I chose today as my first day of senut*.
(* It occurred to me that not everyone who reads this blog would understand what the hell I’m talking about when I mention senut. In effect, what I’m doing is a daily rite that wakes up the god/s. I’m also offering a meal to them, as well. Now, I can do all of this formally with words akin to what was probably used in ancient Egypt, I can do this with words from Eternal Egypt by Richard Reidy, or I can ad-lib it. I went with a mixture of RR’s rite and a bit of my own flair.)
I had been thinking hard about the specifics last night. I couldn’t sleep for crap, per usual, so my thoughts were racing all over my worries and anxieties and just generally being a huge pain in the ass. Since I wasn’t interested in having either a panic or heart attack, I kept forcing my mind on what I wanted my ritual to entail. I envisioned lots of different foods to give and a whole bunch of ways to do the actual rite. And as time went by, I became more and more elaborate with prostrations and speeches. However, to me, that pretty much undid the whole point in the ritual. I can understand being so extravagant for holidays and feast days, but not for a daily rite. So, mostly, I jettisoned them. With a few little ideas in the back of my mind, I finally fell asleep.
I’m not a big fan of doing things on a regular basis, on autopilot because it makes me feel like it lessens the entire point of whatever it is I’m doing. However, there are sometimes that formality and ritual are necessary. In this act of senut, it was necessary. I could ad-lib and make it mine however I so desired, but I also had to toe a certain sort of decorum that was necessary. As though to illustrate this, I performed an act of ritual purity* which is incredibly odd and not something I’ve often done or said that I’ve done. To me, ritual purity isn’t necessary; it’s a trapping of something that used to be necessary, but is no longer really needed. However, today, I needed to achieve this. So, my first order of business was to brush my hair, my teeth, and just generally make myself presentable for the goddess.
(* Ritual purity is actually a hot-button issue with a lot of Kemetics. Those who practice a more recon type of practice will say that it is necessary, however the level of it also varies. There are those who stick as closely to the lit as they can and utilize natron in various ways to attain ritual purity. There are those who only use soap and toothpaste, as I did. And then there are those who don’t think it has much merit at all.)
I had decided on a very simple first meal. And to be honest, this is as easy as it comes. I chose to pull out one of the plates that a very gifted artist crafted for me. I pulled out my little batch of grapes and went to town pulling them off until I felt that Sekhmet would be satisfied with what I was providing. To be perfectly blunt, I was pretty damn satisfied with what I was providing… since instead of reverting it to the earth as I had intended, I was planning on reverting it to me after the fact. (Grapes are expensive and I love ’em and I’m trying to eat healthier, so…) So, I gave her some grapes and I gave her a cup of black coffee. If it’s good enough for her on days that I haven’t done senut, then it’s good enough for days when I am doing this. I also lit a candle as a kind of, “Hey. I don’t have incense, but you know, this unscented candle can kind of be like incense, right?” I think, to be honest, Hwt-Hrw got more out of that than Sekhmet, but the thought was there. I’m going to have to ask The Sister for a few sticks of incense for the really special days that I do senut. That is until I have the funds for this, this, and this.
Afterwards, I had some services to render for a certain unhappy lwa. As it is his day of worship or honor or specialness or whatever it should be called, I had told him that my services today would be the usual coffee, but also, the removal of Papa Ghede to his own little spot. Papa Legba was ecstatic the moment I came over to visualize whatever it was that I wanted done. If one can imagine a shrieking child, but the shrieking is laughter and there’s some dancing? Yeah, that would have been Papa Legba, except that there was a crutch involved. I also had to measure the frame that Papa Ghede’s skull picture came in to rearrange the shelves in my entertainment unit.
Now that is a picture of one of the shelving units for my entertainment unit. As everyone can plainly see, I have a lot of knickknacks all over it. That’s because it looked really fucking empty without them. And also, I needed to make it purposeful in some form or another. Since it wasn’t busy entertaining anyone and I don’t want to get rid of it (anymore… which will change in another few months, I’m sure), I had to pretty much toss up a bunch of stuff. I didn’t have a theme, except to cover the shelves. Now, though, I could re-purpose it however the hell I felt like and it would work out because I am (A) that awesome and (B) aware that a certain Papa Ghede needs his space.
And as of right this second, he has plenty of space to fill up. The shelving unit looks really naked without being chock full of junk that I’ve just tossed there to fill up space. I kept my red candle on it because it’s a candle of sensuality. And since the dead have correlations with fertility (and love dirty, sex jokes), it just seemed like something he’d want around. I also kept up my small microbe of syphilis, AKA the pox. I thought about removing it, but decided that it really had its place sitting on top of my representation of Papa Ghede. After that, I went scrambling around and ended up finding (an awful smelling) purple candle to put in my giant bowl… holder… thing. I stepped back from the whole thing and was confident that what I had started was a good beginning. It felt right. I plan on printing out some pictures of headstones to line some of the upper shelf (which has little space) and maybe around the red candle, too. I also think that I might turn this into a Papa Ghede/Ghede altar area and start placing remembrances of my dead there.
All in all, I’d say I did a fucking awesome job it.
Afterward, I gave Papa Ghede a small offering of peanuts. I’m also planning on giving him a glass of tequila later to go along with the peanuts. (There’s got to be a reason as to why bars left them out to go with boozing. Maybe it was a mini-celebration of Ghede? Or perhaps, that is why he likes it so much?) I know he wants more than just some peanuts to give, but in reality, I’m at a loss. It’s easier with the goddesses because I know a general idea as to what they would get if we were back in ancient Egypt. With the lwa (not just Ghede, but Legba, as well), I find myself constantly having to do research via the Internet or analyzing what little bits of instincts I have flailing about with in me. I know that Papa Ghede wants hot sauce on something, but what the hell that is…? I’m going to have to do some trial and error, I think.
After all was said and done, I started scrambling around to find places for all the things that I used to have on my entertainment center. I was able to rearrange some things and placed the pictures that I had up there in more obvious places. In trying to find spots for placing pictures, I really realized how much surface area I have… as in, none. When it came to some of my more magical-related items, I really didn’t have much of a spot for it. To be honest, I’m speaking about the humongous mortal and pestle that TH’s mom got me for Christmas last year. I love the thing, but it’s heavy as hell and as I mentioned, I have no surface area to place it. I ended up deciding that I would place it in the center of my altar space. That way, I have representations of my goddesses, my lwa, and my herbal skills.
I’m not sure if I like having that giant mortar and pestle there. I might end up moving it (probably). In the mean time, though, at least Papa Legba is happy again and Papa Ghede has his own spot.