Kemetic Calendar + Lunar Phases

Em hotep!

A new update for the Kemetic Calendar page has been published here:
http://mose.subquery.net/kemetic-calendar

The primary feature of this new version is lunar phases! These are indicated by circle icons on the days in the calendar at the bottom of the page. Clicking on a day with a lunar phase will also tell you which phase it is (new, first quarter, full, or last quarter).

Another new feature is the ability to directly enter a Kemetic Date. You can now do so by clicking on the date text at the very top of the page (now colored blue). This allows for quick lookup of a known Kemetic Date (for instance, a known holiday) to get its corresponding Gregorian date.

Upcoming Features

  • Add option to allow calibrating to a custom Wep Ronpet date.

Kemetic Calendar Converter

Em hotep!

It’s been a few years since my last post, but I am indeed still around. :)

I’ve recently created a little web page for helping convert between Gregorian (standard calendar) dates and the Kemetic calendar that we use in the House of Netjer. It has minimal features and a very minimalistic interface right now, but I’m looking to add much more functionality in the coming weeks. You can find the current version here:

http://mose.subquery.net/kemetic-calendar

Current Features

  • Calibrated to Joliet, IL Wep Ronpet
  • Shows the current date when the page is opened.
  • Works well on mobile devices and desktop.
  • Clicking the reset icon in the top right will also jump to the current date.
  • Allows for conversion between Kemetic and Gregorian dates.
  • You can click on the Gregorian date to bring up a date picker which can select both past and future dates.
  • Clicking on dates in the Kemetic calendar at the bottom will show the date at the top along with its Gregorian equivalent.
  • Accounts for leap years by adding a “Djehuty” day to the beginning of the Epagomenals.

Planned Features

  • Add option to allow calibrating to a custom Wep Ronpet date.
  • Add lunar phases to the calendar.
  • Option to directly input a Kemetic date.
  • Calculate Wep Ronpet for a given physical location based on the heliacal rising of Sopdet

Wesir Mysteries

Who is Wesir? What are the Wesir Mysteries? Just why is it that He and the Mysteries are so important? Why were they so widely observed in ancient times? How were they observed? What did they mean back then? What do they mean now? What does it mean… to me?

These are all questions that I found myself asking earlier last week. Many of the answers to those questions were explained to me, but Wesir and the Mysteries did not really resonate with me. I heard the answers, I comprehended them, but I didn’t really understand them. I think the part that really fell short for me was that I hadn’t yet found my own personal relation to Wesir and the Mysteries.

In short, Wesir is a dead God. He was killed, buried, and mourned. He began a new afterlife in the Duat as king, but He was never to return to the seen world – to the living. The Wesir Mysteries vigil observes this passing and His transition into the Duat. This is important for our akhu (our ancestors who live on in the Duat), as He watches over them, provides them with all that they need there. But what about you and I? We’re still here, living in the seen world. Sure, it’s great to know that our akhu are well cared for and getting all that they need, but what does that do for us?  The Wesir Mysteries that I knew was simply a time of reflection on Wesir’s death and His new residence in the Duat. Simply knowing that is not very exciting or moving on its own.

All of that changed for me this past weekend.

I had started planning to celebrate the Mysteries a couple of months in advance. I observed them in a mostly informal fashion last year with Imti, but this year I wanted to see if I couldn’t pull together something a little more formal. So I set a date, sent out invites, and waited. I was more excited about the time I could spend together with my friends in the faith than I was about observing the actual festival. But then on the Wednesday before the date I had set, we had group chat night where we discussed various things about Wesir and the Mysteries. The questions I listed at the top of this post were some of the ones brought up during that chat, but never really answered (at least not for me). That night, however, I started having dreams related to Wesir. They didn’t let up the next night, or the one after that. I suddenly found myself rather inspired and encouraged to put a lot of effort into the ritual portion of the Mysteries and carry it out as formally as possible. I still didn’t really understand why at the time – I just felt that it was important to do so.

On Saturday, we all gathered at my place, and by nightfall we were all fed, had our offerings ready, and were settled in for the all night vigil.  For those who don’t know, the vigil for the Wesir Mysteries is traditionally observed over the course of six hours, beginning at midnight. During that time, Wesir’s death is mourned. Gradually throughout the night, He becomes established in the Duat. Each hour, on the hour (according to the ritual), we were to do a reading and perform various actions relating to Wesir’s transition to the Duat, followed by some time that could be spent in reflection – either alone or with the others present. All in all, this ended up taking about 15 minutes per hour.

The First Hour

A close-up of the altar before the start of the vigil with the lights still on in the room.

A close-up of the altar before the start of the vigil with the lights still on in the room.

Just before midnight, I purified my shrine room and the attendees and made sure everything was in order. The candles on the altar were lit. The lights were turned out. All the statues were in their places. Wesir’s icon was covered. We all lined up in our ritual whites and proceeded into the room. I carried with me a candle and a piece of paper with the words that I needed to read for the first hour of the vigil. We all gathered around the altar and stood in silence for a moment. Then I read the words, put out the candle, and we all knelt before the altar.

That was when I started to understand. There, in that cold dark room, kneeling before a dead God who was surrounded by His mourning family members. That’s why the Mysteries are so important, so far reaching, so widely celebrated. There is nothing more universal and fundamental to life than death. Everyone has experienced death in their lives. The loss of a loved one, the loss of a friend, or the loss of a family member. No one goes through life without loss, and in the end, we all die. There is no more basic or absolute truth to life than that.
Many of Shakespeare’s plays have been praised because they touch on fundamental human behavior and conditions which transcend time. So too is it with the Wesir Mysteries. Being acted out here before us in a ritual context was the death of Wesir. The loss of Him from this seen world – never to return again. It was something that I could relate to as I recalled the funerals of my Great Grandfather and my Grandmother. It was like being there again, standing before their caskets, knowing that I’d never see them again – at least not in this world. The death of Wesir is a powerful and moving story which speaks to us all, if we let it.
The next three hours involved more ritual readings and more time reflecting on and coming to understand this topic.

The Fourth Hour

This was when Wesir started to be established in the Duat. It was a transition from loss and mourning to a very quiet glimmer of hope.

That which has died shall not remain unchanged.

That was the first thought which came into my mind. Wesir was dead, yes, but He wasn’t simply just gone. He was changing. Becoming something more.

The Fifth Hour

Wesir was becoming further established as ruler, Heru in the Duat. Ritually, we were revealing more of His icon, showing that He was becoming revealed once more as something new and different.

The faintest light brings hope of a new life; a new beginning.

This was when I started to understand the rest of the reason why the Wesir Mysteries are so important. It’s not just about death and mourning and loss. It’s also about hope, a life after death, becoming something new and different. The existence of an afterlife is something which many of us hope for, and which many of us struggle to believe in. I often have many fears and doubts myself about the existence of an afterlife, even when I have no problem believing in my Gods. It’s kind of strange in that context, but it’s not unreasonable. Death is a terrifying thing. It’s full of great unknowns and questions that simply can not be answered. It is said that Wesir guards those secrets. That saying has a little more context for me now.

Even in death, the effects of one’s life carry on.

I looked over to the plants that were on the altar. They were green and growing – a symbol of Wesir. A symbol which lives on and carries its meaning even after His death. This reminded me of something else that’s so very important. What we do in this life, in the seen world, carries on long after we’re gone. The effects we had on our friends, family, and the world will ripple on for generation upon generation. The bonds of love are not broken by death, and the memories we have live on within us. They still have the power to bring us strength, courage, and joy. They may also make us sad to know that they’ll never be seen again in this world, yes, but they have not simply vanished from existence.

The Sixth Hour

Wesir is established in the Duat. We present offerings to Him, honor Him, and celebrate.

Em hotep, Wesir. I see you rising. We all see you rising as You take Your place among the stars in the vault of Nut.

As it is with all those who have gone before us, the way we talk to them and interact with them has changed, but they have not left us. They’re still there, watching over us, listening to us, and talking to us if we take the time to listen to them.

The altar filled out with offerings as Wesir has taken His place in the Duat.

The altar filled out with offerings as Wesir has taken His place in the Duat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And that’s what the Mysteries are all about. The mysteries of life, death, afterlife, and what lies in-between. Facing death, the sadness and separation it brings, and also the hope and new relationships it begins.

Carrying out this vigil in the way we did allowed me to finally see and understand the significance involved in this sacred time of the year. Seeing His death and resurrection in the afterlife carried out hour by hour really drove it home for me. Wesir was the one who I listened to that night – whose vigil I helped bring to life and observed. He prompted me to write down what came to mind, and those are the quotes which I made in this post. He is the reason why I began writing again and why I wrote this post here tonight.

Thank you, Wesir.

Dua Wesir! Nekhtet!

A return to writing

Em hotep!

It’s been well over a year since I’ve made any posts on this blog. I could make all kinds of excuses as to why that is, but I’d rather focus on why I’m starting to write again.

Much has changed over the course of the last year. One of which being that I am now a consecrated W’ab priest of Heruakhety in the Kemetic Orthodox faith. This blog started out as my own personal views on my practices within the faith. That’s how I plan on keeping it. My primary focus is still on my spiritual Father, Heruakhety and my Beloveds, Ra, Set, and Yinepu-Wepwawet.

But every now and then, an unexpected God or Goddess shows up and surprises you by teaching you something that you never really understood before. That is exactly what happened to me with Wesir this past weekend. He is the one who encouraged me to start writing again. It started with just a few notes in a journal. Now I’m hoping to grow it in to something much more than that. I’ll be posting more about that experience shortly.

Senebty,
Mose

Beautiful Reunion

Ah, the Feast of the Beautiful Reunion!  It’s an ages old celebration of the union of Hethert and Heru-wer, accompanied by offerings of music, dancing, and food!  But what does it really mean for two gods who love each other to be joined in union?  While that’s an answer which everyone needs to find for themselves, I found out what it means to me last night.

The Beautiful Reunion was the first festival I ever participated in after joining the Kemetic Orthodox church last year.  I remember it as being one of the most joyful and uplifting celebrations of the year.  This year, however, seemed to be a different story.  My day did not seem to be in celebration of Their union at all.  I was really struggling with loneliness at the time, as I came to the crushing realization that I really didn’t have any close friends who I talk to regularly any more.  I no longer had that one person who I could always turn to and confide in and know that they understand.  So, I started trying to reach out to people again, just to see how things are going.

Unfortunately, it seems that everywhere I turn, people are having a hard time.  Illness, death, lost jobs, financial problems, and relationship problems abound.  I was hoping to hear from someone about how good and joyful life is, but it just wasn’t meant to be.  I wanted to talk to someone who could help turn my perspective around.  But for each person I talked to, I learned of new problems in life.  It wasn’t what I was looking for, but that didn’t mean that I just turned away from them.  I offered an open heart and a willing ear, to still be someone they could talk to.  There are far too many people who are lost in despair.  Far too many who feel like there isn’t anyone left in the world who cares about them any more.  It’s absolutely the worst feeling in the world and I can’t accept that anyone should ever have to feel that way.  Maybe I can’t turn their lives around on my own, but damn it, I try anyway!

I can’t give jobs to those who need them, fix a broken family, cure sickness, or get people out of financial trouble.  But what I can do, and what any of us can do, is to care.  Let someone know that you care about what happens to them and offer to help in any way that you can.  No one should ever have to feel alone or feel that any burden is too much to share.  We were never meant to survive on our own in this world.  We all need people who care about us and people who we can care about.  Even if you aren’t someone’s best friend, you can still be a friend.

This is what the Beautiful Reunion taught me this year.  The union of Hethert and Heru-wer is a celebration of love and companionship in its most powerful form.  It’s the celebration two gods working together, who are so filled with love that it touches us all.  It may not be possible to truly understand what the union of two gods means, but we can certainly understand the union of two humans.    The beautiful bond that exists between two people who care for each other is surely but a glimpse and a humble offering to what this festival is about.  It is that bond which we become a part of every time we reach out to someone.

There was one line at the beginning of the ritual which really spoke to me about this idea:
“Grant us the ability to feel Your love and to share it with others.”

That is what I felt that day, and that is what I try to share with others.  It’s not always easy, but it is always the right thing to do.  This is what the Beautiful Reunion means to me.

Epic Wing Weekend (Second two days)

On Saturday morning, Shefyt, Imti, Peri, Tepta, and I stopped by a super epic awesome bagel shop before heading back into NYC.  Freshly baked blueberry bagels are a great way to start the day!  Once we made it into NYC, everyone met up at a university classroom, courtesy of Wasi and her mother (thank you!).  After a little trouble with the guards at the front door, we made our way up several flights of escalators to the waiting classroom.  We all gathered the desks in a circle at the front of the room around Hemet who took the teacher’s desk.  The first thing she did was to start writing wing fest quiz questions on the chalk board (which she also posted on Facebook)!  I don’t think that any of us were quite expecting that!  The questions covered all things wings: Gods and Goddesses with and related to wings, species of birds, glyphs of birds and related to birds, and even a question about which Nisut received a chicken as a tribute.

One of the most interesting things I learned from the quiz is that the Eye of Ra hieroglyph is associated with mathematics and medicine and that its shape was the basis for the now ubiquitous Rx symbol.  The other interesting tidbit of information was that the Nisut who received a chicken as a tribute (Djehutymose III) thought it was so amazing because chickens lay eggs every day.  All of the birds native to Egypt only lay very few eggs once a year, so this was a shocking revelation at the time.  It also probably helps that their eggs are so delicious. :P

The time passed all too quickly as we all went over what we came up with for the answers.  It was an awesome time of learning and asking questions about the wonderful winged gods: what their feathers and wings represent, how they’re all tied together, and even gods that we’d never think of being associated with wings or feathers.
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Epic Wing Weekend (First two days)

This past weekend was our North East Wing Fest gathering!  A weekend full of fellowship, learning, and good food!  I actually wasn’t sure what to expect at first.  There was a rough itinerary posted, but that didn’t even start to prepare me for what all was going to happen!

I drove up to stay at Shefytbast’s place Thursday afternoon.  Unfortunately the traffic wasn’t in my favor and I ended up arriving much later than I originally intended.  Luckily that didn’t turn out to be any trouble and I was able to find her house after calling and getting some extra directions.  I was finally able to meet Shefyt, Peri, and Tepta for the first time.  They all turned out to be super epic awesome!  Oh, and Imti was there too… already asleep on the couch.  We didn’t do a whole lot the first night aside from meeting each other and getting to bed.

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Origami Bird Heka

Origami bird dedicated to HeruakhetyYesterday was the second day of the Wing Fest celebration.  In keeping with the theme of all things with wings, we had a special fellowship event in which we worked some awesome heka with origami!

This isn’t exactly something that I’ve tried before, but I attended the event with high hopes and I wasn’t disappointed!  The heka itself is fairly straight forward.  We each took a piece of origami paper, dedicated it to a winged god, and wrote a prayer or message on one side of the paper.  We then followed a set of instructions created by one of the other House members to fold that paper into the shape of a bird.  Some of the origami folds are a little tricky to get your head around at first.  I might have been a little slow, but I got it done in the end!  Once everyone had at least one bird folded, we all offered our creations to the god we wrote our prayers to.  These birds will now spend the rest of the week in shrine, hopefully working some very effective heka. ^_^

I dedicated mine (rather predictably) to Heruakhety.  I won’t go into detail about what I wrote, but suffice to say that I found the results to be rather immediate and very effective.  I look forward to seeing what the rest of this week has in store.

Journal of Wings

In case you haven’t already heard, the Journal of Wings has been published and is now ready for purchase!

Journal of Wings on Lulu

It’s a compilation of stories, poems, art, and heka dedicated to the winged gods in celebration of Wing Fest!  I contributed an image for the publication as well.  It’s at the very end – save the best for last!

Wing Fest!

No, it’s not about hot wings!  Although I’ve been told that many people do enjoy those, as do some of the gods. :3

Wing fest is a week long celebration being done within the Kemetic Orthodox church to celebrate all of the winged Netjeru.  It’s not a traditional or ancient festival, but this year it is official for the church and the first full week long celebration of the Names!  The first day of the festival was yesterday.  It’s been quite a while since I posted anything, so I made myself a goal to write one post for each day of the festival.  It’s a little bit of a late start now, but better late than never. ^.^;;

I first started off my own celebration of wing fest on Monday morning with my regular practice of senut for Heruakhety.  There are two winged gods who I am personally very close to.  The first being of course Heruakhety, and the other being my first beloved, Ra.  But Wings Fest isn’t only about the gods who appear specifically as birds.  It also covers all gods and imagery which include wings and feathers (such as Aset, Ma’at, The Ba, winged scarabs, etc).  This has really opened the doors wide for everyone to join in the celebration of these gods.  And celebrate we did!  For the first night of wings fest, there was an online gathering for an hour long session of praise, prayers, and conversations with the winged gods!

The gathering was somewhat similar to a standard heka prayer dua that is held once per month, but this one was more open, less constrained, and focused on the topic of wings.  It was really very inspiring and a great motivational work of heka!  Even being as separated across the country and across the world as we all are, there was still a tremendous and joyous amount of energy being shared that night.  After it was over, everyone was left with a great sense of excitement and inspiration.  It was just like a strong sensation of wanting to get out in the world and accomplish something! ^.^

Monday was a great beginning to the festival, and only the start of the energy which will carry through for the rest of the week!