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

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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

The Heart-Prayer of Ptah

Lapis Ptah

Homage to You, Ptah,
And hail to the Gods Who came forth from Your members!

O Ptah of life,
O Ptah of light,
O Ptah of mercy,
Hear my prayer.

O Ear that hears,
O Eyes that see,
O Hands that bless,
Receive my offering.

O Father Ptah,
I give You my heart.
O Father Ptah,
I give You my hands.
O Father Ptah,
I give You my breath,
O Father Ptah,
I give You my ka.
O Father Ptah,
I give You my name.
O Father Ptah,
I receive Yours in return.
O Father Ptah,
I give You my sorrow.
O Father Ptah,
I receive Your power in return.
O Father Ptah,
I become Your own flesh.
O Father Ptah,
You become the Lord of my life.

O Ptah of life,
May Your life be my life.
O Ptah of light,
May Your light be my light.
O Ptah of mercy,
May Your compassion
Liberate me; I who came forth
From Your body!

All text copyright © 1997-2015 Rev. Ptahmassu Nofra-Uaa

The White Lotus Liturgy of Auset & Ausir~ Part Three

Offering to Ausir

The adorer of Auset (Isis) and Ausir (Osiris) says:
I come, O my Mother Nuwit,
Into the Celestial Lake, endowed with a pure form,
Endowed with a pure heart, sailing over the Threshold
Of Light as one of the People of the Sun!

My name is ‘Becoming One’, the Egg of the Beginning,
Increasing in the Womb of Nuwit, the Swallower of the Stars!
I come as one of the stars in my name of ‘Completed One’,
The Celestial Father.

I am ‘Flesh of-Ra’ entering the mouth of evening, born anew
In the morning as ‘Flying-Sun’, exalted in His Ark as ‘Becoming One’.
May You receive me into the Secret Temple as one of the Disciples
Of Auset the Great; to live again, to flourish again, to enter
Resurrection as one of the Westerners of Ausir, the Forerunner
Of the Westerners!

The Goddess Nuwit, the Opener-of the Portal-of Heaven, says:
Come, O You Child ‘Flying-Sun’, rising in the eastern waters
Of the Celestial Lake and exalted as the ‘Babe in the Lotus’!
I birth you as the Incarnation of Ra, the First-God, the
Sovereign of the People of the Sun!
You are a child of the Black Land shining with turquoise-
Colored light!

You are as Ausir on that day of His resurrection,
When He became the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the
Sovereign of All Nations and Lord Above All Gods!

You are as Orion the Holy One, the Portal to the Sacred Mansion,
Embraced by the Goddess Auset-Sothis in the eastern heaven.

You are one of the Disciples of Ausir the Anointed-One.
You come into the Sacred Lake of the Temple of Secrets,
And you are baptized in the Divine Essence of Ausir,
The Lord of Anointing.
Your transgressions are purified like that Wedjat Eye of Ra!
Your body is purified in the presence of the Holy Ka of Ausir,
The Master of Holiness!

The adorer of Auset and Ausir says: I come! I kneel
Beneath that Holy Ished Tree flourishing in the Sacred Courtyard
Of the God’s-House of Secrets!
I receive the Essence of The God in my heart, in my flesh,
As my Ka, in this my body.

I receive the Divine Ka of Auset my Lady!
I receive the Divine Ka of Ausir my Lord
As the fresh water of the south, pouring out from the Spirit
Of Ausir the Lord of Spirits.

Come! Come! Come, O Waters of the Goddess Auset,
Bringing nigh to me the power of everlasting life!
I receive the baptism of Your Holy Spirit O Ausir my Lord!
I receive the baptism of Your Holy Spirit O Auset my Lady!

O Waters, O Auset! O Waters, O Ausir!
O Power of Life pouring out as the Eternal God;
The Life, the Goddess Auset, the Life, the God Ausir, the Life, the Divine Ka!
Auset is the Life, the Holy Way of eternal life!
Ausir is the life, the Holy Way of eternal life
For all of humankind.

O Auset, She is the Lady of Eternal Life from the Primordial Beginning,
Pouring out from the First-Occasion as the Goddess Who bestows
The gift of the Eternal Soul.

All text copyright © 2001-2015 Rev. Ptahmassu Nofra-Uaa

The White Lotus Liturgy of Auset & Ausir~ Part Two

Incense Ausir

I return to the Primeval Flood of the First Occasion of the Gods,
Becoming the Image of Ra in the deep floodwaters,
Emerging from the Coils of the Beginning as the ‘Becoming One’,
Coming forth from the Egg of the Pyramidion as the Phoenix.
The Phoenix is the Spirit of Ausir (Osiris) when He ascended at the
Moment of His Resurrection, when He became ‘The Powerful One’,
The Master of Eternal Life.

I renew my body in the Eternal Flood of Auset (Isis)
I renew my body in the Eternal Flood of Ausir!
I renew my essence in the Waters of Auset in the Beginning!
I renew my essence in the Waters of Ausir in the Beginning!
I renew my Spirit in the Presence of Ausir the King, the
Bestower of the Elixir of Life.

I come! I come again! I come again!
I repeat my life for eternity in Ausir the Vanquisher of Death,
The Eternal God who lives beyond the Gods!

All text copyright © 2001-2015 Rev. Ptahmassu Nofra-Uaa

The White Lotus Liturgy of Auset & Ausir~ Part One

Auset and Ausir

I give obeisance to Ausir (Osiris) the Glorious Lord in Abedju (Abydos)!
I kiss the earth in the presence of the Netjer, the Divine Incarnation
Of Heaven, coming forth from the Great Shrine as the
Divine Fragrance of the Hidden Land.

O Ausir the Beautiful-Faced One, the King of Eternity and
Master of the Beautiful Country, I smell Your Divine Fragrance
And I am made divine, in Your very image, upon this earth!
I kiss the earth at the Throne of Ausir the Lord, the God
Awoken from silence.

I come, O Ausir! I come into the presence of the Secret Chamber,
And I receive the Divine Fragrance of Your Divine Body.
I pass by the Great Goddess Auset (Isis), inhaling Her sweet fragrance,
Inhaling the Divine Ka of the Sacred House, anointed with the
Divine Power of the Goddess Auset in all Her glory.
My flesh is pure in the presence of Divine Mother Auset!
My body is pure in the presence of the God Heru (Horus), the Master
Of the Two Great Horizons!

My heart is pure in the presence of Ptah, the Lord of the Heart’s Throne!
My backside is pure in the presence of Ra the Lotus-Child,
The Light of the Primordial Beginning!

I ascend the Celestial Ladder of Auset into the Mansion of the
Imperishable Stars!
I ascend the Celestial Ladder of Ausir into the Field of Divinity,
Becoming an Incarnation of Light, filling my heart with white light.
I devour the Light of Ausir’s Divine Body, becoming indestructible
As His Wedjat Eye!

I ascend into the Shrine of Auset, and I see Her Holy Incarnation
Upon the Lotus-Throne.
I ascend into the Shrine of Ausir, and I see His Holy Incarnation
Upon the Lotus-Throne.

The celebrant makes an offering of sandalwood to the Goddess Auset and the God Ausir

All text copyright © 2001-2015 Rev. Ptahmassu Nofra-Uaa

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.

Simple Beginnings

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I am often asked how one can serve the Netjeru (Gods) or connect with Them through the ancient rites if one is not a priestess or priest. Priestess/ priesthood is far from being the only effective way to engage the Gods. What if one does not have an elaborate altar or shrine full of icons/ cult statues? What if one does not know the medu-netjer (hieroglyphs)? These are very real concerns people new to Kemeticism have.

My answer to these questions may come as a surprise. I feel that a simple beginning is the most effective way to initiate a relationship with the Netjeru. Let’s start with respect. The Gods cannot be properly engaged without this most vital quality. Think of the way you would treat a guest to your home. You’d hopefully treat them with respect and courtesy. You’d offer them some refreshment, perhaps a nice meal. You’d invite them to get to know you better. Likewise, you’d make an effort to get to know them better. You’d be hospitable.

The Gods are like special guests when you invite Them into your life and into your home. You begin with showing reverence and respect. You don’t need to be clergy to do this! Even the smallest act, such as pouring out a bowl of wine or a cup of beer, has sacred meaning and power in Kemeticism. Clear away a few minutes at the start of each day, invite the Netjer (God) or Netjeret (Goddess) by speaking Their name out loud. Light incense, and offer that to the deity with as much respect and love as you can generate, and ask the deity to make Themselves known to you. Make an offering, perhaps a libation or vase of flowers. Even if you do not have an awakened cult image, and even if all you have is a picture from a book, use whatever image you have access to, even one you visualize inside your mind, and use that as a focal point for service.

Living a spiritual life, a healthy spiritual life, means making a concentrated effort to open yourself up to the Gods EVERY SINGLE DAY; not just in fancy rituals or in front of a formal shrine, but, much more importantly, during your workaday life as you go about your work and obligations. Learn to ponder the names of the Netjeru in your mind, and offer Them thanks or simple prayers in spare moments. The more you do this, the more you will feel the presences of the Gods joining you and making sacred contact. Each time this happens, your relationship with the Gods grows stronger, until you feel you are never separated from the Gods no matter where you are.

Just remember RESPECT, REVERENCE and OFFERING. These are the keys to establishing a full relationship with your Gods, and a healthy, truly fulfilling spiritual life.

All text copyright © 2015 Rev. Ptahmassu Nofra-Uaa

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

Listen To Your Gods

Altar Offering

How do we know what our Gods want from us? How do we know what They expect from us? How can we please Them, honor Them? People who are new to Kemeticism often confide in me how much they want to engage the Netjeru, but are afraid of offending the Gods, or making mistakes in the process of trying to connect with Them. What advice do I have for those who have these very legitimate concerns?

Within the Heathen Community (contemporary followers of the Norse Gods), there is a term that I think can apply equally well to the beliefs and activities of Kemeticists, Kemetic Reconstructionists, and to other Recon communities: UPG, otherwise known as unverified personal gnosis. This term is used to describe those personal spiritual experiences that fall outside the realm of authenticated source texts, lore/ mythos or the historical record. These are very personal experiences that many devotees believe are communicated by their gods, but cannot otherwise be traced within the generally accepted literature or historic track record of the tradition.

Throughout the many years I have been in contact with others who profess a belief in Kemeticism, I have encountered a fairly common phenomenon, which I think can best be described as UPG. Individuals subscribing to Kemeticism tend to develop very close relationships with their Netjeru (Gods), so much so that the Gods take on active roles in the lives of Their devotees, becoming almost part of their family. The Gods tend to hold conversations with us in our heart, send us signs in the outer world, and connect with us in ways that truly feel like our relationships with our biological family, closest friends or peers. That is because the Gods want to be part of our life directly.

Unlike the mainstream monotheistic religions, where the deity tends to be viewed as separate from his creation, and removed from the intimate lives of humankind, the Netjeru of Kemet have shown in the track record of history that They are very engaged with the material world, and are active in the daily lives of human beings. In contemporary times, devotees of the Netjeru often find it difficult to access the academic, scholastic resources on the Gods, sacred texts, and religious practices of Kemet, and feel obliged to connect with the Netjeru on their own terms. This can often lead to some very colorful contemporary practices that are not necessarily linked with those of ancient times.

I have corresponded with a devotee of Bastet who swore that the Goddess adored the fruit flavored gummy fish she had been placing on the altar. Okay. Who am I to question personal displays of affection between a Netjer and their admirer? If an offering is truly given out of love and respect for the deity, then I have to accept that this is a good action, even if I question the rightness of offering a candy treat of little nutritional value to a great goddess.

My point is that UPG, unverified personal gnosis, seems to be a strong force amongst those who are trying to reconnect with very ancient faiths that have been broken down by the machine of monotheism. There are gaps in the historical record, or access to that record is more or less limited to those with strong academic tendencies and/ or resources, those for whom Reconstruction is the surest way to reclaim our ancient faiths. But how can the average devotee make such a connection?

What is happening is that individuals are reconnecting with the Netjeru via intuition and instinct, following their own inner guidance as they determine who the Gods are and how They should be approached. UPG comes in the form of little epiphanies or flashes of inspiration, where one just knows that Sekhmet wants that shiny red and gold altar cloth. When one lays the cloth down for the Goddess, one just feels very right about it, and things feel like they’ve fallen perfectly into place.

Of course, the Recon way to approach this situation would be to dig into the appropriate cultic text to check for references to red and red fabrics in the mythos and worship of the Goddess. Does red cloth play a role, however small, in the rituals or festival celebrations of Sekhmet? What about Her titles or epithets? Can we find a link with red cloth there? How has the color red played a role in the mythos of the Goddess as preserved in the historical record? I think the reader has the idea.

The Reconstructionist approach strives to fill in as much as possible from the actual records the Ancients left us, which span an enormous length of time and provide us a road map to recovering our ancient traditions. However, for many people, the Reconstructionist approach can be difficult, if not a little challenging to one’s patience.

One might be forgiven for cursing on the other side of one’s face, when simply wanting to touch base with one’s deities, but feeling instead like it’s a process of jumping through academic hoops in order to do the simplest thing. This kind of experience can remove the joy and spontaneity from one’s connection to the Gods, if one is constantly worried about “getting it right” according to the available record.

UPG, therefore, offers the average aspirant the luxury of allowing instinct- rather than historical necessity- to guide, making the spiritual experience feel readily accessible, instead of the exclusive domain of those in the academic know. These are the feelings I’ve had expressed to me consistently by those who inquire about Kemeticism and Kemetic Reconstructionism, and wish to understand how I approach it.

I think UPG is fine, and it works for many people. It tends to give practitioners a hands-on feeling to the Netjeru, and comes without constraints. One simply “feels” one’s way through it. Far be it from me to disparage a person’s heartfelt experiences with their Gods. If Bastet really wants gummy fish from you, then I suppose that’s between you and the Goddess. I’d probably advise they be of the highest quality possible, and at least served on the most traditional offering vessel you can find. But then that’s just me, as I tend (as a hem-netjer or priest) to be a traditional kind of guy.

My advice to practitioners is to make a sincere effort to get to know your Netjeru before you decide for sure that yes, Bastet loves gummy fish and always has. I feel that getting to know the Gods is kind of similar to how we get to know our human friends. It takes work, effort, sincerity, and a willingness to learn something new.

The Netjeru of Kemet are very ancient deities, Who have operated within a specific cultural framework for thousands of years. These Gods are used to the types of offerings They’ve received in Their cults for the duration of millennia, and, in my experience, They still expect to receive. With only a little effort, one can indeed find all the basic information one needs in order to honor the Netjeru respectfully and traditionally. It is just as easy to pick up a bottle of wine or a bunch of figs as it is to head over to the candy isle for that very dignified bag of gummy fish!

One might be very surprised by the reaction of the Gods when you have put effort into finding the things They’ve loved for thousands of years, and offer them in a respectful manner that extends true reverence. These very reverential experiences are the ones that build the most powerful relationships between us and our Gods. Try it, and you will see how satisfying the results can be. You may even find yourself becoming enchanted by the traditional way of communing with these most ancient Gods.

First and foremost, whichever road you choose, UPG or solid Reconstructionism (and perhaps, if you’re like me, some of both blended happily together), learn to open yourself up fully and respectfully to the Gods you worship. Learn to speak your heart to Them, to meditate on Them, and to ask Them for Their direct guidance. Yes the Netjeru can and do speak directly to Their devotees. It may take quite a while before you really feel that level of communication growing, but through honest effort it will happen.

Lastly, learn to listen, to take the time to follow that inner guidance that you will eventually be able to discern as coming from your Gods. There is no magical formula that can produce these results, but you can rest assured that the Netjeru of Kemet, Who have guided and engaged humanity for countless thousands of years, will guide you as you make the honest effort to know Them.

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