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PBP Fridays: N is for Neper

PBP Fridays: N is for Neper

Neper (also Nepry, Nepri) is an ancient Egyptian god of grain—He is, in fact, the personification of grain and considered to be immanent in it. Often described as the son of Renenutet, a cobra goddess of the harvest, Neper is linked to Hapy, god of the yearly inundation, and to Wesir (Osiris), Who became associated with grain and the fertility of the land as His cult grew in popularity.

He is depicted as a man holding sheaves of wheat, with wheat in His hair, or covered in dots representing wheat or barley. He can also be shown as an infant suckling at Renenutet’s breast or as Hapy-like with an exaggerated belly and breasts to indicate the abundance and fertility inherent in Their aspects.

He is invoked in an apotropaic spell that possibly references a scorpion come from the grain fields or barns:

Oh Nepri-heti, stretch your arm towards it, scratch and drive away what you have brought!

In the Coffin Texts, there’s a particular spell (Spell 330) for becoming Neper, which is one of the rare times a god is said to live and die; the spell covers not only the cyclical death of the grain and the god, but also its/His pseudo-immortality as part of the cycle of life, as the grain feeds humans and animals, and Neper-as-ma’at (“truth” below) feeds the gods:

I live and I die, I am Osiris, I have gone in and out by means of you, I have grown fat through you, I flourish through you, I have fallen through you. I have fallen on my side, the gods live on me. I live and grow as Neper whom the honoured ones cherish, one whom Geb hides, I live and I die, for I am emmer, and I will not perish. I have entered into truth, I have upheld truth, for I am a possessor of truth. I have gone forth in truth and my shape is raised up . . .

Neper is invoked and identified with in other Coffin Text spells, often in the dual role of providing a supply of grain for the deceased and also feeding other Netjeru, netjeri (non-god, non-human-ghost spirits), and still-living humans. Neper is also called the “god of smoked grain,” which seems to be linked by fragrance or smoke to conveying the deceased soul to various places or even helping manifest the soul visibly. He may be linked to the visual manifestation of souls because grain was such a foundational element for “manifesting” civilization. See Spell 101 for Sending A Man And His Soul:

Go, go, yonder soul of mine, that yonder man may see you in your living face wherever you are. He stands up and sits down when you are in front of him. … It is this grain-god who lives after death and who removes you from the portal of the sunshine, and you go forth from it . . .

Dua Neper, god of all grains, Who feeds Netjeru and humans alike with His essence!

Sources:

  • The Ancient Egyptian Coffin Texts (R.O. Faulkner)
  • Ancient Egyptian Magical Texts (J.F. Bourghouts)
  • The Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt (R. Wilkinson)
  • Nepry on Henadology

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small steps back on the path

small steps back on the path

22 OCTOBER – III Akhet 21: Feast of Shu, Day of Renenutet and Nit

Tonight, I offered incense to Shu, pure water and Celtic sea salt to Nit, and a piece of farmhouse bread to Renenutet. I lit a red candle for Nit on the left and a cream one for Renenutet on the right, and I gave Them thanks and admiration. Shu as the breath of the wind that I adore and that uplifts me, He Who upholds my Mother, Hethert-Nut; Nit as another Name for my Mother Nebt-het, Lady of the Deep Waters, He-She Creatrix; Renenutet as the Lady of the Harvest, Who protects our crops that we may have bread at all.

And then Deathcat decided to nest on my calves, leaning against the backs of my knees, as I knelt before my shrine.

So I stayed a little longer. And it was nice.

Dua Shu! Dua Nit! Dua Renenutet!

The Hymn of Renenutet

The Hymn of Renenutet

I will make the Nile swell for you,
without there being a year of lack and exhaustion in the whole land,
so the plants will flourish, bending under their fruit.
The land of Egypt is beginning to stir again,
the shores are shining wonderfully,
and wealth and well-being dwell with them,
as it had been before.

[source]

22 October – III Akhet 21

22 October – III Akhet 21

Day of Renenutet and Nit

From the Pyramid Texts, Utterance 340:

“I have come to You, Old One; may You turn back to me as the east wind is turned back behind the west wind; may You come to me as the north wind comes after the south wind.”

I don’t believe in coincidence.

I don’t believe in coincidence.

Serqet

– Serqet is a scorpion goddess. She is both protector (with Her stings and from them) and healer (of Her own poison). She is associated with the most deadly scorpions in Egypt.

– Because I fucking love scorpions, I took an interest in Serqet. Because I have a vested personal concern in removing poisons from my life and protecting myself from any future poisons, I took a keen interest in Her.

– On the move to Texas, we stopped at a gas station selling random novelty items. I found a variety of scorpion keychains of varying colors and scorpion species/subspecies. I was unable to choose anything but this one, a yellow scorpion in amber resin, with long and thin (instead of blocky and strong) pincers. J made me a lanyard necklace for it, as you see in the photo.

– I wrote the prayer to Serqet and have been wearing the necklace. I remind myself of it, and Her, when I feel like I am succumbing to (emotional, mental) poisons.

– I decided to find out which scorpions are in Egypt. I found out about the Deathstalker scorpion. In order to make an icon for Serqet, I looked up photos of this scorpion.

– I came across this, which looks pretty much exactly like the scorpion in my necklace, barring the obvious size difference.

– I figured I’m doin’ something right. :D

Renenutet

– Renenutet is a cobra goddess of abundance. She is a divine nurse (but not child-bearer Herself) and is said to protect both the pharaoh and the crops, both in the field pre-harvest and in the granaries afterwards, because cobras eat the vermin that would eat the crops.

– I have an amazingly strong draw towards Renenutet and a powerful, almost tangible sensory impression of Her. (This has to do with synesthesia, so my feeling of Her translates in weird ways.) The most overwhelming association with Her for me is the color of wheat and barley and indirect sunlight. Every time I think of Her, that color invades the space around me like someone dyed the air yellow.

– I decided to find out which cobras are in Egypt. Unsurprisingly, I found out about the Egyptian cobra. In order to make an icon for Renenutet, I looked up photos of this snake. (Sound familiar?)

– I came across this, the banded Egyptian cobra. The golden color is the exact color that I keep seeing/feeling when I think of Renenutet.

– As a bonus, my long-time self-image of myself as a Korat, my favorite fictional species of mine, is evenly striped with black and, you guessed it, pretty much that exact shade of gold. See? (Apologies for the ancient art and bad scan.)

– I figured I’m doin’ something right. XD

Dua Renenutet

Dua Renenutet

i will bury my face
in the soul-flesh of the gods
which is, for the moment,
the color of wheat fields
and indirect sunlight;
perhaps if i breathe
their essence into me,
the color of spun gold
will permeate my throat
and seep from my lungs
out to every pore
until i am
a little more
sacred.

synesthetic impressions of Netjeru

synesthetic impressions of Netjeru

Renenutet is barley-wheat-golden, the color of indirect sunlight, the softness of grain and the practicality of threshing it. Harvest-goddess, protective of the crops before and after they’re taken from the fields, and likewise protective of and involved with the vineyards. Mother-goddess, divine nurse, nurturing and sustenance-giving. Cobra, fiery-eyed to enemies (but not nearly so strong or purely-aggressive as Sekhmet), linked to the uraeus and thus to the Eye of Ra (but softly, distantly, not as much as Wadjet). Sun-golden and harvest-bountiful and earthy-practical and loving.

Ptah is… pale blue but not directly, like the color is filtered through an open room and barely seen as an aura/overlay. Beautiful Of Face, with skin like faience and stars, bearded and smooth-headed. Craftsman, patron of artisans, blue-collar in that He works with His hands where most the other Names don’t, but sophisticated in that He is a master at what He creates. Gentle, quiet-voiced; not the epitome of compassion and coddling, but relaxed, unassuming, understanding. Sovereign in what He does and is, and allows others, including humans, to be sovereign in what they do and are; there is no pressure to conform or to change or to Do/Be This Thing. I feel like I could sit in the room where He’s working and not need to say anything, just be comfortable in the silence, in the dim softly-lit air that is somehow dusty, maybe with sawdust or just murky sunlight through small windows. Craftsman-Ptah is Creator-Ptah, and it makes sense to me that He could make all that exists and then take joy in working physically, building structures and other things within that creation. Other than the pale blue aura, all the color I see with/around Him is in browns– woods, dust, muddy golden light through a needs-cleaning window.

Yinepu… I blame my sense-impression of Him on someone (I think Per-Sabu.org?) saying the key word “cthonic” and cuing up in my head all sorts of visceral reactions and sensations/imagery normally reserved for Celtic deities, for Cernunnos. See, Celtic deities feel like home, like all that’s in the earth and a part of it, thickly elemental and tangible and sensory; Kemetic deities feel clear and spacious, open, bright, but not perfectly clean or flawless– just delineated, complex but well-lit. If my experiences are a tree, Celtic is the twining roots and Kemetic is the stretching branches. But Yinepu bridges the gap between Kemetic clarity and Celtic visceralness, with strong arms and black fur, a sense of the underground that feels familiar to me, an animal force matched with a thinking mind and a feeling spirit/soul. Silence, and coolness, and a heavy male-canid presence, a crouching, a waiting. No hostility or even intimidation, no fear, and probable considerable gentleness/compassion for the dead or the (more spiritual, more shamanic) death-rebirth process– but also not a bouncy, tail-waggy jql-pup. I am intrigued and, while not specifically drawn to Him, I don’t know what to do when I get that strong a sense of Someone but find out more about Them.