Zep Tepi: The Year of Sekhmet & Ma’at

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It’s fitting that the year of the two brothers should end in the shifting of several lives; only to begin once more with the upheaval of tremendous change. The Eye of Ra teaches us strength and perseverance; it teaches us to protect what is ours and to grit our teeth through the growing pains of the seasons of our lives. It lets us find the growth of new trees after the fires of destruction have culled the dead weight, and I find myself in much of that position now. I walk through the valley of a life left behind and turned to ash, only to reach down and trail a finger against the fragile and delicate green that pushes through charred earth.

I did not set the fire, but I did not extinguish it. I nurtured some of that flame, but some fires cannot be contained or quelled; only left to burn until there is nothing left to eat. I stand at the precipice of Zep Tepi once more, and my heart is not burdened. It is not eaten. It is as light as the feather of Ma’at, and I am ready to cultivate the dark earth once more.

This Wep Ronpet was celebrated in my new home. I have never had the ability or blessing before to celebrate it outside of Retreat, and I found it was a beautiful and poignant day. The days between the year I spent tying knots on loose ends and saying good-bye to the chapter that was closing on my life in my childhood home and state. I will not lie to my heart. It was hard. But it was cleansing, too. Netjer provided time for closure, they provided time to lament and to celebrate. To cry. To smile. And, now, to build again.

We rose to greet Ra at sunrise, we said our prayers and we had our silent moment. We smashed our pots and slayed the uncreated with a fervor that was exhilarating, and we cut the head off of the snake in the form of a cake that lasted through several sweet meals. We had beautiful shrines, activities, prayers and hymns. We felt Netjer through our ritual, and contacted the divine through this world and through our actions.

Wep Ronpet was the rise of not just a new day, not just a new year; but a new us. A new life. It is Netjer’s promise that the darkness only lasts until morning; and that they give us all the tools and strength to know them, to work with them, and to be a part of them in every act of creation. The last moments of the day and the death of a year is as much a part of life as the birth of it. There are no certain things, no certain moments save these two things. But there are promises. There are words, there is heka. There is the strength of each other and the love of a family, of a partner, of the memories in which we lay the foundation of our life down on.

Let Sekhmet destroy that which is in your life that stands in the way of your balance. Do not lay down and let it all fall asunder, take up your knives and your courage and give unto her that which is ready for slaughter. Let your heart be glad in Ma’at, and let your trust be the trust of a child. They will not let you fall down. Should you stumble without the strength to catch yourself, catch your flaws on the hook of Netjer and use your two hands to find the ground. Only when they are empty can you rise. We take with ourselves into the next world all of those things we wish to keep. What will you keep, when the time has come for Ma’at to usher in the end of the year?

Senebty, my family. A blessed Wep Ronpet to you, and may you always find the warmth in the dawning of Zep Tepi. Every day.

 

Nebt-het Petition/Inscription Heka

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Em Hotep everyone!

It is my pleasure to begin sharing with you different forms of heka that we create here in our home. I recently ran a chat on Nebt-het’s bithday and provided some Akhu stars with letter writing petition heka, but here is a second heka that also works tremendously with that particular one or by itself.

Nebt-het’s birthday is a day of celebration like all the others, a festival and celebration of a birth; but it is also a day of peace. A halting of the breath before the new day dawns. Nut has given birth to all of her children, and now she rests for a brief moment in the awe of a reprieve to what she had created. Nebt-het begins with an ending. She is the last of them amongst the first Zep Tepi to dawn at the setting of her day. This is a day of reverence, of culmination, and of her and our blessed Akhu.

Let us open with a hymn to her and our akhu.

You rise and you set

You go down with Nebt-het,

Sinking into dusk with the Evening Barque.

You rise and you set with the Morning Barque of the sun.

Shine for us in the evening sky,

So that we may not cease to behold your rays,

You are protection

Establishing our soul in the Evening barque

Rise and set with us.

Take a piece of paper and fold it in half. The folded side should be on the left, and it should look like a “greeting card”.

Draw on this paper a door. It can include a frame and a doorknob. You may chose to draw an archway at the top of the door if you like, just make sure the image looks like a closed door that hasn’t been opened yet 🙂

On the front of the door, write the opportunities that you would like to have “knocking” on your door. You can list them along the front of the door, or you can have one big one as the “name” of the door. They can be few or many. They are the things you want to welcome into your life and hear at the front step of your life.

Open the “door”, just as you would a greeting card. Inside draw the symbol for Nebt-het, which is pictured here in this blog. Underneath her symbol, write all the means you need in your life in order to answer the knocking of opportunities so they do not pass you by.

To close, turn the card over to the back. Write a heartfelt thank-you prayer to Nebt-het, and include with it a plea of protection that your back will always be covered. 🙂

Present any offerings you have to Nebt-het and spend some time getting to know her. Once done, extinguish the shrine lamp; revert the offerings and keep the card in a safe place until one of your opportunities come to fruition. You may then chose to keep it or release it into a body of water to begin again.

Dua Nebt-het! Nekhtet!

 

 

 

FrankenStorm: Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Hurricane

So, during the fall of 2012, there was this hurricane–and it was kind of a big deal. Maybe not to everyone, certainly not even to everyone who endured it–but it was a big deal to impact enough people’s lives; big or small, by proxy or deep down into the heart. It was as if God came down and pressed a big reset button on our lives, causing us to stand still, stay in, and reach out. People talked to each other, encouraged others, sympathized, admitted their fears, calmed others and, many of us, came face to face with the dark.

I personally lost nothing in the storm of any material value. The same could not be said for a few hundreds or thousands who lost far more than a little free time and a week of power–but we all learned our lessons just the same, big or small, and we are allowed to wear them like badges and shout them from the rooftops….if, of course, you still had a roof to stand on.

Ingenuity aside there was also something greater at work here. Something that broke a person down hour by hour and day by day; something that stripped them down until they were laid bare and open. Something that left us lost and searching, something that set us a few steps back so we could see where we had been previously; so we could decide to go forward or turn down somewhere new.

It was the one that coaxed questions, the one that said we had to loose to gain. The one that set our lives and our brains, the one that said we had taken things for granted and no longer deserved to need them, the ones that distracted us from the important and the divine. There were values we put in the dark, illuminating instead the sloth or the obsessively productive.

I made a different sort of promise to uphold when the lights came back on. It was to do more in a day than the rote or the same, to accomplish more. Because I had never finished just one project, and I had forgotten everything else in my quest. The answer is not to divide and conquer, but to divide and build over time; and not to forget the things that fulfill not just the prideful and the material, but the soul–and the community. Not just the strangers, but the ones that serve as fixtures in our life. Perhaps sometimes we need the lights to go out to reset our routine, we need something to disrupt us and set us straight towards a new destination. To remind us of the beauty of our every-day, to remind us of the privilege we have to exist in this period of time and to have the resources we have. We need to think differently, to pause and reflect, and to find that filling our time with something other than the power of modern technology can, ultimately, be greater.

Greener Pastures

They say dreams are the mind’s way of working out the day’s problems, they say it’s a journey we take to unearth the complexities of the day to which we turn a blind or angered eye. They say it’s a way for us to explore the impossible, to flight and to be everything we believe we can be, unhindered by the mundane coils of this earthly world. They say it’s a way for us to receive messages from beyond, to learn the secrets of this life buried just beneath the veil. Maybe it’s all these things, wrapped up in one brilliantly colored shroud–laid naked to us but for the briefest of moments when we are at our most quietest, our most tranquil, our most vulnerable. I want to share with you one of these such dreams: one that I believe to have been a message about a bigger picture, painted on a canvas only visible for one night.

There are two dimensions side by side–we exist in each one of them, but we do not share the same circumstance. They are our twins, but they live, love and are surrounded by two different groups of people based on circumstance. In this dream I was living in one world, but was sent to the other–and not by choice. In these worlds one was always are of the other, and both worlds had their own set of rules and personalities–even names. One was invariable darker than the other. Crueler. I was living in the Utopia–the green, the rich, the privileged. I was sent to the other–the poorer, the darker, the…less. I replaced my twin in this world who, for some reason, had not made it to that stage in their life. The potential of where she would have been was there, so I went to that world in that moment in time.

It wasn’t so much a family you lived with as a group of friends. They were abrasive, bullish. A cruel to be kind sort of thing. I wasn’t the only one who had traveled, there were others who had assimilated or were stuck in that particular world. There were rules–schools to go to, tests to pass. If you broke edict or were mentally unfit or performing undesirably, they had a punishment set in place. If you broke them enough, you were put in incarceration; where you would confront your demons. Literally.

I was there for a good while, but I always had the constant desire to go back. I didn’t fit in, and the life there was twisted and hard. Eventually I found a person who knew how to make a portal to go back to the other world, and despite it being forbidden as a crime; we built the machine. When it was done, after some initial chaos it worked: and when I traveled back, it was like no time had passed. I could hear voices from the other side coming in through the corners, but they faded. What replaced them was the bright, cheery faces that, even after all the time I gave to the other world, I remembered. I was far from home, but I even remembered that too–and the whole mantra I kept repeating “I remember the way home. I can’t believe it, I remember the way home.” . I saw my friends there, old faces that came to greet me; and when I was surrounded by them, I remembered:

My fiancĂ© wasn’t there, there was someone different in his place. My fiance was in the other life, the one I had left. My friends weren’t there, not the abrasive, honest, loyal ones I had made: they were different here. And I felt sad. I missed the second life I almost had. Despite hating the world, there had been people in it that had made it worth it. The perfect world that I returned to, for that, would never be the same–or as perfect for it.

Life is a struggle. We aren’t always born into it, sometimes we are forced into it. It’s full of ugly people, it’s full of bitterness, it’s full of struggle; it’s full of strife. It’s hard to get out of bed, it’s hard to sometimes be surrounded by people we don’t like, who give us a hard time. Life is a challenge. We don’t always have what we want, and to get those things we desire we have to bust our hides until we feel as if we can’t give anymore.

But we are surrounded by people who make every moment of this worth it, we find the beautiful strength within us that know there is a greater world out there that we can bring to fruition; and not all of the spoiled riches on earth, not all of the smiles that know nothing of struggle nor pain can make this life as sweet as it can be when we surrender to the fact that pain is love–and that we should love. We should love until the fabric of this life is ripped back and both dimensions are one.

This dream was about being where the grass was greener, and about being brought to where it was barren. It was about knowing nothing of struggle until a day came where struggle was forced upon us and, when the day was done and the green days replaced, of knowing that life is better for the struggle. That it shapes us, and makes us greater. That’s the message I got from this dream. What was yours?

Servitude

Look up the word service in any number of dictionaries and you’ll swim up to your ears in brief, descriptive meanings to just one tiny little word. Say the word service to anyone and it conjures up a plethora of images, each one different than the other; each context as unique as the imagination behind the mind that produced it. There are twenty-two ways to define it as a noun, and six that define it as a verb in the dictionary I am using. There are ten related phrases and, to be honest, it looks like about thirty synonyms. So when I unconsciously used the word “service” in the tagline to this blob, what exactly did I mean? What does it mean to be a Shemsu in service? And to whom?

The Egyptians saw God in the everyday, in the every moment, in every exhale and intake of breath. Things on earth became physical manifestations of Netjer, and God was of the sky, earth, wind and rain. When we serve Netjer, we aren’t just serving a God in heaven–we are serving life itself. Every motion we make is a manifestation of the divine; all that we create, speak, dream, believe, perform and inspire. To serve means we do not just pass through our days as bystanders with humility and patience, but that we take a mantle upon ourselves to interact with the life that Netjer inspired.

This blog is part of my mantle. My life is my service, and my actions my offerings. I am not a deeply pious person, but I believe deeply in the love that we give into this world is the love that we take back from it. This is a place for the remarkable in the mundane, the color within the ordinary, the dance within the silence and the harmony in the heartbeat of the day.

The Zep Tepi of tomorrow, the gift that is our service of today.