Category Archives: Prayers of the Ancients

Horus hears your words…

According to the Ancient Egyptian horoscope calendar known as the Cairo Calendar*, today is a very favorable day. Horus hears your words in the presence of the gods and goddesses. Everything you say and see shall be in goodness.

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Horus speaks:

“I am life rushing on, born from the egg of the world, born from the belly of a magic woman, born of my father’s dreams. I am the screech of wind, the rush of falcon wings, talons sharp as knives. I came after you. I stand before you. I am with you always. I am the power that dispels darkness. The seed laid into the void must grow. The candle’s only purpose is to shine in the darkness. Bread is meant to be ground to pulp in the teeth. The function of life is to have something to offer death. A man forgets, but his heart remembers – the love and the terror, the weeping, the beating of wings.’”

Normandi Ellis. Awakening Osiris: A New Translation of the Egyptian Book of the Dead (xxx-xxxi)

What words would you like to share with Horus?

Ancient Egyptian Eyes

 

* The actual title of the calendar is “An Introduction to the start of Everlastingness and the end of Eternity”

A Hymn to the Nile

This hymn was written around 2100 bce by a man named Khety and little is known about the author, although it has been suggested he was of low status. The hymn refers to Egyptian religion and the Egyptians’ relationship to the Nile. This also provides some clues as to the economy and Egyptian society as well as the Egyptians’ attitudes towards Nature.

A Nile

Hail to thee, O Nile! Who manifests thyself over this land, and comes to give life to Egypt! Mysterious is thy issuing forth from the darkness, on this day whereon it is celebrated! Watering the orchards created by Re, to cause all the cattle to live, you give the earth to drink, inexhaustible one! Path that descends from the sky, loving the bread of Seb and the first-fruits of Nepera, You cause the workshops of Ptah to prosper!

Lord of the fish, during the inundation, no bird alights on the crops. You create the grain, you bring forth the barley, assuring perpetuity to the temples. If you cease your toil and your work, then all that exists is in anguish. If the gods suffer in heaven, then the faces of men waste away.

Then He torments the flocks of Egypt, and great and small are in agony. But all is changed for mankind when He comes; He is endowed with the qualities of Nun. If He shines, the earth is joyous, every stomach is full of rejoicing, every spine is happy, every jaw-bone crushes (its food).

He brings the offerings, as chief of provisioning; He is the creator of all good things, as master of energy, full of sweetness in his choice. If offerings are made it is thanks to Him. He brings forth the herbage for the flocks, and sees that each god receives his sacrifices. All that depends on Him is a precious incense. He spreads himself over Egypt, filling the granaries, renewing the marts, watching over the goods of the unhappy.

He is prosperous to the height of all desires, without fatiguing Himself therefor. He brings again his lordly bark; He is not sculptured in stone, in the statutes crowned with the uraeus serpent, He cannot be contemplated. No servitors has He, no bearers of offerings! He is not enticed by incantations! None knows the place where He dwells, none discovers his retreat by the power of a written spell.

No dwelling (is there) which may contain you! None penetrates within your heart! Your young men, your children applaud you and render unto you royal homage. Stable are your decrees for Egypt before your servants of the North! He stanches the water from all eyes and watches over the increase of his good things.

Where misery existed, joy manifests itself; all beasts rejoice. The children of Sobek, the sons of Neith, the cycle of the gods which dwells in him, are prosperous. No more reservoirs for watering the fields! He makes mankind valiant, enriching some, bestowing his love on others. None commands at the same time as himself. He creates the offerings without the aid of Neith, making mankind for himself with multiform care.

He shines when He issues forth from the darkness, to cause his flocks to prosper. It is his force that gives existence to all things; nothing remains hidden for him. Let men clothe themselves to fill his gardens. He watches over his works, producing the inundation during the night. He causes all his servants to exist, all writings and divine words, and that which He needs in the North.

It is with the words that He penetrates into his dwelling; He issues forth at his pleasure through the magic spells. Your unkindness brings destruction to the fish; it is then that prayer is made for the (annual) water of the season; Southern Egypt is seen in the same state as the North. Each one is with his instruments of labor. None remains behind his companions. None clothes himself with garments, The children of the noble put aside their ornaments.

He night remains silent, but al1 is changed by the inundation; it is a healing-balm for all mankind. Establisher of justice! Mankind desires you, supplicating you to answer their prayers; You answer them by the inundation! Men offer the first-fruits of corn; all the gods adore you! The birds descend not on the soil. It is believed that with your hand of gold you make bricks of silver! But we are not nourished on lapis-lazuli; wheat alone gives vigor.

A festal song is raised for you on the harp, with the accompaniment of the hand. Your young men and your children acclaim you and prepare their (long) exercises. You are the august ornament of the earth, letting your bark advance before men, lifting up the heart of women in labor, and loving the multitude of the flocks.

When you shine in the royal city, the rich man is sated with good things, the poor man even disdains the lotus; all that is produced is of the choicest; all the plants exist for your children. If you have refused (to grant) nourishment, the dwelling is silent, devoid of all that is good, the country falls exhausted.

O inundation of the Nile, offerings are made unto you, men are immolated to you, great festivals are instituted for you. Birds are sacrificed to you, gazelles are taken for you in the mountain, pure flames are prepared for you. Sacrifice is made to every god as it is made to the Nile. The Nile has made its retreats in Southern Egypt, its name is not known beyond the Tuau. The god manifests not his forms, He baffles all conception.

Men exalt him like the cycle of the gods, they dread him who creates the heat, even him who has made his son the universal master in order to give prosperity to Egypt. Come prosper! Come prosper! O Nile, come prosper! O you who make men to live through his flocks and his flocks through his orchards! Come prosper, come, O Nile, come and prosper!

Luxor-Temple-at-Night

Source: Oliver J. Thatcher, ed., The Library of Original Sources (Milwaukee: University Research Extension Co., 1907), Vol. I: The Ancient World, pp. 79-83.

The Falcon Speaks

Living within our Sanctuary are birds of all kinds. The calls and cries of the birds are constant and welcome. We hear our silky chickens at daybreak; the Barn Owls and Great Horned Owls at sunset; the cries of the Falcon and the sounds of the Ravens in the morning and throughout the day.

The Falcon follows and circles while I walk through the Sanctuary. He is Horus and passage 148 of the Coffin texts describes Horus in his own words:

I am Horus, the great Falcon upon the ramparts of the house of him of the hidden name. My flight has reached the horizon. I have passed by the gods of Nut. I have gone further than the gods of old. Even the most ancient bird could not equal my very first flight. I have removed my place beyond the powers of Set, the foe of my father Osiris. No other god could do what I have done.I have brought the ways of eternity to the twilight of the morning. I am unique in my flight. My wrath will be turned against the enemy of my father Osiris and I will put him beneath my feet in my name of ‘Red Cloak’.

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Horus – Edfu Temple

Horus also speaks in the Book of the Dead:

I come to the room where the sun rose. A falcon flies in and settles on my wrist. In his mouth hangs the skin of a snake. ‘I am Horus,’ he cries. ‘From the land of kings I come, riding through the hot winds on the back of a jackal. Where priests murmured in crumbling temples, I flew through their sacred fires dropping feathers. I come to shout the wisdom of air. I’ve come with a sycamore seed in my beak. By the river we’ll sow it and watch it grow through the years. You will die there, Osiris; and I will sit nine thousand years in the tree’s white branches, one eye on each horizon, waiting for your return.

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Horus – Temple of Seti I

Homage to Mothers and to Re

The following is an homage to Mothers  (on behalf of Mother’s day which resonates with this ancient Priestess with several children and grandchildren):

“O my heart which I had from my mother ! O my heart which I had from mother !
O my heart of my different ages ! May there be nothing to resist me at the judgment. May there be no opposition to me from the assessors. May there be no parting of You from me in the presence of him who keeps the scales ! You are my Ka within my body, which formed and strengthened my limbs. May You come forth to the place of happiness whereto I advance. May the entourage not cause my name to stink, and may no lies be spoken against me in the presence of the god ! It is indeed well that You should hear !'”

Connected with this is an homage to Re~

“Here begin the praises and glorifications,
going out and in the domain of god(dess),
having benefit in the beautiful West,
coming out by day [Re],
taking any shape he [she] likes,
playing at Senet, sitting in a booth,
and coming out as a living soul.
After he [she] has arrived in port,
Osiris, the scribe Ani, said:
‘It is beneficial to him/her
who does it on Earth.'”
Book of the Dead, Chapter 17 (Ani & Nebseni)

 

 

Serket the Scorpion Queen

Serket (also known as Selkis or Serqet) is an Egyptian goddess of fertility, nature, animals, medicine, magic, and, above all; healing venomous stings and bites. Her name means “she who causes the throat to breathe,” and as well as “she who causes the throat to tighten. In addition to stinging the unrighteous, Serket could cure scorpion stings and the effects of other venoms such as snakebite.

One of the most dangerous species of scorpion, the Deathstalker, resides in North Africa, so Serket was considered a highly important goddess, and sometimes she was the patron deity of  pharaohs. She had a close association with the early rulers as their protector, most notably the rulers Scorpion I and Scorpion II.

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Our Sanctuary has many scorpions, most of which do not sting.

As the protector against venom and snakebite, Serket was said to protect the other deities from Apep, the snake-demon. Also, since the bite from many of the venomous creatures of Egypt could prove fatal, Serket was considered a protector of the dead, particularly being associated with venoms and fluids causing stiffening. She was the protector of the tents of embalmers and of the canopic jar associated with venom. Serket gained a strong association with Neith, Isis, and Nephthys, who also guarded the canopic jars. Eventually, as the Egyptian pantheon evolved, Serket began to be identified with Isis, sharing imagery and parentage.

Serket was shown as a scorpion or as a woman with a scorpion on her head. It is unknown if she had her own temple, however she had a good number of priests in many communities.

Nefertari’s tomb has the following utterance to Serket:

Serket, mistress of heaven and lady of all the gods. I have come before you [oh] king’s great wife, mistress of the two lands, lady of Upper and Lower Egypt, Nefertari, beloved of Mut, justified Before Osiris who resides in Abydos, and I have accorded you a place in the sacred land, so that you may appear gloriously in heaven like Ra.

— McDonald, J.K. 1996, House of Eternity: The Tomb of Nefertari, p. 69

 

 

The Nature of Amun (as Kek)

Among the great gods, Amun was probably the most popular in the New Kingdom and onward. He was the champion of the needy and the vizier of the humble. His decisions were merciful, disposed to forgive past sins. He was associated with the Sun, and the Ram, and the humble frog (the God Kek). Frogs and amphibians are somewhat miraculous in their ability to hibernate in the mud and then arise with the warmth and sunlight in the Spring…

You are Amun, the Lord of the silent,
Who comes at the voice of the poor;
When I call to you in my distress,
You come to rescue me,
To give breath to him who is wretched,
To rescue me from bondage.
You are Amen-Re, Lord of Thebes,
Who rescues him who is in
duat;
For you are he who is merciful,
When one appeals to you,
You are he who comes from afar.

Stela of Nebre
M. Lichtheim Ancient Egyptian Literature, Vol. II, p.105f

As I listen this evening, between the downpour of rain and silence, I hear the Frogs calling. The Ancient Egyptians associated the Frog with fertility and resurrection. Amun is the Frog is in his aspect of invisibility, between hibernation in the mud to emergence in the Sun; the unending Frogs along the Nile.

Arise my friend!

Amulet_Possibly_Depicting_a_Tree_Frog_MET_26.7.1028_rp

“Who is this Cat?”

The Egyptian Tree of Life, the Persea Tree, was guarded and protected by the Mau, the Great Cat. The sacred Persea Tree emerged when Ra (Re) as Atum the Sun-god first appeared at Heliopolis. The Tree played a part in the Creation Myth that explained how the nine gods who made up the Ennead of Heliopolis were created. The fruit of the Tree of Life gave eternal life and knowledge of the divine plan.

Apep was the Egyptian god of evil, chaos and destruction; depicted as a giant snake. He threatened divine order and attempted to prevent Re from bringing the sun into the sky each day. According to ancient Egyptian literature Re as the Great Cat Mau battled against Apep to prevent him from taking control of the Persea Tree of Life and the world. After many battles Mau defeated Apep and cut off the head of the serpent.

On the Book of the Dead written in the Papyrus of Ani there is this statement:

“I am the Cat which fought near the Persea tree in Anu on the night when the foes of Neb-er-Tcher (God of Creation) were destroyed.

Who is this Cat?

This male Cat is Re himself, and he was called ‘Mau’ because of the speech of the god Sa, who said concerning him: ‘He is like (Mau) unto that which he hath made; therefore, did the name of Re become ‘Mau.’ ” (Budge, 1895, p.287)

This papyrus shows Mau killing the snake with the ancient Egyptian knife, Khop.

Apep

“In the Beginning”

“In the beginning there was Isis (Aset): Oldest of the Old, She was the Goddess from whom all beginning Arose. She was the Great Lady, Mistress of the two Lands of Egypt, Mistress of Shelter, Mistress of Heaven, Mistress of the House of Life, Mistress of the word of God. She was the unique. In all Her great and wonderful works She was a wiser magician and more excellent than any other god.” ~ Ancient Egyptian texts

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Egyptian Woman holding sitrum

“Come to me. Come to me, for my speech hath in it the power to protect, and it possesseth life. I am Isis the goddess, and I am the lady of words of power.

Isis, the goddess and great enchantress at the head of the gods. Heaven was satisfied with the words of the goddess Isis. The great lady, the God-mother, giver of life. The divine one, the only one, the greatest of the gods and goddesses, the queen of all gods, the female Ra, the female Horus, the eye of Ra, Lady of the New Year, maker of the sunrise, Lady of heaven, the light-giver of heaven.

Queen of the earth, most mighty one, lady of warmth and fire, the God-mother. The lady of life, lady of green crops, lady of bread, lady of abundance, lady of joy and gladness, lady of love, the maker of kings, the beautiful goddess, the lady of words of power. Wife of the lord of the abyss.

Let the blood of Isis, and the magical spirits of Isis and the words of power of Isis, be mighty to protect us all and keep safely…”

~ From the Book of the Dead, translated by E. A. Wallis Budge

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Temple of Isis at Philae

 

Invoking the Goddess

I offer to and invoke Aset the goddess of love, fertility and motherhood. She is the devoted wife, mother and protector of the poor and enslaved. Aset gives a voice to the voiceless and all that she represents is needed for the progression of humanity.

We offer to Aset!

We offer to Hathor!

Let us Celebrate this day and honor the Goddesses of love and righteousness!

Prayer to Thoth

This Prayer to Thoth c. 1150 BCE, from the time of the New Kingdom, is a prayer for inspiration to Thoth, God of wisdom and writing. This prayer was found in the Papyrus Anastasi V, a scroll discovered at Thebes more than 150 years ago.

According to the Cairo Ancient Egyptian calendar, today is the last day of the month, and on this day Thoth comes forth. Offerings made this day are blessed with possibilities.

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Thoth-ibis and devotee on a base inscribed for Padihorsiese

As a writer seeking inspiration, I invoke Thoth:

Come to me, Thoth, O noble Ibis. O god who longs for Khmunu, O dispatch-writer of the Ennead, the great one of Unu. Come to me that you may give advice and make me skillful in your office.

Better is your profession than all professions. It makes men great. He who is skilled in it is found fit to exercise the office of magistrate. I have seen many for whom you have acted and they are in the council of the Thirty, they being strong and powerful through what you have done. You are the one who has given advice. You are the one who has given advice to the motherless man. Shay and Renenwetet are with you. Come to me that you may advise me.

I am the servant of your house. Let me relate your prowess in whatever land I am. Then the multitude of men shall say “How great are the things that Thoth has done.” Then they shall come with their children to brand them with your profession, a calling good to the Lord of Victory. Joyful is the one who has exercised it.