Sobek Research and Other Ramblings

I was doing a bit of googling last night, looking for any ancient Sobek hymns that might possibly if I’m lucky actually exist that I can base a litany around. I didn’t find any hymns, but I did find a couple of articles that talked about His Graeco-Roman cult, particularly around the Faiyyum region, as well as one article talking about Sobek, Ra, and Wesir. I even found an actualfax book on Sobek and the Faiyyum, though sadly I can’t find a copy to buy that is definitely in English rather than in Italian, and not going to cost me a lot of money I don’t have right now. (I found three for sale: one for £68 (~AU$103), one for US$150 (~AU$142), and another for US$200 (~AU$189). Sans how much I’d have to pay for shipping. *cries* I would probably buy it if I had the money, though. Just because omg an actualfax book all about Sobek omg I must have it!) I can’t even find it in any university libraries here, so I can’t even go and borrow it. 😦 (It’s too niche and academic for public libraries, so I’m not bothering to look there.)

The reference I found regarding Sobek, Ra, and Wesir, talked about Sobek-Ra being seen as something like a nighttime form of Ra, like Wesir sometimes is, and emerging from the waters at dawn is like the sun being renewed for another day. Syncretising Sobek to both Temu-Ra and Wesir I find very interesting, and I’ll be chewing on that for a while. I’d already seen some parallels in my UPG, with Sobek-Ra, and Wesir and Ra and Their duality, and I know Sobek is sometimes referenced as guarding Ra’s boat in the Duat, but I hadn’t considered Sobek being syncretised to Temu-Ra and Wesir. Perhaps Djehuty was right when He told me that Sobek is Amun is Ra is Ptah is Wesir, though I still don’t know how Ptah fits in. He’s the only God in that list I haven’t met yet.

(I am planning to add these to the History of Sobek page when I have a spare five minutes to turn them into something other than copypasted sentences and a pile of notes. Well. Everything except the Sobek book, because I can’t reference a book I haven’t read.)

It is interesting to me, though, because Sobek does feel very ‘dark’ and hidden away, in spite of His bright solar associations. That’s kind of how I associate Him to Amun, and I really should chase up that reference to a dual temple to Sobek and Amun I found. Sobek has that kind of duality in Him, both lunar and solar, day and night, and maybe that also makes me see Him as much more androgynous than others might. I don’t know. Though I have recently become aware of the fact that Sobek, Nit(-Tem-Amun), and Djehuty, the three Gods I tend to see mostly as Creators, are all variously gender-variant or androgynous. I do plan to write some myths on that, though. I’ve kind of committed myself to writing some new myths and rewriting old ones, since I’m not going to get the damn things written if I keep putting it off. If writing helps me sort out my thoughts, I can’t see how it wouldn’t help me figure out mythology. That, and it’ll be the closest thing to not!fanfiction I’ve done in a while, and I need to practice my original fiction writing skillz every now and then. And, y’know, try my hand at writing myth, because it’s different to just original fiction and I need to take more time with it, I think.

I want to write about Sobek’s birth, and Nit bringing Him up, and just generally more Sobek myths. I want to write a queered version of Wesir’s myth and Heru’s birth, and something akin to a sequel to the Contendings, in which Sobek and Heru and Divine Politics. I want to write some daft thing about the Horned Goddess and forests and how I’m half-convinced She and Her consort, the Wild Godde, are something like a queer forest version of Aset and Wesir but it isn’t really Them at all but new deities and how I find this REALLY FUCKING WEIRD and I have no idea why I even see them this way apart from some weird aspect of ‘picking a face I’m most likely to recognise’ or something of that nature. (That might be another PBP post as well, if I can get it to a point where I can articulate this without endless keyboard smashing.)

I’ll be saying goodbye to Hekate tonight, as well. It’ll be the end of our year together, and even though I don’t think She’s going away any time soon, it’s time to go back to Sobek. I don’t mind, though. I’ve learnt a lot from Hekate, and I’m glad I met Her. I plan to honour Her every new moon in thanks, and maybe one day I’ll figure out Her Cosmic World Soul thing, and why that was the aspect She chose to show me, rather than the darker, more underworldly, Set-like ‘tear everything apart and rebuild it’ side that seems to be more common amongst Her devotees.

Speaking of Cosmic World Souls, though, I did have something of a grandly epic dream like that last night, though. All I really remember is the figure of a woman almost camouflaged against the starry night sky, with a swirling vortex-cum-black hole in her belly that was drawing me close. She felt very distant from me, though, as if she was very far away and might’ve just been turning her face to me for the first time. I’m going to be keeping an eye on my dreams for a while in case I get any more, and I might meet her again, and get a little closer. Can’t say for certain it was a God Dream, though. It could just be my subconscious reflecting on the mass of Lady of the Stars posts that have turned up again over at The Cauldron, but I’ll keep an eye out in case it’s Someone getting in contact anyway. If it happens once, it’s a fluke. Twice is a coincidence. Three times is a conspiracy. That’s my rule of thumb. 😉

The dream reminded me of the Queen of Heaven, Star of the Sea goddesses Aset has introduces me to (Roman!Isis, Hekate, Aset-Nut, Mary Star of the Sea, African!Yemaya, Quan Yin), though it felt much grander than that. I’m going to find a place to do a PBP post on them, because I’ve never particularly talked about all their connections before. They all have connections with Imbolc, and lights, and they all share a similar kind of energy that I can’t really explain. (There might be a myth written about this too, but IDK yet. A blog post at the very least. Tentatively titled ljkfdghdfgjhhSTARGODDESSESsdjghsdflghb. It’s a work in progress.)

(Mary Star of the Sea is the one version of Mary who I keep running into/keeps getting my attention. Her connections/similarities to Isis and Hekate and Yemaya confound and amaze me. But that’s a post for another day as well. /digression)

I’m having one of those moments where I’m pondering everything. Reading so much, blogs and forum posts and whatnot, and just wondering about my place in all of these things. I’m kind of happy and stable and at the point where I’m comfortable doing things my way, even if it’s not totally recon or historically authentic, but I’ve spent years getting to that point. I’ve been Pagan since I was 16. It’s going on thirteen years now. It feels like a very long time, almost half my life. I’ve been reflecting on the past year, and how my path has changed so much since I started. I haven’t entirely given up on calling myself Pagan, because in spite of my aversions to certain parts of the Pagan community, I still find it a useful descriptor.

Then again, I feel more Pagan than Kemetic, even though I don’t feel like I have many particular similarities with either group. My Kemetic stuff isn’t particularly recon, and the more syncretic it gets, the less Kemetic I feel. It’s not a bad thing, nor do I feel particularly left out, but it’s more realising that what I do is different, and that’s alright. I can stay out of recon circles for the most part, and just go along my merry way. It’s not like I’m building a religion for anyone other than myself anyway. As long as it works for me, that’s all I care about.

I mean, I know many Kemetics tend to dismiss the Graeco-R0man stuff as Not Canon, but it’s important to me, particularly because Sobek’s cult was significant during that period, and it makes me curious. I mean, yes, I want to know about the Egyptian stuff too, and that’s important for me to look at, but I feel like there’s stuff here regarding His cult during this later period that I need to know that will help things make sense, particularly with regards to my Sobek&Heru connections. I want to know how He was seen and worshipped, and I want to know all about all the local forms of Sobek that popped up in the Faiyyum during that time. I found a reference that He might’ve been paired with a form of (Hathor-)Isis in one temple, and there are many references to Sobek and Heru all over the place. But yeah, actually researching this is really damn hard. There’s not a lot of resources that I can actually access, if they exist at all. No one really writes about Sobek very much. 😦

This is why I sometimes get incredibly frustrated by the recon methodology. It’s not that I don’t like it, or I’ve eschewed it completely. I do want to do my research well, but most of the time, I just can’t readily access the resources I need to do the job properly. Either books and articles just aren’t available, no one’s actually written anything on that topic in the first place, what does exist isn’t in a language I can read and may not have an English translation available, they’re too expensive to buy, articles are in journals I can’t access, or they’re not physically in a place I can access, like university libraries. I want to be able to research Sobek’s cult properly, but there are too many obstacles in the way. At this point in time, those obstacles feel incredibly insurmountable, and I don’t know if or when that will change one day.

I feel stuck. I know there are things I need to look at, but I can’t get what I need. So I’ll just leave them as ponderings and notes and maybe one day, I’ll know for sure if some of my hunches about Sobek’s cult are proved correct. Until then, all I have is UPG and syncretism. But it’s working for now, so I can’t really complain. I just wish I could research this stuff properly and not feel like I’m just making shit up. Which is why I sometimes feel like I can’t always share my UPG, because it’s not Kemetic enough, or it’s not really supported, or it’s Graeco-Roman omg. Which I know is the point of UPG, that it’s not verified by historic sources, but it bugs me. /pedant. That, and I feel like my acceptance of Graeco-Roman Kemetic stuff sets me apart from most Kemetics, and that they don’t want to hear me rambling on about His sycretic forms and whatnot because it’s Graeco-Roman and therefore Not Canon. *sighs*

Perhaps I’m just aggravated by a lot of the discussion that’s been happening lately, such as the Recon Book Problem thread over at TC, the various bitching about Pagan vs Polytheist and Gods and Not Gods, and that bizarre wank about shopping trolleys and theology amongst some parts of the Kemetic community that I did not see coming. o.O I think I might just step back for a while and go do some fanfic writing. I’m getting a little drained by all the Pagan discussions going on at the moment. I need some new brainspace to process it all for a while and come back to it when I’ve got a clear head.

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10 comments on “Sobek Research and Other Ramblings

  1. warboar says:

    Even as someone formally trained in the professional field of History, I feel your pain on sources. There is a lot of “not playing nice with others” done by many Universities’ archives when it comes to inter-library loan ::cough cough CORNELL UNIVERSITY cough::. A lot of the better sources on various subjects within the discipline are confined to University archives, and much of the better texts are exclusively in French and German. Primary sources are in Greek, Middle Egyptian, Latin. It doesn’t help that they’re all essentially under lock and key.

    I’m not overly fond of the knowledge-hoarding perpetuated by the Ivory Tower. I’m sure they restrict access so they can make money; if such things were freely available, I’m sure they couldn’t charge exorbitant library and tuition fees the way they do. Or perhaps they feel that college application and attendance would diminish. ::shrugs:: Either way, it’s silly. Buying books never discouraged me from attending class. If anything, reading various historical texts increased my appetite for learning and discussion.

    • Sashataakheru says:

      It’s almost kinda worse in Australia, because as far as I know, there’s only one university that even has an Egyptology degree program, and few others that offer archaeology, so most universities don’t even have anything related to either field, and what is available isn’t ordinarily accessible to the public. And, yeah, I really don’t have time to master 6+ languages, just to tackle the material properly. It’s all terribly frustrating, and I wish it wasn’t like this.

      I know that even if I joined the university library in my state that does have any archaeology books, I won’t have access to the specific archaeology library of books, anyway, so I just don’t see the point in bothering. I mean, I guess I’m lucky in that, in Australia, I don’t have to worry about exorbitant college fees like you guys do in America. Universities here make more money off full fee-paying international students, tbh. Journal subscriptions are more of a problem too, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Australian university libraries were getting slugged an arbitrarily higher fee because we’re not in America. :/ My university doesn’t offer archaeology, so they don’t have subscriptions to those journals. Simple as that. Which is utterly, utterly frustrating as hell, because I have no other way to access academic journals and lkjdfbhglsdjgbsldjgb. It sucks. 😡

  2. Shine says:

    Hey, if your practice works for you and pleases your gods, then the heck with what anyone else thinks. That’s one of the major things I’ve taken away from all the drama in the past few days.

    I know how you feel on the Greco-Roman sources. Some of the most accessible stuff on Bast comes from around that time period. Greco-Roman-Kemetic is still Kemetic, just not traditionally pharaonic. It’s still useful for filling in holes. 🙂

    • Sashataakheru says:

      Yeah, that’s pretty much my thoughts. I’m kind of used to it anyway, because I’ve done a lot of wandering. But I think I’m at that point now where I’m mature enough to just do it anyway, and not care what others think. If my Gods don’t like it, I’m sure They’ll be the first to let me know.

      Maybe it’s just me, but I’m also curious about how the Gods change when faced with non!Egyptians. I like seeing which aspects are emphasised more than others, which are changed or forgotten, how their worship evolved, etc. I can’t really do that if I just stick to the purely Kemetic stuff. 😉

      • Shine says:

        Haters gonna hate. That’s for sure. The gods are what matter, whether you worship a lot of them or only a few of them.

        It is very fascinating how various Netjeru changed with the times. In my mind, it’s testament to their greatness. The Netjeru are so fluid. Maybe most deities are. Personally, my heart is more with purely Kemetic stuff, but I no longer turn my nose up at Greco or Roman sources if they prove useful. Greco-Roman Kemetic is still Kemetic. I’ll say it ’til I’m blue in the face. XD

        • Sashataakheru says:

          Yeah, I’ve often thought the Netjeru were particularly more fluid than other pantheons of gods, at least in my experience. I think most gods have that fluidity, but some have it more than others, I think. It still does my head in though, trying to figure out all the Kemetic Gods. But it makes me happy. Even if I still can’t really consistently distinguish between Aset and Isis. XD

  3. I made note of the title of the book you’re searching for, if I have any luck finding it here at a decent affordable price I’d be most happy to help you. Not promising I can or will find it, but that I will try.
    There’s also a nice article on Sobek (by Denise M. Doxey) in The Oxford Essential Guide to Egyptian Mythology – a tiny paperback book but quite good as a resource. Don’t know if you have it or read it but if you don’t and would like to read that little article let me know. I’ll just type it out and e-mail it to you if you provide me with an e-mail address. 🙂

    • Sashataakheru says:

      Thanks. Any help would be appreciated. I’ll keep looking for it myself, and see if Sobek won’t give me a bit of help along the way. 🙂

      I haven’t read that article, no, but I’d love to have it. Email it to ibdjehutyATgmail.com. Thanks so much. ❤

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