A Devotional Ritual for Nephthys to Bless and Protect the Dead

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.

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The 5th and Final Epagomenal Day: Happy Birthday, Nephthys!

What an amazingly auspicious day this is, one with extremely potent energies perfect for channeling into magico-religious rituals such as today’s Polytheist Day of Protest against Daesh, as well as for celebrating the Eve of the Egyptian New Year! And let’s not forget that it’s also Lughnasad weekend for those who celebrate the Feast of the Celtic God of the Long Arm (technically, Lughnasad commemorates the God’s Foster Mother, Tailtiu, but I digress), and thousands of miles away, hundreds of polytheists are convening in Washington State for the Many Gods West conference.

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The Feast of Selqet: Hail the Mother of Scorpions, Mistress of Magic!

Stunning gold figure of Selqet found in the Pharaoh Tutankhamun's tomb.

Stunning gold figure of Selqet found in the Pharaoh Tutankhamun’s tomb.

In the Old Cairo Calendar, today marks the Feast Day of the great Goddess Selqet (or Serket), the scorpion-crowned protectress of the living and the dead. Like my beloved Patroness, Nebet-Het, Selqet is Great in Heka (Magick); She knows the ways of the pharmakeion, from noxious poisons and the venom of scorpion and serpent as well as their antidotes and healing herbs and resins. In the Pyramid Texts, it is written that when the Goddess Aset fled into the marshes to deliver Her son Heru, Selqet dispatched seven sacred scorpions to ward Mother and Child. She is awesomely apotropaic. Continue reading

The Sevenfold Blessing: A Funerary Rite

Wooden Late Period statue of Nebet-Het in the "Inside Ancient Egypt" exhibit at the Field Museum.

Wooden Late Period statue of Nebet-Het in the “Inside Ancient Egypt” exhibit at the Field Museum.

 

What kind of a priestess of the goddess Nebet-Het would I be if I didn’t blog about funerary things? With Mercury Retrograde in Scorpio–soon to be joined by a stellium of planets in that Plutonian sign–there’s no more appropriate time than the present to share one funerary ritual I’ve co-facilitated more than once. For members of the same family, sadly enough. Continue reading