A Graeco-Kemetic Evening Rite
This is the evening rite I do every day, and it goes with the morning rite. They come in a pair, and I’ve found I can’t just do one of them. If I do one, I have to do the other. Otherwise the heka isn’t complete.
It honours Hestia, Kheper-Ra-Temu, Sobek&Heru-sa-Aset, and Aset-Nut. It does bias the Kemetic side of things a little more than the Greek, but it works for me. I am probably more Kemetic than Greek anyway. It is based on the Heliopolitan myth cycle, following Ra’s journey across the sky and through the Duat, and calls on Hestia as my hearth Goddess.
Like the morning rite, it also has a series of gestures to go with it, but those will be detailed when I write up the silent rite with gestures.
This is the second of the rites I created, inspired by these Greek daily devotions based around the Orphic Hymns, written by Drew Campbell. It focuses on the night night journey through the Duat.
I used Thomas Taylor’s translations of the Orphic Hymns for the prayer to Hestia, and for the prayer to Sleep. I used them because they’re available, and I think the language is really beautiful. That said, I did modify the Sleep hymn a little; I removed the few default-masculine references to more gender-neutral language, and switched ‘mother earth’ to ‘the earth’, because the Earth is not feminine to me. Every other word is Taylor’s.
The hymn to Temu-Ra was formed from hymns to Ra from the Book of the Dead, using Budge’s translations as a base, and going from there I deleted some lines, added some of my own, rephrased some, and then rearranged and cut and edited it to make a hymn I could use. (See? Budge is useful for something!) I believe Temu-Ra’s was based off a hymn to the Evening Sun I found.
The hymn to Sobek and Heru-sa-Aset is a fork off the hymn found in the morning rite. It borrows from some of the Book of the Dead references to Sobek and His role in the Duat. (I have Faulkner’s translation. It is BEAUTIFUL.)
The hymn to Aset-Nut and the final closing hymn are ones I wrote myself.
Purifications are done before the rite. The basic version is to wash my face, mouth, and hands, and clean my teeth. It’s rare I shower before the evening rite, so I usually just do that basic one of washing face, mouth, and hands.
I dress the same as I do for my morning rite. The only change would be with the head coverings. I prefer black in the evening, as opposed to the light blue I wear in the mornings.
I empty the libations bowls if necessary, and refill the jug of water.
I usually spend a moment before the rite begins just quietly preparing myself, and entering that devotional mindset.
All the candles are lit before the rite begins, and I usually make sure I have enough light to read by, because the candles will be extinguished one by one as the rite progresses.
Offer henu. Same way I do it for the morning rite.
Recite the hymn to Hestia:
Daughter of Saturn, venerable dame,
The seat containing of unweary’d flame; 2
In sacred rites these ministers are thine,
Mystics much-blessed, holy and divine
In thee, the Gods have fix’d place, 5
Strong, stable, basis of the mortal race:
Eternal, much-form’d ever-florid queen,
Laughing and blessed, and of lovely mien; 8
Accept these rites, accord each just desire,
And gentle health, and needful good inspire.
Light incense. Again, oil burner and frankincense oil.
Recite the hymn to Temu-Ra:
Homage to You, Ra!
You who are Kheper-Ra when You rise,
and who are Temu-Ra when You set in beauty.
Welcome, welcome, You are to be adored.
Your beauties are before my eyes,
and Your radiance is on my body.
You go forth to Your setting in the Night Boat with fair winds,
and Your heart is glad; the heart of the Day Boat rejoices.
You stride over the heavens in peace,
and all Your foes are cast down;
The stars which never rest sing hymns of praise to You,
and glorify You as You sink to rest in the horizon of Manu.
You who are beautiful at dawn and dusk,
You, Lord who live, and are established, my Lord!
Extinguish Temu-Ra’s candle.
Recite the Nighttime Hymn to Sobek and Heru-sa-Aset:
Greetings to You, Sobek from Crocodopolis,
Ra, Heru-sa-Aset, powerful God.
Greetings to You, Sobek from Crocodopolis,
Greetings to You who comes from the original waters,
Great ancient being, first of His kind, Great Cosmic Creator!
Greetings to You, who escapes the fish-traps,
and escorts Temu-Ra’s barque through the Duat.
Greetings to You, Sobek the Rager,
Who carries off by violence the enemies of Ra.
Fearsome Crocodile, the earth trembles as You draw near,
and all flee in terror at the sight of You.
Make way, for the Night Barque approaches,
Defended by the mighty Sobek,
Who navigates the waters like no other.
Greetings to You, Heru-sa-Aset,
Greetings to You, who holds the rudder steady,
Great Falcon, whose eyes are sharp and bright,
with piercing beak and fearsome talons to shred and tear,
His Eye sees all the enemies of Ra, none can hide from Him,
and they fall, defeated, as the fire of the Eye engulfs them.
Greetings to You, Heru-sa-Aset,
You, who steers the Night Barque with Your Mother by Your side.
Djehuty and Ma’at keep watch beside You.
Come, now, Great Crocodile of the Faiyuum,
Come, now, Great Falcon, and bring Your Eye
For night has fallen, and Temu-Ra has been established.
Be now at His side, and slay all who wish to harm Him.
Grant Him safe passage, Great Sobek,
Navigate the waters safely, Great Heru-sa-Aset,
And guide Him who rises as Kheper-Ra, and sets as Temu-Ra!
Extinguish Sobek and Heru-sa-Aset’s candles.
Recite the Nighttime Hymn to Aset-Nut:
Hail to You, Aset-Nut,
Whose star shines brightly.
The Dog Star heralds the New Year,
as You herald a new day.
Great Aset, Great of Magic,
You who knows the secret name of Ra,
Bind Him close to You and protect Him.
Great Eye of Ra, shoot your starfire at all who threaten the Night Boat
Protect Him, Great Eye, so He may rise again.
Aset-Nut, the starry, starry sky,
You fill the sky with darkness,
Diamonds sparkling everywhere with Iah the only light cast on the earth.
The land sings praises to You as the night falls,
Ever enduring, Aset-Nut, endures forever,
Night and day, day and night,
Aset-Nut watches over Ra,
and He is protected.
Aset-Nut, Great Lady,
Lend us Your magics, so the sun might rise again.
Extinguish Aset’s candle. Hestia’s flame and any other shrine lamps are the only ones left now, excluding any other forms of light around. Which is why I make sure I have enough light to read by. 😉 Still working on memorising all these hymns so I only need the book for reference if I have a brain freeze.
Recite the Hymn for Sleep:
Sleep, king of Gods, and those of mortal birth,
Sov’reign of all sustain’d by the Earth;
For thy dominion is supreme alone,
O’er all extended, and by all things known.
‘Tis thine all bodies with benignant mind 5
In other bands than those of brass to bind:
Tamer of cares, to weary toil repose,
From whom sweet solace in affliction flows.
Thy pleasing, gentle chains preserve the soul,
And e’en the dreadful cares of death controul; 10
For death and Lethe with oblivious stream,
Mortals thy genuine siblings justly deem.
With fav’ring aspect to my pray’r incline,
And save thy mystics in their works divine.
Pour five-fold libation – again, same as morning rite. I offer to Hestia, Ma’at, Wepwawet, the Ancestors, and the God Clan/personal Gods. I also revert the offering, and take a sip of the water offered to the Gods. This is also the only offering made during the evening rite.
Spend personal time with the Gods, and make personal prayers and supplications. Sometimes I meditate, or just sit quietly. If I’m doing it right before bed, I like to spend a moment calming myself down and preparing the mind for sleep.
Recite the Hymn of the Descent Into Nut:
Ra descends into the veiled darkness,
Fighting once more to rise again.
Nut takes Him into Her body,
and Ma’at embraces Him with Her arms.
He is seated in His boat, He is established,
and all His enemies quiver as He approaches
The Strongest, Lord Set, stands proud at the helm,
His spear sharp and ready.
Heru sees all with His Eye as He steers.
Djehuty, Great of Magic and Wisdom, stands ready,
Aset, Great Eye of Ra, watches.
Sobek carries off by violence all who would challenge Him
The barque is protected,
The serpent shall be defeated.
Ra will rise triumphant once more.
Extinguish remaining candles. Hestia’s are left to last.
Close the shrine and bid the Gods goodnight.
Remove the foot to end the rite.