My Gods & Akhu

My Gods & Akhu

I am devoted to six primary gods: Nebt-het (Nephthys), Hethert-Nut (Hathor-Nuit), Ma’ahes (Mihos), Serqet (Selkis), Wepwawet, and Sekhmet. Through the Kemetic Orthodoxy Rite of Parent Divination, Nebt-het and Hethert-Nut were identified as my Mothers, Who accepted responsibility for my symbolic rebirth into the Kemetic nation, and Ma’ahes and Serqet as my Beloveds, Who are deeply influential in my life. In an additional, post-RPD divination, Wepwawet became my third Beloved. On top of that, I’ve been devoted to Sekhmet for almost a decade.

Nebt-het is the sister of Aset (Isis) and Wesir (Osiris), and most of Her appearances in ancient Egyptian mythology revolve around Her supporting role in the Mysteries of Wesir, when He is killed by Set, restored by His wife Aset and Nebt-het, and transitioned into the Duat (the Unseen, the otherworld) as king of the dead. Nebt-het is both mourner and comforter, seeker and finder, protector and avenger. She is one of the Ladies of the West Who meets the dead when they pass into the Duat, and Her work with the akhu (the blessed dead) is paramount. She is also married to Set, though Their relationship is not the standard Egyptian triad of husband-wife-son. For more on Nebt-het, click here.

Hethert-Nut is Hethert (Hathor) as the sky and Nut as a cow; She is a syncretism where those two goddess intersect and, in Their intersection, create a new goddess Who retains many of Their attributes but is yet a separate third entity. In my experience, Hethert-Nut is the Celestial Cow Who uplifts the sun god Ra into the heavens; Her belly holds all the glittering stars which are our ancestors. Like Hethert, She loves music and dance, and She is full of joy and unconditional love; like Nut, She is vast and immense, and She cares for the akhu that shine as stars. I strongly associate Hethert-Nut with deep space, especially galaxies and nebulae; She is linked to both the daytime and nighttime skies, and I often interpret Her as more Hethert-y during the day and more Nut-y during the night. For more on Hethert-Nut, click here.

Ma’ahes is one of the only male Eyes of Ra. (The Eye of Ra is usually a leonine goddess like Sekhmet or Bast; the Eye is Ra’s executive, active power usually acting in a protective or punitive role.) Ma’ahes is a lion god of war and execution, tightly linked to the intense summer heat and the solar powers of the sun. As with most warrior deities, He can be called on for protection. While He is typically a fierce and sharp-knifed god, He is extraordinarily gentle and patient with me. He asks for nothing and provides everything, and He was the only one of my gods to initiate and insist upon an interactive relationship. I adore Him. For more on Ma’ahes, click here.

Serqet is the scorpion side of Aset (Isis). She retains Aset’s mastery of magic and heka (authoritative utterance) but seems to be more hot-tempered than Aset; in myth, Serqet in the form of seven scorpions stung mortals and infant Heru-sa-Aset (Horus the Younger) when She was irritated. As the provider of potentially lethal venom, She can also protect from it, and modern Kemetics have also approached Her for help with chemical addictions as well as venomous people and situations. In my experience, She has little patience for frivolity or nonsense, though She always seems to be grinning and tends to be reasonably good-natured when not provoked. For more on Serqet, click here.

Wepwawet is the Opener of the Ways. He is a jackal god often conflated with or confused with Yinepu (Anubis), but Wepwawet is distinct from the well-known god of embalming and rebirth. Often depicted as a standing jackal on a sledge or a jackal-headed man, Wepwawet is an active and often solar god Who acts as a pathfinder, a scout, a warrior, and an obstacle-breaker. Opening the Way for the dead and the living alike, He can be as subtle, as gentle, or as mighty as the situation needs. To me, He is a partner in “breaking the world,” a phrase I’ve used in the past to indicate rewriting my paradigm and my limitations to accommodate a desired change. He is often tangibly present, and like Ma’ahes, I adore Him. For more on Wepwawet, check out Per-Sabu. (I’m working on my own page for Him.)

Sekhmet is probably the best-known of my gods. Her very name means the Powerful One; She is the daughter of Ra and acts as His Eye, burning and mighty. In the Destruction of Mankind myth, She is sent by Ra to destroy murderous humans and finds their blood so satisfying that She doesn’t stop. Ra tricks Her by staining beer red like blood, which She drinks; She falls asleep in Her drunkenness, and when She wakes, She is pacified and becomes Hethert, Lady of Joy. Sekhmet is a goddess of appropriate action and fierce power; She does not passively wait to defend, but goes out and strikes down evil in its lair. She taught me strength when I first approached Her. For more on Sekhmet, click here.

In addition to these five Netjeru Who comprise the heart of my practice, I have relationships of varying strength and frequency with a few other gods, including Set (Lord of Strength), Bast (Lady of Light, Who Rises As Gold), Ptah (Who Spoke Creation Into Being), Heru-wer (Horus the Elder, Golden Falcon), and Sepa (the Centipede). I interact with Set and Bast mostly because They are deeply important gods to my sister and/or my partner; Ptah is something of a household god; and I have working (in the “do the work” sense) relationships with Heru-wer and Sepa.

Alongside my gods, I also honor my ancestors of blood and spirit. While I don’t have a singular relationship with a particular akh (justified dead), I have a pretty good bond with my akhu in general and offer them pure water, incense, and a candle on a weekly basis. My akhu shrine features my mom’s mom and my dad’s dad, but I’ve been adding names of my blood ancestors as I discover them via Ancestry.com, and I’ve also “adopted” non-related akhu as national or cultural ancestors. To see my virtual akhu shrine, click here.