Wep Ronpet 2015.

July 30, 2015 – August 2, 2015

When I was reading The House of Horus at Edfu by Barbara Watterson, I discovered that the celebrations for Wep Ronpet went much longer than I had realized. I had always thought that it was a six day long festivity: five days for the birth of the children of Nut and Geb and a single day for the actual new year celebrations. The day after the new year, the populace went back to work and the world was reset and everything was as hunky-dory as it could get.

Evidently, at Edfu, they celebrated WR for 9 days and there was reference to other places that continued the celebrations up to 11 days after the start of the epagomenal days. That kind of made the panic in my chest slow down to a crawl, which was nice. I always have a lot of ideas about what in the world I plan on doing during the celebration of Wep Ronpet, but I never feel as though I have enough time to see it through. The knowledge that these types of celebrations were a few days’ long made it possible for me to see to everything I wanted to see to.

The sun just touched the morning;
The morning, happy thing,
Supposed that he had come to dwell,
And life would be all spring.

– The Sun’s Wooing by Emily Dickinson

Dua RaI have a love-hate relationship with the sun. I’m not a morning person, although I’m not usually cranky after my first cup of coffee has been ingested. Some mornings, I sit and watch as it climbs above the trees outside the window, marveling at the majestic beauty. Other days, I wish it to be covered with gray cloud cover, a hint of rain on the breeze heading in my direction.

The morning of the 30th dawned bright, though, and I didn’t feel like the rejuvenating rays of Re needed to be covered. After I felt awake enough to see it through, I brought all of my icons, excepting Sekhmet of course, over to greet the dawn. I tried to imagine what it must be like to sit and feel the sun’s rays, feel it renewing me just as much as it must have been renewing my icons. This was something the priests did in antiquity – bringing the sacred icons out to greet the sun. But I have to wonder if, besides all of the pomp and circumstance, did they try to imagine what it was like to be renewed too?

When I went out to see to my dog that morning, I closed my eyes and turned my face to Re. I don’t know if he was inclined to give me a bit of his power, but it felt good. I felt like I could feel it working its way into the pores of my skin, giving me a little added boost for the days, the months, the year to come. Maybe he did give me a little added bonus. As I opened my eyes and turned toward the house, ready to get on with the day, I swear I saw the icon of Djehuty wink at me.

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –
“Hope” is the thing with feathers by Emily Dickinson
Last year, I created a sa for my car. I had decided to make it before I got rid of my rusty Oldsmobile so the original intent was because that bucket of bolts was in the middle of its final death cries and I needed it to last a little longer. But just before Wep Ronpet last year, I bought Karen who was in much better shape and didn’t need as much gas to fill her. I decided that just because I had bought a new car didn’t mean I couldn’t make myself a sa. One should always be mindful of the needs we have for keeping ourselves safe.
This year, I decided to create another sa which will go into the significant other’s car. I didn’t really tell him I was doing this until the day before the intercalary days began, “Oh, by the way, I’m making you an amulet of protection for your car because you clearly need it.” He asked me why and I just kind of stared blankly for a minute and said, “Well, it’s as demonstrative as I can be at the moment with my affections. Don’t ask questions. No, you don’t have to hang it from the rear view mirror like I do.”
Kemetic Arts and CraftsWhen I made my sa last year, I had chosen to use red felt (red being a major power color) to create it. I was looking more for durability than anything else. I found it difficult to force the felt into the shape that I wanted, but with slowly lost patience, I managed to get the shape I needed. I swore then I would never, ever do this with felt again but since I needed to retain durability and I knew (or vaguely remembered) how to make my fingers force the thing into the shape I needed, I figured I was okay.
The SO’s sa is a little thinner and a little smaller than the original. I had unmade the original amulet to follow its steps as well as to recreate the symbols I had drawn inside. I annointed each symbol with some crown of success oil. I then rolled them up, cursed quietly under my breath while I tried to get the silky cords to do my bidding with clumsy fingers, and then managed to tie the beasts together. Professor, in his Aspect as Maurice the Netjeri, has been looking over the amulets and helping me to charge them, to keep them filled with their purpose. (Guide to make one yourself.)
YOU cannot put a fire out
A thing that can ignite
Can go, itself, without a fan
Upon the slowest night.
You cannot put a fire out by Emily Dickinson

Over the months, I’ve managed to create a lot of heka for various reasons. Some of it is for myself, but most of it is for friends and family. A lot of the stuff in the pot is months old, waiting for the moment where it can be released and set free. I have a very large, old, and ornate jar that I keep my heka hut works in and every year, I try to burn it all. Last year, I found it difficult to do so because there was so much of it and because it was all folded paper. I decided to write out heka on strips of paper, hoping it would be easier to burn.

I chose to do this at my in laws’ house for a variety of reasons. With there being so much to burn, I’m finding that my little cast iron pot isn’t large enough. I also find it irritating to burn things while the bar across the street is hopping or my neighbors are home. I don’t really feel like answering questions. The in laws have a very private back yard with a burn pit anyway. So, I took the jar and Professor in his Aspect as Maurice the Netjeri on over to get everything settled in and burned.

This may be surprising, but I’m not very good at the fire bug thing. I actually had to have the SO light everything up for me. Once he managed to get it lit in multiple places, the flames took over and I just watched as everything that required destruction was destroyed. I got eaten alive by mosquitoes but it was pleasant just sitting in the heat and humidity of the evening, a slightly cooling breeze coming in off the pond in the back, while everything was burned asunder.

I not only fed the heka hut accumulation into the pot, but I tried to feed it my newly minted depression as well. I received some… not good news after work on Friday. I’ve been job hunting at a particular place, but I can’t start off with a full time position evidently. That’s not how the company works and I began to feel like a listless asshole, stuck in this hell hole that I’ve been working in for two and a half years. I can just see the months of hell stretching in front of me before I break down entirely, destroyed and defeated by this place.

My mental health, or so I’ve been informed, is important. And because I know that I could get into this place easily, I chose to throw all of my hopes into a single basket. Well, unfortunately, my hopes were shattered. I realized while I watched the flames dance in the night that I needed to stop doing that. I also recognized that I needed to stop feeling sorry for myself, but it can be really hard to do that when you’re primed for it.

I didn’t do anything on Saturday. I rarely feel like I can just take a day off and not bother with anything. There’s usually offerings to provide in the morning or cleaning to do in the afternoon/evening. But on top of feeling sorry for myself, I also somehow managed to wrench my knee in a very unpleasant way that I was feeling all the way into my bones Saturday afternoon. So, I chose to spend another day of the WR celebrations sitting around and reading Chapterhouse Dune.

With the final day of my celebrations (I can handle 9 days, but I think 11 is a little overboard personally), I decided to do a large execration against A/pep. I haven’t done one in a while and I was due for one. I had also indicated to Sekhmet before she closeted herself away that I would at least consider it and do something A/pep related while she was away. This is when owning Ancient Egyptian Magical Texts by J.F. Borghouts comes in handy because I didn’t have to figure out what to do on my own or make something up on the fly: I chose to utilize spell 144.

It’s a little weird to use some of the older spells. I’m not talking about the ones that call for crocodile dung or other seemingly weird ingredients. It’s mostly the wording of the spells. I gets the point across, though, and it actually has given me a seemingly better understanding as to what could be considered heka with a purpose, or heka hut shenanigans, versus merely paying attention to what words I’m using when I speak aloud and/or write something down.

But I stumbled and I mumbled. In the end, though, I felt like my representation A/pep was good and destroyed. I flushed the remnants into the abyss that is the public sewage system and reminded the pieces that they were destroyed; they were less than nothing; I had not only survived the battle but won.

I won the battle over this last year.

I know I will succeed and win the battles over the upcoming year.

Just watch me.

Intercalary Days 2015.

July 25, 2015 – July 29, 2015

Dua Wesir!

Dinner pt 1Dinner pt 2The first day of the epagomenal days and we are celebrating the birth of Big O. The stoic green-faced guy who probably had too much LSD in the 70s. The backbone of ancient Egypt. The eldest child of Nut and Geb. The one. The only. Osiris.

I started off with a good, healthy meal of garlic tilapia filets, fresh baked Italian bread with butter, and sauteed zucchini. I hand picked all of the green peanut M&Ms out of the bag while simultaneously (no seriously, it was a simultaneous thing) setting up the bundle of flowers I purchased for this week.

I provided a glass of milk to finish off the healthier part of dinner and then added a healthy dose of rum into some diet Coke. (H-dubs seems very put out that I was cracking into “his” Cruzan for this. He’s going to be pretty upset when he realizes Big Red is getting some too.)

Now we’re all digesting our meal and O seems to be pointedly not talking to me – possibly because on top of embarrassingly and off-key singing the birthday song, I may have also sang (less off-key) to the tune of Eulogy by Tool, which he found not so amusing. (I found it fucking hilarious.) But it could also be because I bought fish for dinner.

Dua Heru-Wer!

Dinner pt 1Dinner pt 2The second day of the epagomenal days and we are celebrating the birth of H-dubs. The quiet bird guy who everyone forgets about. The first Horus to fuck up Set’s day. The second child of Nut and Geb. The one. The only. Heru-Wer.

I started off with a good, healthy meal of Moroccan salad minus the chickpeas, cucumbers, and fresh bread with butter. Since I had planned ahead yesterday and sorted through all of the peanut M&Ms, I was able to toss all the blue ones into the bowl and then added 5 yellow ones.

I provided a glass of milk to finish off the healthier part of dinner and then added a healthy dose of rum into some diet Coke. He tried to get me to pour more than a single shot and seemed mildly put out that I have to work in the morning.

Now we’re having some quiet time, singing and dancing ridiculously to Timber by Pitbull featuring Kesha. I may have mentioned this once but this is like our song. He was harassing me while I was cooking dinner, demanding that I play it at least once while I celebrate the glory that is the Derpy Hawk Bird. I have played it twice now and there looks like a third time may be in the works (depending on my mood by that point).

Dua Set!

Dinner pt 1Dinner pt 2Today is the third day of the epagomenal days [for me] and we are celebrating the birth of Big Red. The tackiest, gaudiest motherfucker ever to exist. The villain everyone loves to hate and hates to love (or vice versa). The third child of Nut and Geb. The one. The only. Set.

He got leftovers today because I didn’t have the necessary ingredients for tacos. He seems mildly irritated that I had cooked fresh meals for his brothers but he was getting H-dubs leftovers. I pointed out that his sisters were getting leftovers as well and he seemed mildly cheered by this fact. He got red M&Ms with a few brown ones mixed in and fresh bread with butter.

I provided a glass of milk to finish off the healthier part of dinner and then added some rum to some diet Coke. (The high pitched screaming coming from H-dubs, like he had been truly wounded or something, was amazing. I feel like this was almost as painful as the time Set ripped out his eye.)

When I went to revert dinner, Set was not having any of it. I had the distinct impression he was totally shoving the couscous in by the copious handful and told me, “nooooo,” with his disgusting mouth full. When I apologized for not having more cucumbers and for denying cooked zucchini, he pointed out that I had grapes in the fridge and I should get them.

Let me reiterate this: I had forgotten that I had bought grapes. He had scoped out my fridge and reminded me about the grapes. He got a kind of stingy clipping of grapes and Serious Look for combing through the contents of my refrigerator without permission.

He said the grapes are terrific.

Dua Aset!

Dinner pt 1Dinner pt 2The epagomenal days [for me] and we are celebrating the birth of Big Ass…et. The mom who will hound your ass until you die if you don’t clean your room. The lady who turns into a bird to get it on with people whose bodies have been torn asunder. The fourth child of Nut and Geb. The one. The only. Aset.

She also received leftovers because I had absolutely no intention of putting myself out for her. We have had a lot of issues in the last year or something like that and I am not the forgive and forget type. But you know, neither is she. She got the bread and butter shtick and the yellow M&Ms. The only reason she got grapes was because I remembered I had them.

I provided a glass of milk and then added some vanilla vodka to diet Coke because the ladies get vanilla vodka. This seemed to be the only thing she was interested in from me and I left it out for as little as possible because I’m just as much an ass as she is.

Dua Nebthet!

Dinner pt 1Dinner pt 2The fifth day of the epagomenal days [for me] and we are celebrating the birth of Nebthet. The one who lives in the shadow of her big sister. The woman who was married to Set and then helped her sister find her torn apart husband’s body parts. The fifth child of Nut and Geb. The one. The only. Nebthet.

I felt bad that she was getting leftovers like everyone else because I had actually intended on cooking. Well, that didn’t happen at all because it’s so bloody hot and I just couldn’t stomach the idea of having to turn on the oven (so I took my kid out for dinner). Nebthet just seemed happy she was getting some recognition for once. She also had bread and butter as well as grapes (why stop a good thing?)

We’re out of milk because I’m trash I didn’t stop for any on the way home so she only got  some vanilla vodka to diet Coke. She squealed with delight and I’m pretty sure she told me this is the best meal she’s had in a while. She gave me a sad boner to learn more about her.

Wep Ronpet 2014.

I like Wep Ronpet. The very feeling behind the celebration shoots both joy and excitement throughout my body and I can feel, almost, as if my body as renewing just as the year is about to. I think the excitement and joy comes from the knowledge that, soon enough, the year will reset itself and the hope of a new year will be upon me. Whatever sorrows and horrors that may have happened within the last twelve months will soon be gone and something new, something perfect, will be before me.

The best way to describe these feelings would be to explain about the first snowfall of the winter.

Just as with many people in the northeast, I am not a huge fan of winter. It is a long time to live with gray clouds and hardly any sun to peek through, with temperatures rapidly plummeting. There is nothing to commend it, really; icy roads, blizzard conditions, and depression. But there is something that has always made me, even as a little girl, look forward to the first snowfall. I can remember, when I was little and when November would start to stretch towards Thanksgiving, eagerly peering out my windows every morning in the hopes that the first snow had fallen.

And the gasp of joy at the beauty that the land awaited when it did fall! Everything was covered in ice crystals and the snow was pure and perfect, never touched by man or beast. The crusts of gray and soot from passing cars hadn’t yet touched it; it was glorious. To me, that glorious first snowfall is a lot like Wep Ronpet and what I can expect to see for the upcoming year: a pristine field of snow, untouched and unsullied, just like the New Year.

I was both excited and worried, in all honesty, for this year’s festivities. I thought I had more planned than I actually did, I think. I’m not sure what it was that made me worry I wouldn’t be able to get it all done. I have to admit that working a full time job really cuts into the whole religion thing. I often feel that the amount of time and effort I would prefer to dedicate to something is not available to me because I have to go out and into the world, work for a paycheck that barely gets me by. But, I also understand that this is way of most people, so I am at least aware that I’m probably not alone with my unhappiness at the prospect.

Initially, that morning, I was going to lay my icons out to rejuvenate in the sun. This is something that I have done for the last two years and I like the idea. However, with Sekhmet currently in hiding until The Feast of Drunkenness, it didn’t seem right to have the other three icons out and about. So, I nixed this idea that morning. I prepared the usual daily devotions to my home altar shrine and set up the altar space I had been using for the intercalary days in preparation for that night.

It was a little crowded and a little hectic, but finally, I felt that everything was set up properly.

On my way to work that morning, I ended up stuck in stop-and-go traffic. This isn’t actually very usual for my trips into work. As I watched the time click slowly passed when I should have arrived at work, I began to grow crotchety. There I was, stuck in traffic because some idiot got into an accident. Fuming, I shot off the closest off-ramp and sat in a Dunkin Donuts parking lot to have a pep talk with myself. (By that point, I was already very late and had called into work to let them know I would be there when I got there, so I figured a pep talk wasn’t really pushing the limits of tardiness.)

I reminded myself, carefully, that I was at a crossroads with the New Year. Things were still resetting and that wouldn’t solidify until tomorrow. It wasn’t my fault that someone hadn’t taken extra precautions while [possibly] driving [recklessly] down the highway. While I did have to sit in stop-and-go traffic because of it, I reminded myself that not everyone can be prepared for the chaos that the reset of a new year can cause. And I also reminded myself that chaos tended to float around the days outside of the year and impact Wep Ronpet, even though it’s most often seen as an auspicious day. Calmed again, I went off to work and kicked some telecommunications ass.

When I got home, I immediately started fully planning the festivities. My first step was to create a sa. I used this guide to create it and I used this one for figuring out how to and what type of sigils I would use in the interior. I had decided to create the sa about a month ago and purchased the supplies when I went on my merry little chase for all things Wep Ronpet. I chose silken cords for the interior and exterior in white and red and ended up choosing red felt for the actual sa itself.

I went through my book, Myth and Symbol in Ancient Egypt by R.T. Rundle Clark for inspiration on what sort of sigils I wanted to use. It seemed appropriate that I would choose symbolism from ancient Egypt as opposed to anything that I myself would create. It seemed like it would be more effect, heka wise, if I chose something with extensive history. I ended up choosing the shen ring, the glyph for eternity, and the glyph for life. These three symbols were used to create this sa specifically as a protective amulet in my car. The message I was aiming for was, protection for eternity, protection for life; may a long life by lived. I also did create a personalized sigil specific to the aim as well.

I ended up finding out just how difficult it can be to braid something that isn’t your hair. I chose one red strand of cord and two red. I knotted them at the top and realized that, well, I had nothing to anchor the end to so that I could begin braiding. I ended up holding the knotted end in my mouth so that I could braid it all. When I got to the other end (measured against the length of the felt I had purchased), I knotted it together and beheld my work.

I also didn’t expect for the cordage to shrink so much because of the braiding. I had measure it out specifically to the length of the width of the red felt and hadn’t considered that I would end up with something that was completely hidden in its center. What I also didn’t expect was just how thick the damn red felt would get when I rolled it into a tube shape. It was thicker than any of my fingers and completely unwieldy. I ended up cutting it down until the sigils, which were in four strategic places on the inside, were at the very edge. When I rolled up the felt again, it was still pretty thick, but not as much.

It's fucking huge.

It’s fucking huge.

I had my son hold out his finger to me so that I could use that to tie a single white cord around the center to hold its shape. With that in place, I took a long strand of red cordage to wrap around it, creating the distinctive sa shape by pulling it as tightly as I possibly could. I then managed, with much concentration and a bit of power words (f-bombs, mostly), to string a white string in the center. I had originally wanted to thread white cordage around the sides of the rounded top, but was unable to do so because of how thick the felt was. I ended up just using the white thread to hold it together for when I tie it to my rearview mirror.

Once that was completed, I placed it on Sekhmet’s altar in the middle of the offering plate.

Booze it up, up, up.

Booze it up, up, up.

My next step was to hold a final celebration for the children of Nut and Geb. I ended up setting everyone up that morning, but chose to add an alcoholic beverage on top of the cupcake. I used my “royal cup,” which was a gift on my birthday last year. I didn’t use the crazy straw when I placed the vodka and diet Coke concoction down, but I did sing out that everyone had better get it before I snapped the damn thing up. Calories be damned; I was having me some vodka.

In a totally strange coincidence, by the KO calendar, my Wep Ronpet coincided with Heru-Wer’s birthday. I was enjoying all of the stories of peoples’ experiences with him throughout the day. Somehow, one of his kids (from KO) and I got onto the topic of getting him drunk as hell and it just kind of gamboled out of control until many people were offering him booze, whether they were celebrating his birthday or not. I joined in on this particular shindig and ended up with no fewer than two cups of alcoholic beverages out for him. I really can’t say if this was received properly or not (I had a distinct impression he had screeched, “CHALLENGE MOTHERFUCKING ACCEPTED,” at one point, but I could be mistaken).

It was fucking hilarious.

While this was going on, I danced around the house to a few tunes that deserve to be danced to. While I was shaking my booty up and down the hallway, I ended up pulling both my son and TH into the little festivity. With the three of us dancing around the kitchen until my knees and hips hurt, I figured we had done justice to the celebration of Wep Ronpet. And I have to admit, I was pretty happy to have had both of my boys join in since neither usually do.

While listening to calmer music, I ended up writing down 25 possibly dangers to execrate for the year ahead. I won’t list what I wrote down, but I will mention how I wrote them down: on a simple sheet of paper, I wrote a heading indicating why I was listing these words. I then went through a list of possible things that may come up in the next year and things that have been plaguing me this year, hoping to clear them from my life with this execration.

I took this and the heka I had been hoarding since November of last year and went outside to execrate.

It took two fucking hours to burn the massive chunk of heka. That’s right; I sat outside of my house, watching a myriad of visitors going to the bar across the street, for two fucking hours while every ounce of heka was burned into soft gray ash. I added my heka for the year to come to the pile and watched it blow the fuck up. In fact, in those two hours, it burned a soft steady coal red-orange and then would go back up into a pyre of flames when I stirred at everything. When I had enough (there were still some lit embers), I dumped the ash into the world in a pile.

I then stomped upon it and spat upon it. As I stomped I said, “I step upon your brows as pharaoh did to his enemies. I spit upon you so that you may know your vile presence is not needed. I beat you back as a pharaoh at the head of his victorious army. You are nothing. You are less than nothing. Be gone.” And then, I walked back inside.

I don’t know if I can really say if last year was a good year. I do know that I have hopes for the next year. And I hope, beyond all hope, that they come true and that the renewal of this year infiltrates my being, from my ba to my ka to my ib, until it is not just the year that renews, but myself as well.

I have high hopes for this upcoming year.

And right now, I intend on seeing those hopes come true.

Kemetic Round Table: Daily Ritual.

The Kemetic Round Table (KRT) is a blogging project aimed at providing practical, useful information for modern Kemetic religious practitioners. For all the entries relating to this particular topic, take a peek here!

When it comes to daily rituals, I absolutely advocate their use. When I seriously began attempting to do a daily rite to my gods on a regular basis, I found it easier to bring my faith with me wherever I went. By taking that extra time out of my day and adding it into my morning routine, I wasn’t only able to connect with the gods during that moment but also during little moments throughout the day. Something that most neophytes may not be aware of is how just even giving a little nod in their direction before the day really begins can really boost someone’s personal practice. As someone who once had no clue what the fuck I was doing and honestly thought the whole daily ritual thing was a load of bunk, and as someone who can now fully understand the benefits to one’s religious practice, I absolutely and one hundred percent believe that anyone and everyone looking to enter Kemetic practices should give serious consideration to doing this.

But how does one do this, right? How in the world do you craft a daily ritual that only takes a couple of minutes but ends up bringing you closer to your gods and reaffirming yourself to them throughout the day?

In many solitary Kemetic practices, we attempt to look to the historical sources for how to craft such things. In the case of the Kemetic laity, crafting something like a daily ritual is incredibly difficult. There aren’t too many historical sources, at least older than the later periods, which can give us any kind of information about how best to do this. In some cases, it may be in a solitary’s best interest to at least take a look at the daily rituals and practices of the ancient Egyptian priesthood. While, by laity standards, the practices of the priesthood may be too formal, too complicated, and-or too time-consuming. I heartily agree that the rites and services provides by the ancient Egyptian priesthood may be a little over-the-top for any modern-day laity practitioners looking to just foster a closer relationship with their gods. But in, at least, reading into what was done in the past, it may provide some general ideas of how best to craft a daily ritual that would better assist.

However, in many cases, the best course of action to create a daily ritual for oneself is going to be based on UPG or off of discussions with other solitary practicing Kemetics. Historical sources are all well and good, but sometimes, we need to spice up the practices that we will be relying on and continuing on a daily basis. I may be a little biased, but I honestly think that some of the time-consuming rituals from the historical sources are a little, well, boring. It’s all incredibly formal. I’m all for formality, if that’s your shtick, but it’s not much of mine unless I feel that something calls for it. Since the intent behind the creation is something that I would be willing to do on a regular basis, then I left formality out of it. Besides, if I can’t have fun in my practice, especially when it comes to my daily rites, then I honestly have to wonder what the point in the whole shebang is.

Besides, if the ancient Egyptians were as fond of puns and play on words and jokes as the sources seem to indicate, I can’t assume that the gods that were, in many instances, the butt of those puns, jokes, and play on words would really care if any of their modern-day devotees created a daily ritual that was antithetical to formal.

Whatever the daily practice will entail is entirely up to the person crafting the rite. I know of a few Kemetics who base their daily ritual off of those in Eternal Egypt by Richard Reidy. I used to use his daily rite to Sekhmet and choreographed rituals for the other netjeru in my household. It was after doing this for a couple of months that I realized that formality was out for me. As I said, a daily practice can and will (if done often enough, I think) allow a firmer connection with the gods in one’s practice. However, again as I said, if the daily rite doesn’t particularly hold it for you, then the connection isn’t going to be as firm or as strong as one could hope it to be. So, I tossed out all those formal words and just ended up crafting something that works.

My daily rite entails plopping down some cool water and some votive offerings in front of my gods. Occasionally, I say something to them. Sometimes, I sit in silent contemplation before their altars for a while. Most days, I just go about it on auto pilot and let the rest sort itself out. However, even just spending a few minutes at their altars and seeing their icons can be enough to remind me that they are in my life and allows me to bring them with me throughout my day. When things get hard throughout the day, I can think back to the quiet solitude of those five minutes (if that) that I spent providing them with offerings and feel a little boost. I’m not sure if it’s the action of providing the offerings or if it’s the seeing them daily or if it’s something I can’t quite put my finger on, but whatever it is, due to the fact that I do this on a daily basis, I feel much closer to my gods.

When it comes to creating a daily ritual, how one goes about it is, per usual, entirely on what makes them feel more comfortable. There may be some devotees who aren’t interested in doing this. I can understand that. I used to be one of those people who thought that doing a daily ritual was really overreaching. Besides, it always seemed like I had things to do, not enough time, or couldn’t remember that I had something to give to my gods that day. I think that, in those cases, when we make it more about what we’re doing versus what the netjeru may want from us, then that’s when the break down between doing a daily ritual and beginning to form the solid foundation of a religious practice.

I don’t deny that it may be possible to create a foundation for a religious practice without a daily rite. I think it’s possible for some people. I’ll let everyone in on a secret: I’m kind of a lazy person. And without the scheduled daily ritual that I created for myself, I would probably still be stumbling around. I think it’s pretty important to find what works for each individual when it comes to entering their religious practices. If that means doing a ritual once a week – then go for it! I just tried it out and always ended up forgetting, even with pop up reminders in my Google calendar. By finally forcing myself from the “armchair pagan” dynamic I was lazing around in and into the “daily pagan” dynamic I’ve been doing for over a year now, I’ve found that things are easier, simpler, and just make that much more sense.

I think, too, that when it comes to creating a daily ritual, then the group dynamic is something that shouldn’t be considered. In many instances, Kemeticism is a solitary practice even when it comes to those being a part of a temple. I know quite a few Kemetic Orthodox members who do not live anywhere near the main temple. While I don’t know too much about how KO works or what the standards for a daily ritual are in their practice, I do know that they practice senut. And as far as my cursory readings on this subject have entailed, I’ve found that it’s entirely personal and the shrine-time that happens isn’t a group focus. It’s all entirely up to the individual (and time-consuming, if my reports are accurate) as to when, how, where, why, and what is done. There are, of course, certain bases that must be followed when KO members practice senut however it’s still an individual’s daily rite versus a group daily rite.

And besides, I know that if it came to me doing my daily rite in front of others, either via a group chat or in person, I would be mortally embarrassed. It’s not that I think how I go about these things is wrong or anything, but that I find it a little difficult to share my practice in many ways with others. It’s one thing to consciously decide to share something with others, but quite another to share a very personal thing [for me], such as my really informal daily rite. Providing a written dialog or written instructions for how I go about this rite is entirely different, to me, than from sharing it in person or in chat. And by sharing something that is as personal as my daily rite is, and all that its development has given to me and my practice, I would just be completely mortified at the thought.

All in all, when it comes to the whole idea of finally, finally entering the exciting realm of creating a daily rite for oneself, the first thing one should always ask themselves is, am I ready? The next question should be, what do I want this to look like? And then take everything from there. Advice aside and blog entries aside, whatever the daily rite looks like or ends up looking like needs to be based on the specific needs and requirements of the individual creating that daily ritual. Anything else is effluvia and completely immaterial. All that matters is your intent and what you believe the netjeru want from you.

Petition to Sekhmet: Healing.

When things are hard, I constantly try to remind myself that it’s a cycle and that all cycles end. I’ve had a particularly harder time than usual telling myself this in the last couple of weeks. I think it’s because every aspect of my life has been really difficult. As I discussed in this entry, I feel like I’ve been beset on all sides. It’s not just the money and the family and the mundane life, but my religious and my astral lives as well. Everything is a struggle and I am just so tired. I can sleep all I want; I can escape in books all I want; I can pretend everything will get better… but in my quieter moments, in my more realistic and not-putting-on-a-front moments, I find myself whispering, I am just so tired of struggling. It feels like no matter how I do things or how I go about things, but everything always comes back to this monumental struggle that I am unable to escape. And that has made me so damn angry with everyone, from my gods, to my life, to my decisions, to myself, and everything in between. But more and more, I find myself taking it out on my gods.

As someone who, even a few months ago, still had the blind faith required to see me through a rough patch, this whole escapade has been an incredible learning experience. I’m not particularly pleased that I have to go through this learning experience and frankly, one has to ask if life/gods/whatever couldn’t have come up with a better way to teach their followers about the nature of struggling. As though this hasn’t been difficult enough, but most of the people who turn to me – me with my blind faith and my blind hope – are receiving paltry comments while they go through their struggles. This, above all else, really pisses me off. I always talk about how faith is a really awesome and neat thing and I talk about it in terms of the positives it can provide. Hell, most other Kemetics probably think I’m a dingbat for having faith, but it was my marker. It was my signature. It was what made me stand out and I really fucking hate the fact that it’s been missing while I go through all of this.

After I had my rant-and-rave conversation with Sekhmet, I knew I needed to do something drastic to fix some shit. She was angry with me and me with her. This went even further downhill when an impromptu and poorly advised intervention of sorts took place between myself and the other netjeru in my life. This just made things that much worse. And it didn’t help that they all looked at me with steely-eyed intensity, making me feel like some creature caught beneath their microscopes. I didn’t realize how easy it was to actually get even angrier with the netjeru in my life, but it was absolutely possible. That day of the intervention, I swore off everything. I decided that I could do without this faith thing and I could do without the gods and it would just be me and Papa Legba, hoofing it for eternity. I was done, done, and quadruple done.

But I can say that I’m done with something and not necessarily follow through with it.

I really fucking hate the feeling of being disillusioned. I also really hate the fact that I feel like I’m being manipulated by creatures beyond my ken. I can study the myths. I can go through my interactions with them. I can do everything in my power in an attempt to understand them, but I find it really fucking hard to understand them and their reasoning behind it. I can play the game or I can change the rules to the game. And I decided that I would play the game, but I’m going to change the rules. The rules suck, at least as little of those rules as I think I’ve been able to see and understand. I can see the “bigger picture” that all the netjeru harp on but it’s still fuzzy and out-of-focus. I can only hope that by changing the rules to something I would better prefer that I am not, in fact, doing the very thing that they want.

In all honesty, it was the disillusionment and the feeling as though I was cast adrift that the idea came to me earlier this week.

I was driving to work and Papa Legba was talking to me. We were talking about oracles. I had received one two weeks ago from Mademoiselle Cotton. I’ve always been a bit fascinated by how people go about doing oracular services. What do they do? How do they do it? Do they use cards, like I would? Or do they just know like when I know the netjeru and the lwa are speaking to me? How does that work? Her particular oracle was very, very timely and made me realize that I was doing a lot of things for everyone and everything else without taking care of myself. This seems to be an ongoing theme regarding myself this year. “You’re so busy taking care of others; when do you have time to take care of yourself?” What an appropriate question and one that I have never been able to satisfactorily answer.

Since PL and I had been discussing the oracle session she had given me the weekend before, we naturally moved into the petition session she had done for me the following week. She had put out the offer and I knew that I needed a bit of otherworldly help to get to the point where I can consider myself important enough to take care of. So, I asked for the petition of blessing on this particular endeavor – taking care of myself. I felt a sort of lighter burden on myself the night of the petition and PL and I were discussing me feeling regarding that. And at some point he said something like, “You should do that stuff more.”

I told him that I had petitioned him for myself a few times and got strange responses from those petitions. He just giggled, saying that just because I requested something didn’t mean I was liable to get the response I’ve been looking for. Well, that’s rather true and I was beginning to think that my last petition to him had been answered, but not in the way I had been hoping and looking for. His giggle and that response were enough to clue me in to a sort of epiphany: all along, the response to my last petition to him had been going on, but I just hadn’t really been paying too much attention to it. (This all ties in with that lave tet I did for myself on All Souls’ Day, which I still need to write up. Hm.) So, we started talking about what sort of petition I thought I should request for myself and my thoughts went to my broken heart, my broken faith. “Healing,” I said sadly.

He told me to get on it.

I began bending the rules, or at least thinking that I was, around then. I began to think about how I would write a petition and to whom. Since the source of my ire, specifically, was Sekhmet, I thought it was fitting that I would ask her for healing. “Hey there, I’m really angry with you and the whole situation. So, I think it’s only fair that because of your games, you heal me some, eh? Fair is fair.” I realized that this was a very sound idea and I could feel Papa Legba, beside me, just vibrating with good idea vibes. So, I began to mold what I wanted to say, how I wanted to say it. I felt with each passing day as I began to think more clearly about the “bigger picture” and the rules that I’m pretty sure are still in play about how I could change those rules or manipulate them to what I wanted. A bunch of other things happened this week that began to make me wonder if the rules hadn’t already been changes or that possibly, just possibly I had misinterpreted the “bigger picture” I had been eyeballing. It’s possible, of course; I’m fallible, after all.

The petition began to grow in my mind to not just about me, but about anyone else who needed help. I’ve noticed a disturbing amount of people who need some healing lately. Some of those people I work with. Some of those people I know online. And some of those people are just random blogs that I stumble upon. I began to notice that as the time when the veil began to thicken again, people began to suffer more. I wasn’t alone here. And that was okay, a little, because it made me feel less angry, less disturbed by everything going on in my life. It was the logical conclusion to all of these thoughts and findings that I would offer those petition services to people who needed it.

I was rather surprised by the response.

The pile was placed on S's altar prior to the ritual, just so that she could peruse them all beforehand.

The pile was placed on S’s altar prior to the ritual, just so that she could peruse them all beforehand.

I received 16 separate requests for healing, on top of my own. I added a seventeenth on Friday when I offered it to the only co-worker I have who knows that my religion is “other” and who has, also, been going through a trying time lately. I added two more petitions – these not exactly related to healing – for a total of nineteen requests in Sekhmet’s name. As I sat at my kitchen table with Djehuti’s sacred pen in hand, writing down the names and utilizing my heka effectively to ask for Sekhmet’s favor on these, I realized just how completely alone I absolutely was not. There were scores of people I wanted to add to my petition, as well, but didn’t dare because they hadn’t requested for the assistance. I did add two more people – for a total of 21 – who I care about and I offer magical assistance to regularly (whether they are aware of it or not). I felt really, really good about what I was putting together and the reasons why. I also felt – I don’t know if the correct word here is fulfilled – but akin to that.

I felt like I was taking the hand I had been dealt and manipulating it so that I could win the pot.

I looked down at the pile of petitions in front of me, rubbing the cramp in my hand. I was using the one thing I feel that I am really good at – words – to effect change. The people putting in the requests, of course, would have to go about effecting the change to the best of their abilities as well. However, Sekhmet would at least lessen the burden, I hoped. And in that hoping, I was really requesting that she lessen my burden and forgive my impertinence. While I still don’t quite know what the “bigger picture” is all about, the original ideas that I had back in that white room are gone. I’m beginning to suspect that the ultimate purpose isn’t nearly as selfish as I had originally thought. Papa Legba isn’t saying, but he sure does have a smile on his face, which may also be the result of some coconut rum and chocolate this week. In either case, I feel… better.

Less disillusioned.

Less manipulated.

I decided that I was important enough in all of these endeavors to pay attention to and I went about doing what the hell I needed to do in order to get shit going.

This week, while I was planning and plotting what I wanted to offer her, I began thinking in grandiose terms and then pulled back. I’m often this kind of person when it comes to rituals, which is ridiculous. I’ve always found that when I attempt to plan out in advance or even think excessively about what I’m hoping to achieve, things invariably end of failing. This is why I tend to think of my rituals as a “pulled out of the butt” affair. If I leave everything up to the last minute, in my practice, then it feels more legitimate and far more likely to work than anything else I pull off. So, I stopped worrying about buying the “proper” supplies and began worrying about how best to word a lot of these requests that were streaming in. I also began to wonder if I could do without the red wine that I wanted to offer, since I didn’t think I had any to hand. Lo and behold, a spare bottle of sweet red was hanging out in my booze cabinet, as though it had been waiting for this very moment to be used. I just grabbed a few extra things for her: jalapenos, rose petals, and some freshly baked bread.

I will admit that this was fun to make. Who knew that sprinkling things around a candle can be fun?

I will admit that this was fun to make. Who knew that sprinkling things around a candle can be fun?

The other thing I wanted to do was lighting a candle to aid these requests on their way to her. I love candles and I love watching the light manipulate across the wall behind my altar. But, I know that I didn’t just want to offer a simple white candle and be done with it. I decided that, very much like the healing petition I had requested of the Guédé all those years ago for myself and my son, I would use herbs along with a candle to send those petitions to the netjer I was reaching out to. I chose both calming herbs, since some petitions were for emotional and mental healing, as well as other herbs that relate to physical healing. I sprinkled ginger, cinnamon, and allspice powder on the candle itself. (I don’t know why? It just felt good at the time.) And every other herb was sprinkled around the smaller pillar candle I bought for this specific occasion. Not all of the candle burned down, which I knew I didn’t need to have done in this case. (It wasn’t the candle and the powders that were going to make her want to do this, but a culmination of all possible offerings that would see this through.) I’ve decided to use it whenever I feel like I need an added dose of healing or if someone I know would like healing heka.

The herbs that I sprinkled around the candle will be going into a mojo bag or three. Something I haven’t mentioned here is that I’ve begun seriously considering to sell the things. People seem to think I’m good at it, or something? I don’t know. One of the people who owns one of my healing bags said it made her aching stomach feel better when she put it on there, so I mean, there’s something! I’ve decided that one person from this particular petition will receive a mojo bag with those herbs, though I haven’t decided who yet, and I will make one for myself as well. I will probably keep the rest of the herbs in supply for any mojo bags that I think other people need/want or if I ever decide to actually move forward and sell the things.

I don't know why, but she loves red rose petals. "Rose petals on everything," she commanded. Okey-dokey.

I don’t know why, but she loves red rose petals. “Rose petals on everything,” she commanded. Okey-dokey.

After spending two hours prepping, which included a purifying shower and purifying teeth brush, I placed the offerings before Sekhmet. I set up the platter with all the food I had either purchased specifically for her, or things I had lying around. I cut up four slices of bread and had them encircling the center of the white platter plate. I cut up a giant seedless orange since I associate oranges with her. I then lay three jalapenos across the top of the sliced orange. I’m not particularly sure why she thought she deserved some jalapenos? I know I’ve said that spicy food and she is a particular UPG of mine, but I think she was just miffed that Bawon was getting attention yesterday. So, she received three and he received two in offering after her ritual. I added two pieces of gourmet dark chili chocolate I bought her a long time ago and haven’t had much need to use up. She got the last four pieces. I then sprinkled the petition papers I had hand written beneath the edge of the plate, splayed out. Every petition for everyone but myself and the two other people were placed there.

I placed my personal petition beneath Sekhmet’s feet.

The other two petitions are special cases. These are for two very kind people who, last week, offered me assistance after my “Disgusting” entry. They were both ready to jump in action and help me get through the week. Timely assistance from my mom and mother-in-law prevented me from using their services, but it meant a lot that these two people offered to help me out when I am a virtual stranger to both. I asked that Sekhmet watch over these two very kind people. I asked that she watch over them as people as well as the innate kindness in their souls. As one is a recent addition to Sekhmet’s growing family and the other is a Djehuti kid, I didn’t think she would mind the request so much. When I placed these two petitions under her wine goblet, I felt her smile. It was almost like, “See? Not all things are bad. Sometimes, good things come out of adversity.”

Everything all said and done. Thirty minutes, total, after two hours of prep.

Everything all said and done. Thirty minutes, total, after two hours of prep.

Personally, I don’t feel any different. I don’t feel angry anymore or disillusioned. I do, however, still feel tired. Papa Legba told me last night as I was musing on this that just because I asked for something didn’t mean that a big ole white light was going to come down and suck my pain on out of me. I told him that the lwa and the netjeru needed to work better on the theatrical end of things. Whether or not I’ve effected any change in anyone else’s life or my own, I feel at least a little better than I did two weeks ago. I know that the end, at least in the financial sector, is in sight. I know that it’s only a matter of time before the rest of things begin to pick up, too. Sometimes, it’s just hard, when you are in the thick of shitty, awful fucking things, to see that there is an end to the cycle. It just feels like a really long journey at the moment because you’re still at a curve or too far away to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

I’m uncertain, in all honesty, if this is the light at the end of the tunnel.

If nothing else, it’s a way station until I can get to the end.

Fet Guédé 2013 (SVP).

Note: though I took pictures to share, Bawon has indicated I am not allowed to do so.

On Thursday, I watched the Wild Hunt roll through the neighborhood, on its way to wherever they go when it’s their time to be on the prowl. A novel and strange experience, but not wholly unexpected. As everyone else I’ve ever spoken with during this time of year has mentioned, the veil is thin. It’s this time of year when we can better feel the dead around us as well as interact more readily, I feel, with certain spirits. So, it wasn’t all that surprising as the fog began its lazy stroll across the road, impacting our visuals of the world around us that I began to notice the telltale signs of the Wild Hunt as well. I glanced at them surreptitiously so as not to draw attention to myself and continued with my evening.

There is something about the statement, the veil is thin, which speaks to some people on a very fundamental level. I think that there are some places in the United States where it’s almost standard for those of us more aware of other to feel this veil and to feel its thinning. I don’t remember feeling this way in Texas, though I lived on the coast and it was quite common for the fog to roll in. However, I never had a moment where I watched the fog rolling in on those early mornings, way up in the fifth story of the building I worked in, and thought to myself, ah, the veil is thin now. While I’ve only lived in two separate areas of the country, and so can’t possibly comment completely regarding different areas and the feels within, I can say with assurance that the veil and its thinness is something innate to the northeast, at least, and it’s something I’ve come to expect around this time of year.

Leading up to that thin veil, all manner of things can and do happen. I saw a 7-foot owl sitting on the side of the road last week. A little while later, I saw a black dog with pure white eyes slink out from between the cattails that line one of the more rural roads I drive down daily. He watched me drive by and then loped off into the fog that was gathering. I saw a forest spirit, similar to the spirit shown in Princess Mononoke, poke its head out of the trees lining the back lot of the parking lot at work and wink at me before walking away. I’m not shocked or surprised by any of these events, and if they happened to anyone else living in this area and feeling as an intense a connection to the other as I have, I don’t think they would be surprised either. When I mentioned, in passing, any one of these events to any of my pagan/polytheist/other aware friends, they would all just kind of nod and say, “Yep. The veil is thin.”

As that veil thins steadily, I find it far more easily to communicate with the lwa. They love this time of year, if my conversations with both Papa Legba and Bawon Samedi are any indicator on what the other lwa are thinking and feeling about this. They have both indicated that they don’t have to… try as hard to get my attention around now. While I’m more in tune with Papa Legba anyway for various reasons, Bawon has said to me, “It’s so easy now. I don’t got to wait.” What he meant, of course, was that he didn’t have to wait until I was listening carefully to him or until I was dreaming to get my attention. And I don’t have to consciously focus on him in order to make that feeling that is specifically Bawon to come to me. I can see him running around – not literally, he says running is “uncouth” – with his cylinder hat and his purple-and-black pin-striped tie, his golden skull tipped walking stick by his side.

Bawon was very much with me for most of the day on Saturday. Sometimes, it can be kind of disconcerting to feel a man in a severely cut undertaker suit sitting nearby and just offering you the glimmer of a smile when you realize he is watching. It’s even more disconcerting when that glimmer turns into a full-fledged shit-eating grin. The reason, of course, is because the promise in that grin is something you aren’t entirely aware of. What is it about this man and his smile that makes both my heart skip a few beats and pound faster? It doesn’t matter. The promise in that smile was of everything I was hoping for and things I couldn’t even name. And that was what was so disconcerting about it. I knew he was telling me secrets with those magnetic, fiery eyes and that grin, but what were the secrets? It wasn’t just the hopes and dreams I have for celebrations with him, but also all the unspoken words I have when I think of him.

Disconcerting seems like such an innocuous word for a being like him. But it fits.

While waiting around for the night to flow and the fog to roll back in, I ran some errands. I had to get peppers. For the last two years, I’ve been wanting to make a 21-pepper rum. Unfortunately, my money stores are not infinite – not like the Bawon’s eyes – and I was unable to get a full twenty-one. Besides, the decanter I was planning on putting these things in to make that rum didn’t have a very large opening, so I had to carefully size the peppers as I chose them. I was able to get seven that I felt would fit in the glass skull I had chosen. I added two more to the count so that I could leave them in offering later that night. Bawon was very much there as I chose the flowers I wanted to place at the graves of Bawon and Maman and very much there as I was choosing those peppers, but he was curiously absent when I chose the rum.

I guess the brand didn’t matter as much as the size of those peppers…?

Later, I spent a good deal of time on the phone discussing the metaphysical nature and desires of human souls. This was unexpected, but wholly appropriate for the night in question. I got a kick out of it, after I waxed philosophic to a sixteen-year-old for nearly an hour. While it’s incredibly draining to have to tap into a knowledge base that you’re not entirely sure how you managed to tap into in the first place, but it was thoroughly entertaining. Well, perhaps not to me, but definitely to a certain man in a cylinder hat and with a purple-and-black pin-stripe tie. Afterward, I felt like I had been drinking pea soup laced with rum for about two hours and had the headache and cotton mouth to prove it.

I poke fun at my mother-in-law, who voiced a deep fear of being in cemeteries at night. That was a little strange and oddly unexpected, as well. I frankly don’t understand why people are worried about entering cemeteries especially at night. I suppose this is a genetic fear in some, a sort of residual horror relating to either a childhood trauma or the belief in hairy spirits, ready to rip your throat out. All in all, it exasperates me at the least and irritates me at the worst. I told her I would bid hello to all the spirits partying on her behalf and I think she was both interested in what I was planning on doing as well as fearful on my behalf. I still don’t quite understand this fear or this interest. It is what it is, to me. It’s just something I do and something I do well. Also, aside from possibly being arrested by police, I’m probably safer in a cemetery, even at night, than I would be at work in the middle of the day, surrounded by well-intentioned guardians.

Per usual, I drove right by the cemetery. This is actually becoming a part of the ritual for Fet Guédé, so I really shouldn’t say “per usual.” What normally ends up happening is that I’m looking so hard, in the dark, for my turn off (that I take regularly since I tend this graveyard multiple times a year) that I miss that turn off. So, I ended up taking a large loop around and watched the fog roll across the road as I drove by. There’s something very calming about this drive, honestly, and something even more so when I can watch the fog crawl across the road. I don’t know why I enjoy mist and fog as much as I do – but I really fucking do. There’s something alive and magnetic about it when it’s strolling casually across the landscape, seeking with its white-gray fingers to enter every nook and cranny of that landscape. It’s both beautiful and haunting to me, but all in all, very calming and meditative.

I ended up at the cemetery later than I normally go.

I packed up my parcels and set off to spend time with Maman and Bawon. The cemetery was quiet. Many of the Guédé had spent their day, enjoying what time they could and doing what they needed to. Sometimes, they tell me what they do for the day. And sometimes, they just let me spend quality time with Bawon and Maman. Bawon dominated the area with his presence, looking and feeling larger than life, so to speak. Maman was a shadow in the background, watching over her children as she is often wont to do. She gave me a wink in greeting and a smile in response to my nod in her direction. We don’t get on much as my services are mostly dedicated to her husband, but she lets me complain to her when I think I’m feeling overwhelmed or if I feel like justice isn’t being done. She’s good like that and she says I’m good for her husband… whatever that may mean.

Upon arriving, I bowed to the two gravestones that are Maman’s and Bawon’s before sitting myself down. I felt, deep down, an ululating cry beginning to form in my throat, but I had to bite it down. In my mind, I allowed it free reign to caress the graves around me, to bounce off Maman’s tree and shatter across the night. But this cemetery has neighbors and is quite visible from the road – letting out yells didn’t seem like a good idea to a white woman, wearing white from head-to-toe and trying to best to remain as inscrutable as possible. I chattered at the tombstones and made pepper rum. I giggled as the rum already in the bottle shot all over my hand with each additional pepper and giggled as the scent of rum dissipated faster than it should have. I had nothing to wipe my hands off save my white dress – and I decided against using it as an impromptu napkin, thank you very much – and wondered if Bawon was licking it from my fingertips. Whatever the reason, the rum disappeared and the peppers found a new home.

I felt another cry deep in my breast and bit it back while I pulled out the Tarot of the Dead. Each year, I try to do a reading for myself and attempt to puzzle it out later. I haven’t puzzled out the two readings I did for myself yet, but that’s mostly because the Devil card showed up in both and I’m none too happy with that. I’ve decided to leave off on that until much later. Or maybe, never at all. All that matters is that I did the reading and found everything about it very unsatisfying and very sad. It made me feel like I’ve been living in bondage for so long and I keep getting to the point where I’m almost there and then I get sucked back into that bondage. Nothing I can do about all of that, really, except ignore the readings I did and move on with my tale.

Afterwards, I decorated the two gravestones with pretty autumn-esque flowers that I had brought with me. Maman was given the brown, yellow, and red ones. They made a happy little daisy chain across the heavily slanted stone that is hers. Bawon’s gravestone has little scrolled sides and I placed his flowers on either side of those scrolls. He received purple and red. He laughed at the choices I made. I kept a single purple flower for myself, which I placed in my hair. He said it made me more beautiful than I already am. I told him he was a liar, but left the flower there.

When I felt that my time was through – I was getting bone tired from being up so late and from that talk about souls earlier – I stood up. Bawon asked for one last dance before I left. And we slow danced to the patter of my heart.

The Fet Guédé that I celebrate is by and large definitely not canonical in any sense of the word. No possessions to speak of and definitely not enough food left behind. However, it works for me. He says it works for him, too, and there are days where I feel like it’s not quite a lie he tells me. Other days, of course, I doubt everything I feel and think and say with him. But, on that evening and even now as I recount it for whomever may be reading, I realize that those words are true. When I think on those true words, I think that he is only saying them as a suitor will say anything to the woman he courts. There is no denying that Bawon has a silvery tongue and beauty can be spewed from it right along with the nasty. But today, right here and right now, his words ring true in my heart. And I know that my intent, my devotion, is enough for him.

Besides, his wife says I’m good for him.

Sévis (SVP).


A lot of people don’t tend to realize how time consuming servitude can be. I understand. A lot of people tend to see the word “servant” in the realm of voodoo and tend to gloss over that. Or, and this is conjecture, I think they conflate it with a very common word found in paganism: devotee. Someone who is a devotee of a particular god can pull back, can take a break, and can easily just ignore the wants and desires of the god in question. They don’t have to make the sacrifice if they don’t want to. However, in the realm of the lwa ignoring a push from them, as their servant, can be incredibly detrimental on numerous levels. It can cause strife in your relationship with the lwa and a lack of trust. After years of being servant to both Papa Legba and Bawon Samedi, I feel like I am more able to put things off for one reason or another with little push back. They know that I mean well and they know what my life is like – just because I am their servant doesn’t mean I don’t fill their ears with my complaints or woes – and again, I’ve established the trust between us.

I think this is something that a lot of people just have a very difficult time understanding and this worries me.

I see a lot of interest, suddenly, in voodoo. This is understandable. There are a lot of people who think it’s pretty “neat.” It’s been arrested in the background for so long and it’s only been in recent years that there has been a surge of interest in America. I think the interest is a good thing. Voodoo has been a mystery for so long that people have come to fear it. And I honestly believe that demystifying is the first step to bringing a greater understanding. We see all of these movies and images on TV about what voodoo isn’t, but so many people don’t know any better. By such a rich and beautiful tradition coming into the limelight, people are finally able to realize that whatever we see and hear isn’t accurate. It’s all fear mongering and hate speech conveyed in pop culture and mass media. And I really and truly believe that in order for voodoo to survive, it needs to be explored in both anthropological and religious circles. I think, too, it needs to be recognized for all that it has done for the people who have been a part of this way of life for so long.

The thing is that many of the people who show an interest may only think of it as “cool.”

I’ve talked about this before, of course. But it’s a subject that bears repeating: voodoo should never be looked into because it’s “cool” or because “everyone else is doing it.”

I worry that when I get all these questions or when I see new people looking into it that they don’t realize how difficult things can be when you start down this road. As a white person, it’s difficult because it’s outside of my frame of reference, both culturally and religious wise. I wasn’t raised in any tradition that even remotely looks or feels like voodoo. Just because I was raised as a Christian and with Catholic roots does not mean that I even remotely can begin to deal with all of the rich nuances that make up this way of life. And that’s the key, the thing that makes it difficult for me and for others walking down similar roads as me: it’s a way of life. It’s so much a part of the culture of the people who have been raised into this tradition that it is part of their lives. It is in the air that they breathe, the food that they eat, the words that they speak.

I will never understand that. And I don’t know if anyone who has shown an interest in recent weeks, months, years will, either.

But, mostly, I end up worrying because of the lwa.

It’s not that they ask me to worry for them. They’re beyond my ken. They’re more powerful than me in a lot of ways and they’ve been at this a lot longer than I have been at this whole human thing. They shouldn’t need me to worry, but I can’t help it. It’s kind of in my nature to be a worry wort and Papa Legba laughs at me when I broach this subject. He says it’s “cute” and “endearing” but he also assures me that it’s unnecessary. Then, I change tactics and I begin to worry for the people who are interested. I begin to worry that they’ll bite off more than they can chew and end up stuck in something that makes them unhappy. Papa Legba laughs at me when I broach this subject with him, too. He tells me that I’m “worrying for no reason” and that the lwa wouldn’t go to someone that they “didn’t want around.”

But I still worry.

I worry for the lwa.

I worry for the people.

In this day and age, we don’t really have a lot of experience with being a servant. I tend to equate my servitude with what historians discuss in the Middle Ages. They say that it was pretty shitty for people who were living in the castles, providing for the noblemen and the royalty. There were some perks, of course, but over all, their lives were pretty lousy. I have to say that there are some perks to all of this, but it can be pretty lousy too. There’s a thing about repitition that will begin building foundations for you. And that’s a good thing because it will help you to solidify your relationship with them. But we forget about how much sacrifice can go into being a servant. I’ve been doing it for two years now so even I tend to forget how much sacrifice there can be with this. But that is the case.

This whole thing is about sacrifice.

There’s a lot of it.

And I don’t think a lot of people take that seriously or realize what it’s like.

In my first entry about this, I chose the following Haitian proverb, “beyond the mountains, more mountains.” This is exactly what being a servant is like. The first few years can be difficult because you forget about the services you have decided to provide. Or, maybe you don’t do them as often as you should and you start to feel really awful about it. But then you get back on the path and continue that hike up the mountain face. And you’re going and moving forward and you’re okay for a while because the repitition has built enough where it’s almost like you’re on autopilot. And then you back slide because you are sick or because life gets in the way. And then you start to feel your relationship with the lwa falling apart around your ears and before you know it, you have to start back at the very bottom of the mountain and start that hike all over again because you done fucked it up again.

This can, and will, happen a lot.

I came into this with a kind of leg up on the situation. I had years’ worth of fuck ups with my gods and the daily rites I provide for them underneath my belt before I entered the exciting adventure that is voodoo. But not everyone is as lucky as me. There are quite a few people who are searching for anything to give their lives meaning and they think, “Voodoo.” They’ll end up having to climb up that mountain face over and over again until it sticks or they give up. The thing that many people forget and that I never have – due to that whole daily rite to the gods – is that constancy is the key. If you keep on, keepin’ on then you build the relationship, you build the trust. And then the lwa are more likely to show up dreams, are more likely to provide for you, and are more likely to give you things back as you give to them.

But you have to start off somewhere and you have to begin somewhere.

And that beginning is usually tears, sweat, and screwing up.

I worry about the people who want to enter this and they think it looks so “cool,” so “neat.” They see it and they only look at the glitz and polish veneer that Hollywood puts over the false surface they’ve created. And I think that, above all else, is what worries me the most. I am legitimately frightened that people see the portrayals on TV and think that will be it. And that’s nothing like what this is. It’s everything – it is the air, the food, the words, the actions, and everything in between – and people may not be able to give it that everything.

And I worry.

Feast of Sekhmet.

September 29, 2013.

Part of the reason why I have my Google calendar set up to ping me a thousand times regarding when I can expect a holiday coming up is because I will always forget about it until the day before the holiday. This has happened to me with every holiday that has come about since I started keeping track of this whole thing and I’m no longer overly shocked, per se, at an upcoming holiday. I’m thrown into a tizzy because I’m never prepared for such a thing and I end up wondering what new thing I can pull out of my butt. As I’ve said about a hundred times – and will probably continue to mention – I really do like the idea of being shocked by a holiday. It, to me, makes things much less fancy and much more real. If you sit about planning something for months on end before it happens, then you may lose the overall focus of the holiday in question.

And that’s just bad news bears, to me.

Something that happens when these notifications come up is that my life ends up cracking around the edges and yet, I have to prepare something devotion like for the netjer the feast day is regarding. My normal fare for a holiday such as this is that I would end up cleaning my home, spend some devotional time on or with the netjer, and cooking a [really poor person’s but meaningful] feast. Whether or not I am successful in any of these items is a hot topic of an [inner monologue] debate, but I do at least try. Considering how things have been going in my mundane life, however, I knew that I just could not provide Sekhmet with any of that. I could try all I wanted, but I knew I would end up failing.

Things have been incredibly difficult lately. And by difficult, I mean that I occasionally and very seriously entertain the notion that I must have been cursed around the time of my divorce because holy shit has stuff been difficult since TH and I got together. In the last seven years, we have only ever had to fight to remain together. We have only ever had to struggle. We have only ever been hit with one crippling financial crisis after another. We have only ever been thrown around in an angst-ridden sea that has been merciless in everything.

I’ve had to forego paying rent in a timely fashion so that I could have money left over from my last paycheck to keep us fed this month. I have had to replace a tire that was shredding [without me knowing]. I found out that the transmission in TH’s car was beginning to slip. So, instead of spending solitude in devotion to my goddess, I ended up spending most of my day on the verge of tears. I had an intense yearning to say, “I’m sorry, TH. I’ve ruined your life.” And then, I would spend a thousand moments irrationally angry with how very “unfair” everything has been.

It’s almost like with each step forward I make on the path – with my religion and with fixing my traumas and the like – that I end up having to fight that much harder in the mundane world. I don’t really know if anyone else has noticed this, but it feels like with each forward motion spiritually, I’m getting thrown back in the mundane world. It feels to me, almost, as though you can’t really have the best of both worlds. You can either be an asshole fucktard who is a dick all the time or you can practice the “not be a dick” strategy and end up shit on from every possible quarter. Maybe I’m just making this shit up as I go along, but all I know is that I feel like this is the case.

I could be wrong.

I could be right.

In the meantime, I end up feeling like everything is being shit on purpose.

I really try hard not to go on about how things “aren’t fair.” Since my discussion on the topic of what “fair” is supposed to be versus what I think it is with Papa Legba, I’ve tried to break myself of the habit. Whenever humans, usually, discuss what is “not fair,” they are usually doing it in comparison to people they know nothing about. The people are presenting this easy picture of achieving whatever it is that I may be jealous of. Whether or not things were really easy isn’t up to me to decide. I don’t know. I wasn’t there. I don’t live their lives. But sometimes, it’s really hard to be an adult and admit this in a logical manner. Yesterday was one of those days where it was nearly impossible to admit this shit in a logical manner. All I could do was sit around my messy apartment and thinking, this just isn’t very fair.

One of the few things that I do when I’m really upset is I end up cleaning. It may not always do what I’m hoping it will do – make me feel better – but it gives me a purpose, at least. It also gives me time to listen to really loud music, sing along to said loud music, and just ignore the reality of the world. I know that the reason I do this is because I have no control in my life, so I have to enforce control wherever I can enact it. Case in point, the place I can enact it is on my messy apartment. (Hey, I work all week and I have a five-year-old. You try to keep shit clean.) So, in an effort to at least stop thinking about how things aren’t very fair, I cleaned like a fiend.

I don’t know if “successful” is really the word I would use on what ended up happening. Oh, my apartment got cleaned and I was able to get everything dusted. In the grand scheme of things, in that instance, I was successful. But I couldn’t really stop myself from thinking about what is or is not fair. I couldn’t get the thoughts, I’m tired of the struggle. I’m tired of this. I’ve heard phrases like this from me before and from others. I’m fully aware of what it is about: I’m just sick of constantly having to fight for everything I have and feeling like no matter what choice I make, I will always end up fucked over in the end. I’m not sure if any of this was a really fitting feast for Sekhmet, but even though I may want to do something pretty big and expansive, life gets in the way whether I want it to or not.

I ended up feeling like it was time to get this all out.

I pulled out a red piece of construction paper, pulled out the pen I keep next to Djehuty, and I just began to write.

Sometimes, writing is incredibly cathartic and later, I find myself surprised by what has come out. It’s not always easy for me to put a pen to paper and go to town, but it was yesterday. I was able to clearly describe every aspect of my emotional state in a single sheet of paper. I watched as my emotions came out in word form with almost a detached interest in what I was seeing. While I wrote what I needed to get out, I listened to My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light ‘Em Up) by Fall Out Boy. While I can’t tell if the song really was a big help for what I was hoping to accomplish, it wasn’t a horrible soundtrack. In fact, with each beat, I ended up feeling more and more confident with the bits that needed to come out and felt less like I needed to sit back and make sure I was saying things correctly.

If nothing else, the song was pretty fucking appropriate for the goddess in question.

May she be well fed upon the entrails of my insecurities.

May she be well fed upon the entrails of my insecurities.

I had always just assumed that when it came to feast days, it would be a home cooked meal. But I knew that I needed and wanted to do something completely unexpected and different this time around. So, with that gut instinct, I ended up with a feast for my lady – I gave her a feast with my execration. I took her statue outside with me, along with my cauldron. I did the usual execration items: spitting, kicking, stabbing, punching, and stomping. I also anointed the paper with some special oils I won from TPR blog a while back. And then, I did what any self-respecting Kemetic and devotee of Sekhmet would do – I burned all the things.

This particular feast day was not what I was expecting. I always expect a tad of the usual. I never really think things are ever going to be weird or different or difficult. However, sometimes the status quo means that we have to look outside the box for devotional items to add to our feast days. I’d like to think that, if nothing else, I definitely succeeded in the fact that I thought outside of the box. But I think I did more than all of that. I think I also proved, more to myself, that sometimes, it’s the shitty goings on in our life that we can offer up on a plate (or in this case, burning in a cauldron) and the gods can feast upon that as well. In particular, with Sekhmet being a deity who upholds ma’at, by offering up my execration, an action that I am performing to attempt to bring my life back in line with [my definition of] ma’at, it stands to reason that I would offer up such a thing to her.

May she be well fed upon the entrails of my insecurities.

And me? I’ll go on with my life and I’ll continue to plod through the treacherous waters I’ve been floating on, waiting for the day when either I realize what all is going on or I end up overcoming it.

My vote is to overcome.

La Marassa (SVP).

For the last year, I’ve been paying semi-attention to the Marassa. I’ve been paying some attention to various other lwa as well, but they have unruly pair have been an ongoing amusement for me. It’s only been recently, with Papa Legba’s “learn some things” request that I decided I needed to pay closer attention to these two. After all, if I’ve been commenting on them, remarking on them, and thinking about them, it’s little more to add services to them. I’ve already prepared myself, I think adequately, with my ongoing daily services to Papa Legba. It’s little more to add a weekly homage to the sacred twins.

They have matching teddy bears, crayons, and cups. It's not much, but it's a start.

They have matching teddy bears, crayons, and cups. It’s not much, but it’s a start.

Last Saturday, I prepared their altar space. As I do live in a very small apartment, I am unable to provide them with what I would truly enjoy. Honestly, I would prefer to have a table for Papa Legba with a side dedicated to the Marassa. According to my readings, Papa Legba is saluted first in a Fet, followed closely by the Marassa. It seems appropriate to my uninitiated self to have the two in close proximity to each other. Unfortunately, due to that whole tiny living space problem I have, I am unable to give either Legba or the Marassa what they deserve and can only give to them what I have on hand. So, as you can see from the picture, the Marassa have a shelf. It’s the third shelf – as the Guédé and the Bawon are on shelf number two. I had a feeling this was going to be an issue, but we make do with what we are capable of. And I was quite right, I think, in how large the issue would become.

As I said, last Saturday, I set up that little altar space for the Marassa. They each have the same things. The only difference is the color of the cars I gave them as they are loaners from my son’s gluttonous box of Hot Wheels. (I’m hoping I can find two identical cars.) I want to add more, like a small pink cloth and a small baby blue cloth, but that will come later. As I tend to associate the Marassa with the childish personalities they are famous for, I provided them with a drink of apple juice as that was the only thing I had on hand. I wasn’t quite comfortable providing them with juice but only because of the day in question. According to my readings, most services in their honor are done Wednesdays. (Source: Serving the Spirits by Mambo Vye Zo Komande LaMenfo.) However, since I was getting their altar ready this past Saturday, I didn’t think it would be harmful to provide them with a sweet drink until Wednesday.

When I went to offer them something new on Wednesday, the juice was moldy.

Now, mold is a hazard of leaving out offerings. Bacteria happens and then mold happens. However, I have to admit that it has been a very rare occurrence for any of my offerings to end up going to mold like that. I’ve left out rum for weeks and weeks with it drying up instead of going moldy. (Although, I’ve add alcoholic libations go moldy on me before, too.) I’ve left cookies and bread items out for at least a week one time and nothing like this happened to it. Hell. The flowers that have been sitting on Sekhmet’s altar for two weeks are only just starting to wilt and die. We’ve all noticed or remarked before that there seems to be a certain kind of “woo” going on when it comes to how long items can last on our altars, I have to admit that I’ve been extremely lucky, I suppose, in the fact that most of my libations and offerings do not go bad.

I really try not to read too much into things. I try not to think that everything I see or think or do is a sign from the spirits to whom I serve. However, this seemed like a very real indicator that whatever I had done was incorrect and left them unhappy. Unfortunately, no one stopped by to tell me what it was that I may have done wrong. I will admit that the jumping feet of two giggling children in my son’s [empty] room have all but stopped and the batteries have run down in the cars they would set off all night in the last six months. So, it’s possible that they are just not happy with me. However, I also provided a service on a day that I didn’t feel comfortable doing because it didn’t seem right. And they could have also been upset that they are number three on the bookcase I’ve retrofitted for all things voodoo related. And yet again, they could have been dissatisfied with what I had provided.

The problem here is that there are a lot of possibilities and very little to go on.

I have to believe that the Marassa to whom I am willing to serve would not punish me for only being able to provide juice. All in all, as much as I want to provide the very best for all of the OTHERS™ in my life, they are all fully aware that my financial situation is rocky at best. And they also know that when I have the extraneous funds, I will provide them with the best of the best. In the meantime, everyone has to make do with what I have on hand. If I’ve learned anything about the OTHERS™ to whom I’ve served in the last five years, whether they be from my voodoo portion or from my Kemetic portion, it’s that they are always willing to wait until the funds are available for the big ticket items, for the organic offerings, and for the ability to provide them with everything us lowly humans believe that they deserve. So while the Motts apple juice may not have been up to a particular standard, I don’t think they’d be angry enough to mold it.

I was hemming and hawing as I added their items to the shelf the entire time. It wasn’t that I was setting things up on the wrong day, but as I had mentioned above, that I was making them “number three” on the list. The thing is that it’s really more of in numerical addition to the spirits that I serve as opposed to favorites. (Though, I will admit to having a certain cache for Papa Legba.) But there is also the possibility that my wants and desires are overshadowing things. I want to give them a big space. I want to provide them with a shelf higher off the ground so I can leave them with sweets and not worry that my dog will snatch them away. (Though there really isn’t any guarantee that a higher shelf would prevent that, honestly – if the dog wants it and the spirits don’t prevent her, then she’ll get it, sadly.) It’s not as though I am a mambo or anything and I have no desire to become one, either. So, as important as the Marassa are in the world of a society, does this mean that I should serve them with the same sort of gravitas and stipulations as institutionalized services?

On the one hand, I have to go with “no.” I am not part of anything aside from me. I can only do as well as I can with what I have to offer, which includes where a spirit may or may not end up in the grand scheme of altar-bookcases. While both Papa Legba and the Marassa are very important lwa to whom we should be very aware of, those of us with a solitary practice cannot very well be limited by the aspects designated by a society. However, on the other hand, I can’t very well go ahead and ignore everything I’ve read on the subject. Papa Legba is the very important first lwa of awesomeness and the Marassa are a close second, practically a one-and-a-half in some places. Since I am obviously conflicted on the subject matter, I need to pay closer attention to what my intuition is telling me here, but unfortunately, all I can get out of that quarter is, oh shit, oh shit, they’re mad at me.

Maybe I really do need to just pay attention to the days that I say I will do something. Even though I was setting everything up and it didn’t feel complete without a libation, I shouldn’t have done so. I mean, the offering is all well and good, however if I’m going to start seriously paying attention to other lwa in my life, then I need to pay closer attention to the days. Papa Legba gets every day of the week, like the netjer, except for Sunday. (Nobody gets anything on Sundays, ever. It’s my day off.) While I wanted to at least get everything set up and started, it’s feasible that I shouldn’t have gone beyond what I was doing: setting up. By shifting this work to a different day, it’s possible I threw something out of whack. After all, Saturdays are the day that I give attention to the Guédé, so by giving them something on a day reserved for the dead. This is a very real concern that, I think, I need to think on further.

But, there is also the fact that, as I mentioned, I haven’t heard from them in a while. They would play the sirens on some of my son’s more obnoxious toys to all hours of the day and night, irritating me and amusing me at the same time. I’ve heard them bounce around on my son’s bed when he’s staying over his grandparents’ house. I’ve heard them bound down the hall when no one is in the hallway and even seen them playing hide-and-go-seek from the corner of my eye. None of this has been happening in recent months. It could be a cause for concern, but I’ve had long periods where such intense contact has waned previously and it’s always started back up. So, while it’s feasible that they are upset with me over something and have yet to make me aware of what that is, this is something that I believe I would have been made privy to already, if this was truly the case.

And I don’t think it is.

I honestly have to wonder if the main cause of the moldy juice was merely because I went out of order here and screwed up on that front.

Just to be on the safe side, though, I’ll be looking into habitual offerings (aside from the sweet items) and see what I can purchase specifically for them when I go grocery shopping.

Hopefully, I’m reading too much into a situation. I try not to, honestly, but it can be very difficult when you are traversing an area that you are far from expert in. It’s also incredibly difficult when such things as regular communication is entirely based on such things like divination, intuition, or an active godphone. As things in my [mundane] life have made it difficult for me to do much more than go through the motions, none of those other options are currently fully functioning at the moment. All I can do is hope that I haven’t truly angered the spirits of some of the more important lwa out there and hope that this upcoming Wednesday, they enjoy what I provide.

Zep Tepi.

When I was a baby Kemetic, I spent a lot of my time on the Internet forum, The Cauldron*. In fact, I spent so much time on the forum because it was the first place where I was able to see other solitary Kemetics interact with one another and it was, really, the best place to get a good jumping off point to start this crazy Kemetic adventure. I can remember sitting in the forum one day while I read someone wax poetic about just what an altar should be to people entering this particular polytheistic path. I can’t recall who the member was who was saying this stuff and I’m going to look for the thread in question. All I remember is that they explained that the point in the altar, in the shrine, in the mix therein was to achieve Zep Tepi. It was the action of trying to attain a replica Zep Tepi – the First Time –that was the ultimate goal to creating sacred space. That particular depiction has stuck with me through the years and while I cannot say if I am always emulating Zep Tepi when I rearrange and reincarnate my various altar set ups, I can tell you that periodically, I at least think about it.

For anyone who may not be aware, Zep Tepi is the period of time when the gods walked upon the earth and ruled the humans that had been created. To put this into a context that Kemetics may understand: This was when we can expect such titillating mythologies as the Distant Goddess, the Destruction of Mankind, Aset Tricks Re, and the Wesirian Myth cycle to have happened. If we were to associate this with a time period in ancient Egypt’s history, as shown in the various periods hammered out by Egyptologists, we would say that this was prior to the period known as the Pre-Dynastic Period. In effect, this is when all of ancient Egypt’s various cosmogonies and mythologies came to pass.

Considering Zep Tepi from a laity perspective, I have to ask myself if it is even remotely important. Does it play even the tiniest role in the reconstructed practice I am aiming for? My entire stance has been entirely devoted to laity, whether I’ve been specifically stating that or not. And I have to ask myself if Zep Tepi played even a minor part in the personal practices of the men and women and children who made up ancient Egypt? If by recreating the religious perspective of a lay person, am I falling into a desire to understand everything when, maybe, I don’t need to?

I have to assume, though I may not be correct here, that the lay people of ancient Egypt would not have known anything about Zep Tepi. They may have had oral traditions relating back to the telling of the myth cycles. It may have been a form of entertainment for the family: they all get together before going to bed and tell the children stories of the netjer. But since this is speculation, I cannot say if it’s even remotely something that was interesting or worth knowing about for the average ancient lay person. I have to assume, without adequate laity based research under my belt, that they really wouldn’t have known of this type of thing and wouldn’t have cared if they had known. It’s not like the First Time would make their daily toil any easier. It wouldn’t help facilitate the growth of their crops, the health of their family, or their relationships with their gods. Looking at this as logically as I can, I have to just go ahead and say that the lay person probably didn’t know or didn’t care.

Of course, from the other side of the coin, it’s possible they would have known. But again, I have to come back to, would it have mattered? The only time when Zep Tepi really becomes something that the ancients would have needed to at least acknowledge is when we are celebrating Wep Ronpet. While Wep Ronpet (from this blogger’s perspective) isn’t quite the same as Zep Tepi, it’s kind of like a cosmic do-over for the previous year. But as Warboar mentions here, “Wep Ronpet itself is a reenactment of Zep-Tepi, also known as ‘The First Occasion,’ when the sun first dawned over the new Creation, when all created things were in their purest state, and the Creator was at His strongest and most youthful.” Or, as the KO website, WW Wiki states, “On Wep Ronpet, Zep Tepi or the ‘First Time’ occurs again, renewing the year and bringing renewal to ma’at and to the world.”

So, from a modern perspective, the two are intertwined. But I keep coming back to the same question I keep asking myself, does this shit matter from a historically informed laity specific religious practice?

I have to admit that I do think the concept of Zep Tepi is important. Not for the comment that I related above, which I’ll get back into momentarily. I have to think that it’s important because we, as Kemetics, are attempting to recreate a religious tradition based off of whatever we have access to. And while Internet searches mostly come up with items about starseeds when I do a Google search for Zep Tepi, it’s still kind of important. I mean, it’s only just the time when the gods ruled the earth and the time when all of our mythologies came to pass. It’s only just the whole foundation, really, for what it is that we do. So, I think, in that context, it is something that we need to pay attention to and attempt to understand whether we are of the laity or of the priesthood.

Now, I don’t think that this concept needs to be something that we need to spend a lot of time on. It’s important, but it doesn’t rank nearly as high as items like heka or ma’at. Both of those concepts should rank higher, in my opinion, on the Kemetic neophyte “think about” list. But, it’s something that should be taken into consideration when one starts recreating this religion.

And here’s the reason we need to pay attention to it: remember that first rambling paragraph about the totally awesome sauce comment on altars that I started this post with? That is why we need to think about this, get in tune with it periodically, and assess its role in our religion. It isn’t just because it’s the foundation of our myths. It’s not just because we should think about it, at least partially, when we celebrate Wep Ronpet. All of that is fleeting, really, when it comes to reconstructing this religious persuasion. However, what isn’t transitory is the fact that many of us will have created altars to our netjer possibly even before delving into the meat and potatoes behind theologies, mythologies, and concepts. And as that commentary from years ago intimates, the creation of our sacred spaces for the netjer needs to hearken back to Zep Tepi.

While I stood over that altar this morning, I thought about what it was that could relate to Zep Tepi on my altar space. While I have other deities to whom I pay daily homage to, it’s to Sekhmet that I attempt to be the most reconstructed in my religious practices. (I don’t know why. I just… that’s just how it is here, I guess.) And while I studied her altar after having lit the cone of incense and setting flame to the candle, I glanced over that sacred space. Was there anything on there that would make her feel like she was back at Zep Tepi? Were the flowers enough? The flame? The incense? The cool water? The intent? Did any of this even remotely add up to what I was hoping to gain by going through this?

And I have to admit that my cursory moment, stumbling along as I normally am, fell short.

I didn’t need anyone to tell me that. I just knew it.

The thing that the original commenter all those years ago failed to mention is that recreating Zep Tepi is a lot more than just items. Hell, maybe they did mention that part of it and I have just forgotten in all the time since then. Whatever – it doesn’t matter. I know that I failed the task of creating Zep Tepi in that moment. There was something off, something missing. So, how does one attempt to recreate a time period that you have absolutely no real context for, but only ideas and half remembered dreams? How does one end up back to the start of it all – not your start, of course, but the start of life, the universe, and everything – without knowing what it was like?

When I find out, I’ll be sure to update you.

* If any of you look for this page after reading this post, please be aware that I do not advocate it for neophytes unless you have very thick skin. They are very acerbic and clique like. As someone once told a friend of mine, “lurk but never post.”