The Fourth Month & The Fourth Hour.

I knew what I could expect from the month of April before it even arrived. My research into the fourth hour told me so and my own past hinted at it. I wasn’t wrong about just how chaotic I was going to find the fourth month, but it did manage to surprise me time and time again.

As I came out the other side of all of this, I had to stop and think about it seriously. I spent a lot of the month feeling very much like I was a chicken with my head cut off. I was constantly feeling as if I was running around with no real destination in mind; just little pit stops as I went round and round in circles.

When I finally had time to think about all of it, I had to ask myself if the chaos I had experienced was necessarily a bad thing. Often within the Kemetic community, the idea of chaos is seen almost as antithetical to ma’at with the word’s association with isfet. In the Western World, we are also led to believe that chaos goes against the norm and while it can definitely feel that way while you’re in the middle of it, it doesn’t necessarily equate to a bad thing.

Was everything that I went through really, well, a negative?

Confusion and disorder; lack of organization and lack of order can seem to be a negative but sometimes you need to feel pulled in a 100 directions to figure out what the right direction is. It’s only when you have that lack of organization and a constant feeling of vertigo because of it that you finally take the time to figure out where you need to actually go. Or sometimes, life really does just mean that you have to be pulled in so many different areas at once in order to move ahead to the next step on the journey ahead.

It’s not fun.

It’s nerve-wracking.

It can be frustrating and irritating.

But it’s not necessarily a bad thing.

The Fourth Month

April started dark and somber. I was depressed and moody. I didn’t feel like things were working out well and as I mentioned in my last entry on this topic, I was beginning to despair. It’s easy to fall into despair and let it eat at you, but I have more than just myself at stake at the moment, so I kept going forward.

Work is always chaotic in April. It’s the first real month of spring so we get new clients, new employees, and new projects to contend with. This year was no different, but the promised “reprieve” from the boss has yet to manifest. I think I spent much of my first two weeks of the month in back-to-back meetings or training sessions, occasionally with calls regarding new requests. It was stressful.

It still is, actually. I don’t remember the last time I left the office on time. I keep getting overtime, which is useful I suppose, but I long to be able to leave with the rest of the staff. I can also admit that I’m a little bitter; I seem to be the only supervisor who consistently has to stay late. What am I doing wrong, I sometimes ask myself. I must be unable to manage by time properly if I’m always having to stay so much later than everyone else.

But when I start to think that I must be horrible or insufficient for the demands placed upon me, I look back at all of the emails I’ve sent. We track our time for our clients for billing purposes and I can look at our little time-viewing gadgets. I surpass everyone in the office when it comes to the time entered in for our clients; I hardly ever have internal time where I’m doing a specific thing related to the company. All of my work is client facing and while that’s pleasant to know, it’s certainly tiring.

As I mentioned in my Nephthys entry, early on in the month, I took the advice from a long-term friend of mine and approached her about something Very Important and a large source of my stress, my depression, and the chaos. I asked her to help us to pull one of our irons out of the fire, an iron that’s been sitting in the coals for… well… years now.

After twenty days, she came through and we pulled the iron out of the fire. The last two weeks of the month have been spent trying to get everything lined up so that we can move on to the next step in our lives. This is Very Good and Very Exciting, but it is also Very Stressful. I’m not even doing most of the footwork on this either as I’ve asked the SO to take on that mantle and he has. But I know how chaotic and stressful it is when my down-to-earth Taurus starts stressing about things and he certainly has been.

But when things start to get overwhelming for the two of us, we remind each other that this is where we want to be. We wanted to be here before now, but we’re finally at this stage in the game. So, now it’s time to move on and move forward. We’ll know for sure that everything is buttoned up by the end of May.

And of course, the chaos of April wouldn’t be complete without something coming completely out of left field: my last remaining grandparent past away at the end of the month. He was 97 years old and lived a very long life, so in an abstract way, I can say that this wasn’t unexpected.

But it was unexpected because he was alive at Christmas and he was happy at Christmas. And it was unexpected because my last surviving link to my grandparents, to a generation that lived through A Lot of Tough Shit has past on to the West. My seventy days of mourning has begun and I have a lot of feelings to parse through on all of this. Eventually, I’ll discuss it but for now, I’m wrapping myself around my sadness while I try to come to terms with the fact that he is gone.

The Fourth Hour

The fourth hour begins at the throat of the goddess Nut, the point where true digestion begins. I always found it very interesting that the middle hours of the afterlife that tend to be the most stressful correlate with the body parts that are used for digestion. I get focused on the idea of peristalsis and the idea that one’s rebirth is no different than what we humans do every time we eat a meal.

To move the soul forward, one must be devoured whole. There’s chewing and mashing once the soul has been taken into the mouth, but there is also swallowing. And amid all of these parts, the soul is in a constant state of chaos. It is frustrating and emotional; it is painful and distressing.

No matter how green the fertile land looks and how pleasant it may all seem, there are enemies all around, looming in the darkness that surrounds. It’s a test, really. A test and a testament to whether or not you come out the other side. It’s partially all yourself and partially the forward progression as the soul is digested by Nut.

And at the basis of it all, the very real plea that you will be able to come out of it all reborn:

O you hawk rising from Nun, Lord of the Great Flood, make me flourish as you make yourself flourish.

I have felt the threat of tears just as the deceased are wont to do in this hour. An emotional response to an overwhelming situation, but a true response all the same. One can only hope that, once this has all been completed, one will flourish once more.

Conclusion

I thought that this hour would be difficult and I was right, but I didn’t really consider where the difficulties would lie. The chaos of the month was only exacerbated by the chaos of the hour. The lesson of taking a few steps forward and stopping to internalize the lesson from hour two is still very present but nigh on impossible to do with so much going on at once.

Roberts states that the turbulence of the last few hours is preparation for the upcoming hours where regeneration and life are to truly begin. The chaos of the preceding hours is a test to ensure that the deceased is truly ready for what comes ahead.

I don’t feel ready necessarily but I’m moving ever forward, just like the year has been doing. The first four months of 2019 feel very much like a steady earthquake meant to test and prod and pull apart what’s already been established so that new forms can be made and old forms that work well can be reawakened.

The next few months should prove interesting.
Further Reading

Nephthys.

In February, I was beginning to despair that things weren’t going to work out the way that I wanted them to. I don’t know if anyone realizes this, but I tend to come down on the side of “never going to work out” because hope is a thing that I don’t really know how to have. It always works out best if I assume the worst because I’ll never truly be disappointed. But this year isn’t about assuming the worst; it’s about moving forward and being reborn. Unfortunately or otherwise, a part of that means that hope is a thing that has to happen.

During a conversation with one of my long-time friends where we were discussing what was going on with me, they mentioned that they had done a reading for me about the whole thing. As part of that reading, the cards seemed to indicate that I should reach out to Nephthys. I kind of laughed and said, “Are you sure?” They confirmed twice and said that I should probably look into it.

After doing the usual research (going to Butler’s entry on Nephthys), I found it interesting that Nephthys’s name is translated into “Mistress of the House.” According to Wikipedia, this could be a misnomer; a citation-less note on that page seems to indicate that her name could mean “Mistress of the [Temple] Enclosure.” Based on further reading I’ve done on her since, I have a tendency to think that it’s all the same; in either case, she’s still a mistress of some closed off space.

As I was going through various pages, trying to catch a glimmer of who this unknown-to-me goddess was, I kept coming back to the translation of her name and the fact that her name, when written in hieroglyphs, looks very much like the traditional house hieroglyph with a bowl plunked down on top. I was apparently not the only one to see this since TTR agreed that they, too, saw the same house image with a bowl placed on the roof.

I couldn’t get this bowl thought out of my head.

Whenever I would sit down to look deeper into this mystery goddess, I couldn’t help but keep coming back to the bowl on top of the house image. I kept picturing a house with a bowl to catch rain water. Sometimes I would picture the bowl filled with the same kind of crap you could expect to see in a gutter around a house, but mostly, I kept coming back to the idea of the bowl catching rainwater, or maybe even snow in the winter.

I assured myself that the bowl was immaterial probably; the important part was that she could help me out. But even with my own false assurances loudly ringing hollow in my own ears, I kept coming back to the hieroglyph of her name, of the square that I’ve seen a hundred times in similar position when I’m looking into Hathor for one reason or another: her name uses that same little box since her name translates to “House of Horus”.

The idea that Nephthys has a relationship to the home makes sense to me, although after doing further research on her, the translation of her name meaning temple enclosure could also fit. But before all of that deeper dig into the source material, the idea that Nephthys was related to the house wouldn’t leave me. And I kept asking myself: Well, why can’t she be a household deity?

We know little about the religion of the laity, a point I’ve made many times over. The bits that we do know seem to indicate that they had idols of gods like Hathor, Djehuty, Bes, and others in enclosures in their home. It’s not quite so different in a very broad way from what most pagans and polytheists are doing now except that we aren’t sure how those household deities were worshiped.

Now, I did look around to see if there was any evidence that a Nephthys idol could have been found in any of the homes that have been excavated and I came up with nothing. In fact, the more I looked into it, the more I began to feel like this was probably not something that was done in antiquity, but I wasn’t getting any negative push back from any of my household gods about it. To be blunt, the more I thought about it, the more I felt like this was A Thing that Should Happen.

To prevent myself from over-thinking it, I went back to the books, back to the research. If I was going to do something that was probably a-historical, then I should at least have a firmer base in history.

Nephthys didn’t have much on her own, all said and done. Her story is often tied with others: Osiris and Isis the most often, Set on occasion. It is the connection between her sister, Isis, and she that is most often discussed in the places I looked. The two of them are the professional mourners par excellence for Osiris and it is the two of them that protect him. There’s more to it than all of that, but I kept seeing that where Isis went, her sister Nephthys was sure to be there, to follow in her sister’s footsteps. But Nephthys was no slouch when she is depicted or discussed on her own though this seems to have not occurred often: she is a deity who can battle, who can heal, who can drink excessively, and who can do many more things besides. As with them all, she is multifaceted.

Nephthys also didn’t appear to have much in the way if a temple at all. There is record of one small place that seems to have been her own, but all other temple mentions indicate that she was included in the reindeer games of other gods’ temples. This brought me back to the idea of her being a household deity; I mean, after all, Bes was a household deity and he didn’t get his own temple either. Why couldn’t Nephthys be like him in that way?

When an idea won’t leave my head, I push back on it in every conceivable way and then, I give up. Sometimes the ideas are good; sometimes the ideas don’t work out. But this one had a feeling to it that made me think this could work out in my favor. I decided that I would at least give it a short, push to include Nephthys as a household deity with the rest of my household deities.

As I began looking over my household altar space, which is amusingly enough, situated on top of a box, I could practically picture a large bowl on top of it. The bowl color is the color of sand and within that bowl was… paper. Little tiny strips of paper that reminded me of the daily angel message strips my MiL was given when one of her good friends died. Those messages are filled with positive and happy messages, feel-good things that you are meant to focus on throughout the day to guide you ever forward.

The difference between those messages and what I was seeing in my head was that the strips of paper included things that I would want to see in my household. Happy and calm vibes; strong maintenance schedule; clear communication between the household members; etc. These were all things that you would, hopefully anyway, like to have occur in your house and amongst the people of your household.

I could see the bowl filled with various semi-precious stones to help attract the very things that you would want to see, but I could also see a giant feather of ma’at, too, because at the very base of it all, you would want ma’at to flourish within your home.

I pulled out the little purple card I had made for Nephthys many years ago when I began honoring the children of Nut and Geb on their birthdays and tried to figure out where to place it on my household altar. The box I have it not very big. It is just large enough for the things I had kept on it up to now, so I had to rearrange and move things around so I could make room for this sand-colored bowl and Nephthys’ name in addition to the pieces of my household altar space that I felt needed to be retained at all costs.

When I was done, I felt like this could work out at any rate. I placed the bowl behind my icon of Bes and his household deities-in-arms, Wenut, Tawaret, and Wadjet. I was actually very proud of the arrangement and felt like I had done the vision in my head proud (which is not always the case). I felt like this was functional enough for daily rituals but also that Nephthys’s specific function was segmented back enough from the other three so that, while they are all technically fulfilling the household deity dynamic, their paths are separated enough for me to focus on the grouping or specifically on Nephthys, depending on what I’m aiming for.

Then it came time to fill the bowl. My feather of ma’at amulet was the first thing to enter. I batted around the idea of including a magnet of some sort. TTR and I had discussed adding a magnet to attract all the things I was putting out there, perhaps with a feather of ma’at drawn upon its sides, but I couldn’t find a magnet that I felt worked for the moment, so instead, I sat down to write down all the things I wanted to see.

I took a small sheet of notebook paper and wrote down various items that I wanted. I wrote them down on one line apiece, if I could, but no bigger than two lines. And once I had filled an entire page of notebook paper, I cut them all down into strips to wrap them into the bowl around my feather of ma’at paper. This was actually harder than I thought it would be because the sandstone bowl I chose for this purpose is actually a lot smaller than the one I pictured in my head.

Once I was done, I stood back and found some remaining things that needed to be added: fake flowers. I love real flowers but I don’t like in a place where those live for very long. So I pulled some of the fake white flowers I have stashed everywhere and placed them all on top and around the bowl to cultivate what I want to see in my home.

I honestly don’t know if this working out so far. This setup hasn’t been up for very long: a little less than a month. But when I walk over to my household altar to do something in the morning, I can feel the difference. It was stagnated before (partially because I needed to clean and rearrange as I do every three months or so) but also because the feeling that I had needed to be fulfilled before the space could open itself back up to me.

It’s been opened up for three weeks or so now and I can feel the hard work that I put into it reflecting back into the walls and the people who live here. It doesn’t feel as if I have done something wrong or that I shouldn’t have done this. It feels right in that way that a polytheist or pagan will get when they know what they’re doing isn’t necessarily historically accurate but at least seems to be working for the time being.

I have another picture in my head of how this will change and evolve over time, but we’re not there yet. All I know is that I can see what the future of this endeavor will look like and it looks kind of awesome.

Thus far, I have had very little communication with Nephthys on the solo front. She has always been a silent goddess to me; she was never truly mine at any rate. I have had no dreams of her as I have had dreams of Bes and Wenut. I have heard not a peep and maybe that means she is quietly working away, diligently pushing forward the things I asked for with my little bowl of messages.

We’ll see at any rate.

The Fourth Hour.

The third hour was an hour of elemental powers: either the powers of the gods and the chaos from the power that emanates from them or an internal struggle of one’s self as the soul moves forward in its attempt to be reborn. Above all else, the point in the previous hour was almost as if we need to battle ourselves or the gods themselves. No matter the outside influences or internal influences of the battle itself, the overall point was to come out the other side of it as a pure form of yourself.

The fourth hour is a mix of elemental power again, but that power is turned inwards.

The Book of the Hidden Chamber [Amduat]

The fourth hour heralds the entry into Rosetjau, or the Land of Sokar, who is upon his sand. The world has shifted from the abundant greenery and fertility of the preceding hour to a barren desert. A primordial darkness pervades the land of Rosetjau, a place filled with monsters. These beings are serpent-like with legs, wings, and several heads.

The waters of the Nun have receded and the netherworld can no longer be navigated upon the Nun. An absolute darkness precedes the solar barque within the sandy domain of this hour and the barque must be towed forward. The barque has turned itself into a double-headed serpent that pulses out a fiery breath that pierces the darkness:

This great god sails by them like this:
It is the flames from the mouth of his barque
That guide him on these mysterious ways,
without his seeing their images.

The registers of this hour are separated by a zigzag path, “full of fire from the mouth of Isis and repeatedly blocked by doors… The doors are called knife since they cut the way in several places.” [p58, Abt & Hornung, Knowledge of the Afterlife: The Egyptian Amduat.]

Ra, himself, no longer blazes forth with his shining light in this hour. He moves forever with diminished light, incapable of using his own light to wake those in their eternal slumber. He uses his voice, instead, to call out to those in the darkness: “Ra takes care of those who are in (this hour) with his voice without his seeing them.” [p58, Abt & Hornung, Knowledge of the Afterlife: The Egyptian Amduat.] The silence is absolute throughout this hour until Ra passes through, calling out orders to the beings of the Netherworld. Those who hear his voice cry out in joy when he arrives and weep at his leaving.

Within the center of this scene, the darkened eye has been injured because of the darkness of this hour and requires both Sokar and Djehuty to protect and renew it from the evil beings that inhabit the darkness of this hour. In addition to the work of these two gods, four deities holding the ankh of life out towards the Solar Eye. One of the deities depicted is that of Onuris, the god who brought the Distant Goddess back to the fold. While Ra is given life from these gods, so too are the deceased.

The Book of Gates

Two bodies of water guarded by jackals dominate the imagery of the fourth hour: the Lake of Life and the Lake of Uraei. Hornung posits that these two lakes may be variations of the Lake of Fire espied in the previous hour. As the solar barque moves forward, mummiform bodies lie before him in their journey forward to their own rebirth. As he passes, he brings about their resurrection and provisioning. Beneath the resuscitation of the mummies, Osiris lays enshrined in protective splendor, surrounded by the gods of his entourage. His son, Horus, takes care of him while the enemies of Osiris are punished in the fiery pits at the end of the hour.

The Book of Caverns

The beginning of this next section is shown again in replication of the first portion of the Duat: a solar disk and ram-headed sun god are depicted but this time, between them is an erect serpent. The name of this serpent is Great One on His Belly. As everyone rejoices at the entrance of the sun god, Ra assures promises to Osiris and his followers.

Nephthys and Isis are shown lifting the body of Osiris to initiate his resurrection. In the next scene, he is cared by his two “sons” [sic], Horus and Anubis. And in the last scene in the top register, he is depicted as the Bull of the West beside the god Horus-Mekhentienirty, the mongoose, who has taken the place of his son.

Beneath this section, the sun god is leaning on a staff and is presented with three separate forms of Osiris. In the next scene, Horus and Anubis stand protectively in front of the double corpse of Osiris and again in front of the ba of Osiris.

In the bottom most register, the enemies of Osiris are bound and standing on their heads. “Between them appear the ‘annihilators in the Place of Annihilation,’ with whom the ‘cat-formed one, from whose clutches there is no escape’ is associated as a punishing demon in the first scene.” [p87, Hornung, The Ancient Egyptian Books of the Afterlife.] The enemies, as further punishment for their sins, cannot see or hear the sun god and that their ba-souls have been robbed from them.

The Book of Night

The Fourth Hour gateway leads us to the throat of Nut. The barque is pulled forward now by He Who Divides the Offerings and the gateway itself is called: “Sharp of knives, Mistress of the Two Lands, who destroys the enemies of the Tired Heart (an epithet of Osiris), who arouses trembling before the Sinless One, who removes wrong-doing.” The names of both the guide and the gateway seem to herald a focus more on the protection of Osiris during this hour.

The hour itself is filled with a fertile and hilly region. Trees grow abundant within this hour and the terrain is filled with vegetation that grows and flourishes. The greening of this hour seems to indicate that the solar barque has finally entered into the life-giving, or ka-realm; a place where nourishment is easily obtained. Beings live on the banks and rivers surrounding this green-filled place, nameless and weeping:

To the left of the hill-sign are groups of people called “Those of the Banks”, “Those of the Shores” and “Those of the Riverside”, who all crouch forward with disheveled hair, and hands held to their faces in the gesture of mourning. Like the people of the fields and channel at the close of the previous hour, their names suggest they inhabit a canal-landscape belonging to the inundated land. And obviously, too, this transition to a fertile realm in the fourth hour is a time of some disorder and confusion.

Beyond these beings, fish-headed beings that are nameless appear. They have their arms tied behind their back. The explanation for these beings is not clear, but the prevailing theory is that these are the enemies of Osiris, those who sided with Set during the battle between the two brothers, who are being punished for their crimes. They, too, are shown as weeping.

The bound fish-headed creatures seem to indicate that while this hour is where life can be renewed, it is a constant battle to be able to move forward on the path to rebirth. On all sides, hostile forces roam free and must be fought against. It is, perhaps, because of the enemies of Osiris that the people also are shown weeping upon the banks of the river and canal:

They weep and mourn because of the terror and confusion in their aquatic habitation caused by the struggle with Sethian creatures. And it is along these disorderly ways that each and every human, each and every divine being, must travel in order to reach the fertile nurturing regions.

In the upper register of this hour, four deities are shown.

The first is a mummiform god known as the ‘Veiled One.’ “The ‘Veiled One’ perhaps refers to the concealment of death or wounds of Osiris – only initiates were allowed to see the weariness of Osiris, who must be protected from his enemies.” [p120, Roberts, My Heart, My Mother.]

The second deity is a figure entitled Djed, ‘The One Who is Stable’. “Djed, (the Stable One) is an obvious allusion to the djed pillar and the raising of Osiris from the inertia and inactivity he has fallen into because of Seth’s wicked deeds against him.” [p120, Roberts, My Heart, My Mother.]

The final two deities are “The One-who-is-in-his-Shrine” and an enthroned goddess, “She who is Seated,” which is an obvious allusion to Aset.

Further Reading

  • The Ancient Egyptian Books of the Afterlife by Erik Hornung
  • Knowledge for the Afterlife by Theodor Abt and Erik Hornung
  • My Heart, My Mother by Alison Roberts

 

The Third Month & The Third Hour.

The word, elemental, was a good choice for the word of the month. Elemental has a number of meanings that we can look to, but the specific meaning that I felt most appropriate was: “starkly simple, primitive, or basic.” I had made my word-of-the-month choice early on, assuming that I would be broken down again on this journey forward. And this past month honestly felt like I was broken down into constituent parts to build myself back up from the basic layout that was me.

But another word that could have been used for the word of the month could have been emotional. I was “subject to or easily affected by emotion” all throughout the last thirty-one days as I continued forward on this journey of mine.

I assumed that this month wouldn’t set the tone for the rest of the year, just like the last two. This month is a long one, longer than the quickly passing second one or the liminality of the first, but I assumed that nothing about this month would linger. Maybe in another month, another thirty days, we’d see what the rest of the year would look like. But March appears to be when the road map starts to take a little more shape, a little more appearance than the last two months combined.

After being broken down into your emotional pieces, being split apart and fitted back together like a puzzle, it’s easy to come to the conclusion that you know what’s ahead. You feel like you have a level of control you didn’t before, a level of certainty that you didn’t before.

But no matter how many times you look forward with your divination and your emotions finally centered, you never truly know. You can only catch little glimpses. The map has shape and outline, but the specifics are still missing.

 

The Third Month

I had no idea what to expect for the month of March. I had gone into the previous month with a general idea, but nothing specific ever came to me for March. I even pulled cards to try to see something about what was coming, but it gave me only very vague ideas. I felt stumped and a little blind; couldn’t someone give me a little peek about the month ahead?

The first major event of the month was a Positive and a Negative: we finally hired new people to train up and help take some of the edge off on our work load. I was tickled pink because, so long as the person I am training in what I took over after we fired two people in January, this means I can move back into the position I had taken up in November of last year. The other reason I was so thrilled was because new work keeps coming in, but with the same old faces to take it on, we were all feeling the pinch.

While hiring new people is in fact a good thing, it’s also a bad thing. It means that I spend more time focusing on what the new person is doing and capable of taking on. It also means that I have to stop what I am doing so that I can make sure that they are doing things within our standard protocols. So, work has been stressful as I take on back-to-back-to-back calls and meetings to ensure that my primary resource will be able to take on the work I’m training her for and also ensuring that someone who will only slightly be touching things I oversee is capable of taking that on as well.

Some nights, after a long day of training and my own work, I would sit at my desk for a half hour or more to catch up on things that I couldn’t deal with during the business day. I can’t remember the last time I actually made it home from work on time: I never leave at 5 anymore. Most of the other leads are feeling the same way as me and are also stuck in the office afterhours. I keep telling myself that this is just for a little bit longer, but we’ll see if that’s true.

On the heels of the good news, and the actual negative thing related to the above, we lost one of our supervisors. It’s a good thing for her to move on, but the game plan the boss came up with to fill in her role is a nightmare. The supervisor who took over my position last year so I could move into my new position is basically doing exactly what I was doing six months ago. She keeps forgetting that I know exactly what she’s going through, but I won’t remind her until she snaps at me again.

We all keep telling ourselves that good things are coming: new business, new employees, new directions. It still feels like we’re all being flattened under the weight of it all though.

The other good thing this month was that I got married! I am lucky that I didn’t have to actually like plan the wedding itself or the small reception that took place afterward. My SO’s mother, who had talked us into more than just walking into the courthouse, took care of all of that. It was very low-key and very nice. I’m glad it is finally over though. Weddings – even small ones like ours – are expensive and time-consuming.

Even with the things that I needed to see through with the SO, I was more excited than stressed out about it. I tend to be the opposite: stress about it all first and then get excited just before the new thing happens. It was weird having the complete opposite reaction to all of this.

The last thing that came about this month is that I started focusing on the advice I was given last month about Nephthys. The problem is that I knew very little about her. After researching her a bit, I realized that I still didn’t know a whole lot about her. The source material for her is very small and this seems to relate to the fact that she tends to be tied up alongside her sister, Aset.

I began coming up with a ton of ideas to do what I was advised to do. I would throw them around my head just to see where the thoughts would end up. Eventually, I mulled enough on it to come up with an idea that I think would work. When TTR and I kind of discussed it once I felt like I knew what I was trying to do, they seemed to agree that this could work out.

I have to put it into practice now, so we’ll see how well this turns out eventually.

All in all, this month felt like a roller coaster ride with no way off. A lot of the roller coaster stuff was work related, but not all of it. No matter how many times I wanted to stop what I was doing, thinking, or feeling to give me a few minutes to myself, I couldn’t. I was constantly on the go. I had to complete a number of items on my checklist for my wedding at the end of the month and so did the SO. I needed to get things lined up at work for new hires to be trained properly. Every day was a long day and in the middle of all of this, my emotions kept see-sawing back and forth.

March was an emotional month. I would find myself snapping at people for no reason; they didn’t upset me or annoy me or make me feel as tired as I felt. It wasn’t their fault and sometimes when I followed the threads of those emotions, I couldn’t quite figure out where all of it was coming from. Was it really just stress and frustration? Was it something more? Was it just because I had been going a hundred miles an hour and needed to take a fucking minute without being able to do so?

But it was still emotional. I found myself breaking down sometimes in a crying jag, overwhelmed with my emotions. Most of the times I broke down, I was in the car and there was no one around to ask me what was wrong. I couldn’t have explained it all if I wanted to. I wouldn’t have wanted to anyway.

I got through it all. After the wedding and the third week of training, I was able to say that I was feeling a lot more stable. The ups and downs of the roller coaster ride were either easier to get through or they weren’t as high anymore. I may even be able to get off of the damn thing some time next month!

 

The Third Hour

The third hour is about the deceased declaring that, after passing through a gateway of fire and pain, they have become one of the Shining Ones, or Akh. The part that was conspicuously missing was that in order to become transfigured into one of the Shining Ones, not only do you have to work on getting your body in line to wake up from its inert state, you also have to force your emotions to wake up as well.

The body isn’t the only part that requires movement forward; the pieces of one’s soul also have to move forward so that all pieces can be codified back into a single unit before one can declare that they have become one of the akh. To me, the pieces of the soul relate more to one’s emotions than to the body. The body houses all of these pieces of the soul in some form or another, but one’s emotions are also tied to those pieces. And you can’t move ahead until you’re all right in the head.

It often felt like my emotions were being broken down into their component or elemental pieces to force an integration together. I had major ups and downs as my emotional being passed through the fire and pain of the gateway and moved every forward until the parts of my emotional self could integrate back into who I was.

It hurt; all of it hurt. I could feel parts of myself breaking off and trying to run away from it all while the rest of my reached out for those pieces to bring them back to bear. The emotional roller coaster that was happening in real life followed me into my dreams. I couldn’t escape it.

And the lesson I learned last month about taking a step and then stopping to allow the re-integration of the self was difficult to put into practice when I felt a little like I was all over the place, trying to snatch back pieces of myself that wanted to flee. But after all of the constancy of being on-the-go in March, I finally was able to get to the point where I could at least declare that I had been transfigured. It just took longer than I expected.

 

Conclusion

The third hour is more like a footnote in My Heart, My Mother. There is little to give the hour substance in the book beyond the words that the Pharaoh would say after passing through the gateway:

O Bull of the Two Lands… I am divine, I am an Akh, I am powerful and I am seated on the throne of Atum… make a place for me amongst you so that I may sail with Re in the Duat.

I thought that this hour would be easy. It’s about passing through the elemental fire of the gateway and declaring oneself as having been transfigured after passing through the second hour. I was wrong. It didn’t occur to me that the inertia of the second hour was from a physical standpoint; in order to truly become transfigured, one’s emotional well-being needs to be taken into account as well.

This, more than anything, explains why Roberts mentions that there are still being in various phases of transformation in the third hour as well. This never made much sense to me, but now it does. You can’t move forward just because your body is whole; you have to make sure the entirety of your being is whole too.

 

Further Reading

The Third Hour.

The second hour of the afterlife journey heralds the moment when the sun god and the journeying soul truly enter into the afterlife. The overall view from this portion of the journey highlights the inertia one can experience within the first true hour of the journey: beings in sarcophagi or mummified litter the various books of the netherworld, highlighting that passiveness within will do nothing to allow beings to move forward.

The third hour comes across as an hour filled with elemental power, as we shall see.

The Book of the Hidden Chamber [Amduat]

The flood waters of the Nun are highlighted again within this hour, now called the Water of Osiris. He is shown again and again within this hour, being seen four times in the White Crown and four more times in the Red Crown. In addition to Osiris within the crowns of Upper and Lower Egypt, two depictions of the Orion constellation, which was associated with him, are shown as well.

The flood waters of the Nun are a primary focus here, not merely because these waters grant the necessary moisture for crops and food to grow in the underworld. The floods from the Nun are chaotic but necessary, just as the inundation of the Nile was. It is through this hour that the old is dissolved in order to allow a renewal of the necessary fertility to feed the myriad denizens of the Netherworld.

The solar barque dominates the middle register of this hour, showing a total of four boats. Each boat shows Ra within, which “points to a fragmentation of the unity of the Sungod into four” [p49, Abt & Hornung, Knowledge for the Afterlife: The Egyptian Amduat – A Quest for Immortality]. Each boat depicts two oarsman to steer through the flood waters and a serpent for protection against the enemies of the solar deity.

While the seeming fragmenting of the solar god may seem counter-intuitive, Abt & Hornung go on to explain:

This dissociation is counterbalanced by four gods who approach the four barques from the right. Their names are Lord of water, Moor of the earth, He who sets the limits, and He who sees the limits. This points to their order-bringing function.

The overall point being that while this hour is full of chaos, it is a necessary chaos in order to fulfill the needed inundation for the underworld. To counteract this necessary chaos, to ensure that it doesn’t tip over into the realm of true isfet, four deities are brought forth to ensure that ma’at will prevail.

The Book of Gates

Mummiform beings are shown at the top of the register for this hour, however they are shown being awakened from their deaths. They grow animated within their shrine spaces. Within this register, the Lake of Fire is depicted. The Blessed Dead are able to use this Lake to equip themselves for the journey forward, however this very same Lake turn to fire for those who are damned.

The solar god is towed forward through this hour within the “barque of the earth.” He is also outfitted with clean, white clothes to symbolize his renewal. We also catch our first glimpse of A/pep, which is shown in its form of a giant serpent. This s/nake is in front of Atum, who is assisted in his need to overcome the s/nake to move forward.

The Book of Caverns

Ra passes through on his journey and is shown to enter an area where the ithyphallic body of Osiris resides beneath the god, Aker. Aker is depicted in his twinned sphinx form, being able to see both yesterday and tomorrow, while Osiris lays passively beneath him. Aker is surrounded by a myriad of gods of the Ennead. Above this depiction, the pharaoh is associated with Osiris on his journey to become one of the Blessed Dead.

Within the same area as the depiction of Aker, we come into contact with four forms of Osiris, all of whom are indicated to be “lords of the Duat.” Ra, in his form as an old man, addresses each one of them. Behind Aker, another form of Osiris is shown, this time within his sarcophagus. This form of Osiris is also shown with the eye of Ra and a ram’s head, surrounded by an ouroboros “and evidently stressing the unity of Re and Osiris; Osiris is depicted again, atop a serpent, as ‘the one who has become two’.” [p87, Hornung, The Ancient Egyptian Books of the Afterlife].

Beneath these forms, the enemies of the gods are shown in their punishments within the Place of Annihilation and within the primeval darkness. They are further punished when their bau are shown hanging upside down. Within the middle of these enemies, the ithyphallic form of Osiris’s corpse is again shown. He is also within the darkness as their enemies.

The Book of Night

The entrance to the Third Hour brings us to the uvula of Nut, or to the back of the mouth. The barque is guided forward by the “Bull of the Two Lands” through the gateway, which is called: “She who lights the fire, the quencher of embers, with sharp flames, quick in killing without hesitation. She from whom there is no protection. She by whom one cannot pass without harm. The one who rears up towards her lord.” It is in this hour that the deceased announces that he has become one of the Akh, having renewed himself within the previous hour.

Beings are depicted beneath the barque, in various phases of their transformations: the Awakened Ones, the Sleeping Ones, the Silent Ones, the Revived Ones, the Floating Ones, the Transfigured Ones, and the Shadows. In addition, there are beings of three who are named: Those of the Field and Those of the Channels. “Attracted towards waking and sleeping in the maternal arms, all are caught in various phases of the rebirth journey, deep in the inner recesses of the even-tide, just like Ihy” [p117, Roberts, My Heart, My Mother].


Further Reading

  • The Ancient Egyptian Books of the Afterlife by Erik Hornung
  • Knowledge for the Afterlife by Theodor Abt and Erik Hornung
  • My Heart, My Mother by Alison Roberts

 

The Second Month & The Second Hour.

I thought that if I had to choose a word to describe this month, it would be inert. The second hour of the Netherworld highlights the Inert Ones, those who are in stasis before they can move on to the next hour – if they even are able to move on at all – and so I assumed going in that “inert” would be my word of the month.

But I found that the real word, the real descriptor for this month, was fortify. If we look at the definition listed at Dictionary-dot-com, we find:

I thought that the second month of the year would begin to set the tone for the rest of the year, but I found that I was wrong. The second month passes by too swiftly for any sort of tone to be enacted, or to even be felt. From one second we are walking the line into February 1st and before we know it, we have passed by 28 or 29 days and see March on the horizon. Nothing concrete truly happens this month; it just provides a firmer road map of what the future will hold.

In the capture I provided above, I found that the phrase “increase the effectiveness of” was also an appropriate descriptor for this second month. At the end of all of this hard work in this year of rebirth, an increase in my own effectiveness could be seen as the sum total of the whole undertaking. It is interesting to see that this increase in effectiveness begins so soon.

This isn’t to say that the second hour of our journey isn’t fraught with inertia, or inertness. It is merely that during the rest period of that inertia, there is also a fortification or building up of oneself going on at the same time. While this may seem dichotomous, it is only through the inertia that we are experiencing that we can sense where we must focus our attention to fortify ourselves.


The Second Month

The end of January gave me a glimpse of what I could expect in February. Three major events have happened this month that are interrelated in a Big Picture kind of way, and of course relate back to my personal rebirth journey.

The first major happening was a Disappointment. As I’ve mentioned, I have a number of irons in the fire and have been working on these irons for a long time. The SO and I decided to try to pull one out to see what happened, but it ended up not working out so the iron was put back in place.

But even though this wasn’t the ending that we wanted, we realized that this Disappointment actually worked out in our favor. This gave us more time to add more heat to the fire that this particular iron is in so that it will be warm enough when we’re finally ready to pull the trigger. I was able to fortify on my end and he has been as well so that when it finally happens, we won’t have to worry nearly as much as we were when we first gave it a shot.

The second event of the month was also a Disappointment: the cracked tooth in the back of my mouth that had been hurting off and on for months had finally come to roost. I had a cavity in that cracked tooth, an absence which had caused an infection, and on top of everything else, the wisdom tooth that was never supposed to come in was sitting behind the cracked tooth, all impacted and shit.

I do not have dental insurance because I am an idiot, so I spent about half of February trying to find an oral surgeon to deal with this issue. Since my roots look like two clawed fingers and are inordinately long, the dental clinic I went to thought it best if a surgeon deals with it. But do you know what? Oral surgeons are not fans of people without insurance and not fans of payment plans. They are also not willing to donate their time to dental clinics.

I spent two weeks working on this health issue nearly non-stop as I found out that I have a higher pain tolerance than most people. I went to work every day while I tried to find someone who would be willing to take a payment plan or cut me some slack on the costs to remove a tooth. Of course, none of them were surgeons.

This time helped me to strengthen myself in a health sort of way. I often ignore my health in favor of everyone and everything else, but I learned that focusing on one’s health is just as important as everything else.

It was a horrendous ordeal removing this tooth. I spent two hours in a dental chair and spent two days recovering from it. While this was a learning experience (AKA, I found a loophole to get me dental insurance since I have other Major Dental Issues that need to be addressed and as TTR pointed out, tooth health is Very Important), it also helped me to jump over a hurdle that I had placed in front of myself.

This experience helped me to reach out to Nephthys as a friend of mine had indicated I should last month. In a fit of pique after spending two hours in a dental chair and emotionally wrung out, I promised her anything if she would just get the damn tooth out of my head. The roots popped out shortly thereafter, which means… I should probably start looking into her a bit more.

The third major event from this month is actually a Positive. After spending twelve years together, the SO and I finally figured we should get married. This is also going to help us with the irons I talked about above probably, so we may as well. I have found out that planning a wedding, even something as low-key as what I want, is A Thing and I don’t recommend it.

If you have to plan your own, find someone to do it for you as much as humanly possible.

While this may not seem like it relates, it is also a way for the SO and I to fortify ourselves especially after the Disappointment we had experienced early on in February. It will be a benefit in a lot of ways and of course, I guess there’s the whole thing about love and stuff.

 

The Second Hour

The second hour has been far more eventful than the first. As I worked on the above things to see me to the next hour, I found that I had to do the same thing. Everything going on this month has had rapid periods of movement as I work to bolster something forward or get something done, but there have also been long moments of inertness.

The periods in between where I am able to stop, sit back, reflect have been useful as I work on the fortifications that one needs to take on to pass through this second hour. You need to be able to reawaken yourself as Sia whispers to the Inert Ones lying passive in this hour. But you also need to take the time necessary to figure out how you’ve reawakened yourself and fit it into the place where it needs to go.

In order to move on, one must be capable of full integration with oneself. The only way that will be possible is if you also take the time to focus on the task and then sit back for a bit. Going full tilt will get no one anywhere for long. It’ll wind up looking more like you’re running in place than anything else. And then there will be no ability to move on.

I think that may have been what happened the last time I tried this. I think I was so focused on the journey that I didn’t stop long enough to absorb what it was that I was trying to do. I didn’t take the time to reflect on the parts of myself that were reawakening or awakening for the first time. And I didn’t let them situate themselves in place before I kept going.

So I’ve learned a lesson: moving forward is necessary, but a need for rest after the movement is also necessary. It is only through this quiet time afterward that you are truly able to put the pieces together, to truly integrate with what has happened.

 

Conclusion

When I first read through My Heart, My Mother, I was more focused on the idea of the Inert Ones in the second hour. It was a focal point for my mind and I wound up sticking on their appearance within the hour. The parts that I failed to integrate when I read through the book originally was that the second hour does more than just show up as a memorial for those who haven’t moved on to the next hour.

As Roberts states:

What we are seeing here in the Book of Night is a renewal of bodies, the reawakening of inert, lifeless forms. They are being told by Sia that they have not died when they entered the mother goddess, but rather that they have to take command again of all of their bodily functions. Hence, as each person begins the journey in the West, their first experience is a renewal and strengthening of all parts of the body…

The second step on this odyssey of the soul has been only a single step, a pause as I integrate what has happened, and then a few more steps forward. Less the phrase “two steps forward, one step back” and more a phrase I came up with earlier this month, “one step forward, pause, two steps forward, pause…” There can be no progression without the ability to fully come to terms with what has happened.

I am excited to see what comes next, when the irons will get pulled, when I will hopefully be able to say that I am noticing the progress I am making and seeing it in the world around me. We’ll see what comes next month, I suppose.

 

Further Reading

The Second Hour.

The first hour of the afterlife journey heralds the moment when liminality has overtaken the sun god and the journeying soul as they move from one form of life to the next. I have personally come to view that first hour as a form of preparation, a sort of time period as brief as it may be, where one must bolster itself for the trip ahead.

The second hour begins as a journey through a named gateway and the journey in truth begins.

The Book of the Hidden Chamber [Amduat]

This hour grants us access to the underworld in truth. The area is a fertile region, watered by the primeval ocean of Nun. The area is known as Wernes in the Amduat. The solar barque is featured with four companion boats, which are filled with provisions for the journey ahead. The primary barque shows Nephthys and Isis as serpents, guarding the barque on its journey forward.

In the fourth boat, Ma’at appears as a feather supported by a god without a name. Beside the oversized feather, a moon is represented as both a lunar disc and lunar crescent. This representation of the moon is atypical of the afterlife. The moon is not usually shown as the sun is replacing the moon on its journey through the hours. The visual of the moon seems to by representative of the rejuvenation of time and of the dead.

Time is further represented with gods holding up the signs for time and season. These grouped gods are separated by a third group baring aloft knives. The gods holding the signs for time and season are ensuring that the timing of the season of the year follows the sequence it should. They are also ensuring that agricultural year of the netherworld provides for the deceased. The knife-wielding deities between protect both groups from anything that would prevent the above from happening.

This shows the cyclical nature of this hour. Ra provides for the gods and deceased of the underworld through his shining sunlight, ensuring the growth of the necessary agriculture to feed the underworld’s inhabitants. He also assigns them the plots of land they require to facilitate the growth of the produce the inhabitants need. In the same vein, the inhabitants are also providing for Ra as he roams through the hour, giving him sustenance in the fruits and vegetables they have grown in their plots of land.

The Book of Gates

The second hour for this book shows a myriad of inhabitants. Those who have spoken Ma’at and live in Ma’at have been transfigured into their forms as the Blessed Dead. Those who have not been transfigured are scolded by Atum. The four cardinal points of the earth are also represented as the “Weary Ones,” seeming to indicate that they too need regeneration.

The Book of Caverns

The guardian serpents of this area restrict access after which one is ushered towards multiple deities within sarcophagi. Further on, multiple forms of Wesir are shown, including his own sarcophagus. Beneath the many bodies of Wesir, we see bound and decapitated enemies, some of whom have had their hearts torn out and their bodies hung upside down. Ra condemns these enemies to non-existence, sending them to the Place of Annihilation.

The Book of Night

The entrance to the Second Hour brings us to Nut’s mouth and is heralded by a named Gateway. This Gateway is titled: “Lady of trembling, high of walls, pre-eminent one, Lady of destruction, who foresees aggression and repels the raging, who saves the robbed from the one who comes from afar. Lady of terror.” The guide through this gateway is known as Bull of Light.

There are nine mummiform figures within this hour, known as The Transfigured Ones, The Mummies, and The Dead. They rest upon lion beds and Sia watches over them, commanding: “Count your hearts, receive your offerings.”

Next to the mummiform figures, there are three more groups of people shown: two men with a woman in between. These beings are known as Inert Ones, Punished Ones, and Those of the Opposite Sky. They are either swimming or lying prone, stuck in various phases of the renewal process. They lie passively within this hour, allowing their lives to be surrendered to whatever fate has in store for them. Sia watches over these beings, commanding, “Measure your banks, lift up your legs.”

This hour is about nudging those who had not continued the rejuvenation process for one reason or another, and forcing them to reawaken themselves from their inert forms. They are being told that they must take command of their bodily functions rather than allow the inertia of this hour to overtake them.

The integration of the body is integral for this hour and the push is that in order to move forward, one must gradually reunite with one’s body parts to become fully rejuvenated. “Initially then, all the faculties of the body have to be renewed and the body gradually reunited with its different members. And this ‘gathering together’ serves as the secure foundation on which the whole journey ultimately rests. For it is only after their bodies have been renewed that the night travellers can proceed further in their journey”  [p116, Roberts, My Heart, My Mother].

The final note for this hour is that the recommendation is that one should embody Ihy as Ihy has experience with inertia and the Inert Ones. Ihy, the son of Hathor, endures as inert in the primal waters before being reborn as the radiant child of Hathor and Heru-Wer.

 

Further Reading

  • The Ancient Egyptian Books of the Afterlife by Erik Hornung
  • Knowledge for the Afterlife by Theodor Abt and Erik Hornung
  • My Heart, My Mother by Alison Roberts

The First Month & The First Hour.

If there was any word that we could use to describe the first month of the civil year, and in conjunction with the first hour of my personal journey through the Duat, I would say liminality would be the most appropriate. When you look up the word, liminality on Wikipedia, this is what the first paragraph has to say:

…liminality is the quality of ambiguity or disorientation that occurs in the middle stage of rites, when participants no longer hold their pre-ritual status but have not yet begun the transition to the status they will hold when the rite is complete. During a rite’s liminal stage, participants “stand at the threshold between their previous way of structuring their identity, time, or community, and a new way, which completing the rite establishes.

The first month of the year doesn’t necessarily set the tone for the rest of the year. We may think that it does when we see the ongoing 24-hour news cycle and our constant connection with what’s happening in the world. But the month of January is merely a signpost, a herald advising that the year has begun and things are coming but we’re not quite there yet. Nothing concrete truly happens in the first month; it just provides you with hints as to what you can expect for the future.

In that quote that I provided from Wikipedia, they talk about “disorientation,” which would also be an adequate word to describe the first month of the New Year. It is disorienting moving from the death of the old year into the birth of the new. It is a tumultuous time, which is why we can often misinterpret the first month as the part of the year where the tone for the next 12 months is set. But again, January does not do this; it only hints at what is to come.

We can say this is true for the first hour of the journey into the afterlife. As my research into various netherworld books seemed to indicate, the first hour is what I referred to as a “non-hour.” It is a signpost and a herald for what is to come, but the work and movement won’t begin until the solar barque passes through the gateway into the Second Hour. And then, things will truly begin.

The First Month

I had my suspicions about what I could expect from the first month of the year. There were a few hints and a few pushes that I would see a lot of changes on the real-life front. However, I wasn’t really expecting that things would be this tumultuous. Even with the above research into liminality and my attempts at philosophical discussion on the topic of said word, I can assure anyone reading this that I didn’t expect shit to get this real so quickly.

Work has been one of those kind of nightmare places where you’re trying to figure out if you’re alive or dead. The first bang went off at work and was followed by two more. The first two bangs were big loud, nuclear fall-out cloud explosions. All of us are still trying to pick up the pieces from those first two bombs. We told ourselves that by mid-February we should be good to go, but with the way things have been going, I don’t really see us un-burying ourselves until March.

The thing is that my boss keeps reminding us that this was a necessary change, a good change. From a holistic point-of-view, her assessment is correct. We did need to make these changes and they are for the betterment of the office and the company as a whole. However, we have to slog through the ash that we ourselves caused by burning shit down around us. And we all voted for it; we all agreed to this change knowing that it needed to happen. And I can say that these changes have caused betterment even though we’re all up to our eyeballs in bullshit every day.

The third bang was a smaller bang and more personally impacting. It frustrated me but I knew it was going to happen long before it did. I had expect the bomb to go off and it did. I can admit why it did and I can even agree that it should have gone off. But that doesn’t make me particularly happy about anything especially considering the day-to-day shit I’m slogging through because of the other things going on.

And I’m… well, I’m frustrated. I can see on Google maps what the fuck the forest looks like, but from my personal vantage point, I can’t see the damn forest because of all the fucking trees. And what annoys me the most about all of this is that there are three other people in the office who are at the same level of the job as I am who come across as inordinately selfish for all of this shit.

As I am slogging through this bullshit, they’re whining that I can’t help them with whatever. Well… yes. That’s what happens when you blow shit up in your own damn face, like we all agreed to do. And unfortunately it sucks that you have to take on more personal responsibility that you used to very happily delegate to me and that I, sadly, would willingly take on. But now it sucks that you can’t shove your shit on me because I’m too busy shoveling my own and you have to deal with the consequences of a decision we all agreed to.

Beyond work, which is sadly a large portion of what my first month of 2019 has entailed, I have had some irons in the fire that I have been poking and prodding for… well, years. These irons are finally getting hot and ready to get pulled out for use, although I have a bit more to do before we finally get to there. I can safely say that I am very, very ready to pull these damn irons from the fire.

The First Hour

The first hour has been, well, uneventful in the grand scheme of things. You would think that there would be lights and sirens maybe, just a little hint that the work has begun. But aside from dreams and the ongoing Tarot Card Drama™, there is very little going on from the afterlife front. I suppose I should be grateful that nothing has picked up considering everything else that has been going on this past month.

So far, the first hour has been more preparation than anything else. I’ve been taking the time that I have available to look inward, knowing that once I reach the gateway, I’ll begin moving forward. I’ve found bits of myself, pieces that have been highlighted for the upcoming work that I have needed to look through, to address in some way, shape, or form. None of these things are personal failings – merely things that became highlighted for me as I navigated slowly forward.

I’m not horrible at taking the magnifying glass to myself to poke and prod at the things that need to be reviewed, but I’m not the best at coming out of the look-see feeling like I’ve made progress. Sometimes momentum or progress isn’t necessary, but I always come away feeling like I need to have something tangible in hand after the review. And if I can’t come away with that tangible something, then I feel like I wasted my time and energy in the doing.

After conversing with TTR about something that I needed to look into and their giving advice on how to do this, I was able to at least get some movement on something that needed to be addressed in some way. While I didn’t really come out of that with a solution per se, I realized that this wasn’t really a situation that fell into “I need a solution” territory.

  • I needed to acknowledge what was happening – check.
  • I needed to acknowledge the cause of it – check.
  • I needed to admit how it was impacting me – check.

There wasn’t anything that required a way to fix it. It is what it is. I think the year ahead will probably help in all of this, but I can only really wait and see on that. I needed to admit that this was a thing and I needed to at least understand the cause for it. I was able to do that and in the doing, I feel more prepared than ever for the next step.

Of course, we’ll see how prepared I really am soon enough.

Conclusion

Before completing my research for the first hour of the various Books of the Afterlife, I thought that I would go into the first hour and immediately make some form of progress. I thought the progress would look like something tangible, but I was wrong. My research indicated that the first hour would almost be a sort of interim moment between the decision to move forward and the second hour when movement would begin.

As Hornung states:

The nightly journey of the sun is the focus of all the Books of the Netherworld, and consistent with this, it also furnishes the ordering and creative principle for the spaces in the hereafter. This nocturnal regeneration of the sun demonstrates, by way of example, what powers of renewal are at work on the far side of death. At the same time, the journey occurs in the spaces of the human soul, in which a renewal from the depths becomes possible. That is an odyssey of the soul is emphasized by the Egyptians through the indication that the sun god descends into the depths as a ba-soul…

The nocturnal journey leads through an inner region of the cosmos that was regarded not only as the netherworld and the depths of the earth, but also as water (the primeval water, the Nun) as darkness, and as the interior of the sky.

The first step on the odyssey of the soul is little more than putting two feet on the first step of the bus or train that you’ve decided to take to get to your destination. It is merely a herald, a signpost for the future that this is a moment that Change Is Going to Happen But Not Yet.

I am tired of waiting at least from the spiritual aspect of things, but I am ready for the movement forward to begin to take form and show me the overall outcome. But that could just be my impatience talking.
Further Reading

Ritual365: Four Week Check-In.

The original deal I made with the gods was that I would wake them every morning with a small ritual. That ritual would include offerings, candles, and incense. I was given a sort of carte blanche to create the ritual and to add whatever I so desired beyond those staples to the deal.

The deal morphed to include the rites and rituals that TTR and I had been discussing, off and on, for months: Making Ma’at 2k19, the monthly Propitiation, the akhu ritual, and the monthly Execration. It seemed silly to be doing a daily ritual and not to include the rites and rituals we had already been discussing.

The deal changed yet again after the New Year to include the idea that we, as Kemetics, need to branch out of our comfort zones. We have handfuls of gods that we trust and have developed relationships with, but there are so many out there that are left in the wings and, for the most part, are ignored. They needed to be included or at least, acknowledged in some way, in an effort to put a theory into its testing phase.

The original deal was a large task. It… I knew it was asking a lot of me especially since I know how I get over time. Every day rituals with no days off (not for illness, not for what others may deem as ritual impurity, not for major upheavals, or loss of spoons) is a large drink to swallow but I had agreed to do it as part of this year and the things that are coming down the spiritual turnpike. The additions of these other rituals since seemed like drops in the bucket in comparison.

There is a lot going on.

The Daily Ritual

As I’ve spent the last four weeks using the ritual that I had created the day before the New Year began, I have come to a single conclusion: I fucking hate it. Every morning, I get up after a lot of grumbling about getting up and go about the rite to feed my gods using the words I had crafted together in a rush on the last day of 2018.

It had started off much bigger than it is now and it was unwieldy. There were too many influences in the ritual itself that caused me to feel like I was constantly going, “what the fuck,” as I gave to my gods. It felt like I was being pulled in too many directions for it to be more than barely functional, which is why I cut it down a hell of a lot to get to where I am today.

Even after I left pieces of the original ritual on the cutting room floor, I realized that I still hated it. I hate the words. I hate the gestures. I hate the way that I have things set up in the formal rite itself. Since none of my gods who take part in this daily ritual have said anything about it, I recognize that it is probably only myself that hates everything. Maybe they like it as it is because I’m finally paying attention to them regularly again.

I recognize that I need to do something about all of this. I can’t go through the next eleven months with this ritual that I absolutely frigging hate to be used and used and used every day. I just can’t. I don’t feel the way I do with other rituals: content with the working that’s been done. I need to figure out something better and I need to apparently write it down in a notebook specific for rituals that I felt compelled to buy a few weeks back. So… maybe it won’t be as long to save my hand from cramping.

I was also not prepared for other gods wanting to get into this daily ritual thing. I had set up the original rubric to only include Sekhmet, Ptah, Hetheru, and Heru-Wer. It seemed that it was the most appropriate to include those main deities in this daily ritual since they are the ones that I have the closest relationships with.

But as I continued forward, I realized it seemed silly to not include Bes and Wenut. And then it seemed even sillier to not include Tawaret. The ritual seemed to grow by leaps and bounds the longer I thought about it. As time has gone on, no one else has really clamored to be added in although I suspect that, with the way things are moving forward for me, there may be more additions over the next year.

The one thing I wasn’t really expecting from all of this was the low-key push from Ra at the start of the year to formulate a daily rite for him and him alone. He doesn’t want to be included in the daily rites for the gods in my home, but he does want to be paid attention to. I started this off with a few words here and there that can succinctly be described as “hoo ra.” This seemed sufficient to start off with, but it was clear that this was never going to last long.

I need more and this has been made clear, but I am frankly not sure how to go about this. I have some resources that I am waiting on to help me figure out what I need and I have a specific amulet that I have commissioned for this (at Ra’s request no less) daily rite so I have a general idea in mind. But what I’m actually going to say? I have no idea.

The Additional Gods Rituals

Throughout the year, I have a number of alerts that pop up on my Google calendar to let me know what god is associated with a particular day and what festivals are coming up. This calendar will change around Wep-Ronpet at the request of Ptah before my religious New Year begins, but in the mean time, the original dates are still in my calendar to remind me to pay homage to my gods in larger rituals and rites.

In addition to including my primary gods, my calendar includes snippets for other gods that I have had passing interactions with: Geb, Mut, Ihy, and a few others. When the first day of Geb appeared to come up on my calendar, I thought about the idea of doing rituals for the gods that, on the whole, Kemetics have little to do with.

This was a conversation with TTR that morphed into my idea that I was going to do this thing by creating rituals and letting people know what was coming up according to my calendar. We have jointly celebrated a ritual for Geb and a very, very, very, very long festival for Ptah (the Festival of Ptah is an 11-day festival, which also has a 7-day festival for Ptah and the Winged Disk in the same time frame) that is actually still going on.

I have found that while these additional rituals have tired me out in conjunction with Real Life nonsense going on, I feel like I am headed in the right direction by branching out from my comfort zone. I am definitely not a fan of creating rituals and rites for this since I feel, based on my perceived failure regarding my daily rite, I am not very good at it. But I like the idea that gods who are not as well known as others or approached often are being thought of, discussed, and paid homage to with something that I have put out there.

It seems to be working well. Other people are starting to get into the spirit of what it is that we are doing and there has been some discussion about other people putting rituals out there for public consumption. I’m interested to see how things further develop.

The Monthly Rites with TTR

As we were planning for the year ahead, TTR and I discussed additional rites to be completed each month. For the most part, they are putting the ritual materials out there for this and I’ve been able to just follow some words on my screen so that I can participate in the year of rites we had been discussing for some time. I have added bits and pieces from my own ideas regarding rituals into what they publish for the upcoming rite, but for the most part, these rituals are fairly easy for me since I don’t have to do the research to get the words out and into the world.

So for that, and that alone, we should also say a hearty and resounding “thank you” to them since I can attest just how time-consuming the research portion can be for these things.

That said, I like the communal effort that’s been going out. I can’t say for certain that other people are truly participating beyond TTR and I, but I do know that some people have at least mentioned participating. I also like the idea of a bunch of solitary users getting together to push their intent into the world. This is frankly the closest I will ever get to being a part of a group for my religious activities so it’s kind of nice to be able to take a bit of a break from being on my own all the time.

Out of all of the rituals that we have done, I think I like the Monthly Ma’at ritual the best. This isn’t necessarily because the other rituals are bad or anything – they’re not. I just like the idea of promoting Ma’at into the world, which is something that I have wanted to do for some time, but haven’t been able to really figure out how to achieve the goal so to speak. Now that there is a rubric out there, I know how to do it.

The ritual I like the least is the monthly akhu ritual. I already do a lot for my ancestors although they’ve fallen to the wayside while I become more focused on the gods in recent weeks. But my primary annoyance is that Wesir is included in the rite. I understand the need for him there and I won’t remove him, but this hearkens back to more my own problems than anything else. Maybe the monthly 6th day rites to Wesir will help me work through my issues with him. Or not.

Conclusion

All in all, this past month has been very busy. There is a lot going on from the religious world, which hasn’t been the case in a very long time. It’s a little bit like I’m putting on a pair of very old and comfortable jeans that I haven’t seen in a long time. It was a little uncomfortable at first, but now that I’ve been wearing them back in, it feels much better than it had been earlier this month.

As I was telling the SO about all of this stuff going on, I told him that I kind of liked it. It wasn’t the fact that I was finally getting back into the swing of things; it’s more that I feel like I have a reason to do all of this. When I was doing it for myself, I didn’t feel like there was much of a reason to keep this up regularly. But now I’m beginning to understand the reasoning and they’re important ones.

The funniest thing about all of this is that, while I still complain about Bigger Picture, now I can appreciate that answer from my gods a lot more. I’m beginning to understand Bigger Picture in ways I didn’t think I would have been able to understand even six months ago.

The other thing is that, while I understand why this is a thing, I have to wonder what the next year is going to look like. I already know the answer to the question I’ve been asked about what comes next, but that doesn’t mean that I know what that is going to look like. I’m not worried about it yet – I figure I’ll start freaking out about it in the fall – but it’s going to definitely change things dramatically for me.

Hopefully this year prepares me for it.

Further Reading

Festival of Ptah Ritual.

This particular Festival of Ptah begins on II Peret 21 and continues for 11 days. While not every day will result in the below ritual, I have added a smaller version of said rite at the bottom for the days where a full ritual is not completed.

Full Ritual

Needed Items

  • Water
  • Candles
  • Incense
  • Image of Ma’at or feather of ma’at amulet
  • Image of ib or ib amulet
  • Image of ankh or ankh amulet
  • Water
  • Food (representations of or actual food)

Approaching the Shrine/Altar
Action: If you have a temple/bedroom that is used for your shrine/altar space and is not in a public area, you would complete this in front of your closed door. Step towards the shrine and/or altar space where you have set up for this rite. If you are so inclined, you can offer dua while stopping a few steps away from the space. (Dua is the holding out of your hands at face level, palms facing the area in question.) Say the following:

O you NTRW of this temple, who sanctify the god in his shrine:
I have made my way and I enter into your presence.
I am one of you.
Do not repulse me on the god’s path.
My feet are not impeded.
I am not turned back from this place.
I have come to offer Ma’at to the Lord of Ma’at.
I have come to you to content the Sound Eye.
I flood his offering table.
I present his offerings, this great god who blesses me so that I may endow his image with life.
I am pure.
I am purified.

Stepping Before the Shrine/Altar
Action: Take a few more steps forward and open the closed door/doors of your temple/bedroom that you use for your shrine/altar space. If you have your shrine/altar space in a public area, pretend to open two doors with your hands. Say the following:

O you ba-souls of Mennefer, if you are strong, I am strong.
If I am strong, you are strong.
If your ka-spirits are strong, my ka-spirit is strong at the head of the living.
As they are living, so shall I live.
I am pure.
I am purified.
I open your temple and I come to you.

Action: Close the door/doors of your temple room/bedroom behind you as you step into the space. If you do not have a dedicated room for this space, pretend to close the doors behind you.

Opening the Doors of the Shrine/Altar
Action: Open the doors of the shrine space. If you do not have a dedicated shrine with doors to open, you can pretend to open doors on your altar just like was done above.

The doors of the sky are open.
The doors of the earth are unlocked.
This house is open for its Master.
Let me come forth as he shall come forth.
Let me enter as he shall enter.

Presentation of Water
Action: Hold the bowl or cup of water aloft while saying the following:

Greetings to you, primordial water!
Greetings to you, great river!
Greetings to you, flood water of Nun; you, the father of the gods.
Receive the water from my hand because I am Horus, The Provider, the successor to the throne.

Water Purification
Action: Continue to hold the bowl or cup aloft still.

I give you essential water, a tide in your time.
I bring the flood waters to purify your sanctuary.
This Primordial Water purifies as in Zep Tepi!

Action: Take some water and sprinkle gently over the altar space/shrine area and the image of the god.

I bring the water of rejuvenation that flows from the Two Caverns.
I sprinkle the water, purifying your image!
I sprinkle the water, purifying your Temple from all impurity!
O water, may you remove all evil.

Action: Take some water and sprinkle in the four cardinal directions as you speak each line.

The god Ptah himself does sanctify this, his Temple to the South.
The god Ptah himself does sanctify this, his Temple to the North.
The god Ptah himself does sanctify this, his Temple to the West.
The god Ptah himself does sanctify this, his Temple to the East.
The Temple of the god Ptah is established.
It is established for millions of years.

Lighting the Candle
Action: Light the candle(s).

Come in peace, O Glorious Eye of Heru!
Be strong and renew your youth in peace.
The flame shines like Ra on the double horizon.
I am pure.
I am pure.
I am pure.
I am pure.

Offering Incense (optional)
Action: Light the incense. (If you don’t have any, you can light an oil diffuser instead or skip this part entirely.)

Take the incense.
Its essence is for you.
Its smoke permeates your shrine, bringing life!
It transforms your heart through its perfection.
I appease your body and heart.
The temple is filled with the scent of incense.
It sanctifies your throne; it purifies your ka from evil.

Address to NTRW
Action: The speech below can be accompanies by the gesture of henu.

Homage to Ptah, the Great Scribe, the Heart and Tongue of the Ennead.
I have placed myself on the floor in awe of you.
I embrace the earth before you.
I have come that I may kiss the earth before you.
O Ptah, I am your son, your servant.
I come before you to nourish you as you nourish me.

O Ptah, Lord of Justice, scribe of all, Lord of Herbage.
One who succors all men to him, you who are preeminent.
You who make the Two Lands green.
The one who has entrapped the Nine Bows.
The protector of both gods and men.
He Who is South of His Wall, Monarch of the Gods, King of the Sky.
Father of the god Nefertum, the one whose faces reduces to order all before him.
You are the one who has lifted Ma’at onto the altar of Shu.
Lord of All.

You are the one who succors from his place.
You are the one who is Lord of the shrine.
You have brought the Sacred Eye.
You have destroyed falsehood in the tribunal.
You have expelled what Ra detests from his barque.
You are exalted.

Everyone is in awe of you.
Everyone worships your goodness.
Everyone’s lives are at your hands.
When you wish and act, everyone lives.

O Ptah, you have crafted the foundations of the world.
Through your words, wisdom will take root.
Through your actions, life will grow.
Through your guidance, Ma’at will flourish.
Through your kindness, empathy will be restored.

Your light touches the heart of me.
Your kindness succors me.
Your strength fortifies me.
Your wisdom teaches me.
Your protection strengthens me.
Your joy pleases me.
Your love reassures me.

I adore you, O Lord of Justice!
O Monarch of the Gods!
Lord of All!
Lord of Jubilation!
The gods exalt in your presence.
The earth is full of gladness at your merciful face.
O, my Lord Ptah, rejoice!

Offering Ma’at
Action: Lift up an image of the feather of ma’at, an image of the goddess of ma’at, or an amulet of ma’at.

I have come to you as Djehuty, whose two hands are joined together under Ma’at.
She comes to be with you for she is everywhere.
You are provided with Ma’at.
You move in Ma’at, you live in Ma’at.
She fills your body, she rests in your head, she makes her seat upon your brow.
The breath of your body is of Ma’at, your heart does live in Ma’at.
All that you eat, all that you drink, all that you breathe is of Ma’at.
Djehuty presents Ma’at to you, his two hands are upon her body before your face.

Action: Place the image/amulet before the image of the god.

Water Libation
Action: Hold up the cup or bowl of water and pour into the offering cup/bowl.

This libation is for you, O Lord of Ma’at.
I have brought to you this offering of water that your heart may be refreshed.
I have brought to you this Eye of Heru placing this at your feet.
I present to you that which flows forth from you that your heart shall continue to beat.

Action: Place the filled cup/bowl on the altar.

Offering Food
Action: Hold up the dish of offerings.

The great offering is filled with all good things.
Tens of thousands, an infinity before it, great quantities behind it.
Hundredfold and tenfold in the midst of it.
Consisting of every good and wonderful thing.
I offer to Ptah, Lord of the Two Lands.
All life emanates from you.
All health emanates from you.
All stability emanates from you.
All good fortune emanates from you.
May offerings of every kind come forth in abundance.

Action: Place the dish of offerings on the altar.

Presentation of Ankh

Action: Present the image of the ankh to the image of the god.

Take the sign of life, Living Lord, venerable soul who makes infinity live.
You are the one who gives life to all people, who makes the living live by your work.
I give you the sign of life.
You live in thanks to it.
Health is for your body.
I make your life span long to the ends of eternity.

Action: Place the ankh before the deity.

Presentation of Ib

Action: Hold out the image or amulet of the heart to the image of the god.

Hail to you, O Ptah, Lord of Life.
I have brought to you your heart to set it in its place.
Let me draw near to you with your heart so that you may have pleasured through me.
And so that by means of me you may have power over your body.

Action: Place the ib before the deity.

Action: At this point, you can sing hymns or say prayers to the god. You can also add any form of meditation or magical working in the name of the god. Before moving on to the next portion of this, which is the start of the closing out of this ritual, blow out any candles, whisk away the offerings and libations to be reverted after the below actions are completed. If you have a shrine space, close the doors and then stand before your altar/shrine area.

Reversion of Offerings

O NTRW, your enemy withdraws from you.
Heru has turned himself to his Eye in its name of Reversion-of-Offerings.
These, your divine offering revert, they revert to your servants for life, for stability, and for joy!
O that the Eye of Heru may flourish for you eternally!

Short Form Ritual

Needed Items

  • Water
  • Food (representations of or actual food)
  • Image of Ma’at or feather of ma’at amulet
  • Image of ib or ib amulet
  • Image of ankh or ankh amulet

The doors of the sky are open.
The doors of the earth are unlocked. (Action: open shrine doors/pretend to do so.)
I give you essential water, a tide in your time. (Action: Give water offering.)
This great offering is filled with every good things.
May offerings of every kind come forth in abundance. (Action: Give food offering.)
I give you the sign of life to set it in its place. (Action: Give ankh to the god.)
I offer you Ma’at to set it in its place. (Action: Give ma’at to the god.)
I have brought to you your heart to set it in its place. (Action: Give heart to the god.)
The doors are closed. (Action: close shrine doors/pretend to do so.)
No enemy can enter this space.