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embracing the new year

embracing the new year

I feel that Max Ehrmann’s Desiderata aligns quite nicely with my own worldview and with the principles of ma’at, so I am walking joyously into the new year with these words:

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

PBP Friday: P is for Preparing for the New Kemetic Year

PBP Friday: P is for Preparing for the New Kemetic Year

Tomorrow is Wep Ronpet, the first day of the new Kemetic year, according to the Kemetic Orthodoxy calendar.

Tomorrow, I will rise before dawn, and at 5 am, I will take part in a ritual to welcome the new year and to deflect any dangers it brings. I will perform heka for the Netjeru of the new year.

Sadly, I will not slay pansnakes, but I’m still hoping my (non-Kemetic) partner makes some and kills ’em in my honor. :)

But I will join with my Kemetic siblings and my gods, and I will set goals and make prayers, and I will take that first deep breath of newborn air and smile.

Happy new year to those who celebrate it!

This post brought to you by the Pagan Blog Project.

Last year’s P post was primary gods.

the end of the year cometh

the end of the year cometh

It is time to prepare for the end of the Kemetic year.

According to Kemetic Orthodoxy’s calendar, this Sunday, July 30, is the last day of this year. The following five days, from Monday to Friday, are epagomenal or intercalary days: “days upon the year,” which are not part of this year nor the next. According to one myth, which probably has some Greco-Roman influence, Ra cursed a very pregnant Nut to not bear Her children on any day of the year, for fear one of Them would displace Him as king. Djehuty (Thoth) gambled with the moon and won five days’ worth of moonlight, which became the epagomenal days and the birthdays of Nut’s five children: Wesir (Osiris), Heru-wer (Horus the Elder), Set, Aset (Isis), and Nebt-het (Nephthys).

The epagomenal days are considered to be especially prone to weird or negative events, and ancient Egyptians went to considerable length to placate various Netjeru and protect themselves from misfortune during this time. In the Seen world, the Nile valley was holdings its breath before the inundation, and a good inundation could bring prosperity… while a poor one could spell sickness and famine. The epagomenal days are that shaky, strained, tenuous bridge between the past year and the new one, and an awful lot was riding on how well or poorly this relatively short period of time passed.

Because I will be traveling for half of the epagomenal days, I will be writing and scheduling my posts in advance, a sort of meditation on what the days themselves may bring. To begin, I offer you a year’s end protective heka from Bourghouts’ Ancient Egyptian Magical Texts:

I am the Horror that has come forth from Dep, the Birth-goddess that has come forth from Heliopolis. Men, gods, spirits and dead ones, keep away from me! I am the Horror!

Stay safe and alert next week, my friends! The birth of a new year can be quite messy.

Celebrating Feasts, Festivals, Processions, etc

Celebrating Feasts, Festivals, Processions, etc

When I was planning my Pagan Blog Project topics, earlier in the year, I listed “Feasts and Festivals” for one of the weeks of F. The Kemetic calendar has a lot of types of holidays, and I thought it would be really useful to my practice, and potentially to my readers, to figure out the differences and how I’d celebrate/observe them.

And then another Kemetic blogger beat me to the punch with a really well-written post about keeping Kemetic holidays, based on what we know and are willing and able to celebrate. *shakes fist!* :)

In all honesty, though, having that post already written sort of nullifies my need to go into great detail, so instead, I’m linking to it for my readers’ benefit and will do a quick, mostly-for-my-own-reference breakdown below.

Please note that I’m discussing how I myself do or will celebrate, not suggesting it be the end-all for anyone else! Holidays are a learning experience for me, and I don’t really do any of ’em the same way twice. Also, I do not actually celebrate every single Kemetic holiday… especially given that there’s one or more almost every day of the year! I pick and choose, based on my available time, my purity, and how close I am (or would like to be) to the Netjeru in question.

Feast: The perfect excuse to have a little extra awesome in one’s diet! I dedicate the meal of the day to that particular god, or offer Them a special small treat or drink.

Festival: No holds barred! I’ll usually base my activities/offerings on the characteristics of the Netjeru in festival and what They’re associated with, such as martial arts for Sekhmet or music for Hethert-Nut.

Procession: This is a hard one for me, as I don’t normally celebrate them currently. My ideas consist of taking a physical representation of the god on a walkabout, or taking myself out for a walk/drive and offering the time and experience to the god in question, almost like a walking meditation.

Saq (Appearance): Like festivals, these can be very flexible holidays, but I think I’d like my fallback idea to be a candle and incense in offering, and a few minutes of quiet contemplation/interaction in shrine. I feel like a Saq is a time for me to be receptive and attentive, rather than proactive and celebratory.

God Birthday: A time for gifts! Offerings of activities (like music-making) or physical presents (like art or flowers), as well as more traditional offerings of food, drink, candles, and incense. Like festivals, offerings and gifts will be Netjeru-specific.

Lunar Celebration: I’m not close to any of the traditional moon gods, so I currently don’t do anything here. What I’d liiike to do is establish one Netjeru as my go-to lunar deity and begin actually getting back into touch with the cycles of the moon…

Major Holiday: There’s usually enough information on the big holidays, like Wep Ronpet (New Year) and the Mysteries of Wesir (Osiris), that I don’t have to invent my own way of celebration, happily.

Nebt-het, A Winter Goddess?

Nebt-het, A Winter Goddess?

Two weeks ago, I returned to the mountains of Nevada for the first time I moved almost two years ago… and for the first time since I met the Netjeru Who would be divined my Mother: Nebt-het.

My Mother is quiet and more subtle than any of the other gods of my divined family. While I’ve drawn incredibly close with my Beloveds, Ma’ahes and Serqet, and while I have a lot of indirect interaction with my Mama Hethert-Nut through my love of space and all my creative hobbies, Nebt-het and I remain much less… talkative.

On Christmas Day, white misty clouds rolled in over the gorgeous Nevada mountains and brought with them the snow that I have pined for since leaving for Texas. I stood outside, in socks and a flannel overshirt, and watched the mountains disappear and the first snowflakes begin falling.

It was cold, and still, and shushed-quiet, though I could hear the happy burble of my rowdy extended family inside the house behind me. Everything was calm and greyscale and absolutely, perfectly beautiful.

And I realized… this was Her. This was my Mother; this was Nebt-het. This greyness, this chill, this solemn quietude, these tiny white pieces of the sky drifting downwards, this half-light between day and night. This was Her peace, the soothing touch of cool hands that help the living transition from life.

I started Wiccan, and there’s enough of that left in me that I find it no stretch at all to link the death-stage of the Wheel of the Year, winter’s cold hibernation, to the death of individuals passing from warm and vibrant life to the Otherworld, and thus to the goddess Who facilitates that transition and Who comforts those left behind. She is, after all, married to Set, the god of all storms– including even blizzards. It is not so hard to believe that a Netjeru of Egypt could be linked to snow in the Nevada desert.

Standing in the cold, my nose and feet gone numb, my hair dusted white, I was surrounded by my Mother’s presence, and quietly overjoyed.

A Happy Hybrid Holiday

A Happy Hybrid Holiday

I’ve been quiet, I know – the onset of winter usually finds me drawing inwards and socializing less – but I’d like to make a concentrated effort to post more here. This isn’t a New Year’s resolution so much as an ongoing goal, a habit I’d like to ingrain into my weekly routine. I’m aiming for every Wednesday. I like Wednesday; it’s a good day.

To get back into the swing of things, I’ll share a few holiday anecdotes:

It took me hours to write up and send Moomas cards. My hand cramped by the end. But it brought me joy to send out these little pieces of me to my brothers and sisters, my Kemetic kin, and I look forward to doing it next year, too. (But I’ll try to start a week or so earlier…!)

I put up all the Moomas cards I received over our fireplace, carefully so we could still read the insides and see the outsides. Seeing them all brings me such happiness. I love my community.

I spent Christmas* week in Nevada, where my partner’s family is and where I’d lived for a couple years before we moved to Texas. We drove, my partner J and I, and our two dogs, and we stayed with Mama J. None of J’s family are very religious in any direction, but Christmas is a time for family and joy nonetheless. Being around people who loved and welcomed us, being able to exchange handcrafted gifts… it felt like a real Christmas for the first time in a while, and I am deeply grateful.

*Christmas, while a Christian holiday, is to me a cultural one. I do celebrate it as a secular holiday, similarly to Thanksgiving; I remove the religious and the materialistic trappings and focus on the cornerstones of family, love, and generosity. And warmth. My childhood Christmasses left deeply emotional and visceral memories, and I strive to recreate that wonder and love each new Christmas.

I did not do much in particular to mark the Solstice, either to celebrate the reborn sun as a pagan or to welcome back the Eye as a Kemetic. I also didn’t do much to celebrate Moomas on the 25th, the Establishment of the Celestial Cow, despite lofty hopes of going back to last year’s Moomas post (which has gotten some link-love this year! ♥) and improving some of the translation quality… or practicing and recording a sharable version of the Moomas song I wrote last year… *sheepish*

I say this not because these holidays don’t matter to me, but because it’s important to acknowledge that, sometimes, I miss even really big days. I love my winter holidays, more dearly than most any others, but this year, being in the presence of my loved ones was enough celebration for me. (Even if I feel I really ought to have done more!)

I hope you’ve all had a blessed holiday season, and I look forward to catching up with everyone in the coming days.

Welcome back, Eye of Ra, we cherish the warmth You return to us!

Hail Hethert-Nut, Celestial Cow, Who holds Ra aloft in the safety and peace of the stars!

Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day

To my Lady Mother, Nebt-het, Who fashioned my soul,
and to Mama Hethert-Nut, Who also fashioned my soul,
and to my mom, who created my body from her own,
and to my partner’s mom, who welcomed me into her family,
and to all the mothers of my blood, stretching back in time:

Thank you for my life and your love. I love you.

Merry Moomas!

Merry Moomas!

Today, in the Kemetic calendar, is the Establishment of the Celestial Cow. As my Mother, Hethert-Nut, is Hethert-as-Nut, cow-as-sky, I feel this is particularly appropriate to continue my research into the Book of the Celestial Cow.

Snippets obtained from the links found here. I am fairly sure the person who translated these into English and German was originally a francophone, because some of the English really doesn’t match the French. When I have time, I’m going to go back through and see if I can’t reckon some slightly more accurate translations. Thank Netjer I can still read French pretty well. For now, however, the bits involving (Hethert-)Nut:

“Be not disappointed, be not weary.
You have power over all You wish.”
Then said the majesty of Re
to the majesty of Nun:
“My limbs are feeble as in primeval times,
I will not return until another cycle overtakes Me.”
Then the majesty of Nun said:
“My son Shu!
Let Your eye look upon Your father, and protect Him.
My daughter Nut,
place Him on Your back!”

Nut became a cow,
and the majesty of Re was on Her back.

Men were astonished when,
from the location to which they had fled,
they saw Him on the back of the cow.

His majesty proceeded to His palace
on the back of this cow,
and He was together with the gods.

Then this god said to Nut:
“I placed myself on Your back to be elevated, what then?”
So said He, and Nut
became the sky.
The majesty of this god begged:
“Be far from them and elevate Me, that I may see them.”
And the On High came into being.
Then the majesty of this god
looked into Her,
and She said: “Make Me into a multitude!” And stars came into being.

Then Nut began to shake, owing to the height.
And the majesty of Re said:
“Had I only the Heh gods to support Her!” And then the Heh gods came into being.
Then the majesty of Re said:
“My son Shu,
place Yourself under My daughter Nut
and guard for Me the four Heh gods of the east and the four Heh gods of the west
who live in twilight.
Place Her on your head and keep Her.”

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