Browsed by
Tag: sekhmet

bearing light from darkness

bearing light from darkness

It’s Imbolc, one of my favorite non-Kemetic holidays: the Day of Fire.

I sing for Brigid, and I light a candle in the darkness beneath Her cross, next to a necklace that makes me think of Her spirit and a dark-blood stone from Sekhmet’s altar. I let the flame burn a while before returning Brigid’s cross to my throat, and I contemplate the fire of winter.

There’s a lot to be said for burning away the chill, but I live in Texas right now, and it’s not so very cold and snow-drenched.

Instead, I focus on the light itself. It has been a very dark autumn and winter, and I want to make February a month of bringing back the light. So I will think of small, tangible ways in which I can do that.

For now, I leave you with this from my private journal, which mentions Netjer but embodies Brigid’s spirit as well:

May the work I do
by voice, limb, and hand
be strong in structure,
stable in foundation,
beautiful in form,
and long in longevity.
All creations are art
and all art is my work,
my good work, born by my flesh,
sacred to me.
May it all bring honor
to Netjer, Who blesses me
and provides me the world(s)
in which I create and serve.

the faces of gods

the faces of gods

I’m on day two of a low-level migraine, so instead of a lot of words, have some photos of my gods instead:

All my love and adoration to Nebt-het, Hethert-Nut, Sekhmet, and Ma’ahes, my Netjeru in the heavens.

the faces of gods

the faces of gods

I’m on day two of a low-level migraine, so instead of a lot of words, have some photos of my gods instead:

All my love and adoration to Nebt-het, Hethert-Nut, Sekhmet, and Ma’ahes, my Netjeru in the heavens.

PBP Fridays: C is for Convection

PBP Fridays: C is for Convection

convection, n. 1) the transfer of heat by movement; 2) the act of conveying or transmitting.

She doesn’t just radiate indiscriminately. I am not the cat who sleeps in Her sunbeam and passively soaks up the warmth. It is only in the midst of movement that I can borrow some of Her heat; it is only chasing after Her flame-tufted tail and the sunset of Her haunches that I can grasp even a wisp of fire.

I am and have always been a Water-child. Striving to keep up with a goddess of the sun, Whose color is hearth-red and ember-burning, is a lovely irony. Her light glints off my rippling skin and pierces my depths, rays into a river, stirring the shadows with streaks of purer blue.

I am a moon, silver-faced and cold without Her, but gladly sharing what light She passes me with anyone who can see Her reflection in me. I may never flush golden like She does, never drip scarlet from my clawed fingers, but echoes of Her memories swim the blackness and filter into my hollow craters like coils of incense smoke. I am the barest sliver of Her brilliance, but amid darkness, even that is enough to illuminate the sleeping world.

Sometimes paganism is slam poetry and fingerpaint, carefully smeared across the canvas to capture a fleeting moment, impressionistically. Blots of crimson, roses like pawprints, and an endless road to walk in Her warming wake.

This post brought to you by the Pagan Blog Project.

2013’s second C post was Consistency.
2012’s second C post was Chaos Magic.

the call of the Eye of Ra

the call of the Eye of Ra

Today, III Peret 7, marks the festival of “The Eye of Ra calls the Shemsu.”

Shemsu is a specific term for some members of Kemetic Orthodoxy; it means that one has joined the House and sworn to uphold one’s divined Kemetic gods above any other path. In antiquity, it meant “follower” and referred to a member of the Kemetic royal court who had sworn to serve the nation by following the royal household. [source]

Whether a member of Kemetic Orthodoxy or not, whether a Shemsu in the House or not, today provides an excellent opportunity to reflect on the call of the Eye. Why do you follow a Kemetic path?

For myself, this is a day to meditate on Sekhmet, my Red Lady, the Eye of Ra Who brought me here. I may have chosen Her deliberately in my youth, but She has since set me on a road that She has designed, and I could not have possibly foreseen where I’d be after eight years in the Lioness’s fiery wake.

Tomorrow marks my first full year as a Kemetic Orthodox Shemsu. (How’s that for good timing?) To be honest, very little is different for me as a sworn Shemsu from how I’d been before, but I can see the spiraling path and how I’ve changed and evolved with every passing season. I am a follower of my gods, Whom I praise and adore; I am a participant in my community, which I support and contribute to.

Today, I offer up my gratitude to Sekhmet for accepting a doormat’s plea for strength and turning it into a Shemsu over the course of years. Today, I offer up my love for my gods, my brethren, and the path I’ve chosen to walk. Today, I sing the song of ritual and offer flame and smoke in joy.

Serving Sekhmet

Serving Sekhmet

Disclaimer: This entire post is pretty heavy on UPG and personal views of Sekhmet. What’s valid for me may not be valid for anyone else, especially in terms of offerings and whatnot!

A few weeks ago, I came across this post about active/passive service to the gods, which set my wheels a-turnin’. Having finished a dedicated tenday to Sekhmet last week, I’ve been thinking especially how the idea of active service applies to Her. Of all my gods, She is the one Who would be most expectant of a proactive devotee, one who didn’t wait for Her instructions but thought and acted on their own.

In the past, I have been a very passive devotee, clingy and uncertain, unsure of what to offer to Her in either action or item, unconvinced that I could satisfy Her with anything I did or gave. While I’d be lying if I said I never relapsed to anxiety, nowadays I am much better at being a stable and self-strong worshipper. And in an effort to continue that positive trend, I made a list of what I could offer Sekhmet without needing Her explicit direction.

offerings/gifts

  • red alcohol
  • red meat
  • devotions (praise, songs, poetry, etc)

discrete acts of honor/service

  • martial arts
  • physical exercise, especially strength-training
  • certain forms of healing: expelling poisons, excising wounds, Shadow-healing
  • hekau, especially execrations and protective heka
  • certain kinds of energywork, especially for overall health and power

ongoing acts of honor/service

  • fighting isfet and promoting ma’at
  • establishing and protecting sacred space
  • serving the king (as the Eye of Ra is all about protecting the king)
  • transforming rage to joy, violence to celebration (as Sekhmet is pacified and becomes Hethert)

After writing the original list and now sorting it into the three categories, I understand a bit more of why I’ve felt flaily in the past—without a lot of in-shrine offerings available to me, I’ve been a little rootless. Most of what I have done and can do for Sekhmet is done in the middle of life or in gi pants outside of shrine.

That suits Her, I think. She doesn’t spend a lot of time in temples, either.

Libation for Sekhmet

Libation for Sekhmet

I got the text around 4 pm at work. “He doesn’t have cancer!” my partner exulted, delivering the news about his mother’s beloved that we’d waited for all week.

I hadn’t been emotional about the possibility until that very moment, holding my phone in my palm and staring at those blessed words. I wanted to cry for relief, no matter my coworkers around me. That evening, my partner and I picked up a bottle of good red wine: I had promised Her, and She had given me that piercing look that said She heard.

Today is the Feast of the Drunkenness of the Eye of Ra. Today I feel Sekhmet close, blood-toothed and laughing sharply as I wince at the smell of Her libation. I revert a sake-cup of the stuff and nearly gag, and I promise Her more—once we know the full extent of my family member’s remaining health concern.

She pats my head, impossibly tall, Her face in shadow. I can tell She smiles.

KRT: Bargaining with Gods

KRT: Bargaining with Gods

This post is part of the Kemetic Round Table, which aims to answer some of the most common questions and provide a wealth of diverse options for the Kemetic novice to explore.

Bribing and Threatening the Gods: Can you do it? If you can, how so? And is it somehow ‘blasphemous’ or ‘immoral’ to do so?

Can one bargain with, bribe, or even threaten a god? Absolutely. It’s even historically attested. (Here’s a great treatise on ancient Egyptian magical practices. Click on the arrow next to “4th edition” for a free and legal download!) Now, whether or not doing so is wise or will be effective is not as straightforward an answer, and whether an individual considers it blasphemous or immoral is up to that person’s own value system. Again, it was done in antiquity, so it is not automatically seen as outside of ma’at.

For myself, I don’t like the terms “bribe” or “threaten,” though they’re both accurate in some instances; I prefer “bargaining.” Bargaining gives the impression that all parties involved have agency and the ability to accept or deny the proposed bargain, and that said bargain is a compromise created to provide a win-win situation for everyone. While I have bribed gods with extra offerings in hopes of extra blessings, and I have threatened to not do X for a god if I don’t get Y from Them, I do try to stay within the positive and collaborate realm of bargaining.

When I first met Sekhmet, this is how I worked with Her. I knew She had no reason to give me something for nothing, so I would trade an offering for a blessing or a favor for Her heavy-handed assistance in something Really Important. It never struck me as strange at the time, and years later, I learned that this was pretty standard practice for ancient Egyptians. I also know better than to try to bargain for something that would fall outside ma’at; I don’t think that would end well if I did, whether I got what I was after or not.

To elaborate on that point for a moment: things that fall outside of ma’at would fall outside of the natural balance of our existence. If I need protection from a malevolent person, that’s one thing and well within ma’at; if I’m seeking vengeance on someone who wronged me by accident and not malice, that’s entirely another. Curses were part of rituals and spells in antiquity, but I don’t engage with them in my reconstructive practice; it’s a personal choice, so I wouldn’t involve a god in trying to curse someone for me.

Now that I work with gods other than the Red Lady, I’ve learned that some Netjeru do, in fact, give blessings or help out simply because They love me and They care. And, likewise, sometimes I give offerings or favors simply because I love Them and want to honor Them. But bargaining still comes into my life on a regular basis, especially when I feel like I’m asking for something that falls outside the realm of “casual” blessings. Asking my partner to grab me more tea when he gets up is a casual ask; asking my partner to clean the entire house by himself is something I would feel the need to repay in some fashion. Similarly, I want to at least offer a token of my gratitude if a god’s going to help me out in a more major way, even if it’s not a perfect one-to-one return on the god’s investment.

As for the “how” of bargaining with a god, I’ve found absolute transparency to be best. Tell Them up front that you want X and you’re willing to give them Y in exchange for Their help. I also tend to be very specific, both in what I’m asking for and what I’m offering; the biggest trade I can make is for an open-ended I.O.U. of the god’s choosing, and I offer that as rarely as possible. More often, I’ll exchange an extra food or drink offering, or a piece of art, or a service in Their name, and I always try to match the effort needed in my request to the effort I’ll expend on the offering. A god can certainly do a lot more than a mortal like me, but I still want to show appropriate respect for Their time and assistance.

It’s also worth noting that not all gods will want to bargain, while some gods may not be willing to give a petitioner everything asked of Them without being compensated in some way. Respect and humility is key to any relationship to a god, whether or not bargaining is involved.

If you enjoyed this post, please check out other takes on bargaining with the gods by my fellow Round Table bloggers!