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thoughts on the changing year

thoughts on the changing year

I could wish that I’d had a chance to reflect on the previous Kemetic year during the Epagomenal Days, but alas and alack, I did not. So I’ll do it now.

The previous year, Heru-sa-Aset’s year, was spiritually not great for me. I did very very little in terms of shrine time, research, community fellowship, service, etc. I managed to keep saying my daily prayers, and that’s about it. I thought of my gods, and usually felt self-created pangs of guilt that I wasn’t doing almost anything for Them.

The year was similarly creatively fallow. I didn’t even participate in NaNoWriMo because I was traveling too much of the month. I don’t think I made any jewelry, probably didn’t do any paintings, and didn’t write any songs (I think). I managed some pen sketches and doodles that made me happy, but beyond that? Nada.

Secularly, though, it’s an entirely different story. Last year, I found a psychiatrist and started the very long road of figuring out the right meds to treat my debilitating depression. I changed and mended a very close relationship, and I started another new relationship, which also had a change-and-mend stage later in the year. I left a dysfunctional job and started working at the most accommodating, genuinely kind workplace I’ve ever experienced. I retired my beloved decade-old car and got a new baby who could take me on long roadtrips again. A local friend and I rescued 40+ snakes and rehomed all but 3 successfully. (I also got … significantly more snakes for my own household.)

It wasn’t all roses: we lost two of our cats, the youngest to cancer and the oldest to age. My self-care necessitated dropping basically all of my projects and sorely limited the time I could dedicate to other people, so many of my friends didn’t hear much from me. My health continued to suffer from depression and other crap, even with meds starting to help. And, of course, world news and social justice issues just exploded.

All in all, the year was turbulent but produced some really important and positive changes to my personal life.

Now I leave behind Heru-sa-Aset’s influence and welcome the child god energies of Khonsu and Yinepu. This year, I want to get some of my own light back. I want to get the meds optimized, so I’m not always so tired and so flat. I want to re-engage with my beloved Kemetic community, and I want to have the capacity to re-engage a little more with my local secular community, too. I want to pick up the pen and write more stories and more songs. I want to step back into shrine and keep the dust off my gods.

The oracle talked about love, about service, about doing the work and keeping an open heart. Nebt-het talked to me about service, too: service to Ma’at and my community. (And balance between service and self-care, because that too is ma’at.)

So that’s what I’m looking forward to. Gently and gradually picking up things I had to drop last year. Respecting the limitations of my current health, while not letting myself sink into total stillness. Reaching out and helping where I can, without breaking myself in the process.

It’ll be a good year. Kheperu. Dua Netjer!

in the year of Heru-sa-Aset

in the year of Heru-sa-Aset

For Kemetic Orthodoxy, this Kemetic year is the year of Heru-sa-Aset (Horus the Younger) as the victorious king. It is one of the most positive oracles I’ve ever read, and I am very hopeful about how this year will turn out, both spiritually and pragmatically. I’ve always considered Heru to be a get’r’done Netjeru, and I look forward to making a lot of progress on various projects on my plate. (Obscure Gods project, I’m lookin’ at you!)

I have worked with Heru-wer (Horus the Elder) before, and I have brushed up against Heru-Ma’ahes once or twice, but I’ve never interfaced with Heru-sa-Aset. Perhaps this year will change that and deepen my understanding of Who He is.

A prayer for the year of Heru-sa-Aset, written August 15:

Hail Heru-sa-Aset in this His year!
Hail the golden child now grown!
Hail the sacred lotus in full bloom!
Hail the son of the Mistress of Magic!
Hail the shining heir, son of His father!
Hail He Who survived the terrors of youth!
Hail He Who was forged by storm and sting!
Hail He Who yet walks among the people!
Hail He Who upholds Ma’at in all things!
Hail He Who knows the secret name of the sun!
Hail He Who brings victory to the Two Lands!
Hail the mighty falcon, wearing the uraeus!
Hail the many-chambered heart of the king!
Hail Heru-sa-Aset in this His year!

PBP Fridays: Q is for Qebshenef

PBP Fridays: Q is for Qebshenef

Qebshenef is one of the Four Sons of Heru (Horus), a group of netjeri (spirits) associated with the canopic jars that hold the organs of the mummified deceased. The Four Sons also protect the throne of Wesir (Osiris) in the Unseen and assist the deceased through the Duat. Each of the Sons is protected by one of the funerary goddesses and associated with one of the cardinal directions.

Qebshenef, whose name means “cooling his brother (with water),” is hawk-headed and holds the intestines. He is guarded by Serqet (Selkis), the scorpion goddess, and associated with the south.

Imset, whose name means “the kindly one,” is human-headed and wears the nemes headcloth. He holds the liver, is guarded by Aset (Isis), and is associated with the west.

Duamutef, whose name means “praising his mother,” is jackal-headed and holds the stomach. He is guarded by Nit (Neith), the Great He-She, and associated with the north.

Hapy (not Hapi, god of the Nile), whose name means “runner,” is baboon-headed and holds the lungs. He is guarded by Nebt-het (Nephthys) and associated with the east.

While the Four Sons have the above associations in regards to their canopic jars, they also assist the deceased in different ways, including carrying or lifting up the deceased, preparing a ladder into the sky, protecting against attacks and decay, preventing hunger and thirst, bringing the deceased a boat “which Khnum built,” and steering that boat.

The Sons themselves are alternatingly stated to be sons of Aset (Isis) and Heru-wer (Horus the Elder) or Khenty-irty (Horus of Khem), but were also implied to be sons of Heru-sa-Aset (Horus the Younger) by virtue of being the grandchildren of Wesir (Osiris). They’ve also been described as the bau (souls) of Pe (a city in Lower Egypt) and Nekhen (a city in Upper Egypt), along with Heru Himself. In various texts, they’re identified as stars near Ursa Major, as emanations of Heru or as Heru’s bau (souls), and as the king’s “children’s children” (the king being as Wesir, Heru’s own father). They’ve also been identified in spells as the hands, arms, fingernails, and/or feet of the deceased or described accompanying the deceased through the Duat.

Sources:

  • http://kemet.org/names-of-netjer
  • http://www.reshafim.org.il/ad/egypt/religion/sons_of_horus.htm
  • http://henadology.wordpress.com/theology/netjeru/horus-sons-of/

Henadology’s article is particularly well-fleshed-out and worth further reading, as my entry here merely summarizes the basics of the Four Sons.

This post brought to you by the Pagan Blog Project.

PBP Fridays: G is for Genderqueer and GLBTQ Netjeru

PBP Fridays: G is for Genderqueer and GLBTQ Netjeru

As a genderfunky and pansexual individual myself, I have a special interest in mythological figures who are also queer in some fashion. To my pleasant surprise, we have several Egyptian gods, or Netjeru, Who have some queerness in Them. This post is meant to be a brief introductions to the ones I know.

Firstly, we have Nit, the Creatrix. Of the handful of primary creator deities in ancient Egypt, Nit was the only one said to be female, but all creator deities are to some extent genderfluid and/or genderless, being gods that have reproduced asexually through various means (masturbation, spit, intentional thought) to create the rest of the gods. Nit Herself, despite being hailed as a goddess, bears the epithet “The Mother and Father of All Things” and has been addressed as “Male Who made female; Female Who made male” at the temples of Esna. She is the God Who bore women and the Goddess Who bore men, and so within Herself contains all sexes, all genders. Nit is said to have created childbirth, and, when referred to as a creatrix, Her name is written with the hieroglyph of an ejaculating phallus. She has been referred to as the deity of the Nun (pronounced noon), the great primordial waters of creation, or as the Nun personified. Another snippet from the Esna inscription reads:

Wide water Who created eternity; water Who made everlastingness;
Who rose in Nun while earth was in darkness.
Living Ancestor, Who had Her origins in Nun, before the creation of Geb and the raising of Nut.
Genetrix, Cobra Who was at the beginning, Mother of time primordial, She Who created Her own birth…

(Geb is the god of the earth; Nut is the goddess of the sky.) For more about Nit, you can read the research I’ve compiled thus far.

Nit has also been identified with/as Nebt-het (Nephthys), Lady of Death. In ancient texts, Nebt-het has been described as being “an imitation woman with no vagina” because of Her barrenness, and She has no children with Her husband, Set, Lord of the Red Desert, which is a striking difference from most Kemetic triads of mother-father-child. Some modern Egyptologists have interpreted Nebt-het as being a lesbian; more to the point, She is sekhyt, a Kemetic word often translated as “eunuch” but more accurately indicates any person who doesn’t fit within the traditional gender roles of male or female, any person who is infertile, and/or a sexless/unsexed person.

That leads us to Nebt-het’s husband and consort, Set, God of Chaos. Set is a highly sexual god; He’s been lured off after Aset (Isis) in guise of a beautiful maiden before, and He’s also tried to seduce Heru-sa-Aset (Horus the Younger), both during the Contendings of Horus and Set, which is the tale of Who would become king after Wesir’s (Osiris’) death. Heru-sa-Aset, in turn, tricked Set into consuming some of His semen on lettuce, also as a part of the Contendings myth. Some Egyptologists suggest Set is strictly homosexual, but He would also be more suited to the term sekhyt, as He’s often considered sterile due to His association with the barren desert, over which He rules. Heru-sa-Aset may or may not be considered bisexual or sekhyt, depending on the source; He does go on to father the four Sons of Heru, showing that He is indeed fertile, but His actions with Set may suggest a bisexual inclination (or just an attempt to gain a political upper hand).

In addition, Hapi, god of the Nile, was a male deity associated with the fertility and life-giving powers of the Nile river; as a result, He was shown as a round-bellied man with full breasts. The breasts may have been symbolic, or He may have been considered a fully hermaphroditic deity, though He did still have a wife.

Fertility was a big deal in ancient Egypt and was the primary requisite for a person receiving the full privileges of womanhood or manhood, but even in the biggest myths, genderbending and alternate sexualities were represented; there’ve also been inscriptions in tombs indicating homosexual relations between men. (I don’t know of any between women; if you do, please share!) Set and Nebt-het, both important deities in Kemet, were sekhyt Netjeru, and all creator deities, especially Nit, held within Them both male and female qualities. If I’ve missed any queer Egyptian gods, please feel free to chime in, or add your opinions/experience with the gods mentioned here!

This post brought to you as part of the Pagan Blog Project.