Friday, 27 January 2012

Birds

Many Kemetic themes include various avian hieroglyphs, Gods, and concepts, especially concepts relating to the soul.



I have chosen my second “B” word as birds for this reason; but also I have found that as I have been contemplating and working with magick, I am seeing an abundance of crows and ravens everywhere I go. And when I do not see them, I hear them calling out. Fitting, as these birds are indeed associated with bringing magick.





Birds are associated with mystical concepts because they can fly. They get to be both earth and sky bound. Humans are not so fortunate. And we depict winged beings and have visions of bird shamans as a means of trying to connect with our loftier, spiritual selves I think.


A winged physique; this is actually me (the wings are transposed of course!)

The Ancient Egyptians had quite a birdy repertoire in their hieroglyphic system.







Netjeru associated with birds

The falcon Netjer, Heru, was one of the first Netjeru that entered my life at an early age. Heru can be represented as a falcon or a falcon headed man. Heru is one of many falcon headed Netjeru that include Heru-Wer and Heru-Behdety, the winged disk. Lord Khonsu is sometimes depicted as falcon headed also.


A beautiful sculpture of Heru with King Horemheb



Winged Disks and Heru-in-Sopdu (= Sopdu = Sokar) played a role in the process I underwent in the late 90’s called The Lion Path. After one session the next day, I strolled out of my lodging to find a falcon flying overhead (not so common in South Australia where I grew up).






The mysteries associated with Sokar and this Divine Netjer Himself are among the most fascinating of my beloved Kemetic life.





Djehuty – the ibis-headed Netjer is associated with writing and so I thought he’d be a big part of my Kemetic “line-up”. He is present, but not in the front lines.





Same with the vulture Netjer Nekhbet – although I have sensed her at times and I do feel that there is much more for us all to learn about the vulture cult in Ancient Egypt. I am also fascinated by how big a role vultures play in Zoroastrianism.


I love this image of Nekhbet




Concepts of the soul associated with birds

The Akh was written with the glyph of the crested ibis, and the jabiru represented the Ba (also represented by a human headed bird). Just why these birds were chosen for these elements of the soul I am still learning.


This FIMO glyph of the akh is mine! I love that when you Google "Akh hieroglyph" this comes up in the images!



My research into Soul Anatomy to date is too incomplete and complex for me to articulate here right now. But essentially, Akh represents a glorified part of the soul when other “lower” parts have been reunited or fused. The Ba is the part of the soul that is higher self like, but still very subject to the trappings and gloss of life.


Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Beautiful

The word beautiful in Egyptian is “nefer”.  When I reference the Netjeru in my mind, or when I see them in my Shrine or about my house, I often find my self thinking or addressing them as / with “Beautiful”.
 

I am a Libran, and to us born of the scales beauty is a bit of a “theme”. And whilst superficial beauty is a preoccupation of mine as much as anyone else’s I guess, the deep beauty – the inexplicable “something” that defines a beautiful object or person beyond how they look - is a greater preoccupation.


I often see beauty in people that may otherwise be considered unattractive. I can sometimes see beauty in things traditionally considered ugly or not appealing.


It is the deep, indescribable beauty that I refer to in this post.


The hieroglyph for Nefer is this:




It is a trachea and heart. I think the Egyptians were saying beauty comes from within. What people express (via the trachea which carries our voice, a primary means of expression) of their nature (what is in the heart) defines the timbre of that beauty.


Below are some images of the Netjeru and Kemetic objects that make me think “Beautiful” when I gaze upon them:


My pendant of Lord Set - I wear Him and He sits on my altar too



A colossal statue of Lord Anpu that graced the main train station in Melbourne last year when used to promote the Tutankhamun exhibition

An early version of my Shrine; this collection of Netjeru is indeed beautiful





This beautiful statue of Lady Aset is a recent addition to my Shrine and even more special as Aunty Sue bought it for me when we went to the Tutankhamun exhibition together


The work of artist Jeff Cullen is breathtaking; his interpretations of Kemetic deities are in line with my mission of "re-introducing" Kemet to the world; check out the majesty of Lord Heru


My first introduction to Jeff's work was this sculpture of Beautiful Set; it earned the artist the first of what I expect will be a series of commissions from me


This bronze statue of Beautiful Lady Sekhmet from Dynasty 26 is not as artistically beautiful as the one from my Shrine above; however: I do believe that part of the Lady Herself is still present in this object; I saw it at a local gallery a couple of weeks ago here in Melbourne
  
This coffin of King Shoshenq II fascinates and intrigues me almost more than any other Kemetic object; it was my dream to see this coffin for real, which was realised in 2010 when I visited the Cairo Museum


All 3 coffins of King Tutankhamun are beautiful beyond words; I remember remarking on the outermost coffin for a school presentation in Grade 9 at school "Isn't it beautiful?", which earnt me much further derision I assure you (I was a very gay kid); I did not see that coffin when I visited Cairo as it remains in the tomb of the King in Luxor



I took this photo of the Divine triad of Lord Ptah, Lady Sekhmet and King Ramesses II in the courtyard of the Cairo Museum in November 2010
  


King Shoshenq's bracelets

Image of Lord Sokar from the grounds of the Cairo Museum; I was surrounded by so much amazing stuff when I was in Cairo that it is a wonder I didn't wee myself; a truly magickal time




Tuesday, 24 January 2012

A Plinth

(Yes, I dare to use this post as my second "A" submission for the Pagan Blog Project 2012")


I have had urges to bring some Netjeru out of my Shrine (Room) and place them in visibility in the upstairs (private) area of my new home.

At first I was unsure, but I began with assembling some of the smaller stauettes along the edge of my bath. It gives me great comfort and joy to see them when I bathe.


Feeling comfortable with this, a landing at the top of my stairs inspired a loftier vision, so I set about creating a plinth for Set and Heru-Wer. The landing at the top of the stairs was begging for some kind of realisation, an installation of some kind. I measured the area up and got the pieces required cut at the hardware store. My dad is an engineer so he oversaw the design and worked out what I would require to make it. He then made the original form that you can see awaiting painting below.




After the primer (which took a few coats) I applied the black gloss. I wanted to make sure the area where the statues of Netjer were going was particularly well painted and prepared.


I then brought the piece inside to commence applying the hieroglyphs. I took an image from the ones I had previously painted on Lord Set’s (pendant / travelling) Shrine  and arranged them on a worksheet next to those of Heru-Wer’s so that the dimensions would be correct.







 I was happy with the way they turned out.







And finally, Lord Set and Lord Heru-Wer upon the plinth, overseeing my living space.









Sunday, 22 January 2012

Aromatherapy

My first A submission for the Pagan Blog Project 2012 is how using scents gets me into a trance for when I do my Kemetic rituals (principally the Senut).  It is also about how I use essential oils to alter my mood generally.


I worked out some time ago that frankincense and myrrh “did it” for me as far as my favourite scents went. It is a wonder, because they used frankincense in special ceremonies when I was a kid growing up in the Catholic church – and as I did a complete rejection of the former in my late teens and have never looked back  . . . well. Luckily I did not associate it with said times as it truly is a magickal flavour that “sends” me.



My little collection of essential oils and burning stones



How do I activate the smells?

I primarily use a diffuser, but also put some undiluted forms in my nostrils and on my skin.

I burn rocks on charcoal pellets for Senut.


My diffuser


Netjer and the scents

I have been exploring if various Netjeru are associated with various scents.

I am certain that Set is myrrh, and that Heru is frankincense. I am very keen to find a scent of Maat and suspect that Sage or Clary Sage is close. The Wepwawet wiki has its own ideas too, and lists “acceptable” scent offerings for various Netjeru.


Other scents that I like and use

I use rose and sometimes rosewood when I need to be feeling some love.

Pine is another entrancing scent for me, and I am increasingly getting to associate this flavour with Sokar.

I will use orange, lemon and lime (not together!) in my work space area if I need active, strong scents to pick up the mood or inspire action.

Juniper and Sandalwood are a staple in my Shrine Room – this combo seems to be the flavour of my Shrine Room and meditation space. I wonder if that will change as I start administering more magick in there?

I use chamomile when I need to clam down, and lavender when I need to relax and go to sleep.

New scents for me are ylang ylang and clary sage.



Do any of you use specific flavours when communing with the Netjeru? And to the witchies that are tuning in, what do you like to use for your magickal workings?



The Pagan Blog Project 2012

A group has pulled together an idea to network blogs around the world with the overall theme of Paganism. The idea is that every Friday, those participating will write about a subject starting with the letter A for two weeks, then B etc. (Can't wait until we get to Z to see how creative everyone really is!!).

I do not consider myself a Pagan. I do acknowledge that I use pagan-like practices in what I call my “Kemetic Practice”, but right now I feel that labels are not appropriate for where I am in my journey and process with all of this. Pagan, alternative, metaphysical, New Age . . . . labels.


I am participating for 3 reasons:


1)      Doing so is fitting with my resolve this year to be less insular, more social, expressive and interactive – I hope my blog opens doors for other peeps and that I get to interact with new and interesting peeps in turn


2)      I have become increasingly interested in Magick and my sense is that this project will enhance and further my development of this


3)      When I was growing up the nuns had a hatred for pagans and the part of me that is still saying “fuck you” to “the establishment” loves the fact that I too, am jumping in with the “heathens”


It is also an opportunity for me to articulate things that I otherwise might not, and will be a charming track to run alongside my regular blog subjects and interests.



The banner of participating bloggers for this project


Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Faith, Myrrh, more FIMO: Set and Heru-Wer

My creativity seems to be upsurging at the moment. Take a look at the title of this blog – even that rhymes!  

I am writing again, poetry and verse mainly, and contemplating the tools at my disposal as an artist that has “dipped” into many disciplines. (I am a trained actor, but also paint, sculpt, and write: I have been published as a Fitness Journalist).

I put this down to settling into a new home that I am very happy with, meditating and exploring my purpose upon the earth, sitting in my Shrine Room more often, vibrational healing and reading some cool books. Having some extra time to myself as clients take their time returning from vacation may also be a factor.

Aromatheraphy
My olfactory senses have always been rather acute, and using aromatherapy in meditation has yielded some great results for me of late.

I had put some myrrh in my nostrils last night after a contemplation with Set on my altar. I had juniperberry and sandalwood going in my diffuser and the entire effect was very pleasant.
I do believe that the myrrh in my nose today gave me some insights and a feeling of well being that I have not had for a while. I am certain that myrrh is “Set’s scent” and have a feeling that frankincense is Heru’s.
Myrrh forming on a Commiphora myrrha tree trunk

Faith, belief, knowing . . . and where I stand
After a visit from a Christian friend, reading another Kemetic blog and some other material, the matter of faith and what I believe is on my mind somewhat.

When trying to articulate the absolute I reference Netjer. That I know of the existence of Netjer is a better statement for me in contrast to saying that I believe that Netjer exists.

I do not wish to articulate, at this time, how. If I was asked to “prove” it, I might answer, “look around”. If I was speaking to someone that also has this or a similar understanding, I may feel comfortable enough to have a greater discussion on the subject where indeed I explained why I know, and some points and events that have led me to this conclusion.

As I delve deeper into my relationship with Netjer, which ultimately is the  on for this blog, I am coming to some new understandings. imately si tehre  some things that have led me or that I wanted to hreason for this blog, I am coming to some new understandings.

I think that where the Divine is located is hard for us humans to access, and thus a series of specific initiations are necessary in order to reach that place. Years ago, I would have scoffed at this as an “elitist” concept, but I make the statement because I feel that the frequency that Netjer vibrates / exists at is so disparate to ours that a retune of our senses - if not our being - is in order.

Does this mean we can not access Netjer without an intermediary? No. But it may mean that we need to be aware of projecting our own personalities or human concepts on what are, ultimately, not human beings or concepts.
  
FIMO
I do not think my FIMO work is brilliant (I mean, have you seen Jeff Cullen’s work?), but have had expressions of admiration from peeps reading the blog.

One such person is a House Of Netjer devotee, and I have made a Heru-Wer for her. I do not consider it perfect, but do think that a piece of the Great God could inhabit it on her shrine if she so wanted.

I made the main pieces on His festival dates earlier this year (unbeknownst to me).






I also have made this little Set animal figure.





I have been reading Don Webb’s “Seven faces of darkness” which features Set depicted as Ass-headed on the cover. Many of the rituals in the book came from a time (late period and into the Roman – Grecian) when Set – Typhon was depicted more like this than the traditional Kemetic animal.


I think that the piece I have created reflects this.











I intend getting better with my sculpture as time goes by.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Dragons and Set: Synchronicities And Connections

The concept of dragons have been coming up lately in relation to Set, and it has got my mind a-ticking.
This dragon image is from a deck of divining cards in a blog I was looking at a couple of days ago: the blog I was investigating was about Egyptian Scarab oracles, and her most current blog featured the card pictured (original post  here )
It started with reading Don Webb’s “The Seven Faces Of Darkness” which I got for Xmas. It appears that as Ancient Egyptian culture was gradually assimilated into Greco-Roman culture, Set became associated with the god Typhon. Typhon was described as a monstrous serpent and dragon.


As Set was the slayer of Apep, I wonder how this assimilation came about? Reptilians were not normally animals associated with Set – can a dragon be considered reptilian as such?


It appears that Joan Lansberry has also considered this subject, as she mentions in a blog posting from 2004 that Set and Ra were referred to as dragons in one reference she has viewed. She writes: Both SET and the Dragon represent '' 'The spirit of the way', bringing eternal change.'' Dragon/Set is 'dark, chaotic unmanifested potential'” (see the full post here, it is really good: http://www.joanannlansberry.com/journal/pathmark/dragphnx.html )


I recently went back to Adelaide to visit my family, and someone asked me about the “dragon” I had in my car. (See original post about my Set car icon here: http://setkenblog.blogspot.com/2011/07/more-fimo-creations.html )


You can see my red Set figure on the dashboard of my car

I have become hooked on a new (to me) show called “Game Of Thrones”, and low and behold there is a dragon mythos weaving through the storyline resulting in their appearance in the final episode. Again, this only happened this week!

Game Of Thrones is my new favourite show; this lady has dragon blood in her I believe
Finally, this month marks the 10 year anniversary where I needed to make some tough decisions about where my life was headed. It resulted in my moving to Hong Kong in February 2002 where I remained for 5 years.


Hong Kong: I lived here for 5 years. The cityscape never failed to take my breath away.

I will never forget one of the first meditation / dream experience that I had there (I actually can not remember which it was, but it was significantly real). In the sequence, 7 dragons welcomed me to their land. It was a signal that this was where I was meant to be. It was also the setting for the biggest transformations of my life: I went there one person and came out of there another.


When my partner of the time and I moved into our apartment together there we hired a Feng Shui Master to come and check it out (i.e. to Divine it). His reading for me was: “You are a sleeping dragon. When are you going to wake up?”


In one of the many sojourns I made to Thailand with that partner, I spied a magnificent dragon bracelet in a Bangkok shopping mall. We went back many months later to buy it together – a gift and investment all at once – in my last year. I left Hong Kong for good some months later.

The dragon bracelet: it is pure silver




The bracelet in situ on my wrist

Why has Set come to be associated with this creature? Set’s principal theophany - the “Set animal” - is generally regarded as a mythical creature, although I strongly believe that it is an animal that went extinct.
 

Is the same true of the dragon?


Lord Set on the altar in my Shrine Room; the pendant - talisman looks even more brilliant with the red lighting I have added to the space; this pic was not coloured or enhanced