You could build a sand castle or use a mug that you can’t stand. You could create a pillow and stuff it with things that you want to destroy- let your creativity and specific situation guide you.

You will then need to imbue that item with whatever you’re trying to get rid of. You can write these items or attributes on the item (in the case of paper or pots), you can state or visualize what you’re wanting to execrate as you create the item (as with the sand castle). You could do both, technically (I tend to). Once you have your item ready, you will take this item and beat the crap out of it. Yell at it, stab it (or draw knifes in it), scribble on it, maim it, stomp on it, spit on it- whatever. Destroy it as much as you can. Put all of your energy into it until you are completely spent.

Then, you will take what is left of your item, and get rid of the remains. A lot of times I flush things down the toilet. However, you can’t do that with, say, pot shards. In those cases, I throw them in a dumpster or bury what is left. If you went the sand castle route that I mentioned before, you might want to smooth out the sand to the point that you can’t tell anything transpired. You more or less want to remove and eradicate any and all remains of the execration.

How often you want to repeat this process (and how complicated you want the process to be) is entirely up to you. Most Kemetics I know only perform one execration per year- at Wep Ronpet. However, in the month and a bit since Wep Ronpet occurred, I have found that I have done 3 or 4 execration rites of some capacity- and I have found that doing them has helped me progress a lot faster in my shadow work lately. Whether you need to perform them daily, monthly, yearly- etc. is going to be dependent upon your particular situation and what you are working on currently. Don’t be afraid to do them regularly, though. Especially if you feel the urge!

I believe execrations deserve to have a more prominent place in modern practice. They have such a variety of uses and purposes, and I would love to see more people give them a shot!

Do you perform execrations? What are your thoughts and experiences with them?

Recommended Reading to Learn More About Execrations:

Relevent Posts:

 
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Posted by on September 18, 2012 in Devo Magix Series, Kemeticism

 

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Heka is a Two Way Street

A couple of weeks ago, I posed a question on ecauldron about the nature of Heka. We Kemetics all know that Heka can influence a lot. We speak words of power and praise to the gods. Everything we say and create becomes.

The question I posed then was: how much of our heka is inadvertently effecting the gods? 

I mean, think about it- we do these rituals to help establish ma’at in the world. We bring forth the First Time, Zep-Tepi. We refresh and renew the gods, the cosmos, ourselves. We do these great acts of power and strength and we wrap it up with… an offering of Oreos and Coke.

If all of our words have power, and everything in ritual has meaning and purpose- how much of our little actions add up and weaken the gods? I know that many people believe that the gods can’t be weakened, but it doesn’t seem to have been the case in antiquity. There are stories of the Egyptians threatening the gods with things such as withholding rituals, withholding offerings, lack of worship, etc. Why do that if the gods don’t need our help to keep things running? And as was stated in this post, yes it’s true that the world didn’t end when Egypt fell. But the Egyptian way of life certainly did. If things were still running with ma’at in mind, we wouldn’t have to take the time to relearn everything. We’d already know about it. Keeping up the cosmos is a responsibility that is shared by both humans and gods. We can’t rely on the gods to make everything better. If we decide to destroy this planet and create nothing but isfet- we will fall apart. And there is nothing the gods can do about that. So it seems to make sense to me that the gods need us on some level, and that daily ritual served to help the gods, the cosmos and ma’at. We helped through sacred action and utterance. We helped through heka.

And we still help through heka. Prayers. Rites. Community gatherings. Living life well. Putting away shopping carts. Saving spoons. Helping people. Helping yourself. Living life to the fullest. Embodying ma’at. All of that warm and fuzzy stuff.

But at the same time, a lot of what we do could be hurting the cosmos as well. We fight. Bicker. We hurt ourselves and others. We waste our spoons on useless crap. We ingest bad food. We have self esteem and body issues. We project our issues onto the gods. We feed the gods junk for dinner every night. We skip out on ritual all together.

If all of the good we do creates good things for the gods, then it would make sense that the opposite would be true. All of this crap we bog ourselves down with degrades the relationship with the Unseen world. It distorts the connection and creates problems in (potentially) both worlds. And the act of marginalizing and trivializing gods not only weakens them, it weakens our respect and actions towards them.

Let me use an example- the Internet.

All of us use the Internet, and we all have a sort of personality on here. We interact through means that are less than physical, in potentially the same way that gods do with us. In this small world, things get around. If I say that X person is a jerk to my circle of Internet friends, it’s likely that they will assume as such – and ultimately, that effects X. X could experience a lack of communication from others. They could see a drop in blog visits, subscriptions, or all of their FB friends could leave. They could be harassed. All sorts of things. All because I said X was a jerk.

Another example could be that I say X is stupid. They don’t know what they are talking about and you shouldn’t listen to them. How long before that effects the responses that X gets from others? How long before everything they say is dismissed because of some preconceived notion?

Don’t think it can happen? Look at the fallout Kemetic Orthodoxy experiences from the anger brought on by a few people. Look at the fallout some Kemetic authors experience because they have a checkered past in relation to Kemetic Orthodoxy. And while, yes, it’s entirely possible that people will try to find the truth, despite common ideas about what is and isn’t- there will still be a group of people who will never bridge that gap all because of what they have heard. The actions of a few can affect a large number of people.

Now let’s turn this around towards the gods.

If I treat, say… Wepwawet as nothing more than a form of Anpu? They are both ‘two sides of the same coin’ in some forms of Kemeticism. And many people treat Wepwawet as nothing more than Anubis in his work clothes- some weird aspect of him that comes out when he needs to be tougher- but not necessarily a true entity or god in his own right. So if this spreads around to a large group of Kemetics… how long before his reputation changes? How long before people quit treating him like an awesome (and separate) god that deserves our respect (and in some ways, fear) and we all start treating him like some weird fluke mood of Anpu? And if he starts getting treated like he isn’t entirely his own entity, how long before He Who Is the Highest of the Gods decides he wants nothing to do with us, and that he’s going to go open some ways elsewhere? Who is to say that the attitudes that many Kemetics share aren’t hurting or effecting the gods?

All of our actions carry weight. All of our assumptions and ideas carry weight. How often do you think about what you say and do and how it could be affecting the gods and world around us? Are you creating a world that embodies ma’at?

 
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Posted by on June 15, 2012 in Kemeticism

 

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Filling the Storehouse of the Gods

As many of you know, I have been using Re-Ment to supplement what I offer to the gods (an idea I took from this person). Due to my stomach issues and my fritzy schedule, I’ve been adding these miniatures to my routine- allowing the gods not to starve and me not to get so stressed over what to offer at 5 in the morning.

Up until recently, I only had a few pieces of Re-Ment to my name. Two cakes, 4 rolls, and 6 plates of food. While that sounds like quite a bit, I’m sure Set and O were getting tired of the same rotation day after day. So my SO set out to get me as much Re-Ment as he could. He ended up getting a lot batch of the stuff… which is a lot. Here are some pictures of the new stuff!

And overall shot of all of the stuff set out, as per what the pictures in the box look like.

There are muffins, tea sets, hot pots, pizza… you name it. Chocolate. Fruit. Ice cream. Crepes. Bagels. Rare beef. Beer. Cookies… a little bit of everything.

I particularly like some of the trays that come with these sets. It makes a nice setup for arranging the food for the gods. Sometimes each god gets their own tray. Other days, I make mass trays with tons of different foods on them, and let the gods duke out who gets what.

Most of these pieces have a lot of detail work to them. Pouches for chopsticks… individual grains for rice. Different types of coloration for the soups and drinks. It does look good enough to eat!

I love these cat eggs.

Now in some ways, this created a huge logistics/storage problem for me. I don’t have a lot of space for shrine implements right now. So I racked my brains for a few days (almost a week, really) trying to figure out where I was going to store all of this awesomeness. It would need to be organized somehow. Otherwise, I wouldn’t know how or where to find different food bits, and it would create issues in the morning. After a lot of thinking, I decided I would try and store them in the bottom drawer of my shrine case (an old silverware box). In order to keep things organized, I created boxes out of scrapbook paper.

Organized!

So there you have it. Lots and lots of Re-Ment. I think the gods will have more than enough variety for a while now 🙂 If any of you see anything you OMG WANT, let me know. I might be willing to part with it, as there is more here than I will probably need, and I have a feeling that some pieces the gods may not like.

 
14 Comments

Posted by on February 7, 2012 in Kemeticism

 

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