Hetepu: Give What You Have

Ptah Shrine

The word hetep or hotep means “satisfied, “peace” and “boon”, and is applied to the action of offering. I cannot stress enough the importance of offering in our relationships with our Netjeru! The Sacred Powers grant boons (hetepu) to us during that vital exchange, where we come together with Them in the act of giving what we have. This creates a firm energetic link between ourselves and the Netjer. It changes the space we do this in from mundane into Sacred Space. Even more profoundly, it draws the Netjer into a bonded relationship with us that produces hetep (or hotep, “boon”), a blessing. This blessing is energetic, vital, life-sustaining and TANGIBLE!

It doesn’t have to be complicated. It doesn’t have to be a huge affair. Bring what you have: a candle, a bowl of beer, a piece of bread, a special stone, fresh cut flowers. Arrange these things on your altar or shrine as lovingly as you can, and invite the Gods to come and partake. Let Them know your heart, your thoughts, your appreciation for Their presences. Be sincere, and show respect. That is all it takes.

You see here a picture of the Shrine to the Household Gods in the Temple of Ptah Nevada. The evening ritual has been offered, and the hetepu have been placed before Lord Ptah and His Family. What we offer is what we can afford, and the very best our hearts have in them. When we do this, Netjer always meets us more than half way. Our household thrives because of our love and devotion. Netjer is always GOOD. NEFER.

All text and picture copyright © 2015 Rev. Ptahmassu Nofra-Uaa

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A Goddess Great of Heart

HeartSekhmet

Sekhmet the Eye of Ra, the Great Goddess, Mistress of Heaven, Great of Slaughter, She Who Heals. The Goddess Sekhmet manifests in ways that seem to contradict or work against one another. This is a Goddess Who nearly ended the human race, Who relished the blood and carnage of Her victims, Who seeks vengeance when the Gods are dishonored. Her Seven Arrows are the plagues, storms, waves of searing heat, and terror of death. We cannot come before Her with anything other than awe, reverence, and respectful fear. How do we embrace Her, love Her? More importantly, why would we?

There are difficult Netjeru, like Sutekh ( Setesh, Set), Who at first appear to go very much against the grain of our human sensibilities. We want our Gods to be beautiful, tender, generous, strong, but not out of control. But that is precisely what the Netjeru ultimately are. They are Gods, and we are humans. They are the Eternal, and we are subject to the whims of immediate mortality. Gods like Sekhmet and Sutekh terrify us because we know, deep down in our gut, that They bring us the very face of REALITY, without candy coating or sweetness. They bring us our medicine, and They make us swallow it, without a spoonful of sugar!

Sekhmet is the merit or “beloved”, “spouse” of the Creator Ptah, and this seems at first a very strange match. Lord Ptah, for all intents and purposes, is a benevolent creator-god Who hears our prayers and watches over craftspeople and the arts. He’s kindly, “benevolent of countenance” (wen-nefer her); so, why Sekhmet? Beyond the academic approach of how cults and deities intermingle, we can see, if we actually engage Sekhmet, that Lord Ptah chose Her, quite wisely, because Sekhmet is the most dynamic Goddess Whose very embodiment is the sekhem or vital power through which creation can evolve. Sekhmet is the necessary ingredient within the creative process, which always begins with a certain explosiveness or violence. Think of the pain of childbirth, yet its ultimate joyous conclusion. Sekhmet IS the pain of violent contractions and the hand that tears life from the flesh…She is the process of beginnings.

Sekhmet watches over the processes that impact our mortal condition the most, thus She is the Patroness of physicians and healing. But She is also the Physician of the heart. She gives the boon (hetep) of peace (hetep) at the time of trauma, even if She uses that trauma ultimately to our benefit. This is what Gods like Sekhmet and Sutekh really do, so how can we NOT embrace Them, fully and deeply, and give Them our sincere respect?

The terrible presence of Sekhmet is only caused by our fear of our own mortality, and the fire of our mind and emotions, and our ego, running out of control. Sekhmet threatens to tame and harness these forces for our own good, and that is why we can also call Her the Good Goddess. She is good, beautiful, and necessary, the Goddess Who appears when we need to take the right kind of medicine, even if it goes down very hard. It is Her hand that touches the heart with healing, soothing, and ultimately profound peace. To love Her is to come into the awareness of our fullest passions, emotions, intellect and physical vitality. No matter what course we travel, Sekhmet the Eye of Ra is traveling beside us, alive in Her terror as the Great Goddess with the healing hands.

All text copyright © 2015 Rev. Ptahmassu Nofra-Uaa