Although I’m not huge on most of the mainstream holidays, my earlier years as a Celtic neopagan have cemented the solstices and equinoxes into my mental calendar. October 31st is a big deal to many of my friends and chosen family, whether they celebrate it spiritually as Samhain or culturally as Halloween. So I decided to contemplate how I could celebrate Samhain in a Kemetic fashion, because hey, why not?
Warning: Some spiritual blending ahead. Proceed with caution and a grin.
According to the Kemetic Orthodox calendar, October 31st this year features several gods in festival: Nebtu, Behdety (Heru-behdety, the Winged Disk), Heru-wer (Horus the Elder), Hethert (Hathor), Anuket, and Heka. That’s a whole lotta gods! Abundance of the land, victory, rightful action, joy, the river and its blessings, and magical speech, all in one day.
Add to that the non-Kemetic associations of Halloween with the dead and the veil between Seen and Unseen worlds being very thin, and we’ve got the makings for a very complex and powerful holiday.
I admit, my first thought on celebrating October 31st was to honor my Mother Nebt-het (Nephthys) and my akhu and leave it at that. I find it challenging to try to incorporate all the gods in festival on that day to that original idea… but it’s no different than drawing a sigil from several very different letters that are all part of an overall meaning. So let’s see.
Nebt-het is the Lady of the dead, the one Who guides the deceased through the Duat, one of the goddesses waiting in the West to welcome the newly-arrived kau (souls). Honoring the blessed dead, our ancestors, our akhu, honors Her. But what of the others?
Nebtu and Anuket are both goddesses related to provisions and abundance, Nebtu from the growing lands and Anuket from the river. Sounds like a rich offering of food and drink is in order!
Behdety and Heru-wer are both warrior Names Who uphold ma’at and protect the living; perhaps those of us residing in the Seen world owe Them special thanks, since we’re still on this side of the veil. A hearty respect and gratitude is due both of Them (and perhaps mead or rum, for those who drink it!).
Hethert, Who is joyous, the beautiful and powerful Gold of the Gods, reminds us to enjoy what we’ve got while we’ve got it and to celebrate life–including the lives of those who are now among the stars as the blessed dead. A gladsome partying atmosphere should go along with all that food, then!
And lastly, but far from least, Heka, the god Who embodies the power of authoritative speech. With the veil so thin, Heka makes an appearance and lends extra weight to our own utterances, be they spoken or written; it’s a day to take especial care of what we say… and to use that power well, to thank the gods for our lives, and to celebrate with our ancestors to remember their good lives.
Yeah, I think that’ll do quite nicely. :) What will you be doing on October 31st?