Horus Welcomes the Nile 2020.

My religious calendar is action packed during the fall and spring months. It’s also a little busy in the summer, but spring and fall are some of the busiest religious shenanigans for me. There are a wide variety of festivals and feast days that I’ve added to my calendar over the years that I still haven’t gotten around to doing anything for. I found them of interest and tacked them on to remember about them later, and maybe do something for them at some unknown future date. Horus Welcomes the Nile is one of those.

I found this five-day festival because of the Daybook (found here). The blurb wasn’t much but it at least gave me some history to work on and mull over as I tried to figure out the two major questions I always ask when it comes to festivals: Is this something that I feel the need to celebrate? If yes, then how to modernize it for regular use?

It was the local cultus aspect to my practice that seemed to be pushing me towards this festival. It seemed to say that it was time to honor that part of my practice more. And I could agree to that, but how?

The purpose of the festival in antiquity was for the pharaoh to greet the Nile. This festival comes from the Edfu temple and according to the Daybook, the pharaoh would measure the Nile while the country collectively held its breath on how much silt they would get that year. The festival seemed to harken back to the days of Horus of Behdet (Heru-Wer) so it seemed particularly important for me to do something.

The initial issue for me was that I moved to a city without much in the way of natural water resources. Most of the ones nearby are man made structures – once used as quarries that were filled in with water or small ponds and bogs that grow immense in the rain. It’s theorized that they have found no permanent native settlements here because of how far away this area is to a natural water source [and the rocky composition of the ground].

But as I was combing through my crib notes notebook, I found the regional calendar I had written down some months back. And according to that calendar, snow season can begin as early as October 29.

Snow melt is essential for our local water cycle. Articles mostly focus on its necessity for the reservoir that’s about 40 minutes from me, but it’s important for our rivers and the tiny little creek that calls this city home. Snow melt helps the bog areas nearby which is called home by a variety of local flora and fauna. Greeting the snow seemed like the best course of action.

I gave the snow red roses, an evergreen candle, and bread for my offerings.

I try to be as symbolic as possible when it comes to my rituals and offerings. This may seem so obvious for some but symbolism is another, deeper way to convey what needs to be conveyed. It’s not all words and pretty images.

Sometimes it may mean pouring through flower language websites for hours, trying to find the perfect flower to bolster the initial message. Sometimes it may mean going through your ritual implements, trying to find the perfect item that would help to give additional layers of meaning to something that may seem so glaring when a stranger looks at it later.

Bread was the choice du jour. If I could have found a haunch of venison or cow, I might have added that to the list. I decided to use a faux rabbit pelt that reminded me of the fur of a lion. Lions are both powerful hunters and could defeat chaos: two things I needed for my rituals. I chose red roses for love. The candle is a scented winter candle that reminds me of cold days and snow everywhere. The lantern was just a convenient housing mechanism.

It rained all week. I couldn’t use the fur because of the rain. I spent my early mornings standing near my favorite spit of land in my yard, preparing everything. And as my fingers began to ache from the deep cold and rain, I whispered the story of This Horus (me) into the world as the sun, hidden behind rain clouds, crawled out from between Nut’s legs to be reborn. This Horus bore witness to the daily cycle and told the snow that, no matter what a New Englander might say about the dreaded snowfall, it was welcome here.

I dislike long rituals. They have their purpose of course, but the longer they take, the stupider I feel. This is an ongoing issue and it’s something that I’ve tried to work on (to varying success), but I didn’t think something long and drawn out was really called for. I appear to have been right.

A morning of chillier weather with three to four inches of snow starting to melt in the sun.

It snowed on Friday morning. It began before I left for work and continued until about mid-day. The rain that morning seemed to be heavier, prep for the pending snow fall later in the morning. I found out snow was on the way two days before it came (Wednesday) because weather models were both predicting snow and claiming we would get none. I felt powerful as the snow came down.

I modified my ritual on Friday morning because I am scared of driving in the snow. I learned to drive in south Texas where snow is rare. Even with new tires and breaks, there’s still the worry I’ll get into an accident. I asked the snow fall to be a little lighter covering than some previous years’ Halloween snow falls. Maybe the world listened or maybe after being a New Englander all my life, I can just tell how much snow there will be.

The sun was still up when I got home from work and I really marveled at the beauty. I hate the cold. I hate shoveling. But there is something so beautiful about the trees being freshly covered in a layer of snow. It’s even more beautiful when the sun shines through the skeletal fingers of trees, gloved in an inch or two of snow. Breath-taking is the word I’m thinking as I write this. It’s breath-taking.

This Horus told the snow welcome and gave thanks on the final day of the festival. It was cold and I should have worn boots to trudge through to the table. I wore a scarf and gloves and a hoody that is for lighter weather because my winter one needs to be washed before I can use it. I stood behind the table for some time, soaking up the sun and happy that the snow had heard my words, found my lantern’s light, and was welcome.

Regional Calendars: The Backbone.

Recently, TTR began posting a series of articles about how to add a regional flavor to your calendar and how to bring all of that together to better help you through the lens of celebrations. This topic is near and dear to my heart since the local cultus push has been steadily increasing now that spring has sprung.

I’ve also been looking forward to it because the regional flavoring is supposed to help me in some way to better outfit my calendar throughout the year. My calendar is very busy because I was told when reworking it to add “everything that could conceivably be related to something or someone you have ties to”. I didn’t think my months would look as busy as they ended up, but they did.

After doing this, I started getting regular notifications every morning about anywhere between 2 – 6 holidays related to my gods in some form or way. Most of the holidays don’t actually interest me the way that I had once found myself interested in the handful of Sekhmet holidays throughout the year or the Beautiful Reunion. They were effectively useless.

Ra and Osiris both mentioned that this would eventually change, but I had to at least know what was available for me to celebrate before I could pare it down. While this made sense, I find myself annoyed by each daily notification and have to actively assess each one to ensure I’m not missing something of Great Import [to Me].

When TTR and I began talking about adding to calendars from a regional aspect, I was immediately on board. Ra seemed to be particularly interested as well as he seemed to intimate that this would begin the Great Re-Work of Calendar Nonsense 2020. After having reworked my calendar pretty consistently for the last 3 years (there’s always something that comes up that makes me realize it’s not right), I’m hoping this will be the last push.

Creating a Calendar Around Local Ecology: Gathering Information

After reading the first post in the series, I was surprised by the focus on weather. When I think local cultus or local ecology, I forget about weather in its entirety. I usually focus on local flora and fauna with only a passing thought given to what the weather and its patterns entail in the region. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized how important something like weather is to all of this. Weather and its patterns allow the local flora and fauna to exist in the ways that they do; without it, well, things would be drastically different around here.

Part of the other reason that I had a lazer focus on plant and wildlife is because that’s what I see every day. Since moving, it has been the growth and death and rebirth of the plants around us that have snagged my attention in a way that, while they always interested me of course, I have become far more intent on that focus. I also have a different ability after having moved to watch local wildlife; something that was harder in the middle of the city because local wildlife is very, very good about hiding in plain sight.

So, I added a few crib notes on local flora and fauna to the notebook I’ve designated as my “personal practice” notebook and moved on. (This notebook is full of a lot of shit right now that will hopefully, one day, become cohesive and make sense. That, of course, remains to be seen.) I was ready for the weather-specific post and curious to see what I would find.


Creating a Calendar Around Local Ecology: Creating the Backbone

While the general layout for weather gathering was in the first post, it wasn’t until TTR had published the second post that I actually got around to getting that information together. I felt like I needed the visuals they supplied in that second post to better understand what I had already looked up a few times, confused and not quite sure what I was looking at.

I focused first on the hottest and coldest days of the year for where I live.

The hottest day is July 20th and the coldest day is January 29th around these parts. That tracks with what I’ve found throughout the year, but the item of interest I found was before the pretty little graph and the specific dates. Weather Spark adds a general timeframe for “hot season” and “cold season” and other items that I’ll get into as this post continues on. According to this website, the warm season is 3.6 months long (May to September) and the cold season is 3.4 months long (November to March), on average.

The reason I found these details interesting is because it doesn’t track with what I know to be true due to climate change. Our hotter times tend to last until close to October in recent years. Colder weather isn’t lasting as long and we’ve had unseasonably warm weather in March. While March also brought with it bitterly icy winds, the visual stimulus of cold weather (snow) was notably absent.

Something that TTR didn’t include based on their post was cloud cover. Clouds and cloudiness is a big thing where I live because of the typical weather patterns we should experience. According to the website, we have a “cloudy season” for about 7.6 months of the year with a large portion of this season taking place in winter. The cloudiest day tends to be January 3 while the opposite day is September 5. Both dates track with my own review of what I’ve come to expect from my local weather patterns.

I went through the whole damn website and compiled a list of dates that either will prove useful or I’ll jettison them off into the sun at a later date in time:

  • Hottest Day – July 20
  • Coldest Day – January 29
  • Cloudiest Day – January 3
  • Clearest Day – September 5
  • Rainiest Day – June 3 & October 3
  • Snowiest Day – January 25
  • Muggiest Day – July 29
  • Least Muggiest Day – December 13
  • Windiest Day – February 26
  • Calmest Day – August 12
  • Predominant Wind Direction – West
  • Brightest Day – June 29
  • Darkest Day – December 22
  • Growing Season – April 30 – October 11

I decided to forego the additions about spring & fall only because of how things have been going as far as both seasons due to climate change. Since I’m not sure where climate change will eventually land us, I felt it safest to, as much as I hate this, bar them entrance to any regional calendar I may make until I can figure out a good average.

And I truly hate this. I love spring and I love fall the most. They are my two very favorite seasons, however I can admit that both have been excessively short in recent years. For a few years running, May started the hot season and air conditioning units would begin to run closer to the first of May and than the first of June. September, usually a beautiful time for fall foliage, has been hotter on average than when I was a child. I’ve spent many a-September day, sweating and cranky or in a pool to cool off than I can recall being the norm from my youth.

This year, we do appear to be getting a spring because May has been cooler than it has been the last few years. Mornings, I wake up deliciously chilly with all of my windows open wide to temps in the 40s. I wear a sweater or hoody to start the day before jettisoning it around 10 or 11 in the morning. And I love it, but I also recognize that this will most likely not be the norm for a very long time.

So for now, my seasons will simply have to fall within the dynamic of winter, summer, and rainy.

Creating a Calendar Around Local Ecology: The Backbone

With the backbone all but created, I’m taking a break from working further on the calendar. The next steps, for me at least, require a good deal of further research since I’m still relatively new to this area. I only know the bare bones of historically significant sites, local landforms, and have only just started to source local foci that feel like they need my attention.

Ra had been the driving force in getting me to get these details together and now seems perfectly content with letting me take a break before I move onto the next section in the series. He seems to prefer that I better focus on the ritual prep for the Festival of the Beautiful Reunion, which is currently 23 days out for me.

For the hilarity, I recently pulled out the current iteration of my religious calendar and looked up some of the dates that I had come up with for this project. Each date on my religious calendar actually does correspond with an existing ancient Egyptian holiday. Some of them actually line up pretty well, I think, with those existing holiday forms, so I may keep them when I complete the reworking of the overall calendar. But then again, I might not.

I’m glad that the first portion of this calendar rework project is at least completed. I have a lot more to do besides and it sounds like this will most likely take me the entire year (much like my last calendar rework did). I’ve already at least made a small list of important festivals that have to be kept (The Osiris Mysteries, WR/Intercalary/Propitiation of Sekhmet, and the Festival of the Beautiful Reunion) and those that can go (the smaller one-offs, many of which have to do with Hathor since she had a holiday just about every day) and I’m looking forward to seeing how things look once I’ve finally gotten this project completed.