Liturgy For Honoring the Ka of Richard Reidy

Richard Reidy Retouched
The Ausir-One Richard J. Reidy

Liturgy For Honoring the Ka of
Richard Reidy
In the House of Ptah(1)

Copyright 2015 ©Rev. Ptahmassu Nofra-Uaa
Hwt-Ka-Ptah/ Temple of Ptah Nevada (West Wendover, Nevada)

Honoring the God Ptah
in the name of Richard Reidy

Prior to engaging in this rite, the celebrant or celebrants should observe the standards for ritual purity, both physical and spiritual. Physical cleansing is necessary, and a mental, emotional focus that permits engagement with the Netjeru (Gods) in Sacred Space. It is preferable to wear simple pure white linen (cotton is perfectly acceptable), a robe or garment that has been reserved exclusively for ritual work.

There should be at least one altar table given over to the adoration of the Netjeru. This ceremony honors the Blessed Dead (Akhu) in the company of the Netjer Ptah, the Netjeret (Goddess) Sekhmet, Their divine Son Nefertum, and the Bau-Souls of the ancient Sanctuary of Ptah called Hwt-Ka-Ptah, the “Soul-Mansion of Ptah”. A simple altar is workable for this ceremony, consisting of a white linen altar cloth upon which have been set cult images (statues) or pictures of the God Ptah, His spouse the Goddess Sekhmet, Son Nefertum, and a photograph of the Blessed Dead. A framed photograph will work much easier with this ceremony, but in lieu of this, a photograph may be propped up on the altar so that it will be stable during the ceremony. This may be draped with a scarf or covered to facilitate “opening” or “unveiling” during the ceremony.

You will also need at least one candle taper, oil lamp or tea light, a brazier or holder for the burning of incense, incense, a jar or cup of wine, a jar or cup of milk, and a tray for the presentation of offerings. It is important that your offerings are of the freshest and highest quality possible. Traditional offerings would consist of bread, beer, onions, dates, figs, pomegranates, roast fowl and beef. However, in contemporary times we may also choose to honor our Blessed Dead with food offerings (favorite dishes) personal to them, which may, of course, include ingredients not found in ancient times. The rule of thumb is always strive for the best quality offerings you can find, whether they be food or floral, or goods such as cloth, stones or ritual objects. An abundance of fresh flowers would also be highly appropriate for this offering ritual. A sistrum or ritual rattle is optional here, but strongly recommended.

Striking the Sacred Fire

We begin with the solemn rite of light offering, the most potent and significant act in the cultic service of the Netjeru. A dripless candle taper is preferable for this ceremony, but a small oil lamp, tea light or votive candle will achieve the same ritual aim. Light the taper/ oil lamp/ candle, and then, using your right hand, hold the candle out in front of you towards the sacred images on your altar. Raise your left hand with the palm facing outward towards the Gods (this is called the dua or “adoration” gesture), and then in a strong and clear voice recite the offering formula:

Irit teka en hruw neb en netjer pen Ptah neb Ma’at en Richard Reidy
(pronounced ear-eet tee-ka een hee-roo neb een netcher pen Puh-tah neb Ma-aat een Richard Reidy)

Repeat in English:
“Making the torch of every day for this God Ptah the Lord of Truth for Richard Reidy”(2)

The candle is now placed in the front, center position of the altar so that its light can fall upon the sacred images. Both hands are now raised before you in the dua posture, the palms facing outward towards the altar. Recite the offering prayer clearly and with complete conviction:

“Come You, come You in peace, O glorious Eye of Heru! Be strong and rejuvenated in peace! It shines like Ra in the double horizon, and the power of Your enemy hides itself straightaway before the Eye of Heru, which seizes it and brings it, and sets it before the seat of Heru. The voice of Heru is Truth by reason of His Eye! The Eye of Heru destroys the enemies of Ptah, the Lord upon the Great Throne(3), in all their places. I am pure!”(4)

Bestowal of Incense

It is preferable to use resin incense burnt upon disk charcoal for this ceremony, as our aim is to try, as much as possible, to link our ritual actions with those of the Ancestral temples of our tradition. Each of these gestures is a direct correlation with those that were performed for thousands of years, every single day, in the temples of the Netjeru in Kemet. Resin incense was the only kind of incense used by the Ancestors for cultic service, and it is readily available today. Temple of Ptah Nevada uses pure frankincense resin incense for our Daily Ritual, and this is what I suggest for use here.

However, if resin incense is not being used, then use the purest, highest quality stick or cone incense you can find. The emphasis in all ceremonial actions is on quality and intention. Traditional and organic ingredients are always preferable to modern synthetic ones, but we must also be prepared to use the tools we have at hand, and to use them with our best intentions. If true devotion and respect are present, then the materials will be infused with this, and will naturally be more acceptable to the Gods.

If you are using resin incense over disk charcoal, light your charcoal before your ritual starts so that there are no awkward pauses during the ceremony. If you light your charcoal prior to lighting your candle taper, the charcoal will be perfectly ready by the time you reach this second stage of the rite. Place a pellet of incense in the center of the charcoal, and, using a clockwise circular motion, wave the brazier of incense slowly in front of the sacred images. If you are using stick or cone incense, light it now, wafting the scented smoke over the altar before setting it to the right side of the lit candle. The offering formula is now recited, very slowly and with conviction:

Irit sa-netjer en Ptah neb Ma’at iri-ef di ankh en Richard Reidy
(pronounced ear-eet saa-netcher een Puh-tah neb Ma-aat ear-ee-eff dee onkh een Richard Reidy)

Repeat in English:
“Censing to Ptah the Lord of Truth that He may make the giving of life for Richard Reidy”(5)

Presentation of incense to the Family of Ptah
and to the Netjeru of the Soul-Mansion of Ptah

The Family of the God Ptah is now honored as the primary Netjeru of the Sacred House and the Custodians of the Blessed Dead (Akhu). The incense may remain at its resting position on the right side of the altar. Hold both hands, palms down, over the rising smoke of the incense, and, in a slow, clear voice, recite the offering formula:

Irit sa-netjer Ptah Sekhmet Nefertum pesedjet nebu Hwt-Ka-Ptah en Richard Reidy
(pronounced ear-eet saa-netcher Puh-tah Sekh-met Ne-fur-toom pe-see-jet nee-boo Ha-oot-Ka-Puh-tah een Richard Reidy)

Repeat in English:
“Censing to Ptah, Sekhmet, and Nefertum, and to the Company of Nine Gods, the Lords of the Soul-Mansion of Ptah, for Richard Reidy”(6)

Presentation of incense to the Ka of Richard Reidy

The photograph of the Blessed Dead is now unveiled or uncovered for all to see. Hands are raised in the dua adoration gesture while the offering formula is recited:

Irit sa-netjer en her-ek nefer en ka-ek djet a Richard Reidy
(pronounced ear-eet saa-netcher een hair-eek ne-fur een kaa-eek jet aa Richard Reidy)

Repeat in English:
“Censing to your beautiful face and to your ka eternally, O Richard Reidy!”(7)

Litany for Honoring Ptah as the Lord of Life
and Progenitor of the Netjeru for Richard Reidy

A sistrum (sacred rattle) is used to punctuate the recitation of the Litany. After each formula/ phrase/ name is recited, slowly and with conviction, the sistrum is shaken as loudly and vigorously as possible.

Anedj her-ek a Ptah-Sokar-Ausir netjer-aah neb ta-djoser hery-ab Amentet
(pronounced on-edge hair-eek aa Puh-tah-So-car-Aa-oo-seer netcher-aah neb taa-jo-zair hairee-aab aa-men-tet)

A sistrum is now shaken.

Repeat in English:
“Homage to You O Ptah-Sokar-Ausir the Great God, the Lord of the Holy Land in the midst of the West!”(8)

A sistrum is now shaken.

Anedj her-ek a Ptah en Richard Reidy Ptah-Sokar-Ausir hery-ab Shetit netjer-aah heka Amentet nefer meri
(pronounced on-edge hair-eek aa Puh-tah een Richard Reidy Puh-tah-So-car-Aa-oo-seer hairee-aab shet-eet netcher-aah he-kaa aa-men-tet ne-fur mare-ee)

A sistrum is now shaken.

Repeat in English:
“Homage to You O Ptah, for Richard Reidy (who is) loved by Ptah-Sokar-Ausir in the Shetit Shrine, the Great God, the Lord of the Beautiful West!”(9)

A sistrum is now shaken.

The formal Litany or Wehem of nine of the God Ptah’s names/ epithets should be presented as slowly as possible. Take your time. Draw out each syllable for as long as possible, and if chanting or singing comes naturally, then chant or sing these sacred names of Netjer. It is not necessary to repeat the names of the God in English, unless it feels right or necessary to do so. The recitation of the names of the Netjer forms the primary element in the Daily Ritual, which invigorates and activates the temple/ shrine/ Sacred Space. This rite especially calls upon the Netjer to manifest directly as the preserver of life and restorer of the Dead. Punctuate each name with a vigorous shake of the sistrum. These too should be drawn out as long as possible.

Ptah at hatu
(Puh-tah aat haa-too)

Ptah the Father of beginnings(10).

Ptah iru-netjeru
(Puh-tah ear-oo-netcheroo)

Ptah who created the gods(11).

Ptah neb-er-djer
(Puh-tah neb-air-jair)

Ptah the Lord to the limit(12).

Ptah neb ankh
(Puh-tah neb onkh)

Ptah the Lord of life(13).

Ptah nisut neheh djet neb ankh
(Puh-tah nee-soot nay-ha jet neb onkh)

Ptah the king of eternity and everlastingness, the lord of life(14).

Ptah iri ankh
(Puh-tah ear-ee onkh)

Ptah the Maker of life(15).

Ptah netjer aah wer shaa kheper
(Puh-tah netjer aa wear shaa khe-pair)

Ptah the very great god who in the first beginning came into being(16).

Ptah at-atu uwser-uwseru
(Puh-tah aat-aatoo oo-sear-oo-searoo)

Ptah the Father of fathers and Power of powers(17).

Ptah nen tjenuw iru
(Puh-tah nen chenoo ear-oo)

Ptah of innumerable forms(18).

Honoring the Bau-Souls in the Mansion of Ptah
When Advancing to the Holy Place for Richard Reidy(19)

The Ancestral Spirits that link the contemporary temple/ shrine/ Sacred Space with the Netjeru of the most ancient sanctuaries are now honored prior to the central rite of this ceremony. Two offering jars (or bowls) are now presented to the sacred images; one containing milk and the other containing wine. These are placed to the right side of the altar beside the brazier/ burner of incense. A sistrum may be sounded at length prior to reciting the formal prayer, loudly and slowly:

Words to be spoken:
“O You Souls of Mennefer, Souls of Hwt-Ka-Ptah!(20) If You are strong then I am strong; if I am strong, then You are strong. If Your Kas are strong, then my Ka is strong at the head of the living; as they are living, so too shall I live! The Two Jars of Atum contain the preserving essence of my flesh. Give to me, O Sekhmet the Great Goddess, the Beloved of Ptah, life, stability, and increase round about my members, which Djehuty has assembled for life! I am the God Heru of the heavenly heights, the beautiful one of terror, the Lord of Victory, the Great One of awe, the exalted one of the double plumes, the Great One in Abedju! An offering the King gives, I am pure!

Hotep di nisut wab-kuwa (spoken four times)
(pronounced ho-tep dee nee-soot oo-waab-coo-waa)

A sistrum is now shaken.

Repeat in English:
“An offering the King gives, I am pure!” (spoken four times)

A sistrum is now shaken.

Hotep di nisut hery-ab Hwt-Ka-Ptah en ka en Richard Reidy wab-kuwa
(pronounced ho-tep dee nee-soot hairee-aab Haa-oot-Kaa-Puh-tah een kaa eek Richard Reidy oo-waab-coo-waa)

A sistrum is now shaken.

Repeat in English:
“An offering the King gives in the midst of the Soul-Mansion of Ptah, for the Ka of Richard Reidy, I am pure!”

A sistrum is now shaken.

Performing the Rite of ‘An Offering which the King Gives’ For the Ka of Richard Reidy

The htp di niswt or hotep di nisut, “an offering which the king gives” is one of the most significant and prevalent versions of offering prayer that exists from ancient Egypt. Technically speaking, the King of Kemet was the highest priest of each netjer/ netjeret (god or goddess), and was the one person who could directly intercede with the Gods on behalf of humankind. Thus all offerings were said to be the boon of the King, acting as the chief priest of every deity in the land.

Today we are given the opportunity to link our ceremonial actions and Sacred Spaces with the Ancestors through the use of these most powerful words. These are words that have been spoken and written by countless souls, each invoking the divine and kingly presence through which all sacred offerings flow. The recitation of this prayer gives us an immediate connection with all those who spoke it before us. It invokes the Blessed Dead (Akhu) and invites Them to participate in this exchange of the vital spiritual essence of our offerings. This is what brings our Blessed Dead back to us in the present moment.

The tray of offerings is brought out and set reverently to the left side of the altar. The celebrant faces the image of the Blessed Dead, extending her/ his right arm- hand stretched out with fingers together- towards the face of the image (this action is known as nis, “invoking” or “summoning”). A sistrum may be sounded, loudly and at length, before the offering formula is recited:

Hotep di nisut Ausir neb Abedju
Anpu tepy-dju-ef
Ptah-Sokar res-ineb-ef
pesedjet am Abedju di sen
khet nebet nefret wabet ankhet netjer im
en ka en imakhy Richard Reidy ma’a-kheru
(pronounced
Ho-tep dee nee-soot Aa-oo-seer neb Aa-bed-joo
On-poo tep-ee-joo-eff
Puh-tah-So-car res-ee-neb-eff
pe-see-jet aam Aa-bed-joo dee sen
khet nebet nefret waa-bet onkhet netcher eem
een kaa een im-aa-kee Richard Reidy ma-aa-kheeroo)

Repeat in English:
“An offering the King gives. An offering Ausir, Lord of Abedju, and Anpu on His Mountain, and Ptah-Sokar, He Who is South of His Wall, and the Nine Gods at Abedju give!(21) May They give all things good and pure on which a god lives, to the spirit of the revered Richard Reidy, the true-of-voice (justified)!”(22)

A sistrum is now shaken.

“An offering which the King gives to Ptah-Sokar and to Anpu Who is upon His Mountain, that They may grant to go forth on earth to see the sun in the heavens every day, for the Ka of the revered Richard Reidy, the true-of-voice (justified)!”(23)

A sistrum is now shaken.

The offering tray is now raised high before the image of the Blessed Dead, and then lowered and placed gently before him.

Now say:
“May you, O Richard Reidy, wake up pleasantly and remain eternally. Every illness that comes before you will be driven away. Your mouth is opened by Ptah! Your mouth is opened by Sokar, with this copper instrument of his.(24)  Your mouth is opened by Ptah. Your mouth is opened by Sokar, and Djehuty puts your heart in your body.”(25)

Using the extended index and middle fingers of your right hand, touch the mouth of the photograph of the Blessed Dead. The offering formula is now recited:

Djed medu en Ptah-Sokar radi imakh nefer en Richard Reidy
(pronounced jed medoo een Puh-tah-So-car raa-dee im-aak ne-fur een Richard Reidy)

Repeat in English:
“Ptah-Sokar says: I have conferred a beauteous veneration upon Richard Reidy!”(26)

A sistrum is now shaken.

Now say:
“Homage to you, O Richard Reidy, you of the beautiful face, the Lord of Vision, whom Anpu has put together and Ptah-Sokar has lifted up!”27

Once again the offering formula is recited:

Djed medu en Ptah-Sokar hery-ab Hwt-Ka-Ptah a Richard Reidy men en-ek ankh djed was neb seneb
(pronounced jed medoo een Puh-tah-So-car hairee-aab Ha-oot-kaa-Puh-tah aah Richard Reidy men en-eek onkh jed waaz neb sen-eb)

Repeat in English:
“The words spoken by Ptah-Sokar in the midst of the Soul-Mansion of Ptah: O Richard Reidy! Take unto yourself all life, stability and strength, all health and happiness!”(28)

A sistrum is now shaken.

“O Richard Reidy, may your ba follow the Great God Ausir, and may your memory remain in this temple, and may you be allowed to join Ptah in the Duat!”(29)

The Presentation of Offerings to the God Ptah
For Richard Reidy(30)

The offering tray is now raised and lowered four times, very slowly, before the sacred images of the Netjeru Ptah, Sekhmet, and Nefertum. This part of the ritual may be done as slowly as possible, and, if there are multiple celebrants, the sistrum may be sounded very reverently by one celebrant as the other performs the ritual action. After the fourth elevation of the offering tray, the tray is returned to the altar before the sacred images of the Divine Family. The following prayer is now recited:

“Homage to you Ptah upon the Great Throne, the ruler in White-Walls!(31) Come, O attendants, and elevate offerings before the face of the God! Elevate offerings to Ptah upon the Great Throne, the Lord foremost in the Soul-Mansion of Ptah!(32) All life emanates from Him! All health emanates from Him! All stability emanates from Him! All good fortune emanates from him, like Ra, forever!”

A sistrum is now shaken.

The recitation of the offering formula:

Ankh neb kher ef seneb neb kher ef djed neb kher ef was neb kher ef mi Ra djet en ka en imakhy Richard Reidy ma’a-kheru
(pronounced onkh neb care eff seneb neb care eff jed neb care eff ooh-aaz neb care eff mee jet een kaa een im-aa-kee Richard Reidy ma-aa-kheeroo)

Repeat in English:
“All life emanates from Him! All health emanates from Him! All stability emanates from Him! All good fortune emanates from him, like Ra, forever, for the spirit of the revered Richard Reidy, the true-of-voice (justified)!”(33)

“O Richard Reidy, the revered, the true of voice (justified)! You are welcomed by Ptah-Sokar with His artistic arms. You are embraced, and He Who is South of His Wall praises you, and those who are in the Duat make you blessed, their hands being filled with food!”(34)

A sistrum is now shaken.

For the bestowal of the final offering formula, the right arm is stretched out over the offering tray with the palm of the hand facing down. The ritual offerings are consecrated with the ancient invocation offering formula:

Peret er kheru (spoken four times)
(pronounced pair-eet air khee-roo)

Repeat in English:
“Sending forth the voice!” (spoken four times)

The final prayer is now spoken:
“An offering the King gives to Ptah-Sokar and to Ptah, Lord of what exists, remaining in everything, that They may give invocation offerings (peret er kheru) of all things good and pure, upon which a god lives, to the Ka of the revered Richard Reidy, the true-of-voice (justified)!”(35)

A sistrum is now shaken.

The Reversion of Offerings

At the conclusion of the Daily Ritual and all offering rites, it is customary for the ritual offerings to revert back to the priesthood, or in this case to all celebrants present. The offering tray is removed from the altar respectfully, and the consecrated offerings are distributed to those present. In recognition of the Blessed Dead, use this time as an opportunity to share not only the offerings just consecrated, but also memories from the life of the “revered” and “true-of-voice”. Speak his name out loud, and let his life be shared, out loud, so that our Sacred Space becomes a repository of the fruits of his Blessed Ka.

Notes

  1. It is imperative for me to acknowledge the immense debt I owe to the work of my dear friend, mentor and peer Richard J. Reidy, author of Eternal Egypt: Ancient Rituals for the Modern World (iUniverse, Inc., New York, Bloomington, 2010), whose labor of love through the Temple of Ra in San Francisco has been a much needed touchstone for my efforts to restore an authentic devotional practice for the God Ptah in my own Temple of Ptah Nevada. His passing in late November of 2015 came as a devastating shock to myself and others, for whom Richard and his work in Kemetic Reconstructionism have become such a guiding force.This ritual and liturgy for honoring the ka was designed via necessity for use at the time of Richard’s passing into the Duat, and what is seen here is largely informed by the guidance and mentoring he so richly showered on me. I have, as a general rule, used a form of pronounceable transliteration- and a suggested pronunciation beneath each phrase in the ancient Egyptian- instructed through my many and often animated conversations with Richard Reidy. I have done my level best to remain faithful to Richard’s style of transcribing ancient Egyptian texts, though I also owe another debt of gratitude to my Kemetic brother in the Temple of Ra San Francisco, Matt Whealton, KhonsuMes, who has been very generous to me in the providing of advice based upon his vast experience with the study of ancient Egyptian phonology.
  2. Here I have taken the recitation of “making the torch of every day” (which in the unabridged Daily Temple Ritual occurs after the offerings and reversion of offerings) and placed it together with the recitation for “striking the fire”, which I have adapted from the text of the Daily Ritual given to Amun-Ra in His temple at Ipet-isut . See “Certain Reliefs at Karnak and Medinet Habu and the Ritual of Amenophis I- Concluded,” Journal of Near Eastern Studies 8 (1949): 320 (Fig 30), 321-323.
  3. Here I have given the name-epithet for Lord Ptah that corresponds to the name and appellation of Amun-Ra given in the original text (Amun-Ra neb nezet tawy, “Amun-Ra the Lord of the Throne of the Two Lands”).
  4. Adapted for Ptah from the Daily Ritual of Amun-Ra of Ipet-isut (modern Karnak). See MORET, ALEXANDRE. 1902. Le Rituel du Culte Divin Journalier. Paris: Annales du Musee guimet, Bibliotheque d’Etudes 14, Ernest Leroux, Editeur, pages 9-10. Also BUDGE, E.A. WALLIS. The Book of Opening the Mouth: The Egyptian Texts with English Translations. First published in London, 1909. Reissued in 1972 by Benjamin Blom, New York. Reissued in 1980 by Arno Press, New York, page 197.
  5. This phrase behaves as an announcement to the deity of the intentions behind the ritual action(s) to be performed in the God’s House. It also serves to define the symbiotic relationship that exists between the deity and the officiant(s) of the rite. Here I have adapted a censing formula originally presented to Amun-Ra in His temple at Ipet-resyt (modern Luxor).The epithet for Lord Ptah inserted here- neb Ma’at, “Lord of Truth”- is used for the Netjer in His chapel at Abedju (modern Abydos), in the scene depicting King Sety thurifying the ark-shrine of Ptah (north wall, western section). See THE EPIGRAPHIC SURVEY. 1998. Reliefs and Inscriptions at Luxor TempleVolume 2 (University of Chicago Oriental Institute Publications Volume 116, Chicago, Illinois: University of Chicago), 9, Plate 147. See also CALVERLEY, A.M. and BROOME, M.F. The Temple of King Sethos I at Abydos- Volume 2 (London and Chicago: Egypt Exploration Society), Plate 23.
  6. Adapted from Papyrus Harris I, 44, 2. See M, SANDMAN HOLMBERG. 1964. The God Ptah (Denmark: Lund), 201.
  7. Adapted for this ritual from the thurification text for the God Amun-Ra in His temple at Ipet-resyt (modern Luxor). See THE EPIGRAPHIC SURVEY, Ibid, 9, Plate 145.
  8. Adapted from an inscription found in the tomb of Pennut at Anibe in Nubia, time of Ramses VI. See HOLMBERG, Ibid, page 143, 35*.
  9. Adapted from an inscription from a tomb in Bibān-el-Mulūk from the time of Ramses III. Ibid, page 142, *35.
  10. Adapted from BUDGE, E.A. WALLIS. 1904. The Gods of the Egyptians: Studies in Egyptian Mythology. Vol I (London: Methuen & Company), 501. Wherever I have referred to Budge during my gathering of ancient textual sources for Ptah, I have not adopted Budge’s transliterations or translations. It is now universally acknowledged by scholars that Budge’s transliteration and/ or pronunciation of ancient Egyptian (together with his translation of Egyptian texts) is much outdated. Many significant advances have been made in the study of ancient Egyptian language since Budge’s time, thus I have opted in my (pronounceable) transliterations and translations to follow these current advances.
  11. Adapted for Ptah from a hymn to Amun. HORNUNG, E. 1982. Conceptions of God in Ancient Egypt (Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press), 149.
  12. I have here attributed to Ptah the epithet given to the Creator God, and to other gods as a description of the extent to which their authority and/ or powers extend. See HORNUNG, Ibid, 169.
  13. BUDGE, Ibid, 500.
  14. BUDGE, Ibid, 510.
  15. BUDGE, Ibid, 511.
  16. Adapted and transcribed from BUDGE, Ibid, 501.
  17. Ibid.
  18. Adapted from BUDGE, Ibid, 510. Budge does not give a transliteration for this epithet of Ptah, citing only the hieroglyphic text together with his translation of them. Here I have given my own (pronounceable) transliteration and translation.
  19. Adapted from the text of the Daily Ritual of Amun-Ra of Ipet-Sut (modern Karnak). See MORET, Ibid, pages 20-21.
  20. The original text presented to the God Amun-Ra calls on the Bau-Souls of Annu (or Heliopolis), but I have adapted this text for use in the House of Ptah, linking our contemporary sanctuary of Ptah with the Bau-Souls of ancient Mennefer (present day Memphis), also adding the ancient venerated sanctuary of Ptah, the Soul-Mansion of Ptah, Hwt-Ka-Ptah.
  21. Adapted from a sacrificial formula found on a Middle Kingdom stela from Abydos. HOLMBERG, Ibid, 130, 33*.
  22. This section of the htp di niswt formula presents the standard phrases that can be most commonly found in examples of this important offering text. Concerning their use in texts relating to the God Ptah in one or more of His aspects, I have relied entirely upon the examples cited in Maj Sandman Holberg’s volume on Ptah, though I have adapted them to suit the aims of the ritual format used here. See HOLMBERG, Ibid. See also DAVIES, NINA DE GARIS and GARDINER, ALAN H. The Tomb of Amenemhet (London: The Theban Tomb Series, 1915), pages 42-43. Also SMITHER, PAUL C. “The Writing of Ḥtp-d’i-nsw in the Middle and New Kingdoms”. The Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 25.1 (1939): 34–37. For a comparison between elements, reference GARDINER, ALAN H. Egyptian Grammar: Being An Introduction To the Study of Hieroglyphs, Third Edition, Revised. (Griffith Institute, Ashmolean Museum, Oxoford, 1999), pages 170-173, and ALLEN, JAMES P. Middle Egyptian: An Introduction to the Language and Culture of Hieroglyphs. (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1010), pages 365-367.
  23. Adapted from a htp di niswt formula from the eighteenth dynasty tomb of Amenemhet in the Theban Necropolis. See DAVIES and GARDINER, Ibid, page 42.
  24. Adapted from the medical Papyrus Berlin 3038. See HOLMBERG, Ibid, pages 96-97, 24*.
  25. From a funerary inscription in the Cairo Museum. See HOLMBERG, Ibid, page 96, 24*.
  26. Adapted from an inscription on a Middle Kingdom coffin from Deir el-Bahri. HOLMBERG, Ibid, page 129, 33*.
  27. Text from a twelfth dynasty funerary mask from Meir. See HOLMBERG, Ibid, page 27, 7*.
  28. Adapted from a text in the Hall of Sokar in the Temple of Sety I at Abedju (modern Abydos). HOLMBERG, Ibid, pages 131-132, 33*.
  29. Adapted from a text on an eighteenth dynasty stela in Vienna. HOLMBERG, Ibid, pages 100-101, 26*.
  30. Adapted from the “spell for elevating offerings” in the inscription of King Sety I at Ipet-isut. See NELSON, HAROLD H. “Certain Reliefs at Karnak and Medinet Habu and the Ritual of Amenophis I,” Journal of Near Eastern Studies 8 (1949): 201-232 and 310-345. See Fig. 34, pg. 329.
  31. Here I have added the common praise form anedj her-ek, “praise to you”, or “homage to you”, whereas in the original inscription we begin immediately with the title of the recitation, or “spell” as given by Nelson. Also, the original is consecrated to Amun-Ra (of His temple at Ipet-isut or modern Karnak), and is preceded by his name and the epithet heqa Waset, “ruler in Waset (Greek Thebes)”; thus I have given the appropriate name-epithet for Ptah as a substitution, citing him as ruler in his sanctuary in White-Walls or Mennefer. See NELSON, Ibid.
  32. Again I have adapted an inscription of Amun-Ra for Ptah. Sety’s inscription at Ipet-isut gives Amun-Ra neb nezwt tawy,“Amun-Ra Lord of the thrones of the Two Lands”. See NELSON, Ibid.
  33. Adapted from the “spell for elevating offerings” in the inscription of King Sety I at Ipet-isut. See NELSON, Ibid.
  34. Adapted from an inscription in the eighteenth dynasty tomb of Ahmes at Thebes. See HOLMBERG, Ibid, page 99, 25*.
  35. Adapted from a htp di niswt formula from the eighteenth dynasty tomb of Amenemhet in the Theban Necropolis. See DAVIES and GARDINER, Ibid, page 42.
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Striking the Sacred Torch For Ptah: Rites & Rituals of Hwt-Ka-Ptah

Offering Light to Ptah

Fire is the quintessential offering to the Netjer (Deity), and in the Daily Ritual forms one of the most significant episodes of the cult service. In ancient times the kar-shrine (or naos ) containing the living cult image was sealed and maintained in darkness, until that moment when the God’s servants broke the seal and initiated the complex series of ritual actions known as the Daily Ritual. An oil lamp or taper had been lit at the entrance to the God’s sanctuary, and it was this action that magically dispelled any vestige of chaos, signaling the creation of the world from the Netjer’s hand.

Today we may seem to be separated from the very ancient rites of the Daily Ritual and their ultimate meaning. We cannot seem to be able to wake gently, ease into our day with devotion as did the ancient priests, nor can we seem to find even a few moments of mental stillness in the jolt to move our bodies to work, school or pressing responsibilities. Mornings are usually spoken for, not a proper time, it would seem, for elaborate prayers and rituals.

However, my own experience is that when we can set aside a little time even once a day, be it morning or not, and we clear a space to celebrate a brief but powerful rite, we will find our life being energized, bit by bit, through the activity of invoking the Sacred.

One of the ways I achieve this is through the striking of the sacred fire, or striking of the torch for Lord Ptah. He is my primary Netjer, my namesake and my first Father, and it is to His shrine that I go when first I wake, or whenever I am in need of a mental or spiritual awakening. Following in the footsteps of the Ancients, I light an oil lamp before our awakened cult statue of Lord Ptah, and I offer to Him a prayer that invokes the beginning of light for all created things.

If you cannot set aside time in the morning, then make time where you can, and clear a space that will be used exclusively for devotion. This really is essential, to give over one space to the Netjer, where prayer, thoughtfulness, and the activities of cultic service may be performed. A small table fitted with clean white altar cloth will serve well enough. If one does not have an icon or cult statue of Ptah, then find a photograph of a statue or painting of Ptah, and use this by propping it up in the center of your altar space. When all else fails, use a mental picture, and you may even use a mental flame, if a live one is impossible to produce because of external limitations.

Keep in mind that it is always one’s attitude, mindfulness, and concentration of purpose that is vital. We cannot always control our immediate environment; we can, however, control our mind and our intentions. When you enter that space of sacred service, physically and mentally, be prepared to offer the very best you are capable of. The Gods always understand our very human limitations. What They do not excuse is laziness, carelessness or irreverence. Any ritual act, be it ever so grand or humble, requires a mind prepared to serve with respect and integrity. One’s heart cannot be brought unyielding into the presence of the Divine. Our heart must be ready to give.

The Rite

Previous to engaging in any ritual act, the celebrant needs to be as physically and mentally pure as possible. Try to offer this and any other rite after taking a shower, and taking at least a few moments to stop and adjust one’s mind and intentions. This is a rite of rejuvenation and creation. It awakens the presence of the Netjer within our material world, and this certainly includes the human condition. This is an act where a meeting between the Sacred and human occurs, where mortal life is invigorated by the direct presence of the Immortal.

Enter your shrine or altar area in an attitude of respect, with a mental focus on honoring the Netjer. Although the ritual text has been composed for the God Ptah, it may certainly be adapted for any other Netjer (God) or Netjeret (Goddess). Ritual prostration- going down on one’s knees and then bending forward until one’s forehead touches the floor- is the traditional way to show reverence to the Gods, however, it is also acceptable to bow one’s head, raising both arms in front of the body with palms of the hands facing outward (towards the deity). This is known as duwa, the gesture of adoration.

Have a candle taper, tea light or oil lamp ready. Since I serve in a traditional or Reconstructionist Temple, we prefer to use a replica of an ancient Mediterranean ceramic oil lamp, which has a natural fiber wick and uses olive oil. This is much closer to what the Ancients had; but, times being what they are, I say make use of the tools you have, and use them to the best of your abilities.

Hold the taper, tea light (in a glass or ceramic holder) or oil lamp in your right hand, and your fire source in the other. Take a moment to focus your eyes, heart and mind on your image of the Lord Ptah (or any other Netjer you choose). The candle/ oil lamp is now lighted. Immediately after doing this, recite the following prayer:

Striking the Torch Before the God Ptah(1)

“Come You, come You in peace, O glorious Eye of Heru! Be strong and rejuvenated in peace! It shines like Ra in the double horizon, and the power of Your enemy hides itself straightaway before the Eye of Heru, which seizes it and brings it, and sets it before the seat of Heru. The voice of Heru is Truth by reason of His Eye! The Eye of Heru destroys the enemies of Ptah, the Lord upon the Great Throne(2), in all their places. I am pure!”

The candle/ oil lamp is now presented to the divine image by very slowly moving it back and forth, in a right to left motion, in the presence of the deity. The sacred fire is now set before the Netjer so that its light illuminates the deity image. The following prayer is now offered:

“O Ptah, Tatenen, O Ptah-Ra, You shining one, Who does keep the Gods alive! You radiant one, Who does rise on His sun-mountain, Who lights up the Two Countries with His luster! O Lord of light, shining in brilliancy, when He arises before every eye. Living, when He opens the darkness, glowing sun disk, which moves over the sky and passes through the Netherworld(3).

Your entourage, they praise You. The Company of Nine Gods, of Your first primeval time, it rejoices at Your rising, and it rejoices at Your setting in the West. They say to You, ‘Praise, praise!’

You open up the ways of the sky and the earth. You pass by in Your own boat, when You rise elevated over the Gods, after You have driven away the clouds, to provide for the Netherworld, to visit the souls of the West when You descend in the Western mountains.

You have joined with the people in the Kingdom of death and roused those who are in front of their caverns(4)”.

Making the torch of every day for this God Ptah the Lord of Truth(5)

Your arms should again be raised in the duwa-adoration gesture as you recite the offering formula for bestowal of the sacred fire, which is followed by a formal prayer:

Irit teka en hruw neb en netjer pen Ptah neb Ma’at
(pronounced: Ear-eet tee-ka een hee-roo neb een netcher pen Puh-tah neb Ma-aat)

“Making the torch of every day for this God Ptah the Lord of Truth!”

“O Ptah of light, the torch comes to Your ka, O Ptah the Lord of Truth!(6) There comes that which predicts night after day. The Eye of Ra appears gloriously in White-Walls(7). I come to You, and I cause that it come, the Eye of Heru, arisen upon Your forehead, established upon Your brow! To Your ka, O Ptah, the Eye of Heru is Your protection! Hail to You, Ptah the risen land! You are awake and in peace, You awaken peacefully. The Wedjat Eye awakens in peace. The great Wedjat Eye, Who has created offerings, awakens peacefully!”(8)

If possible, it is preferable to leave the sacred fire burning for as long as possible, and until it burns out completely, if it is a small taper or tea light. If you must extinguish the flame after the conclusion of the rite, do so after a few moments of respectful silence and contemplation on the presence of the Netjer, offering the God your gratitude for His (or Her) presence.

All text copyright © 2015 Rev. Ptahmassu Nofra-Uaa


Notes

  1.  Adapted for Ptah from the Daily Ritual of Amun-Ra of Ipet-isut (modern Karnak). See MORET, ALEXANDRE. 1902. Le Rituel du Culte Divin Journalier. Paris: Annales du Musee guimet, Bibliotheque d’Etudes 14, Ernest Leroux, Editeur, pages 9-10. Also BUDGE, E.A. WALLIS. The Book of Opening the Mouth: The Egyptian Texts with English Translations. First published in London, 1909. Reissued in 1972 by Benjamin Blom, New York. Reissued in 1980 by Arno Press, New York, page 197.  Wherever I have referred to Budge during my gathering of ancient textual sources for Ptah, I have not adopted Budge’s transliterations or translations. It is now universally acknowledged by scholars that Budge’s transliteration and/ or pronunciation of ancient Egyptian (together with his translation of Egyptian texts) is much outdated. Many significant advances have been made in the study of ancient Egyptian language since Budge’s time, thus I have opted in my (pronounceable) transliterations and translations to follow these current advances.
  2. Here I have given the name-epithet for Lord Ptah that corresponds to the name and appellation of Amun-Ra given in the original text (Amun-Ra neb nezet tawy, “Amun-Ra the Lord of the Throne of the Two Lands”).
  3. Adapted from Papyrus Berlin 3048. See M, SANDMAN HOLMBERG. 1964. The God Ptah (Denmark: Lund), page 151.
  4. Adapted from Papyrus Berlin 3048. Ibid, page 152.
  5. Here I have taken the recitation of “making the torch of every day” (which in the unabridged Daily Temple Ritual occurs after the offerings and reversion of offerings) and placed it together with the recitation for “striking the fire”, which I have adapted from the text of the Daily Ritual given to Amun-Ra in His temple at Ipet-isut . See “Certain Reliefs at Karnak and Medinet Habu and the Ritual of Amenophis I- Concluded,” Journal of Near Eastern Studies 8 (1949): 320 (Fig 30), 321-323.
  6. Adapted for Ptah by placing His name and common epithet here in the place of Amun-Ra.
  7. The “White-Walls”, Mennufer, the primary cult center of Ptah. This has been adapted for Ptah by replacing the Ipet-isut of Amun-Ra.
  8. Adapted from Papyrus Berlin 3048. See HOLMBERG, Ibid, page 118, 30*. As the purpose of these rites is to awaken and renew the power of the Netjer in sacred space, the awakening or restoration of the god is linked to the awakening and restoration of the Wedjat Eye, the whole and indestructible power of the Netjer.