Tag Archives: ancient egypt

The Great Cackler

The Ancient Egyptians welcomed and honored all sorts of creatures in their art,  in hieroglyphics, as well as in the depiction of the goddesses and gods. Egyptian artwork includes more than seventy species of birds and they can be seen in dozens of hieroglyphs. The wide range of birds in Egyptian art, mummified remains of birds, and textual references clearly indicate that birds played an important role in ancient Egyptian society and religion.

Waterfowl, including wild and domestic species of ducks and geese, were treasured offering (and eating) birds. There is evidence that the Ancient Egyptians actively bred geese and ducks as an environmental conservation measure. To go by the numbers recorded as part of temple offerings, Ramesses III, for example, donated over 430,000 individual waterfowl to temples during his thirty-one year reign. Obviously breeding and preserving the ducks and geese would have been of prime importance.

A Roman historian, circa 60 BCE wrote that the Egyptians, ‘raise them by their own hands, by virtue of a skill peculiar to them, in numbers beyond telling…..’ (Diodorus Siculus, Book I, 74).

 

Sanctuary ducks
Contented ducks at our Sanctuary (we do not eat our ducks!)

One of the oldest Gods, being part of the Ennead (the Creators), is Geb the God of the Earth,  whose wife is Nut, the sky Goddess. Geb is often represented as a man with a goose on his head, or simply a goose and he is known as the Great Cackler. He was believed to have fathered the primordial egg from which the sun hatched.
For Geb, it is written:

Behold, I rejoice on my standard, on my seat.
I am the Creator of Darkness, making my place in the limits of the Sky,
The Ruler of Infinity.
I am the Son of the Earth,
Sprung from the Egg of the World.
I rejoice in the Lord of the Palace.
My Nest is unseen; I have broken the Egg.
I am the Lord of Millions of Years.
I have made my Nest in the limits of the sky,
And descended to the earth as the goose who drives out all sins.
~The Leyden Papyrus

Egyptian_-_Sculptor's_Model_with_a_Relief_of_a_Goose_-_Walters_22268
Geb – the Great Cackler

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.

horusedfu.jpg

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 tiny protector for the full moon

What is it about bats? They have been portrayed as the alter-ego of Vampires due to the blood-sucking nature of three breeds of bats; however these are only found in South America and rarely go after humans. People are often terrified of these small animals yet most bats are harmless creatures who have unique eyesight, enjoy the dark, and have the ability to navigate with great precision in the darkness. Some are actually cute small mammals as can be seen by the featured images. Furthermore, bats are the only mammals that can truly fly and sustain flight.

Egyptian Fruit BAt

We have a small bat I’ve named Belfry who loves to fly laps around visitors to the basement of one of our Sanctuary homes; it is a charmingly Victorian Gothic experience. Belfry begged exploration of the nature of Bats in Ancient Egypt.

tinybat

The Ancient Egyptians believed that Bats could prevent or cure poor eyesight, toothache, fever, and baldness, and a Bat hung over the doorway of a home was thought to prevent the entry of demons that carried such illnesses. So rather than being blood-sucking demons, Bats were looked upon as tiny protectors.

Blessings on the Full Jasmine Moon!

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’.

falcongod
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.

horusseti.jpg
Horus – Temple of Seti I

Goddesses of Destruction and Creation

The Goddess of Destruction and Creation, Mother Nature, Aset, the 10,000 faces of the Goddess; it has been said (over and over again) “don’t mess with Mother Nature.” The Divine Feminine, Mother Nature, is stronger than man/humans. Throughout history She is honored, feared, worshiped, and, discussed here.

With Goddess Pele now creating fear and tremors in Hawaii, I see her in the Egyptian image of the Goddess of Destruction, Sekhmet. The Goddess is worshiped throughout the world with different words and images, however in the end they are all related, if not the same.

In Egypt, the lion represented the ferocious destructive aspect of the heat of the sun. Sekhmet, the Lion Goddess, is the Goddess of destruction and known as the power that protects the good and annihilates the wicked. She is the bringer of justice, a guardian and the Goddess of the sun, war, destruction, plagues and healing. She was created by Fire as a weapon of vengeance to destroy men for their wicked ways. Having once unleashed her powers for the destruction of mankind (it was a bloodbath!) the Egyptians feared a repeat performance by Sekhmet. The Egyptian people developed elaborate rituals in hopes she could be appeased. This ritual revolved around more than 700 statues of the goddess.The Egyptian priests were required to perform a ritual before a different one of these statues each morning and each afternoon of every single day of every single year. Only by the strictest adherence to this never-ending ritual could the ancient Egyptians be assured of their ability to placate Sekhmet.

Sekhmet
Sekhmet – “The Powerful One”

Tutu Pele the Fire Goddess is one of the most well known and revered Goddess in Ancient Hawaiian religion. She is the Goddess of Fire, lightning, dance, wind, volcanoes and violence. One of her names is Ka wahine `ai honua – the woman who devours the land; and like Sekhmet, she is both a creator and destroyer. She throws molten fountains into the air and governs the great flows of lava. With her power over the volcanoes, she created the Hawaiian Islands, and to this day, Pele has been known to reveal herself in the lava that is still continuing to grow and change the Hawaiian Islands.

The Face of Pele
The Face of Pele

Pele is known as the “Destroyer,” yet she is also considered a Mother Goddess. She contains within her both the destructive and creative powers of life. These powers are still very evident in Hawaii where Kilauea has been erupting. The creative force in Pele’s nature is shown in the synchronization of the elements during the eruption process. All four elements work together. Earth and fire mix creating lava; lava possesses water characteristics in the liquidity of its form, while air is represented by the billowing clouds of smoke during eruption. Air and water are also present in steam when the lava reaches the ocean forming new landmass. It is in this way that the Hawaiian archipelago was formed, and Pele is credited with its creation.

Face of Pele in Steam
Face of Pele in Steam

 

The Hare Goddess Wenet

When we think of Easter, the “Easter Bunny” is a main topic for festivity and play.
In ancient Egypt, the rabbit, or hare, was the Goddess Wenet. The Egyptians venerated the hare because of its swiftness and keen senses. The hare’s form was also taken by other deities who had associations with the Otherworld. In one scene from the Egyptian Book of the Dead, a hare-headed god, a snake-headed god, and a bull-headed god sit side by side; a hare-headed deity also guards one of the Seven Halls in the Underworld.

Wenet is further described in a portion of spell 17 of the Book of the Dead, which reads: “…Who is he? ‘Swallower of Myriads’ is his name, and he dwells in the Lake of Wenet…” To interpret the meaning of this passage, one remembers that hares can swim, and the Egyptian creation first came about in the watery abyss of Nun, out of which rose the primordial mound where newly born gods manifested. To “dwell in the Lake of Wenet” means to live renewed, revitalized, to be reborn, to live, forever and ever, renewed after death, as the god Atum-Re. Spell 17 goes on to identify the dweller in the Lake of Wenet as Atum-Re, the creator of all, whose father is said to be Nun, because he rose out of the “watery abyss.”

Other passages in the Book of the Dead mention Wenet. Spell 149 describes the “Mound of Wenet” though which the spirit travels to be reborn, rejuvenated while in the Otherworld or Duat:

“…As for that Mound of Wenet which is in front of Rosetjau, its breath is fire, and the gods cannot get near it, the spirits cannot associate with it; there are four cobras on it whose names are ‘Destruction.’ O Mound of Wenet, I am the greatest of the spirits who are in you, I am among the Imperishable Stars who are in you, and I will not perish, nor will my name perish. ‘O savour of a god!’ say the gods who are in the Mound of Wenet. If you love me more than your gods, I will be with you for ever…”

Not only is the Mound of Wenet a site of sacred creative energy, the ability of the hare to elude destruction, shows the Goddess Wenet, as associated with the hare, to provide a haven for the spirit, where it is rejuvenated on its journey through the Otherworld, a place where it cannot perish.

Ancient Egyptian Hare
“In many ancient civilizations the hare is a “lunar animal,” because the dark patches (maria, “seas”) on the surface of the full moon suggest leaping hares….In Buddhist, Celtic, Hottentot and ancient Egyptian cultures as well, the hare was associated with the moon…known for it’s vigilance and for the myth of it sleeping with it’s eyes open. The early Christian Physiologus mentions a further peculiarity of the hare: with its shorter front legs, it can run fastest uphill, eluding its pursuers…It’s speed and vigilance, according to Plutarch (AD 46 – 120), have a “divine” quality…A trickster figure, the hare outwits larger and stronger animals…For psychologically oriented symbologists, neither the speed nor the “timidity” of the hare is critical, but rather the rate at which it multiplies: this makes the animal a symbol of fertility…”

~ Biedermann, in the Dictionary of Symbolism

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

Flame of Protection

Intense, destructive fires are all around us here in California. When meditating upon these flames, I found a  protection prayer – call it spell – to protect those “kings” (and queens), who are fighting these fires; and to protect those “kings” (and queens), whose homes and animals are at risk. Furthermore,  let us send safety and healing to those whose homes and animals have perished in the flames.

Sacred Flame

“Lighting the Flame” was a daily ritual in the ancient temples. At daybreak the priests would light the sacred fire just before the sun – Ra – rose in the east. The sacred flame of Ra is warm and life-giving.  Fire has been a “savior” to human-kind, providing warmth and light, protecting us from the dark and cold.

Prayer for Protection

O Sekhmet, Eye of Ra, Great of Flame,
Lady of protection who envelops her creator,
Come towards the King, Nb-twy (Lord of the Two Lands) . . .
Protect him and preserve him from all arrows,
And every evil of this year . . .

O Sekhmet, who fills the ways with blood,
Who slaughters to the limits of all she sees,
Come towards the living image, the Living Falcon,
Protect him, and preserve him from all evil,
And every arrow of this year.

Triad of Ramesses II with Amun and Ma’at

Hymn of the Seven Hathors

In the Temple of Dendera (5th Crypt), is found the Hymn of the Seven Hathors. Today, according to the Ancient Egyptian Calendar, is a day of celebration; therefore, wishing to carry on the beauty and celebratory spirit of Hathor, I present this to you.

Hymn of the Seven Hathors

We play the tambourine for your ka,
We dance for your majesty
We exalt you – to the height of heaven.
You are the Mistress of Sekhem, the menat and the sistrum
The Mistress of Music for whose ka one lays
We praise your majesty every day
From dusk until the Earth grows light,
We rejoice in your countenance, O Mistress of Dendera.
We praise you with song.
You are the lady of Jubilation, the Mistress of the Iba dance,
The Lady of Music, the Mistress of Harp playing,
The Lady of Dancing, the Mistress of Tying on Garlands,
The Lady of Myrrh and the Mistress of Leaping.
We glorify your majesty – we give praise before your face.
We exalt your power over the Gods and Goddesses.
You are the Lady of Hymns,
The Mistress of the Library – the Great Seshat.
At the head of the Mansion of Records,
We propitiate your majesty every day.
Your heart rejoices at hearing our songs.
We rejoice when we see you, day by day.
Our hearts are jubilant when we see your majesty,
You are the Lady of Garlands, the Mistress of Dance
The Lady of Unending Drunkenness.
We rejoice before your face, we play for your ka.
Your heart rejoices over our performance.

Inside Temple of Dendara

Hathor’s Mirror Full Moon Ritual

The full moon has long been considered a symbol of wisdom and intuition. We feel its connection every month, when it lights the night sky. Water is also linked to the changing face of the moon and the tides.

The last moon phase of the year is the Long Nights Moon in December, also called Raven or Big Winter Moon, depending on where you live. This is often a time of introspection and self discovery, as you evaluate the trials and tribulations that you’ve endured over the past year. This is a time to re-evaluate where you want to go and who you want to be in the coming twelve month; this is a season of adaptation and change. Full Moon/Mirror of Hathor scrying magic can be very helpful to see the possibilities.
silu

To begin, create an outdoor altar with seasonal items like holly branches and pine cones, perhaps use a small pine, or other tree, to be the center of your altar. Burn some cinnamon, frankincense, or a winter solstice incense of your choice. Go out to your altar at night with a bowl or cauldron full of water, and do some moonlight scrying. This is particularly helpful if you know you need to make some changes, but aren’t sure how to get started. The Egyptian “Book of the Dead” contains references to Hathor’s magic mirror, used to see the future.

If you can’t perform this ritual on the night of the full moon, the night immediately before or immediately after is just as acceptable.

In addition to a clear sky and a full moon, you will need the following items:

A table or some sort of flat work space
A dark bowl
A pitcher containing enough water to fill the bowl

If you live near a natural body of water such as a pond or lake, you can perform scrying with these instead.
A journal or notepad to write in, as well as a pen

Sit or stand comfortably. Begin by closing your eyes, and attuning your mind to the energy around you. Feel the soft earth under your feet. Hear the rustling of the wind in the trees. Breathe in the scent of grass and earth that lingers in the air. Raise your arms out to your sides, palms facing up, and feel the energy of the moon above you.

Take some time to gather that energy. It’s a pull, a palpable sensation that we can feel if we just take the time to look for it. Feel that silver power above you, and recognize your connection to it, and to the Divine.

When you are ready to begin scrying, open your eyes. Notice the night all around you. You may feel an unusual sense of clarity and alertness. There is no need to be  concerned, it’s just lunar energy at work. Raise the pitcher in one hand, holding it over the bowl. As you do, visualize wisdom and guidance within the water. As you pour the water into the bowl, from the pitcher, see the energy of the moon charging that water. Recognize that this water can show you the mysteries of the moon. Remember Aset and Hathor are both Goddesses of the Moon and Stars.

When the bowl is full, position yourself so that you can see the moon’s light reflected directly into the water. Stare into the water, looking for patterns, symbols or pictures. You may see images moving, or perhaps even words forming.

Thoughts may come spontaneously into your head that seem to have nothing at all to do with anything. Write everything down. Spend as much time as you like gazing into the water,  it may be just a few minutes, or even an hour. Stop when you begin to feel restless, or if you are getting distracted by mundane thoughts.

When you are finished gazing into the water, make sure you have recorded everything you saw, thought and felt during your scrying session. Messages often come to us from other realms and we may not recognize them. If a bit of information doesn’t make sense, sit on it for a few days and let your unconscious mind process it. Chances are it will make sense eventually. It’s also possible that you could receive a message that’s meant for someone else; if something doesn’t seem to apply to you, think about friends or family whom it might be meant for.

Afterwards the ritual, you can leave your water out overnight to charge it even more, or you can pour it away into your garden as an offering.

It is good to be referent and give thanks for the Divine guidance.

fullmoon