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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Kemetic Round Table: Ritual Purity

This is the first in a series of posts that is part of a new Kemetic blogging project called the Kemetic Round Table that aims to provide practical, useful information for Kemetic practitioners of any stripe from beginners to more experienced practitioners. Check the link here for more information about the project, and click here to see responses to this topic from the other bloggers taking part in this project.

Ritual purity is a common thing in many religious traditions. Indeed, many Pagan ritual formats include pre-ritual purifications, and modern Kemetic practices are no different. It’s something I got used to when I became Wiccan over a decade ago, and continued doing as I wandered around as an eclectic Kemetic Pagan for a while, and then as a Kemetic Orthodox shemsu for six years. I’ve done it in many ways, using oils in bath water to herbal rinses to incense and water and salt, to the Senut purifications that are part of the Kemetic Orthodox tradition.

Ritual purity is important, and being physically and mentally clean before approaching shrine is a good thing to do regularly. It’s something I’ve had drilled into me since I became Kemetic Orthodox, and I’ve brought that with me when I left the House a couple of years ago.

There were many ancient prohibitions and purity rules that we know of today, mainly from the Temple cults. These included rules about body hair, physical cleanliness, blood, dietary, and sexual rules, as well as what to not wear, and how to dress and prepare yourself. Shadows of the Sun has done an excellent overview of historical purity rules, so I’ll point you over there, rather than repeat them here.

For those new to this blog, while I am mostly Kemetic in my practices, I practice a Graeco-Roman-Kemetic polytheistic syncetism, and what I do will not always be strictly Kemetic, nor particularly reconstructionist. Any non-Kemetic aspects to my practice will be stated as such, so no one’s confused. Not everyone wants to do syncretism like I do, but I still think it’s important to talk about how I do things, because I think even fewer syncretists talk about this sort of thing than Kemetics do.

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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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V is for Veiling A Shrine

Look! A wild PBP post appeared! 😀

Y’know, I’m half convinced my muses have taken the last few weeks off, because I gave it three exams and NaNo to deal with in November, and I think they’re all bloody exhausted. Have done little writing in December, and even less on the PBP posts I need to catch up with. I still feel a little braindead, tbh, but gaming has helped. I’d forgotten just how damn pretty the water in Age of Empires III is. ❤ *makes yet another British Home City to play with* And, y’know, my GenII Pokémon games won’t play themselves, so. Distractions ahoy! 😀

Nevertheless, I persevere. I want to get all these done by the end of the year, dammit, even if I’m up late on New Year’s Eve and post the last one at 11:59pm. I WILL GET THEM ALL DONE. Even that last P post I kept procrastinating on. 😀 So I’ve sat meself down and got three done. This one, the next V one, and the first W post. Progress! 😀 Will post the other two tomorrow, I think.

Anyway. Enough of my rambling. I thought I’d tackle shrine veiling for this post because it’s something I’ve done for most of the time I’ve been Pagan, and I don’t know if anyone else actually does it, so I thought I’d take some time to talk about why I veil my shrine and what it means to me. And, IDK, if anyone else does it, do let me know? I’d love to know I’m not the only one who does this.

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I has an Aset-Nut!

Inspired by this thread over on the HoN boards. And by Aset-Nut pretty much telling me to go! paint! Her! naow! this afternoon. So I obeyed. And thus, I have spent the last hour painting my first statue. Achievement unlocked!

Painted Egyptian statue of Aset-Nut

It isn’t the world’s greatest paint job, given all the tricksy little almost-impossible-to-reach places and my not-very-steady hand, but I guess She wouldn’t have bugged me to do it if She didn’t want it, dodgy painting skillz aside.

I had thought about painting on the vulture headdress, but I decided I’d stretched my skills far enough, and decided against it. It wasn’t present on the statue before I’d painted it, excepting the vulture poking out from the brow, so I had no guide there to follow either. That would’ve helped, tbh. But She seems pleased with it, so I can’t really complain.

Apparently I have too many Isis statues? Because this one was standing in for Isis, but apparently that’s the other Aset-suckling-Heru on my divination shrine that’s being Isis. So this one has become Aset-Nut. Heru has become baby!Ra, and His skin is ever-so-slightly blue because I suck at painting. XD

U is for UPG and Reconstructionism

I’m either brave or stupid for tackling the topic of Unverified Personal Gnosis, right? It’s, like, the cornerstone of much of the Pagan and Recon communities in how they conceptualise their religious experiences. I feel like it’s got a ‘Mess With This At Your Peril’ sign hanging off it.

*shrugs, charges in anyway*

You see, I have Thoughts about it that I’m not expecting everyone to agree with, or even adopt for themselves. But I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately, particularly as I try and figure out where I am in relation to reconstructionist religions, and how our approaches differ. I’ll add that I will mostly be talking about Kemetic reconstructionism, though, for anyone playing at home, as it’s the one I have the most experience with. It may not ring true for any other flavours of reconstructionism. It probably doesn’t and nor is it meant to.

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Box shrines are done!

I wanted to keep it quite simple, so there wasn’t much else to add to them, apart from the appropriate hieroglyphs. I decided against sealing them for the time being, because I like the texture of the papers I’ve used, particularly for the front of Wesir’s. Plus, things sitting on an inside shrine that probably won’t be moved aren’t likely to get into too much trouble. If I decide to make them more portable, I will probably seal them then, just to protect them.

Used those gold and silver metallic paint pen things to write/draw with, because I am more accurate than if I used a paintbrush. Oh, and a blue Artline marker because I can’t do Wesir’s crook and flail without gold and blue. So there.

I’ve rearranged the shrine a bit too, to make room for everything. The two horses have moved, because things didn’t want to work with them anymore. So I’ve left them on the makeshift ancestor shrine, as representations of Sobek and Heru doing Their Duat-y… thing. Or something. (They might move again. Maybe they’ll go back with the other Grand Champions horses. IDK.)

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N is for Names

Craft Names and other religious names come up a lot in Pagan circles. The idea of taking a new religious name as a way of ‘being born’ into your new path isn’t one that’s unique to Wicca and Paganism. I’ve heard of similar traditions in Judaism, Islam and Hinduism, at least with regards to converts, though there are probably others too that I’m not aware of.

Taking a new religious name is a way of naming yourself. Most of the time, we’re given names by our parents, ones we don’t choose and have to live with unless we decide to change them and pick something else. Choosing your own name can be a powerful experience, and it can bring a lot of confidence with it. ‘This is who I really am’, ‘this is what I want the world to call me’, these are powerful things one can do, and sometimes give a sense of control over your own identity. Sometimes, too, it’s a way of escaping a name you were given but have never identified with for whatever reason. People choose names for themselves for a variety of reasons, and this extends to choosing religious or Craft names for Pagans. Because names are such a personal thing, I try not to judge people based on their chosen Craft names, even if they sound daft. You never know, that person calling themselves Merriweather Moonshine might have some very good reasons for using that name that you might not be aware of. So I try to respect that.

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Sabbats and Calendars

Because obviously yesterday was the best day ever to finally get me some Wheel of the Year inspiration happening. I’ve at least pinned down which Gods I might want to mostly focus on for each, but I haven’t got any overarching narrative structure yet. IDK if I’ll get that far, and this isn’t even a particularly queer version either. I think there’s more work to do on a deliberately queer Wheel that I’m not quite at yet, because I think that one will need and overarching narrative that I’m still piecing together, so that’s for later. But having a Wheel I can personally work with does help in getting to that point. It’s like, I need to know the rules before I break them, so I want to understand what each Sabbat is about in order to help figure out how to queer it properly in a manner that makes sense.

This is part of me figuring out how to structure my path, too. Knowing what my yearly calendar will be like, I can go down to a seasonal and then a monthly level, and then figure out what to do each day. It’s harder to build from the day to the year, so I do it the other way around. Knowing who I want to honour on each of the Sabbats makes it easier to pin down the rest of my yearly festival calendar.

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I is for Imbolc

I really like Imbolc. I haven’t been all that fastidious with celebrating it, but it’s one I’m very fond of. Perhaps because I’ve done so many re-dedication rites on that night. Perhaps that’s why I like it. But I’ve always loved the Festival of Lights aspect to it, and as I figure out my own personal Wheel, that’s the aspect I’m most keen to work with.

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