One of the things that I’ve been slowly working on is my Kemetic calendar. I don’t mention it often because, let’s face it, working on something mundane like that isn’t very glamorous. And you know, it really is very slow going. It’s mostly a slow process because my brain can implode with the amount of information I have to keep to the forefront at any given time while working through all of this. Combine that was even a basic mathematical skill set and you have one cranky Satsekhem. (I usually work on said calendar only fully caffeinated, once or twice a month.) So, it’s slow going but also, I don’t want to overstimulate myself either. There are hundreds of festivals to choose from! How in the world can I decide which ones I should add and which ones I shouldn’t? Never mind the actual ability to find information about the festivals, in a generalized sense. So, as I said, the whole process is taking me a good long time.
I’d like to say that I’m doing this because I want to be altruistic and more in line with my religion, but I have to be honest here. A large part of this calendar project is based more on the personal, more on the selfish. I’m a very lazy polytheist. I read a lot of blogs and there’s lots of talk in those blogs about rituals held, festivals celebrated, and all of that jazz. While it’s pretty insane admitting this, I’m going to say that my calendar project is more for the benefit of getting me into “the swing of things.” I want to be able to hold rituals and celebrate festivals. I’d like to, also, be considered more than a Major Holiday practitioner (as mentioned in the third related post linked to below). I’m not saying that I’m going to run around and go insane, celebrating every major holiday that comes my way. As I mentioned earlier, there are literally hundreds of festivals a person can celebrate in a Kemetic capacity and that’s not including any and all of the voodoo holidays I’m going to be adding to my calendar in some form or another in the future. What I am saying is that in so doing this project, I’m hoping that I can become more fluent in my religion, I can become better acquainted with my gods, and I can have a better understanding of what it is I’m looking for with all of this.
What? After three years I’m still searching?
Right-o, folks. That’s one of those little secrets they don’t tell you when you jump on the pagan train: you’re always looking. Just because you receive and embody and understand the response to one aspect, doesn’t mean you aren’t going to have to go looking for the next set of answers to something related or entirely different. (I don’t mean to be overly cryptic here, but I honestly don’t know how to explain this properly. I’ll get to it at some point.) I’m hoping that with all the work into this calendar, I’ll be better off in the long run. And you know, maybe I’ll be able to teach better material to the masses that are asking about it.
So, part of the reason I’m talking about this is because a feast day for Sekhmet happened yesterday. The week before, a feast day for Heka had appeared on my calendar. I wanted to celebrate that, but I was at a loss of what, specifically, I should do for that. However, when it comes to feasts for my Main Lady, I’m less likely to waffle and prevaricate. I know what she wants, I know how to celebrate her, and I know exactly what I want to do for things. On top of this, according to my newly minted calendar, yesterday was also the first day of the third month of Akhet, known as Hwt-Hrw in the Middle Kingdom and known as Athyr in Latinate. While I doubt an actual celebrate was held for the first day of a month (does that happen in the now?), I decided I wanted to at least honor that in some aspect or another. I got to brain-storming and I got to cooking.
In my attempt to honor the fact that we had finally entered the third month of Akhet, I decided that I would light candles and offer water. I tend to offer water, anyway, since it’s the cheapest and quickest offering I can spare on a tight budget. The water offering was representative of this particular season, more than the month itself. This season is, rendered in English, known as the Inundation. This is the time in ancient Egypt when the Nile would swell its banks and bring the life-giving black silt necessary to begin the agriculture necessary for survival. The water in the cups, therefore, represents the Nile itself. I was also interested in offering black silt or black dirt, but unfortunately, it chose to rain all day. I decided that at the beginning of the next month, if the weather is decent enough, I’ll do my best to dig up some dirt as offering.
My honoring of this particular aspect of my calendar, too, is also an act of symbolism that marks back to the Zep Tepi, or in English-speak, the First Time. I won’t get into specifics about this since I am saving my discussion on Zep Tepi for the Pagan Blog Project, but in so lighting my candles and offering incense, it is as an act of bringing my gods (in their statues) back to the First Time. Someone, once, made this correlation for me in much more eloquent words, though I cannot find them at the moment to share. What I can say is that it has always stuck with me and so, while I light the candles and light the incense (unless it is for a specific purpose), I do try to think of it as a moment of honoring the First Time, when all the gods ruled on this planet.
So, those were the actions and symbols I used to honor yesterday being the first of a new month.
With this being a Feast Day for Sekhmet, I knew I was going to be making her a dinner she would appreciate. However, I also knew that this being the month of Hwt-Hrw that she deserved something all her own. As a goddess in my life, I tend to view her as more of a household icon or deity than as someone who I willingly work with. At some future point, perhaps after my shadow work with Hekate comes to an end, she will move to a more prominent role in my life. In the mean time, she is here as a sort of reminder that all I do as a mother and as a woman or any mix thereof is in honor of her. While Aset is more likened to the ultimate mother deity in the Kemetic pantheon, I don’t tend to see her this way. This, possibly, is in large course due to my associations with Sekhmet, but I couldn’t possibly say one way or another. All I do know is that when it comes to baking and/or home cooking, I try to honor Hetharu in some form or another.
So, I baked chocolate chip cookies. As she was given the first cooled snickerdoodles from a few weeks back, so was she given the first chocolate chip cookie (that didn’t enter my mouth or get tasted by TH). This symbolism is, as I said, a reminder that all of the things I do for this house and in this house are merely aspects of her.
In the making of those cookies, towards the end, I started making them larger and larger. This was mostly because I was standing for about two hours straight, making those cookies. So, by the end, I just wanted to sit the fuck down. In the making of the cookies, as they got larger, one came out looking very much like a, well, fat dick. As a quasi-joke, Devo, Helms, Sard and various other Kemetics tend to remark that Kemetic faiths have a proliferation of dick and boob imagery. Quite often, you’ll see dick representations in or around various god images. When I saw the dick, I immediately thought of both Devo and Sard’s relationships with Sutekh and the dick jokes that have arisen from those relationships. So, while I could have given the cookie to Min, Atum, Amun, Ptah, or Re (as all creator deities), it seemed more appropriate to give it to Sutekh. Well, that, and he’s been peeping at me lately. While that’s a story for a different time, I will mention that I’m pretty sure he was pleased with my accidental dick cookie.
To honor Sekhmet, I went with an oldy and a goody, which was steak for dinner. I’ve read in various places that giving her raw meat can go either way. And while I understand that as a lioness she would probably prefer raw, I can’t leave raw anything out in this house. So, she was given the first piece of the lovingly marinated and broiled steak I made for dinner. I also gave her a small helping of potatoes because you can’t just eat steak without a side helping of something. The reason for this is that I tend to think of potatoes as a staple food and it correlates, in my own UPG, as a form of bread. I don’t bake bread often, but bread was a staple in the diet of the ancient Egyptians. That being said, we can assume that it was a pretty normal offering to the gods way back when. With changing times, so too have the staples. And while I still give bread as an offering periodically, I also like to use symbolism in my offerings. Potatoes were a staple diet of my childhood and so, it was given in that spirit.
All in all, I feel pretty pleased with my first major holiday celebration after Wp-Rnpt. There was nothing too fancy and there was nothing too dull. I feel like I did a lot of good and I connected more ably with my gods than I have in a while. And that feeling is the feeling that I want to continue and have proliferate as I continue my journey into crafting my own religion.