Saqqara – The Pyramid Texts

Not far to the south of Giza is the huge necropolis of Saqqara, which lies within an ancient city called Inbu-Hedj (the White Fortress).  Saqqara does not have Egypt’s largest pyramids, however it has some of the most ancient tombs and pyramids including the Step Pyramid of Djoser which is often considered the first true pyramid. Saqqara has more royal pyramids than Giza and within these ancient pyramids are the first known inscriptions of the “Pyramid Texts.”  Many of the tombs at Saqqara date to more than 5000 years ago.

Saqqara
Pyramid of Djoser behind the ruined Pyramid of Unas

The Pyramid Texts are believed to be the oldest collection of magical and religious spells from ancient Egypt. This collection forms the basis of much of the later religious theology and literature of ancient Egypt. The writings were eventually separated and categorized evolving into the Book of the Dead.

Saqqara
Inside Pyramid of Unas

The Utterances of the Pyramid Texts are vast; containing various topics, some complex and some simple. The following is a rather charming prayer to recite while smudging or lighting incense:
The fire is laid, the fire shines;
The incense is laid on the fire, the incense shines.
Your perfume comes to me, O Incense;
May my perfume come to you, O Incense.
Your perfume comes to me, you gods;
May my perfume come to you, you gods.
May I be with you, you gods;
May you be with me, you gods.
May I live with you, you gods;
May you live with me, you gods.
I love you, you gods;
May you love me, you gods!

Pyramid Texts: Utterance 269

 

Orion’s Belt, Sothis, and the Pyramids of Giza

As we look to the sky during this time of year, we see the constellation Orion directly above at midnight.

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Orion was to the ancient Egyptians (and to many of us) the most distinctive of all the constellations in the night sky. It rises directly before the adjacent star Sirius. Orion was imagined as being swallowed at dawn by the Underworld but had the power to emerge again into the night sky.

The three Pyramids of Giza are a perfect reproduction of the three stars of Orion’s belt. Like the pyramids, the three stars of Orion are not perfectly aligned, the smallest of them is slightly offset to the east. All three are slanted in a southwesterly direction. Their orientation to the Nile recreates Orion’s orientation to the Milky Way. The layout of the pyramids, and their relative sizes were a deliberate design plan. The pyramids were a replica of Heaven on Earth (The constellation of Orion).

The god Sah and his consort, Sopdet, better known by her Greek name, Sothis, personified the constellation of Orion and the bright, first magnitude star Sirius. Their son was Horus Spd, another astral deity. They came to be viewed as manifestations of Osiris and Isis.

In the Pyramid Texts, Sah/Osiris is called “father of the gods.” The deceased king is said to enter the sky “In the name of the Dweller in Orion, with a season in the sky and a season on earth.” In these early texts the king is told, “You shall reach the sky as Orion, your soul shall be as effective as Sothis.” Orion (Sah/Osiris) is said to row towards the stars in a boat, where he is surrounded by stars as he sails across the sky in a papyrus skiff.

With great astronomical precision, the pyramids were created to serve as the pharaoh’s gateway to the stars.

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“O King, you are this great star, the companion of Orion, who traverses the sky with Orion, who navigates the Duat with Osiris; you ascend from the East of the sky, being renewed at your due season…….”
~ Pyramid Texts Utterance 466

First Visit to the Iseum Sanctuary

Upon arrival at the Iseum Sanctuary, one sees an old wooden gateway. As you walk through the gate and down the pathway, there is nothing too obvious about this being a Temple. However, one then begins to see standing stones and sculptures which give indication that this site may be something rather different.


Down the hill and across a bridge, there stands a Labyrinth. It is a simple 3-circuit Ankh design. The Labyrinth is centered around a tree that presents two paths, but it has only one opening serving as both an entrance and an exit. The Labyrinth is surrounded by luscious native plants, nurtured gardens and growing redwood trees. It is a visual spectacle that brings you closer to nature but also gives you a sense of community and the past. Everything around the Ankh walkway is natural or untouched; and the Labyrinth presents itself as an organic human construct that is being sculpted overtime.

Feast Day of Sekhmet and Bastet

According to the Cairo Calendar, adjusted for the changes in our modern sky as Sirius, the Sothis Star, rises in August rather than mid-June in Ancient Times, today is the feast day of Sekhmet Bast Ra.

We therefore reflect upon the 164th Chapter of The Book of the Dead in which prayer and homage is made: 

Homage to Thee, O Sekhmet-Bast-Ra,

Thou Mistress of the Gods, Thou bearer of wings,

Lady of the crowns of the South and of the North,

Only One, Sovereign of Her Father,

Superior to whom the Gods cannot be,

Thou Mighty One of the enchantments in the Boat of Millions of Years,

Thou who art preeminent,

Who risest in the seat of silence,

Mistress and Lady of the Tomb,

Mother in the Horizon of Heaven,

Gracious One, Beloved,

Destroyer of Rebellion,

Offerings are in Thy grasp,

And Thou art standing in the bows of the boat of Thy Divine Father to overthrow the Fiend.

Thou hast placed Ma’at in the bows of His boat.

Praise be to Thee, O Lady,

Who art mightier than the Gods,

And words of adoration rise to Thee from the Eight Gods of Heliopolis.

The living souls who are in their chests praise Thy mystery.

O Thou who art Their Mother, Thou Source from whom They sprang,

Who makest for Them a place of repose in the hidden underworld,

Who makest sound their bones and preservest Them from terror,

Who makest Them strong in the abode of everlastingness,

Who preservest Them from the evil chamber of the souls of the god-of-the-terrible-face who is among the company of the Gods.

Utchat of Sekhmet, Mighty Lady, Mistress of the Gods’ Is Thy Name.

Blessed be.

Hedjhotep, Tayet and Neith

Today is the day Hedjhotep and Tayet come forth from the Great Temple of Heliopolis. They present their gifts to Neith, one of the most ancient deities (early Pre-Dynastic Period c. 6000 – 3150 BCE).
Hedjhotep is the God of linen and Tayet is the Goddess of weaving. In a text from the Temple of Hathor at Dendera, Tayet is said to be she “who purifies the Goddesses,
who did spin of old and was the first to weave,” (Dendara IV, 125, 5-6).
Neith was goddess of creation, war goddess, mother goddess who invented birth, and funerary goddess who cared for and helped to dress the souls of the dead, hence the gifts of linen and weavings from Tayet.
Neith continued to be honored as the patron goddess of Sais throughout Egypt’s history; considered a great protector of the people of the land and the most effective mediator between humanity and the gods.

Egyptian Zodiac
Egyptian Zodiac Bas-Relief found at the Temple of Hathor

Neith’s clergy were female and her temple at Sais was one of the most impressive in all of Egypt.

Depictions from the temple of Hathor at Dendera show Tayet personally arraying Hathor in her ceremonial clothing (Dendara IV, 179, 10-14 and 265, 13-14). Tayet interfaces between the Gods and the world and is hailed as “mother of the Gods, mistress of the Goddesses, who arrays the images [i.e., the cult statues of the Gods] in her handiwork, gives sweetness to their flesh, clothes their bodies and gives health to their frames,” (Dendara IV, 101, 12-13).  Statues representing the Gods and Goddesses were clothed and the clothing of these statues in the temples are called “the great adornments of Tayet,” (Dendara IV, 106, 3-4).

Today we honor and invoke Tayet as she blesses textiles, clothing and other offerings presented before her, assuring their purity and perfection.

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Egyptian devotee giving thanks

 

 

 

Our newest Sanctuary member: Re Sekhmet Mau

We welcome Re Sekhmet to the Iseum Sanctuary Refuge. Re is from the Mohave Desert area of Southern California. Being found in a desert seems appropriate for an Egyptian/Arabian Mau. Re was in a shelter which “euthanizes” cats and other animals that are unclaimed and unwanted. Fortunately, he came to us, as he had come to the Chief Priest and Priestess in dreams and drawings.

Re was rescued, as was always intended by the Goddess. Re immediately became one of the Iseum Sanctuary Temple cats, enjoying the sound of the large gong and singing bowls as we perform our daily rituals.

The following is one of our prayers of blessing, as we give thanks for Re; invoking the Goddess:

In the Names of Aset and Osiris,
May all beings be Blessed:
Spirits and humans,
animals, birds, reptiles,
fishes, insects, plants,
rainforests, the Earth
and all Her sacred elements.

~ Honorable Olivia Robertson, FOI

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Hymn to Isis/Aset

This hymn to the Goddess Aset was presented by Lady Loreon on January 18, 2003 during the Consecration ceremonies of the World Peace Temple of Isis in San Diego, California, and is used currently by the clergy and devotees of the Iseum Sanctuary as a constant reminder of Goddess ethics. (No changes- either in wording or punctuation- were made in the transcription of this text from the original copy provided by Lady Loreon.)

Oh Isis, dear Isis
We need you now
For humans living on Earth
Do not know how
To live in peace and harmony
No matter what their path
Men fight and kill each other
With anger, hate, and wrath
They pollute our lovely planet
With poisons that destroy
The wondrous wildlife that abounds
For humankind to enjoy
They strip the green rain forests
Pollute the waters too
Oh Isis, dear Isis
We know not what to do
We need you!

We need your compassion
To teach us all to live
To be more fully human
To learn to forgive
To practice lots of kindness
To all of any faith
No matter what their color
Or religion or their race
To see the universe as one
To worship the Divine
To honor each and everyone
As a beautiful design
To be always thankful
For all that you provide
And honor each and every day
With Isis by our side
Oh Isis, be with us,
Come to us from above
We need your blessed beauty
We need your healing love
We need you!

So Isis from Her place on high
Heard the Priestess plea
She came to Earth to find a way
And gave us this decree
You must just love each other
And give thanks every day
Protect the gifts upon the Earth
And take some time to pray
I am here! I am here! I am here!

All text copyright © 2003 Rt. Rev. Loreon Vigné

The Tears of the Sun

According to ancient Egyptian myth, bees grew from the tears of the sun god Ra when they fell to earth and landed in the desert. The bee was seen as the messenger of the gods coming to earth to provide a secret message.

The honeybee was one of the key royal symbols used for over five thousand years.

The Udjat represents the right eye of the Sun God Ra. This eye is where the tears/bees came from.

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Prayer to Osiris – Day of the Dead

A dedication to those who have left the mortal realm and are traveling through the veil today to visit the living; it is the “Day of the Dead.”

Prayer for removing displeasure from the heart of the god against the deceased person

The deceased shall say, “Wash away my sins, Lord of Truth; destroy my transgressions, wickedness and iniquity, O God of Truth. May this god be at peace with me. Destroy the things that are obstacles between us. Give me peace, and remove all dissatisfaction from thy heart in respect of me.”  ~Chapter XIV Book of the Dead  hg0401hg0402 .