Heru-sa-Aset, my Father’s Twin

I feel like I don’t have a lot to talk about regarding Heru-sa-Aset. He still feels like such a mystery to me, though I feel I am slowly beginning to get to know Him. He was one of the two gods in my RPD line-up that I wasn’t expecting when I was divined in 2006; the other was Wepwawet. Heru was divined as my first beloved, though apparently He was so close to my Father Sobek, I didn’t know He was there. That was what Hemet told me. It’s accurate enough. I didn’t have any inkling that He would be turning up at all. The only experience I’d ever had with what I know suspect was Heru was … perhaps 8-10 years ago, when I was meditating in the bath, and I saw myself standing on the inner edge of a temple courtyard, looking out through the pillars to the bright land outside, and my vision was framed by brown wings, as if a bird was settled on my shoulders, with its wings stretched around my head to protect me.

This is the image I still mostly see when I think of Heru. I wasn’t expecting Him to be as falcon-y as He is, but perhaps it’s influenced by how crocodilian Sobek is with me. Neither of Them show me particularly human faces, except when I’m imagining Heru as a child. I feel like at some point, He learns the falcon transformation (from Sobek, or His mother Aset), and it’s a reflection of His true nature. /random mythfic plotting.

I have often found Heru frustratingly hard to grasp or get to know. He always felt just out of reach, like I could almost grasp a tail feather, but He’s too fast and flies away. He hardly ever spoke to me, nor did I ever particularly feel like He wanted to get to know me. I felt like He was too distant, too stuck up in the skies, to want to connect to me. I always felt a little sad about that, particularly because I kept hearing about other shemsu and their relationships with Heru-sa-Aset, and I felt like I was dealing with a different face of the god that they were seeing. Couple that with the fact that I can’t separate Sobek and Heru, and it’s just hard work for little reward.

I felt like I spent six fruitless years banging my head against a brick wall before I felt any ounce of reciprocity from Him. Perhaps it was part of the plan, that I wasn’t ready to deal with Heru until now. Perhaps these things happen for a reason. But I felt like I was only seeing half the picture, that without Heru, Sobek just wasn’t all there.

I can’t say for certain exactly when I started placing my Sobek and Heru statues side by side on my shrine, but it was probably at some point in either 2008 or 2009. It was one of those things that happened when I was cleaning and redressing the shrines, and once I put Them together, there was no separating Them. They stayed together ever since.

And for anyone wondering why that’s particularly significant, well, I was Kemetic Orthodox at the time, and I was building my shrine with Sobek at the highest point, because He was my Father, and had my four Beloveds on a lower level around Him. But to suddenly have Sobek and Heru next to each other, as if I had two Parents, always felt a little odd. I felt I was being deceptive, but I wasn’t. I was just reflecting the relationships between my gods, and even Hemet had been the one to tell me my Heru and Sobek were very close indeed, so close I couldn’t even see Heru. But appearances mean a lot when you’re in a group, and while no one ever gave me shit about it, I still worried about it.

It was in 2010 when everything began to get thrown into the air. I’d had a couple of brief experiences with Heru’s presence, but I felt it was more like reassuring me that He was still there than anything significant. Aset had turned up and pointed at Rome. Other things were happening that were throwing what had once been quite a stable path into chaos. I left Kemetic Orthodoxy, and went my own way. I was given some UPG that changed the focus of my path completely. It took four years for the dust to settle.

Heru’s become a little more present since then. Not as much as Sobek, but I have got many years to catch up when it comes to Heru. I’ve known Sobek for over ten years now. With Heru, I’ve had much less time to get to know Him. But that seems to be changing. He’s still a falcon, and He still sometimes feels distant, but we’re making progress. During a meditation session, falcon!Heru picked me up in His claws, and we soared through the sky together. It was the first time we’d been bodily close, that I felt He wanted to get to know me. I still feel that sensation, of being pressed against His feathered body, with the thermals carrying us around, and the huge sweeping beat of His wings propelling us forward. I was clinging to Him, but I never felt like He would let me go. I never felt like I would fall. I can still hear His piercing shriek rippling through the air.

I’ve also had a few lingering experiences with both Harpocrates and Heru-pa-khered. And, yes, They feel distinctly different to me. Harpocrates, as a god of silence, and a child god closely associated with the winter solstice, feels completely different to Heru-pa-khered. Harpocrates is found in the silence of the night, in that cold stillness, in the warmth of a candle flame burning in the darkness. Harpocrates is that first day after solstice, when the days begin to grow longer, and the sun begins to strengthen. He is that spark of hope when the winter closes in, that it won’t last forever.

Heru-pa-khered is older, more Heru-ish, more falconish, and more human, in a way. For me, Heru-pa-khered is Heru-sa-Aset as a young god. Not yet a falcon, not yet strong enough to avenge Wesir, still vulnerable and human, and in need of protection. The most potent image I have of Him is seeing Him standing on the uppermost branch of a large sycamore tree as a young boy, reaching for the Heavens where He can’t yet go, yearning for His father.

I’m still not entirely clear about my relationship with Heru. It’s tied up with Sobek, and all I really know is that it just doesn’t work if He’s not there too. So I’ll keep working at Heru, and see what comes of it.

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