Ekunyi's Embers

Posts Tagged ‘Wep Ronpet’

Thoughts for the New Year

“I need help.”

I finally admitted it aloud, my mind begrudgingly aware of the fog of weariness creeping in around the edges of my caffeine-induced consciousness. My hands still on the wheel as I drove south from Illinois to Texas, my shift at the “helm” was a necessary one; my sibling Tenu needed the rest after driving for the better part of twelve hours straight, and we were in the middle of nowhere — not a safe place to stop and mutually snooze. I had promised to wake zir if I got tired. Tired was not an option. Zie needed to keep sleeping, at least for a little while longer, and I needed to keep my promise.

Thus, damn stubborn Set-kid that I am, I reached out to my gods a second time, sheepish about doing so over something seemingly as trivial as a road-trip. “I need help. I have to stay awake. Please.”

We’re here, as we always are. You are not alone.

The mental ping of words came from several gods at once, my mind somehow translating various ideas, colors, images that flooded my headspace into five distinct presences. My spiritual family of Netjeru. The gods I worship each time I perform the rite of senut all giving a little boost in their own way, now also including my newest Beloved, Heqat, who formally joined me at Retreat.

Set suggested shifting the CD to a livelier song with a stronger rhythm. Hethert-Nut, leaning strongly towards Her Hethert side, encouraged me to groove. I did an awkward sitting-in-a-car boogie to the beat as She laughed and cheered, the movement waking me up. Heqat simply settled as a calming presence around my neck and shoulders and I stopped worrying about the weariness and focused on keeping myself mentally present, a much more productive use of my energy. Heru-wer offered His light, and suddenly the headlights of oncoming traffic seemed a little brighter, the night not nearly so oppressive in its magnitude. Bast just talked to me, and this was a wonder in and of itself… we don’t often just speak, She and I.

We talked of many things, including my experiences at Wep Ronpet at Tawy. She noted how I was healthier these days, had focused enough on myself that She felt comfortable making a request that pertained to external matters. It is time to seek balance between Her and Set. I seek my Father daily, speak with Him readily, have done research and written essays for personal use in His name. Some people do not even recognize my associations with Her, so much do they link me with Set. At times, I feel closer to my Beloveds than I do my own divined Mother, and She has been here far, far longer than any of Them, longer than Set as well.

I would have felt guilty for this, but She would not let me. Instead she gave me goals to focus on, goals that will take a fair amount of discernment and effort, and so I may hold them fairly close to the chest for the time being, having already shared them with those who She instructed me to reach out to. But it is worth recording some of what occurred at the House of Netjer’s annual Retreat here, to hold myself accountable in a way.

Upon my arrival at Retreat, Shefyt (an amazing daughter of Bast herself!) was one of the first people to see me, and she came running across the room to greet me with a giant hug. It made me feel so immediately welcomed again, so very Home-with-a-capital-H that I practically teared up. Shortly thereafter I went to greet Hemet, and saw a Bast prayer card with Bast depicted with a green face. Hemet explained Her associations with malachite, in part through Wadjet in later periods, and I made a mental note that I wanted to *know* this and other such important associations in the future. The following day being Aset’s birthday, I wore a green and black dress, mostly because Aset (albeit largely through Hatmehyt) tends to approve of my indulging my feminine side. No less than five people complimented me on it, saying that it looked like I was wearing malachite. Point taken, Lady.

That evening in ritual was a highly emotional experience for me, one that I am still largely processing. What I can note, was that I received tremendous comfort from both Sekhmet and later Zat, who gave a particularly wise point of advice when she mentioned that I was so much my Father’s child right now, it might help if I reached out more to my Mother, remembered that I was Her child too, and allowed Her to help me approach and deal with emotions that I have otherwise worked to repress via throwing myself into five thousand projects.

On Wep Ronpet itself, I stopped by Bast’s shrine after the festivities had been completed. I kneeled, offered full henu, admiring the many gifts that had been left for Her (quietly regretting I’d not brought any of the mint-chocolate offerings She loves.) She gave me the aforementioned instructions then, and told me who I was to share them with.

image

Bast shrine at Tawy

I’m still reeling a bit and was certainly startled then. But as the day progressed, and gifts were exchanged (an AGI Bast being *given* to me which was mind-blowing in and of itself) I received another present from Netjer. The ribbons from last year’s Wep Ronpet ceremony, which had been tied around each of the gods, were distributed to those still present. I received Ma’ahes’ ribbon, and just… laughed warmly at the realization, friends sitting next to me looking amused as I seemingly cackled at nothing.

I need to work on remembering that I am a Child of Bast. Who better to help than one of the gods who is, in fact, a Child of Bast?! Main spiritual goal for the year understood, Lady. I realize it took a spiritual clue-by-four, but I’m listening, and I will do right by you.

On the secular side of things, I am moving forward towards finding, applying to, and beginning a counseling program — ideally one with arts/music therapy as part of the counseling degree. As I joked to Tenu, I feel like I’m amassing a Support Squad of gods as I work my way towards this. Set has discussed how His strength, and my personal reflection of that strength, will be necessary as I move forward along this path, both to maintain my own boundaries, and to face on a daily basis the isfet that is eating the hearts of my clients. Heqat and Hatmehyt mutually suggested my creation of a “mindfulness” shrine external to my senut space, somewhere I could go and pray regardless of purity concerns, where I could engage in self-care through meditation and also offer prayers to those who might need my counseling, that they too could find a way to care for themselves and accept what help I might give. Sekhmet has offered Her aid here as well, mostly to me, but also to others.

image

Art by A’aqytsekhmet that will be the focus point of my mindfulness shrine

The most surprising addition to this group is Nebt-het. Last night, Tenu and I did senut together at Tenu’s home shrine in Texas. We went through the ritual, made offerings, and then Tenu noted zir mothers were very, very present — did I have any questions for them? I had one for Hethert-Nut, which I asked, and received an encouraging response… but Tenu insisted that the pressure remained.

What could Nebt-het want me to ask Her? I’ve only just barely worked with Her. A ten-day effort to get to know Her culminated in my daily praying for each of the victims of a mass shooting in California, and finally praying for the shooter and his family as well. It was challenging, but I did it, and suddenly I wondered if this was the point. I had the strength to deal with those who were grieving, to look at violence in the world and continue to make space for both the dead and those who mourned them. I asked Tenu to inquire via fedw if Her ten-day request was to show me that I was ready to become a counselor, specifically given my interest in serving communities which have dealt with trauma, and received a firm yes. The presence, Tenu noted, faded abruptly thereafter, but not without a brief message: I am to reach out to Her if I need Her as I move forward along this path. Though still surprised, I am grateful for Her support.

It feels like a lot to wrap my head around, but such seems to be the way of Wep Ronpet. There are many new beginnings, many new challenges to tackle. I hope to be better about writing out my thoughts on these matters, sharing them with those of you who may be reading this blog. I encourage you to reach out to me if you relate to anything I write, if there are any questions I might answer, or ways I might help you on your own journeys this year. As They reminded me on that late night drive that started this whole train of thought: the gods keep us from being alone, yes. However, we, as a greater community of Kemetics, both within the House of Netjer and without, can also fend off loneliness by writing, reading, sharing. Do not be alone. There is no need. I can speak only for myself, but know others out there who feel the same: do not be alone. I am here. I would sit beside you if you’ll have me, no matter the distance.

Di Wep Ronpet Nofret, my friends. My love to all of you.

Epagomenal Days – Days of Aset and Nebt-het

Alternate title: “I will not be afraid of women.”

At times I find it frustrating that I struggle, have always struggled, to connect with those female goddesses usually represented as human. Bast, I connect with most strongly as feline, or at the very least as a fierce female-bodied figure whose gender plays absolutely no role in our interaction. Hethert-Nut comes closer to the “culturally-assumed standard” of a woman in this regard, but even she comes across to me more as either the vastness of the sky, well beyond such limited concepts as femininity, or a cow-eared nymph to whom gender is wholly irrelevant.

Am I afraid of women?

Probably.

I don’t often see myself as a woman, even if I do see myself as female. “Woman” is a dress I can put on and a role I can play if I want to remind myself that, with great effort, I have the power that position possesses. A power granted if the woman in question knows how to act and move and shift their whole being so as to deliberately manipulate and get something from the interaction, for good or for ill.

In my mind, Aset embodies this definition of woman. Magician and queen, lady of guile, willing to do whatever it takes to protect Her son, revive Her husband. She could be so inspirational, is to many, but to me she largely intimidates and makes me feel intensely uncomfortable. Enacting what she represents, while I am capable of it, feels so out of character as to push me to be another person entirely.

This in mind, it was no surprise that I struggled to interact with Her as I had the previous three Netjeru. It was the only evening ritual for which I tried to attain ritual purity, wore my official senut whites, and I still felt… not quite good enough. I have to wonder if I’m front loading myself in some regard. If all of the assumptions I have regarding myself are preventing me from making this connection. One big realization? I don’t genuinely, fully, believe that I am beautiful.

Pretty: sure, I can see it. Considerate: I always give it my best. Beautiful?

I tried to say it aloud, but my heart wasn’t in it. Too many years of not feeling good enough for others, not feeling fit enough to meet my own (obnoxiously high) self-standards, means that there are quite a few walls to tear down before I can believe it, if I ever will.

Maybe this is what she would demand of me. Confidently loving myself, believing myself beautiful enough, inside and out, to create subtle change.

I’m not without confidence. I’m quite certain I can handle my shit when it comes to being able to fight my way through almost any problem, hold up under the stress of work, defend those I love. But confidence in leading with power and fierceness varies dramatically from believing myself beautiful enough to bring light to dark places, beautiful enough to be worthy of Aset’s teachings.

I have a lot to work on there, and even if I could not overcome my concerns this year, I felt that the day was still useful.

Nebt-het’s day restored some of my confidence. I could not do much for Her, laid low by a migraine for the majority of yesterday afternoon and evening, but focusing on Her gave me comfort, almost as if someone was wrapping my pulsing skull with cool bandages. A brief evening ritual allowed time to consider Her role in my sibling’s life, and the significance of Her archetype as compared to what Set represents for me. I realized how much I had to learn from not only the gods themselves, but Their chosen children. I also considered the shadows which I still allow to obscure parts of my identity, and why I choose to remain hidden within them.

A divinatory process post-shrine time concluded what was, in general, a very “thinky,” meditative evening. Granted, it seemed that taking the time to think and be still was all She wanted of me.

Dua Aset! Dua Nebt-het!

Happy Wep Ronpet!

I will draft a post later today detailing my experiences during Aset and Nebt-het’s days, but for now, Happy Wep Ronpet to those celebrating, and a wonderful day full of opportunity and hope to those who don’t! I promised Emky of Grave Moss and Stars that I would share pictures of my mini-celebration, so here goes.

Through some unknown miracle I did manage to wake up at 5:30, and brought in the new year with those celebrating at Tawy House at 5:49. Being in a large apartment complex my celebratory noise-making at such an hour was somewhat subdued, I fear I praised with quiet bamboo flute rather than lively percussion. Granted, the soft voice of the flute seemed to suit the soft, natural light streaming in from the East, allowing me a more contemplative, relaxed morning than I’ve had in some time.  While in shrine, I briefly stepped away from that peacefulness to think of all that I desired to leave behind with the old year. It was reassuring to be able to return to the gentle glow of the growing dawn after a fairly intense consideration of all that had gone wrong, all that had hurt me. I made a promise to spend time later today establishing my goals for the months ahead.

After concluding my time in shrine I moved on to a more light-hearted aspect of the morning’s celebrations: snake cake.

Or in this case, snake pull apart bread!

Nothing quite like a tasty, symbolic interpretation of destroying isfet incarnate to start your morning right.

For extra flair, add a little strawberry jam for dramatic effect after ripping the enemy apart with your bare hands, and stabbing it with knives!

Yeah… probably not a good idea to ever let me have my own cooking show. ^_^;

For those celebrating, either today or at another time, how did you bring in the New Year? Do you use this time to establish goals or welcome the future with a specific ritual?

Epagomenal Days – Day of Set

Given that today is my spiritual Father’s birthday, I tried to set aside some time to do something special for the occasion.

After my required work for the day I bought groceries, including ingredients to make snake-shaped bread on Wep Ronpet, and cranberry kombucha as an offering tonight. I don’t often drink alcoholic beverages, so fermented red tea seemed an appropriate substitution.

I took the drink offering to the local lakefront park, found a nice place in a forested area, and sat, watching the sky turn red as Set, having successfully defending the solar barque for another day, descended back beyond the horizon. It was comforting, having His color fill the sky, and I cherished the moment of peace and disconnect from technology, listening to the water lap against the rocks just below my feet, watching a dragonfly land on a branch a foot from my face and begin to clean itself, a spider finish the day’s construction on her web. The kombucha was offered and subsequently reverted.

It was a good time to think about events from the day. Midway through the day, I discovered that a friend of mine had been hurt by my words at a meeting we’d arranged, and subsequently had no desire to hold further meetings. I had not spoken in anger at that time, merely re-directed the conversation to another group member, noting that they had been “cut a bit short” and I wanted to give them a chance to finish their thought. I am accustomed to guiding meetings, and had not thought for a minute that the force of my words might be taken as an attack. It was a wake up call that strength, fire behind one’s will, can inadvertently burn and should be handled with care. It was also a reminder that there is strength in recognizing that you cannot do everything, cannot predict every reaction, and so must be capable of accepting mistakes that were beyond your power to catch or prevent.

I also spent some time thinking about the annual oracle today. Again I am presented with this concept of Balance that I first engaged in my contemplation of the Bawy, was repeated in both my Akhu reading, and my complete RPD results. Four times? Yeah, it’s time to actually start working on it. I think I’ll make that a goal for Wep Ronpet proper: write a post on Balance.

I took a few pictures of sunset, thought I’d include them here.

And with that, I think it’s time for some music to conclude Set’s day. Probably metal.

Year of Ptah – What have I built?

This is my first official changing of the year.

A year ago today I had just begun to trust Set, after three months of an extremely rocky “relationship”; a relationship one might more accurately describe as me sitting with my thumbs in my ears muttering, “La la la! I can’t hear you! La la la! ” and Him getting fed up and Gibbs-slapping me until I stopped acting like a moron. With Set’s insistence and powerful support, I ended a four year, emotionally and psychologically degrading relationship shortly before the epagomenal days began. Two weeks later I left Washington, D.C. in preparation for starting graduate school in Pennsylvania. I began what almost felt like an entirely new life.

The subsequent year has been astounding. I have:

  • …successfully completed my first year of graduate study with flying colors.
  • …founded the first official graduate student organization for my department.
  • …established patterns of mindfulness and self-care which, while still very much in development, have provided me with the greatest sense of emotional stability I’ve had since reaching young adulthood.
  • …attended my first public “pagan” event.
  • …taken the bulk of my personal financial responsibility off of my parents.
  • …started a new, healthy, mutually beneficial relationship with one of the most kind, brilliant, and compassionate individuals I’ve ever had the honor of knowing.

With these steps forward I have let go of:

  • …much of the anger I felt towards my previous partner.
  • …concerns regarding not being intelligent enough to pursue a career in academia.
  • …the gut-reaction of terror if asked to speak about my spiritual beliefs in a public setting.
  • …the belief that I did not deserve to be treated with respect and love.
  • …the fear that held me back from being the capable, determined teacher and leader I know myself to be.

There is still much to be improved and much to be released, but these things will come in time. I know myself strong enough to make those changes, to destroy that which holds me back or lessens my potential to add to the good in the world. On this, my first official Wep Ronpet, I shall celebrate what has been and what will become.

I will sing of these things with all the fire my voice can ignite, I will dance as though the storm of my Father was within me!

Epagomenal Days – Days of Wesir and Heru-wer

On the final day of the Kemetic year, I sat in shrine and spoke freely to Netjer, as I could not perform senut courtesy of biological timing.

(While I was initially somewhat disappointed about not being able to perform the ritual during this holy time, it made me consider the significance of doing what comes “naturally” during a natural process. A post for another time, perhaps.)

I offered an open mind, and promised my best efforts at sensing the Unseen over the course of the days upon the year. I requested that if there was some way the Names associated with these days would have me celebrate, that they make it known to me. I expressed my gratitude in advance for any new connections formed or bonds strengthened during this time, and feeling energized by the the potential of the days ahead, I concluded my time in shrine before reverting the water offered.

I woke up Sunday morning and knew that I needed to write about the past year, the year that, with the dawn of that day, had passed on. Foolishly I did not think to trace this fierce and sudden urge to the previous evening’s oath, and went about my errands for the day, leaving this gentle mental shove unfulfilled. Come evening, when I sat in shrine again, I lit a candle for Wesir and spoke a brief prayer in his name. Then I had another gentle “urge” of sorts, and I  found myself moved to ask him to look after the loved ones of my loved ones who had recently passed away.

It was very easy to keep talking (I generally struggle to speak aloud in shrine, even privately) and I found myself sharing how I didn’t really understand death. I have lost people I cared about, but all of these individuals were either friends of friends or not someone I saw enough to really feel the loss at my core, it feels more like they are simply gone on a long journey, except for those rare days when I really allow myself to think about the reality of it and then I can feel more of a genuine ache. I followed this by asking how I could better understand those who had lost so that I could help them. The vague presence I had found it so easy to confide in suddenly seemed more tangible, yet remained soft-spoken, gentle, not at all what I expected.

“You will only understand when you have lost yourself, and I hope that day does not come for you for some time yet, though it will, eventually, come. As for help, go to sleep so that you might dream and I will try to share some of my wisdom with you.”

I apologized then, for asking so much of Him when I knew so little about Him, and I sense amusement, although I did not hear laughter.

“We will know each other. I am more of the balance you seek. I do like you, and will know you if you make the time for it.”

I apologized for not being able to write about my year, guessing by this point that He was behind that particular urge. Unshakable as ever, He noted that I he was pleased enough that we had spoken of it, and He trusted that I would get to it the subsequent day.

Then I held henu for awhile because that voice was just all-encompassing. I saw nothing, never felt more than that extremely subtle shift in my surroundings (almost like the feeling you get when someone is standing just behind you while you continue looking forward) but I was genuinely absorbed in the voice. Like there was so much meaning, power, energy behind each word that it was almost too much to listen to.

I feel a bit frustrated today, because I have that irritating sense that I dreamed, but I can’t seem to remember any of it. Probably because I woke and jumped out of bed immediately in the mindset of readying myself for the exam I took this morning. This might be a lesson in and of itself.

But on to the day of Heru-wer. I was very happy to acknowledge how much my relationship with my first Beloved has grown since my divination. The silence that met me when I reached out to Him initially has been replaced by formal, but ready, conversation. Our relationship remains one of strict guru and fallible student, but I can see the good in his deadlines and boundaries, where a few months ago I simply strained against what I viewed as unnecessary rigor.

After my exam, I found a quiet, sunny place on campus and simply stood, feeling the heat of the sun on my face, examining the light of its rays on the scenery around me, and offering my gratitude for that daily blessing. I offered a small, standing henu to the sky, and when I lowered my gaze I discovered the following had been sitting beside me in the grass the entire time.

While I am certainly not an avian expert, a quick look at the online feather atlas leads me to believe that I might have found a rough legged hawk feather. (I welcome other identifications! My source is here. I’m going off of the two all the way to the right.)

Whatever variety of bird it happens to be from, I can’t help but cherish this small moment of synchronicity.

I look forward to seeing what discoveries and challenges the next few days bring.