In early January, Khenne put out a call for other Kemetics looking to celebrate some Ptah festivals. They’re one of the few Ptah kids that I know of and they were looking for other celebrants to hang out with after noticing quite a few Ptah festivals in January. I’ve been mulling over adding more than just the Sekhmet festivals to my calendar and sometimes, I get lonely doing things all on my own. So, I figured that I could take part in one of the festivals they were showing on their [KO derived] calendar without causing too much struggle with my upcoming calendar’s celebrations. We chose to do a joint effort for The Feast of the Two Lands.
I honor Ptah, although nominally. Our relationship isn’t what one would call “defined” by any context. I tend to associate our relationship in a similar way to the relationships I’ve developed with both Geb and Khonsu. What I mean is that I tend to associate Ptah with something specific and don’t really look beyond those specific items for a deeper or more fulfilling relationship. Sometimes, I think I should pay closer attention to him – he is after all the consort to my main mover and shaker, Sekhmet. But, mostly, I’m lazy and over busy and over booked when it comes to my relationships and I have to admit that he hasn’t ever pushed me, nor has Sekhmet actually, to take our relationship any further. So, I’ve pretty much just given him a nod when I’ve done the creative thing – sewing, knitting, things of that nature – and left it at that.
I had no fucking idea what the hell I wanted to do for the whole feast thing.
According to the post Khenne put out, the point in the feast was to celebrate the unification of the Two Lands. It was a big deal, after all. If the country had never unified, who knows how many warring countries ancient Egypt would have been made up of? (There would have been three, according to The Rise and Fall of Ancient Egypt. But that’s neither here nor there.) Plus, the unification ended up giving us really awesome things like the pyramids and artwork and a religion that we all recreate and a language that, probably, only a handful of people in the entire world actually understand on the regular! So, it’s all big and important stuff and definitely worth paying homage to. But, of course, per usual, I had to ask myself, how the fuck does one do that?
After reading the post that Khenne put out, detailing what the aim was, I kind of had an idea.
A few months ago, I had to do a metric shitfuckton of shadow work for myself. I didn’t want to do it, but I had no choice. I was burning myself to ashes with each step further and if I didn’t complete it, then I was going to destroy pretty much everything I had been aiming to achieve. In that process, I had to take a lot of different soul facets – so many facets – and kind of mold them into a single cohesive unit. They weren’t cohesive, which was the original issue. So, I got thrown into a giant white room and ended up hoping and praying that Papa Legba could help me figure out how to stitch them together. He did, of course, because I’m still here and relatively sane (I think). And that, I realized, was probably the best visual representation of what this whole thing was about – unification of the soul.I purchased a bunch of little pre-cut fabrics from a local shop. I was aiming for things that would work together visually, at first. And then I realized that I just wanted things that would make me feel like I was kind of, sort of placing visual representations of those soul facets together. It didn’t really matter if the ultimately created work was visually pleasing, really. All that I needed to make sure was that it symbolized the hard work and the pain and the suffering and the unification that took place in that room. So, I found two separate bundles of four or five fabrics that I liked the look of and decided that I would cut them into the proper shapes, sew them together with black thread, and use that as my main offering.
Here’s a tidbit: if you’re going to cut pieces of fabric out, you should probably have a set form to cut them out as. I made a little pattern, sort of, that I pulled the imagery from. I was looking to create the ka hieroglyph from ancient Egypt as that is the part of the soul that, I feel, best represents past lives. (UPG here, so don’t take me at my word. If you are a Kemetic who also believes in reincarnation, know that you are not alone. But don’t assume that what I think is the reality actually is the reality because I could be incredibly wrong. For all I know it’s really the ba that is the part that reincarnates. Anyway.) And that particular image was the easiest thing to recreate. It’s a set of two arms in a sort of embrace. So that meant I had a finite amount to work with as far as cutting out the pieces and that I wouldn’t tax myself when I began sewing them together.
I started getting sick after having this idea so it took me the ten days after Khenne put out that post for me to actually sew the damn thing. I had originally intended on celebrating the festival for the full ten days that Khenne mentioned in their post. Instead, I ended up lazing around, trying to feel better. This past Monday, I cut out all the pieces and left them on my altar to soak up the essence of Sekhmet or whatever. I figured, if anyone needed to see the project I was working on before I really got going on it, she would be the one since she was the one who threw me in the white room to begin with.
There were a total of five pieces, which I didn’t actually plan as being the total amount. I was actually thinking about having more than five pieces, originally, and then reminded myself that I was ailing and didn’t have the energy to do a lot of sewing, no matter how relaxing it can be. I find it amusing that I had a total of five pieces since that’s the total amount of soul facets the ancient Egyptians believed made up the soul. Completely unplanned coincidence for the win, if I do say so myself.I chose black thread to sew the pieces together. I wanted it to be obvious that the unification took place. Just like I wasn’t really aiming, after a while, for the chosen cloth to be visually pleasing together, I wasn’t aiming to make it look like the cohesion between the pieces was dawn flawlessly. The work I did in that damn room was not done flawlessly. There was no victory dance afterwards. There was only my tired ass, feeling beaten and hollow, leaving. The work I did there wasn’t an act of finesse and empowerment, but a forced upon action that I had to complete and what the end results looked like didn’t matter inasmuch as the fact that the end result was achieved. And I feel that with the obvious hatch marks in the cloth pieces, I was conveying all of that as well.
The night that I was to celebrate, the 30th, I didn’t bother getting too many extra items. I wasn’t interested, really, in having a feast. I wanted to just convey the unification. For me, it was that process – that painful, horrible, painful, and horrible process – that I wanted to focus on. And besides, I figured if the gods were really hungry, they could stop in and munch down on what we were having for dinner. (Taco salad.) I’ll admit; I didn’t really care if they were fed. As much as the celebration was supposed to be done in fun and excitement and happiness because, once, the entire land was unified, this had stopped being about what the ancient Egyptians had done and more about what I had done. This had stopped being about Ptah and Sekhmet and Nefertum and all about what I had managed to accomplish with little to no tools available to accomplish it.
I got selfish and you know what? Sometimes, that’s not really a bad thing.
I went around my house, trying to figure out what offerings to leave out for Ptah and Nefertum. Ptah was fairly easy, in all honesty. I’ve had dealings with him, off and on, for a little bit now. And I know a lot more about him than I do about Nefertum. One of the areas I began researching, early on, when I began working with Sekhmet was to look into Ptah. Since information on Nefertum is pretty scarce, I’ve left him behind. (And because I’ve never been pushed to look in his direction, ever.) So, for Ptah, I knew kind of what I wanted to aim for when I was looking to leave out offerings.I left out some thread and my knitting needles for Ptah. Since those are both items that I have used, previously, to create, then it seemed highly appropriate.
Offerings for Nefertum were a little more difficult to come by. I was able to secure some of my favorite oil scents and left them out, but I needed something more to provide him. However, the perfume aspect to his deification seems to be a sort of backseat kind of thing. I’ve seen him associated with the perfume and pleasant scents a lot, but it’s really his form in the blue lotus – the creation, itself – that is the most important. I thought about my own creation, on this path and in general, and added two important items that I felt capitalized on that creation moment of Nefertum’s: a picture of my son as an infant and my first deck of oracle cards when I began this pagan path.
I then covered the whole thing with the ka I created.
I printed out a picture of the Memphite triad and added that to my altar. I had purchased flowers earlier and found it appropriate that there were three roses within. I figured, each rose could also be a signifier of the Memphite triad, and the rest of the bunch could be the offering itself. Each deity received a specific type of chocolate they requested: Sekhmet received her dark chili chocolate; Nefertum received a milk chocolate; and Ptah received a caramel chocolate with sea salt. I filled my pretty goblet with ice water, lit some nice incense, and added three individual tea lights for the trio.
I don’t know if I really did an adequate job with this particular feast day. I know that I didn’t do as much as I was hoping. However, I also know that, not even including the fact that I’m sick, I did all that I could stomach to do. Things have been pretty interesting lately and while I really do want to add more festivals, feasts, and celebrations to my calendar, I also realize that I have to pick and choose what I’m capable of doing. Bare minimum celebrations are about all I can do right this second, and this will probably be a reoccurring theme throughout the year.
While I made this festival more about me, I think that this is something other practitioners should think to do when it comes to celebrations like these. I know that, quite often, I attempt to look to the historical information for how to celebrate something. And I think that’s a fine place to start. However, I also think if we incorporate more of ourselves and the work that we’ve completed for ourselves into the festivals, it may give it more meaning, more intensity, and above all, give us a firmer connection with our gods.
To each their own, of course.