I have never bothered to really celebrate the epagomenal days before. Since I only started the actual calendar based celebrations last year, I had never felt much need to pay any attention. And last year, I was so busy working up to the day of Wep Ronpet that I really couldn’t be too bothered with doing much for the five gods Nut gave birth to, thanks to Djehuty. This year, I figured I could do something for the gods in question. It honestly made sense. I had begun to cultivate relationships with two out of the five and I’m interested in doing something, at some future time, with Wesir and possibly Nebthet. So, why wouldn’t I bother to honor them in some form or fashion? I knew that – based on other celebrations – I didn’t want to do anything big or too overwhelming. I just wanted something quiet and meaningful between me and five gods who were born because Djehuty gambles spectacularly.
I really wasn’t expecting the soul-crushing depression that would go along with those celebrations.
The day prior to Wesir’s birthday, I kind of snapped about everything. It didn’t seem to matter what I was doing or why I was doing it, but things never seem to work out capably. I have since reminded myself that planning anything is really just not a good idea. It started with work related items and started to snow ball from there. With each day into the intercalary days, I couldn’t help but wallow in some new form of mind-crushing depression. The first day, it was work related. The second day, it was financially related. The third day, it was car related. The fourth day, it was family related. And on the fifth day, it was a general feeling of being incapable of doing anything for anybody without screwing something up. With each new day, there was a general theme. It seemed to flow, a little, with the gods to whom the days were associated. But, I wasn’t expecting it.
I’ve since wondered if this part of the celebrations had anything to do with the fact that the intercalary days are seen to be a sort of chaotic time of the year. Technically, according to ancient Egyptian lore, the days themselves are “outside of time.” Many ancient Egyptians would not bother to go to work on those days and would, generally, just remain at home so as to keep themselves safe. There weren’t many laymen celebrations, although some of the temples seem to have done a thing or two to mark the days. But, overall, the time it pretty much seen as “inauspicious” all around. And the nation, at least as far as my cursory examination has led me to believe, seemed to kind of close up shop instead of bothering to do anything with. I can remember thinking to myself on my drive to work on Thursday (the first intercalary day) that this was a chaotic time and I had to drive extra more careful to be safe, Sekhmet pendant being worn or not. As I’ve thought about the strange coincidence of this depressive phase and the particular holidays associated, I’ve tried to think back to last year and how I felt around this time. I believe I had a deep, dark depression in the days leading up to it as well. (I was still unemployed and I was still whining about no one hiring me, so I was at least slightly depressed if not horrifically depressed.)
In any case, I was not expecting that happy little coincidence. It was kind of a mind blower.
The night before, I spent a good two hours coloring in a coloring book that I had purchased for just such the occasion. The Gods of Ancient Egypt by Dover was a last minute purchase about two weeks prior and I knew that I had to have it. I knew that in the purchase it was going to be a devotional item and as it arrived, literally, the day before Wesir’s birthday, I knew how I begin my devotional acts. Very carefully, I spent a good portion of my Wednesday evening just coloring very gently. I remember sitting back and looking at the likeness of Wesir periodically, feeling as though his energy was infusing the picture. Whether or not that was the case doesn’t really matter. What does matter is that, in taking the time to create a depiction that I was to honor later, I was devoting myself to the celebration to follow. And it really helped me to nail down his “energy signature,” or whatever it may be called, so that I could focus on him later.
The next day, upon driving to work, I found Wesir in my car. Now, having gods in my car really isn’t a strange occurrence. Since I spend a good deal of my time driving places, either because of work or because of errands, I have a very deep, magical, and intense connection with Olga. (My car.) I have had numerous gods and spirits show up, out of the blue, to have deep philosophical conversations with me in said vehicle and since I can’t hide behind a book or my family or chocolate or what have you, I end up being forced to listen to whatever they have to say. In this case, I had little else to do expect to listen to Wesir wax poetic about various things. We talked about my religion and where I wanted it to go. We talked about work and how I wasn’t overly thrilled to be going. Actually, we spent a lot of time giving me various pep talks about how I needed this job and I couldn’t just say “fuck it” like I was interested in doing. (Not that I wanted to not go, but that I didn’t want to give it my all.) It was a very pleasant drive, although the work day thoroughly sucked.
Upon coming home, I pulled out his carefully colored picture and set up a quick altar. I have a spare table that used to house various deities (and lwa) throughout the years that I had kept for just such a transitory purpose. I had purchased a dozen yellow roses for the occasion. I placed two cut roses into a small jar, gave some organic ginger snaps, lit some incense, and gave him a mug of tea. I allowed him to take his time over each item. I said no prayer. I said no rites. I didn’t even bother “cleaning” myself all proper-like. I dished out some food and left him to it. This, to me, is the integral aspect to my rituals and rites. I don’t hover. I don’t gawk. I don’t hope to see a hand move or hope to feel their presence. I’m not very pious about it. And frankly, I don’t care if they care how I behave about it. The only act of true devotion I bothered with was writing a page-length devotional short regarding our time together in my car that morning. You can see what I did here.
That night, I went to a party with Wesir on the astral. He introduced me to all his friends and pretty much behaved in the complete opposite of what I would have expected from Wesir as possible. The only way I could even remotely describe it was that he was very much the quintessential frat boy that everyone pictures. It was an interesting glimpse in the life of Wesir when he’s very busy not being himself.
For the hour or so before bed the night before, I colored the picture of Heru in the book to look as closely approximate to Heru-Wr. Since Heru-Wr isn’t a big deity, I guess, he was not included in my coloring book. I decided that instead of looking for any ancient Egyptian coloring pages, I would spend my time creating him out of what I had to hand. So, I colored as best I could the picture I had and wrote “Heru-Wr” just beneath the hieroglyphs for Heru. I didn’t spend as much time on this picture as I did for Wesir. I think part of that had to do with the fact that I had managed to program my hands to not ache as much while I was coloring. I, also, think that it was just easier to go with what I wanted instead of basing it off of classical ancient Egyptian imagery. Again, the action of coloring in this picture felt as though I could connect better with Heru-Wr. It didn’t feel as much as it did with Wesir – maybe because I had no relationship with any of the hawk deities before two weeks ago, or maybe just because I was in a bit of a rush while coloring – but I did feel that the act of coloring brought us closer.
The next morning, Heru-Wr came along with me on my drive to work. We talked about how Wesir is a party animal and Heru-Wr was never invited. Though he didn’t admit it at the time, I think Heru-Wr was secretly jealous. Mostly, the two of us discussed how he’s not as popular a deity as some of the others. He said a lot of things that were very interesting on the topic. Mostly, what really made me think was when he said, “I used to be popular. They used to fan girl over me all the time. I was pretty important, you know, during the Old Kingdom. But as time went by, I realized I didn’t need all the attention. It was nice while it lasted, but I do all right. I do all right.” If this wasn’t a secret message to me and my secret desire to be a popular kid, then I don’t know what is. All I can say is that it certainly goes with my impression of Heru-Wr: statuesque and quiet, happy with his lot in life.
That night, I added two more cut roses to the jar I had left out the night before for Wesir. The two in the jar were already beginning to bloom and it seemed a shame to jettison them. I added four organic ginger snaps, cool water, and a small tea light. I spent about an hour trying to write a short page-length devotional as I had done for Wesir. I ended up writing whatever came to mind instead of what I had actually wanted to discuss. I wanted the little page to seem like a devotional act. And since I was actually writing about Heru-Wr, it could be classified as such. But it wasn’t as devotional as Wesir’s, I don’t think. As it was, I came back to Heru-Wr’s statements to me earlier that morning and how he seemed happy with his lot in life. I decided I was happy with what I had done and left it at that. You can see what I did here.
Following my previous tradition, I colored Sutekh the night before. Frankly, I didn’t think I really needed to focus on the coloring in as much as I did with the previous two. Sutekh and I have had a passing acquaintance for some time now. He’s even showed up and had conversations with me about random items at the most inopportune times. I couldn’t really fathom what-all his birth day was going to be like, especially since I had the day off, but I knew that it wasn’t going to be as intense as the previous two. With that in mind, I spent most of my time focusing on how I really didn’t like the representation of Sutekh. The picture is of a goat head and that is not the classic Sutekh I know. I tried to keep the picture as close to ancient views as I could, even though the head really wasn’t what I was thinking of when I was coloring it.
The next morning, Sutekh watched my majestic break down as I learned I have a pretty decent oil leak in my car. And that was really the building point that we worked upon. We talked about break downs. As a god of chaos and all the stuff that he did to his brother, he completely understands the whole think about having a break down. He understands the need to curl up into a ball and cry about things you really have no choice in going through. And while he did have the choice – whether or not to remove his brother – he did it anyway. And even though he knew what he was doing would be misconstrued and he would be hated, he still went through it. Only the little bits people forget is that he probably grieved and he probably felt really hated and he probably ended up breaking down quite a few times, both because of Wesir and because of his nephew. So, while driving around randomly so that I could get back into the right head space for my family, we discussed what it was like to be a god and what it was like to be a human and how, when it comes right down to it, the emotional fall out can be the same.
Again, I added two more cut roses to my growing jar. I actually ended up filling the jar to capacity with the next two. I relit the little tea light I had used the previous night before because, as Sutekh informed me, “waste not, want not.” I added four ginger snaps and cool water. As I had done on the past two occasions, I wrote another devotional page of randomness to Sutekh. In the writing of that little tidbit, I could feel Sutekh beside me. It was just like when I was in the car, tears pouring down my face at yet another thing I had no control over. And in that moment, I completely understood him in every way. You can see what I did here.
Since I have a working relationship with Aset, I was actually more interested in things that I could do for her. I thought about doing magical type items on her birthday, but the fact that the intercalary days can be so chaotic prevented me. Instead, I did as I had done the last three nights: I colored her picture. I spent time reflecting on her as a god in my life, as well as what she would have been like before Sutekh had killed her husband. I reflected on the fact that we have a lot in common in various ways. But, mostly, I focused on the fact that I was more interested in her birthday than anyone else’s. Nothing against Sutekh and our relationship, but she’s really the one god in the whole Wesirian cycle that I pay the most attention to. So, it wasn’t really shocking that her birthday would be something I was most interested in.
I didn’t spend as much time with her on Sunday as I had initially hoped. That was part of the reason why I was thinking about doing some magical undertaking. Instead, I spent my day just relaxing. The little bit of time we spent together was about us. It wasn’t about us as a mother, as a magical worker, as a woman or anything in between. The day was just about who we were and what we mean as people. I spent that early evening, working on her spread for the altar. I added ginger snaps to the offering plate and she was given cool water. Instead of a candle, I went back to incense. (I find it amusing that I burned incense for the husband and wife team that are so well known.) I added a second jar for the next set of cut roses, which were looking a bit worn at that time. And then, I spent my night just focusing on me, me, and more me. You can see what I did here.
My dog stole one of her cookies off of the plate on the table. We laughed about it later.
I have thought about Nebthet a total of a few times in my life. I think I’ve taken consideration of her more in this last year only because I do have a sort of relationship with Sutekh, whom she is married to. However, I’ve come to primarily associate her with a goddess of grief. While I have never actively prayed to her or worked with her during those trying times, I have only ever associated her with sadness and despair and grief. Of course, she does have other associations, but not in this UPG. The night before, per usual, I colored a picture I found of her online. Since she is, also, not one of the popular deities, she was not in my coloring book. I don’t remember where I found the picture, but it was okay. It didn’t have the same standard as I have found with the gods in the Dover coloring book, it would suffice, as far as I was concerned. The entire time I colored, I marveled at my one-dimensional view of her.
She showed up only briefly on my ride into work. By the fifth day, I was running out of spoons. Even though my festivals and rites aren’t really all that huge or awe-inspiring, the fact that I had five in a row was beginning to wear on me. While she didn’t really spend any time with me on my ride in to work, I did feel her presence throughout the day. And when I say that, I mean it was like a gentle breeze or caress. Frankly, I don’t get as “strong” a vibe as I do with her husband or her sister, or any of the other deities I actively cultivate relationships. The wavelength, so to speak, is entirely passing or vague. She’s there, but only for a split second before she’s gone again.
That night, I put the coloring book in the little drawer and placed her colored picture front and center. I added a fifth cookie to the usual four, as a kind of penance for having a misbehaving dog the night before. I added the last two yellow roses to the cup, which were sad looking indeed. Instead of a simple tea light for Nebthet, I chose one of my scented ones. This one reminds me of home cooking and a calmer atmosphere. Since my connection with Nebthet is fledgling at best, I couldn’t tell if she was pleased with my choice. But since she is the “mistress of the house,” I have to assume she liked the reference. You can see what I did here.
All in all, I have to say that I am pretty pleased with the rather mellow way that I celebrated the days of birth of each of the gods. I was looking for something simple and easy and I chose it. However, I will admit that after five days of ongoing rituals and rites, as simple as they were, it does take a lot out of you. I can’t decide if this means I will do something even smaller and less expansive next year, or if I will continue in same vein. I do know that I want to continue to add this portion into my festivals and feasts in future. I also do know that I enjoyed getting to know Wesir, Nebthet, and Heru-Wr after never having given them much of a passing thought. As to whether or not I will continue in the vein of laity in future or if I will tone it down further, I haven’t quite decided yet.