I’ve spent a long time trying to figure out the best way to do these, since I’ve gone through so many different forms of daily devotional rites over the years. I wanted something that was simple and short, that you could do in five minutes, and required the bare minimum of stuff, for those who might be just starting out as a Kemetic, and wanting something to at least get started with, that they can build on later. I also wanted it to be free from my weird UPG things, so it was more applicable to other people.
It riffs off my shortform Kemetic rite, but with a more casual and less formal structure/style. The shortform rite could be used as a daily devotional, if you were so inclined, but not everyone works well with formal ritual on a daily basis, and if you’re just starting out as a Kemetic, maybe the idea of a formal ritual every day is a bit daunting. Or you’re just not much of a ritualist, and want to keep things simple and informal. Or you just want to start small and work up to something more meaty. It could also be done while travelling, since it requires very little by way of tools and items, if you can’t do your normal rites while you’re away, but still want to spend time with the gods every day.
Which is not to say that this is the best way to do any of these things, because there are other rituals and devotionals and daily rites around the traps if you’re interested in those. And of course you might have your own idiosyncratic ways of doing things that you prefer. This is just another option, which may work for you, or not. I make no claims to its historical authenticity; it’s a modern rite. Customise at will.
It’s written to be performed for the Netjeru in general, but you can substitute ‘O Gods/O Netjeru’ with any specific names you like, if you have relationships with specific gods you wish to honour. The rite can be modified to work for honouring multiple gods, such as offering light and incense to each in turn, and doing separate libations for them. You can pour individual libations into separate bowls, if you like. Other offerings of bread or other food could be made, if you so desire.
Things You’ll Need:
- A shrine. This can be as simple or as complicated as you wish to make it. Have an example of a simple shrine I made. It has pretty much everything you need for this devotional, if you’re looking for somewhere to start. Don’t stress if you can’t get everything right away, if you’re just starting out. If you already have a shrine, awesome. Use that.
- Candle or shrine lamps. These can be simple LED candles if you can’t use a naked flame.
- Incense and incense burner. Use whatever works for you (oil, resin, sticks/cones). Frankincense, if you want a scent that’s generally acceptable.
- Something to anoint yourself with. Frankincense oil, if you can afford it, any other essential oil you have, perfume/perfume oil, or even water, if that’s all you’ve got.
- Two libation bowls. These can be small bowls, or shot glasses, or whatever small containers you have access to that will hold liquid without leaking.
- Jug/cup of water. You could also offer beer, wine, spirits, juice, milk, or anything else you like. But water is a good default, and perfectly acceptable.
- Anything else you are using for the rite, such as additional offerings, or any other prayers/hymns/etc you are going to use.
With the caveat that these names for the gestures are mine, and used to differentiate them in a simple way.
- Offering: either standing or kneeling, hold your arms out in front of you with your palms facing the ceiling.
- Praise: stand facing the shrine, hold your arms close to your body, and have your palms held up facing the shrine at about head height. This is my default one, if you want somewhere to start.
- Adoration/Jubilation: kneeling on your right knee, with your left foot beside your knee, your right fist over your heart, and your left fist raised level to your head.
- Deep Reverence/Submission: full prostration/’kissing the ground’. I do this from a kneeling position, bending forward until my forehead touches the ground, keeping my hands near/beside my head. (You do not actually have to kiss the ground.)
A Note on Ancestors/Akhu:
This rite does include a libation poured to the ancestors/akhu, because it is important to Kemetic religion to honour the ancestors, and I felt it was a simple enough way to get started on honouring the ancestors for someone starting out. But of course, humans are humans, and if you don’t feel comfortable offering to your ancestors, don’t offer to your ancestors.
If you are going to offer to your ancestors, you might want to include a representation of them on your shrine, such as a five pointed star, or an image of a false door, or have a list of their names, or an image of Nut’s starry body or perhaps Wesir, or perhaps cut out stars and write their names on them. You could also use personal effects of your ancestors, if you have any. Use whatever works for you and your circumstances.
Also, while the libations for the gods can be reverted, libations poured to the ancestors should not be reverted, and should be poured out into the earth after the rite. This is why two libation bowls are used. If you must pour both god and ancestor libations into the same bowl, do not revert the offering, and pour the water out after the rite.
0) Before you begin, set up your shrine and make sure everything is at hand. This rite is designed to be done without ritual purifications, but you can do a simple wash of your mouth and hands with salt/natron and water mixed together if you so desire.
1) Sit/stand/approach the shrine and offer henu.
2) Anoint your brow with a dab of oil/perfume/water/etc and say: “Bathe me in your scent, O Gods.”
3) Light candles/shrine lamps and say: “Come and receive the light, O Gods, and purify me.”
4) Light incense and say: “May the scent of the Gods purify and bless me.”
5) Make your libations. You may offer henu before you make them, if you like. This can be done for individual gods, or for the gods as a whole. Take your water and pour a little into one of the bowls for the gods and say: “It is pure. This libation is for you, O Gods. May you be cooled.”
6) Revert the libation by taking a sip, and setting the bowl down again. Repeat this for any further libations to the gods you perform. Do not revert libations to the ancestors.
7) Make a libation to the ancestors. Pour a little water into the second bowl and say: “It is pure. This libation is for you, shining ones. May you be cooled.”
8) Offer henu.
9) Spend time in the presence of the gods. You can merely spend time in silence, make private prayers, speak to any gods you are close to, or wish to be close to, or recite hymns, prayer, or adorations. You could also do devotional work, such as art or journaling, if you have the time to spare. Just sitting and being in their presence for a moment can be enough.
10) To finish the rite, offer henu, and then say: “Hail to you, O Gods, I am purified, and have made these rituals with you. May you look favourably upon me, and be at peace with me.”
11) Extinguish candles/lamps, incense (if desired), and close the shrine. You may offer henu one last time, and then remove the foot (take three steps backwards from the shrine) to close, or just take a step back.