This post is part of the Kemetic Round Table, which aims to answer some of the most common questions and provide a wealth of diverse options for the Kemetic novice to explore.
Daily Ritual Basics: What does daily practice entail? Can I practice as a solitary Kemetic, or do I need to join a group of Kemetics? Do I need to do daily rites for the gods? How do I make or perform a daily ritual?
Because I’m non-linear, let me answer the easier questions first: Yes, you can practice as solitary or with a group or both, and no, you do not need to do daily rites. If doing a daily practice/rite is something you want to do, or something your gods request of you, read on!
Quick note: I distinguish daily practice from daily rite in the same way rectangles are distinguished from squares. All daily rites are technically daily practices, but not all daily practices are actual rituals. While a daily rite is performed in shrine or sacred space, daily practices other than rites are usually outside of shrine.
Daily practice can include, in all honesty, anything you want it to. You do not need to be extravagant, expensive, complicated, or time-consuming in your daily practice and/or daily rite, which is kind of a common misconception, especially to those new to Kemetic ritual. Your daily practice can be as simple as a prayer in the morning to say hello to the gods—or as practical as sharing your morning coffee or tea or breakfast with your gods. If you’re not a morning person, you can do the same for a before-you-sleep prayer or offering your dinner, your dessert, or your preferred evening beverage.
I find it helpful to know why I want to do something every day—the why helps me determine the what. For me, mindfulness and integration are enormous parts of my practice, and I place a lot of import on “showing up” rather than “being perfect.” Other Kemetics may value quality over frequency and only perform ritual when they are 110%. Each practitioner is different and should adapt their practices and schedules to their own needs, desires, and their gods. Think about why you want a daily practice—do you want to spend more time with your gods, make more regular offerings, become more self-disciplined, perform more hekau/spells?
No matter how simple or complex your daily practice, self-discipline will be a side-effect, and in fact, a simpler daily routine will help you develop that more quickly and with fewer frustrations on average than having to do a longer bout of ritual every day. Start small, then let your practice grow at a natural pace. If you want to spend more time with your gods or integrate Them more fully into your life, try smaller and simpler practices like offering meals or drinks or integrating prayers outside of shrine. I pray on my commute to work; there’s never a chance of being “too busy” to speak aloud while driving. Thinking of, speaking to, and/or offering to your gods throughout the daily helps you integrate Them into your outside-of-shrine life, and when each “practice” takes less than a minute or two of intentional words (to make the offering, to say thank You, etc), it’s not a clock-buster.
If you are more interested in strengthening your ritual muscles, performing hekau or spells, or making consistent offerings in shrine, then a daily rite will probably fulfill your desires more than the life-integrated ideas above. Which brings us to the last question of the post: How does one make and/or perform a daily rite?
There are several daily rituals out there, including the Kemetic Orthodoxy ritual of senut in The Ancient Egyptian Prayerbook by Tamara Siuda, several more complex rituals in Eternal Egypt by Richard Reidy, and on various Kemetic blogs. Before I worked up to doing senut on a regular basis, I created my own, slightly simpler daily rite to ease myself into the habit, and I’ll share its components here in hopes it’ll help illuminate the parts of Kemetic ritual as I know them for those who want to write their own rite.
- Purification. Make sure your clothing and body is clean; I wash my hands, repeating “I am pure” aloud four times.
- Candle & Incense. (Can be electric candle / scented oil or wax if you can’t have smoke.) Light them. I recommend looking into incense that does not use dung or urea; I use this brand.
- Libation. Offer a drink to Netjer or your specific god(s). This can be as simple as cool, pure water.
- Offering. Offer something edible to Netjer or your specific god(s). I stick with less-processed goodies, including bread, fruits, home-baked treats, or finer chocolates. In antiquity, bread was a staple.
- Prayer/Heka. In my daily rite, I wrote a specific heka to be included here; you can use it as freeform prayer or do the same.
- Action. This is the body of the ritual, where you can do or say whatever you’d like, or just spend time with your god(s).
- Reversion. Revert the liquid and edible offerings and enjoy!
- Closing. A word of thanks before extinguishing the candle and cleaning up.
Even with a small paragraph of heka in my own daily rite, most times I performed it ran from 15-20 minutes, which was the entire point of the exercise for me—to do a daily rite that was brief enough to be sustainable until it became a genuine habit. (As mentioned before on this blog, I have issues with consistency, so I absolutely have to start small and “easy” in order for anything to stick.) However, this serves as useful evidence that not all daily rites have to take a long time or be excessively ornate—though you can certainly go for the more luxurious rites if such is your preference!
to sum up
Daily practices and rites are not required and can be done alone or with an organization. You can integrate out-of-shrine daily practices into your life via offering meals, drinks, and prayers to your gods. You can also perform a daily rite that others have created or that you create yourself, which can be as simple or involved as you desire. It’s important to be patient with yourself and understand that Life Happens sometimes, so even the most consistent of daily practitioners will miss a day, and that’s alright. The gods understand.
If you enjoyed this post, please check out other takes on performing a daily ritual by my fellow Round Table bloggers!