Exploring spirituality somewhere between the Emerald Isle and the Black Land....

Friday, March 23, 2012

Four Sons of Heru (PBP)

Today's post is exciting because I got to learn something new! I feel like I've got a good grasp on Kemeticism now, but there's so much to it so much history, so many stories that I still run into things I know little or nothing about. And that will likely remain true for quite a while!

While pondering what to write about this week and not having much luck (seriously, you wouldn't think the letter F would be so difficult!), I came across the phrase "The Four Sons of Horus/Heru." (Horus is his better known Greek name, but I'll refer to him as Heru since I prefer to use the Netjeru's Egyptian names.) I had no idea who these sons were, or what they were about, so I figured I'd do a bit of research and write about them for this week.

Turns out these Four Sons of Heru are those fancy dudes whose heads adorn the canopic jars. You know, those things they put your guts in when you were mummified. Considering all of the care the ancient Egyptians put into preserving a body as part of ensuring a happy afterlife, it's no surprise that these gods were charged with protecting the organs their jars housed, as well as helping the departed reach the Duat the other world. In fact, it was apparently such a big deal that The Four Sons of Heru were each protected in turn by a goddess.

Imsety, Hapy, Duamutef, and Qebehsenuef
photo from http://www.thefakebusters.com/

Now allow me to introduce you to the Sons of Heru:

There's Duamutef, who is depicted as a jackal-headed mummified man. His jar held the stomach, and his protector is Nit (Neith).

Qebehsenuef is a hawk-headed mummified man whose jar held the intestines. He is protected by Serqet (Selket).

Imsety is a mummified man whose jar held the liver, and his protector is Aset (Isis).

Hapy is depicted as baboon-headed mummified man, and his jar held the lungs. He is protected by Nebt-het (Nephtys).

O Children of Horus, Hapy, Duamutef, Imsety, Kebhsenuf, lift up your father this Osiris the King and guide him. O Osiris the King, it is caused that you be restored and that your mouth be split open, so stand up!
- Pyramid Texts Utterance 545

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Friday, March 9, 2012

Eating Onions With Bast (PBP)

Sunday was the Day of Chewing Onions for Bast. All I really knew about the festival going into it was that back in Ancient Egypt, red onions would be grilled and eaten in honor of Bast. But why onions? Why red onions? One of my fellow Kemetics suggested that an onion’s shape could compared to the sun, and that the red onion’s color could represent a rising sun or setting sun specifically. I wasn't able to find much info beyond that, but whether or not that was the case, the symbolism of the sun is certainly fitting for a solar goddess like Bast.

Yes, I know that eating onions doesn’t sound all that exciting. But at that point, I hadn't celebrated a Kemetic holiday before, and I was eager to change that. There's also the fact that Bast is a deity I’ve long admired, and so far the Netjeru I work most closely with, so it seemed like the perfect festival to start with. If nothing else, the Day of Chewing Onions would be a good excuse to perform a special ceremony for her.

I had originally planned on celebrating the day alone, but decided that it would be more festive if I shared the experience with some of my closest friends. We gathered at a friend’s house, where I set up a temporary shrine, prepared some tasty food for everyone to share, and roasted some onions. When everything was ready, the ceremony began; the candle and incense were lit, and a little feast for Bast was offered.

Offerings for Bast: Roasted red onions (obviously), bruschetta, hummus with a pita and carrot, trail mix, an orange, a chocolate cookie, water, mead, and rum.

I offer to Bast, Eye of Ra.
All life emanates from you,
all health emanates from you,
all stability emanates from you,
all good fortune emanates from you,
O Lady of Perfumes, Bast, forever.

I was more nervous about performing the ceremony than I should have been, but this was the first Kemetic ceremony I had ever performed for anyone other than myself and the gods. Luckily, everything seemed to go well. After we were done stuffing our faces, my friends and I topped off the festive day with several games of laser tag.

I can honestly say that was the best Day of Chewing Onions for Bast I have ever celebrated!

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