Akhu Veneration.

Sometimes, I think I’m an oddity in the Kemetic community, considering how very important veneration of the akhu is in my practice. Most of my community doesn’t have as much in it as I do. They have moments where they say prayers or where they offer items for their akhu, but they don’t hold as much… not faith or stock… they don’t do it as often as I do. I am very careful to remember my akhu on their birth and death anniversaries. I set lights for their souls and feed them at every opportunity. I also don’t care too much about akhu who would be considered… jerks or assholes, I suppose, by some of the others in my Kemetic community. To me, an akhu is an akhu is an akhu. And while I never knew the grandmother on my biological father’s side, I know that she has passed from this world and she has joined my general remembrance of all my akhu.

I’m also exceptionally strange in the fact that I have added people whom I never knew, with no biological connection to me, as part of my akhu veneration.

The thing is that, now, when I think of akhu, I don’t tend to just refer to the people who I venerate who are my specific biological ancestors or the ones who are a part of my family via adoption or intermarriage any longer. I tend to view all the work I do in the cemeteries, going there and remembering them and feeding their spirits, as part of my akhu veneration. I don’t know these people and they never had a slip to do with how I ended up on this planet and in this body with these particular genetics, but they have vastly become part and parcel to what I refer to when I think akhu veneration. And I think that’s also part of the oddity, as well; what some people would think of as simply working with the Deadz, I’ve long since jettisoned that terminology and those feelings to encompass a large group of people who most wouldn’t categorize as part of their practice.

I find myself exceptionally amazed at the transition of my path in just the one year I’ve solidly put into this work. I went from working with the intention of just cleaning up some cemeteries and possibly aiding some genealogical researchers to suddenly feeling that if I cannot do these things – go the cemetery, leave my offerings, take my pictures – then I am as good as dead, myself. It’s so all-pervasive that with the possible future change in weather, I am nearly champing at the bit, ready to get back out and into the cemeteries, to clean up, to feed, and to love and remember.

Who would have guessed this was what I could expect?

Certainly not me.

It’s funny, though, how things transition without you realizing it. You start a practice and you think, this could be fun. And as time slips by, you get into the swing of things or into a groove. And when that groove becomes commonplace, then you realize that it truly becomes a part and parcel to what it is you are looking to building, looking to do. And before you know it, you are not merely venerating akhu as is commonly associated in a Kemetic standpoint, but you are suddenly surrounded by akhu, akhu whom you’ve never known or will ever know, but there they are.

This whole veneration thing… it certainly takes on a life of its own…

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16 thoughts on “Akhu Veneration.

  1. I work a bit with the Ahku also, every week i make offerings of food and drink. Incense is also offered everyday as well as candle light. Birthdays and anniversaries hold special meanings for me and i try to do more for them.

    I have 2 problems when i comes to Ahku work:

    1) Unfortunately i live quite far from my families cemetery, so i cant visit very often at all. In fact i have only been there twice in the past 5 years. So most of my work happens on there altar.

    2) I really cant bring myself to worship my mother as an Akhu. She dies nearly 10 years ago, but the stuff that woman put me through i cannot forgive. I spent years being physically, mentally and sexually abused by her and it honestly takes all my effort to not petition Ammit to eat her ass lol. That is assuming she even made it past the scales, if she didnt then there isnt much point in honouring her as a Akhu.

    • 1. As I said, I am planning on writing a 101 and I’ll try to remember to address the “no cemetery” thing. I recommend, perhaps, going to the cemeteries when you have a chance and get some graveyard dirt. That may help foster a relationship.

      2. This is a problem quite a few people have, actually. I know that Devo has had some issues with direct descendents for, not quite the same, but similar reason.

      If you truly believe that she may not even be an akhu, then I recommend not bothering. If nothing else, she could be a netjeri or muuet (I can’t recall which one it is, per usual) and in offering her anything, it may end up causing more harm than good.

      • Thats a good idea about the dirt.

        As for the second point, that is a really good issue raised. The last thing i want is to be attracting a Muuet form of my mother lol

  2. I want to work on forming a better relationship with my akhu but I have no idea if what I’m doing is working. Right now, I pour libations for them and say good morning every day, asking how they are. I know it takes time to build a relationship, but I feel like I could be doing more.

    • Well, if you feel like you could be doing more, then I definitely recommend asking yourself what you think you could be doing. There may be more or you could just think that there should be more when there isn’t much you can do.

      I know that you have Philippine akhu, so I’m not sure if this is even possible, but I think you should try to visit some graves?

      • None of my akhu live in this country, so while I could visit graves, they would be of people who aren’t related to me at all. But thanks, I’ll try to and reflect on what I think I should be doing.

        • Would it be possible to request grave dirt from your ancestors in the Philippines? I’m not sure how taboo that is, so I apologize if it’s completely taboo and here I am, suggesting it.

          I’m lucky in that I have easy akhu access. My family wasn’t much for traveling and I can go to cemeteries and meet great-grandparents and great-great-grandparents if I so desire. I will try to address this in my akhu veneration post, but it’s not really a 101 question so I may end up doing a 201 post that will address this.

    • It’s also possible you are doing enough for them right now. That is about the level of what I do, and I have never gotten any indication they are dissatisfied or push me for more more more!

        • exactly! I had an ancestor-specific divination several years ago (it’s part of the rite of parent divination in the House of Netjer) and was told that my ancestors were very happy with me. Maybe it also helps that I am physically descended from Swedish Lutherans. Heh.

  3. Akhu veneration isn’t a part of my practice right now because I’m . . . afraid of the akhu, I guess. I come from a household where you don’t bother with the dead–you leave them alone because the last thing you want is to attract their attention. But in my heart I know this is callous, that the akhu need our energies even more than the Netjeru do. It’s a neurosis to work through, I suppose.

    • In my family, you only speak positively of the dead. You don’t tell the nastier items that you could and you just leave all that nasty stuff alone because they “don’t discuss those things.” That thought process was still kicking in me until recently. So, I can tell you it is possible to bypass family-driven neuroses.

  4. Pingback: The Blessed Dead | Pagan Pickle

  5. Both through KO and Heathenry, and through an ifa reading I received in 2005, I’ve developed a decent working relationship with my ancestors. I imagine some of why it does not get heard as much is because it’s not as “flashy” as working with gods or spirits which have never been incarnate. A standard blot structure for Heathens includes three rounds, one being for the ancestors.
    In the House we also now have a monthly dua for the ancestors which one of the priests developed a few years ago.

    And about venerating ancestors who did not directly produce you, oh it happens. I have one, who was somewhat Known among pagans before their death, visit me in a dream less than two weeks after they died. Said person is now included when I do ancestral veneration. Some of my friends have ancestors like this too, like my friend Beth.

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