Ekunyi's Embers

IV Peret 2019 at the Shrine of Their Words of Protection

It is difficult, at times, to remember to write here — and I very much regret that, but will not eat my heart over it. Today is a new day, and here I sit with tea and the comfort of morning light streaming through the townhouse where I live. My husband is off at his music rehearsal and my platonic partner, just arrived very early this morning, is upstairs resting with their nesting/married partner after a very, very long drive. It is a peaceful morning, and I am grateful for the time and energy to sit down and write, content in the knowledge that those I love most in this world are near to me and well.

There’s a reason I always find that energy come March. I’ve written about it multiple times before, why IV Peret in the Kemetic year is so sacred to me, revitalizing in its meaning for me and the gods I serve. So much beautiful transition, so many places and ways in which Set and Bast’s roles intersect and engage with one another. The thoughts brought about by the reflective form the month takes for the two gods I honor first.

The Shrine of Their Words of Protection serves Set and Bast. Set largely fills the role of protector of the skies in this shrine. He is honored as both the strongest of the gods, defending Ra’s solar barque on a daily basis from the uncreated, as well as part of the night sky itself, His strong foreleg — and all the ritual significance therein — recognized within constellations. Bast, in turn, guards the land, and specifically the life that emanates from it. She is the goddess of all things green, and the sensory experiences that remind us of what it is to be alive, as well as the fierce lion that protects the kingdom – or in modern contexts, all dwellings – of humanity. They are honored with epithets of Lord and Lady of all that exists on the Earth and above it, offering protection in a wonderful wholeness that need not only be provided by blade or claw, but also the protection of magic. They are Sau magicians, They use their voices — both Set’s great battle cry and Bast’s instrumental voice in Her sacred sistrum — to defend just as fiercely as they can with physical strength.

They also reveal aspects of Themselves that are very much “in synch” with living in the Allegheny region of western Pennsylvania. Set reveals Himself most strongly in autumn and winter, when the deciduous trees begin the process of transition, changing colors into the deep golds and reds of the season, and then seemingly falling away into bare monochrome, readying themselves for renewal after the harsh challenge of winter’s snow and ice. Set’s sky is clearest here during this season, when leaves give way to a stark openness and yet a certain beauty of being able to see the sunrise and starlight that is obscured when viridian life returns. And that life is so thoroughly Bast’s domain as the weather begins to warm and flowers bloom with sweet scents that restore color to the world and warmth to our hearts. We are brought back out of the shelter of our homes where we have wintered, returning to run and explore the forests that sing with birds and insect life. (This year we are expecting cicadas again after 17 years of hibernation, so that song shall be all the more powerful.)

I took both of the photos below in the past week, giving you a sense of the juxtaposition of Set and Bast within the world as They appear in this area.

IMG_1681         3F353483-A468-43A3-82E2-7E46CED4CD1A

So what about IV Peret is so significant to me and to this Shrine? My Parents intersect and mirror one another. The binary of cold and warm seasons, sky and earth, Lord and Lady, is challenged and changed into a spectrum, far more realistic than any overly simplified duality can ever be.

Set is First in my line up, and I am often inclined to honor Him first in various ritual acts. Yet in this month, we begin with Bast’s feast day during Her Onion festival, followed by Her boat procession. Later in the month, Set mirrors this, with His procession day, and finally His Feast as Lord of the Oasis. In IV Peret He waits, giving Bast room for first honors throughout this time. They are also both recognized as significant chronokrater, gods watching over a specific day, in the period between their respective festivals — but Bast is honored through the epithet Lady of Heaven, while Set is honored through the epithet, Lion of Ra. Their roles, on those days, are reversed from the primary theophony of The Shrine of Their Words of Protection. Bast becomes guardian of the skies, the solar goddess and Eye of Ra whose light allows the green things to return to the earth, bringing warmth to the land from above. Set, in kind, takes on a form of Lion of Ra — a form we might in other spaces attribute to Bast, protector of all those who dwell amongst the living, moving over the world as we go about our day to day lives.

The weather fluctuates wildly here during March: we had a massive snow storm on the first day of IV Peret, and by the end of the month, we will likely be seeing the first signs of Spring. I so clearly feel and hear my gods in festival. They are dancing with and around one another. Their positions shift, They are not bound to any one shape or identity. They are beautiful and perfect and expansive and incredible, just as the world they created renews itself once again in truly astounding ways. They provide a mirror to how this time might have been experienced in Egypt, a time of harvest, the last period of somewhat comfortable weather for celebration and work just before the immensely dry weather of Shomu: Bast’s time of life and growing becoming Set’s time of fierce heat and challenge. As a Kemetic worshiping deities from a land far different from the one I currently am privileged to live upon, this feels significant to acknowledge as well.

Dua Bast! Dua Set! May the words of my mouth reach your ears and become! May my service please you, and may you watch over all of us in this time of sacred transition.

And to you reading this: may you have a blessed IV Peret, in whatever form this month’s celebrations may take for you.

2 Responses to “IV Peret 2019 at the Shrine of Their Words of Protection”

Leave a Reply

Share your most recent blog post?

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.