Tag Archives: ancient egypt

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

The Falcon Speaks

In addition to our flock of silkies, living within our Sanctuary are birds of all kinds. The calls and cries of the birds are constant and welcome. We hear the Barn Owls and Great Horned Owls at sunset; the cries of the Falcon and the sounds of the Ravens in the morning.

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

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

Invoking Hathor for the Long Night Moon

Visualize the goddess Hathor standing before you holding Her mirror, reflective side out. Go outside imagine Her in a sacred natural space (or a deck, patio, etc.). She is protecting your space with Her sacred mirror.

Be sure that your intentions are compassionate, true and just. You must always seek to serve and bring about the highest good, and wish for the best possible outcome for all concerned.

O my Lady, come and protect me,
give me abundant life.
Make me healthy
on the east side of the sky,
So that I will be established
in the horizon.

O my Lady, come and restore me,
O Come! Lady of the Sun Disk!
Keep me safely
on the east side of the sky,
So that I will be protected
in the horizon.
O, Come, Lady of the Mirror, O Come!
For millions of years you
have sailed in the Sun Barque of your Father without ceasing.
As you ride in the boat of your Father, so,
I pray for happiness!
I pray for prosperity!
I pray for health!
I pray for protection!
May they flow from you
without ceasing!

~ Based on a hymn to Hathor found in the private tomb of Kheruef, Royal Scribe and First Herald of Amenhotep III, West Bank at Luxor, 18th Dynasty.

After asking Hathor for guidance and protection it is always good and right to thank Her.

 

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.

orion_spinelli_full
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.

The_dawn_of_civilization-_Egypt_and_Chaldaea_(1897)_(14761135924)

“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

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.