TPE – Wk 10 – As Above, So Below

What do you seek from the Divine? How is that reflected in the mundane? Where do you find your place of synthesis?

IDK if it’s just me, but I’m not fond of the wording of this prompt. But I’ll do my best anyway. I’ll also use gods instead of ‘The Divine’, because the latter isn’t relevant to my theology or practice. I don’t really have any unified concept of ‘The Divine’; it makes no sense to me in a polytheistic framework. Others may disagree, but for me, it doesn’t work, so I won’t use it.

And, of course, this changes the nature of the question, because what I seek from my gods really depends on the god. The nature of our relationships are always different, depending on the work we need to do together. Sometimes, it’s not what I seek from Them, but what They seek from me. Sometimes, they just turn up and say hi. Because gods idek.

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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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Shedety Shrine is finished

Thought it was about time I did a proper post about the finished shrines. They take up a lot more of the room than the old ones did, and I guess that’s a sign of my shift in priorities and whatnot. It’s still undergoing minor adjustments, but otherwise, it’s done.

Sobek’s named it the Shedety Shrine, so that’s what I’m going to keep calling it. It’s the name for the whole, as much as for the Sobek/Heru part itself. It doesn’t cover the other shrines around the room, but that’s alright. Those are kind of separate. This is a full working shrine, where everything is integrated into the whole. It’s nice to get used to using it, and lighting candles, and saying my prayers. Getting used to the new space, and what I can do with it, and when I need more space. What I want to show, and what can go away for now.

The festival shrine proved the hardest to place, but having it below the Sobek/Heru shrine seemed like the best place, and gave me the most space to work with. We’ll see how well it works over the course of the next year of festivals. I might make some adjustments as I go along as to how I lay things out, and make it work.

Anyway, have a gallery of images, because there are 17 photos, and I cbf writing a tl;dr post of photos. It’s under the cut, and you should be able to click through to larger versions. I’ve added in as many proper explanations as I can for what’s there, but if anything’s unclear, feel free to ask.

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Feast of the Dressing

Sobek/Heru-sa-Aset shrine overview

All set up for Wep Ronpet! 😀

It has really felt like the last day of the year, though. Lotsa things went wrong. Photos got deleted. I broke a camera. My mother broke both a bowl, AND her best sewing machine. FML, etc. But I did get my shrine redone properly, finished two sets of liturgy for Wep Ronpet, and for the next equinox, AND I wrote 1000+ words today, so! Counting my victories and all that. Took the chance to take everything down and clean it, since sometimes I need to do that, and to make it a little less cluttered. My shrines are good at gathering clutter. So sometimes I need to cut it down. And the last day of the year seems like as good a time as any.

I like Wep Ronpet, anyway. I like that chance to start anew. I don’t know how much of a coincidence that I set it to fall on the same day as Lammas, but eh. I think it’s kinda cool, and seeing Lammas as a first harvest, and also taking the chance, at Wep Ronpet, to look back at what I’ve achieved, and to look forward at what’s to come, seems like a good thing. I’ll decide on whether to do some traditional isfet smiting during the ritual, or at a separate time. I think it’s always better to focus a ritual on a single goal, rather than try to do several things at once. So I might leave the smiting til later.

Anyway, have some more photos of my shrine, and paragraphs of explanations. WOO. ❤

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Back to Basics

Sobek and Heru-sa's Shrine

Newly-redone shrine. Icons are on top of the shrine because the big ones don’t fit. Apologies for the flash glare, too, but it’s late, and it’s the only way to take decent pictures with my shitty camera, since I can’t find the good one. I will do a more full proper shrine post at a later date so you can see where everything has ended up, but for now, admire the new set-up. And yes, that is a Feraligatr between the two horses. I regret nothing.

I think it takes a lot to go back to the beginning, particularly on any kind of spiritual path. Once you get so far along, you kind of feel like you know what you’re doing, and don’t feel like you need to teach yourself much. But, I don’t know, perhaps it’s the lot of a polytheist, but I feel like I’ve been collecting too much lately. My path and practice has become too full of thing, too full of festivals and gods, that I have come to feel burnt out. And I didn’t even recognise the fact that I was burnt out until today. But that’s what I am. I’m burnt out, and I need a rest.

It’s not just the subtle proddings by Woden (and possibly some ancestors) to look into Anglo-Saxon paganism (because apparently that might have been what the ancestors actually meant when they were talking about ‘The Old Ways’ they wanted me to bring back, rather than the Welsh polytheism I assumed they meant), or the calendars, and the SDF rituals I’ve been doing, but I don’t know. Somehow, it’s all felt like … too much. I’ve got to the point where I just need to stop, and evaluate just what is really important to my path, which gods I would be willing to spend time with on a regular basis, and what needs to be left behind. And also how to fit said ‘Old Saxon Ways’ into my path in any kind of meaningful way, if that’s what is being asked of me. (Though, I have just started Wyrdworking by Alaric Albertsson, and my reaction thus far has been, ‘Oh, so his definition of magic is pretty much heka, but in a different language. /finally understands the point of runes’. So. /ponders.)

It’s entirely possible this is related to my nearly 30th birthday at the end of the year, but that might just be a coincidence. Either way, I’ve decided to start again, right from the very beginning. I’ve stripped back all my shrines and redressed them. I’ve set Sobek and Heru-sa-Aset on my old festival shrine; They are the only gods on that shrine now. I’ve also kept Hekate’s shrine, because She has a tendency to help me when I get to these crossroads moments. The rest of my icons are on Sobek’s old shrine by my bed. It’s still a shrine, but it’s not one I will use (yet.)

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The Night Vigil

Wesir is established

I took several photos of the shrine throughout the night, but this one is my favourite. Wesir standing tall again, showing us His face. Welcome back, my Lord. It is good to see Your beautiful face. ❤ I like that there’s still a little water caught in His eye from the purifications.

So the Night Vigil is done, and the shrine redressed for the feast of Sokar-Wesir today. In some ways, it wasn’t as long a night as if I’d kept vigil from midnight to 6am, but it was still long. The first hour is always hardest, though it became easier after the first three were over. Wanted to read out the names of my ancestors during the first hour as well, but I just didn’t have the voice for it. Did some blogging at my private WP blog during the vigil, because I was in my room and it was nice to have my computer near by to keep my thoughts in order as I waited and watched. I’ll stick ’em behind a cut, because they got quite long, though some are rather shorter than others. All are unedited.

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Festival Shrine: Mysteries of Wesir

Yeah, it’s kind of not for another couple of weeks for me, but I wanted to set it up now before my period turns up and I have to abstain from touching shrine things until it’s over. It’s been on my mind anyway, and it’s nice to have it all done so I can worry about other preparations, like the litany-story-thing Sobek has been prodding me about this afternoon, which I think He wants me to use for the Mysteries at some point? IDK, anyway, have some photos. 😀

Overall image

The shrine as a whole, with statues, and offering bowl, candles, incense burner, and other assorted things.

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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.)

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A Silent Ritual of Gestures

Still working on my T post for PBP because I can’t really think of anything to write about, but in the meantime, I’ve been having Thinky Thoughts about this idea of a silent ritual of gestures, and how to deal with my menstrual cycle and my daily rites and ritual purity and whatnot. I like being able to do my rites and I miss the days when I can’t do them, so I’m trying to find a way to still do them while not compromising my own ritual purity. I happened upon this video on Youtube a while back, and it got me thinking about silent rites and ritual gestures again.

I got thinking about this with regards to silent rituals with gestures because I got thinking about heka and what it is. It’s a form of magic that’s meant to be spoken aloud, it’s authoritative speech, and that’s half the reason my mouth in particular needs to be purified before rites, so it is pure enough to speak the words of the rites. My daily rites are a very personal form of heka, and that requires certain purifications that I’m still figuring out. Though I think I’ve got the natron purification sorted, I think. Will need to play around with that and see how well it works, and if it needs any tweaks.

It’s also interesting – to me, anyway – because of a magic system I came up with for an epic Georgian/Regency steampunk novel thing that was essentially magic made with gestures and words. The gesturing was very important to get right, moreso than the word itself. Gestures are combined together to create spells, and come from about ten different ‘classes’/elemental types, along with other more universal gestures for beginning/ending/invoking/banishing/etc.

A master magician in that world could gesture without words to create magic. You could even do it with music if you could figure out the sound of the gesture (like the ren in Kemetic thought, the true name of something/someone, that it’s a sound rather than a word? I think I nicked it from there.), so that playing the ‘true sound’ of a  gesture is what is used to cast the magic. This is also a system of magic that Amun and Djehuty seem quite interested in.

What I also like about the idea of doing my daily rites in silence with gestures is that it kind of makes sense to me as a way around purity issues and the role I play as lector priest during the rites. The recitation of the hymns is the most important part of my rites, but if I’m not able to be ritually pure enough during menstruation to recite them, then saying them in my head with gestures might be a way around that. I also like it as an alternative when I’m travelling and can’t have candles or a shrine or anything like that. It’s more subtle as all it requires is a quiet space and my hands (and my mini grimoire/prayer book). So I think I’ll play around with this for the last few days of this cycle, and see how it goes.

S is for Sobek, Heru-sa-Aset, Priesting, and Other Stuff

I’m sure you’re all very surprised that one of my S topics is SOBEK, Crocodile God of All Things Awesome. 😀 I mean, I started up Per Sebek in His honour eight years ago, and it’s still going, even though the host and format has changed. He wasn’t the first God I worshipped, but one of the first, and as my Father, He holds a special place above all the other Gods in my life.

I’m going to try not to repeat myself here, because I feel like I’ve tl;dr’d myself to death about Sobek and my experiences with Him. I’m also not going to go into a factual history of Him either as I’ve got that covered elsewhere on the site. Which did leave me somewhat bereft of things to talk about. But I suspect this entry would be very different had I written it all a week ago. Now, it’s all changed. Because Sobek is a bastard.

So, instead of a plain old boring entry on Sobek, I’m probably going to ramble on about Sobek and priesting for Him and all manner of other assorted things. Which seems a little aimless, but I do have a point to make, even if this isn’t as particularly as specific as some of my other posts. Then again, last week’s started as an idea about ritual and then just rambled on about God Clans until I finally figured out what my point was, but anyway.

That, and I kind of feel like I need to talk about this at some point, and I have all these Thinky Thoughts about this and what it all means. I’ve been writing about it in my private WP blog, but I think I’ve taken these thoughts as far as that will go, and they are in need of an audience. I feel like now is probably not a bad time to try to articulate the kind of relationship I have with Him, since it’s kind of changed (in a way) and I kind of feel a need to talk about it.

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