Adoration of Ptah-Sokar-Ausir on the day of the Six Day Festival

Ptah-Sokar

Homage to You O Ptah-Sokar-Ausir
in your might, your terror, your victory
over your adversaries!

Dazzling of plumage whose two eyes
are triumphant; You are raised high
upon your standard in the east.
In the west You are eternal in your
millions of cycles in the Henu Ark,
which is as your own Ba, hailed by
the Sun-Folk as Lord of Appearances!

O Ausir who is Ptah who is Sokar,
the blood of your enemies has watered
the earth before you; their bones have
been broken, their limbs disassembled.
Your presence has filled them with
terror, as those upon the earth are
overcome with awe of You.

Homage to You Ptah-Sokar-Ausir;
the shadows have fled with the
appearance of your shining face on
the day of the Six Day Feast!

Homage to You Ptah-Sokar-Ausir;
You are the filling of the Wedjat Eye
at the moment of its becoming
the Great Netjer, Sovereign of the
Barque!

Homage to You Ptah-Sokar-Ausir;
upright in the Henu Ark, who receives
acclamation and bestows boons,
hearer of prayers as the God Ptah
in Life of the Two Lands!

Homage to You Ptah-Sokar-Ausir;
He who creates the giving of life
in the Henu Ark, He who goes round
about His circuit in millions of moments,
who possesses the heavens and is
Lord of the Vault!

Homage to You Ptah-Sokar-Ausir;
You maker of hundreds of thousands
of offerings which the king gives,
the dazzling countenance of Ptah
who is beautiful of face, the ear
which hears and is master of the
sacred west!

Homage to You O Ptah-Sokar-Ausir!
may I remain in your temple, may I
enter the Henu Ark, may I traverse
circuits of millions with You in the
heavens, and may I be received at
the table of offerings where Kas are
fed for millions upon millions of years!

All text copyright © 2015 Rev. Ptahmassu Nofra-Uaa

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Consecration in the House of Amun, Praising the Lord of the Thrones of the Two Lands in His Appearance From ‘Dominion-Place’

Divine Family of Amun.jpg

I give offerings of the heart to Amun-Ra,
the Lord of Lords of the Holy Throne-Place,
His god-making fragrance performing a
miracle of becoming in the heart of this
City of Amun.

O hail ‘Dominion-Place’ in its sweet life-breath
coming forth from the sacred north.

Homage to You O Amun-Ra, the King of the
Gods and life-giving Lord of humankind,
the substance-maker for all living beings of
this earth and Father of the Fathers of Creation.

O Hidden Illumination, O Amun-Ra.
O hidden and secret power of the First-Occasion.
O Lord of the Hand, summoning the Soul of the
primal waters in darkness and making light-radiance.

Homage to You, Master of the Two Heavens
and Supporter of the Two Light-Plumes
of the void, Possessor of all Shadows circulating
the interior coils of ‘The Provider of Souls’.

Homage to You Ram-Spirit of the Two Earths,
Provider of Spirit to the form of flesh and the
Members of living beings.

Homage to You Bull of Sunrise, appearing over
the Land of Sunrise as the Vivifier of the
Sacred East, the living soul-fire coming into
being as the manifestations of heaven, earth,
and the forms of the splendid creation.

Homage to You King of Kings within the City of Amun.

Homage to You Lord of Lords within the Sanctuary of
Enumerations.

Homage to You Ruler of Rulers within the Sanctuary
of the South.

Homage to You Peace-Maker within the ‘Lake of the
Torch’ in Isheru.

Homage to You Pacifier of the Wrathful-Goddess within
the Sanctuary of the Eye of Ra.

Homage to You Amun, the Maker of Peace Who embraces
Mother Muwt as the Lover of Isheru, the fructifying
Bull of the dark waters of hidden might.

Homage to You Amun-Ra, the Lord of the Thrones of
the Two Lands, Uniter of the Red and Black, the true
Lord of the Black Land Whose command directs the
destiny of all Souls of the Two Banks.

Homage to You O Amun-Ra the Defender of the
oppressed.

Homage to You O Amun-Ra the Savior of the
afflicted.

Homage to You O Amun-Ra the Lord of Mercy,
the Hearer of Prayers as the Hearing-Ear.

Homage to You O Amun-Ra the Master of Diadems
and Wearer of all Heaven’s Ornaments.

Homage to You O Maker of all gods and Creator of
all nations.

Homage to You O Amun-Ra the Establisher of the
Followers of Truth, almighty in His sanctuaries,
crowned with the Two Plumes of Sacred Light as
the sovereign master of the heart’s divine becoming.

I give the offerings of excellence to Amun the Lord
of Perfection in His forthcoming from the Throne
of Dominion in ‘Dominion-Place’.

I make an offering of the god-making fragrance
of frankincense and myrrh to Him, the Lord of
mysterious appearances, Who fructifies maidens
with His holy seed, Who brings the latent god
to fruition according to His wish, Whose desire
comes into being as form and flesh and member.

I perform the torch-lighting ceremony for the
Lord of His Divine Incarnations.

I summon the Holy Soul of the Celestial Ram as
the Maker of life-essence in humankind,
fulfilling the existence of living beings with the
quickening breath in the lungs, the fructifying
power governing the house of creation.

I pour forth the libation of the Sacred flood,
petitioning Celestial Amun to appear from His
Cavern of renewal in the Nuwn.

O Darkness, O Flood!
O Light-Essence, O Amun!

Coming into being as the manifestations of
becoming, the evolution of the evolutions of
the Gods; the First-Flood, the First-Coming of
light in the primordial darkness.

I make an offering of natron the god-making
salt for the benefit of the kas of humankind;
uniting the Soul with the flesh; Amun with
Auf-Ra; Earth-Father with Heaven-Mother;
Ausir with His Wedjat Eye of restorative
powers; my members of the earth of my mother
with the powers of Amun the Sustainer of
living forms; the Bestower of Spirit to all the
beings of this earth.

I summon almighty Amun to the place of my
initiation to consecrate my flesh as the sacred
house of Your God-Soul.

I am the dweller in this, my flesh of my mother,
dwelling in these, the members of my father;
but I am not this flesh which goes the way of
death.

I am not this death known to all men, feared by
all living beings.

I have opened up the Staircase to Heaven, the
portal of God-Making known unceasingly to those
Ennobled Souls, those Disciples of the Teaching
of Life.

I have opened the Celestial Ladder of the Netjeru,
and my sight is fixed upon the Indestructibles in
heaven.

I am not this body of this earth!
I am united with Your Soul of eternal becoming,
O Amun the Hidden Soul of the Sacred East!

Though I go west when my time of night
approaches, I return in the east in the Company
of Auset-Sepdet (Isis-Sothis);
I return in the east in the Company of Ausir-
Sah
(Osiris-Orion); I return in the east in the company of
Khepra-‘Flying Sun’, the Lord expansive of light
on the day of the Summer Solstice!

O Amun, O Soul!
O Amun, O Ram!
O Amun, O Light of the Two Regions of the
Firmament Paths!

I traverse the east with You in the morning at the hour
of smiting Apep.

I traverse west with You in the dusk when Your
dazzling countenance makes peace as the Lofty One-
of the Two Great Horizons in the flesh of Atum.

May You give consecration to my flesh, O Amun,
empowering me to accomplish the Ways of Heaven
upon the earth.

May You give divine life to my limbs, O Amun,
empowering me to open the Portal of Heaven
in every place where my two feet tread.

May You give awakening to my Illumination-body,
O Amun, as an abiding soul in the company of the
everlasting Gods.

The discourse of Amun-Ra, the Lord of the Thrones
of the Two Lands, to His disciple in the Mansion
of Truth in ‘Dominion-Place’:

I give to you all life, abiding and dominion beneath
the heavenly vault, the confirmation of my
Entourage of Light of the firmament, the consecration
of your soul as a manifestation of the Sacred Fire,
and a coming into being again as an ennobled soul
in the presence of the Indestructibles!

I receive you in ‘Dominion-Place’ as the firstborn of
the Goddess Waset in my embrace.

I receive you in the Place of Sanctuaries in the
‘Most Select-of Seats’.

I receive you in the Sanctuary of Twin Plumes in
my name of ‘Menu-the Hidden One- Who is the
Bull of His Mother’.

I receive you in the Shrine of the Horizon in my Seat
of Appearances in view of the Lake of the Morning.

I receive you as the Bull, the Husband of the Vulture,
upon the Seat of Isheru in the waters of the Sky-
Mother.

I receive you as my son Khensu-Neferhotep, the
Maker of peace in the egg of darkness within the
Coils of Great Mehen.

I establish you as the Lotus-Born at the moment of
the ‘Filling of the Wedjat-Eye’.

I avert darkness on your behalf, pacifying the wrath
of the Wedjat Eye of Ra and healing your wounds
like the Wedjat Eye upon my vertex.

I consecrate you with the Twin Plumes of dazzling
illumination of the horizons, empowering you to
carry the radiance of heaven to the four corners of
the earth!

All text copyright © 2015 Rev. Ptahmassu Nofra-Uaa

Thoughts On Dogma & Reconstructionism

Souls of Abedju

Lately, an issue that has been coming up time and again in my work as a Priest is the question of traditions, religion, dogma, belief and what it really means to follow an ancient polytheistic faith in today’s world. I have, for inspiration and observation/ study, often looked to the Sanatana Dharma or Hindu religion as a means of seeing how a people may harmonize in the modern world with such a plethora of goddesses and gods and the ancient traditions that go with them.

Brahmins are the carriers of the most ancient sacred traditions in Hinduism. They are priests whose training, study, and level of devotion maintain an unbroken line of teachings, rituals and philosophies stretching back through thousands of years. Brahmins are expected to maintain the highest degree of ritual purity in order to carry out their responsibilities in the temple, and these responsibilities include the very elaborate rites and rituals through which the Gods are honored and their presences commune with their devotees.

Hinduism contains ritual forms that have been handed down by Brahmins for literally thousands of years in an unbroken chain. Because Brahmins have handed down these ritual treasures, guarding their purity and not changing them just to be “current”, people who need the Gods are able to commune with them through ritual and receive blessings. Brahmins I have spoken to about these rituals have told me that the same ritual gestures, mantras and icons have been used in Sanatana Dharma since time began, and that they have not been changed. Now that is a long time!

I happen to follow a religious and spiritual tradition that has not remained unbroken. The Kemetic or Ancient Egyptian religion lasted historically for at least 3,000 years, though Egyptologists now acknowledge the probability that there was an oral tradition of worship going back well before the first dynasty…before the written record. Texts like the Pert-em-hru or Book of Going Forth By Day retain fragments that can be found in the so called Pyramid Texts, and these contain phrases that some mainstream Egyptologists say point to an oral tradition going back at least 4,000 years or more.

However, unlike the rites and rituals of Hinduism, the ancient Egyptian religion was eventually all but stamped out in its own birth place, where Islam and Christianity became the predominant faiths. In modern Egyptian folk traditions there are still practices and beliefs originating in the ancient faith of Egypt, but as a national religion, the ancient beliefs are no longer mainstream in Egypt as they once were.

Kemetic Reconstructionism is embraced by many contemporary spiritual practitioners who desire to return to the traditionally Egyptian (Kemetic) way of honoring the Netjeru or Deities. Unlike the unbroken line of Brahmins in the Hindu faith, we do not have specially initiated and trained priests who have received the ancient traditions unaltered by time or social/ political circumstances. Kemetic Reconstructionists attempt to replace what has been “lost” by digging into the archives…the vast body of literature and archaeological discoveries produced by Egyptologists, in order to put back together our ancient rites and sacred texts. This is a very challenging task even at the best of times, leading some of us to learn the meduw-netjer (hieroglyphs) and spend years sifting through some of the driest academic studies on the planet!

Why bother? Why can’t we just do whatever comes to heart or mind in order to serve the Gods in the new era. Of course, we can do that, and most people would rather do that, because it’s much easier to just “go with the flow” than dedicate one’s life to the stressful task of piecing together a giant jigsaw puzzle, one in which a heck of a lot of pieces are still missing!

But then, what would have happened to the Hindu religion…where would modern Hindus be if they had lost many or most of their ancient rites and teachings? I’m sure their gods would manage to guide Hindus still and send them inspiration. But shouldn’t we be asking whether or not such practices, mantras, prayers and scriptures are worth preserving, having and handing down? I think they are, and I’m sure that millions of Hindus would agree with me.

My idea of dogma is blind faith and blind belief…strictly following an idea because you are told to follow it. Dogma leaves no room for personal inspiration or individualized expression. Dogmatism demands that we obey, adhere, and do not question. Dogma threatens. I have never felt that Kemetic Reconstructionism is being dogmatic. Quite the contrary, I feel it is a spiritual treasure hunt, where the Netjeru are hiding and welcoming us to find Them. As we dig deep into the ancient texts and reconstruct the Daily Temple Ritual, and the many other rites of the Ancients, we are communing with living gods whose presences brought inspiration, healing, life and abundance to millions of the ancients for nearly 5,000 years. The ancient Egyptian religion is a vibrant gathering of prayers, practices and gestures that enhances the experience of divinity within Nature and human nature. The ancient gods are alive and well, and Their presence can be felt as strongly today in the ancient rites and prayers as it was felt thousands of years ago.

Reconstructing an entire ancient religion based on textual sources sounds dogmatic to some, but I would argue that dogmatism is asserting one way of doing things over another. Dogmatism removes freedom of choice and individual conscience. What I follow is a 5,000 year old tradition of speaking directly to the Gods, and inviting Them to receive the very best the heart of humankind has to offer. For me, Kemetic Reconstructionism is a framework for carrying out a relationship between the living Gods and creation, as realized by the ancient Egyptians. Since their way of accomplishing this far outlasted all other civilizations, and existed much longer than our own, I think the ancients proved that their expressions of honoring the Sacred have staying power, and that we have so much to learn from them.

All text copyright © 2015 Rev. Ptahmassu Nofra-Uaa

Living in My Own Divine World

Ptah-Sekhmet-EyeofRa-detail1-med - Copy
“SEKHMET THE EYE OF RA”~ An original Kemetic icon by master iconographer Ptahmassu Nofra-Uaa / Extra fine watercolor & 22 karat gold on 8″ x 10″ archival panel (SOLD).   ORDER A MUSEUM QUALITY ARCHIVAL PRINT Genuine mineral pigments used as watercolor: Lapis lazuli (Chile), amethyst (Soladad, Brazil), jadeite (Alaska, USA), Mayan blue (Texas, USA), bloodstone (Alaska, USA), rhodonite (Bellahorizonte, Brazil) piemontite (Alaska, USA). Cabochon gemstones: Lapis lazuli (Afghanistan). Austrian crystal elements by Swarovski®

I wake up in the morning and before I distract myself with anything from the mundane world, my knees hit the floor in prayer.  Our Shrine to the Household Gods shines and glimmers in the little tea lights that have been placed just so, ornamenting the gilt cult images of the God Ptah and His Holy Family.  I light myrrh resin incense on a brazier of charcoal and waft its fragrance into a sweet cloud for the Gods to enjoy.  “Men nek irit Heru…”, I half-whisper as I raise the palms of my hands in the ancient gesture of worship.  “Men nek irit Heru.  Take unto yourself the Eye of Heru…take unto yourself the Eye of Heru”.

An Egyptian alabaster votive bowl is filled with powdered sugar-topped lemon tart, another topped off with red wine.  Yes, the Gods love their sweets, their alcohol, and in my household, both of these are given in profusion.  In the meduw-netjer, the divine language of ancient Egypt, I recite the traditional offering prayers, inviting the Netjeru-Gods to “bestow the giving of life” for my household.  I vigorously shake a sistrum- an Egyptian ceremonial rattle- to conclude my worship, after I have silently offered my own personal prayers for the ears of the Gods.  I bestow my prostrations to the Great God Ptah, Hearer of Prayers, and, in our temple, King of the Gods.  His gold-covered Kar-Shrine (or naos) containing a small cult image of the God now stands open to receive the morning rays of the sun’s light, and life in my household can spring to action once more.

I readily admit that I live an unusual life.  Our living room has no television.  Yes, we have the obligatory couch and (book covered) coffee table, however, in the place most people reserve for their entertainment center dominated by the almighty flat panel television, my husband and I have installed our Shrine to the Household Gods, which can be seen from every vantage of our flat.  It creates of our home environment a sacred refuge and place of peace from the stresses of the outside world.  It brings our sometimes fragmented focus back to the reality of the Gods in Their place at the very center of creation.  This is a space for prayer and ritual, where our innermost aspirations may be expressed or realized, but it is also the fuel parlor, the generator for my daily work as an iconographer.

An iconographer practices a trade quite different from that of other artists, who often explode with a creativity fueled by a personal drive to explore and express the human psyche.  The modern artist has at her or his center the Self with a capital “S”.  My experience.  My understanding.  My feelings.  My expression.  These are the seeds that sprout the trees of modern art, which is dominated, of course, by the modern artist.  However, in iconography there has been, historically, much less of an emphasis on the iconographer, on his identity or persona, and almost entirely a focus on the icons themselves.  Iconographers are not commissioned to create their own reality, but are instead asked to express time-honored ideals concerning how the Divine should be depicted, and the most important part of this is the impersonal nature of the work itself.

That is not to say that the creation of an icon requires detachment.  Quite the opposite, if the iconographer is true to his calling.  Iconographers are called like priests and nuns to their craft.  There is a drive behind the work that comes from the reservoir of the Sacred, a current of energy passing out from a deity or deities.  It is this higher energy or inspiration that fuels the creation of icons.  So, the work is impersonal in that it is not the artist’s ego or personality that is driving the work or providing the subject matter.  Icons do not glorify the personality of the iconographer, they glorify the Sacred, the Divine, and many well known icons remain the output of unknown painters.

In the case of ancient Egypt, we but rarely are privy to the names of individual painters and artisans, whose masterpieces may be household names and instantly recognizable.  Take the fabulous golden burial mask of Tutankhamun, as one example.  This tomb treasure is often hailed as an “icon of ancient Egypt”, in the sense that its fame and preciousness have come to represent, in the minds of the masses, the greatness of Egyptian civilization.  However, I would add that the mask of Tutankhamun is also an icon in the original religious context of the word.

To the ancient goldsmiths and jewelers who created it, the burial mask of Tutankhamun was a piece of sacred machinery, through whose great magic the deceased King Tutankhamun would be transformed into a living manifestation of the Sun-God Ra.  The mask itself, though carrying upon it a stylized representation of Tutankhamun, is in fact intended to represent the God Ra Himself- gold of skin with lapis lazuli hair- as the indestructible Lord of Heaven, untouched by death and wholly divine.  The Egyptians saw such treasures not as works of art, in the manner that we see them, but as holy objects embodying the powers of the Gods.  They were, in short, icons.

Not only the incomparable treasures of Tutankhamun, but so many works of ancient Egypt had a sacred purpose that took them beyond the realm of the human viewer.  So many works of art that stun and captivate us today were simply never intended to be seen again by human eyes, once they had been created and brought ceremonially, magically to life.  We do not know the names of the craftsmen who produced them, their genius preserved only in the astounding objects they gave life to.

To the ancient Egyptians, the personality of individual artists was practically insignificant.  Their mode of religion called for cult images wrought from the most precious substances on earth…gold, lapis lazuli, feldspar and turquoise, which represented to the Egyptian mind substances forming part of the anatomy of the living Gods.  The task of the artist was to give earthly bodies to the Gods, Who would be invited to take up residence in the precious cult images once they had been ritually awakened.  Thus the ego or personal experiences of the artisan served no purpose to the Egyptians, who saw ceremonial images as the dwelling places of their gods, not as representations of individual mortals.  My, how things have changed!

Enter me.  My profession must be, at times, an experiment, for I am not an ancient artisan of cult images dwelling in a nation where my gods and their servants are supported by the state.  Gone are the monumental temple sanctuaries filled with incense and solid gold cult images.  What we have today are small ceremonial centers and home-shrines, these lovingly filled with not-so-solid gold images of our ancient gods.  The incense and offerings have remained, though not on the scale consumed by the Gods in ancient times.  Gone too are the monolithic stone statues of the Gods and kings that led way to the imperial sanctuaries.  These things belong to a past that has now become a tourist trap.  What we servants of the old Gods have is the Gods Themselves, Who continue to inspire us in ways that may fall outside the realm of traditional pomp and circumstance, but in circumstances that are, nevertheless, effective as a living religion.

In my world, it is the icon, a small panel covered in intricate details, gold and semi-precious stones, that has as much meaning as a massive stone temple or a solid gold cult image.  Those things have meaning too, but for the past, and since we are living in the present, and the Gods are ever-present, our task is to find new traditional ways of honoring Them and asking for Their intervention in our world.

So, every morning, after I have awoken our household shrine with a heady cloud of myrrh or sandalwood, I sit in my studio at my massive table, where a modern panel of wood, which may initially appear inconsequential, will be transformed into an image of ancient splendor.  It is not only gold or lapis or amethyst that will make this little panel something of value, but, much more importantly, the love of the Gods that is poured into its glittering metal and mineral pigments.  Such love for the Sacred is what fuels and entices me to work fervently, day after day, in my own divine world.

All text copyright © 2015 Rev. Ptahmassu Nofra-Uaa