I just need to breathe

Life, hey? I’ve been seriously busy these past few weeks and it’s thrown out many of my plans for posting here. Kept drafting them and then deleting them, or being too tired to think about what to write at all. I don’t mind, of course, because surprise visits by my brother and his family are always great, even if they drain my introvert spoons quite a lot.

I mean, even today, I had wanted to spend most of it writing. Instead, I spent the morning building IKEA furniture, and then part of the afternoon organising and rearranging and putting things away and tidying and rearranging shrine things. I mean, srsly, I didn’t even get time to do my morning devotions, and I didn’t turn on my computer until 3pm. Go me!

I mean, it’s great, because things are much better organised now, and it was work that needed doing. But, man, I had a Hallowe’en fic due today(ish) that I need to finish, and that hasn’t happened yet. Brain needs time to settle before I can get around to that.

I had all these grand plans for a nice shiny dedicated launch of my Etsy shop, Shedety Scriptorium, but that hasn’t happened yet, because busy! and not enough brain to make it happen. But hey, there are a few things up there already, and I won’t complain if you buy them, either. :D? I still have a few things I need to add up there, too. Some I’ve taken photos of, others I still need to photograph. They haven’t gone up yet because, well, see above. But yes, I have a shop now, because scribe, and books, and prayer beads and whatnot. Plz go and take them off my hands so I have room to make moar things!

Under the cut:

- Sobek things

- All the shrine update photos etc.

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Hibernation

It’s nearly time for the Spring Equinox, and I feel like I might finally be coming up for air. Or, at least, emerging from the dark time. It’s been a very deep and introspective time. Not quite a Fallow Time, but more … introverted. Lots of internal stuff going on, as well as being busy with things in the mundane world. Trying and failing to write things, trying and failing to find a job, trying not to go mad and smash things because politics, the usual. It makes for a strange disconnect, sometimes, when I try to reconcile the normality of life, with all the other spiritual stuff. A lot’s happened, and I’m alright. It’s still been a weird winter, but it’s time to re-emerge, and I’ve felt that urge to write again, and re-engage with the world.

So, er, bear with me, if this post gets a little long, and rambly. I will probably need more posts to go into things in more detail, if necessary, but this is what’s on my mind at the moment. I hope this all comes out coherently. It’s still a little muddled in my head.

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Cosmology and Practice

Apologies for the radio silence of late. I’ve been working, and I’ve been sick, and I haven’t had enough mental energy to think of anything substantial to update about. I do have some things I do need to post about, but they’re not quite ready yet. In the meantime, this is a post about cosmology and how it relates to my practice. I wrote it for the Kemetic study group formed over at The Cauldron, and I’m posting it here for posterity, and so others can have a read of it.

Usual caveats that I’m not a reconstructionist, and this is just my weird way of making things work apply. Definitely not a scholarly piece by any stretch of the imagination. This is ~4k words of anecdata. Treat it as such.

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Happy Solstice!

Happy Solstice, everyone! I hope your rituals and celebrations have been going well, if you’ve been planning them. I hope you northern hemisphere types aren’t burning up under the power of the sun. Can you send some down here? It’s been horrid today.

I’m doing final preparations for my ritual tonight. It’s been wet and raining all day, so it’s been impossible to go out and buy any offerings, so I’m making do with what I can find at home. There’s some leftover beef from our Yule Feast last night, and I thought I’d offer that, along with some sort of drink. IDK yet. Depends how eager I am to drink something cold on a cold night.

(It’s still raining. Sobek’s presence is great today.)

I’ll post photos of the Yule Feast hearth later, but it was a great night, and it’s always good to mark the time with others. It’s never particularly pagan, but good company makes up for that. My parents are away tonight, at a friend’s 40th, and they’ll be back tomorrow, so I’ve got the house to myself now. Perfect for long rituals.

I’m at that point where I’m trying to figure out where everything’s going. Yeah. That’s always fun. I’ve been shifting tiny libation bowls around all afternoon, but I think I’ve just about got it organised. I’ve just finished writing the solstice hymn I’m going to use during the rite, and I thought I’d share it here for your enjoyment.

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Productivity!

Painted Saxon futhorc rune set

So I finished off another set of Saxon runes this afternoon. I made them a couple of days ago, and painted them today. This time, I decided to just pinch off some clay, and roll it into a ball, and then just squash it a little to make the runes, and I think it’s resulted in more consistently shaped runes, tbh, so I might do them this way from now on.I used an old tool from my dissecting kit to press the runes into the clay.

I was going to paint them all black with red runes, but I decided to use silver and gold as well. I divided them up pseudo-randomly into three groups before painting them, so I had an almost even spread of the three colours. I want to varnish them tomorrow, though, just to protect the paint. But other than that, they’re done. Next up, when I get some more clay, some Norse runes. And some material to make bags out of. Polar fleece, perhaps. I can hand-sew that into a bag well enough.

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Myth: Something I’m Not (Wesir as a trans* god)

A/N: So I’ve spent the evening writing this, because apparently Wesir didn’t want to wait or anything once I’d figured out how to translate the experience of being transgendered as a human into something that would work for a god (He suggested daft humans who don’t want to listen to their god :D). Five thousand words and a lot of snark later, have a mythfic.

I wouldn’t consider this to be a very canonical retelling of the Osirian myth, though. It kind of became its own thing as I wrote it, particularly given how Wesir wanted to begin it, and where He wanted to go with it. I feel this sits more on the fanfic side of things, rather than the mythic side of things, but anyway. Enjoy?

Something I’m Not

He found there was nothing more exasperating than being a god, and seeing all the mortals just not understanding him. After all, Amun’s form, his true form, was known only to Amun, and they seemed to have no trouble with that. But somehow, Wesir was stuck with a priesthood who seemed unable to listen to their god when he spoke to them.

It wasn’t as if Wesir hadn’t tried. Sure, he was a god of fertility in this tiny region, the god who allowed the crops to live or die, but somehow, he hadn’t managed to get across to his priests that he didn’t want them to keep referring to him as a goddess. “I’m not a woman,’ he would whisper to his high priests when they opened the naos at dawn, but they would not listen. For some reason unknown to him, they had managed to completely misunderstand him when he’d said that it was his body that gave birth to the seeds. In retrospect, perhaps his choice of words might not have been wise, and perhaps he would have been better with a less poetic and metaphorical description. Instead, they had decided that the only way to make sense of such a thing was to erect statues to him, depicting him as a pregnant woman.

He sighed, and praised Ma’at that he only had any power in this tiny little region. Still, it was beginning to get to him, particularly since no one seemed able to recognise him unless he conformed to his statues. To deal with it, he had begun adopting that image, since it was all they recognised, and tried his best to not abandon them out of spite. He did still care about them; he had several temples and an active priesthood in several towns. It did no good to turn your back on that.

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Bookbinding, Isis, and Hekate

So, I’ve started making books, because Sobek said a scribe ought to know how to make books. Right now, I’m just concentrating on hardcover coptic stitch journals, but I’ll likely tackle case binding eventually when I am not so intimidated by it.

This is the first one I made; it’s since become my new ritual book, for my monthly festivals at least. I’ve made another A4 sized one with watercolour paper that I plan to use as a devotional art journal, and another A5 one for notes and other things. I’m planning to make a bunch of 4inx4in ones as presents for our midwinter feast next month. Everything’s been cut out, it all just needs to be assembled. I’m also going to get dad to help me put together a book press, and Sobek wants hieroglyphs on it, so. Part of my scribal kit, it seems.

I’m planning to get myself organised enough to sell them, because with coptic stitch, the books lie flat, which makes them good for ritual books if you want them to sit flat on a table or shrine. Plus, I think it suits Kemetic ritual books well since I believe it originated in Egypt with the Copts? I get a big sense of recognition and pleasure from Sobek when I make these books, as if it’s something He recognises and takes pleasure in seeing brought to life again. It may not have been an ancient practice used in the old temples, but He seems to really like it nonetheless. It’s always good when your gods like your work, I think.

Relating to this, Sobek’s also been throwing ‘lector priest’ things at me, seeing it as the other side of a scribe’s duty when serving in the House of Life of a temple. I think He’s emphasising it more in a sense of a context in which I’m doing rituals to Them, rather than as a role He wants me to take. It may be that this is ultimately why I’m not tending open statues, because I don’t have a high priest to tend to it. It’s not part of my duties. I just read (and write) the rituals. (If the gods see fit to change this, that’s Their decision.) It reminds me that I ought to get my hands on that book about priests in ancient Egypt when I have some spare money.

(Also, knowing how to do bookbinding will enable me to refill my current BoS/journal because it has a reusable leather cover omg, which was half the reason I bought it. The damn text block in there currently is even coptic bound. I mean, really. I will never need to buy another journal ever again.)

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Sobek Festival-Soucheia

Sashataakheru:

Sobek festivals! Because there just aren’t enough of them.

Adding to this list, in ‘Sobek of Shedet’ (2010, p129), Marco Zecchi cites a NK Sobek Shedety festival for I Akhet 11, in which no one worked, and refrained from eating fish and bread, as well as possibly other foods sacred to Him. This was cited as an unfavourable day, and Sobek in this case was more of a rapacious god than a more beneficient one.

Originally posted on Fiercely Bright One:

Here are the Sobek Festivals I have found in these two sources. I’m including the Sobek festivals I’ve posted previously from the Soknaipiou Nesos Temple in the Faiyum.

7 Hathyr
Birth of Sobek, the Great God (19 days)

8 Tybi
Festival of the Foundation of the Temple of the God Sobek (7 days)

2 Phamenoth
Festival of the Foundation of the Enclosure of the Great God Sobek (7 days)

21 Payni
Festival of the Foundation of the Temple of the God Sobek (7 days)

2 to 9 Epiphi
Festival of Sobek/Soucheia

20 of Epiphi
Festival of Sobek/Socheia (7 days)

Source:

Capron, Laurent. “Déclarations fiscales du Temple de Soknopaiou Nêsos: éléments nouveaux,” in Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik. Bd. 165, Dr. Rudolf Habelt GmbH, Bonn (Germany). (2008), pp. 133-160.

Link:
Article

Thomas-Perpillou, Francoise. Studia Hellenistica, Issue 31. (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, 1993. (pages 140-144)

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Epithets of Sobek

So I finally got my hands on Marco Zecchi’s Sobek of Shedet book (thank you, Book Depository!), and I’ve spent the afternoon reading through it and taking notes. I’ll rifle through it again (and again) as I go back and rewrite my page on the history of Sobek, because man, I now have A LOT more information about Sobek’s cult than I did yesterday, so. It’s a lot to take in. It’s not every day you get 200 pages just about Sobek. <3

Anyway, I’ve put up a list of His epithets on a shiny new page here, along with the first page of translated epithets from the LAGG. Go and marvel. Two of my favourites are ‘the beautiful calf before the great flood’, and He ‘who cuts through the sky with His double-feathered crown’. N’aww. <3

Zecchi’s book is a really good read, too. IDK if it’s just a quirk of how he writes, but he talks about the gods as if they’re real beings, like Sobek of Sumenu preferring to be associated with Ra., whereas Sobek of Shedet preferred the association with Heru. It’s that inclusion of the relationship between priests and gods, kings and gods, and not just focussed on what humans did to worship the god. And he goes into the personality of Sobek quite well, and shows how it changed over the years. Sobek never feels like a dry academic concept of a god; Zecchi manages to bring Him to life in the way He writes about Him. Is it passion? IDK. But there’s life in Zecchi’s writing about Sobek that I don’t often see in Egyptological papers. Like I said, might be a quirk of his writing style, but I like it.

At least I’m beginning to understand why my Sobek and Heru are so close, and why I feel it’s so important to finish this Sobekian-Wesirian myth cycle. That was actually a Thing back then, though I think my version is very much my own. My Sobek isn’t Heru, but watches over Him instead. But then again, if I try to think about Sobek-Heru as a single god, my head begins to hurt. Ow. I like my practice the way it is right now without confusing it with syncretic gods. XD

Hymn to Sobek Shedety – Ramesseum Papyrus 6

I’ve been looking into Sobek Shedety of late, because I feel like there’s something there I ought to know. One of those nagging little things, y’know, where you need to look into it, or it won’t leave you alone. I’d actually never heard of Sobek Shedety/Sobek of Shedet, until I found that book by Marco Zecchi on that subject, and I’m still glad someone wrote an actualfax book all about Sobek. Sobek Shedety also has a couple of pages of epithets in the LAGG, and I wish I had access to all the pages so I could begin translating them all. I’d love to compare them to Heru-sa-Aset’s epithets, to see how many were shared. I also feel like, how have I not heard of Sobek Shedety until now? But maybe it’s just because no one writes about Sobek, so no one really bothered to look at that, until now, at least.

The hymn to Sobek Shedety was one I came across, thanks to a reference in Marco Zecchi’s article, Osiris in the Faiyum, and went looking for a complete version of the hymn. Well, as much of it as we have, anyway. The British Museum has it all up here, if you want to look through all the fragments, along with their translations. It’s really fascinating. It is clearly invoking Sobek, but there’s a part where it’s clearly identifying Him with Heru-sa-Aset, and proclaiming Him the son of Wesir. It’s actually the first time I’ve seen proper evidence that Sobek and Heru-sa-Aset were linked together in this way. I’d heard about it, and read speculation, but that’s the first time I’d seen proof of it. That it was an actual historical thing and not just my weird UPG.

I have also recently found images of this statue of Sobek wearing the double crown. (Source) (And a side view) I’ve never seen that statue before, either. It’s Late Period, 589-595BCE , from Psammetichus II/Neferibre’s reign. I don’t know anything more about this particular statue, though it is rare to see Sobek wearing anything other than His plumes. Occasionally, I see Him with the sundisk, when He’s more Sobek-Ra, and sometimes, He wears no headgear on His crocodile head, but this is the first time I’ve seen Him wearing the double crown. And I am fascinated by that.

So much of this makes me more inclined to think that I am dealing with Sobek Shedety, rather than plain Sobek, because this Sobek was closely tied to Heru-sa-Aset, which I’ve been trying to figure out for years since my RPD in 2006. Eight years later, I think I’m finally beginning to understand it. It’s all tied up with Wesir’s myth cycle, of course, and with the Faiyum as Wesir’s burial ground, well, a lot of things are making sense. I haven’t finished reading through Zecchi’s article, but I think he does mention there were cases of Sobek also being associated with Wesir, as much as with Heru-sa-Aset, or because of His association with Heru-sa-Aset, and that makes a lot of sense to me, too. I had always wondered why, with my Celestial Twins thing, that Sobek felt as much Heru’s father, as His twin. For me, it’s more Sobek as Heru’s father, more than Sobek as Wesir. But maybe I’m splitting hairs there. Sobek is Amun is Ra is Ptah is Wesir, after all. (I’m still figuring that out, too.)