30 Days of Sobek: Day 13 – What modern cultural issues are close to Sobek’s heart?

This is not an easy question to answer, since it’s never been a big part of my relationship with Him. Certainly, He cares a lot about the health of the environment and its waterways and marshlands, fish populations, over-fishing, the status of crocodilian species in the wild and their hunting and conservation and crocodile farming, the health of the ocean, rainfall, those sorts of issues. He’s a very Earth-centred god in that regard. So anything that ties into those places and issues is going to win Him over, if He doesn’t lead you there Himself.

Crocodile farming in particular is something I know He’s brought to my attention, and I know it’s sort of inevitable that one day I will own either some crocodile leather, or a crocodile skull; He’s a very crocodilian god, so having those pieces means a lot to Him, and how I relate to Him. But it’s the ethical sourcing, it’s caring for the bones properly and with the proper respect. To me, it’d be the equivalent of a temple crocodile, living in the sacred lake. It’s a sacred duty to care for the bones of a crocodile, for this Sobek devotee at least, if they ever came into my possession. Which is why I haven’t acquired any yet. I don’t even think I’m up for the task of caring for an open statue, let alone sacred crocodile bones. One day, perhaps, but not now.

But in my own personal experience, I know He also cares a lot about the marginalised and those who need the oases to survive. He is strong for those who cannot be strong, He gives boats to the boatless, He offers protection to anyone who needs it. And yes, in this He is a very queer-friendly god. His mother is queer enough Herself, so of course Sobek is, too, in His own way.

I suspect He also cares a lot for refugees and those fleeing persecution and oppression. Those who cross His waterways and don’t make it to the other side. I have A Lot Of Thoughts about Heru and Aset and Sobek and how They know better than most gods about what it is to be a refugee is a post for another time, but it’s something Sobek reminds me of often. It’s okay, They’ve lived in exile before, They can survive outside Egypt. And perhaps this is why They persist so well in other lands, how They have learnt to adapt to other places. But that is where my head is in that regard, and I will go think some more on it, and maybe post about it later, outside of this 30 days meme framework, so it gets a better attempt than this.

30 Days of Sobek: Day 12 – Sobek’s Sacred Places

Sobek’s presence can be found all over Egypt, but the two places where His cult was most prominent are Kom Ombo, where He shared a double temple with Heru-Wer, and the Faiyum region in the north near the delta. The delta was also associated with Him, but His cult was particularly represented in the Faiyum.

Shedet, or Crocodopolis, was the biggest city in the Faiyum, and the centre of Sobek’s cult there. It was referred to as The Great Palace. But there were temples all over the Faiyum, and a temple to Sobek and Renenutet in Dja (Medinet Madi). Its fortunes fluctuated over the course of Egyptian history, but had significant attention and rebuilding in the 12th, and 18th Dynasties, as well as in later Greek periods as well.

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30 Days of Sobek: Day 11 – Festivals, Holy Days, and Sacred Times

It’s a good thing I’ve already done this work, so this is just a lazy matter of copypasta. That said, beyond the calendar, my own UPG associates Him with winter, and Heru with summer. Sobek brings the winter rains that quench the thirsty land after the summer. He brings fertility and life to the land. He is the winter storms and the cold air, and the warmth of snuggling up in bed.

See, winter here in Western Australia isn’t snowy. It never gets that cold. It’s just wet and stormy and cold. So Sobek’s energy works really well for this time of year, and in some ways, makes up for the fact that I celebrate Wep Ronpet in the middle of summer, because that’s the only way I can get the calendar to work down here.

I also tend to think of the winter/summer split in terms of which one is here, and which one is busy in the otherworld. And winter is the time of the Mysteries, and Heru is busy taking care of His dad, so that’s why He’s far away in winter. In summer, Sobek has to take care of Wesir, and so that’s why He’s far away. They have this sine wave cyclicity.

I suspect the deeper I delve into those cycles, the more clear I’ll be able to be at explaining it. I have often thought about Sobek and Heru together as the night boat and the day boat, where Heru carries Ra through the sky during the day, and Sobek carries Ra under the earth at night. Which reflects some of the Book of the Faiyum mythology. Zep Tepi is all about renewal, how the sun keeps rising, how each new day is a little first moment of creation. That sense of cyclical, spiralling time I sort of nicked from Dinotopia, but it makes a lot of sense in terms of how the world works, and how time works, I think.

But this isn’t an entry about Theories About Time, so have a calendar list. I’m copypasting here for completion more than anything else, or I might just lazily link to the list I’ve already done. But there you go.

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30 Days of Sobek: Day 10 – Offerings! (historical and UPG)

So, today we are going to talk about offerings! Knowing what to offer is an important part of getting to know a god, and as modern devotees, we’re adding to the standard lists from antiquity with our own set of things the gods like.

As far as offerings go, I’ve generally found Him to be pretty accommodating. If you like it, He probably will, too. He takes joy in what you take joy in, so if there’s something you like that you want to offer, offer it.

Historically speaking, I haven’t found anything unusual in His documented offerings, except for the usual bread, beer, water, meat, etc, that pretty much every god received every day. Egyptian temple offerings were pretty standard in this regard, so you can’t go wrong with bread and water in a pinch.

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30 Days of Sobek: Day 9 – Common Mistakes about Sobek

I have to admit, I had a lot of trouble with this one, because I … don’t think there are that many of them? I think Sobek’s obscurity has stopped a lot of common mistakes or misunderstandings. There are a few, but I think most of them come down to misidentification, and the assumption that any crocodile in the old texts is Sobek, when sometimes it isn’t. Sometimes, it’s Maga*. Or Set. Or it’s just a fkn crocodile. Or a crocodile demon.

If we’re talking modern depictions and His appearances in movies, books, and TV, then, well. That tends to be much more OC. Most academic and historical texts I’ve come across tend to be much more consistent than non-historical texts. In fiction, He is often depicted as evil, or as a purely voracious god, ignoring completely the reasons why He was beloved by Egyptians and prayed to for protection and strength. I don’t think I’ve ever come across Him depicted as a god of kingship, either. It’s usually just evil crocodile god. Which is not only incorrect, but only a fraction of what the history actually says about Him.

But I think that’s probably about it? Obscurity has sort of saved Him from a lot of bullshit, but He still mostly just gets ‘evil crocodile god’ when they decide not to bring Set in for once. If anyone knows of any others, let me know. I really don’t pay much attention to Egyptian-themed/set media, so I’m not sure if I’ve missed anything more egregious here.

* I can only find scraps of references about Maga and whether Maga is just a form of Set or a ‘son of Set’ or just some dickhead crocodile demongodthing, so. YMMV.

30 Days of Sobek: Day 8 – Variations on this Deity

According to the LAGG, there is Sobek, Sobek Shedety, and Sobek-Ra, as the three main aspects or forms of Sobek, and I’m inclined to agree. The only other flavour of Sobek I’d add to this list are all the Faiyum crocodile gods (like Soknopaios Nesos) from the Greek period, which are, as far as I know, tiny regional Sobeks, but that’s about all I can tell you about them. There are lists of names, but I’m not sure how they were conceived, whether they were separate gods, or just different names for Sobek in different regions of the Faiyum, and whether they were actually Egyptian in origin, or just a Greek creation.

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30 Days of Sobek: Day 6 – Other Related Deities

This is possibly a bit shorter than I’d have liked, but it’ll do. I’m going to post tomorrow’s now as well, because from next week, my Wednesdays are gonna get busy, so I might as well get Tues and Wed done at the same time. Then that’s one less thing to worry about.

I might actually expand this post at a later date, when I have more brain space to research this with more depth. I really don’t feel like I’ve done this bit justice, but hopefully, it’ll give you some idea of the gods associated with Sobek that aren’t family.

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30 Days of Sobek: Day 5 – Members of the Family

Sobek has a very small family, relative to other gods in the pantheon, I think. The only family – aside from consorts – Sobek has is Nit, His mother. This is the most common family given to Him. Whatever else He is, He is always son of Nit. You don’t really get one without the other.

His father is occasionally named as Set, or the more vague and unidentifable ‘Senwy’ (the two brothers) but more often his father is not mentioned. My own UPG from Nit is that She Herself is both father and mother to Sobek, that She did not need a father for Him to bring Sobek into the world.

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30 Days of Sobek: Day 4 – Myths about Sobek

As far as I’m aware, there are no surviving myths about Sobek, save for the Roman period Book of the Faiyum, which centred around Sobek-Ra and His journey through the sky. It’s very much Sobek-as-Ra in the Faiyum, and it is a fascinating text, from the snippets I’ve read about it. The book is as much a map of the Faiyum as it is a religious text. It has to explain the sun differently because it sits to the west of the Nile, and the sun rises and falls over the lake, not the Nile. So there’s some fascinating concepts and imagery that I would love to explore more deeply, including Nit as a hippopotamus, protecting Sobek as a crocodile on Her back.

But this is a hard text to study, simply because hardly anyone publishes any research on it (in an accessible-to-me way), and a full translation in English is nowhere to be found. So most of what I know about this text comes from a 51 page article by Horst Beinlich, which seems to have been part of a larger book I can’t find anywhere, that breaks down the text and describes each of the sections and what they contain. What’s in that article from 2013 is literally all I know, and all my google-fu can turn up.

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