Nine Measures of Magic

“….. of the ten shares of magic that the Earth received, nine fell in Egypt, while the rest of the world shares the tenth.”  –  Geraldine Pinch, “Magic in Ancient Egypt”

The High Priestess tarot card from Clive Barrett’s Ancient Egyptian Tarot

It’s been a really long while since I have written and updated this blog. Life has a way of happening, and I sometimes find myself caught up in it.

This year, for Wep Ronpet, or Kemetic New Year, on this day  that we celebrate the birthday of Aset (aka Isis), Mistress of Magic, I thought it was only fitting that I include that favorite quote.  It is at least partially true that for this legend alone, that Egypt holds nine of the ten measures of magic in the world, that it holds so much of a draw for so many of us.  We know how true that idea is because of how deeply it is lodged within our human DNA.

If you look at almost every single “magical” tradition in the world, particularly those of Western magic, there is a direct link to the Two Lands. If there wasn’t a direct link, certainly it was one that was fervently desired.  Even before Francoise Champollion translated the Rosetta Stone, the ancient mysteries of Egypt would lend an air of legitimacy to any magical or metaphysical tradition or act.  This idea has continued to the present day with various Kemetic temples, traditions and practitioners all jostling to see which group or individual has the a “more authentic than thou” connection to the ancient past.

The fact of the matter is this: Egypt did influence the world. Hermeticism, gnosticism, alchemy, tarot and astrology, all claim to have originated along the banks of the Nile. There are, in my experience, groups and individuals that like to claim fantastical histories and accomplishments that were never a part of ancient Egyptian culture. The other side of that coin are the reconstructionist / revivalist groups who dare not speculate on anything that falls outside of the hallowed halls of that which is “egyptologically approved.”   Both sides have their approaches, and there are times when both are so equally damned annoying that anyone with an interest in Egyptian religion is likely to chuck the whole lot over their shoulder and walk away in confusion and/or disgust.

I personally believe that somewhere in the middle lies the truth of the matter.

I have seen, experienced and been a part of things with relation to my several decade long relationship to Ancient Egypt or Kemet that I simply cannot explain. I can also say with certainty that those experiences were 100% real and they happened.  There is something to all of this “stuff” and if you get a small taste of it for only an instant, you will never forget it for the rest of your life. That I can promise you.  There is no need to make up the mystic woo-woo. No need to embellish the stories or Hollywood them up in order to make them more whatever; the reality is astounding enough.

During this time of the year, the last week of July through the first weeks of August, we Kemetics celebrate the Epagomenal Days leading up to Wep Ronpet. During those five days, or “non-days”, we celebrate the birth of the five children of the Goddess Nut.  They are in order of appearance:

1) Wasir (Osiris)

2) Heru-Wer (Horus the Elder)

3) Set

4) Aset (Isis)

5) Nebt-Het (Nephthys)

After these Primordial Five are born, the Rite of the Turning Back the Enemies of Ra is performed.  During this rite, we destroy an effigy of the Apophis or Apep Serpent. We throw a net over it, throw sand on it, smash it, burn it and we eat cake that is to represent the ultimate destruction of the Uncreated and all of the senseless, wicked things in the world in order to overcome them.   Once that rite is finished, it is safe to bring out the various icons from their naos shrines and to show them the light of Ra, and offer them purification in the form of blessed water and natron and the feather of Ma’at.

During these rites, and with various groups devoted to this, amazing things happen.  People interact with their Spiritual Parents, receive dreams, messages and experience things that can be a bit outside of what is considered the norm than at any other time of year.  Some say it is because it is at this time that the veil between us and the akhu  (ancestors) and the gods is thinner, and access between those realms is easier.  I can honestly say I don’t know if it’s true or not – I can only go by my own experiences, and everyone is going to have an experience that is truly their own.

Though there is something to be said about having a natural ability in realms spiritual / magical, none of us springs from the womb knowing this stuff. (And by the way, anyone who tells you that they did is lying to you.)  No matter how you approach it, no matter what organization that you belong to – or not, we are all going to have a different approach.  What we do with the measures of magic we are able to integrate into our lives and act upon is up to us. It’s not without pitfalls, and none of it comes without hard work and more than a few hard lessons along the way. As hard as those lessons and work may be, most of us can say we come out of the other side all the better for it.

 

 

 

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Di Wep Ronpet Nofret! – Happy (Kemetic) New Year!

Barque of Amun as painted by Dr. Barbara A. Richter

Barque of Amun being carried by priests in procession. Original artwork by Barbara Richter, gifted to the author

The New Year is now upon us! We made it through the year belongning to Sekhmet and Ma’at! Nekhtet! (Victory!)

Go us!!

A lot has happened, to be sure. This New Year ahead of us belongs to Ra. I think it is safe to say that we are all hoping that this year brings about more positive change than the last one did. I realize that neither Sekhmet, nor Ma’at are “gentle” when changes are made and when the truth needs to be exposed. Certainly we have seen it in Washington D.C., around the country and indeed around the world. People who hold ideals that we thought were dead decades ago are now oozing out of the shadows and daring to show themselves.

Ra is about exposing such things to the light. Every year, as Kemetics, we perform a ritual called The Turning Back the Enemies of Ra in which Sekhmet, Set and all of the deities who are aboard Ra’s Solar Barque fight off and destroy the Apep serpent. This being is not a god, but rather an entity which represents chaos and is the embodiment of isfet – the antithesis of Ma’at. All of this must be done before sunrise and then each of the icons that we have in the Temple are shown the Face of Ra so that They may embrace each other as we embrace the hope of the coming year.

It is my hope for everyone that indeed Ra’s beneficence shines upon us all and that the Eyes of Ra who guard Him, may also guard and guide every one of us in the our daily lives.

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Childhood Nostalgia Crushed

Not my grandmother’s home, but very similar.

When I was born, my parents were living with my maternal grandparents in a little town called Washington, Missouri. The house, a little white clapboard two-bedroom house with one bath was my home for much of my young life. As my parents were building their own house about a half an hour away, I spent a great deal of time in that house. It was located on the corner of East Sixth Street, just across from Krog Park. I remember hearing sonic booms as a child, I remember the beauty and the wonder and the comfort that old house was for so much of my life.

My grandparents passed to the West more than ten years ago. My mother and father are also gone. At any rate, curiosity getting the best of me, I looked up my grandparents old address. I just wanted to catch one more glimpse of the house that I grew up in. Google maps virtually led me down the street. I could feel my heart pounding as I recognized other houses, I saw the edge of the park, and I could see the highway that was in front of me. A large Norway Spruce that had been there since the 1940’s was obscuring the view of where my grandparents’ house would be located.

As I neared the driveway, I saw in its place a parking lot to a medical office – and the name of my cousin, who had become a very successful surgeon. In that moment, my heart shattered. There was no semblance of the yard that had once been there with cool comfort and reassurance during the summers spent there. Gone were the maple trees, the holly bushes, the apple trees and an ancient sycamore  in the backyard that had leaves bigger than basketballs.

I hoped against hope that they were able to pick up the house and move it somewhere else. Why wouldn’t they?! It had hardwood floors, it was a  customized Sears house, for crying out loud!  At least, that is what my mother told me.  She was, I found out later in life, prone to her own special brand of embellishment.

I then came to the realization that in spite of all of the wonderful memories I had, such a house would have had a very limited appeal today, even as a rental property. The bedrooms were rather small.  There was only one bathroom. The attic that served as two other separate bedrooms separated by a bi-fold door was also a nice feature, but probably not too appealing for today’s home buyer. The kitchen was small with simple pine cabinets, no dishwasher, or any of the other modern amenities that people seem to “need” to have. The closets were small, the breezeway was a nice feature.  My sister, Julie, and I would play or color out there, particularly during the summer during thunderstorms.  The basement had been our play area as children.  However, it began to dawn on me that in spite of how special it had been to my sister and me – it wasn’t special enough even for my now-wealthy cousin who had also spent a great deal of time there as a baby to want to save it.

My heart is still at times heavy with the loss of that house to so-called progress. I wonder, however, how I would have felt if it had been saved, or rented out to other people. I’d probably be even more upset that they weren’t living up to what my memories made of it.

As sad as it is, that house still lives in my memory. I can remember the summers I spent there with my sister, Julie. About the “Playground” programs that they had at Krog Park.   I can remember what it felt like to look out onto East 6th street from my attic bedroom window and dream that I was on board a great pirate ship, sailing anywhere.  One of the large metal swings made like a stand alone porch swing would make a creaking sound that could be heard from my grandparent’s house.  Funny, I can vividly recall that sound and the sound of the snow cone man in his beat up old Chevy Impala selling snow cones out of the back of his car for all the kids in the neighborhood. Those are nice memories. And even though the house is now long gone, it still stands in a special place within my heart.

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A Log Cabin in the Enchanted Forest

This is the latest from one of my other blogs, RealWorldHomesteading.com.  It’s kind of an intro piece of what the blog focus is about and how we ended up being “into all this stuff”. By that, I mean all of the hands-on skills that in our modern era we have all but forgotten – unless we are under duress of some kind.  I am a firm believer in not waiting until you have to fend for yourself and or need to be buckled into survival mode.  So many of us take for granted the things we can do every day – or we become complacent through all of the conveniences that living in a modern world provides for us.   No matter where you are, no matter what your situation, you can do something to empower yourself.

via Real World Homesteading

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The Ancestry of Ancient Egypt (Re-Blogged)

Over the years, I have heard about every argument about what race the Ancient Egyptians were. In spite of where you might stand on the subject, this article is well worth the time to sit down and read. whether for a purely historical point of view, or if you are like me and Ancient Egyptian or Kemetic thought and culture is central to who you are about personally, spiritually or magically, then it will definitely be of interst.

Josephine McCarthy is someone whose work I greatly admire.  She has written a very well-researched article on this oft times heated topic. My advice when reading it is to tackle it in bits then mull it over for a bit and  let it sink in.

via The ancestry of Ancient Egypt – a long read

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The Demise of Livejournal & Migration to Other Shores

More than a decade ago, I started out blogging on Livejournal.In that time,  I met tons of friends, many fabulous writers, talented artists.  Many of these people are still my friends today. I even purchased a permanent account when they were being sold for very little money.  Back then, Livejournal was the place to be – more than Twitter and MySpace – Facebook was barely a backwater bulletin board at that point. Or maybe it hadn’t even been invented yet.  At any rate, Livejournal was an important beginning as to what social media was to later become.

Livejournal changed hands a couple of times and was later bought by SUP, a Russian company that has very strong ties to the Kremlin.  Almost immediately that the site came under Russian ownership the spam bots were let loose. Having a permanent account, I was mostly protected, but from time to time I would get spam commentary, some of it with malware links attached.  I set my comments on screened and the problem went away for a time.   Now, everything has changed. The servers for Livejournal are now residing in Russia.

Now there have been even more changes.  The servers for Livejournal now reside in Russia. What’s more is that Livejournal has just recently changed their user agreement so that in order to continue to use the site, you must agree to Russian law.  Part of that law is most adamantly against the rights and even tolerance of LGBT folks.

This morning, I got up and deleted all of my communities on the LJ site.  The only exception was Writers_Muses,  a prompt community that had prompts and responses every week.   A little over a year ago I ported Writer’s Muses over to Dreamwidth, mirrored it over on Pan Historia, and just a few hours ago, Writers Muses is its own dot com, hosted here on WordPress.  Soon the community that remains on Livejournal will be deleted.

I know that it’s going to be hard, but I also intend to delete my permanent account on Livejournal as well.  SUP isn’t making any money off of me anyway. I will probably just need a few more days in order to gather up the rest of my “things” before closing that door and walking away forever.  I am quite excited about Writers Muses moving on to possibly better things. I have a client quite interested in my prompts, and there is a Writer’s Muses writing prompt book in the works.   I also suspect I will be doing some video work and setting up a video channel for it as well on YouTube. So many things that can rise up from the ashes that are now smoldering somewhere in Russia.

If anyone needs any assistance in porting their content from Livejournal over to Dreamwidth, or if they are curious about PanHistoria, or want to follow the Writer’s  Muses blog, please feel free to drop me a line at fannyfae at gee mail dot com.  I will be happy to help.  It’s hard to leave those memories and those friends behind, but the future could be even brighter, I think.

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The Battle Lines Have Already Been Drawn

CrusadesThe election of Donald Trump to the highest office in the U.S. was a disheartening wake-up call for many of us.  It signified that we who count ourselves to be liberal or progressives had not done enough to ensure that the freedoms we enjoy were not wrested away from us.   This situation, however, did not just begin with the election results of November 8, 2016.  The fundamentalist, radical right has had this moment in its sights for as long as I can remember. While Pagans have been busy living it up over the years at various pagan festivals like Circle Gathering and Pantheacon, contemplating Goddess and congratulating themselves on creating a new world, the Dominionists were constantly pushing to limit as much of the rights and freedoms that we take for granted. I have said it numerous times; there is absolutely no difference between the Taliban and the Christoban except the religious texts and the specific names they refer to God. 

We should not be at all surprised by anything that Vice President, Mike Pence, says either.  His brand of Christianity is nothing if not consistent.  Pence hails from the kind of Christianity that has done and continues to do all that they can in order to convince, coerce or even frightening their own people into compliance. Dominionist sects, on the whole, have been setting up for this type of takeover that we are seeing unfold before our eyes for decades.  Ask any of them and they will tell you that in order for America to be truly “free”, we must “become a Christian nation again”.   If you ask them what that means, sooner or later they will get around to informing you that they absolutely advocate ruling by “biblical law”.  These same individuals will make no secret about how abhorrent that they find the idea of ruling by Islamic or Sharia law.  If you gently remind them how there is little to no difference, expect to get an earful.

Pagans, Polytheists, & Allies

Please, I understand these Pagan and Polytheist gatherings I mentioned above are important.  However, our activism and rallying behind various causes and issues have often been diffused because of infighting and lack of a common goal or purpose. The so-called Moral Majority which had its heydey in the 1980’s and early 90’s, did everything it could, from Satanic Panic to the constant barrage of personalities (Bob Larson) who would keep listeners in abject terror of everything in the world being not only a conspiracy theory, but an all-out orchestrated Satanic plot.  During that same time period, we were seeing an incredible awareness raising regarding Pagan faiths.  Surely Margot Adler’s book, “Drawing Down the Moon”,  the boom of Pagan, Wiccan and other types of ‘new age’ books and periodicals was at its height.  Many of the forefathers and foremothers of that movement, such as Selena Fox, for example, spent a great deal of time getting in front of the cameras of mainstream media outlets in order to reassure the general public that modern witches and Wiccans were benign and nothing to fear.  While that may be true for some, inadvertently they had managed to all but completely defang the entire movement.  The whole “harm none” idea morphed into a sort of apologetic pacifism and the so-called Three Fold Law became an admonishment against anyone who would do anything as radical as even defending themselves against those who meant harm.

I am not proclaiming that we are somehow returning to the mostly-mythical ‘Burning Times’, that series of events when some of the most rabid baby Pagans like to claim outlandish and historically inaccurate figures of the number of people who were put to death for “Witchcraft”.  What I am saying is that in the past 500 years, we have moved forward into a more inclusive, progressive society. Because of the manipulations of a few, our country, indeed our whole world appears to be more divided.  We have, since then had several shining rays of hope in the form of the Women’s March, the removal of Michael Flynn and most recently the well-deserved and utter defeat of the Draconian ACHA and the attempt by the Republicans to repeal Obamacare.  The Women’s march was the largest in U.S. history and if #45 has done one thing, he has awakened many of the once complacent electorate to know that their participation is essential and they called their representatives relentlessly and showed up at town halls around the country to protest.  It is this kind of activism we are going to need if we are to succeed against the people who would strip women, minorities, the elderly, children and the poor of their rights.

The reason for the incredible success of the radical right and Christian Dominionists in particular, is that they have always seen total control as their end goal.  They mobilized their membership and through referring to their extant religious texts and their communities were able to keep the membership towing the party line.  They created their own television and radio stations, bookstores, business networks and other ways to extend their reach far beyond Sunday services.  They created the concept of homeschooling so that they could absolutely control what went into the minds of their own children. While some parents do this because the well-being of their children requires their continued support, finding homeschooling materials that are completely secular and devoid of Christian-centric rhetoric is extremely difficult.

ramses_iiWho’s Really In Charge?

The truth is, that many racists, bigots, white supremacists, and white nationalists have been emboldened by Donald Trump.  Those who are threatened by the fact that the world is getting more inclusive, are terrified that in today’s job market, getting hired, or even your place in society is not assured because you are a part of the (for now) dominant culture.  Being the best person for the job is no longer based on factors such as your sex, your gender, your religion or more to the point, the color of your skin.  Indeed, the terror attack carried out in Quebec during a prayer service was done by a white Trump supporter who was also opposed to immigration.   The desecration of Jewish cemeteries, the threatening of schools and Jewish centers around the country has drawn a sharp line in the political sand: Those who adamantly reject such hatred and those who are apathetic to it.  There are those that are even happy that since Donald Trump is president, they can now outwardly display their bigotry and prejudice against any people that don’t fit into the narrow world view of what they feel is the Dominant Culture.

At the root of it all, indeed who and what is behind this rise of such is, I believe, Steve Bannon. In an article by Terrell Jermaine Starr that appeared in the Washington Post,  is unlimited control.  So what is the end game?  It is my firm belief that by recently removing all white supremacist groups from the terror watch and instituting the Religious Freedom Executive Order that Bannon and Trump want the people to start dividing into groups of us and them. He wants people, in their own self-interests to have infighting so that they are then able to declare martial law. In the meantime, sources inside the White House conclude that this is what is driving the agenda.  The current administration believes that they don’t need to give facts, just information; and if you control the information, you control the message and perception of the people.  I don’t know about you, but I really don’t like to be ‘managed’ in such a fashion. This past week underscores the fact that the majority of the American electorate don’t like to be ‘managed’ in such a fashion, either.

Sekhmet is the upholder of Ma’at.  She is also the absolute personification of Power. I say that not as some sort of feminist diatribe or anything else other than to say that Ma’at will be preserved. Astrologically, this is the time when those things that are illegal and unjust shall be exposed. With the recent revelations by the FBI before Congress and the heat being turned up on the distinct possibility of the Trump Team’s collusion with Russia and Vladimir Putin, it would seem that Ma’at will be coming down on their heads – in every sense of the word.

We are not victims. Each of us individually can do much on our own.  Let us never forget that compassion and standing up and speaking out against wrongdoing is what we are charged with. That is also a part of what Ma’at is. It might not be easy. It might even get a little bit messy, but Sekhmet and Her strength is what we should look to. Collectively, I am convinced, we will change the world for the better.

May the Divine bless us and keep us all.

 

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