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Category: Magic & Ritual

offerings I use (and don’t use) for my gods

offerings I use (and don’t use) for my gods

I always find it fascinating to see what various people offer their various gods. Inevitably, there are some consistent themes or trends; equally inevitably, there are some really unique variations that I never would have expected. (Offering Nebt-het Coca Cola is one of them, oh Kemetic brother of mine!)

As an exercise in sharing–and NOT an implication that my offerings are The Only Right Offerings™–I’m listing some of my primary go-tos (and don’t-dos) here. Remember: what I do has no reflection on what you do, and I don’t compare what I offer to what others offer. Our tastes as Kemetics, and what we can find and afford as humans, vary greatly. I respect that diversity and realize that not everyone has the same privilege to acquire “nice” offerings as others do.

Everyone

My go-to offerings are cool water, tea, fresh bread if I’ve made some, fresh fruit, and “healthy” little treats like baked coconut chips, dried fruit, tiny chocolates (Andes mints, cherry cordials, chocolate oranges), nuts/trailmix, and some good jerky. Sometimes we get silly and I’ll bring in fruit gummies, Little Debbie’s pastries, and other “junk food” that I can get away with on occasion.

I avoid offering things I can’t or won’t revert: nearly all alcohol, coffee, dark chocolate, soda. (My body is particular about what it wants to digest, so I try not to tax it or waste offerings by not reverting them.)

Nebt-het (Nephthys)

In my experience, Nebt-het really likes blackberry-type drinks and dark chocolates. I’ve given Her blackberry wine when it’s a special occasion, or blackberry tea, or even blackberry Crystal Lite powdered drinks. Dark chocolate is a special treat (that I don’t revert; I don’t like dark chocolate), and She’ll accept a few other kinds of chocolate that I tend to have on-hand more often. She’s also pretty good with fresh fruit like grapes or berries.

I don’t offer Her “bright” food, like citrus, white chocolate, milk, etc.

Hethert-Nut (Hathor the Celestial Cow)

Hethert-Nut is an indulgent sort, and She loves rich things. Chocolate? Oh yes. Fruit? Yep. Fresh bread? Definitely. Any manner of flavorful, rich-to-sweet drinks? Offer ’em up! She also loves flowers and shiny objects.

I don’t offer Her citrus either, though She’ll go for white chocolate, milk, etc. She also doesn’t seem to prefer meat-heavy offerings or really savory treats.

Ma’ahes (Mihos)

Ma’ahes doesn’t often accept food offerings from me. He’ll accept orange-to-red tea most of the time, though, and has accepted chocolate orange slices and some meat offerings (usually venison jerky).

I don’t offer Ma’ahes a lot of overly sweet things; I tend to err on the side of spicy or savory. He’s not normally a fan of candies, though He’s accepting of fruit sometimes.

Serqet (Selkis)

Serqet is REALLY SPECIFIC with Her offerings with me. She likes rich dairy things, like smoothies and milkshakes, and white chocolate, and banana, and decadent soft pastries. Cheesecake, white cake, bread, angel food cake, pound cake–all of it’s good by Her. She’ll accept really light tea, but usually laughs it off unless it’s a bit astringent.

I don’t offer Her particularly meaty things or things with sugar and not much substance (like candies and some crisp pastries). I also don’t offer Her a lot of “dark” sweets, like regular chocolate.

Sekhmet

Sekhmet usually has better things to do than critique my offerings, but all the same, I tend to offer a pretty narrow range. I’ve offered Her steak (beef or venison) before, as well as good jerky. I’ve offered Her red wine, red velvet malt, and deep red tea. She’ll usually tolerate chocolates or breads or fruits, though She especially likes cherry cordials. (Of course–it bleeds when you bite it!)

I try to avoid most sweets with Her, and She definitely prefers more intensely flavored drinks than ones I can normally offer and revert. She’s not fond of basically anything that’s bland.

Wepwawet

Wepwawet won’t accept food offerings from me. At all. But He’ll accept a particular strong “breakfast” tea, which is our shared Jqltea. (He would prefer coffee, but I don’t drink coffee. This is as close as I can get.)

As for avoiding, He doesn’t like weak or light tea. Also He apparently hates all food. *cough*

Sepa

The first and foremost thing I offer Sepa is water. Next up is meat (usually spiced jerky) or something heavy, savory, and protein-based. My second food choice is whatever good cheese we might have on-hand. (Read: string cheese. Sorry, Sepa.) Last but not least, fresh heavy bread.

I pointedly don’t offer Him fruits or sweets, though I suspect He’d probably be cordial about accepting if that’s all I had.

Bast

Bast gets chocolate. All of the chocolate. She can have a hoard of chocolate with Hethert-Nut, and they can be the Queens of Cacao. Cherry cordials are a hit with Her, as is mint chocolate, and … okay, all the chocolate. She’s also receptive to fruits and breads, and she likes flowers.

…I am a little hard-pressed to think of an offering She’s disliked or asked me to avoid, actually. I think maybe citrus is not Her favorite? But that’s the only thing that comes to mind.

Set

Set gets Slim Jims. (Don’t judge me.) He also gets steak, good jerky, and the occasional offering of bread.

I avoid offering Him red tea; He laughs it off. I also don’t give Him a lot of fruits or sweets.

What do you offer your gods?

one Wep Ronpet celebration

one Wep Ronpet celebration

Continuing the tradition of my non-Kemetic partner celebrating Wep Ronpet by slaying pansnakes and then texting me the story + images, I present to you this year’s victorious battle:

T3h 3v1l!

Pansnakes!

Annnnnd… SMITE!

Pansnakes! Smite!

J00 are smited, 3V1LS!

Pansnakes! Smiteberries!

3V1L! Now with extra SMITE!

Pansnakes! Nomnom!

Tasty tasty smiteberries.

everyday

everyday

“How do I protect them?” I asked, looking out at the pale smear of post-storm clouds across a strained blue sky.

The answer filtered through in feelings, not words. The kindness offered to stranger and friend alike. The patience when it is all too easy to be impatient. The willingness to stand up and address the tiny things that are wrong day to day – the judgment, the derogatory jokes, the bigotry, the fear-turning-to-anger-turning-to-hate.

This is everyday ma’at, these small acts, these few words. This is the ma’at that goes on to combat isfet and slowly shift the balance, drop by drop, grain by grain.

Gandalf

Gandalf has it right. Even though most of us don’t individually wield great power, we can together still make the vital difference.

A Month of Written Devotions #2 & #3 – How & Together

A Month of Written Devotions #2 & #3 – How & Together

How did you become involved with your devotional topic?

I stepped outside at sunset, into the thinning heat of September, wary but open. Ma’ahes had asked me to meet Him, but I was more cautious than enthused–I had no idea what He wanted. No god had ever called on me before; I had always been the petitioner.

A sense of intense orange flooded my senses, moving like levitated liquid paint the color of long sunsets. I told Him that I was here, that He was welcome, and invited Him to sit with me on the edge of the patio. When nothing happened, I placed my palms on the stones of the deck and shaped the area–the patio, the horseshoe-shaped house at my back–into the ocean. It had been a while since I had displayed any prowess with energywork, but I had always loved painting my environment to feel different to me.

“If I can do this,” I told Him, “surely You can reach me somehow.”

The hovering orangeness vanished, and with startling abruptness, the part of the world I faced–the part that wasn’t ocean and open sky and briny wind–was brilliantly orange sand, the sky sunset-red. When I could sense it just as easily with open eyes as I could with closed eyes, I grinned.

I asked Him to sit with me again, and when He still didn’t, I shaded my half of the world to shadowy waves and teal-purple skies. We evolved our halves for a little while; mine darkened into a thunderstorm, flickering violet and silver, all my colors and all my Water, staining the back half of me dark river-teal. His sky darkened towards more red, less orange, and then shadows blacked out a long stretch of sand from the horizon to my feet. It took me a few moments to realize that something must be blocking the sunlight for that to happen, and realized that He had appeared, very far away, a lion-man indistinct.

I spoke to Him as He slowly walked towards me, growing more visible; He was orange, that particular opaque sunset-orange, but ember-like, magma-like, shining orange through cracks of blackened stone, a living statue of sunset-lava. I could see Him better than I could see most Unseen entities, especially His leonine face. (I am particularly bad at faces.)

He sat with me, silent, and our halves of the world mellowed, my sea shifting to more an oasis at the edge of His desert. And when the sun was nearly set, He stood and left, walking across the vivid sands the way He’d come.

This was to be the first of many sunset meetings with Ma’ahes.

What’s your relationship with your devotional topic?

From that first enigmatic meeting, Ma’ahes stymied me. Here was a god Who wanted me to come see Him, to include Him in my life… but, at every turn, refused formal offerings. He accepted, gladly, the painting I made of us and our peacock display of color and environments that first evening. But water, incense, food, prayer, devotional activity–refused.

He was, quite simply, just happy to see me.

And I had no idea how to respond to that. Under no circumstances do I think I am special to the gods any more than every single human being is special to them, so why would Ma’ahes just… want to be near? What did He gain? How did I benefit Him? I kept asking, receiving no clear answer. The closest thing to a hint that I got was a reference to my innately Water nature and how it complemented His dry, solar essence.

It took me months before I warmed to Him and responded to His patience, His kindness. He was strength without anger, duty without arrogance, righteousness without bloodlust. Everything I read on Him historically suggested that He would be… more vehement about His role as an Eye of Ra, but the Ma’ahes I got to know was silent, radiant, and gentle. He was wholly unexpected, and He persisted against my constant questioning, my doubt and skepticism, and my expectations.

And when He showed up in my RPD, I felt more relief than I could’ve imagined. This unconditional god would not one day disappear just because I couldn’t figure out what He wanted from me; He would always be a part of my life.

Ma’ahes is a solid, constant, tangible presence when I need soothing or protection. (It is a very different feeling of protection than, say, Serqet, or Sekhmet. Or Nebt-het. Nothing is so terrifying as Nebt-het with knives.) He can hold me without making things worse; He can accompany me when I can’t stand company. I call Him Brother because I love Him and do not fear Him, and because He allows me to be so honored as to be part of His chosen family.

bearing light from darkness

bearing light from darkness

It’s Imbolc, one of my favorite non-Kemetic holidays: the Day of Fire.

I sing for Brigid, and I light a candle in the darkness beneath Her cross, next to a necklace that makes me think of Her spirit and a dark-blood stone from Sekhmet’s altar. I let the flame burn a while before returning Brigid’s cross to my throat, and I contemplate the fire of winter.

There’s a lot to be said for burning away the chill, but I live in Texas right now, and it’s not so very cold and snow-drenched.

Instead, I focus on the light itself. It has been a very dark autumn and winter, and I want to make February a month of bringing back the light. So I will think of small, tangible ways in which I can do that.

For now, I leave you with this from my private journal, which mentions Netjer but embodies Brigid’s spirit as well:

May the work I do
by voice, limb, and hand
be strong in structure,
stable in foundation,
beautiful in form,
and long in longevity.
All creations are art
and all art is my work,
my good work, born by my flesh,
sacred to me.
May it all bring honor
to Netjer, Who blesses me
and provides me the world(s)
in which I create and serve.

Quasi-Guest Post: Happy New Year!

Quasi-Guest Post: Happy New Year!

Like they did last year, my non-Kemetic partner celebrated Wep Ronpet in fabulous style by feasting on the flesh of evil. (They make such a good Kemetic ally.)

Sidenote: If you are new to Wep Ronpet, it’s the Kemetic new year. One can celebrate by creating a symbol of the new year’s potential badness, illness, misfortune, etc, and then ritually destroying it in order to break its power over the new year. In the past, I’ve done pansnakes at home with my partner and snake-cake at Tawy House with my Kemetic Orthodox family.

Behold, the delicious destruction of Ap-p in the new year!





Omnomnomevil.

A Workout … Ritual?

A Workout … Ritual?

Why yes, I have written a ritual for working out; it is simple, adaptable, and only requires a form of hydration and a deity/entity willing to “sponsor” you (as a source of blessing and support). Before I get to the rite itself, though, I’d like to share the thoughts behind its creation and design.

Part One: Theory

First, the purpose: I made this ritual for myself and only myself. I find that I do poorly without a sense of accountability and encouragement, and as I am pretty terrible at being consistent at anything but breathing, I figured I could ask for help. (I also find it harder to squirm out of a stated intention if it’s witnessed by a god Who doesn’t buy my flimsy excuses. *cough*) At the same time, I didn’t want to be guilted or lambasted into working out by a drill sergeant–just to have a sustainable, flexible structure that would support my efforts and a little extra mindfulness.

Second, the use: You are more than welcome to use this ritual, adapt this ritual, share this ritual, and/or totally ignore this ritual. I have made this with Kemetic (ancient Egyptian) deities in mind, but you can adapt it to any deities Who seem suitable in your own practice, or even non-deity entities, including totems and land spirits, if they’re willing.

Third, the disclaimers: By creating this ritual, I neither imply nor directly state any opinion on anyone’s health, nor do I offer any implied or explicit opinion on whether or not one “should” work out. As stated above, this is for me. I’m sharing it in case it may prove useful, but dear gods, please don’t think that my sharing it is a judgment or a holier-than-thou. Fitness and health and size and shape are very personal, subjective, individual variables.

Now that I’ve explained the thoughts behind the ritual, let’s get to the ritual itself, shall we?

Part Two: Ritual

First, the sponsor: You’ll need a sponsoring deity or entity Who is capable of blessing you with energy, willing to hold you accountable, and pleased to be offered your physical exertion in Their name. Try to choose carefully to fit your own personal needs—do you need a hard-assed trainer or a gentle but persistent encourager? Do you want a sponsor Who is constantly reminding you to jump on the bike, or do you want a sponsor Who is only there when requested? Once you have a deity/entity in mind, ask Them ahead of time if They’re willing to be your sponsor. This ritual is very bare-bones, and you won’t be terribly pure (what with the sweating, the panting, the workout clothing, and the likely mental cursing), so make sure They’re not offended by the state you’ll be in during the workout and directly after. If nothing else, feel free to name Netjer instead of a particular god.

Second, the heka (authoritative utterance, or spoken magic): Sit down with a pen and paper. Take anywhere from a sentence to a paragraph and describe, in firm and positive language, why you’re working out. Make it deliberate. Put your intentions, your hopes, your goals, your passion into words. Avoid negative language and avoid uncertainty. Use “I will” or “I want”. (Examples: “I want to be stronger.” “I want to be healthy.” “I will feel great about myself.” “I will honor [deity] by tending my body.”) Be careful not to psyche yourself out or state impossible goals; be kind to yourself, be realistic, and make sure what you write resonates within you. Once you’ve gotten your final result of heka, write it afresh on a new piece of paper to keep with you before a workout.

Third, the preparation: Preparation is wonderfully minimal. The only requirement is a form of hydration: a bottle of water or Gatorade or whatever you drink before/during/after the workout. I also include the use of a small offering, such as a candle or incense, for the end of the rite. I would recommend a larger candle that can be lit and extinguished multiple times, depending on how often one wishes to work out. (A word of caution about incense: if you are in any way sensitive to smoke, avoid smoky incense after a workout when you’re breathing heavily. Essential oils or other smokeless scents work just fine.) You can also offer a bite of food instead of something flammable.

Fourth, the ritual itself:

Set up your offering (candle or incense unlit) wherever you deem fit. It’s up to you if you want it on your main shrine or in a separate area due to purity reasons.

Read your intention heka, preferably aloud and in a strong voice. Give yourself a moment to tap into your passion and your hope. Remember why you’re doing this in the first place. Try to stay positive without being unrealistic.

Get your workout drink and offer it to your chosen sponsor. Speak aloud: “Hail, [name]! I offer You this [drink]; may it please and satisfy You. As it fuels You, may so it me. Bless my efforts as I honor Your name.”

Do the workout, be it weights or jogging or biking or dog-walking or martial arts or yoga or whatever you like, and stay hydrated! Remember that what you drink has been blessed and charged by your sponsor, Who lends you Their energy.

When you’re finished, come back to your offering. Light it (if applicable) and offer it, saying, “Thank You, [name], for Your blessings and assistance. I offer You this [flame/smoke/etc] in gratitude.”

… and you’re done! Told you it was short. ;)

This ritual may not be pure, or fancy, or long—but it does keep one’s intentions in mind and get someOne involved to help one feel accountable, encouraged, and motivated… which is the whole point!

If you try this ritual or adapt it for your own use, I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences! Now for a lot of test-driving to see how it holds up…

telling

telling

After I bow out of shrine, I have a sake-cup of water that I’ve offered fourfold. Because one of those four offerings was to the dead, I don’t drink the water myself, so I’ve taken to pouring it out into our main household plant, a dogged ivy. Since I am notoriously bad at remembering to water plants regularly, this is frequently the ivy’s only source of moisture.

As you can see by the photo, my time away from shrine has had noticeable effects. Some leaves have yellowed; others droop listlessly. There appears to be an unfortunate dragon infestation. The ivy is thirsty, and I find myself reminded of my own spiritual thirst in turn. Fallow times are natural, as are mundanely-busy times, but I still feel a little dehydrated when I can’t spend time in shrine or engaged in devotional activities. However understandable, however occasionally unavoidable, those times apart still leave me dry.

Rather than curse myself for being imperfect and curse my life for being unpredictably hectic, I will water the ivy, cup by offering cup, as I am able. It is a very stubborn, patient plant, my ivy, capable of withstanding periods of little moisture—and I am no different. We will drink up together, and we will weather future drought with rooted grace.