This past Saturday at World Tree Healing, I led a workshop on “Loving and Serving ‘Dark’ Deities.” It was a well-attended workshop and for the first hour, I engaged the participants in a series of discussions based on the following prompts:
- How has staving off criticism from mainstream religions made Paganism afraid of its own shadows?
- How do you help outsiders to your tradition distinguish between “darkness” and “evil”?
- Has anyone ever had an experience of invoking Dark Deities in a group ritual context and then been castigated for invoking Them?
- How is the function of the Trickster valuable to a society? Who is devoted to Trickster Gods?
- In his Manifesto for his powerful Apocalyptic Witchcraft, Peter Grey has declared: “We call an end to the pretense of respectability.” What are your thoughts on this? What do Pagans lose by attempting to claw their way to the interfaith table, begging for scraps of acceptance from Abrahamic religions?
It was a great discussion that appeared to make two people with Abrahamic allegiances very uncomfortable, so they left after I had announced that we’d be taking a short break before our ritual to Nephthys would begin. Good riddance, I thought. I certainly didn’t want the miasma, or spiritual pollution, of their presences to spill over into my devotional ritual to my Patron Deity. The major risk of hosting a public Pagan ritual is that you never know what kind of people may show up, especially folks with overtly hostile ideologies (read: patriarchal monotheists) who attend solely to destabilize the gathering, which is why I absolutely favor doing private ceremonies in the company of fellow devotees I can vouch for.
Signal boost: Calling all Kemetic polytheists! Egyptologist Tamara L. Siuda, a personal friend of mine and fellow priestess in the Fellowship of Isis, has 6 days remaining in her Kickstarter campaign to fund the publication of The Perpetual Planner, an ancient Egyptian calendar companion to her 2012 publication of The Ancient Egyptian Daybook.
Please consider helping fund her campaign before time runs out; if she doesn’t meet her goals, the project will be kibboshed.
This past Saturday evening, I had the pleasure of leading a workshop on ancient Egyptian magic at World Tree Healing bookstore and metaphysical resource center here in Chicago. Called “Hands-On Heka,” the workshop I devised featured an overview on the three types of magic, as I classify them, that we know that ancient Egyptians of all social strata practiced: funerary magic, ritual magic, and everyday (sometimes referred to as “crisis-mode”) magic. From this latter category, I devised a devotional ritual to the great goddess Sekhmet, Lady of Power, which featured a historically verified spell meant to reverse the Evil Eye. The spell involved the creation of a papyrus talisman, which we did together as a group based on a hieroglyphic prayer I created to evoke Sekhmet’s aid for spiritual protection. However, there was follow-up work for the ritual participants/workshop attendees to do once they returned to their homes: once activated, the papyrus talisman had to be “put to work” in what is arguably history’s oldest form of the Witch Bottle.
Mark your calendars, Chi-Town peeps, and anyone who may be visiting the city on Saturday, March 18 who may be interested in learning about ancient Egyptian magic! I’ll be leading a two-hour “Hands-On Heka” workshop at World Tree Healing metaphysical resource center in Chicago’s Albany Park neighborhood from 5 – 7 o’clock that evening.
Behold, the power of marketing copy:
“Hands-On Heka: Magic in Ancient Egypt”
For centuries, much of the world agreed with Clement of Alexandria (3rd century C.E.), who referred to ancient Egypt as “the mother of magicians.” In this workshop, Rev. Anna Applegate, a legally ordained Priestess in the international Fellowship of Isis, will give an overview of magic, or heka, in ancient Egypt, focusing on the three main divisions of funerary magic, ritual magic (performed in temples), and everyday magic. Participants will get to experience hands-on heka by creating papyri talismans to keep.
The Autumn issue of Isis-Seshat, the quarterly issued official journal of the worldwide Fellowship of Isis (or FOI; furthermore, I serve as Isis-Seshat’s Executive Editor), featured the bulk of my lengthy interview with one of Kemetic Reconstructionism’s most ardent and articulate champions, Rev. Ptahmassu Nofra-Uaa. He is the co-founder of Hwt-Ka-Ptah/ Temple of Ptah Nevada, a Kemetic Reconstructionist temple dedicated to the celebration and restoration of authentic ancient Egyptian spirituality. He is also High Priest of Per-Auset/Temple of Auset Nevada, a nonprofit educational religious organization representing the Egyptian tradition of the Goddess Auset/Isis. Ptahmassu was legally ordained as a Priest of the Goddess Auset in 2002 by the Rt. Rev. Lady Loreon Vigné, Archpriestess of the Temple of Isis in Geyserville, California–a state and federally recognized church founded to honor the Divine Feminine as embodied in the Egyptian Goddess Isis. In 2004, he was ordained by FOI co-founder Lady Olivia Robertson as a Priest-Hierophant serving the Goddess Sekhmet. Ptahmassu Nofra-Uaa serves the Neteru as a Kemetic iconographer; as founder of Icons of Kemet, he uses his skills as a painter and craftsman to create icons of the Goddesses and Gods of ancient Egypt in order to further the restoration of Their ancient temple traditions.
Not all portions of my interview with him found their way into the pages of Isis-Seshat, and it’s the theological discussions we had in particular that I would like to share here on my blog. Our conversation is completely unabridged, so brew a cup of tea and settle in for a passionate apologia of Kemetic Reconstructionism. I hope it will bring edification and inspiration to all polytheists (whichever Powers they honor in their devotional practices), and, in particular, adherents of Reconstructionist traditions. Continue reading
Happy October! These are great days to be a devotee of the Kemetic Neteru in Chicago! Last weekend witnessed the convening of the 22nd Annual Fellowship of Isis Chicago Goddess Convention–more on that in a subsequent post–and for the next several days, noted Egyptian studies author Normandi Ellis is going to be giving workshops in and around the city on various aspects of ancient Egyptian religion and modern-day ritual and divination systems. I had the immense pleasure last night after work of attending a three-hour class Normandi taught at the Life Force Arts Center entitled Medju Neter: The Oracular Use of Egyptian Hieroglyphs. Continue reading
With the exception of the Bears’ loss to the much-hated Packers in Soldier Field during the season opener, yesterday was a perfect day. The 2015 Chicago Pagan Pride event held at the historic Pleasant Home in Oak Park, Illinois, drew a record 500 attendees. And roughly 20 of those folks joined me at my 1 p.m. workshop and devotional ritual to honor the Great God Set. Continue reading