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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In the Noblest of Cities: Antinous is Received in the House of Ptah

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Antinous had thus far beheld the wonders of various sanctuaries and monuments- colossal statues hewn from blood-red stone that were the equal of any in Roma, the sprawling urban centers choked with imports from every corner of the earth, a harvest of gold and goldsmiths, whose crafts became the ornaments of the affluent from Roma to far more distant, barbaric lands- yet he had seen nothing that made him gasp in astonishment as did “the noblest of cities”, Memphis, and its very ancient grandeur.

Hadrian’s ship had landed at the water steps of the great southern portal of one of the several imposing palaces that fronted the Nile, scintillating in the fierce heat of the sun that seemed to shatter over everything and everyone in this most hallowed of cities. As their craft had entered the famous port of Memphis, his local guides had enticed Antinous with stories of the renowned shipyards of the God Ptah, the workshops of the goldsmith’s guilds whose handicrafts were well known in Roma, and the elephantine, fortress-like walls of the Temple of Ptah. Here were obelisks piercing the liquid azure of the afternoon sky, with their pyramidions sheathed in glowing electrum. Beyond them rose mountainous pylons, gates and royal statues that seemed to dwarf all else for miles around. It was all very enthralling. And yet Antinous had come to receive the counsel of the High Priest of Ptah, the God for whom all of these marvels had been consecrated.

What perfection was to be seen in the craft of man’s hand…enormous and yet sensual alabaster colossi, sphinxes, divine images, and every other splendid and costly thing the mind could fathom…yet it was the ancient Mysteries of Memphis that had caused mighty Hadrian to make inquiries on behalf of Antinous, whose thirst for high learning knew no bounds.

A retinue stood waiting for Antinous beneath the blessed shelter of the palace portico. Antinous approached, bowing his head, not knowing which of these distinguished foreigners was the High Priest of the God Ptah. A tall, shaven headed and linen draped man came forward, and raised his hands in the gesture of reverence.

“Welcome and blessing to you, Antinous, heart-friend of our Lord Hadrianus Caesar, who is the Lord of Crowns and ruler of the Two Lands! I am Neferkaptah, and I am the Chief of Priests of the God Ptah in the Soul-Mansion of Ptah. Is the noblest city in Egypt fulfilling your expectations and satisfying your heart?”

Antinous relaxed and smiled, noticing the kindness and curiosity evident in the faces of the other priests. “Satisfy?…why no, much more than satisfy! I am stunned by all I have seen of this city of marvels. Our guides today pointed out the endless outdoor market as we approached, which I am told is the largest in Egypt…perhaps in the whole world! There are the giant sphinxes that look like marble, but I am told they are alabaster…and the high walls of the city itself, which our guide told us are the oldest and tallest in the entire land. Alexandria is a wonder of the mind, it is true, but this, Memphis, is a wonder of the eyes!”

The High Priest smiled knowingly, waving Antinous to follow him beneath the bulk of the portico and through an imposing gate in the high wall. Everywhere he looked were to be seen sculpted and painted reliefs of the highest quality, delicately carved statues of glittering stone, columns and tiles that shined a glossy sky blue. Everything around him seemed to focus one’s attention upon the crafts of the hands…that of stone masons, goldsmiths, jewelers. Antinous was taken aback almost to the point of speechlessness, however, he was here to receive the initiations of Ptah, and to take back with him a portion of their wisdom.

“I have seen at a distance the Pyramid that our guides told us was built by Imhotep-“
“Oh, but of course, you want to hear about Imhotep!”

Antinous blushed, but Neferkaptah smiled enthusiastically. “The Holy Pyramid was constructed by an army of the finest craftsmen in Egypt in the service of King Netjerykhet, but it was Imhotep the Son of Ptah who imagined how it could be accomplished, and it was his genius that made what you have seen possible.

“Homage to You Imhotep, Son of Ptah, the Good Physician, the Kindhearted God!

“Imhotep was born to a woman named Khreduankh, whose beauty caught the eye of the God Ptah Himself, and it was from His seed that Imhotep came forth, having even at his birth the powers of a Seer together with all the knowledge of a priest of Ra. He knew the stars in their courses, and the measurements of creation, and he had the knowledge and blessedness to heal the sick and cure the diseases of the flesh. Did they point out to you the temple where the God Imhotep, as the Son of Ptah, reveals cures to the sick as they dream? Well, then perhaps you know already the fame of Imhotep throughout the known world, for not only do the people of this city and Egypt come to be healed in His shrine, but also people from across the Great Green Sea….”

“I know that the Hellenes associate Imhotep with Asklepius“, Antinous said, “and that they believe He cures barrenness and impotence, and even fatal conditions. Aren’t there miracles attributed to Imhotep during His life?”

Neferkaptah nodded. “And you saw it!…the Holy Pyramid, from which King Netjerykhet was sent aloft to the Imperishable Stars, to be the divine leader and guide of Egypt for all eternity. My son, Imhotep was an innovator, not merely an architect who followed in the footsteps of others. Memphis, Alexandria and Egypt entire is filled with scholars and architects…so many trained monkeys who mimic what they read and see in the genius of others. What Imhotep did was excel beyond the great works of his predecessors, taking the original design for the tombs of hallowed persons, and shaping it into something truly sublime. His is a miracle of the mind, the imagination, which is one of the greatest testaments to his divinity.

“Your own Hadrianus Caesar is said to be such an architect and visionary…one who takes what he has inherited and pushes it beyond what others thought possible. To exceed the limitations imposed by the lower mind, the mundane intellect…that is the course of one who has received the direct blessing of the Gods. It is that way in your Roma, and so it is that way here in my Egypt, which is the House of the God Ptah, Architect of the World!”

Antinous recalled some of the things his tutors had told him about the origins of Egypt and the Great God Ptah. “Speaking of the House of Ptah, is it not true that the Hellenes gave Egypt its name, or rather, that the name Egypt is taken from the language of the Hellenes, when they beheld the wonders of the Temple of Ptah at Memphis and recognized its universal importance?”

“That is so, my son. The Hellenes knew that the most ancient city of Memphis- which was hailed as Men-Nefer by the Ancients- was the first capital of the Egyptian state, and that it was here, in our very own Temple of Ptah, where every king that has sat upon the throne of Egypt has received the Double Crown. Aleksandras, whom they call Great, the Son of Zeus-Ammon, was crowned as Pharaoh of Egypt in the Temple of Ptah, as was your beloved Hadrianus Caesar, Lord of the Two Lands. For Ptah is the King-Maker, the Establisher of Laws, who founded the first temple in the first city of Egypt, and that city, this city, was known as Ibebu-hedj, the ‘White Walls’, where at its heart rose Hawt-ka-Ptah, ‘The Soul-Mansion of Ptah’.

“The Hellenes pronounced the name of Ptah’s holiest temple Aigyptos, and it was from their speech that the name of our Egypt came forth. And Ptah is the King of the Gods in His temple here, because it is recognized in Memphis that Ptah is the Genius from Whom speech, intellect and thought came into being. Without Him, the Hellenes, Romans, the Egyptians, and indeed the peoples of all the world would not have intellect or speech or even existence itself, for Ptah is the Great God Who gave birth to the Cosmos and all the things dwelling in it!”

Antinous and his hosts had finally arrived at the Great Temple of Ptah, which was just south of the primary enclosure of the ancient capital of Egypt. Its great white walls (from which the oldest district of ‘White Walls’ received its name) were crenelated like some military fortress, and Antinous recognized that its massive corners gave way to high watch towers that were likewise crenelated. Tall flagstaffs sheathed in gold stood proudly before soaring pylons into which were carved, in exquisite relief, images of the God Ptah receiving abundant offerings. The heady fragrance of myrrh incense rose in a palpable cloud above the entourage, and then the sound of chanting, which echoed off lofty stone ceilings.

“Hail to Ptah Who is South of His Wall, who created in the beginning in His loneliness, when there was no one beside Him. Who came into existence by Himself and fashioned in the beginning, in that neither father nor mother had made His body. The truly lone one. He who made the gods and who created, but who indeed was not created”.

Antinous braved a remark as they approached the entrance proper, the hallowed Soul-Mansion of the God Ptah. “The Hellenes know Ptah as Hephaestus, I have been told by my tutors, while my people know Him as Vulcan, and we see Him as the Wielder of the blacksmith’s hammer and fire. We know Vulcan as the creator of the blacksmith’s arts”.

“It is certainly true that the God Ptah is the divine patron of all handicrafts”, Neferkaptah answered, “…which include the arts of the forgers, goldsmiths, metal-smiths and jewelers. All of these are the products of the heart and tongue of Ptah, Who spoke them into existence, but so too are all the labors of the hands…stone masonry, sculpting, painting, architecture, mining and ship building. You have seen the famous ship yards of Memphis, which equal any in the known world, including Alexandria. Here too are the ateliers of the Temple, whose divine images in gold, precious stones and electrum are found in every temple in Egypt, and in the Royal Court.

It is known that the Servants of Ptah, that is to say His craftsmen, are among the finest in the world. They certainly have no equal in all of Egypt; for the God Ptah is not solely the patron of artisanship or craftsmanship, but rather the Progenitor of the finest quality work of which men are capable. It is excellence itself…this quality of having perfected a thing to the point where it cannot be improved upon…that is the hallmark of the God Ptah throughout creation. The very activity or attitude of striving for excellence in one’s work is the very nature of the God Ptah, Who has selected the perfect forms of all creatures and plants, given them birth through the speech of His tongue, and bestowed upon them the breath of life”.

Just then the entourage entered the sanctified outer courtyard of the Temple of Ptah, where grandiose and more humble stone images of the God Ptah stood in the presence of flaming braziers and tables choked with delicious offerings. Priests and acolytes moved to and fro with diligence, trimming wicks and lighting lamps, and dropping pellets of myrrh over the hot coals of the braziers. A presence of devotion and solitude pervaded the atmosphere, which spoke to the heart of Antinous of the first-fruits of the human heart.

“Is love part of the creation offered by the Great Ptah to His servants upon the earth?”, Antinous queried, his heart fluttering with admiration for the beauty and harmony of the images surrounding him.

Neferkaptah placed a warm hand on Antinous’ bare shoulder. “In our ancient teaching- which comes from the time when the Holy Pyramid was envisioned by Imhotep- it is said that the God Ptah thought the names of every thing to be created within His heart, which was then repeated by His tongue, and that it was through this divine miracle that all created things came into being.

“The heart and the tongue are the two instruments by which Ptah the very Great God brought out His vision for the created world, thus making it a reality. It is the heart that is the mind of all creatures in the world, for the heart speaks and the limbs obey. And when the tongue repeats what the heart has engendered, then life proceeds…activity shapes progress, and events unfold. This is the handiwork of Ptah, Who gave form to the heart that it might direct the limbs and the passions.

“But know too that Ptah is called the King of the Gods not merely because of His creative power, which makes kings in the world of men, but because He created the Gods. It was the desire, the passion…the love of Ptah that made the Souls of all the Gods, and determined that they should come to rest in their statues of stone and wood and metal, and it was Ptah Who ordained the cults of all the Gods, Their temples and worship, so that the Gods could receive the first-fruits of the earth from humankind. But also, it was through the love of Ptah that the Gods should receive the offerings of humankind, and intervene on their behalf, for men and women, together with all the creeping creatures of the earth, are the handiwork of Ptah’s heart and tongue. We, Antinous…you and I and revered Hadrianus Caesar, are the thoughts of Ptah’s passion, and the desires of His heart, and the fruit of His tongue…and so it shall always be!”

Antinous was filled with awe and humility in the presence of such a teaching, which inspired within his own heart the desire to receive the Mysteries of Ptah more fully and deeply. And so Antinous followed Neferkaptah into the dim inner court of the Temple of Ptah, and there received an answer from the very Great God Ptah.

All text copyright © 2015 Rev. Ptahmassu Nofra-Uaa