The Question.

 

One of the many little parts of my daily ritual includes the pulling of a daily card. I leave it out on the window sill beside my cupful of Ma’at to soak up the morning rays or the leaden skies that are forecast for the day. Sometimes, when I pull the card, I immediately understand it. It’s a reminder, a suggestion, and push in the right direction. Sometimes it begs me to slow down and to take care of myself. And sometimes it makes no sense whatsoever; it means nothing to me at the time. Whether it means something to me later is a matter of debate.

As part of this little ritual, I select a single deck to use for the month ahead. I prefer to use the same deck day-in and day-out for the full month because it helps me to understand decks that I may not use regularly and it also helps me to rotate my various decks. I have many, many types of oracle and Tarot cards and I can never use them all as much as I would like to.

This month of January I allowed my hands to float over my various decks until I pulled out a deck that I had been gifted with last year that I had side-eyed when I opened it but have found myself enjoying using: The Heart of the Faerie Oracle.

I know very little about the fae; it’s just not an area of interest to me. I love the posts about fae politics and culture and culture that go around Tumblr, but that’s about it. That’s why I didn’t understand why the deck was sent to me, but as I’ve used it over the last year, I’ve begun to understand the draw. Sometimes the cards are oblique, immaterial, confusing; sometimes it is like a punch in the gut.

Today’s pull was puzzling.

The candle is from CottageWicks and frigging amazing.

The guidebook had this to say about the card, The Question:

Intention / Dialogue / Answers

In Faerie, questions are very important. Questions, answers, and wishes, all of those things that help or hinder us on our journey are very much a part of our relationship with Faerie. “Who am I? What is your quest? Why have you come here, and what do you seek?” are questions often asked by the individuals you meet in Faerie. They don’t as often ask you who you are. It is more important for you to discover who they are.

It is important to know why you are traveling in Faerie and to be able to express that reason. You will be asked. When you cross the border into the otherworld, you should have a reason to be there. Are you a tourist, just looking around, hoping to send a postcard home? Are you on a quest, a journey of the spirit? Do you want knowledge? Experience of the otherworld? Are you looking for love? Are you searching for something that you have lost?

If you draw the Question in a reading, try to answer those questions for yourself. When you have answered, you can ask one of your own. What is that question, and of whom are you asking it? If you are clear about your quest (in Faerie and in life) and what you seek, you will then be able to ask the right questions and be ready to hear the answers.

This was all very nice and lovely, but it didn’t really explain why this card had come up this morning. I wrote in my Tarot Journal that I truly didn’t understand the purpose of all of this and figured that either I would eventually come to an understanding, or I wouldn’t. Sometimes I’m lucky and something pops up that allows me to connect the dots and other times, I’m left with a puzzled frown on my face, trying to understand what the cards are trying to say.

I was lucky that I was able to figure it out a bit after settling down to read through my WordPress Reader. I had a number of outstanding posts that I had been saving up for when I had a free moment and I had nothing to do for a bit while I waited for the world to wake up. The last post I had to read through was a post by someone I’ve known for years. I found myself at first uncomfortably interested and then visibly intrigued by what they had to say.

As I sat back, phone on my lap staring at the ceiling, I could understand what they had been going through. I, too, have watched as others have managed to bring to flesh their religious practice in a way that I cannot fathom. It is as if the language those people with fleshed out practices speak is so close to my own and yet, it is nothing like my language. I, too, have found myself envious and admiring of what those people have posted and wondered what that would look like for me.

I’ve known for a long time that the practice I’ve been kind-of dealing with hasn’t been enough. I knew it wasn’t enough four years ago, but I kept sticking to it because Kemeticism is what I knew and what I wanted. I can admit that it is still what I want; I want the relationships with the gods that I have and I suppose I’m amenable to exploring the relationships pushed upon me by such gods as Osiris and Ra. But I want flesh to cover the bones.

I want to be able to sink my hands into the dirt of my practice and feel it soak through my soul. I want to see it and smell it like a verdant garden, ripening eternally in spring-like splendor. I want to hear it and touch it. I want to know that it is there and it is made not only myself whole, but my life whole. I want to feel the ecstasy of release and the comfort of it all. I want.

I pulled my phone back up to my face and carefully typed a response to the post, “I’ve had similar issues myself. I can feel and see the bones but the flesh isn’t there. It’s been an ongoing issue for me for, well, a long time. Part of that is because I’ve felt very adrift lately.”

After leaving the comment, I put my phone down and stared at the ceiling some more. (This is actually something I do often when I’m lost in thought. I’m not sure that a ceiling has ever been able to answer questions, but it has been able to form the questions I was looking for.) The Question was there buried in the meat of my mind and it finally took form: “What would it feel like to have a fleshed out practice? What it would it look like to have something with tone and form and more than just tossing a dart at a dart board? How would I even do that?”

We don’t see this sort of stuff in Kemeticism; not really. The only person who really talked about it was TTR and they’re gone for the most part. I don’t doubt that there are Kemetics with something that is concrete and comfortable and livable, but if they’re out there, I haven’t seen them. Oh, I see people effect that persona and make it seem like that’s where they are, but I can see through the veneer. They’re no better off than I am.

When I compare what I do with what others have done, I see the difference. My practice and the practices of many other public Kemetics appear to be charcoal drawings. Others’ practices from other faiths look as if they have been shaded and painted and have a form that I can only marvel at. I want to know what that would be like for me, but alas.

Personally, I’m just cruising around, letting the flow of the world around me push and pull me wherever it decides I should go. That’s normal for me; I’m a go-with-the-flow kind of person and (contrary to popular misconceptions) I don’t like to cause a fuss. I just want things to be smooth, simple, easy, and ready for the taking. I’m just a little lazy that way.

But it doesn’t feel good. And as I’ve mentioned a time or six, it doesn’t seem to be working. As usual, I have to decide what’s best and where to go from here and I have to admit that fuck if I know. Fuck if I know.

So… well… This day started with a card pull; I should finish it with one.

The deck is the dual deck The Hidden Path & Well-Worn Path Deck which is a Raven Grimassi deck. I’ve had it since long before I learned how to better vet things and people in the pagan sphere.

I decided on this deck because it was always the one, back in those early 20-teens days that I could turn to and find a form to what I was looking for. It was the stop-gap when I felt like I was going off the rails. I needed to feel that foundation again; that feeling of knowing where I was going and what I was doing and using the very deck that steered me so well back then seemed to make the most sense.

I chose the ten-card spread called The Cauldron Spread from the book. The ten positions are listed below along with the cards I pulled for each:

  1. The Present Situation – Yule
  2. The Challenges Ahead – Ostara
  3. The Underlying Root – Tree in Summer
  4. The Querent’s Appearance in Relation to the Question – The Altar
  5. The Influencing Aspects – Faery Door
  6. Aspirations and Concerns – Wheel of the Year
  7. The Probable Course – Between the Worlds
  8. The Possible Alternative – Earth
  9. The Final Outcome – The Old Ones
  10. Transform the Outcome – Oath

I found it interesting that the card that represented my personification of this spread was The Altar. This card tends to mean a balance between the divine and yourself, which is the basis of one’s altar. The Altar is the direct interface, according to this deck anyway, between the divine and yourself. It is that physical connection that allows you to develop those relationships in many, many ways.

The reason I found this an interesting card for myself is that, no matter how many times I try to push it away, I keep coming back to that post from TTR, Ma’at Shines Through my Body and how it should relate to the utilization of one’s body as an altar-of-sorts for our gods, for our religion, and everything in between. Based on the card, I am a confluence of the physical and the divine.

The second most interesting card was the card, Between the Worlds. In effect, the card tells you that your vision isn’t clear and that in order to manifest what you want, you must have clarity of thought, clarity of vision, and cut out the distractions so that you can focus on that which you manifest.

The reason this was interesting is that it was low-key calling me out on my bullshit. I have a tendency of saying, “I will do this,” and then just not doing it. I did my Ritual365 last year, but I cut it back, cut it down, and didn’t bother to finish any of the entries I had originally intended on writing last year. Part of that is work and that nonsense, but I could have made more of an effort… which ties into that whole lazy thing I mentioned above.

And that is the crux of my issue, card reading or otherwise: I am a lazy creature. I do not want to do. I want it handed to me if it can be. That doesn’t mean that I won’t, it just means that I will put off until I cannot put it off any longer. Perhaps lazy isn’t the best word for it but that’s what I’ve always assumed it was. (That’s what all the adults told me when I was a kid. But it really goes hand-in-hand with the genetic heritage of sticking one’s head in the sand when big things happen, hoping that they will go away.)

To start, I suppose, I should solidify my vision. I should make a sort of vision board to give me clarity, to focus my desire in a specific arena that I want to flesh out first. But where? I’ve had so many ideas in the last year alone – reading subject matter that has little to do with Kemeticism but explores other avenues of religion so that I can try and figure out where I go from here – that I’m not quite sure which ideas make sense to include and which ones don’t.

I think I’ll just start with writing out the things that I want to include in my practice and see where that leads.

The Twelfth Hour.

The Book of the Hidden Chamber [Amduat]

The final hour completes the rebirth and regeneration of the sun and life. “In the freshness of the morning, “the sky is gold, the water lapis lazuli, the earth is strewn with turquoise”. [p 140, Abt & Hornung, Knowledge of the Afterlife.]

The World-Encircler from the previous hour is shown on the ground. It is ready to receive the solar barque with all of the gods and the dead. They travel through the serpent’s spine to be rejuvenated. The Sungod is transformed into the scarab-headed god, Khepri, and is lifted in the horizon by the arms of Shu.

The lower register show the primeval gods of the Ogdoad as they work to assist in the act of creation. They are drawn beside the eight gods of the oars. The final depiction of the final hour ends with a jubilation at the regeneration of both Re and Osiris. Osiris is depicted in mummiform and is attested that while he may have to remain within the netherworld, he is awaiting the next return of the sun.

The Book of Gates

And so finally, we have come to the final hour and the conclusion.

The sun god has finally arrived for his impending rebirth, ready to enter the gateway to the day beyond:

The mystery of sunrise, into which the dead are here inducted, unfolds in several individual scenes, beginning in the upper register with gods who “carry the blazing light,” which is represented concretely by the sun disks in their hands. Stars again prefigure the appearance the sun, while goddesses seated atop serpents surround the solar child.

Before the sun god’s solar barque, A/pep is rendered immobile and tied up. It is depicted to show that it is unable to prevent the upcoming rebirth of the sun from continuing. Behind this, four baboons announce the sun god at the horizon. The lowest register shows symbols of power, crowns specifically, which are to be worn while leaving the netherworld. Isis and Nephthys, symbolized by uraei, guard the final gate.

The conclusion of this book is not divided into registers. The whole course of the sun is condensed into a single image. “Half hidden in the depths, the god Nun raises the solar barque out of the primeval waters, which are indicated by wavy lines. In the barque, the sun, in the form of a soaring scarab beetle, is embraced by Isis and Nephthys, while he betel pushes the sun disk toward the sky goddess Nut, who receives the god Re.” [p64, Hornung, The Ancient Egyptian Books of the Afterlife.]

All three of the interior spaces of the cosmos are thus contained in this complex representation: the primeval waters, the height of the heavens, and the depths of the earth (the netherworld). From above and below, arms are stretched toward the sun, arms that hold it and move it through these cosmic spaces, day after day.

The Book of Night

The name of the gateway for this final hour is “She Who Repels the Destructive Ones”. This hour is associated with Nut’s thighs as the sun rolls down towards her feet. The hour itself is named “She Who Sees the Beauty of Re” and the solar barque continues to be towed forward. The guide is another crocodile-headed deity known as, “The Primordial One of the Lower Sky”.

Ma’at stands before Re and offers him up the sign of life, the ankh, to symbolize his rebirth. The solar barque sales upon the primeval waters of the Nun, and it is through these waters that the inundation occurs again, only this time bringing forth the sun into the new day.

Though it may seem as if everyone may attain the moment of rebirth, it is possible that not all will make it even in this hour. Standing in the upper register of this hour is “He Who Causes Enemies to be Forgotten”, ready to ensnare the travelers so that their living memory is forgotten and annihilating all traces of their life.

In the lower register stand “He Who Judged According to His Knowledge”, “He Who Severs Heads”, “Frightening of Face”, and the “Trapper in the Sky”. The nets of the trapper are waiting to trap those who are opposed to the way of the sun-boat, those who may try to stop the solar barque from moving forward into the turbulent final hour of rebirth.

An image of a potter’s wheel is shown near Nut’s vulva. The potter’s wheel stands on a sledge and upon the wheel is a scarab beetle with a stream of liquid coming forth from its head. The liquid flows down toward the hieroglyph for the sky, which is supported by another scarab beetle. Beneath the beetle is a seated child. Kneeling before the potter’s wheel are two gods of the Ogdoad, Huh and Hauhet, the two known as Endlessness.

Beneath Nut’s feet stand Nephthys and Isis, hands held aloft beneath the sun. They are the midwives of this hour, helping to bring forth the sun, supporting the newborn sun when he comes forth from Nut’s body.

Further Reading

  • The Ancient Egyptian Books of the Afterlife by Erik Hornung
  • Knowledge for the Afterlife by Theodor Abt and Erik Hornung
  • My Heart, My Mother by Alison Roberts

The Osiris Mysteries: Presenting the Corn Mummy to Daylight.

November 21 – 25, 2019/IV Akhet 19-23

A five-day festival during the Osiris Mysteries is to take the corn mummy you made and present it to daylight. There are other festivals peppered within this 5-day ritual, and I’ll catalog what I did for some of those while also discussing why I didn’t specifically do anything for the others listed.

It’s November in New England, which means that you get paltry sunlight for about half the day. The rest of the time, it’s cloudy and/or raining. And it is, of course, always cold. So as I pulled my preferred corn mummy from its place on my household altar, I wondered what the next five days would bring.

The first day was okay. The sun shown pretty brightly and the breeze wasn’t too terrible. I almost was able to get away wearing a hoody for the entire day. (Towards the end of the day, the wind picked up and it got cold again.) The following day, it rained. The third day, it was sunny and actually stayed light for most of the day. None of that in-between peekaboo shit for the sun that day! We were even able to get some basic lawn work done before the sunset. It rained on the fourth day and was pretty dreary. The sun was out for the last day and it was almost in the 50s.

I wasn’t really surprised the weather did what the weather always does in the winter, but I did have to wonder what Osiris, and by extension his corn mummy, had to say about it. At least it didn’t snow.


The Osiris Mysteries: Making Ointment
(November 21, 2019/IV Akhet 19)

I did not celebrate this for much the same reason I didn’t make unguents. I’m not an ointment person and to be perfectly honest, whenever I think of the word ointment, I think about BENGAY, the topical pain relieving ointment. I just don’t really think that’s what precisely is meant here. And besides, I really have no idea what in the world the ointment would be used for? I don’t think the corn mummy needs a pain reliever.

 

The Osiris Mysteries: Finding the Udjat Eye & Weaving the Burial Cloth (November 22, 2019/IV Akhet 20)

When I first saw the name of this, I had to wonder if the Udjat Eye finding was because she went missing again, or if it was because of Horus’s eye. According to The Ancient Egyptian Daybook, “the two Udjat eyes of Osiris are found. An abnen-bird emerges from them. It is in the form of a standard of Pakhet, to which one says: ‘Shining Lady’.” I liked my idea about the eyes being Horus’s missing eyes better, honestly.

I am not into fiber arts, so I don’t weave. I can knit as long as you don’t expect me to start it or to finish it, but I can’t do much else. So about a month ago, I went out with my husband to find something that I thought would be an appropriate burial cloth. My original idea was one of those decorative sheer scarves (I have several in various colors) that I would wrap my corn mummy in and then bury the whole shebang in the dirt after I buried the corn mummy. I wanted a white one.

But of course, I couldn’t find what I was looking for.

All I could find was a really beautiful pashmina in white that is so soft and so pretty and I really want to find an excuse to wear it one day. And did I mention it is really beautiful? The funniest thing is that I was extremely ambivalent about it when my husband pointed it out. (As I bought it, he made sure to remind me that he was the one who found it for me and that he is very good about finding religious things for me.) So, it’s more of a stand-in as the burial cloth until I end up finding a sheer, white scarf like I had originally intended. Eventually.


The Osiris Mysteries: Removing the Mummy & The Divine Bandages
(November 23, 2019/IV Akhet 21)

I have no idea when I was supposed to put the mummy in bandages, divine or otherwise. There wasn’t anything that I saw in the calendar that would have indicated that I would need to bandage up the mummy in preparation for the day that I would remove the bandages. There are no notes in the Daybook about what this could mean, so I shrugged it off and moved on with my life.


The Osiris Mysteries: The Procession of the 34 Boats
(November 24, 2019/IV Akhet 22)

I kind of poked around in my lexicon of possibilities and decided that I would do a Roaming Gnome impression. I did something like this before for a Procession of Sekhmet and I had a lot of fun. I can admit that I had fun roaming around my house with a sheet of paper flapping in my wind.

We started off in the back of the house, peering into the darkness.

I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to stop off at the household altar, which you may notice is now sporting a djed. That will come into play later.

The 34 Boats had to stop off and say hi to our pirate boat.

I’ve been purifying my tub of dirt every night until we’re ready for me to start planting things.

I love that little green half-loaf pan. And I have a perverse sense of humor. (You know… O was broken into parts…)

And of course, we ended up back at home base because, of course, we were always heading there.


The Osiris Mysteries: Preparation for Burial
(November 25, 2019/IV Akhet 23)

And thus we get to the part that I really was looking forward to: I’ve got dirt! Okay, so I already had dirt. But my circle of dirt that looked like a little dish is now officially dirt and not a hunk of round freeze dried dirt!

Is it a machine that packs it down so it fits perfectly? What does quality control for that look like? Do people use measuring tape to make sure it works out well when you buy these kits?

It required 3.5 cups of water. I dumped the required amount of water and immediately began to panic. I checked the directions three times in rapid succession, but it had indeed requested that I use 3.5 cups of warm water to make the dirt circle turn into a clump of dirt. I had misgivings as I walked away, not aware that freeze dried dirt demands water like a starving animal demands food. (My ignorance is because gardening has never been my forte.)

I really enjoyed breaking up the dirt. My hands were really dirty and I had a hard time taking a clear picture, but I fucking loved it. Maybe gardening is something that I could actually get into.

I tossed the dirt clump into my tub of dirt and played around in the dirt a few more times.

I made dirt! And it didn’t go wrong!

The Osiris Mysteries: Opening Ceremonies & The Gods Appear in 34 Boats

November 20, 2019/IV Akhet 18

I started thinking about what to do for the Opening Ceremonies in October. Opening ceremonies can be very important and tend to highlight the look and feel of the event even after it has begun. I racked my brain, trying to figure out what would be appropriate and what was something that I could do.

As is my wont, I started with really over-the-top ideas. I have such a bad habit of going overboard with things because I want to show that I am a Real Polytheist™ like everyone else proclaims to be. But the problem with that is that I am a spoony, so I don’t always have the energy to do what I had originally thought up. And I don’t always have the available cash flow to do what I had originally planned. Just because the budget looks bright and shiny a month in advance that doesn’t mean it actually will when you finally get to that point.

The other part of this is that this year’s Mysteries are a sort of test run. Usually, I would have accompanying words and gestures to go along with all of this. But since I have never once participated before this year, Osiris and I agreed that this would be a word-less venture this year: no rites, simple gestures with intent, no words of power to accompany everything else.

So all of my over-the-top ideas were quickly jettisoned as time went by.

I would periodically worry the thread of what I should be doing over the month in advance that I thought about all of this. Sometimes I came up with little ideas that I didn’t feel were too terrible, or at least Osiris didn’t seem to offended or annoyed with what I was suggesting. (And to be quite honest, there were a few times where my ideas actually were very annoying or repulsive to him.)

Not only did I have to do something to commemorate the opening salvo for the Mysteries (since everything to this point has been preparation, more or less), but I also had to come up with some way to show 34 boats as Osiris is accompanied by 34 gods, each in their own individual boats.

From The Ancient Egyptian Daybook:

Boats for Osiris and his companion deities were floated on the Dendera sacred lake on IV Akhet 18. There were 34 boats total:

  1. Osiris
  2. Isis
  3. Nephthys
  4. Horus
  5. Thoth
  6. Imsety
  7. Hapy (one of the sons of Horus)
  8. Duamutef
  9. Qebshenuef
  10. The Capturer
  11. Who Acts Violently
  12. Horus Who Beholds his Father
  13. Who Creates His Own Name
  14. Who Is in His Lifetime
  15. Horus, Beautiful of Front (Face/Front Side)
  16. Their Thrones
  17. Maker of Boundaries
  18. Khonsu the Construstor
  19. The Divine Falcon over His Arm
  20. The Terrifying One
  21. Sia
  22. Who Creates Himself
  23. In Front of Two
  24. She Who is Great in Age
  25. The Two Runners
  26. Name Lost
  27. Name Lost
  28. Name Lost
  29. Name Lost
  30. Who Doesn’t Give His Flame
  31. The Two Red-Eyed Ones
  32. Foremost of the House of the Red Garment
  33. The Lion of the Night Who Brought Him Low
  34. The Destroyer

That was a lot of gods and while the idea of origami was palatable, I could also admit that it was completely out. I’m not good with paper folding as I’ve tried repeatedly and it doesn’t work out ever. I don’t know how people with magic fingers can make things out of paper, but I do not have magic fingers and my paper folding tends to end up in a crumpled up ball of frustration at my feet.

Two days out, I threw up my hands and figured I would decide what to do on the day in question. Something would pop in my head and either it would work out, or it wouldn’t.

I lit all of my candles and then sat down in the living room to make the boats.

It may seem ridiculous to take out a piece of white paper and just draw 34 boats on it, but sometimes that’s about as much energy and pizzazz as you can do. I actually ended up with two copies.

The first one, I tried to be very precise with my boats, keeping them evenly spaced and about 1″ long. I found it irritating and stupid, so I free handed the second sheet. I outlined each little boat in black sharpie so it could be seen clearly from far away.

I am, what you may call, a perfectionist. I stared at the boats a couple of times on my second sheet and seriously considered throwing it away as well. It wasn’t… it didn’t come out right. I looked back at the first sheet of my carefully spaced, 1″ long boats and realized that having them so “perfect” looking didn’t work. The boats would have all looked the same in antiquity, but they wouldn’t have all looked exactly alike.

I also kind of felt, as I looked harder, that having them kind of not-so-evenly spaced on the paper gave it the appearance of boats floating randomly on the water. It took me a bit to warm up to it, but I eventually got there.

Once I was done with the boats, I turned back to the Opening Ceremonies themselves. I had a couple of ideas which was basically music and rattling my little paper of boats around over the altar space I use for Osiris.

Music is also a very important part to any religious festival, so I worried about what I would choose. Inevitably, as I thought about it, I realized that having horns and drums announcing something was probably the greatest way to go about it, so we listened to Fanfare for the Common Man on repeat a few times.

As I walked into my candle lit space, I decided that I was being ridiculous for just holding a sheet of paper over the space, letting it waft in the breeze I created. But I can remember a million times before now where being ridiculous or silly or a little joke-y about things wasn’t so bad. So I went with it. And it seems to have worked out.

The Osiris Mysteries: Opening the House.

November 18, 2019/IV Akhet 16

Before the Opening the House rite, the day prior is known as Preparing the Coffin and Unguents. I initially had every intention of doing something, but the truth is that I didn’t feel a hard pull to do so. And I forgot. At quarter of nine, I realized I had dismissed my alarm and wasn’t sure what to do so late in the game. (My nighttime working is usually done between 8pm-9pm.)

I didn’t feel a particular need to do this because I’m not a fan of unguents or oils. I always end up making a mess, or accidentally destroy something when I use them. And since I plan on burying my corn doll in dirt that I will be growing something in, it didn’t seem like a wise idea to prep or utilize unguents of any sort. It may have been the norm for burials in antiquity and was no doubt done for the corn dolls, but considering my black thumb, I can’t take too many chances.

I also didn’t plan on making a coffin for use. I need the paperwhites to get as much soil nutrition as possible and even with a coffin made of something that could assist the plants with growing, I’m not going to try. I did draw a little modern day coffin in the dirt though.

The Opening the House rite doesn’t have any accompanying text or notes in the Daybook. I knew, after looking into Nephthys, that the reference to the house more than likely had something to do with the inner sanctum of the temple. As I mentioned in my entry on her, her name is often translated as Mistress of the House, but could also mean Mistress of the Temple Enclosure.

It made a certain kind of sense to me that this particular rite probably had something to do with the temple, or the inner sanctum of Osiris: the house, so to speak.

I am not a priest of Osiris, or frankly any of my gods. What I do regularly for them may make people think that I am a priest or priestess for my gods, but I can say concretely that at this juncture in my life I am not.

I know a bit about what more than likely took place within the temples in antiquity but it’s a guess on my part in some instances. Those guesses are mostly logical guesses based on what I’ve learned over the years. But I’m still a little uncertain.

I decided the best course of action was to go with something simple and easy. Nothing flowery; nothing overt.

I purified my kitchen work space with sandalwood incense, leaving it to burn over the window box I had filled with dirt two days before. I also lit the candle on my household altar in front of my two corn doll attempts.

I opened up the door to my ritual room, or spooky room, and thought about the meaning behind the phrase “opening the house.” The inner sanctum of all temples was kept private. The only ones allowed within were the priests and priestesses of the god. The holy of holies was never seen by the lay person, but that wasn’t the only place where the lay people would have been given access to if the priests and priestesses were “opening the house”.

It was probably a very magical moment to be able to go into the temple. There were public areas that people could access regularly but maybe this whole opening of the house meant that they could go into less common areas.

I lit the candles on my ancestor and Osiris altar, lighting incense to purify the space.

I am not a lay person, per se, but as I sat and watched the candles flicker in the darkness of my room, I could see why it would be important for the priests to “open the house”. It would give people the ability to feel close to a god who they might fear (considering his association with the netherworld) and to better understand, maybe, what it must have been like for his priesthood.

Maybe they opened the doors for the people who relied on Osiris’s associations with growth, and greenery, and vegetation, and fertility for their very lives so they could connect with him on a level beyond his death and rebirth.

Or maybe I’m making it all up. Maybe it was the flickering of the candlelight and the myrrh incense (I don’t know why he didn’t want sandalwood in my ritual room, but there you have it) combined to make me overthink and project what I thought the purpose of this particular day is.

The house is open.

The Osiris Mysteries: Forming the Earth.

November 16, 2019/IV Akhet 14

For the few days before the Forming the Earth ritual, I tried to figure out what that meant for me and what I was hoping to accomplish during the Osiris Mysteries. According to The Ancient Egyptian Daybook by Tamara Suida: “A statue of Sokar-Osiris was formed out of soft earth in a silver mold on this day, and prepared until IV Akhet 16.” I had a couple of options available to me but I wasn’t sure what made the most sense.

I knew that I wanted to have a container filled with earth of some sort, but I had to ask myself what earth made the most sense. I had a number of decorative sands that I could use and I was leaning towards the black and red decorative sand in a sort of swirled mix. I had a very for the aesthetic ideal when I thought up this idea, but I wasn’t 100% sure if it worked for me.

After talking it over with Devo, the main question they asked me to help me figure it out was, “Well, are you planning on growing anything?” I kind of wanted to. I’m not what you would call a green thumb (I can kill a cactus pretty easily) but eventually, I would like to try this whole gardening spiel. So I spent some time researching winter plants and what I would need in order to foster them to growth during the Osiris Mysteries.

Eventually, I decided that I could try my hand at this growing business. Osiris has deep ties to growth and greenery. It made sense for me to at least give it a shot. I may not be successful and I will have to come to terms with that if and when it happens. But I am hoping that I can at least get a few sprouts before everything goes to shit.

This meant that I knew what I needed: real dirt, some seeds from a winter-friendly plant, and a container to grow it all in.

I spent much of the morning at various stores where I could purchase the needed supplies. I found a rectangular bronze-and-black window box that I liked. I needed only about a 12″ long box, but wound up walking away with a 15″ long box. I poked through the plant kits readily available for purchase and decided to buy some paper whites for this experience. (I chose them over the amaryllis because they were white for purity and they kind of reminded me of snow drops.) My husband found me some good dirt to use for the type of flowers I was trying to go and I was ready to start.

After cleaning up my work space and the container I purchased, I ritually purified it with a stick of sandalwood incense. (This has been the incense choice for the Osiris Mysteries since I haven’t been asked to use any of my other incense blends yet.)

I actually had a lot of fun piling in the dirt I had chosen. The smell of opening the bag and just inhaling it was pleasurable. I can understand why people enjoy gardening. I also found it very nice to stick my hands deep into the dirt and swish it around in a swirl around the container. Maybe it’s the kid in me or maybe it’s the memory of helping my mom to plant morning glories in the front garden when I was a kid, but I liked it.

The dirt we had chosen wasn’t as dark as I would have liked it (I couldn’t get out the idea that I needed a very dark brown dirt), but I was the only one complaining about that. I poked around in it for a bit and then sloped the pile into a sort of mound shape to the best of my ability.

After inhaling the box of dirt a few more times, I opened the plant growing kit and was surprised to see a giant disc of dirt at the bottom. I don’t know what I was expecting? In my defense, the last time I tried to grow something from scratch, my seedlings ended up popping up in the middle of the container and not at the top like I had expected, so…

I pulled out the disc and after talking with my husband (whose mother is a horticulturist so he knows more about this stuff than I do), I decided I would use the disc. It technically is supposed to sit in the bottom of a round container that came with the growing kit (and if I didn’t intent on burying an 8″ tall corn doll I would have used it), but I thought I could use it in my long container since it comes with, probably, specifically good plant food for paper whites.

The Osiris Mysteries: Prepping the Corn Mummy.

November 14, 2019/IV Akhet 12

During the earlier part of this year when I was re-working my calendar, I got the ping to add the plethora of various holidays associated with the Osiris Mysteries to my calendar. I was horribly uncomfortable with the idea as I have never once paid any attention to this holiday and, by my last accounting of the myriad deities I have developed relationships with, Osiris wasn’t a part of the herd. This, of course, was a lie. When Ra showed up last year, he brought Osiris along and I’ve been slowly integrating more and more Osiris into my practice.

Eventually, I’ll compile my thoughts on Ra and Osiris into a single entry and how I relate them to the Wheel of the Year, but today, we’re going to talk about the first part of the Osiris Mysteries. It’s time to prepare the Corn Mummies.

Initially, I was hoping to not have to do this. I joked around and said I would buy the most over-the-top stuffed animal that was a piece of corn with eyes and a mouth. I even joked about it on my Tumblr. But I was told that this would not work out and that I needed to actually figure out how to make a corn doll.

I’ve never made a corn doll in my life, although I’ve seen people do it and have admired many of the results. I started looking through various how-tos and bookmarked the Martha Stewart guide on how to do it. I figured if there was anyone who knew what they were doing, Martha was the one.

I wasn’t sure where to even find corn husks locally. Would they be at my grocery store? Would they be at Wal-Mart and how big of a package would they have? So I bought the recommended type from Martha’s guide. I wasn’t sure how much 6oz of husks would be so I almost bought two, then thought better of it. (I have a habit of buying too much of a thing.) Good thing I didn’t buy two…

This picture is from after I had pulled 12 husks out of the package. I still have at least 2/3 of the husks left after my attempts. So a good thing my mental self reminded myself that I always end up with too much of stuff when I worry I won’t have enough.

I found out quickly that soaking them for 10 minutes was my least favorite part. I didn’t have a bowl big enough where the 12 husks I had pulled out could actually soak properly. So I found myself holding them down like this for the full 10 minutes. And of course, I had used cold ass water to soak them in.

My second to least favorite part was “blotting” away the excess water. Either I over soaked them because I held them down or Martha and I have vastly different definitions of “excess water”. The good thing was that the water beaded up on the husks and rolled off. The bad thing was that I used half a damn paper towel role to get rid of the water. And they still weren’t completely free of moisture when I started making the doll.

The first part was easy. I could tie some twine about an inch down and voila! I had the start. But the twine seemed a little thicker than what Martha was showing in the sketch of her how-to guide, so I was a bit worried. And I found that the twine I had chosen was no longer cute. The edges were coming undone and it hurt to tie it off.

I got lost at the next part. You’re supposed to fold the husks down so they cover the twine, but when I tried to do that, it looked nothing like the picture perfect sketch Martha had on her website. I was worried I had messed up somehow (were the husks too moist? Did I tie it off improperly?). I pulled up YT, found a video, and confirmed I was doing it right. I had to stop comparing my attempts to the Queen of Decor.

I was so busy following the video I found that I didn’t stop to take a picture until the head, arms, and waist were completed. I realized my mistake when I was contemplating how to do the legs.

I stared at it for a while and realized that what Martha said to do for legs meant that the husks could be evenly divided into halves. Since I didn’t consider that when I was pulling husks down, worried I was fucking everything up, my doll had a dress motif going. I had been advised clearly that the doll needed legs, so I cut the husks down the middle like the YT video indicated to start the legs.

The doll didn’t seem big enough to add knees like Martha’s guide indicated to do, so I tied off near the bottom so I had feet on the thing. I stared at it for a long time, trying to decide if this was The Doll or if I needed to start over.

I grabbed my scissors to start trimming down the twine and decided this was not working for me. I didn’t like how big it was. I didn’t like the twine. I didn’t like the arms or hands. I really didn’t like the look of it with twine and envisioning it with clothes on, I knew that my first attempt was only that: an attempt.

I grabbed my clear small rubber bands that I have used twice for my hair, grabbed 4 more husks, and started on my second [and final] attempt.

I liked this one much better. I didn’t have twine and I could easily trim down the feet or arms so that the doll didn’t look unwieldy. I also liked it because I knew what to do this time so it took me all of 5 minutes to finish once I figured out how many times I had to twist the clear rubber bands.

Even though I didn’t like how the first one came out and found myself frustrated at the beginning, I actually realized that I liked doing this. It felt very good to be able to make something that I’ll be using for the next two weeks or so in my festivities for the Mysteries. And now that I know what I know about corn dolls, I’ll feel comfortable when I need to do this again next year.

The final rite for this was to rest my dolls under the protective gaze of Bes until the one I like is ready to be presented and the other one is ready to be ritually burned.

The Eleventh Hour.

The Book of the Hidden Chamber [Amduat]

The upper register is associated with the mystery of time and with the birth of the hours. The double-headed Sungod is depicted as “Master of Time” gesturing to the two representations for time, Neheh and Djet. Beside this image, Atum holds the wings of a serpent with legs. The following serpent is depicted with stars around its head. The stars represent the night hours.

The middle register shows preparation for the upcoming sunrise. The “World-Encircler,” a giant serpent that is being carried before the solar barque by twelve deities. Isis and Nephthys are shown at the end of this register as Uraeus-serpents that carry the crowns to the Gate of Sais, the eastern gate. They are met by four figures of Neith, who was the goddess of the town of Sais.

The final register is used to prevent any threats that may attempt to stop the rising of the sun. Punishment is used against the condemned who may try to stop the sun from being reborn. They are shown in fiery pits, which are drawn like hills. Several goddesses armed with knives stand before these pits, spitting fire. Behind these pits, the “desert valley of those who are upside down” is shown. “They are decapitated and set on fire, their hearts are torn from their bodies, their heads placed at their feet, their bodies upside down.” [p 132, Abt & Hornung, Knowledge of the Afterlife.]

The Book of Gates

The Eleventh Hour shows A/pep in the upper register. It is bound, dismembered, and rendered completely harmless. The top which it is bound with includes its assistants, and is held by a giant fist. The central imagery of this hour depicts the face of Re as he enters a barque, allowing the deceased to gaze upon him. He is preceded by the stars. The final register both the oarsman of the sun god and the goddesses of time are shown. A few of these deities are already undertaking the job to announce the sun god’s appearance at the horizon in preparation for the next hour.

The Book of Night

The crocodile-headed god called “Gold is God” leads the solar barque through the eleventh hour gateway. This gateway is known as “She Who Protects Her Lord”. This hour is associated with the legs of Nut, and it is in this hour that rebirth truly begins.

At the bottom of this hour, all of the akhu who have been justified appear in their divinized state. Above the solar barque various deities stand guard, bearing names such as, “the One with the Holy Eye”, “the Brilliant One”, “Benben“, and “He Who Loves the Female Unique One”.

Through their service of Osiris the night travellers are now granted the supreme visiion of cosmic rebirth at the eleventh hour in ‘the following of this god’, seeing the radiance of Re and his uraeus companion shining at dawn. Towed by the ‘Unwearyin g Stars’ and guided by “Gold of the Gods’, those in the sun-boat come to see that nothing in the world dies, that death is not destruction but change and becoming, a transmutation of all beings in a recreated world.

Further Reading

  • The Ancient Egyptian Books of the Afterlife by Erik Hornung
  • Knowledge for the Afterlife by Theodor Abt and Erik Hornung
  • My Heart, My Mother by Alison Roberts

Dusk.

The Dream.

I was running through the woods. Sometimes I was running through an abandoned building, but mostly I was outside in a heavily wooded area. It would have been beautiful if I wasn’t so busy running and gasping for breath.

The arrow pierced through my coat. It didn’t hit me but it could have. I didn’t know where it came from except somewhere behind me. It flew through the coat and cracked against the tree in front of me. That’s when I realized I was being hunted, so I woke myself up.

When I went back to sleep some time later, I was back there again. But instead of arrows, the hunter was using a rifle of some kind. I’d hear it cock and the bullet go whizzing by when I zigged out of its way. The hunter wore all black, no camouflage, and stepped out ahead of me, gun aimed at my chest…

I woke up again and it was close enough to the time to get up that I didn’t go back to sleep this time. It was many hours later that I looked up hunting in my preferred Dream Dictionary. It’s not the only one I use because I have a personal one for repeated themes, but I had never been hunted in a dream before. I didn’t know what this meant.

To dream that you are being hunted indictates that you are being overwhelmed by life’s challenges.

Yeah. Yeah, that sounded about right. I couldn’t deny that.

The Dog.

My pet is a 14-year-old tweenie Dachshund. Her mom was a mini and her dad was a standard, so she’s in-between the two common sizes people see.

She’s had health issues with her back since she was 5 or 6, which is common. She has IVDD, the disease of all long-shaped dogs, and we manage it when she has a flare. If anyone knows Crusoe, the famous Dachshund, he had a flare some years back that left his back legs paralyzed. Wth medication and physical therapy, he came through. Jazz’s flares aren’t that bad, luckily, but they sure suck.

She also has very Bad Teeth. This is my fault for not getting her used to teeth brushing as a puppy, but we manage as well as we can now. She periodically gets an abscess that leaves her more crotchety and stubborn than the usual Dachshund crotchetiness and stubbornness.

In late September, she had an abscess that we dealt with via medication. She is old enough now where the vet has major concerns about putting her under to remove her teeth. The meds worked and she was back to her usual round of Dachshund stubborn in two days. That’s when she had an IVDD flare.

I had picked her up and then she was crying in pain. I brought her to the emergency vet room and we waited a very long time to see the dogtor. I went in knowing what we needed because of previous visits and the doc didn’t disagree. Since the pain was more in her neck than her back, the dogtor warned me that this might be a bigger flare than we were used to; evidently neck flares can sometimes only be treated with surgery.

Jazz was pretty pissed off with me for all the poking and prodding she went through. She snubbed me twice in the office and then again after we left. She was also quite high, which leaves her wanting to become one with my lap. It was an interesting ride home at ten o’clock that night.

After a few days on her anti-inflammatory and pain meds, she was moving around a lot better. She wasn’t running around just yet but she was able to move her head again. She was loopy, as she gets on gabapentin, and slept the entire day away while I was at work. I knew she was feeling better when she tried to walk up the stairs (a big no-no for Dachshunds) and jumping on the couch (another big no-no) when no one was around.

She finished off her meds last week and I did a placebo test to make sure she was 100%: I pretended to sprinkle her meds on her medication-laced-cookie-of-choice (cheese) and saw she was still ok. She’s back to being her usual self and I’m glad this flare is over.

The Dread.

I realized my mom was MIA on social media in early October. I checked her FB profile and saw her last posts were in late September. My mom’s only form of communication is social media so I texted her, but received no response. This isn’t weird because she is agoraphobic to a degree, has anxiety about talking on the phone or texting, and usually gets back to me when she’s ready.

I texted again last week, which is when my brother messaged to say something was wrong. After talking it over via messages, I managed to get him to take her to the ER because everything he said was a major RED FLAG that something was wrong. She wasn’t taking care of herself or her dog-daughter. She suffers from severe depression and while she may stop taking care of herself for a bit, she has never stopped taking care of a pet.

They took her to the ICU because she was Very Ill. They managed to stop the original symptoms of what sent her to the ICU and stabilized her enough to go to a regular room. But every day there is more Bad News and every day, I’m left kind of numb at the end of it. They think they may have finally figured out what caused the change in her behavior but we aren’t sure yet. They run test after test and ask question after question. I’m tired and worried.

I’m waiting for The Call the child gets when things go down. That Call. I honestly don’t see her leaving the hospital, healed and better. Based on al the positive vibes they tell me I suppose it’s possible. She could come out of this, but I don’t think so.

The Dilemma.

So when does the child pack a bag, hop on a plane, and fly 3000 miles to watch her mom in a hospital room? I could fly if I need to (I have a fear of heights) and my boss says she’ll give me time off if needed. But do I go down there to start wrapping things up now, or wait until a prognosis is given?

I don’t know what is to happen here. I’ve spoken with my brother about what we do if this ends the way I believe it does. We always had a plan in place because my mom has never been the healthiest person on the planet. But I can say that I thought this stuff was 10+ years away.

She’s only 63.

The Tenth Hour.

The Book of the Hidden Chamber [Amduat]

The upper register shows the cure and protection of the solar eyes. These eyes are marked in red and are cared for by two goddesses. Beside this imagery, we find eight Sekhmet deities (four with human heads) and eight images of Djehuty in monkey-form, holding the restored eye within his hand.

The middle register shows twelve guardians of the solar god who protect him from his enemies. The first four guardians carry an arrow, the next four carry a spear, and the final group of four are shown carrying a bow. The texts indicate that they accompany the Sungod throughout the entire twelve hour journey of the night and during the twelve hours of the day.

The lowest register shows the regenerating water of the Nun. This region is known as “with deep water and high banks”. There are bodies within this watery rectangle floating in various positions until Horus assists them with coming ashore. He prevents them from decomposing although these deceased beings were not provided a standard burial. They share the same fate as Osiris.

Here we have the consoling part of the Amduat, that even those who – by a natural accident – do not have the benefit of ritual preparation for the afterlife are preserved by the divine intervention of Horus.

The Book of Gates

The central imagery of the Tenth Hour shows the battle between A/pep and the gods who fight against it. Fourteen deities hold nets within their grasp, lifted above their heads. Within the nets are magical power and lifting these nets seems to render A/pep immobile and defenseless. A single god, known as the Old One and possibly signifying Geb, ties A/pep up.

The register above and below this central scene show special forms of the sun god’s various manifestations. He appears as a griffin in the upper register, surrounded by two serpent deities who also focus on the attach of A/pep. A single rope connects the figures. The sun god’s form is that of a falcon, though it is referenced as Khepri. “The accompanying text mentions ’emergence’ and stresses that the journey is proceeding towards the sky.” [p. 64, Hornung, The Ancient Egyptian Books of the Afterlife.]

The Book of Night

The tenth hour gateway is called “Lady of Fear”. The solar barque is guided through the gateway by a crocodile-headed deity, who is named “Good Fortune of His Mother”. The body parts of Nut that are related to this hour are the vulva, for this is when the rebirth of the new day truly begins.

In the upper register, there are a number of divine beings. One is “The One who Causes Breath”, who knows the secrets of divine utterance. There is also a divine being called “The One who nurtures his Father”. This relates to the Bull of His Mother epithet, meaning that the son has become the father. They have become unified.

When the two are experienced as one, complete and perfect in unity, so the divine nature is realizes whilst traveling onward to the place of dawn and pure light. Such a unity is also recognized in the text of the justified:

Those who adore Re on earth, and those who cense the gods in the Duat, will be in the following of this god.

The lower register shows two identical transfigured or justified ones, wearing the divine beard. These beings have become divine and their mummified bandages have been removed: “Your head-covering has been taken away, your bandages have been undone, and there will be no removal of your bread.” [p 156, Roberts, My Heart, My Mother.] This passage seems to indicate that the mummification process is only needed for the first few hours; once we enter the tenth hour, the soul no longer is necessary for the deceased’s continued existence.

This hour is a place of memory, invoking images of one’s past and name:

During the tenth hour the essence of a person’s existence in experienced in the glorious state of unity reached through the heart. Empowered by memory at this sacred place of birth, the initiate comes to understand the mystery of totality in which all contrasts are subsumed, all opposites dissolved.

Further Reading

  • The Ancient Egyptian Books of the Afterlife by Erik Hornung
  • Knowledge for the Afterlife by Theodor Abt and Erik Hornung
  • My Heart, My Mother by Alison Roberts