Category Archives: kemetic

Sekhem Talisman Day #3

My Sekhem pendant is about about the size of a set of dog tags; which makes it only slightly smaller than a license plate! Don’t get me wrong; I absolutely love it! Aidan made a beautiful piece that I wear daily, and happily so. It is the one that he made that I have posted pictures of in earlier entries rather than the one that I am working with for this 30 day challenge project. The current sekhem pendant is the second one that I have commissioned from a silversmith that was made to my own specifications.

The first pendant, by contrast, is very delicate and is a 3D miniature of the actual object rather than the glyph inside a cartouche.

sekhem pendant #1

Sekhem Pendant made by Michael Holland

The problem is, right now, that particular piece has got a very distinct stress point where the baton portion of the scepter meets the lutus-shaped base of the sekhem flabellum and the slightest pressure on it will cause it to bend. I know that it would break if I were to dare to wear it before it is fixed. Ultimately, it was damaged because I very stupidly slept with it on for the entire summer. Most jewelry isn’t meant for that kind of abuse – especially not fine, highly pure silver that has very slender parts to begin with! So, now I have to send it to a place that specializes in a sort of laser repair. There is one “locally.” eg. somewhere here in Iowa, but I am more inclined to send it back to the silversmith in Montana, Michael Holland, whom I originally commissioned it from to see what he can do.

This little dilemma between the two Sekhem’s actually got me to thinking about subtle power and not so subtle power and the comfort levels of each. Subtle power is not so noticible whereas, overt power tends to be out there and often get attention. As such, it can make the wielder of that more overt type of power at times feel a bit self-conscious about it. Learning how to deal with that difference can be a bit of a task. Sometimes, speaking from experience, being the less overt bit of power behind something has its advantages because there is great power, great sekhem in being underestimated. Either one has its place and it’s that which was my focus on this day.

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Sekhem Talisman – Day #2

Nefertari making offerings

Nefertari from her tomb in the Valley of the Queens, Egypt

Yesterday marked the second day of rituals that I will be performing around the Sekhem amulet / talisman created by Aidan Watcher for the 30 Day Talisman Challenge as posted by Andrieh Vitimus.

The daily rite was performed with the usual purifications and invocations. Because I had an intensely busy day, after the purifications and invocations, I began to set the focus on being what Sekhem means. I spent most of the day meditating on this idea and what the symbol and the actual concept means for me as an individual in my own life and what it means on a larger, global scale. There are far too many ways in which power, both personal and on a larger scale is misused. With power or sekhem comes a great deal of responsibility. Each choice we make, each action we choose has within it the idea of sekhem. Those of us who are Kemetic often know that the cornerstone, indeed the foundation of all of this is the idea of ma’at.

Perhaps the largest focus for me is overcoming the element of fear. That may be something that one would believe that a daughter of Sekhmet would not have but I can assure you, at times we do; just like everyone else!During the meditation it became quite apparent to me that even a seeming weakness, however, can ultimately lead to strength in that area or another one that compensates. Sometimes fear can be a phantom and what is perceived is not real at all. The power or the sekhem in this is knowing what is real, or what is Ma’at and not. Since Sekhmet, the personification of what Sekhem actually is, upholds Ma’at or rightness – order, it seemed more than a little appropriate that differentiation and discernment would be a part of that process.

Later today I will post for Day 3 of the rites in this challenge.

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30 Day Talisman Challenge – Sekhem Talisman – Day 1

Since my practices are Kemetic (Ancient Egyptian), we tend to do our rituals a little differently. I decided to actually start the consecration of the amulet today, as the year turns from 2013 to 2014 and when the Moon is New. For this specific ritual as I do most times, I am working with Sekhmet, who is my Spiritual Mother, and also the God Amun.

My entry into the 30 Day Talisman Challenge is working with a pendant that I did not create, but rather worked with jewelry smith and magician, Aidan Watcher. I helped design the piece and my friend who is an extraordinary craftsman made the pendant is of solid silver. The symbol at the centre of the cartouche is Gardiner Sign S42 and represents a baton or scepter that was in use since the Third Dynasty in Egypt known as the Sekhem. Sekhem is the root word for the Goddess Sekhmet, which literally means ‘Power’ or ‘Might’. Sekhmet is known as ‘She of Might’ or ‘The Powerful One’.

The first part of the ritual consecration begins as all Kemetic rituals do – first with purification of the body and of the mouth with water and natron so that the words of power or heka when spoken are also true coming from a mouth and a person who has been suitably and ritually purified. Then is added light, incense and sound.

Each day that I do the rite, there will be heka spoken over the Sekhem pendant will underscore the authority that it as a symbol confers. The amulet is worn during that day, meditating on each point during the course of the day, At night the amulet is removed and left in the shrine with icons of the Goddess Sekhmet, an icon of the God Amun, and a third icon of the Goddess Ma’at. Each have specific significance to the rite and are instrumental in the consecration rites. A 7 day candle burns before the shrine at night, while during the day wen the amulet is worn and the sun is shining, the shrine doors are closed.naos1a

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The Kemet is Cool Project

pendant In my travels, being fresh from bed and my 30 second commute to my office, I was thinking that the prevailing theme here on my blog, on Tumblr and on my Facebook page is all about Kemet. All in all, I find that it doesn’t really matter what anyone’s individual opinion on Kemet is. For all of us, its the art, the religion, the culture and the history are truly what draw us. What matters to the most people is just that we are drawn to it – the why sometimes is rather intangible. There is a simple, yet sophisticated beauty that is timeless and it is that which speaks to the deepest part of our individual psyches.

So, that focus is going to be reflected here on my blog at fannyfae.com and on my Facebook page (as usual). It seems to be what people most resonate to, and it gives me a chance to show others with the same love of Kemet or Ancient Egypt things they may not have heard of, aritists they may not be aware of that do fantastic work.

I look at this as my effort to get away from the infighting and the petty squabbles that seem to plague so many groups. I don’t care if the resource is Kemetic Orthodox, Reconstructionist, Afrocentrist, mainstream Egyptology or what have you. One truth remains: We each love the Two Lands for our own reasons, and no one else can dictate those reasons to us except by the callings of the deepest place in our kas. This project is specifically about that and that alone with no other agenda.

Ankh, udja seneb! (Life, prosperity and health!)

Fanny Fae (aka NiankhSekhmet)

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Who is Fit to Teach?

On the Potter's Wheel Let me state at the outset that this particular blog entry is not really going to discuss the legitimacy of folks who teach in our elementary, secondary or university and college level schools. I count many professional teachers and professors as my friends and I truly admire all of the hard work that they do and the patience they must have in order to do it. I am grateful in ways I cannot even begin to recount those teachers to whom I am indebted for my son’s education and my own. For that I say a heartfelt ‘Thank You’. This article, however, is to discuss those who set themselves up as instructors of those who are seeking a sort of spiritual education, both in formal churches, temples, circles, covens and even those who write how-to books for readers who are seeking.

A couple of months ago, Sarah Lawless discussed the topic of Evaluating Our Teachers. While her subject was aimed at Witches and Pagans, the topic is equally relevant to Kemetics as well.

Whenever there is any sort of scandal about religious leaders falling from grace, especially in those faiths that are not Christian, Jewish or Islamic, the scandal seems just that much larger. Rather than simply being a cautionary tale, they serve the mainstream faiths as to why non-traditional faiths are so dangerous.

Certainly, given the more lax standards that most of those who are not of the Big Three (J, C or I) Paganism and it’s cousins can tend to attract a certain level of persons that are just best not allowed such power or influence under any circumstance. Everyone wants to be special. Everyone wants to feel that what they say and do is worthy of attention or the words that they say deserve to be listened to.

Everyone, however, is not suited to priesthood or to teach others in any sort of spiritual sense. Through the lens of being a functional adult able to be both in the realm of the spiritual and the realm of the everyday, ordinary or mundane, they cannot even be entrusted for the well-being and adequate management of their own lives. How then, could they even imagine that they are in any way trustworthy enough to be entrusted enough to handle the spiritual and emotional well-being of others? The momentary highs of arm-wavey goodness in front of a small captive audience is an enticing draw of being some sort of spiritual rock star for some. These folks are mainly attracted to the idea of being such a center of attention or the ego stroking buzz and everyone else around them are merely bit players while they star in their play. These folks don’t realize that the ritual or an organization’s very existence is not even about them at all. It’s about service to one’s community and to the gods above all else.

I have often railed about the sloppy scholarship among Pagans and Heathens that passes for being adequate enough to suit the masses. It seems anyone with an internet connection on their computer or phone can read a Wiki article and become and instant expert. Too few among us have time time, the money, or the tenacity to want to seek out rare and hard to find texts in order to find out as much as possible about their gods. We have precious few scholars and degreed professionals within Kemeticism who actually do practice the faith and who have not either been intimidated into denying that ‘they believe in any of this stuff’, or are patient enough or well suited to the task of helping laypersons sort through the vast amounts of extant texts, books and other materials in order to get to the real spiritual foundations that make up our practices.

The unfortunate thing that sometimes arises is that too many of us have witnessed those who take on a veneer of haughtiness and arrogance that only seems to come with advanced degrees. Looking down your nose at those who are truly interested in doing whatever it takes is not something that good teachers do. Good teachers don’t need to, and usually do not badmouth other teachers that a student may have had previously, even if the previous teacher held views that were contrary to their own. A good teacher does not attempt to be all things to all people. If the area of expertise is something outside the scope of their own, a good teacher will send a student to another teacher who is better suited for the task. A recent kerfuffle over on the blog of a very visible Canaanite polytheist is a clear example of this.

This particular blogger, because historically, the people of ancient Canaan and the people of ancient Kemet were in the same region and had interactions, they have a nasty habit of including Kemetics in their posts as to how Kemetic practioners – priests in particular – should be doing their practices. According to the Canaanite polytheist blogger, to consume offerings after they are offered is essentially stealing from God’s table. Completely ignored is practice of the Revision of Offerings that was standard practice in Kemetic Temples; a custom that is continued to this day in most African Traditional Religions (ATR’s). Other countries throughout Africa were influenced by Ancient Kemet over the course of history.

We know for a fact that Kemetic priests absolutely did consume the offerings. The offerings were made three times a day and as such they were considered to be one of those perks of the job. The priests or Hm(t) Netjer fed themselves and their families and households from these offerings. Sharing the bounty of the gods throughout the community was and still is considered an acceptable practice for Kemetics. Absolutely in no way is it considered “stealing” – especially with the Revision of the Offerings that were pronounced over the offerings so that the gods “may be satisfied with the repast on the right and on the left”. It isn’t stealing. Letting food to rot on the altar or in the shrine of the God was considered a far worse sin than to share them with the community. The idea of uncleanliness, dirt, rot and the pests that these things inevitably bring were considered far worse and an anathema to the ancient Kemetic people.

To be fair, however, that I will admit that offerings which are given to the dead or the akhu are things that the living do not consume. These are often left at gravesites or on outdoor altars for the spirits of the deceased to partake of. Typically, because these were left in the desert on the opposite bank and away from the part of the communities where the living would mostly dwell, they tended to be consumed by the animals that congregated around burial areas. If the offering was consumed in this way, then it was and is considered “accepted.”

Because Kemetics are many time polytheists or monolatrists just as Canaanites are sometimes polytheists or monolatrists, there is a huge temptation to assume that we are of the same opinion based on some of those similarities. Any scholar with even the smallest amount of credibility or integrity realizes that similarity and proximity do not connote sameness necessarily.

For those of us who have been Initiated into formal priesthood, and those individuals that practice privately and to the best of their ability have the very texts on the walls and many aspects of ritual and practice are quite literally written in stone. Because of this profusely available extant evidence, for Kemetics, these things are not really up for debate. Those who erroneously insist that placing Kemetics under the Neo-Pagan Big Top and painting us with such a broad (and dare I say it?) a ridiculously inaccurate brush do nothing to support the arguments and assertions of those espousing them. If anything, it should underscore the fact that such individuals are doing little more than possibly making it up as they go via UPG, if not simply just expressing their own opinions.

While elements such as UPG etc. may seem to be quite a legitimate means to some within Heathenry or Neo-Pagansism as far as religious practices are concerned; such practices are not adequately vetted to be satisfactory. UPG experiences really do not equal scholarship as far as Kemetic priests and laypersons are concerned and a balance of Verified Personal Gnosis (VPG) is equally if not more important than the UPG. It’s how we get discernment. It’s how cults of personality and wrong-headed practices are avoided.

If someone is truly interested or ever in want of real information about actual Kemetic practices have been and are etc. then going to the source(s) might be the wisest course of action. There are lots of good books and growning numbers of Kemetic practitioners. We tend to not be the least bit shy in saying who is a good teacher and why and who is not a good teacher and why.

A good teacher will gently correct you without making you feel stupid.
A good teacher will not mollycoddle you.
A good teacher will point you toward good resources so you can look up the answer yourself.
A good teacher has the expectation that you will make the effort to find out on your own and would prefer to do this rather than to be led by the hand or by the nose.
A good teacher may let you fall flat on your ass without feeling the need to gloat or mock you for your mistakes.
A good teacher knows their self worth and yet are quite able to acknowledge that they also learn from their students is not beneath them to say so.
A good teacher has every right to expect excellence from their students and won’t compromise their integrity in order for students to “pass”.
A good teacher can say, “I don’t know the answer,” and has no problem in giving a referral to someone who very well might know.

It might be a community-wide project for folks to think very seriously about what makes a good teacher and what makes one not-so-good. It could be helpful to consider what makes someone a viable asset to the community, and what types of behaviours tend to paint one as pompous and opinionated and without spiritual authority to dictate to others. Certainly everyone has had both good and bad teachers in both our academic and spiritual lives. Maybe it’s time to ask ourselves what those characteristics are and what we will settle for and what we won’t.

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Of Sidelocks and Donkey Tales

The following is a story I wrote some time ago with a friend over at PanHistoria and before that at Ancient Sites. It is a reworking of the Aesop’s Tale, “The Man, The Boy and the Donkey.” I have long since lost track of my friend. I hope he does not mind my posting our collaboration on my blog here.

This is from another story of Sekhmet Meritamen and her adopted son, Meni. In this scene she is telling Meni about being different and the parable of trying to please everyone.
~*~*~*~

BoatIt was past dusk on board the Heart of Ra and Sekhmet Meritamen padded nimbly down the wooden deck steps to her cabin. As Royal Physician to a pregnant Per’aa, Sekhmet’s routine was unpredictable; she hurried from her work and was thinking of what to make herself and young Menenhetet for dinner when a sound reached her. It was the sound of a child’s crying and it drew the Lady Sekhmet with a tug on her heart. The sound came from her own cabin.

Inside, in the middle of the floor, a blanket clutched to his breast, lay Meni. Sekhmet’s heart ached at the sound of his sadness. She rushed to the curled up ball that was Meni. His face was a blustery thundercloud, bursting with tears. His sobs were a tiny thunder in his wan chest and lightning shone in the glisten of his tears. Drooping like a hippo’s tail, his new sidelock trembled from the weeping.

“Are you hurt?” Sekhmet asked, kneeling near him and looking over his tanned limbs with a professional calm that surprised even her. She saw no cuts or bruises, but her hands examined the frail boy out of habit.

Meni simply wept, blubbering and oblivious to the tender ministrations. Yet nothing seemed amiss.

“Please tell me what’s wrong?” Sekhmet almost felt as though she herself might cry as well, for the boy’s sobs were like pluckings on the strings of her heart.

“The .. boys .. and .. girls .. laughed .. at .. my .. hair!” he finally managed, hiccuping between each syllable and blinking a stream of tears out of each brown eye. Many of Per’aa’s entourage had children onboard the Coronation Barge. Apparently Meni had been teased by some of them.

Sekhmet relaxed inwardly, vastly relieved. She pursed her lips sympathetically and thumbed away the spill of tears on the boy’s wet cheeks. She held the boy’s head and tried to still his crying with a kiss upon his troubled brow. He huddled to her bosom and cried all the more. Rocking his sobs away, Sekhmet sighed.

“Meni, you like your new hairstyle, don’t you? Nebet Nefeti worked very hard to make you a handsome little man. She shaved your head, just like you wanted and even managed to salvage this sidelock for you to braid,” Sekhmet stroked the dark tail of hair on the side of Meni’s head.

“Yes nebet,” Meni sobbed. “But the … other kids … laughed at … me!”

“You mustn’t let them get to you like that” Sekhmet soothed,. ” They’ll get used to it and things will be better. I promise.”

Meni’s frown was unrelenting and his eyes were still freshets of tears. As fast as Sekhmet brushed them away, more scooted out to replenish the rivulets of on his cheeks.

“Meni,” Sekhmet said, lifting his chin up to her gaze. “It wouldn’t matter what you did with your hair. Any change would have gained the attention of the other children. If you had kept your ragged locks, or shaved your head as bald as an egg, or put it in braids just like mine, the children would have teased you all the same.”

“But I want … to play with … them!” Meni protested, calming a little but still afflicted with his hiccups.

“I know you do,” Sekhmet soothed. “And tomorrow you will try again. You will be strong for me, won’t you?”

Meni blinked doubtfully.

“Let me tell you a story that might help. It’s one my mother used to tell me when I was a girl. When I was your age I was not very graceful, and very much a tomboy, and the kids at school would tease me too. And no matter what I did it didn’t make them stop. But one day my mother found me like I found you, weeping. She told me this story…

“There once was a man, who lived in the far off reaches of the land. He was a craftsman and widower living with his son and a donkey. One day the man, knowing he would have to go to the great city to trade, carefully prepared his wares, and loaded them on the donkey and set off for town. When the animal was loaded he set his son upon the top of the load on the donkey and started toward the great city.”

“The man and his son and the loaded donkey walked and walked and at last they met upon the road two men coming from the great city. They nodded and smiled and exchanged greetings as they passed and the man with the donkey and son overheard the two other men they had passed whispering between themselves, ‘Did you see that selfish child riding on top of the donkey while his father walked!? That is terrible! What a selfish child!'”

Meni’s face grew fierce and he said, “But nebet! That boy might be lame! Those men aren’t nice!”

“Yes Meni,” Sekhmet nodded, finally seeing the flow of sadness drying in the boy’s eyes.

“The man…not wanting to appear to be a fool, stopped and thought about this and decided that it might be best if he rode and his son led the donkey. The boy agreed.

“‘Oh certainly, father,’ The boy replied. ‘I can lead the donkey and you can ride, I am young and my legs will not grow weary.’ And so they traded places.

“A few leagues down the road, the man and boy and donkey met a man and his wife going the other direction. The two parties nodded and smiled and exchanged greetings as they passed each other on the road, but the man overheard the woman whispering to her husband as they passed, ‘Did you see that*selfish* man riding the donkey while the poor child walked?! I’ve never seen anything so pathetic!'”

“That’s silly!” Meni pointed out. “Those people don’t know the man is nice!”

Sekhmet nodded and continued:

“This troubled the man; and not wanting to appear to be a fool–for fools are often taken advantage of in the marketplace of the great city–pondered the predicament. He came upon the idea that he and his son could both ride the donkey and it would satisfy all of the objections of everyone on the road thus far.

“A few more leagues and the man and his son and the donkey met a nobleman and his fanbearer on the road. They smiled and exchanged greetings and the man heard the fanbearer comment to the nobleman, ‘Master! What a terrible waste of a good animal to make him bear the weight of two people plus his load!'”

Meni just shook his head, tears forgotten, eyes wide, and in deep consternation at such things.

“The man, not wanting to appear to be a fool–for fools are sometimes regarded with suspicion and riducule and taken advantange of in the marketplace of the great city–pondered a moment and decided that neither he nor his son would ride the donkey but would walk alongside. There were a few more miles to go, but this was fine.

“The man and his son and the donkey then met a woman and her son on the road and they exchanged pleasantries with the man and his son and when they had passed the man overheard the woman say to her son, ‘Those fools! Neither rides when they have a fine donkey. Surely he can handle more than that simple load!'”

Exasperated at these silly people, Meni snorted.

“The man could take it no longer! He was tired of being everyone’s fool! He found a thicket of saplings and cut a strong sturdy one and then reached into the sacks for extra rope and lashed the legs of the donkey to the sapling and, struggling, he and his son carried the animal into the gates of the city. With astonishment the man wondered at why everyone was laughing at him for he had done everything that anyone had asked of him and in exasperation had done what he knew to be the last choice that was left.”

Sekhmet saw the glimmer of understanding in Meni’s eyes.

“The moral of the story is: If you try to please everyone, dear Meni, you in the end will end up looking like the fool, for there is no possible way to please everyone at all times.”

Meni looked up into the wise dark eyes of Lady Sekhmet and wondered if there were anything she couldn’t fix. Which led him inevitably to his next words.

“I’m hungry!”

Sekhmet laughed and held out a hand to Meni, “Let’s find something to eat then.”

Meni skipped beside Sekhmet, his sidelock twitching from side to side, looking very much like a switching tail.

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Defending Myself Against An Unseen Assailant

I am not one to engage in what I call, “mystic woo-woo” for its own sake. In spite of being someone who follows Kemetic religion, who is an Initiated Priestess of Sekhmet and someone who has been around occult circles in one form or another for over 30 years, I am also someone who is deeply interested in science. I have spent a great deal of time being devoted to the historical record and am someone who values putting out good, solidly resourced material. I am not prone to histrionics, and I really prefer to analyze a situation so that I can effectively decide what to do in it or about it. Sometimes practical things are called for, while at other times, other sorts of precautions and ritual actions that reverberate into the Realms of the Unseen are needed. This was one of those times where the latter was called for in addition to the former.

Let me start at the beginning…

Over the last few months, several in fact; I have been dealing with what appeared to be sleep apnea. I admit, I am a couple of pounds overweight, I am going into peri-menopause, and sometimes the body does weird and not-so-wonderful things as we grow older. Being a “Woman of a Certain Age” can, quite frankly, suck. The situation of really bad sleep was I thought related to work, school and other stresses. I had done my best to correct most of them, mostly through natural therapies such as herbs, seeing my Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioner, and begrudgingly, even my doctor – who is, in my view, merely a servant to conventional medicine. Thinking in traditional ways about health and well-being is not her strong suit, alas.

To answer the dietary questions: I only eat meat of any kind a few times a week. I cut out a great deal of dairy, swore off of absolutely anything that contained even a trace of either high fructose corn syrup or aspartame and hadn’t drunk soda pop in at least three months. If it’s processed, it’s suspect and left out as much as possible.

Anyway…

The ‘sleep apnea’, was becoming more and more consistent and more pronounced as time went on. It began about four years ago at a Temple event in Joliet. It was also at first only happening at night, and it was not every night. At first there was not so much cause for concern. Then it was happening every single night, sometimes several times a night. At its peak, it started happening in broad daylight when I took a nap as well. It didn’t matter if I slept on my back or on either side, or sitting in a chair, the problem was there and it was, to put it mildly, becoming rather frightening.

About a month and a half ago, I had the worst bout of this phenomena that I had ever experienced. It was as if my heart had not only stopped, but that ‘I’, my consciousness that was “me”, was literally being ripped from my body. According to my spouse, I woke up screaming, kicking and fighting. For me, kicking and screaming in my sleep was definitely not normal. I woke up from that night’s “sleep” absolutely shaken. Something had to be done; whether it was physical, or something unseen or a combination of the two was not certain. I just knew that things could not keep on going as they had been.

With great trepidation, I posed my question to an email list of folks that I am a part of. The moderator of the group, who is herself an accomplished author and teacher in her own right, did a reading for me. Actually, she did several. Without my needing to tell her a thing, she honed in on several issues that had been of concern. Her conclusions matched those of my TCM practitioner and my own gut instincts. She surmised that I was most definitely under an attack of some sort and that it centred around one thing in particular. She gave me several suggestions and advice, which I followed.

Even after doing a cleansing and sealing of the spaces of the home, the property and everything else that that needed to be sealed, I put up wards and guardians. With the liberal use of consecrated salt and natron and other protections, overnight the situation had noticeably improved. For the first five consecutive nights I did not have a single incident of “sleep apnea”. On the seventh night there was one tiny hiccup and after that there was only one on All Hallows Eve. That was an indication as well. When the Veil is the thinnest – that was the most likely time that someone will try to launch something. It was just a small little blip.

Since taking precautions and continuing to keep with my changes in diet, activity and practice, there has been no “apnea”, no screaming, no kicking or fighting anything off. There have been no panic attacks – no problems. L

All of this has given me the impetus to reaffirm in the ways that I had been doing before when I first came to Iunen Sekhmet: Working with land spirits that are a part of the Enchanted Forest that surrounds our home, and and continued, focused practice.

So why would I even mention this, or even publish it online? Certainly signalling whomever might be dong this and what I am doing to stop it could lead to my efforts being thwarted – especially when I am definitely not out of danger yet.

Ah….there is a method to my madness.

Even though I have not given specifics for the steps that I have taken, and have not outlined how I had at least momentarily gained the upper hand, I know that sometimes what seems a logical explanation to something isn’t the real explanation. Besides, anyone reading this post would certainly conclude that they had stuck their hands in my own special brand of crazy. Who really believes in any of this stuff, right?

That’s the problem with those of us who have an overly-logical mind. That is what happens when you flat-out dismiss what may very well be a knock on the noggin from the realms of the Unseen. Too many people cannot find a logical reason for something, and ascribing an incident to an unseen assailant or attack can seem really as if they have taken leave of their senses. Speaking only for myself, I have been in the business of being a Priestess and a practitioner of various forms of mysticism / Cunning Craft far too long. I have seen things that cannot be scientifically or logically explained. I fully admit there are just some brands of woo that I cannot even buy myself. For example, I have never met an extraterrestrial, I’ve never even seen one. I am not all too certain that I ever want to see one. if that were in the realm of possibility. I think that many within the the Love and Light Crowd, or the ones who spout off about conspiracy theories meant to keep humanity from their “birthright” as heirs to the ancient knowledge deserve to have a stack of decent books unceremoniously hurled at their thick skulls.

Few things are more maddening to me than someone who considers themselves quite an adept as an armchair magician or expert practitioner, but they have never actually performed any sort of solitary or group ritual. They do not, and by default, cannot understand the dynamics of what power or sekhem really is. They have no clear comprehension of how heka works, or even what Ma’at< is. For these folks, continually trying to rewrite the rules of the Realms of the Unseen and the subtle seems to be their hallmarks. Many of these folks don’t even believe that psychic attacks are possible, let alone that it could possibly happen to them and so they are, in my opinion, far more vulnerable to them. If they do believe in them, sometimes they simply “send it back”.

Wrong answer.

I am here to tell you that in some traditions, and especially in the Kemetic, that particular and popular ritual solution does not always work. In fact, sometimes it can make a situation much, much worse by acting very much like a Chinese finger trap or quicksand. If you engage it at all, or struggle with it in any way, then the action that is intended to thwart the attack, in turn becomes its own trap. Too many of the armchair magicians and even those who believe themselves to be hands-on adepts are not nearly experienced enough to know the difference. Others simply “don’t believe ” in any of this stuff. I will repeat what I am often heard saying in that, plants do not need to necessarily “believe in” photosynthesis either: They will still turn green.

Right now I intend to continue to follow my friend and fellow Priestess’ advice as closely as I am able or comfortable in doing. She and I are in close contact often and we verify things with each other. In my experience, when you are dealing with a situation that makes you uneasy or you are unsure, you need to get another perspective other than your own. It is always good to find someone you can trust to help you discern what is real and what are the phantoms of your own imagination and maybe offer a point of view that you may not have considered at all. Try to find someone who is grounded in reality at least a little and not prone to bullshit. Josephine, for me, has been exactly that. For that I thank her.

When we take these sorts of precautions, we stand a far better chance of getting the best of both the Seen and the Unseen worlds.

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Filed under akhu / ancestors, herbs, kemetic, magickal alchemy, mystic woo-woo, pagan, traditional witchcract, update

For Service, Slavery, and Sex : Tattooing in Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia

An excellent piece by Sarduríur Freydís Sverresdatter and definitely well worth the read. The subject of tattooing in Ancient Egypt. From slaves to Gods Wives of Amun, tattooing had special significance for certain sectors of society in the Two Lands.

For Service, Slavery, and Sex : Tattooing in Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia.

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Kemetic Round Table:The Mythic Mystique

“Send Your Eye down as HetHert (Hathor). This goddess indeed went and She slew people upon the desert.
Then said the majesty of this God [Ra], “Welcome in Peace, HetHert. You have done that which I sent You to do.”
Then said this goddess:”As You live for Me, I have been powerful over the people! And it is pleasing to My heart!”
Then said the majesty of Ra,”It is in order to diminish them [humans] that I have sent the power of My kingship.”
Thus did Sekhmet come into being.”
(Translation by Tamara L. Siuda)

Mythology: How necessary is it? Does it affect your practice? Should it?

My own answer to this question is a rather dependent upon what we are talking about. Surely when the sun rises every day, and the sky is red, I am reminded of the Kemetic myth that it is because Set has slain the Ap/ep serpent and the waters of the Nun are red with its blood so that Ra may rise again. I hold up my hands in the gesture of praise, or henu and say, “Dua Ra, Dua Set!”

Everyone who considers themselves to be Kemetic has heard the myths about Sekhmet and the Destruction of Mankind. It is one of the most well-known and important myths in all of Kemetic culture and religion. Unlike many practitioners of other religions and spiritual traditions, Kemetics tend to be a bit less dogmatic about those mythologies.

The above passage, was translated by Tamara Siuda. Tamara herself an Egyptologist and the founder of the House of Netjer Kemetic Orthodox Temple, of which I am a member. One of the things that Tamara teaches, is the reason for Sekhmet’s creation by Her Father Ra was fairly clear. In the time when the Netjeru and Humans lived together in the world, mankind got arrogant. They became arrogant in the pride of their own accomplishments, and collectively they decided that they no longer needed the gods. Not only did they plot to overthrow the Netjeru, they plotted to destroy Them. The benign Hathor, when She learned that humanity wanted to harm Her Father, became the rampaging Sekhmet.

But in terms of Kemetic belief, what does this really mean?

This idea is in itself a metaphor for many of the Kemetic myths. The stories serve to teach us things about how we deal with life’s challenges, phenomena in the natural world and other concerns. Few Kemetics take them as an absolute truth. In the case of the myth of Sekhmet and the Destruction of Mankind, as found on the Golden Shrine of Tutankhamun, it serves as a metaphor for the nature of anger and how destructive it can be justified or not. Anger, even or especially when attached to righteous indignation can become quite volatile and unpredictable. Who in the world would not want to destroy utterly anyone who would dare raise their hand to their loved ones or those whom they care about? In this case, Sekhmet’s anger with its fury and destruction that almost wiped out the whole of humanity is understandable. Humans were plotting to kill Her Father, Ra. Her anger was indiscriminate, without warning, and absolute.

For anyone who has been so angry that they almost seemed as if they were outside of themselves, they can tell you there reaches a point when that anger produces a high of its own. I have been so angry in one particular incident, that I remember distinctly standing outside of my own self and thinking, “Wow…I am really pissed off.” There was that instant of wanting to stop but being unable to. When anger reaches that point, it is as if you are quite literally drunk on it.

A little bit like Sekhmet, perhaps? Maybe. If anything, the mythology teaches that there is always appropriate action. Sekhmet’s anger was initially quite appropriate, but then it reached the point to where it “got good to Her,” and Sekhmet became less than reasonable to the point where She almost destroyed the whole of Mankind. Going overboard is not what one would call appropriate.

I have found that there are those in and around the Kemetic faith sphere who are divined, or consider themselves to be children of Sekhmet who use it as an excuse. Too often I hear too many of them try to flippantly write off their bouts of poorly managed anger, co-dependent flailing, and just general bad behaviour on being a “child of Sekhmet”. There are still other children of various Names of Netjer who try to blame their need to get drunk every other night or on the weekends as how they deal with being a child of X Name of Netjer. Frankly, I think we all know that this is nothing short of a steaming load of bullshit. It may sound logical, but it really is just abdication of responsibility. Ultimately, you and you alone are responsible for your bad behaviour – putting it off on Deity is quite clearly a cop-out; and a weak one at that. Trying to dodge personal responsibility in that manner is pretty ridiculous. So why do it?

What to do? Well, certainly we are not going to wait around till Djehuti fills valleys with beer stained red with ochre and spiked with mandrake so we can get “happy” and forget why it was that we were pissed off about in the first place. We need to take the myths in the context in which they were, as far as we could tell, originally intended.

They were stories, meant to educate masses of people about natural phenomena that they encountered in their lives. Is the sun (Ra) really being pushed across the sky by a giant dung beetle (Kheperi)? Did Atum create All that Exists by self-pleasure and masturbation? (Talk about a “Big Bang Theory”!) Is the whole yearly cycle culminated by the epagomenal days and Djehuty has to beat Ra at a game of dice so that poor Nut can give birth to her children, Heru-Wer, Wasir, Set, Aset and NebetHet? Do we at the end of those five days, in all actuality destroy the Uncreated One when we perform the Rite of Turning Back the Enemies of Ra – or the sun won’t rise and the world will end? I suppose it really all depends upon your point of view. Certainly when someone wants to tout the benefits of teaching Creationism in schools, I pipe up with the one about Atum. That usually puts a kabbash on any further assertions about teaching Creationism in public education. Apparently teaching school aged children about some cultural mythology can potentially open up a whole other set of issues that some folks just aren’t prepared to explain to their kids!

Myths have served as road maps of a kind for man since antiquity. They help us understand what is going on in the world around us and within ourselves and the struggles that we face on a day-to-day basis. They give us pause during annual festivals of the year and when the seasons change or we gather together and remember our ancestors and our collective pasts. Certainly we see this sort of re-membering in almost any faith that you care to name. Of course, for myself, I tend to think of it in terms of my own Kemetic beliefs, which in many ways are quite similar to Hindu beliefs in how we integrate our religion into our lives. The myths and ritual actions that go along with them serve a purpose to get us to stop, to connect deeper with the Unseen. When we do this, it is my experience that we are healthier, calmer, more contemplative and reflective for having done so.

We also tend to be a little less dogmatic than other faiths because in our beliefs we do not feel the need to “prove” our extant liturgical texts. I have talked to many in non-Kemetic faiths who were excited when archaeological bits turned up that ascertained what was contained in their religious scripture was “proven” by what had been found. If you have Faith, why would actually “proving” something be at all necessary? You either believe something as being a truth religiously or philosophically or you don’t. You either find a way to integrate the beliefs and the symbolism into your life or you are oblivious to it. These things are what make up faith. It doesn’t necessarily need to be proven. Ultimately, I think that’s why it’s called ‘faith’.

Kemetic myths are rich and varied. These myths changed over periods of history and many were considered regional. Some of the better books on Kemetic myth are Daily Life of the Egyptian Gods, by Dimitri Meeks and Christine Favard-Meeks, The three-volume set of Ancient Egyptian Literature by Miriam Lichtheim. Ancient Egyptian Literature: Volume I: The Old and Middle Kingdoms, Ancient Egyptian Literature: Volume II: The New Kingdom, and Ancient Egyptian Literature: Volume III: The Late Period . ANother good standby that is a bit older than the other aforementioned books is R.T. Rundle Clark’s classic book, Myth and Symbol in Ancient Egypt. Any of these go over some of the myths that many of we Kemetics hold up as part of our religious heritage.

For me, the most wonderful thing about these myths is that the longer I am around various folks who practice the Kemetic faith, I get exposed to other myths that I had never heard or just wasn’t paying that close attention to. Certainly in a religion where there are over 4,000 different Names for God and the various manifestations of the Divine, it becomes rather difficult to take them all in. That is certainly alright. Kemetic myths have a way of showing up at the time when they are the most relevant to us and in a time that we most need to hear them. There is something about this that is far less dogmatic and far more freeing when you can look at the sunrise and somehow imagine the Barque of Ra traveling across the sky.

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Kemet is for Grownups

The biggest problem that those of us who consider themselves to be a part of Kemetic Faiths is that we constantly have to put up with the craziest level of ridiculous, crackpot theories and beliefs imaginable. Every day the prosteletizers of the theoretical stumble onto our forums and our Facebook communities or Tumblr feeds. These are the ones who are worthy of the constant eyerolls that they receive every time they open their mouths or put their fingers to a keyboard. Partly mystic woo-woo sisters and brothers, part conspiracy theorists; rarely is even the slightest shard of what they pontificate as “the hidden truth” in any way credible.

I know of no other group of Pagans et al who have to put up with this level of outright idiocy. If I had a dime for every time that I have met someone who was convinced that they were either Cleopatra VII, Nefertiti, or Rameses the Great in a former life, I’d have more money in the bank than if I had won the latest Powerball jackpot. Almost everybody with a past life in ancient Kemet that I have met were convinced they were nobles or royalty. Far fewer have ever said they were a slave, a lowly house servant, a soldier, an illiterate farmer or a worker in the House of the Dead. Reincarnation is a fine idea, however, let’s be realistic, now.

But I am getting ahead of myself here.

Kemetic beliefs are no better than any others in that they are sometimes plagued by those who bring the baggage of their past religions with them. They bring their taboos, their commandments, their thou shalt nots and an ye harm none’s along with three fold laws and all sorts of other modern moral constructs that have little, if anything, to do with what was practiced in antiquity. Below are some of the most common, and yet rather annoying things that come to visit Kemetic practitioners.

The 42 “Laws of Ma’at”

Kemetics subscribe to the idea and ideals of Ma’at. That’s more than enough for us. It is not just “truth”, it is not just “balance”, it’s a complex concept that is both represented by an ideal and takes the form of an actual goddess and you will spend your life trying to grok it in detail. That’s why the idea is so wonderful. Ma’at is so complex and so vast, and it is by necessity. It makes you have to ponder your choices and take responsibility for them. It cannot be encapsulated on a page or in a single paragraph. However, we in the Kemetic Community are often assailed by the so-called 42 Commandments (or Laws) of Ma’at, which are absolutely nothing of the kind. What is being referred to and re-translated as a sort of 10-Connabdnebts x4 Plus, are really the 42 points of the Negative Confession of the Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead. They are designed to get you through the various gates between death and the Field of Reeds or Afterlife. If you see these online, remember, they are not commandments. To quote my favourite pirate from the Pirates of the Caribbean series, Captain Hector Barbossa, “They’re more like guidelines than actual rules.”

Aliens built the Pyramids or The Egyptians Were Really Expat Atlantens, etc.

Uhmmm…yeah. Right.

None of us are really sure about how the fixation with Atlantis or Space Aliens founded Ancient Egypt got started. What is fairly annoying to some of us is this quickness to ascribe any technological, architectural, linguistic or any other sophisticated action to human advances, but rather to some external force that somehow showed these superstitious primitives how to think big. If it wasn’t some aliens from Sirius, it was some Atlanteans in search of a new place to live since their own place was sinking into the sea. The problem with the whole Atlantis theory is that no one can ever seem to decide where it actually is or was. One year it’s said to be in the Bermuda Triangle, the next year it is off the Coast of Santorini, then it somehow moves to the Island of Bimini. It seems to have moved off the coast of Cuba now, so I guess it is back in the Bermuda Triangle again. I am thinking that’s because that whole region is now up and coming and considered “fashionable” again.

While I am sure that there were sea migrations of people throughout prehistory, the fantasies and the urban legends have endlessly tried to replace scientific facts. When you are Kemetic, you tend to correspond directly and sometimes make friends with the very scientists and researchers that are experts in underwater or field archaeology. So far, no Atlantis. While absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, so far the evidence currently is far too weak to sway many of us. It doesn’t mean that it can’t and won’t happen, but at this point, it is highly doubtful that we will be rewriting the history books any time soon.

The Blocks of the Pyramids Were Levitated Into Place

Yeah…I pretty much fell off of my chair laughing at that one when I first heard it, too. There are some saying that the ancients used the technology of sonic levitation and that the King’s Chamber in the Great Pyramid is “proof” of this. No. That theory that originated from the channeled messages of Edgar Cayce have pretty much been disproved over and over again. (What do you expect? He missed the whole limestone casing on the exterior of the pyramids while he was in trance, too.)

I could literally go on all day, but I have clients waiting for articles that are due today, and really, it isn’t something that we all have not heard before. There are those that are adamant that there is a Great Library or Hall of Records underneath the body or between the two paws of the Great Sphinx and that “conventional Egyptologists” are hellbent on making sure that mankind never realizes their birthright by continuing to keep this highly classified and earth-shaking ancient knowledge secret. Really? Have you been watching too much Stargate SG-Whatever re-runs lately?

Give it a rest.

From Ancient Egyptian “power rods” that Russian scientists “discovered”and are now marketing online that supposedly heal illnesses of every kind including cancer, to pyramidal shaped devices of every description, more conjecture is forwarded about what the ancients could have been doing with these “devices”. From hieroglyphs in Abydos attributed to the reign of Seti I and his son, Rameses II, that kind of look like helicopters and submarines, it just never seems to end. If ever you want to legitimize something, just slap on some ancient Egyptian motifs and iconography, add names like Cleopatra, Isis and Thoth, and call it “ancient” and people will flock to it and gobble it up. If it looks nice and tell a good story, some idiot somwehere is bound to buy it and you are all but assured of a bestselling product.

Unfortunately, however, those of us for whom Kemet is not just an interest, it encapsulates what we believe, what we hold dear and a deep part of ourselves, this buying and selling and remixing of what is real into something that never was can be more than just a little annoying. Of course, people prefer Hollywoodized fantasies and romantic notions about Ancient Egypt or Ancient Kemet because that gives them a little escapism. Everyone wants a little fun and frivolity. I am of the opinion that Kemetic deities have a sense of humour and probably are o.k. with some of the funny memes online involving their images, for example.

For those who really want the real deal, who are after the truth and not just the made up candy-coated crap, my suggestion is to take the time to separate the treasure from the trash. I would also strongly suggest a thorough reading of Erik Hornung’s book, “The Secret Lore of Egypt: Its Impact on the West”
Learn what is real and practice discernment. Provide references for your theories and be able to have a conversation and look at all the facts before jumping to conclusions.

Special thanks to Sandra Pucher for her kind permission in using her artwork for this post.

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