So, I got this fabulous idea to utilize a sensory deprivation test to try divination this last April. Inspired by the Ganzfeld experiment, I cut a sheet of paper- instead of ping pong balls (they let a little light in and don’t quite cover the entire eye); and covered the edging with cotton balls. Then I played white noise over my headphones. From here, laying on my bed, with my wife watching silently, I went into attempting to feel the effects, analyze, and then divine or communicate.
“It took some time and readjustments before I could comfortable begin to seep into the white. A slight frustration, but by egging myself on I was able to achieve results. Not stellar results, but results nonetheless.
Upon entering my trance, I found myself being pulled deeper and deeper into the Duat. My body felt like it was numb and light; I felt like I was being pulled into a vortex. Grey and black thundering clouds danced across my visual screen until I was thrown out of the monochromatic prison and onto a boat.
I looked around and could see the black and green banks with lush vegetation sprawling closely to the water; sand beyond the green. I was sailing down the Nile, on a barque. At first, I saw Aset observing me from her position on the barque. Next, I could hear Sutekh. A low and terrible thunder rumbled through the air above and the water beneath; his voice. He uttered to me, “I thought this is what you wanted? Council with the Netjeru.”
I turned to see that I was in fact on the solar barque and Aset was standing beside Re. He shone too brilliant for me to focus upon at first, causing my eyes to water hotly. I took a moment, regained my composure and focused. I could see Re sitting upon his throne on the barque. Re was a tall, strong man with bright skin and keen eyes, his presence filled the air as he sat dignified. From here, I heard Sutekh once again, and then he showed himself. He placed his hand upon my shoulder, chuckled and before I knew it I was drug deep into the Duat. Then all at once, Sutekh propelled me forth and back into my own skin- his rumbling chuckles filling the void of white noise. Why my patron?” (22 April, 2016 at 5:00 P.M.).
I remember taking a good twenty minutes of concentration before I began to sink into the void, the Duat. It’s interesting to note that I still have no idea why Sutekh, essentially slingshot me through the Duat. Maybe it was a hallucination induced by sensory deprivation. Maybe it was divine. I’ve had recent reason to believe it’s the latter, but isn’t that what we all say?
What follows is a timeline of events in Ancient Egypt. Obviously, it won’t contain a complete historical image, but hopefully it will help to paint a clearer picture of what Ancient Egypt was like and what it had gone through.
Pre-Dynastic Period (7000-3100 B.C.)
Early settlers arrive in the Nile valley. They farmed, kept livestock and built permanent homes on the banks of the Nile river.
Few written record or artifacts have been found from the Predynastic Period.
Around 3400 B.C., two separate kingdoms had been established. The Red Land to the North, that extended along the Nile River Delta to Atfih; and the White Land to the South, extending from Atifh to Gebel es-Silsila.
A king from the South, Scorpion, made the first attempts to unify the two kingdoms around 3200 B.C.. A century later, King Menes would pursue that ideal and become the first Pharaoh of the first dynasty.
Early Dynastic Period (3100-2686 B.C)
King Menes founded the capital of ancient Egypt at White Walls (Memphis), in the North close to the apex of the Nile River Delta.
During this period, we see the development of the foundations of the Egyptian society. To the Egyptians, the King was a god-like being, closely identified with the deity Horus. The earliest known hieroglyphic writing also comes from this era.
Agricultural communities formed the foundation and economic base of the Egyptian government and state.
Hieroglyphic script is developed and used by the Egyptians for over 3,500 years to record important information.
Old Kingdom (2686-2182 B.C.)
Age of the Pyramids
Imhotep was an architect, priest, and a healer.
Beginning in the third dynasty of the Pharaohs, around 2630 B.C. the third dynasty’s King Djoser asked Imhotep to design him a funerary monument. The result was the first major stone building, the Step Pyramid at Saqqara, near Memphis.
The Great Pyramid at Giza was the apex of pyramid building. Build for Khufu (2589-2566 B.C.). Two other pyramids were built at Giza for Khufu’s successors. Khafra (2558-2532 B.C.) having the second largest and Menkaura (2532-2503 B.C.) having the smallest of the three.
Khufu’s pyramid is the largest of the three and was build for Pharoah Khufu (Cheops by the Greeks). Standing 147 metres high and weighing in at about 6.5 million tons!
Khafra’s pyramid is the second of the pyramids built for Pharaoh Khafra (Chephren by the Greeks). Built on higher ground than Khufu’s it appears taller, it is however shorter than Khufu’s.
Menkaura’s pyramid is the smallest of the three pyramids and was built for Pharaoh Menkaura (Mycerinus by the Greeks).
The Great Sphinx is built. It is a large statue of stone located near Khafra’s pyramid on the Giza plateau facing east. It has the body of a lion and the head of a human. This form of Sphinx is an androsphinx.
The third and fourth dynasties enjoyed a golden age of prosperity and peace. Pharaohs held absolute power and provided a stable central government.
The fifth and sixth dynasties saw the growth of the influence of nobility and the priesthood of Ra. The expense of pyramid building weakened the Pharaoh’s wealth and power.
The death of the sixth dynasty Pharaoh Pepy II, who had ruled for close to 94 years left the period ending in chaos.
1st Intermediate Period (2181-2055 B.C.)
The seventh and eight dynasties consisted of a rapid succession of rulers until about 2160 B.C.. At this time central government was dissolved and civil was ushered in between provincial governors. Further intensified by Bedouin invasions, disease, famine, and death.
Two kingdoms emerged from the conflict and in the ninth and tenth Dynasties, seventeen rulers based in Heracleopolis ruled Middle Egypt between Memphis and Thebes.
The eleventh dynasty and subsequently the end of the First Intermediate Period was ushered in by Theban Prince Mentuhotep as he reunited Egypt and toppled Heracleopolis.
Middle Kingdom (2055-1786 B.C.)
After Pharoah Mentuhotep IV was assassinated, his throne was given to his vizier (chief minister) bringing in the 12th dynasty and became Pharaoh Amenemhet I.
A new capital was established at It-towy, just South of Memphis. Thebes, however, remained a huge religious center. During this period, Egypt once again enjoyed an age of prosperity. The kingdom flourished and this dynasty ensured smooth succession by making each successor co-regent. This custom began with Amenemhet I.
During this era, Egypt engaged in an aggressive foreign policy. They conquered and colonized Nubia due to its vast resources of gold, ebony, and ivory. They repelled Bedouins and built diplomatic and trade relations with Palestine, Syria, and others. They undertook building projects again. These included military fortresses, mining quarries, and more pyramids!
This era climaxed under Amenemhet III (1842- 1797 B.C.) and began its decline under Amenenhet IV (1798-1790 B.C.). Queen Sobekneferu (1789- 1786 B.C.) marks the final ruler of the 12th dynasty but the first confirmed female ruler of Egypt.
2nd Intermediate Period (1786-1567 B.C.)
The 13th dynasty marked the start of another unsettled era. A rapid succession of Pharaohs failed to consolidate power and as a consequence there were several spheres of influence throughout Egypt.
The Official Royal Court and seat of government was moved to Thebes while a rival dynasty, the 14h existed at the same time as the 13th!
The Hyksos rulers kept much of the existing Egyptian traditions during their reign during the 15th dynasty. Theban rulers retained their control over southern Egypt, however they still had to pay taxes to the Hyksos. This resulted in a rebellion war that pushed the Hyksos out of Egypt around 1570 B.C.
New Kingdom (1567-1085 B.C.)
The first Pharaoh of the 18th dynasty of Egpyt was Ahmose I, who reunited Egypt. Egypt restored its control over Nubia. They also began military campaigns in Palestine clashing with the Mitannians and Hittites.
Amenhotep I (1546-1526 B.C.), Thutmose I (1525- 1512 B.C.), Amenhotep III (1417-1379 B.C.), Amenhotep IV (1379-1362 B.C.) aka Akhenaton, and Hatshepsut (1503-1482 B.C.) were all influential and important Pharaohs of Egypt, during this time.
When Amenhotep IV aka Akhenaton came into power he compelled drastic change within the Egyptian religion. He forcibly removed all the old gods and converged them into one singular solar deity known as Aton. During this period he moved the capital to a new location in Middle Egypt which became known as Amarna. The premise of this new religion was based around the idea of a singular deity, however upon his death the capital returned to Thebes and the Egyptians resumed their polytheistic rituals and beliefs and the previous religion became known as the Amarna Heresy.
In 1473 B.C., Hatshepsut became Pharaoh because her step son (Thutmosis III) was too young to take the throne. She was suppose to proxy for Thutmosis III but a few years into her rule and she declared herself Pharaoh. Many people disagreed with her rule and when she passed Thutmosis III became Pharaoh.
Many monuments and buildings that were erected during her reign were destroyed after she died. Even sexual euphemisms in the form of art exist on cave walls outside her shrine, hidden from public eye.
The 19th and 20th dynasties are known as the Ramesside period due to the line of Pharaohs named Ramses. This period saw the restoration of the weakened empire.
Hypostyle Hall is built at the Temple of Karnak. It is one of the largest halls of its kind from ancient Egypt and it has 134 huge stone columns. It was built by Seti I and completed by his son, Ramesses II.
It is assumed that during the reign of Ramses II (1304-1237 B.C.) the Exodus of Moses and the Israelites occurred.
Tutankhamun became Pharaoh in 1336 B.C. and ruled a short 9 years before his passing.
Tutankamen’s (1361-1352 B.C.) tomb was the only untouched burial site at the Valley of the Kings discovered in A.D. 1922 by Howard Carter. A place in which all of the New Kingdom rulers, with exception to Akhenaton, were laid to rest.
The mortuary temple of the last king of the 20th dynasty, Ramses III (1187- 1156 B.C.) was also found well preserved.
3rd Intermediate Period (1085-664 B.C.)
The 21st dynasty brought a resurgence of local officials. Libyan and Nubian individuals vied for power.
The 22nd dynasty began around 945 B.C. Pharaoh Sheshonq was a descendant of the Libyans who had invaded Egypt during the latter part of the 20th dynasty.
During the 18th century B.C., Pharaoh Shabako, a Nubian Pharaoh, established their own 25th dynasty at Thebes.
In 671 B.C. Assyrian king Esarhaddon attacked the Kushite king Taharka and forced him out of Memphis, destroying the city. He then laid his own governors and officials out.
Necho of Sais, an Assyrian governor turned king,was the first Pharaoh of the 26th dynasty. He was killed by Kushite leader Tanuatamun.
Late Period to Alexander (664-332 B.C.)
Psammetichus (Necho’s son) began what was the Saite dynasty that ruled reunified Egypt for less than two centuries.
In 525 B.C., Battle of Pelusium occurs. Cambyses of Persia defeated Psammetichus III and Egypt became a part of the Persian Empire. Darius (522-485) ruled Egypt but kept the same ideals as the Egyptian Pharaohs. He even took on projects of restoration to repair the Egyptian religious centers and buildings!
Xerxes (486-465 B.C.) started uprisings against Darius and his successors. In 404 B.C. One such rebellion was successful and this led to the end of Egyptian independence.
Barely a decade after the Persians attacked Egypt again, in 332 B.C., Alexander the Great defeated armies of the Persian Empire, thus conquering Egypt.
Alexander the Great from Macedonia conquered Egypt. He had already conquered much of Greece and the Levant by the time he was 20 years old. He founded Alexandria on the Mediterranean coast and then left Egypt to continue his conquest. He conquered as far as India but died of fever in 323 B.C.
After Alexander’s death the Ptolemaic dynasty began (c. 305 B.C.), starting with Ptolemy and continuing with his descendants. He was a General and good friend of Alexander the Great. After Alexander’s death, his companions fought over how to divide the empire between themselves. His family ruled Egypt for about 275 years, thus the reason this era is known as the Ptolemaic period.
In c. 196, the Rosetta Stone was carved with an agreement between a group of priests and the Egyptian government. It is written in three different scripts that were used during the time: hieroglyphic, demotic and ancient Greek.
In 31 B.C., last ruler of Egypt, Cleopatra VII, surrendered Egypt to Octavian armies (Augustus) in the Battle of Actium. The Romans went to war against the Egyptians. Cleopatra VII and a Roman officer named Mark Antony fought against the Roman navy at the Battle of Actium. However, their fleet was defeated and Egypt became part of the Roman Empire. Christianity was enforced from then on and Egyptian customs erased.
Cleopatra VII was well-educated and spoke many languages. She was the only ruler of the Ptolemaic period who actually still spoke the Egyptian language. She passed away in 30 B.C..
The last known use of Hieroglyphics dates back to 300 A.D.
“Ancient Egypt.” History.com. A+E Networks, 2009. Web. 09 May 2016.
“Timeline.” Ancient Egypt. The British Museum, 20 September 1999. Web. 14 March 2016
To be inscribed on a stone in the form of an Ib (Heart). From the Book of Coming Forth by Day, Chapters XXVII, XXVIII, XXIX, XXIXA, XXX, XXXA,and XXXB.
Hail, ye who carries away hearts! Hail, ye who steals hearts, and who make the heart of a man to go through its transformation according to its deed, let not what he has done harm him before you!
Homage to you, O ye lords of eternity, ye possessors of boundlessness, take ye not this heart of Usir into your grasp, and cause ye not words of evil to spring up against it; for it is the heart of Usir, and it belongs unto him of many names, the mighty one whose words are his limbs, and who sends forth his heart to dwell in his body.
The heart of Usir is triumphant, and it is made new before the Gods: he has gained power over it, and he has not been judged according to what he hath done.
He has obtained power over his own members.
His heart obeys him, he is the lord thereof, it is in his body, and it shall never fall away from there.
I, Usir, victorious in peace, and triumphant in the beautiful Duat and on the mountain of eternity, bid thee O heart to be obedient unto me in the underworld.
The oldest known use of the 42 Negative Confessions is located inside the Pyramid of Unas, in Cairo, Egypt. They are listed in Chapter 125 (CXXV), in the Book of Coming Forth by Day aka the Egyptian Book of the Dead. The names of the judges, to which each confession is addressed, is italicized. Below is the 42 Negative Confessions as presented in the Papyrus of Ani, that is dated to around 1250 B.C..
1. Hail, Usekh-nemmt, who comes forth from Anu. I have not committed sin.
2. Hail, Hept-Shet, who comes forth from Kher-aha. I have not robbed with violence.
3. Hail, Fenti, who comes forth from Khemenu. I have done no violence.
4. Hail, Am-khaibitu, who comes forth from Qerrt. I have not stolen.
5. Hail, Neha-hau, who comes forth from Rasta. I have not slain men.
6. Hail, Ruruti, who comes forth from heaven. I have not made light the bushel.
7. Hail, Arti-f-em-tes, who comes forth from Sekhem. I have not acted deceitfully.
8. Hail, Neba, who comes and goes. I have not stolen the property of the Netjeru.
9. Hail, Set-qesu, who comes forth from Hensu. I have not told lies.
10. Hail, Uatch-nesert, who comes forth from Het-ka-Ptah. I have not carried away food.
11. Hail, Qerti, who comes forth from Amenti. I have not uttered evil words.
12. Hail, Hetch-abhu, who comes from Ta-she. I have attacked no man.
13. Hail, Unem-snef, who comes forth from the execution chamber. I have not slain the cattle of the Netjeru.
14. Hail, Unem-besku, who comes forth from the Mabet chamber, I have not acted deceitfully.
15. Hail, Neb-maat, who comes forth from Maati. I have not pillaged the lands which have been ploughed.
16. Hail, Thenemi, who comes forth from Bast. I have never pried into matters and made mischief.
17. Hail, Aati, who comes forth from Anu. I have not set my mouth in motion.
18. Hail, Tutuf, who comes from A. I have not been wroth except with reason.
19. Hail, Uamemti, who comes forth from the execution chamber. I have not debauched the wife of a man.
20. Hail, Maa-anuf, who comes forth from Per-Menu. I have not polluted myself.
21. Hail, Heri-uru, who comes forth from Nehatu. I have terrorized no man.
22. Hail, Khemi, who comes forth from Ahaui. I have not made attacks.
23. Hail, Shet-kheru, who comes forth from Uri. I have not been a man of anger.
24. Hail, Nekhem, who comes forth from Heq-at. I have not turned a deaf er to the words of truth.
25. Hail, Ser-Kheru, who comes forth from Unes. I have not stirred up strife.
26. Hail, Basti, who comes forth from Shetait. I have made none to weep.
27. Hail, Her-f-ha-f, who comes forth from thy cavern. I have not committed acts of sexual impurity.
28. Hail, Ta-ret, who comes forth from Akhkhu. I have not eaten my heart.
29. Hail, Kenmti, who comes forth from Kenmet. I have cursed no man.
30. Hail, An-hetep-f, who comes forth from Sau. I have not acted in a violent or oppressive manner.
31. Hail, Neb-heru, who comes forth from Tchefet. I have not acted or judged hastily.
32. Hail, Serekhi, who comes forth from Unth, I have not… my hair, I have not harmed the Netjeru.
33. Hail, Neb-abui, who comes forth from Sauti. I have not multiplied my speech overmuch.
34. Hail, Nefer-Tem, who comes forth from Het-ka-Ptah. I have not acted with deceit, I have not worked wickedness.
35. Hail, Tem-Sep, who comes forth from Tetu. I have not done things to effect the cursing of the king.
36. Hail, Ari-em-ab-f, who comes forth from Tebti. I have not stopped the flow of water.
37. Hail, Ahi-mu, who comes forth from Nu. I have not raised my voice.
38. Hail, Utu-rekhit, who comes forth from thy house. I have not cursed the Netjeru.
39. Hail, Neheb-Nefert, who comes forth from the Lake of Nefer. I have not acted with insufferable insolence.
40. Hail, Neheb-kau, who comes forth from thy city. I have not sought to make myself unduly distinguished.
41. Hail, Tcheser-tep, who comes forth from thy cavern. I have not increased my wealth except through such things are justly my own possessions.
42. Hail, An-a-f, who comes forth from Auker, I have not scorned or treated with contempt the Netjeru of my town.
“The 42 Confessions from the Papyrus of Ani.” Belsebuubcom. Mystic Life Publications Ltd, n.d. Web. 04 May 2016.
“THE PAPYRUS OF ANI.” THE PAPYRUS OF ANI. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 May 2016. Used Photos.
Budge, E. A. Wallis, and John Romer. The Egyptian Book of the Dead. London, England: Penguin Group, 2008. Print.
What do you offer to a deity who in antiquity was offered en mass quantities of breads and grains, and libation? Well, since we no longer have HUGE temples with hundreds or thousands of staff members we have to proportionately downsize our offerings. However, before we can begin to offer, first we need to understand why we offer.
We offer to the Netjeru as a form of reciprocal creation. The Netjeru spent quite a bit of energy creating all that we are and see. Whilst they are immortal it isn’t in the truest sense of the word, as I’ve stated before. We return the energy to them and they back to us. To keep things in motion- to keep Ma’at, offerings are made.
In knowing all this now, we can move forward. We can look back on ancient history and discern several forms of offerings. First, we have consumables- that is food and beverage, most often. And second, we have non-consumables.
Alcoholic Beverages (Beer, Wine, Mead, etc.)
Juices (Apple Juices, Berry Juices, etc.)
Breads and Grains
Fruit (Figs, Grapes, Dates, etc.)
Vegetables (Onions, Lettuce, Corn, etc.)
Meats (Beef, Water Foul, Game, Poultry, etc.)
Herbs and Spices (Coriander, Frankincense, Myrrh, Hibiscus, etc.)
Also, historical references aren’t strict guidelines. Expand and let the Netjeru tell you what they like. Also, the Kemetic community has what we know as reversion. After the ritual or ceremony is complete, in ancient Egypt, the priesthood and temple workers would partake in eating the food. This ensured that nothing was wasted (food was currency). This being said, I follow tradition and partake in reversion. It is your choice, whether you feel comfortable with that or not.
Clothing or Fabrics
One may also dedicate a task or set amount of time to a Netjeru in offering.
This site [HERE] has a nice ritual for offerings and reversion. And [HERE] is the Google Book of Sharon LaBorde’s Circle of the Sun from Kemetic Independent talks about offerings and reversion as well, as well as many other concepts. She’s amazing. Check her out.
A bold and simple question. Where should I start? Bold because you’re starting something new, you’ve worked up the courage to ask. Simple because all you really have to do is research and reach out. I’ll give you a few ideas to start.
First off, one could go search a list of Egyptian gods and see what and who jumps out at you. Research them, their lore, their history, their family. Then research more! Get a grounded, solid starting point for communication. Once you feel you know enough to open a channel then begin. Keep making assertions towards them and make yourself known. Call their many names- the more the better. Kemeticism revolves around the ancient Egyptian religion which in turn believed heavily in ‘words of power’. The more names you know of a deity, the more likely they are to hear your request.
So after research, connect. Call out to the deity(ies) and see who responds. My recommendation is to light either Frankincense or Myrrh incense, dim the lights (maybe light a candle or two), have an image or icon of your deity at the ready and begin. Announce yourself, denote your offerings (of often breads and/or grains and libation, such as water or wine), proclaim your intentions and wait for a response. You might not get a response first, second, or even the third try. It takes persistence and patience.
One problem that people seem to run into is distinguishing their own voice in their heads from the voice of the gods. This can be disconcerting and you might feel a bit insane. That’s good. Don’t try to guide the conversation, if you do make a connection. Anytime you notice that you are, pull away and watch how the conversation changes. It’s probably best to keep a journal of some form on hand, for jotting notes about the different gods and what they like/dislike. The main point is that this takes time. It takes effort and a lot of it. You can’t just dip your toe in and expect a response. Take the plunge and submerse yourself in the culture and life of the gods. The better you understand them, the better your practice will go. It’s really quite simple and once you get the hang of it, you’ll curse yourself for thinking it so hard. Oh! But keep in mind, some people just don’t have “godphones” and that’s okay! They’ll send you messages and blessings in other ways. I have a clear and pretty defined “godphone” as opposed to my wife. Hers is connected but has static. She’s still working past that bump.
Remember, there is no defined path here. You carve your own path along side your patrons/matrons in harmony with Ma’at. There isn’t a right or wrong way to get started. It’s a matter of preference and what’s comfortable for you. As long as you are showing the intent, it’s difficult to be in the wrong. Unless you’re violating human rights or something insane.
Below are a series of linked posts I’ve done on Introductory topics.
This is obviously going to be a multi-post. This first part is directed at addressing the bigger and more important objects that a Kemetic or neopagan practitioner might need/encounter. Where do you store your collection of ritual objects? How should the altar be set up? What incense should I use and what should I use to burn it? And last but not least, what icons should I use for my altar to represent my Netjeru? I intend to address these questions.
To start, a storage box(es) of some form is an absolute necessity. You need a place to store your ritual objects for when they aren’t in use. Take your time and try to make your own storage box. If you can’t, simply find one that calls out to you. I try to stick to handmade boxes, usually from Buddhist temples and the like. They have such good energy already attached that it seems sensible to use such a box.
Your boxes don’t have specific parameters to follow. As long as they successfully and carefully store your objects there isn’t much of a guideline to follow in this respect. Every Kemetic varies in what tools they use and how they use and store them. Simply think of what you’re going to need and take into consideration what the Netjeru might appreciate.
I have several storage boxes for different items as to keep things a little more organized. I keep some of my stones and minerals in a small, green, velvet box. My jewelry is kept in a baggy in the same box as the stones. I keep my wand in a black bag with a gold drawstring that I crafted and this usually travels with me. My incense and censer remain on the altar at all times along with the athame. I keep my oils and herbs in a container that remains near the altar at all times. Figures, such as Shabti, are stored in a separate box custom made to the specification of each one out of respect.
The altar doesn’t have a specific format for set up, unlike the Shinto tradition I’ve come to know. So feel free to set yours up with a little creative inspiration from your respective Netjeru. I’m sure they’ll appreciate the thought. Most altars are decorated with elegant plants, feathers, stones, candles, and other offerings. The altar tables are usually made from wood, however stone altars are acceptable as well.
My altar consists of a wooden censer that I had painted with images of Sutekh, Djehuty, and Khepri for daily use, I have a brazier (bronze censer) that I utilize for celebration and events, a hanging limestone relief of the Judgement in the Hall of Two Truths as depicted in the Papyrus of Ani, a limestone mirror with Aset, Nebet Hut, and Re in the form of the Winged Sun disk bordering the edge, two pieces of art I did (one of Sutekh the other of the Pyramids of Giza and Re), a vase of peacock feathers with my lily scepter, a kris-style ritual athame with hieroglyphics on the scabbard as the Netjer Khepri and the Netjert Ma’at make up the handle, several statues (Anpu, Wadjet, Sutekh, Bastet, Usir, Heru, Aset, etc.), and various books; most on Egypt, fact and fiction alike! In this aspect, I took into consideration that Djehuty is the Netjer of wisdom and language. So why not give him a few books to sift through in his down time? And as childish as this sounds, I’m an avid TCG player, so I tend to leave my deck box in the corner of the shrine. Maybe the Netjeru will give me extra blessings when I use it! I keep a plush of Anpu in the corner as well as three tablets near him- one of himself, Anpu, one of Hethert and one of Sekhmet.
I also keep an elegantly decorated bottle of Dragon’s Blood ink on the altar. Sutekh adores this ink and it makes for an effective way of communicating and harnessing his energies. I used red offering containers in his honor. They’re decorated in Japanese Kanji as to appease the Shinto deity I’ve kept by my side- that is Inari Ookami. I keep good tea in the corner for them as well and decorate the altar with all manner of gemstone (Lapis Lazuli, Malachite, Carnelian, Amethyst, Red Jasper, etc.).
I do keep three homemade, hand-painted kitsune (fox) statues on my altar in honor of the Shinto Goddess of foxes, fertility and the harvest Inari Ookami. She pointed me in the direction of the Egyptian Netjer and has helped me learn; an ever present guardian.
Censer and Incense
Typically made from earthenware, clay, or bronze, censers were used in almost every aspect of worship. The ancient Egyptians viewed incense as the “perfume of the Gods” and as such it was used in worship and heka (magic) alike. Olive wood charcoal was used to burn the resin incense. Some people believe that frankincense was a morning incense and kyphi (kapet) was an evening incense.
Wooden Hand-Painted Censer for daily use. I adorned my censer with images of Khepri, Djehuty, and Sutekh.
This is my braizer censer. I use this for events, festivals, and ceremonies.
Incense was burnt in resin form and can still be purchased and used today. However, resin incense is extremely potent and those with lung complications of any form should refrain from using this kind. Resin incense is amazing for outdoor occasions as it burns for a long time and produces a lot of smoke. It isn’t recommended for indoor use and as such, I, typically purchase stick or cone incense. It is important to note, you should check the ingredients on the incense. If it contains “urea”, avoid it! It is ritually impure and unhealthy to use.
IMPORTANT: NEVER LEAVE INCENSE BURNING UNATTENDED. EVEN FOR A MINUTE! I WAS LUCKY AND WAS IN THE ROOM WHEN MY INCENSE STICK BURST INTO FLAMES THE SAME INCENSE STICK WHICH HAD BEEN BURNING FOR FIVE MINUTES SAFELY JUST PREVIOUSLY! IT WAS ENGULFED AND I WAS LUCKY ENOUGH TO EXTINGUISH IT. NOTHING WAS DAMAGED THANKFULLY, BUT THAT WAS THE SUTEKH’S WAY OF TELLING ME TO LEARN QUICK OR REGRET! PLEASE LEARN FROM MY MISTAKES!
Figures and Pictures
The energy of various creatures could be harnessed through utilizing statues, figures, and pictures (images). The ancient Egyptians believed that statues carried the spiritual energy of the creature they represented. With such a belief, it’s not all that surprising to see why vandalism of various statues and hieroglyphics occurred- in an attempt to erase that individual’s power!
Various Pharaohs unknowingly suffered this fate, such as Hatshepsut, the fifth Pharaoh of the 18th dynasty. She catapulted Egypt into an age of prosperity, but primarily because of her sex and how she adopted the throne, she was mistrusted. Thus, after her passing, many went in and defaced and destroyed her statues and temples. Thutmose III, her step-son, eradicated her images towards the end of his reign. Some scholars speculate this was to close a gap in the male succession of leadership, to solidify the bloodline.
In many cases, when a new cult or religious center would take over a temple, they would destroy the idols of the previous Netjeru as to render them powerless. They would then erect statues of their own Netjeru, who would gain power and precedence over the temple. Statues were seen as more than just a symbol. They were “living” idol; a place where the Netjert could store their spirit and energy. We bear witness to such an event in the Contendings of Horus and Seth. During this mythological tale, it has been historically noted that the cults of Heru (Horus) and Sutekh (Seth) were vying for power. We can see the reflection of the actual events within the tale. When the cult of Heru prevailed, Sutekh was shamed and cast out as an evil deity.
In ancient times, the lector and sem-priests would perform an “Opening of the Mouth (and Eyes)” ritual upon an icon statue of a deity to breath life into the figure. Once the ritual was performed, the Netjer(t) could sit comfortably in the figure whenever they pleased. We don’t seem to have a definitive guide on the “Opening of the Mouth” ritual. Instead, we have to create our own from what we do know and what we study. Also, the tools within the ritual itself are complex and not too easy to find or make.
I’ve found a few sites that sell pretty good renditions of statues and more that I’ll list in my upcoming resources section. Now, statues aren’t a requirement at all. One could simply use images or carvings- or even a candle flame. It’s all dependent upon what you as the practitioner feel most comfortable with. I, personally along with many others, adore the Netjeru in all forms, but feel most comfortable allowing them their own abode in the form of a figure.