The Osiris Mysteries: Presenting the Corn Mummy to Daylight.

November 21 – 25, 2019/IV Akhet 19-23

A five-day festival during the Osiris Mysteries is to take the corn mummy you made and present it to daylight. There are other festivals peppered within this 5-day ritual, and I’ll catalog what I did for some of those while also discussing why I didn’t specifically do anything for the others listed.

It’s November in New England, which means that you get paltry sunlight for about half the day. The rest of the time, it’s cloudy and/or raining. And it is, of course, always cold. So as I pulled my preferred corn mummy from its place on my household altar, I wondered what the next five days would bring.

The first day was okay. The sun shown pretty brightly and the breeze wasn’t too terrible. I almost was able to get away wearing a hoody for the entire day. (Towards the end of the day, the wind picked up and it got cold again.) The following day, it rained. The third day, it was sunny and actually stayed light for most of the day. None of that in-between peekaboo shit for the sun that day! We were even able to get some basic lawn work done before the sunset. It rained on the fourth day and was pretty dreary. The sun was out for the last day and it was almost in the 50s.

I wasn’t really surprised the weather did what the weather always does in the winter, but I did have to wonder what Osiris, and by extension his corn mummy, had to say about it. At least it didn’t snow.


The Osiris Mysteries: Making Ointment
(November 21, 2019/IV Akhet 19)

I did not celebrate this for much the same reason I didn’t make unguents. I’m not an ointment person and to be perfectly honest, whenever I think of the word ointment, I think about BENGAY, the topical pain relieving ointment. I just don’t really think that’s what precisely is meant here. And besides, I really have no idea what in the world the ointment would be used for? I don’t think the corn mummy needs a pain reliever.

 

The Osiris Mysteries: Finding the Udjat Eye & Weaving the Burial Cloth (November 22, 2019/IV Akhet 20)

When I first saw the name of this, I had to wonder if the Udjat Eye finding was because she went missing again, or if it was because of Horus’s eye. According to The Ancient Egyptian Daybook, “the two Udjat eyes of Osiris are found. An abnen-bird emerges from them. It is in the form of a standard of Pakhet, to which one says: ‘Shining Lady’.” I liked my idea about the eyes being Horus’s missing eyes better, honestly.

I am not into fiber arts, so I don’t weave. I can knit as long as you don’t expect me to start it or to finish it, but I can’t do much else. So about a month ago, I went out with my husband to find something that I thought would be an appropriate burial cloth. My original idea was one of those decorative sheer scarves (I have several in various colors) that I would wrap my corn mummy in and then bury the whole shebang in the dirt after I buried the corn mummy. I wanted a white one.

But of course, I couldn’t find what I was looking for.

All I could find was a really beautiful pashmina in white that is so soft and so pretty and I really want to find an excuse to wear it one day. And did I mention it is really beautiful? The funniest thing is that I was extremely ambivalent about it when my husband pointed it out. (As I bought it, he made sure to remind me that he was the one who found it for me and that he is very good about finding religious things for me.) So, it’s more of a stand-in as the burial cloth until I end up finding a sheer, white scarf like I had originally intended. Eventually.


The Osiris Mysteries: Removing the Mummy & The Divine Bandages
(November 23, 2019/IV Akhet 21)

I have no idea when I was supposed to put the mummy in bandages, divine or otherwise. There wasn’t anything that I saw in the calendar that would have indicated that I would need to bandage up the mummy in preparation for the day that I would remove the bandages. There are no notes in the Daybook about what this could mean, so I shrugged it off and moved on with my life.


The Osiris Mysteries: The Procession of the 34 Boats
(November 24, 2019/IV Akhet 22)

I kind of poked around in my lexicon of possibilities and decided that I would do a Roaming Gnome impression. I did something like this before for a Procession of Sekhmet and I had a lot of fun. I can admit that I had fun roaming around my house with a sheet of paper flapping in my wind.

We started off in the back of the house, peering into the darkness.

I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to stop off at the household altar, which you may notice is now sporting a djed. That will come into play later.

The 34 Boats had to stop off and say hi to our pirate boat.

I’ve been purifying my tub of dirt every night until we’re ready for me to start planting things.

I love that little green half-loaf pan. And I have a perverse sense of humor. (You know… O was broken into parts…)

And of course, we ended up back at home base because, of course, we were always heading there.


The Osiris Mysteries: Preparation for Burial
(November 25, 2019/IV Akhet 23)

And thus we get to the part that I really was looking forward to: I’ve got dirt! Okay, so I already had dirt. But my circle of dirt that looked like a little dish is now officially dirt and not a hunk of round freeze dried dirt!

Is it a machine that packs it down so it fits perfectly? What does quality control for that look like? Do people use measuring tape to make sure it works out well when you buy these kits?

It required 3.5 cups of water. I dumped the required amount of water and immediately began to panic. I checked the directions three times in rapid succession, but it had indeed requested that I use 3.5 cups of warm water to make the dirt circle turn into a clump of dirt. I had misgivings as I walked away, not aware that freeze dried dirt demands water like a starving animal demands food. (My ignorance is because gardening has never been my forte.)

I really enjoyed breaking up the dirt. My hands were really dirty and I had a hard time taking a clear picture, but I fucking loved it. Maybe gardening is something that I could actually get into.

I tossed the dirt clump into my tub of dirt and played around in the dirt a few more times.

I made dirt! And it didn’t go wrong!

The Osiris Mysteries: Opening Ceremonies & The Gods Appear in 34 Boats

November 20, 2019/IV Akhet 18

I started thinking about what to do for the Opening Ceremonies in October. Opening ceremonies can be very important and tend to highlight the look and feel of the event even after it has begun. I racked my brain, trying to figure out what would be appropriate and what was something that I could do.

As is my wont, I started with really over-the-top ideas. I have such a bad habit of going overboard with things because I want to show that I am a Real Polytheist™ like everyone else proclaims to be. But the problem with that is that I am a spoony, so I don’t always have the energy to do what I had originally thought up. And I don’t always have the available cash flow to do what I had originally planned. Just because the budget looks bright and shiny a month in advance that doesn’t mean it actually will when you finally get to that point.

The other part of this is that this year’s Mysteries are a sort of test run. Usually, I would have accompanying words and gestures to go along with all of this. But since I have never once participated before this year, Osiris and I agreed that this would be a word-less venture this year: no rites, simple gestures with intent, no words of power to accompany everything else.

So all of my over-the-top ideas were quickly jettisoned as time went by.

I would periodically worry the thread of what I should be doing over the month in advance that I thought about all of this. Sometimes I came up with little ideas that I didn’t feel were too terrible, or at least Osiris didn’t seem to offended or annoyed with what I was suggesting. (And to be quite honest, there were a few times where my ideas actually were very annoying or repulsive to him.)

Not only did I have to do something to commemorate the opening salvo for the Mysteries (since everything to this point has been preparation, more or less), but I also had to come up with some way to show 34 boats as Osiris is accompanied by 34 gods, each in their own individual boats.

From The Ancient Egyptian Daybook:

Boats for Osiris and his companion deities were floated on the Dendera sacred lake on IV Akhet 18. There were 34 boats total:

  1. Osiris
  2. Isis
  3. Nephthys
  4. Horus
  5. Thoth
  6. Imsety
  7. Hapy (one of the sons of Horus)
  8. Duamutef
  9. Qebshenuef
  10. The Capturer
  11. Who Acts Violently
  12. Horus Who Beholds his Father
  13. Who Creates His Own Name
  14. Who Is in His Lifetime
  15. Horus, Beautiful of Front (Face/Front Side)
  16. Their Thrones
  17. Maker of Boundaries
  18. Khonsu the Construstor
  19. The Divine Falcon over His Arm
  20. The Terrifying One
  21. Sia
  22. Who Creates Himself
  23. In Front of Two
  24. She Who is Great in Age
  25. The Two Runners
  26. Name Lost
  27. Name Lost
  28. Name Lost
  29. Name Lost
  30. Who Doesn’t Give His Flame
  31. The Two Red-Eyed Ones
  32. Foremost of the House of the Red Garment
  33. The Lion of the Night Who Brought Him Low
  34. The Destroyer

That was a lot of gods and while the idea of origami was palatable, I could also admit that it was completely out. I’m not good with paper folding as I’ve tried repeatedly and it doesn’t work out ever. I don’t know how people with magic fingers can make things out of paper, but I do not have magic fingers and my paper folding tends to end up in a crumpled up ball of frustration at my feet.

Two days out, I threw up my hands and figured I would decide what to do on the day in question. Something would pop in my head and either it would work out, or it wouldn’t.

I lit all of my candles and then sat down in the living room to make the boats.

It may seem ridiculous to take out a piece of white paper and just draw 34 boats on it, but sometimes that’s about as much energy and pizzazz as you can do. I actually ended up with two copies.

The first one, I tried to be very precise with my boats, keeping them evenly spaced and about 1″ long. I found it irritating and stupid, so I free handed the second sheet. I outlined each little boat in black sharpie so it could be seen clearly from far away.

I am, what you may call, a perfectionist. I stared at the boats a couple of times on my second sheet and seriously considered throwing it away as well. It wasn’t… it didn’t come out right. I looked back at the first sheet of my carefully spaced, 1″ long boats and realized that having them so “perfect” looking didn’t work. The boats would have all looked the same in antiquity, but they wouldn’t have all looked exactly alike.

I also kind of felt, as I looked harder, that having them kind of not-so-evenly spaced on the paper gave it the appearance of boats floating randomly on the water. It took me a bit to warm up to it, but I eventually got there.

Once I was done with the boats, I turned back to the Opening Ceremonies themselves. I had a couple of ideas which was basically music and rattling my little paper of boats around over the altar space I use for Osiris.

Music is also a very important part to any religious festival, so I worried about what I would choose. Inevitably, as I thought about it, I realized that having horns and drums announcing something was probably the greatest way to go about it, so we listened to Fanfare for the Common Man on repeat a few times.

As I walked into my candle lit space, I decided that I was being ridiculous for just holding a sheet of paper over the space, letting it waft in the breeze I created. But I can remember a million times before now where being ridiculous or silly or a little joke-y about things wasn’t so bad. So I went with it. And it seems to have worked out.

The Osiris Mysteries: Opening the House.

November 18, 2019/IV Akhet 16

Before the Opening the House rite, the day prior is known as Preparing the Coffin and Unguents. I initially had every intention of doing something, but the truth is that I didn’t feel a hard pull to do so. And I forgot. At quarter of nine, I realized I had dismissed my alarm and wasn’t sure what to do so late in the game. (My nighttime working is usually done between 8pm-9pm.)

I didn’t feel a particular need to do this because I’m not a fan of unguents or oils. I always end up making a mess, or accidentally destroy something when I use them. And since I plan on burying my corn doll in dirt that I will be growing something in, it didn’t seem like a wise idea to prep or utilize unguents of any sort. It may have been the norm for burials in antiquity and was no doubt done for the corn dolls, but considering my black thumb, I can’t take too many chances.

I also didn’t plan on making a coffin for use. I need the paperwhites to get as much soil nutrition as possible and even with a coffin made of something that could assist the plants with growing, I’m not going to try. I did draw a little modern day coffin in the dirt though.

The Opening the House rite doesn’t have any accompanying text or notes in the Daybook. I knew, after looking into Nephthys, that the reference to the house more than likely had something to do with the inner sanctum of the temple. As I mentioned in my entry on her, her name is often translated as Mistress of the House, but could also mean Mistress of the Temple Enclosure.

It made a certain kind of sense to me that this particular rite probably had something to do with the temple, or the inner sanctum of Osiris: the house, so to speak.

I am not a priest of Osiris, or frankly any of my gods. What I do regularly for them may make people think that I am a priest or priestess for my gods, but I can say concretely that at this juncture in my life I am not.

I know a bit about what more than likely took place within the temples in antiquity but it’s a guess on my part in some instances. Those guesses are mostly logical guesses based on what I’ve learned over the years. But I’m still a little uncertain.

I decided the best course of action was to go with something simple and easy. Nothing flowery; nothing overt.

I purified my kitchen work space with sandalwood incense, leaving it to burn over the window box I had filled with dirt two days before. I also lit the candle on my household altar in front of my two corn doll attempts.

I opened up the door to my ritual room, or spooky room, and thought about the meaning behind the phrase “opening the house.” The inner sanctum of all temples was kept private. The only ones allowed within were the priests and priestesses of the god. The holy of holies was never seen by the lay person, but that wasn’t the only place where the lay people would have been given access to if the priests and priestesses were “opening the house”.

It was probably a very magical moment to be able to go into the temple. There were public areas that people could access regularly but maybe this whole opening of the house meant that they could go into less common areas.

I lit the candles on my ancestor and Osiris altar, lighting incense to purify the space.

I am not a lay person, per se, but as I sat and watched the candles flicker in the darkness of my room, I could see why it would be important for the priests to “open the house”. It would give people the ability to feel close to a god who they might fear (considering his association with the netherworld) and to better understand, maybe, what it must have been like for his priesthood.

Maybe they opened the doors for the people who relied on Osiris’s associations with growth, and greenery, and vegetation, and fertility for their very lives so they could connect with him on a level beyond his death and rebirth.

Or maybe I’m making it all up. Maybe it was the flickering of the candlelight and the myrrh incense (I don’t know why he didn’t want sandalwood in my ritual room, but there you have it) combined to make me overthink and project what I thought the purpose of this particular day is.

The house is open.

The Osiris Mysteries: Forming the Earth.

November 16, 2019/IV Akhet 14

For the few days before the Forming the Earth ritual, I tried to figure out what that meant for me and what I was hoping to accomplish during the Osiris Mysteries. According to The Ancient Egyptian Daybook by Tamara Suida: “A statue of Sokar-Osiris was formed out of soft earth in a silver mold on this day, and prepared until IV Akhet 16.” I had a couple of options available to me but I wasn’t sure what made the most sense.

I knew that I wanted to have a container filled with earth of some sort, but I had to ask myself what earth made the most sense. I had a number of decorative sands that I could use and I was leaning towards the black and red decorative sand in a sort of swirled mix. I had a very for the aesthetic ideal when I thought up this idea, but I wasn’t 100% sure if it worked for me.

After talking it over with Devo, the main question they asked me to help me figure it out was, “Well, are you planning on growing anything?” I kind of wanted to. I’m not what you would call a green thumb (I can kill a cactus pretty easily) but eventually, I would like to try this whole gardening spiel. So I spent some time researching winter plants and what I would need in order to foster them to growth during the Osiris Mysteries.

Eventually, I decided that I could try my hand at this growing business. Osiris has deep ties to growth and greenery. It made sense for me to at least give it a shot. I may not be successful and I will have to come to terms with that if and when it happens. But I am hoping that I can at least get a few sprouts before everything goes to shit.

This meant that I knew what I needed: real dirt, some seeds from a winter-friendly plant, and a container to grow it all in.

I spent much of the morning at various stores where I could purchase the needed supplies. I found a rectangular bronze-and-black window box that I liked. I needed only about a 12″ long box, but wound up walking away with a 15″ long box. I poked through the plant kits readily available for purchase and decided to buy some paper whites for this experience. (I chose them over the amaryllis because they were white for purity and they kind of reminded me of snow drops.) My husband found me some good dirt to use for the type of flowers I was trying to go and I was ready to start.

After cleaning up my work space and the container I purchased, I ritually purified it with a stick of sandalwood incense. (This has been the incense choice for the Osiris Mysteries since I haven’t been asked to use any of my other incense blends yet.)

I actually had a lot of fun piling in the dirt I had chosen. The smell of opening the bag and just inhaling it was pleasurable. I can understand why people enjoy gardening. I also found it very nice to stick my hands deep into the dirt and swish it around in a swirl around the container. Maybe it’s the kid in me or maybe it’s the memory of helping my mom to plant morning glories in the front garden when I was a kid, but I liked it.

The dirt we had chosen wasn’t as dark as I would have liked it (I couldn’t get out the idea that I needed a very dark brown dirt), but I was the only one complaining about that. I poked around in it for a bit and then sloped the pile into a sort of mound shape to the best of my ability.

After inhaling the box of dirt a few more times, I opened the plant growing kit and was surprised to see a giant disc of dirt at the bottom. I don’t know what I was expecting? In my defense, the last time I tried to grow something from scratch, my seedlings ended up popping up in the middle of the container and not at the top like I had expected, so…

I pulled out the disc and after talking with my husband (whose mother is a horticulturist so he knows more about this stuff than I do), I decided I would use the disc. It technically is supposed to sit in the bottom of a round container that came with the growing kit (and if I didn’t intent on burying an 8″ tall corn doll I would have used it), but I thought I could use it in my long container since it comes with, probably, specifically good plant food for paper whites.

The Osiris Mysteries: Prepping the Corn Mummy.

November 14, 2019/IV Akhet 12

During the earlier part of this year when I was re-working my calendar, I got the ping to add the plethora of various holidays associated with the Osiris Mysteries to my calendar. I was horribly uncomfortable with the idea as I have never once paid any attention to this holiday and, by my last accounting of the myriad deities I have developed relationships with, Osiris wasn’t a part of the herd. This, of course, was a lie. When Ra showed up last year, he brought Osiris along and I’ve been slowly integrating more and more Osiris into my practice.

Eventually, I’ll compile my thoughts on Ra and Osiris into a single entry and how I relate them to the Wheel of the Year, but today, we’re going to talk about the first part of the Osiris Mysteries. It’s time to prepare the Corn Mummies.

Initially, I was hoping to not have to do this. I joked around and said I would buy the most over-the-top stuffed animal that was a piece of corn with eyes and a mouth. I even joked about it on my Tumblr. But I was told that this would not work out and that I needed to actually figure out how to make a corn doll.

I’ve never made a corn doll in my life, although I’ve seen people do it and have admired many of the results. I started looking through various how-tos and bookmarked the Martha Stewart guide on how to do it. I figured if there was anyone who knew what they were doing, Martha was the one.

I wasn’t sure where to even find corn husks locally. Would they be at my grocery store? Would they be at Wal-Mart and how big of a package would they have? So I bought the recommended type from Martha’s guide. I wasn’t sure how much 6oz of husks would be so I almost bought two, then thought better of it. (I have a habit of buying too much of a thing.) Good thing I didn’t buy two…

This picture is from after I had pulled 12 husks out of the package. I still have at least 2/3 of the husks left after my attempts. So a good thing my mental self reminded myself that I always end up with too much of stuff when I worry I won’t have enough.

I found out quickly that soaking them for 10 minutes was my least favorite part. I didn’t have a bowl big enough where the 12 husks I had pulled out could actually soak properly. So I found myself holding them down like this for the full 10 minutes. And of course, I had used cold ass water to soak them in.

My second to least favorite part was “blotting” away the excess water. Either I over soaked them because I held them down or Martha and I have vastly different definitions of “excess water”. The good thing was that the water beaded up on the husks and rolled off. The bad thing was that I used half a damn paper towel role to get rid of the water. And they still weren’t completely free of moisture when I started making the doll.

The first part was easy. I could tie some twine about an inch down and voila! I had the start. But the twine seemed a little thicker than what Martha was showing in the sketch of her how-to guide, so I was a bit worried. And I found that the twine I had chosen was no longer cute. The edges were coming undone and it hurt to tie it off.

I got lost at the next part. You’re supposed to fold the husks down so they cover the twine, but when I tried to do that, it looked nothing like the picture perfect sketch Martha had on her website. I was worried I had messed up somehow (were the husks too moist? Did I tie it off improperly?). I pulled up YT, found a video, and confirmed I was doing it right. I had to stop comparing my attempts to the Queen of Decor.

I was so busy following the video I found that I didn’t stop to take a picture until the head, arms, and waist were completed. I realized my mistake when I was contemplating how to do the legs.

I stared at it for a while and realized that what Martha said to do for legs meant that the husks could be evenly divided into halves. Since I didn’t consider that when I was pulling husks down, worried I was fucking everything up, my doll had a dress motif going. I had been advised clearly that the doll needed legs, so I cut the husks down the middle like the YT video indicated to start the legs.

The doll didn’t seem big enough to add knees like Martha’s guide indicated to do, so I tied off near the bottom so I had feet on the thing. I stared at it for a long time, trying to decide if this was The Doll or if I needed to start over.

I grabbed my scissors to start trimming down the twine and decided this was not working for me. I didn’t like how big it was. I didn’t like the twine. I didn’t like the arms or hands. I really didn’t like the look of it with twine and envisioning it with clothes on, I knew that my first attempt was only that: an attempt.

I grabbed my clear small rubber bands that I have used twice for my hair, grabbed 4 more husks, and started on my second [and final] attempt.

I liked this one much better. I didn’t have twine and I could easily trim down the feet or arms so that the doll didn’t look unwieldy. I also liked it because I knew what to do this time so it took me all of 5 minutes to finish once I figured out how many times I had to twist the clear rubber bands.

Even though I didn’t like how the first one came out and found myself frustrated at the beginning, I actually realized that I liked doing this. It felt very good to be able to make something that I’ll be using for the next two weeks or so in my festivities for the Mysteries. And now that I know what I know about corn dolls, I’ll feel comfortable when I need to do this again next year.

The final rite for this was to rest my dolls under the protective gaze of Bes until the one I like is ready to be presented and the other one is ready to be ritually burned.

Dusk.

The Dream.

I was running through the woods. Sometimes I was running through an abandoned building, but mostly I was outside in a heavily wooded area. It would have been beautiful if I wasn’t so busy running and gasping for breath.

The arrow pierced through my coat. It didn’t hit me but it could have. I didn’t know where it came from except somewhere behind me. It flew through the coat and cracked against the tree in front of me. That’s when I realized I was being hunted, so I woke myself up.

When I went back to sleep some time later, I was back there again. But instead of arrows, the hunter was using a rifle of some kind. I’d hear it cock and the bullet go whizzing by when I zigged out of its way. The hunter wore all black, no camouflage, and stepped out ahead of me, gun aimed at my chest…

I woke up again and it was close enough to the time to get up that I didn’t go back to sleep this time. It was many hours later that I looked up hunting in my preferred Dream Dictionary. It’s not the only one I use because I have a personal one for repeated themes, but I had never been hunted in a dream before. I didn’t know what this meant.

To dream that you are being hunted indictates that you are being overwhelmed by life’s challenges.

Yeah. Yeah, that sounded about right. I couldn’t deny that.

The Dog.

My pet is a 14-year-old tweenie Dachshund. Her mom was a mini and her dad was a standard, so she’s in-between the two common sizes people see.

She’s had health issues with her back since she was 5 or 6, which is common. She has IVDD, the disease of all long-shaped dogs, and we manage it when she has a flare. If anyone knows Crusoe, the famous Dachshund, he had a flare some years back that left his back legs paralyzed. Wth medication and physical therapy, he came through. Jazz’s flares aren’t that bad, luckily, but they sure suck.

She also has very Bad Teeth. This is my fault for not getting her used to teeth brushing as a puppy, but we manage as well as we can now. She periodically gets an abscess that leaves her more crotchety and stubborn than the usual Dachshund crotchetiness and stubbornness.

In late September, she had an abscess that we dealt with via medication. She is old enough now where the vet has major concerns about putting her under to remove her teeth. The meds worked and she was back to her usual round of Dachshund stubborn in two days. That’s when she had an IVDD flare.

I had picked her up and then she was crying in pain. I brought her to the emergency vet room and we waited a very long time to see the dogtor. I went in knowing what we needed because of previous visits and the doc didn’t disagree. Since the pain was more in her neck than her back, the dogtor warned me that this might be a bigger flare than we were used to; evidently neck flares can sometimes only be treated with surgery.

Jazz was pretty pissed off with me for all the poking and prodding she went through. She snubbed me twice in the office and then again after we left. She was also quite high, which leaves her wanting to become one with my lap. It was an interesting ride home at ten o’clock that night.

After a few days on her anti-inflammatory and pain meds, she was moving around a lot better. She wasn’t running around just yet but she was able to move her head again. She was loopy, as she gets on gabapentin, and slept the entire day away while I was at work. I knew she was feeling better when she tried to walk up the stairs (a big no-no for Dachshunds) and jumping on the couch (another big no-no) when no one was around.

She finished off her meds last week and I did a placebo test to make sure she was 100%: I pretended to sprinkle her meds on her medication-laced-cookie-of-choice (cheese) and saw she was still ok. She’s back to being her usual self and I’m glad this flare is over.

The Dread.

I realized my mom was MIA on social media in early October. I checked her FB profile and saw her last posts were in late September. My mom’s only form of communication is social media so I texted her, but received no response. This isn’t weird because she is agoraphobic to a degree, has anxiety about talking on the phone or texting, and usually gets back to me when she’s ready.

I texted again last week, which is when my brother messaged to say something was wrong. After talking it over via messages, I managed to get him to take her to the ER because everything he said was a major RED FLAG that something was wrong. She wasn’t taking care of herself or her dog-daughter. She suffers from severe depression and while she may stop taking care of herself for a bit, she has never stopped taking care of a pet.

They took her to the ICU because she was Very Ill. They managed to stop the original symptoms of what sent her to the ICU and stabilized her enough to go to a regular room. But every day there is more Bad News and every day, I’m left kind of numb at the end of it. They think they may have finally figured out what caused the change in her behavior but we aren’t sure yet. They run test after test and ask question after question. I’m tired and worried.

I’m waiting for The Call the child gets when things go down. That Call. I honestly don’t see her leaving the hospital, healed and better. Based on al the positive vibes they tell me I suppose it’s possible. She could come out of this, but I don’t think so.

The Dilemma.

So when does the child pack a bag, hop on a plane, and fly 3000 miles to watch her mom in a hospital room? I could fly if I need to (I have a fear of heights) and my boss says she’ll give me time off if needed. But do I go down there to start wrapping things up now, or wait until a prognosis is given?

I don’t know what is to happen here. I’ve spoken with my brother about what we do if this ends the way I believe it does. We always had a plan in place because my mom has never been the healthiest person on the planet. But I can say that I thought this stuff was 10+ years away.

She’s only 63.

The Tenth Hour.

The Book of the Hidden Chamber [Amduat]

The upper register shows the cure and protection of the solar eyes. These eyes are marked in red and are cared for by two goddesses. Beside this imagery, we find eight Sekhmet deities (four with human heads) and eight images of Djehuty in monkey-form, holding the restored eye within his hand.

The middle register shows twelve guardians of the solar god who protect him from his enemies. The first four guardians carry an arrow, the next four carry a spear, and the final group of four are shown carrying a bow. The texts indicate that they accompany the Sungod throughout the entire twelve hour journey of the night and during the twelve hours of the day.

The lowest register shows the regenerating water of the Nun. This region is known as “with deep water and high banks”. There are bodies within this watery rectangle floating in various positions until Horus assists them with coming ashore. He prevents them from decomposing although these deceased beings were not provided a standard burial. They share the same fate as Osiris.

Here we have the consoling part of the Amduat, that even those who – by a natural accident – do not have the benefit of ritual preparation for the afterlife are preserved by the divine intervention of Horus.

The Book of Gates

The central imagery of the Tenth Hour shows the battle between A/pep and the gods who fight against it. Fourteen deities hold nets within their grasp, lifted above their heads. Within the nets are magical power and lifting these nets seems to render A/pep immobile and defenseless. A single god, known as the Old One and possibly signifying Geb, ties A/pep up.

The register above and below this central scene show special forms of the sun god’s various manifestations. He appears as a griffin in the upper register, surrounded by two serpent deities who also focus on the attach of A/pep. A single rope connects the figures. The sun god’s form is that of a falcon, though it is referenced as Khepri. “The accompanying text mentions ’emergence’ and stresses that the journey is proceeding towards the sky.” [p. 64, Hornung, The Ancient Egyptian Books of the Afterlife.]

The Book of Night

The tenth hour gateway is called “Lady of Fear”. The solar barque is guided through the gateway by a crocodile-headed deity, who is named “Good Fortune of His Mother”. The body parts of Nut that are related to this hour are the vulva, for this is when the rebirth of the new day truly begins.

In the upper register, there are a number of divine beings. One is “The One who Causes Breath”, who knows the secrets of divine utterance. There is also a divine being called “The One who nurtures his Father”. This relates to the Bull of His Mother epithet, meaning that the son has become the father. They have become unified.

When the two are experienced as one, complete and perfect in unity, so the divine nature is realizes whilst traveling onward to the place of dawn and pure light. Such a unity is also recognized in the text of the justified:

Those who adore Re on earth, and those who cense the gods in the Duat, will be in the following of this god.

The lower register shows two identical transfigured or justified ones, wearing the divine beard. These beings have become divine and their mummified bandages have been removed: “Your head-covering has been taken away, your bandages have been undone, and there will be no removal of your bread.” [p 156, Roberts, My Heart, My Mother.] This passage seems to indicate that the mummification process is only needed for the first few hours; once we enter the tenth hour, the soul no longer is necessary for the deceased’s continued existence.

This hour is a place of memory, invoking images of one’s past and name:

During the tenth hour the essence of a person’s existence in experienced in the glorious state of unity reached through the heart. Empowered by memory at this sacred place of birth, the initiate comes to understand the mystery of totality in which all contrasts are subsumed, all opposites dissolved.

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

You’re Toxic.

Alternate Title: The toxic a-holes of the Kemetic community won.

On the first day of the leadership conference, the second panel was a Q&A panel. They do these to break up the 30 – 50 minute talks along with the breaks. The Q&A panels are usually pretty good, but my team and I were especially looking forward to this one because the topic was toxic work environments. After a year of having to deal with just that very thing, we were very interested in what Bozoma Saint John had to say on the topic.

After the session, we could all agree that the panel would have been better if she had been able to speak freely. She would begin to go down a specific rabbit hole related to the topic and the host would gently nudge her back to the primary topic, or force her to go off into other directions when we were interested in what she had to say on what she had just been talking about.

I also really enjoyed her energy. She was… vivacious and she grabbed your attention. As I was taking notes and processing what she had to say, I kind of got the feeling that no matter what Bozoma was talking about, everyone would have been entranced by her subject matter.

The reason she was invited to speak on this particular subject was because Bozoma went to work as the Chief Brand Officer at Uber. She had heard some of the horror stories of what was going on in 2017 for the company, which was having a bit of a bad year. After hearing what was going on over there, she left her position as a marketing executive at Apple Music to go to Uber in the hopes of helping turn the company around.

While I don’t know much about Uber or its current state, it kind of sounds like she wasn’t as successful as she had hoped. It sounds like the toxic environment of the company was all pervasive and while she made some changes, there were more people stuck in their ways than there were people willing to make the change.

power plant

When we think about the culture of a workplace, we start to think that the overall dynamic is created by the HR department or the CEO’s office. But that is a misnomer. The culture of one’s work environment can be found first in your cubicle or work station, and next in the cubicle or work station beside you. The CEO and the people of the HR department are, of course, part of this but it isn’t their rules or regulations that necessarily create a toxic or not-toxic work culture: it is the attitudes of the people that make up the company as a whole.

The problem is that a toxic work environment typically is created because there are multiple people coming at things from a completely different point of view or basis of an idea. Instead of everyone being on the same page about X, Y, Z thing, they all come at it from different directions.

Just like a school of fish, everyone in a work place need to swim in the same direction and together. When you have multiple fish going in a million different directions, it causes chaos. And this in turn will cause issues across the whole school, or in reality, within the work environment.

While competition between coworkers can be healthy as it can promote new ideas and growth, this doesn’t mean that people should be pitted against one another. Worker 1 and Worker 2 who have the exact same title and position would work better together as opposed to working against each other in the hopes of being recognized for one reason or another. They would be able to go further and make the job better for themselves and by extension, for the other people at that work place, if they are allowed to bolster up one another and work together towards a common goal.

Another way to ensure that the work environment is not-toxic is to ensure that you are empowering those who need it. Bolster up coworkers on a bad day, on a good day. Whenever and wherever you see a need for empowerment, give it to them. Work is hard and tiring for everyone more often than not and we need to be willing to bolster up others to promote a healthy and happy work place for everyone.

As the Q&A panel progressed, the hosted asked Bozoma what were three things that can make a work environment better for everyone. Her answer was:

  1. Empathize.
  2. Diversity.
  3. Inclusion.

You have to be willing to empathize with others; not sympathize but to have empathy for your coworkers and the situations that they are in. If you look at a situation and fail to empathize with the person in that situation, you are cutting yourself off from them. This can and will cause work place issues in future, which will only snowball from there.

You have to have diversity within your work environment. Everyone must be invited to your workplace. Whether its an after-work get-together or the workplace itself, diversity helps to promote growth, positive change, and everything else you want to see in the place that you spend at least 40 hours of your life in every week.

You have to be inclusive for everyone. There can be no us vs. them, or me vs. the whole in a workplace. There must be inclusion for everyone. As Bozoma indicated, it’s like going to a school dance and standing on the sidelines, waiting for someone to ask you to dance. You’ll begin to feel badly if you continue to sit it out. You have to join and the other works have to allow you to join in order to make the work environment a good one for all parties.

The last thing that was discussed before the panel came to an end, albeit briefly, was branding. This is something that TTR has already discussed and I won’t be doing the post justice by either summarizing or rehashing it. But the point is that Bozoma indicated that branding is everything – just like TTR’s opening statement on their post – and that branding must also include the internal work culture of the company.

If the company is toxic, but you’re trying to brand it to look like it’s a good placed to work, you’re promoting dissatisfaction and lying to potential employees. Word will get out that this isn’t a good place, no matter what the branding online will tell you, and you’ll lose both potential and current workers. It’s better to ensure that the internal work environment has been cleaned of its toxic veneer in every way possible so that you can be the branding that you’ve put out into the world. This will attract the right type of people for the jobs available and promote growth of the company, which benefits everyone.

Brand

When I was listening to Bozoma discuss toxic culture in the work place, it is little wonder that I first thought of our Kemetic community. We have had a lot of problems in recent years. Some of it is simple growing pains – the more people who say they are a part of the community, the more problems are going to arise because of a variety of things. It’s a people thing. But beyond simple disagreements about how to do something or the way to go about introducing yourself to the gods, there have been Bigger Problems. Our community went toxic as hell and we never really recovered from it.

No matter how hard we try to make a welcoming community, there will always be people who get sucked into the racism problem that is prevalent within various pagan and polytheism communities. And as they slip down that rabbit hole, they change to fit the dynamic that their racist circle requires or desires to see in them. This will continue to happen as long as racism continues to be a problem within our communities.

Sometimes you can educate those people out of those circles, but as we’ve seen in our community with its issues, educating others tends to have them doubling down on their problematic rhetoric because “the loss of privilege often feels like oppression”. There will be people who can learn beyond what they’ve either been raised to believe about racism, or have been re-educated to believe about racism, and there are those who prefer their power and comfort over everything and everyone else.

We must be willing to understand that not everyone is going to be willing to examine themselves and their privilege. And if that is the way that they want to be, then we must do everything we can to police them, to make it difficult for them and their ideas to proliferate in the community. We must be willing to point out their wrong-doings, warn new people away from them, and everything else that we must do to ensure our community doesn’t turn toxic again. We must make it difficult for their shit to continue unabated; we must make them unwelcome and unwilling to continue to gain the foothold they are hoping to have.

The problem is that we all saw warning signs. I know that I did. I know that TTR did. I can remember having private discussions on what to do when we saw concerning behavior begin to manifest in various discussions. When we finally started pointing out the problematic behavior, it seemed to cause more headache than do much because there were so few of us willing to police it.

And I can understand why not everyone was willing to do anything about it. It can take a form of bravery that not everyone has, but part of the problem is that there were so few of us willing to speak up, to speak out. With so few of us willing to stand up and say, “no, this isn’t okay,” it became easy for the problematic people to simply block us. We couldn’t speak up unless we took the time to screenshot shitty behavior.

If a community is what is desired, then everyone has to be willing to think to the three points Bozoma made and do what needs to be done to see it happen:

  • Empathize.

One shouldn’t be capable of empathy for a racist piece of trash. I’m going to throw that gauntlet down now. You can pity them for their misinformation and just generally being wrong, but you should not be able to empathize with them. They have no legs to stand on and therefore, as far as we as a community should be concerned, we cannot and will not attempt to see things from their point of view in any context.

It is more important that the minority members of our community be safe than the privileged and racist few who demand the same sort of “respect” that they see us give others. It is the minority members of our communities who should have our empathy, not the assholes who preach hate either overtly or subversively.

And it is the privileged person’s job, through the empathy we should all have with our minority, to speak over the racist pieces of trash in our community and refuse them a platform to speak from. If that means we get blocked, then so be it. We must make the racists as uncomfortable and unwelcome as humanly possible to ensure that the people who we need and want in our community are safe from that shit.

  • Diversity.

We want to invite everyone – except racists – to the party. Everyone should be able to join us. Whether we agree with all of their ideas about what things are, or how things are defined, we want to extend an invitation to everyone that we want to see in our community. We cannot simply be a white, cisgendered person’s home away from home: everyone should be able to jump into the water and be able to stay. They should all feel comfortable and welcomed.

  • Inclusion.

And in the same vein, we want to ensure that everyone – except racists – feel as if they were invited to the dance. We don’t want anyone to feel like they don’t belong. A newcomer will already feel overwhelmed with all of the resources and 101s that we’ve put out there. We don’t want them to feel like they shouldn’t be willing to post in our tags and be able to get helpful, thoughtful, and kind responses in return.

Thursday - 042210 - Day 61

I know this is long, but for those of us who have stayed with me, thanks.

The community fractured because of the toxic environment it became and it has never recovered. We’ve all seen it.

The content creators are tired of the same old shit and tired of creating. The people who see shitty behavior going on openly in the tags aren’t willing to speak up about it. The new people who joined us after or during the toxic foothold in our community learned to keep quiet and to keep to the shadows, not posting in the shared tags, because it was too easy to get their content derailed by inter-community fighting or policing. The behaviors of the few continue to negatively impact a place that all of us are constantly looking for: a place to call home when it comes to our religious paths.

The toxic assholes won.

Our community broke down and we haven’t done a damn thing to fix it. Some of that is because we’re tired of fighting and policing. Some of that is because life gets in the way and we have things to do. Some of that is because people left, not willing to step a toe into our shitty environment considering the shit that was going on when shit was going down. Some of that is because people are scared to speak up. Some of that is because some people are just selfish.

Whatever the reason, we need to cut the shit and think critically when it comes to our community:

  1. Do you want to be a part of this community?
  2. Are you willing to speak up about concerns you have?
    1. Or. Are you willing to point out problematic behavior or call someone out if the need arises?
    2. Or. If you are worried about calling someone out, are you willing to say something to someone who isn’t worried about calling shit out?
  3. Will you be able to help out the prolific content creators and put things out there?

If you can answer yes to these questions, awesome. Welcome aboard. If you can’t, then maybe it’s better if you go before the going gets rough [again]. This may sound harsh, but if community is what is wanted, it means that you have to put the hard work in and continue to put it in. But everyone has to do their fair share. You can’t rely on the few to do it all; we all have to partake and be willing to do what needs to be done.

Otherwise, there is literally no point in trying.

Related Content

Note: While I am specifically addressing the racism that was prevalent from the toxic shitheads that made our community anathema to many, please note that they also partook in sexist, ableist, and other shitty behaviors. While I may not specifically state that, please know that it is true and that we also must ensure that shit doesn’t get a foothold in our community either.

The Ninth Hour.

The Book of the Hidden Chamber [Amduat]

The central imagery of this hour shows the crew of the solar barque, which are depicted in the middle register of this hour. There are twelve oarsmen shown. In front of them, there are three idols which are in charge of the provisioning of the dead with bread and beer.

The lower register also depicts gods that are associated with the provisioning of the deceased. These gods are the Field Gods and they hold large stalks of grain in their hands. They “cause all the trees and all the plants to be created.” [p 112, Abt & Hornung, Knowedge for the Afterlife.]

Behind the Field Gods, there are fire-spitting Uraeus serpents depicted sitting above the hieroglyph for cloth or fabric. These serpents are “those who spit fire for Osiris with the flame in their mouth… They are those who illuminate the darkness…” [p 112, Abt & Hornung, Knowedge for the Afterlife.]

The Book of Gates

The central imagery of the Ninth Hour shows the barque within a rectangle of water with images of drowned people within. The water represents the Nun and those adrift within the primeval water being refreshed by the regenerative properties of the water. Ra is depicted within, also taking in the renewal properties of the Nun.

The upper register shows a group of ba-souls who are being given bread and vegetables by people within the scene. The lower register depicts punishments for the enemies against Re. The Fiery One, a giant serpent with the Children of Horus standing upon its coils, spew fire at the enemies. Horus condemns these pictured enemies for what they have committed against his father.

The Book of Night

The gateway of the ninth hour is named “She Whose Flame is Painful.” The solar barque is guided forward by “This Ba“. The hour is related to Nut’s intestines, “the place in the body where food is digested and non-assimilable elements rejected.” [p153, Roberts, My Heart, My Mother]

The ninth hour celebrates the shining countenance of Osiris and those who have been transfigured: “O shining rampart, hear the words of the underworld dwellers. Tend to the needs of those who are in the Duat.” [p150, Roberts, My Heart, My Mother].

Sia commands all beings within this hour, directing them forward. Those who have been transfigured have been ordered to come forth from the inundation waters to receive their offerings. Those who have been transfigured heartily reply to Sia that they have done no harm while within the confines of the Duat. Sia also indicates that all wrong-doers will not be able to see the light of Osiris.

 

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 Propitiation of Sekhmet: The Return Ritual Rubric

This particular portion of the festival begins on I Akhet 18 and finishes on I Akhet 22.

Daily Morning Ritual

After completing your daily rite to wake the gods and/or greeting the morning sun, open the window so that the sunlight can peer through the room. Approach your icon of Sekhmet and say:

Hail to you, O Sekhmet.
I call to you: heed my voice.
Using your arms, beckon the goddess in your direction.
The sun has risen and the world has awoken with its touch.
May you rise and be awoken by the sun’s warming rays.
Awake from your slumber; awake from your darkness.
Hear these words:
Return to me, O Distant Goddess.
Return to us.

Evening Ritual: Fifth Day Only

O you NTRW of this temple, who sanctify the god in his shrine:
I come to you, your servant, your son, I come to you.
Your beautiful scent, it calls me forward.
I have made my way and I enter into your presence.
I am one of you.
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 entered this place with ma’at in my heart.
I am pure.
I am purified.

Step Forward & Call Out to the Goddess

O, Sekhmet; O Distant Godess: I call to you.
Hear these words and come to me.
I call to you, my lady, to return to us.
We call out to you to return to this your haven, your home.
Do not hide your beautiful face from us.
Come forth and look down upon us.
Grant us your love and trust as you return to this, your temple.

Awake in peace, Sekhmet, The Great Returning Lioness, awake in peace.
Awake in peace, A’apekhty, Great of Strength, awake in peace.
Awake in peace, Kheneb-ib, He Who Robs the Heart and Cuts the Thighs of Enemies, awake in peace.
Awake in peace, Neb-kennu, Lord of the Uprising, awake in peace.
Awake in peace, Herf-em-Sedjet, Whose Face is Flame, awake in peace.
Awake in peace, Imwy-Ity-Hapy, Who is in the Middle of Flood Waters, awake in peace.
Awake in peace, Shed-kheru-em-kenu-tjemsuf, Creator of Unrest, awake in peace.
Awake in peace, Ka-Desher, the Red Bull, awake in peace.

Step Forward & Open Shrine

I open your temple, I come to you.
Your warmth and beauty surrounds me as I enter.
I am not repulsed.
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 she shall come forth.
Let me enter as she shall enter.
Behold, I have come to you to offer ma’at to make sound the Eye for its lord.

Light Incense in Censor

The incense is placed on the arms of the gods.
It transforms your heart through its perfection.
I bring the incense to make your temple festive; I appease your body.
*censing the four directions*
The temple is filled with the scent of incense.
Incense spreads throughout your sanctuary.
It sanctifies your throne, it purifies your ka from evil.
Your body is purified.
Your temple is purified.

Light the Candles

The purifying flame is placed in the hands of the gods.
It transforms your heart through its pacifying heat.
I bring the purifying flame to sanctify your temple; I appease your body.
*lift a candle and hold it in the four directions*
The temple is filled with the light of the gods.
The temple has been purified by the flame of ma’at.
It sanctifies your throne, it purifies your ka from evil.
Your body is purified.
Your temple is purified.

Take up the Water

The essential water is placed in the mouths of the gods.
It transforms your heart through its cleansing coolness.
I bring the Great Flood to sanctify your temple; I appease your body.
*flick the water in four directions on the Altar/Shrine*
Your altar is purified by the Flood of Nun.
You are cleansed by Horus.
You are purified by Thoth.
Water invigorates your body.
It is I, your servant, who comes to you in the place where you reside.

Presentation of Libation to the Gods

Greetings to you, primordial water.
Greetings to you, flood waters of Nun.
Greetings to you, o great flood.
You, the father of the gods.
*pour the water into offering cup*
I present to you, o you who are green of face, the cup filled with primordial water, which has come from the Two Caverns.
I pour the libation to water your face.
May your thirst be quenched.

Presentation of Offerings to the Gods

I come near you, o venerable gods.
I bring the food and provisions for you subsistence.
Your altars are piled high with offerings of all sorts and forms.
Every follower, every servant, every devotee has come to bring you the bounty of their hearts.
*pour the offerings into bowl and place on altar*
I am Hathor, Lady of Nourishment, who multiplies the cakes and gives life to the one who is faithful to her.
I have brought you nourishment so that you may thrive.
For as you live, I live.

Behold, I have come from the land of the living to be with you in this sacred place.
I am one of you.
My hatred is evil.
I have come on the good path of the upright in order to make whole all of our limbs.
So that we may live Glorious and Complete as the Eye.
For as you live, I live.
As I live, you live.

Unwrap the Icon

O Returning Lioness, we have come to you to grant you life anew.
We have freed your limbs from their imprisonment.
The wrappings of the goddess have been torn asunder.
We have give your eyes the ability to see.
Your eyes are the whole and complete Eyes of Horus.
We have given your lips the ability to speak.
Your mouth is filled with ma’at and you bestow your ma’at upon us.
We have freed the goddess from her slumber.
You have been rejuvenated, permeated with the will of ma’at.
You have returned to us, green-of-face.

Ma’at comes to you in all of her radiance.
Your heart is glad when she appears before you.
Ma’at has come so that she may be with you.
Ma’at
is in every place that is yours so that you may rest upon her.
So that you may rest upon her.
She comes to you.
You live off of her.
You renew your youth when you see her.
Ma’at rests upon your head.
She is seated on your brow.
Your right eye is ma’at.
Your left eye is ma’at.
Your mouth speaks ma’at.
Your hands are filled with ma’at.
Your limbs do ma’at.
She takes her seat within your ib.
You are rejuvenated at her sight.
Ma’at has taken her position within your hearts and within your shrine.
For as you live through ma’at, your people live through ma’at.
For ever and ever, a million times effective.

May your heart rejoice, O Lady of Contentment of the Two Hearts.
May your hearts rejoice, O Executioners of Sekhmet.
Glorious and excellent, NTRW.
You are green of face.
You are pacified.
Your bellies are full.
Your thirst is quenched.
Your hands are filled with vigor.

O, Sekhmet, Lady of Joy: you are green of face.
O A’apekhty, Great of Strength: you are green of face.
O Kheneb-ib, He Who Robs the Heart and Cuts the Thighs of Enemies: you are green of face.
O Neb-kennu, Lord of the Uprising: you are green of face.
O Herf-em-Sedjet, Whose Face is Flame: you are green of face.
O Imwy-Ity-Hapy, Who is in the Middle of Flood Waters: you are green of face.
O Shed-kheru-em-kenu-tjemsuf, Creator of Unrest: you are green of face.
O Ka-Desher, the Red Bull: you are green of face.

Revert Your Offerings

O Great NTRW, your enemies withdraw from you.
Heru has turned himself to his Eye in its name of Reversion-of-Offerings.
These your divine offerings revert.
They revert to your servant for life, stability, health, and joy.
So that you may flourish for eternity.