RSS

Tag Archives: rituals

Devo’s Burninatin’ Celebration: 2016 Edition

If I could sum up this year’s Wep Ronpet in a succinct phrase, it would be “the year Devo went it alone.”

When it comes to Wep Ronpet, I usually have direction or a process to inform you guys about. As I mentioned last year, Wep Ronpet is becoming less about Epagomenal days, and more about ‘burn things for Set’. Usually, he shows up in late June, and we go over at least a semblance of a plan for how I’m supposed to perform the year’s execration. He gives me an initial layout of the process I’ll follow so that I know what to write in my invitation to participate, and we discuss any general goals or things I need to accomplish before the day of the rite.

This year didn’t really happen that way.

I got the default notification in mid-June about how I needed to start planning for this year’s rites. It felt very automated, like Set programmed it into his phone, and his phone shot out the reminder at it’s pre-determined time. Because of that, I couldn’t really ask him what he wanted me to do, or what I needed to do. What made this worse is that astrally, I was in a lockdown mode and couldn’t leave to go ask him (more on that in the coming weeks.) And I didn’t seem to be able to get ahold of him from this end either.

The closest thing I could get from him was confirmation (of the barest sort) that I could perform the community heka that secondgenerationimmigrant had suggested, but beyond that I was on my own.

Usually I relish in figuring out what we’re going to be doing for Wep Ronpet. I love learning about how the various concepts that I work on throughout the year with the gods will double in on itself and form new concepts and ideas for me to mull on. With each passing year, the Mysteries and Wep Ronpet execrations further my understanding of my gods and my practice. It’s during these key moments that a lot of what I’ve picked up along the way starts to make sense and become more tangibly applicable to various things.

So I was a little disappointed that I wasn’t able to come up with anything neat or cool, but at the same time, the only thing Set said to me during this years’ rites (“you’ve been working too hard”) really sums up everything that the past two years have entailed.

Most people don’t really know this, I think, but I’ve been this side of fallow since Wep Ronpet of 2014. It was during 2014’s rites that Set talked about initiation for the first time, and shortly after that, I was barred from entering the Duat, cut off from a lot of my astral life, and by the time the end of 2014 hit, my job had consumed most of my life. If you’ve been with TTR for a while, you’ve probably noticed the stark drop off in posts and writing. That is largely why.

This is further complicated by last year’s surgery, which ate up most of my memories from 2015. For example, I have a hard time remembering what I did for 2015. I vaguely remember it, but I keep confusing it with 2014’s rites. Why? Because anesthesia eats your short-term memory. I don’t really remember 2015. I remember working and being stressed and being depressed. But on the by and large, I’ve lost an entire year of my life in terms of memory.

I’m just barely coming out of this rut. Barely. Just. Not even fully out of it yet. Barely.

And as such, this year’s rites took a hit, I think, because of that. I’m currently working two jobs while trying to get my sanity back together, and I didn’t really have the time or energy to think super duper hard about what I was going to do for this year’s rites (sorry, Set). I knew I wanted needed to do them, but I wasn’t going to exert a lot of energy figuring out how.

WR_shrine

The Pot of Unrest from last year came back again this year as a holding pot for everyone’s petitions. It sat in front of the Shrine and was guarded by Set’s knife. I placed petitions into it regularly as they flowed into my inbox, and made sure to leave offerings as a means to cajole Set to come back around and check out what had been added (I don’t think it worked.)

I kept the writing structure the same as last year, where I wrote what was going to be destroyed, and then often followed it up with a positive result of having said things destroyed. But in addition to that, I decided to try adding sigils to everyone’s petitions. That way, I could send the sigil to the person as a sort of proof that their petition had been processed and added to the pot. But even more than that, it would provide a link btwn the petitioner and their petition, so that they could take an active role in the process if they wanted.

It was an attempt to help make the ritual more personalized to those who are far away. A means to invite them into the process, to play a role in their own fates and futures (since execrations can help with both) because they could use the sigil as a means to funnel energy into the petition to be destroyed, or they could perform their own execration on something marked with the same sigil, which would be an additional oomph to what I was doing. I liked the idea in concept, but in practice it was challenging. Having to have my phone charged and with me when I was processing requests was difficult. The additional steps of having to take the photo, transfer it to the computer and then email it right away so that I didn’t accidentally send the wrong sigil to the wrong person was time consuming in a way that I wasn’t fully considering when I came up with the idea. I think that maybe if I wasn’t so strapped for time, it wouldn’t have been such a problem. But given the specifics of my current situation, it might have been a poor choice for this year.

What I did learn from the process is that I can make sigils very easily, and that my astral culture (if you will) has had a heavy influence on how I draw sigils now. I also learned that there needs to be better resources for those who aren’t sure how to write execration petitions (now on my to-do list), and that wow our community has gotten so much larger than it used to be. There was more hum about Wep Ronpet this year than I’ve ever seen before. That’s awesome.

pre-rite_shrine_WR

I usually set my shrine up pretty early before Wep Ronpet actually shows up. But this year, I hadn’t even fully set the ritual space up the morning of the rites. In fact, the day before the rites, I was still hemming and hawing about what I was going to offer, what I should do for the shrine setup, and what I should do for the rites themselves. I literally had not planned or prepped anything before the ritual itself (outside of the sigil on the petition thing, that’s the only pre-planning I did. Oh yeah, and fire. I knew there would be fire.)

The night before the ritual I was able to talk with Set for a very short amount of time. We went over what had been going on with the community and I gave him a status update of what needed to be addressed, what we needed to be prepping for and planning for, as well as other trends I had been noticing while out and about. I wanted to talk with him about what I needed to be doing, or what I should be planning for in terms of finishing some projects that I have put off for some time now, but he brushed me off and told me that we’d talk about it later.

Later still hasn’t happened, by the way.

The day of the rite, I slowly pulled everything together and hoped that I had gotten everything that I needed. As I sat down with my copy of Eternal Egypt, I still wasn’t sure what exactly I was going to be doing, but I trusted in my ability to pull it out of my ass like a pro.

The ritual this year was of a very different structure than normal. I noted last year that the rites felt more “big picture” than the year prior, and I feel like I expanded upon that even more so this year. I utilized the full Set rite that was in Eternal Egypt, more or less, and then placed all of the execration petitions into the execration pot while performing additional verbal heka. I then sat down and read the words that were written in the community heka, framing it as everyone’s requests to a council of NTRW, asking that they consider our words, and helping aid us in our requests. I then finished tearing up and burning the execration petitions and closed the ritual in the typical fashion as is laid out in most of the rites in Eternal Egypt.

WR_closeup2

I had brought my music thinking that I’d want to use it to help with the execrations, but it wasn’t needed. This year’s ritual would count as fully formal, in my opinion, as it was very by the books and very solemn (and emotional, apparently.) While I couldn’t see or hear Set (except for the one phrase), I could feel him around. I felt like more than Set was watching, but I couldn’t tell who. In the end, I may end up making a fully formal rite the new norm as I move forward, but we’ll see how things progress in time for next year.

I found that as I read through the formal words that I had an even better understanding of them than when I first read them so many years ago. I’ve always liked the words of formal rites, they’ve always resonated with me, but I don’t think I had a solid understanding of the depth of what I was reading in the past. I feel like I’m starting to get a better understanding and appreciation of the multiple layers that exist within a formal rite and its wording.

By the time the rites were done, I was completely exhausted in a way that is not normal for me. I’m not sure what exactly I had done that caused me to feel so absolutely drained, but it was all I could do not to lay on the floor and stare at the ceiling for the rest of the day. While the rites were not typical for me, I think that they were fulfilling, albeit in a way that is hard to describe. Even though it was the year I went it alone (and rushed and unprepared), I feel like it was successful, though I’d prefer to have more energy and time to prepare for rites in the future.

execration_pot

I found that even though I had more or less gone it alone, that a lot of the motifs from last year still held true for this year. Notions about how letting things go isn’t easy, and how we need to be open to the changes required in order to make our requests truly manifest. And it is my hope that everyone that sent in a petition is presented with opportunities to have their petitions fulfilled, and in ways that exceed their expectations. May we all be open to the changes that we need, so that we may succeed in the coming year.

Relevant Posts:

Advertisements
 
2 Comments

Posted by on August 8, 2016 in Kemeticism

 

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

A Religion of Boredom

Religion is great, right? You get to learn new stuff. You get to develop a personal practice that works well for your needs. You get the opportunity to develop relationships with the gods. You get the chance to give the gods cool stuff, and sometimes they give cool stuff back. You get to try new things, and many times you get to work on your personal stuff, too. It’s a never-ending trail of “where the hell are we going, again?”

But the truth of the matter is, no matter how much religioning you do, religion can be incredibly boring from time to time.

You know the kind I mean. It’s the kind where you wake up one morning, and you’re preparing your offerings for shrine, and you realize “Wow, I’ve done this same ritual for 6 months now. And I haven’t heard a single peep from the gods in almost the same amount of time. And I think I’ve offered them the same basic offerings for the past two weeks. And wow this is boring- why am I doing this again?” And then once you’ve hit that point, most of us get this rush of fear and anxiety. We begin to wonder if we’re doing it wrong. “Is it okay to not hear from the gods for 6 months? Is it bad to offer the same exact thing day after day? Oh no, maybe they’re not talking to me because I’m doing it wrong!” And so everything rushes down the gutter as the waves of inadequacy wash over you.

But like I said above- religion is sometimes boring. For everyone.

There will always be times when your gods don’t hang around much. There will always be times when you’re not asked or required to do a whole lot in terms of service to the gods. Even the priests in ancient times had breaks in their service. And even when you are being asked to get things done, there will always be times when you still feel pretty bored or inadequate. There will always be lulls in what you’re doing.

I think that the idea of boredom having a place in religion is foreign to us because so much of the media that is out there for us to consume about religion (and paganism specifically) purports this idea that there is always something going on. It’s been stated in many places that people rarely write about when nothing is happening. It’s hard to make posts out of literal nothing, and many of us don’t bother to write about the day to day, more mundane aspects of our practices. This is a great disservice to the wider community, because I think that many newcomers assume that once you start running down the hill into paganism, that you never stop running.

But if you never stopped running, your legs would get awful tired. If you don’t stop going full steam ahead, eventually you will tire out. In that respect, we need some aspect of boredom in our practice. We need to have times where nothing major is going on, so that we can recuperate and gather up our energy for other things.

For a comparison, think of your daily life. Do you ever take time to rest or wish that you had time to rest? Do you have a job that is non-stop go go go go go go GO GO GO? And if your job is like that, do you ever wish that there was a brief point in time where you could just sit at your desk and simply be for a few minutes? If your religion ran you ragged, you’d feel the same way. Even in our current society (speaking for the US), you are legally entitled to two breaks per day, because it’s well known that rested workers work better.

If we apply those same concepts to religion, I think that it would make sense that the gods would step back from time to time to allow us room to breath. If we are constantly running all the time, we will burn out. We need time to go through the basic motions without anything additional thrown onto the pile. And in turn, it’s very likely that the gods need their own time, too. Even if a deity only has about 50 devotees- imagine how much time must be spent giving daily attention to each and every individual, on top of whatever the deity is already working on. The gods have a lot going on that isn’t centered on us or our shrine and offering habits. It makes sense that they won’t always be around.

Okay, so boredom is normal, and sometimes necessary. What do I do about it?

If you google “relationship boredom” you will find that there are thousands of hits talking about nearly every aspect of relationships and how people react when they become normal (read: boring). Out of all of the angles that could be covered about relationships and their normalcy, you’ll find the most common topic is “how to make your relationship exciting again”. There are posts that are similar to that in the religious community, too. If you read through the KRT topic on Fallow Time, you’ll see that many people give some suggestions for how to break out of a fallow period and restart your religious practice again. However, being bored isn’t quite the same as fallow time. Fallow time usually involves a complete breakdown or degradation of your religious practice. Boredom is usually a sign that things are becoming normal or stable.

Speaking as someone who has been in a relationship with the same person for about ten years now, I can assure everyone who is reading that boredom is part of every solid relationship. There are some days that my SO and I don’t hardly talk at all because there is so little to talk about. We sit at our respective computers and work on our personal endeavors. We get up and spend a little time together, and then go back to doing our own thing. This isn’t a sign that we’re dysfunctional as much as it is a sign that we’re comfortable.

You can’t expect each day to have new and exciting stuff. When you live a relatively repetitive life (which most of us do), you’re going to have days when nothing exciting is going on. This isn’t necessarily bad, it’s simply a part of life. By trying to fight this regularity, you’re creating unnecessary stress for yourself that needn’t be there. Don’t be afraid of consistency or the boredom you may initially feel when you realize things have become somewhat wrote. You’re not doing anything wrong. Surely the priests in antiquity got bored with the same daily rituals that would be performed day after day after day. And when that boredom struck, I’m fairly certain the temple didn’t up and decide to spice things up by changing the structure of the shrine rituals. I’m fairly confident that the gods are used to the daily grind of consistent rites and offerings because that’s how it was done “back in the day”. If anything, its we modern practitioners that need to learn to become more okay with consistency and repetition.

So instead of telling you how to make your practice more exciting again, I’m going to recommend something very different. I’m going to suggest that you learn to become okay with the feeling. Remind yourself that this is part of the process of something new becoming something normal, and that the rites and offerings in antiquity rarely changed, so it shouldn’t be a huge deal if you do the same rites and give the same offerings day after day after day. When the first wave of “oh no, I’m messing up” hits you, take a step back and tell yourself that it’s okay. Push through the feelings as best as you can and keep performing your rites as you normally would and see how the feeling shifts or changes over time. Odds are you’ll find that everything becomes more okay as you continue your practice.

Have you ever felt bored with your religious practice? How did you handle these feelings? Any advice for anyone experiencing boredom in their religious pursuits?

Related Posts:

 
2 Comments

Posted by on February 15, 2016 in Kemeticism

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Mysteries 2015

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.

Myst_001

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.

Myst_002

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.

Myst_003

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.

Relevant Posts:

 
6 Comments

Posted by on December 12, 2015 in Kemeticism

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

All Souls 2014

Another year has come and gone, and yet again I participated in the All Souls Procession. For those who don’t know what the All Souls Procession is, it is a community driven event that occurs down in Tucson every year. The procession is tied to Dia de los Muertos, and is aimed at helping people find peace with death and honoring those who have gone before us. In many ways, the procession is about coming to terms with death, but is also an act of defiance against death and often features a lot of fire, dancing, and loud music.

This year’s theme dealt with liminality, which is close to my heart. I didn’t see a prayer form on the website this year, so I ended up making my own, and like last year, I gave people the option to submit petitions to be written onto the prayer form and thrown into the urn.

petition

After I finished writing the petitions out, I placed them in front of the shrine to be blessed. This year I didn’t write a single thing on the prayer form for myself. I’m not sure why this is, but I suspect that the reason is two-fold. First, is that I don’t have any active shadow work open that needs to be finished. So I didn’t have any shadow work to place onto the prayer form. Second, Osiris has fully decided to take over this event as a sort of festival or holiday related to himself, and so I was acting more in the capacity as a officiant for others, as opposed to participating for myself.

I’m not sure if either of these is accurate, but either way, I didn’t feel compelled to write anything on the prayer form for myself.

petitionsshrine

The prayer form was submitted to Osiris with offerings of fancy soda and baked goods. I also made sure to include fire and incense. I kept everything dark and rich in color, as they both remind me of the dark silt of the Nile, and the dark ground that Osiris is tied to. I felt that evoking this dark soil would help to sew seeds for fertility and growth later on because from death comes new life.

all_souls_osiris

Like always, we walked with Odaiko Sonora, a local taiko group, and we performed the Tucson Ondo, which is styled after Japanese Obon dances. Odaiko Sonora got the honor of participating in the finale this year, so everyone was dressed up in special costumes for the finale.

all_souls_2014_taiko

Because of the finale, there was the addition of a chant to our procession this year. I didn’t think much of it, but it turns out that chanting while walking actually makes for a very different experience. I found that using my voice was more difficult than I anticipated, and I often found that I was running out of breath while chanting. Turns out that little additions can actually make a big difference.

all_souls_2014_chant

Although many aspects were the same, this year’s procession had some notable differences for me, though the differences are kinda difficult for me to pin down and describe. Like the previous two years of walking in the procession, I have to admit that I was not profoundly changed by the experience or anything like that. There was another person walking in our group for the first time that expressed sincere awe over the whole setup and event, but I must admit that I didn’t really feel anything overly special or spiritual about the experience. However, despite that, there were some things that did actually change.

First I noticed some parallels between the procession and traditional celebrations of the Mysteries. The Mysteries were often marked by a procession from Abydos to Osiris’ “tomb” up the hill nearby, and while I’m not necessarily walking to a tomb, I am walking from a starting point to a finishing point where a ritual (the burning of the urn) takes place. I also noticed that while I don’t travel for Set’s yearly execration, I do travel for Osiris’ procession – similarly to those who would have a pilgrimage to Abydos.

Before the procession starts, we often stand around at the starting point while we wait for everyone to show up. We do this because our group gets to walk right behind the urn, and if we aren’t there early to hold our spot behind the urn, we’d never be able to carve a space out for ourselves once everyone arrives. Unfortunately, waiting can be an hours long process, and sometimes it can get trialing dealing with everyone milling around to catch a glimpse at the urn.

allsoulsurn

I was getting frustrated by this, but then my mind turned to all of my work with Osiris, and one of the most common themes in his work is stillness. Before you can set forth in rebirthing or transforming, you must be still for a while. The process after death starts with stillness, and only after you have been still can you move forward with your transformation. And it was at this point that I realized I was beginning to create links between this procession and my Mysteries work.

Another thing that I noticed was that the first thing we do during the procession is walk through a small tunnel. Our MC that plays music at the starting point always talks about this tunnel, and reminds people not to rush in getting through the tunnel- that it can take time, like grains of sand passing through an hour glass, and that we must all be patient while going through the tunnel. For myself, the tunnel reminds me of going through a gateway- a common starting point for those traveling through the Duat, or through the various gates inside of Nut. And suddenly the tunnel became a sort of threshold that must be crossed before truly beginning this procession.

all_souls_2014_dj

all_souls_2014_002

All of these things swirled around in my mind as I stood and waited for the procession to begin. I realized that a year ago these connections would not have been made in my mind, and I remembered an old conversation I had with someone about what actually makes a mystery a Mystery. They noted that Mysteries are everywhere, but that the biggest difference is that the people who have been initiated into the Mystery actually see the symbolism and hidden messages that occur within festivals or rites at hand. Last year, Osiris had told me that I had finally been ‘initiated’ into whatever on earth I’m doing, and I’m wondering if the parallels I’m pulling this year are a reflection of that.

Or maybe it’s just a reflection of all of the reading I’ve done on him over the past year.

Either way, these parallels are very new to me, and have caused me to have a different relationship with the procession this year than I have in years past. While I still am walking away from the procession going “why do I want to drive two hours out of the way to stand around for several (literally) hours only to drive two hours home and wake up and be tired for work the next morning”, I am starting to find more and more meaning behind it, or at least meaning that ties it to my work for Osiris.

This year I did stick around to watch the finale and watch the urn burn. I really wanted to support my friends in Odaiko Sonora and see their performance at the end of the night.

all_souls_2014_sugar_skulls

While I am still a bit “meh” about my involvement with the procession (and have been every year prior), Osiris has more or less dictated that this event marks the beginning of his ‘season’, and so I imagine that I will be participating yearly from here on out. I will be interested to see how my attitude towards this event changes and grows over the years, and what other parallels I will discover as I return each year.

 Relevant Posts and Links:

 
2 Comments

Posted by on November 18, 2014 in Kemeticism, Rambles

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Making a Religious Calendar Around Food

On New Years eve of 2014, someone asked me what a good offering to the Kami would be. I responded that the typical New Years fare was mochi, a type of rice cake that the Japanese make. If there is something to be noted about the Japanese calendar, its that every season and every holiday has it’s own motif and dish. They have fully integrated their menu into their calendar.

I mulled over this concept for a while, and found myself thinking that the US sucks because we don’t have that sort of thing- a food calendar that mirrors our holidays. But then I realized that we sort of do- you’ve got champagne for New Years. Chocolate for Valentines Day. Beer for St. Patricks. Grilled foods for July 4th. Turkey, stuffing and cranberries for Thanksgiving. Technically, our whole calendar has food laced into it as well. The food may not be seasonal, and we may not entirely understand why that particular food item is a part of our calendar, but it is a cultural thing none the less.

So I began to wonder- could we do such a thing with our religious calendars?

Food called “Krompirusa” by ErminCelicovick via Flickr

Food and calendars could definitely be taken a couple of different ways, and I expect that if we were to create a food based calendar, that each person’s would be slightly different. For example, Kemetics may be able to agree on ball shaped items for Balls Day, but I imagine there would be regional differences for other holidays depending on what is available locally and what is in season. Whether you choose to let the holiday itself dictate the food, or the seasons that the holiday falls in would be up to each individual practitioner. And possibly the best results would come from a mix of both in each holiday/rite.

For some examples that I might consider using, I personally could see oranges for being good for any type of winter holidays that have solar or rebirth connotations because oranges are harvested in the winter in Arizona and they remind me of the solar disc. Sonoran styled Mexican food is a big thing down here, so that ends up being a part of almost all of my larger celebrations, regardless of what is going on. Anytime I do anything for Set, there are dark chocolate cupcakes involved because those seem to be his favorite. I could see eggs being useful for Wep Ronpet, as they can represent rebirth and new growth. I could also see birthday cake being used for Wep Ronpet because it is a grouping of birthdays after all. Additionally, there is already a type of food tradition with Wep Ronpet that involves snake cakes.

If you wanted to do rites or rituals that involve your heart (perhaps another layer to Valentine’s Day?), you could include clusters of grapes or grape-laced food items for their symbolism tied to the heart. For Feast of the Beautiful Valley, an akhu veneration holiday, you could choose food items that are considered family traditions. The Mysteries used to involve corn mummies, so corn or maybe tamales (which are wrapped in corn husks) could be an easy food choice for modern celebrations as well. And I personally think that baking is a good choice for Unification holidays, because you’re taking a bunch of separate ingredients and mixing them together into something new, something whole. Perhaps for holidays centered around battles or war deities, we could prepare food on skewers or kababs. Or for holidays tied to smiting your enemies, you could have mashed potatoes because you effectively “smashing” your enemies.

Whether you choose to let the holiday determine what food you use, or let the time of the year and seasonality of the dishes you’re eating determine what you make for a holiday, I recommend experimenting with marrying the two. A lot of our life events and holidays do incorporate the sense of taste into the experience, which can create a stronger bond and perhaps a better experience. Plus, if you can create strong ties between religious celebrations and food, you can almost evoke the sense of that celebration anytime you eat that particular dish as a means of bringing religion into your day to day life.

There are lots of possibilities to discover and experiment with when it comes to food. Perhaps the next time you need a reason to celebrate, you can choose a dish that is worth celebrating around and building from there!

Relevant Posts:

 
10 Comments

Posted by on March 28, 2014 in Kemeticism, Rambles

 

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

Modern Mythology: I <3 Balls Day

Gather around the camp fire once again as we delve into the myths and stories of our religion!

Set

During the ongoing battle for the Kingship of Egypt, Set and Horus found themselves in a large predicament. You see, each deity had been damaged from this battle – one losing his eye, and the other his testicles. It’s very painful to lose your testicles, you know! Through a series of wiley tricks and maneuvers, however, both were able to get their missing pieces restored to their former glory.

What Set didn’t know at the time, however, is that Thoth – “Astute in His Plans Who Fashioned All Things, Including Set’s Nuts” – gave him an even better set of balls as a way of saying thank you for taking the bad rap for the whole “felling Osiris” thing. When Set received his new shiny set of testicles, he was amazed at their awesomeness. It was like having a disco in his pants.

He was so ecstatic about his new hardware that Set ran to the highest point of Egypt and yelled out across the land “These are the best balls ever! Look at how amazing they are! I will surely be able to use them to smite apep every day!” Everyone was so happy for his new shiny testicles that a festival was proclaimed in their honor. And in our modern calendar, that day is February 14th- the day of <3-ing Your Balls.

You can see the effects of this festival almost everywhere you look! There are stands of balls in grocery stores. Ball shaped candies and candy containers. Ball shaped jewelry. Ball shaped everything! All as glorious and magnificent as Set’s newborn testicles.

When celebrating this holiday, it is customary to deck out your shrine is as many ball-shaped items as possible. Set loves the color red, so the redder, the better. However, he does has a soft side and can appreciate balls of other colors. Be sure to spend some time reflecting on your own personal badassery and taking the time to remember just how great you really are. You can also use this time to ask Set and Thoth in assistance in making your own balls better- as a means of seizing your potential and making tough choices that require balls to make!

With the proper heka, Thoth can assist you in creating a disco in your pants, too!

___________________

Every year around February we see nearly every grocery store in America fill up with tons of pink and red Valentine’s Day stuff. Usually, this is a holiday I don’t participate in at all. I’ve never cared for the concept behind it, and I’ve just never really gotten into the habit of doing anything for V-Day.

However, my foray into Kemeticism has changed my perspective on this holiday. Set’s main symbol is his balls. For most of us, we take a standard heart and turn it upside down to make it into a set of balls (which may not be too far off of what the heart used to mean). So now the second half of January and the first half of February is nothing but balls for me. It’s turned from a holiday about romance into a holiday about Set.

And his balls.

I feel like this can be shifted into a modern festival or rite that we can use within our community for seizing the day, taking hold of our courage and reminding ourselves of our greatness (in the same way that Set reminds me of his greatness all the time). If you’d like to give it a shot, there are two methods for this particular heka. One version, which involves a large chocolate heart, can be found here. The second, which involves good old fashions paper, is below:

  • Sheet of paper- 8.5″x11″. Any color will do, I recommend red or purple.
  • Writing utensils of whatever color you’d like.
  • A situation or trait you need to find some courage to tackle.
  • This tutorial about folding.

Start with your paper- figure out what situation you need some courage with. On the inside of your paper, write the situation down. You can be as specific or generalized as you need to be. Feel free to use sigils or different colors for different things. Get as creative as you want.

Then, fold up your paper into the shape of the balls using the tutorial above. If possible, place your balls in a location where you can see them regularly. If your situation is at work, perhaps leave them on your desk. If it is something to do with money, maybe leave it in your wallet. If you’re unsure, leave them on your shrine for the gods to keep an eye on.

Hopefully the heka provided in this post can help you to gain some courage and celebrate your awesomeness this Valentine’s Day! If you have any questions regarding these rites, or try these rites out for yourself- please let me know!

Other Modern Mythology Posts:

 
19 Comments

Posted by on January 21, 2014 in Kemeticism, Rambles

 

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

KRT: Aspects of the Daily Practice

For this round of the Kemetic Round Table we are discussing some of the basics in creating a daily practice. Daily practice is always tricky because you’ve got to figure out how much is enough, and many times people plan for things that end up being too much – which often leads to being overwhelmed and then burning out with the whole religion thing. Daily practice can be done by yourself, with a small group of people, or within a temple/coven structure and can involve many things.

So to start off- what does a daily practice entail?

Initially, when I first began to learn about Kemeticism, I thought that the daily practice revolved around a ritual. It seemed like everyone was always talking about rites and shrines and spending time in front of those shrines. And every temple or Kemetic group that you see has their own daily rites, too. For a member of Kemetic Orthodoxy, daily practice would include Senut, and for the Temple of Ra, there is also a daily rite that the members all participate in in their individual homes (a version of it can be found in Eternal Egypt). But, for Kemetics who are not members of these temples, the answer to “what does a daily practice entail” becomes more difficult.

I think the ideas behind daily practice and daily rites get convoluted when you consider that many temple members don’t perform rites daily (for a variety of reasons). And I sometimes feel like the emphasis on daily ritual misses the point of Kemeticism- which is living in ma’at. In antiquity, is was the priesthood who performed daily rites, not laypeople. And in modern contexts, there is very little written on what a layperson’s daily practice should look like.

So needless to say- the answer to this question is going to be different for each person.

Like most things with religious practices- I would urge anyone who is looking into making a daily practice to examine their own needs. For someone who is working two jobs and has kids, a daily rite that is complex and long may not be a possibility. Truth be told, a daily rite might not be possible at all. And that’s okay. When I first started off, I did a daily shrine session every evening. It involved sitting down and crying in front of my icons about how I needed a job. By the time I got a job, my practice morphed into weekly rites that were longer and involved food. When I moved to my parents house, I tried to do daily rites every morning and quickly found that that was a no go. I would end up shelfing my daily practice almost entirely for nearly two years. I’d spend another year doing daily practice before my astral work came up- and now I don’t do daily rites at all.

But even though my ritual practice shifted with each new phase of my life- I still considered myself Kemetic because I was living the religion. Being Kemetic is not synonymous with “doing rites all the time”. You can leave offerings for the gods out, and still be a crappy Kemetic- the same way that a Christian can go to church every Sunday and still not live by the tenets of Christianity.

For myself personally, daily practice is about living the religion- in whatever format that that takes for you. For me, this involves reading a lot. It involves keeping this blog up to date. It involves being active in the community and answering questions and helping facilitate discussion and idea exchanges. My practice involves trying to embody the concept of ma’at and doing the work the gods lay in front of me.

And that work doesn’t involve a single libation or offering plate.

Sure, I still have my shrine box- but I only perform rites in front of it sporadically. Instead, I open the box every time I’m sitting at my desk. I keep my blog idea book inside of it because for me- writing and online work is synonymous with a daily practice. The Internet and online community is where I hold my rites and rituals. It’s where my practice can flourish and grow because its about building the community up.

So short story long- when you’re coming up with a daily practice, figure out what it means for you. Figure out where you want your practice to go, and what you want from your religion. In addition, keep in mind your limits and where the gods want you to go into the future. And above all, don’t be afraid to shift and change your practice as your life and needs change. Religion shouldn’t be static because we are not static. Don’t be afraid to try a bunch of things until you find something that works for you.

But what if I want a daily rite? How do I go about doing that?

You can either pull a pre-existing daily rite (1 2 3 4) or you could create your own. When creating your own rites, be considerate of limitations of space and time. Most Kemetic rituals tend to include the following:

  • Lighting of candles or incense or both.
  • Pouring of libations.
  • Words of praise to the deity.
  • Offering of foodstuffs, drinks, and/or items.
  • Personal speaking time with the gods.
  • Removing of the foot.
  • Reversion of offerings.

In many situations, these rites only take about 5 to ten minutes to perform (provided you are not doing one of the more ornate state rituals) and can take minimal supplies to do daily. So if you wish to create your own rites, I would consider using these bullets as a guideline.

For example:

  • You could start by entering your shrine space and lighting a candle, or turning on the light. Say hello to the gods.
  • Pour four libations for the deity you worship. With each pouring, state “may you be refreshed”, or “may this cool water refresh you”.
  • Ask that your deity come forth to spend time with you. “Oh He Who is Great of Strength, I ask that you come sit with me to enjoy these offerings I have prepared” and then leave the offerings on the table.
  • While the deity is a captive audience and is enjoying said offerings, you could let them know what you’re up to, or what you’re doing.
  • Once you are done, thank them for showing up and spending time with you. Wish them a good day.
  • Collect up the food offerings and walk backwards away from the shrine while still facing the shrine (called removing the foot).
  • Then go and enjoy your offerings.

You don’t even have to be that complicated, though. You could just as easily say hello to your deity in the morning while pouring them a cup of coffee and pouring said coffee out in the evening. There are lots of ways to go about things, and don’t be afraid to try stuff until it works for you. Sometimes, simple is better- so don’t forget that. In many situations, I recommend that the devotee start with something small, and then slowly work their way up- making the rites and practices more complicated until you hit something that works best.

The daily practice can be difficult to pin down. It’s not easy to figure out what exactly you need from your practice, or what the gods want and need from you. But with a little experimentation, you can find the right mixture that allows your practice to flourish.

To read other posts on this topic, please check out the KRT Master Post.

 
14 Comments

Posted by on January 8, 2014 in Kemetic Round Table, Kemeticism, Uncategorized

 

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