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Category: In Praise & Prayer

a prayer for my many gods

a prayer for my many gods

This is in response to, and inspired by, this post and this litany. The idea is to include every god to Whom you’ve ever made an offering in one long prayer/litany.

. . .

Iwy em hotep, Netjer, Netjeru, and akhu!
I welcome in peace all the many manifestations of Netjer:
Dua Ma’at, goddess a thousand times pure, bread of the gods;
Dua Nebt-het, graceful and silent Lady of Shadows Who holds the space for grief;
Dua Hethert-Nut, vast and beautiful Celestial Cow Who lifts the sun high and shines with stars;
Dua Ma’ahes, Executioner Who walks the horizon at sunset between light and shadow;
Dua Serqet, Our Lady of Poisons Who protects and heals and knows all alchemy;
Dua Sekhmet, vengeful Eye of Ra Who establishes Ma’at and does not bow;
Dua Wepwawet, liminal black jackal Who opens the way for every journey;
Dua Wadjet, green-tressed cobra Who bridges Netjer and Kemet for our great benefit;
Dua Sepa, eternal centipede Who never tires and never thirsts;
Dua Ptah, great Maker with words and hands Who spoke Creation into being;
Dua Bast, impossibly fractal feline Whose gaze is both sun and moon;
Dua Set, He Who is loudest and strongest, Who brings necessary chaos;
Dua Heqat, ancient grandmother Who sings with eightfold patient voices;
Dua Twtw, apotropaic sphinx Who walks with demons and defends us from them;
Dua Shu, Lord of the Breath of the World Who upholds the heavens;
Dua Tefnut, Lady of the Rain Who kisses the earth with life-giving moisture;
Dua Menhyt, white-clad starry lioness wreathed in pale cold flame;
Dua Hethert, Lady of Gold Who gives us joy and music and rapture;
Dua Nut, infinite goddess of the sky Who is the great sow;
Dua Yinepu, youthful and ancient jackal Who is wise beyond all years;
Dua Khonsu, precocious child-god and protective Lord of the Knife;
Dua Djehuty, clever and cunning scribe at the right hand of the Father;
Dua Wesir, You Who sacrificed what no one else could to do what no one else did;
Dua Anhur, Who brings back that which has strayed, smiling with each new lope;
Dua Khepera, beetle-faced Lord of Dawn Who rolls the holy sun across the sky;
Dua Heh, Who steadies the legs of the Night Cow so She may stand forever;
Dua Renenutet, milk-giving cobra Who protects the fields from devastation;
Dua Heru-wer, golden warrior Who smites isfet and bestows greatness upon all;
Dua Aset, magician Who protects and promotes Her children above all others;
Dua Heru-sa-Aset, young king Who sits upon His father’s throne and brings peace;
Dua Sobek, mighty crocodile Who drowns isfet in His river;
Dua Ra, sun-father Who sits upon His daughter’s brow and watches over all the earth;
Dua Geb, Lord of the Fertile Earth Who is the foundation of all green things;
Dua Heka, Who speaks and turns the world with His words;
Dua Nit, archer and weaver, the Great He-She Who created Creation;
Dua Anupet, jackal bitch of the knives and fangs and sharp bright eyes;
Dua Raet, mighty Lady of the Sun Who brightens and protects all She touches;
Dua Bat, ancient cow Who delights in music and Who wears five stars;
Dua Mekhit, Whose rage is joyous, Who defends the sun and the moon;
Dua Wadj-wer, round god of the wide waters Who brings abundance;
Dua Aker, mighty two-faced lion Who guards the entrance to and exit from the Duat;
Dua Anuket, most beautiful of goddesses Who is as swift and lithe as Her gazelles;
Dua Nehebkau, prominent in the palace, Who comes from the city, multitudinous of coils;
Dua Amunet, mysterious and hidden goddess Who is ungraspable and powerful;
Dua Seshat, Lady of Builders Who measures out every year for every person;
Dua the Four Sons of Heru: cooling Qebshenef, kindly Imset, edifying Duamutef, fleet Hapy;
Dua Hapi, most beloved god Who brings the inundation and bestows life each year;
Dua Iah, gleaming Eye of the moon Whose face is silver and ever-changing;
Dua Ihy, joyful calf Who makes ecstatic music for His mother Hethert;
Dua Khnum, Whose deft hands poured the world and all its people into shape;
Dua Mehet-Weret, the Great Flood Who brings fertility and abundance;
Dua Menhuy, falcon-headed Slaughterer Whose form is hidden;
Dua Nebtu, green-clad goddess Who nourishes the plants with which we sustain ourselves;
Dua Neper, god of all grains, Who feeds Netjeru and humans alike with His essence;
Dua Tasenetnofret, the Good Wife, Who is surrounded by all colors and beautiful things;
Dua Atum, the Complete One, Who expels poisons and is gladdened by flowers;
Dua Heru-Ma’ahes, Who is the sun between midday and setting;
Dua Merit, beloved goddess for Whom all music is played;
Dua Wesret, powerful serpent, She Who Burns, sharp and vehement;
Dua Amun-Ra, Great Lord Who is hidden in His brightness;
Dua Nekhbet, vulture mother Who watches over the lands with Wadjet;
Dua Mafdet, sharp of claw, snake-slayer, fierce Eye of Ra;
Dua Bes, kindly dwarf, grotesque of face Who protects every house from isfet;
Dua Nefertem, gentle lion Who brings perfumes and oils to all;
Dua Meretseger, fierce goddess of the great peak Who loves silence;
and dua akhu, blessed dead who shine as stars in the wide belly of the sky!
Iwy em hotep, iwy em hotep, iwy em hotep, iwy em hotep!
Join us as we seek to create and uphold ma’at in all things.
May You love us as we love You.

my daily prayers (redux)

my daily prayers (redux)

Approximately five hundred times, I’ve mentioned the fact that I say daily prayers. I’ve shared them on this blog before, but it’s literally been years, so I figured it might be nice to re-share and explain a little.

These are morning prayers; I usually say them on my commute into work.

Good morning, Netjer, Netjeru, and akhu.
Thank You for all good things of yesterday,
for the wonderful souls I’ve been blessed to know,
and the Zep Tepi of each new day.

Thank Nebt-het for compassion and grace,
Hethert-Nut for joy and creativity,
Ma’ahes for strength and affection,
Serqet for guidance and protection,
Sekhmet for will and rightful action,
Wepwawet for journeys and options,
Bast for light and loved ones,
and thank my akhu for family and life.

I offer to You a thousand of all good and pure things:
a thousand of bread, a thousand of beer, a thousand of water.

May today be positive and productive.
May I walk with Ma’at in compassion, peace, strength, and joy.
May my moods, attitude, and energy levels
be positive and pure, resilient and sufficient.
May I and my loved ones be free of pain, injury, and illness,
this and every day.

[silent freeform prayers]

Today is good. Kheperu. Dua Netjer!

…you know, it seems much longer when I write it out like this.

A few (okay, a lot of) notes on why I chose specific things to include:

I greet Netjer (the One), Netjeru (the Many), and akhu (the Shiny–er, I mean, the blessed dead) each. I try very hard not to leave my akhu out of things, because I tend to get gods-focused and my akhu are really awesome.

I say “wonderful souls” instead of “wonderful people” or similar because I’ve been very grateful to know a wide variety of wonderful entities, from human people to animal people to animals, from gods to akhu to netjeri and spirits. Not all of them would be considered “people,” but I consider them all to have souls. ♥

The list of deities is mostly unsurprising, I think, and I thank Them each for Their gifts and the traits I strive to embody that I attribute to Them or Their influence in my life. Nebt-het and Hethert-Nut are my Mothers; Ma’ahes, Serqet, and Wepwawet are my Beloveds. Sekhmet is my Other, to Whom I’ve been devoted for over a decade now. Bast recently got added to my personal deities because She seems present during those mornings as sunlight lioness, and since She’s a Mother or otherwise important goddess to literally most of my closest people, I figure it would be good to say hello to Her, too. (Also, my partner commutes with me sometimes, and they are an unofficial Bastling, and it fit.)

The verbal offering is, in large part, to make up for my lack of physical shrine time over the past couple years. I personally prefer giving physical offerings, but verbal offerings are acceptable and far better than nothing at all.

The “May…” prayers are very specific to my personal needs. You can tell the kind of person I am by the first three lines, quite honestly–they include most of my primary values and how I want to be each day. Depression and fatigue and anxiety make the third line about “moods, attitude, and energy levels” kind of necessary.

My freeform prayers tend to include statements of gratitude and requests for specific help or protection, as well as silly “ILU NETJER” statements. Sometimes I talk to Them a bit about what I hope to accomplish that day. It’s generally a one-way communication–it’s hard for me to listen super-well for feedback while navigating morning rush hour in Dallas. Sometimes, though, I will get visual impressions or ideas that come very quickly and clearly (and usually from left field).

Lastly, I finish with a heka statement and a dua. All but the freeform parts are said aloud, and when I’m alone in the car, I usually say the freeform parts aloud, too.

It’s interesting (to me) to see how my prayers have evolved over the years. They used to be much simpler, and there used to be an evening/good night version. Now, however, they’re so firmly memorized that an interruption will make me nearly start all over, because the rhythm was lost. (“You threw off my groove!” “I’m sorry, you’ve thrown off the Kemetic’s groove…”)

Do you have any regular prayers that you use in your devotion, either daily or in shrine or just when you need them?

A Month of Written Devotions #6 – Light

A Month of Written Devotions #6 – Light

Some part of me registered the change of
quality of light from daylight-golden to
post-sunset-grey, inching towards blackness,
and my heart twinged before my eyes
could even look towards the clock for confirmation.
“It’s hard to shake a decade of SAD,” I told her.
My neurochemistry is as wired to sunfall
as a watch’s gears are wound to second-tick precision.
I wondered if it was too warm still
to be able to light a fire in the hearth.
(So long as it’s under 70*F, right?)
I felt the restless itch, the tumult burning
just beneath my skin, and was already
thinking of ways to combat the darkness
and the wave of depression it towed behind it
when You came.
I hadn’t even been thinking of You, but
in You swept, a fierce orange brightness,
a warmth, a weight, an undimmable light.
And I couldn’t see the twilight anymore.
I couldn’t feel the shadows encroach.
I knew they lingered, just outside the bounds
of Your radiance, but You were all around me
and they could not touch me.
I felt like I was standing inside a lit hearth
and was somehow immune to ever burning.
Just like that, in that moment, You righted me.
And I am grateful beyond words.

A Month of Written Devotions #5 – Forgiveness

A Month of Written Devotions #5 – Forgiveness

The halls are silent and golden-brown.
Sunlight slants through at late afternoon angles.
No breeze stirs the dust that rests on the floor,
and each moment is warm and still.

And yet I walk forth, the touch of light
on my hand a familiar and welcome heat.
I know this geometry of bright and shadow,
tall walls and not-quite-straight path.

I would return to You, except
You never left me.
I would ask Your forgiveness, but
You never needed to give it.

The halls are the throat of a lion,
and here I belong, living
amidst the heka You speak
and the ma’at we breathe.

A Month of Written Devotions #4 – Beginning

A Month of Written Devotions #4 – Beginning

Wash my face with the waters of Zep Tepi,
the First Time, before all was said and done.
Break my eyes open with Your light;
lift me up in Your great, gentle hands.

Yesterday is gone and away, as ancient
as the first inundation and the last pyramid.
Today is fresh and pure, ripe and vibrant.
There is hope anew, another chance at choice.

Let us walk together, You and I.
In companionable silence, we will range
far and wide, knives and truths to hand.
Protect me as I, too, serve Ma’at in my way.

And when the sun-that-is-You sets
in a blaze of orange and glory,
I will walk the night through in Your shadow
to reach the dawn’s Zep Tepi again.

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.

for all my mothers

for all my mothers

Thank Netjer for the mother who bore me, who birthed me,
who reared me to be kind and fierce and smart,
who taught me that independence and improvisation were key;
thank Netjer for the mothers who adopted me,
one east and one west, who welcomed me,
who call me family and kin and child;
thank Netjer for all the many mothers of my bloodline,
who tended each child, who counseled each adult,
who created with hands and hearts the legacy of my heritage;
and thank Netjer for the goddesses Who are my Mothers,
Who made me, Who inspire me, Who protect me,
Who teach me how to be myself in Their images.

Happy Mother’s Day to all my mothers, and to all mothers everywhere!

offerings for Set, Lord of the Oasis

offerings for Set, Lord of the Oasis

Yesterday and today were one of Set’s rare feasts from historical calendars, so I’d like to compile a few links to offerings created by others, then add one of my own.

From my multitalented sister Saryt (Ekunyi) come two songs for Set, her Father: Dua Set and Walk Forth In Strength.

From amazing beadworker Mortira comes a stunning Set-inspired piece called Desert Fringe, which is part of a whole series of beadwork inspired by the Netjeru.

From noted sculptor Nicolas of Shadow of the Sphinx is a lovely Set votive (scroll down to see the photos).

(Please note that I don’t mean to imply that either Mortira or Nicolas are Kemetic; I simply wish to share their gorgeous work here.)

In the past, I’ve wound up making quite a few little things for Set, including god dice, mini-hieroglyph paintings, a larger painting with Him and Bast, and most recently, a necklace with a double-sided woodburned tagua pendant. My partner J even made Set-inspired guitar dangles. (This is what happens when artists have siblings who like Set…)

Lastly, from myself comes a new offering for the Lord of the Oasis on this, His feasting day:

Dua Set, mighty in the prow of Ra’s barque!
Strike down the bastard snake and spill the blood of dawn.
Whet your blade on Uncreation’s glittering scales
until only ma’at is left, pure and proven.
Tear down the broken pieces in a maelstrom,
and we will grow anew on ash-fertile fields.
Isfet will not stop us, nor challenge, nor scars.
Your legacy burns in strong shoulders and steady eyes.
Dua Set, strongest of the gods, lord of storms!