Posted by: tatjaspace | February 12, 2016

For the most part, moved to themudang.wordpress.com… thank you.

(Still Shemsu with Kemetic Orthodoxy!)

Posted by: tatjaspace | October 2, 2015

Straddling the Divide: 신 & the Netjeru

Fresh cold water in the morning. Lit candles when I can.

Staple offerings in both my shrines (to the 신 and netjeru).

One foot in two traditions can be very costly, in more ways than one. And sometimes one foot is not enough. For me, some weeks or months requires my whole body to be on one side because straddling the divide also splits my attention and energy.

Imagine you’re driving, and your ability to drive is your focus. You’re thirsty so you get Tradition A (a thirst-quenching drink). But you’re very hungry too, so you get Tradition B (a juicy burger) to eat. You can’t have the drink in one hand and the burger in the other simultaneously and still be driving. Okay, technically some people can pull off driving with their knees or something, but it’s quite dangerous so please don’t do that.

Likewise, as it is for me. I often straddle the divide by keeping my rituals on the lighter end, but sometimes, one side’s gods pulls me completely over the line, because it requires my full attention. It can be for any number of reasons – either there aren’t a lot of Sobek-Ra’s festivals to celebrate or there’s a lull in research for the 신. Sometimes my Father will wholeheartedly shove me over, encouraging me to do what they want or need me to do. Sometimes the 신 shove me back completely to the Netjeru side, because they know I will soon need to fulfill my obligations.

Keeping two traditions (a cultural one you belong to, the other ‘adopted’) is very difficult for me. I grew up in a typical Christian family, so I got very used to the idea of relying on only one deity. Suddenly having multiple to turn to was disorienting at best. Doing full out daily rituals for both pantheons was too exhausting, the prep too much, the time spared too little. I felt like I was working three full time jobs.

Here are some ways that may help you keep energy to worship your cultural gods and your ‘adopted’ gods.

1. If both traditions require you keep the practices separate, then do that! But if you find that keeping them separate with full blown rituals too tiresome, then cut yourself a little slack! Find areas where you can afford to make it short and sweet. Make your rituals more simple. Daily rites can simply be a quick prayer of thanks and a brief list of desires for the day, the accompanying offerings being nothing more than keeping yourself hydrated with clean water (or coffee/tea! Maybe even a protein shake!). Offer meals that you’re already set to eat (if you can – if not, split off a spoonful to offer then burn/throw outside/etc). Non-food offerings can be burning a (physical or virtual) candle for only 5 minutes, using half an incense stick, singing a song, yoga, meditation, exercise.

2. Keep festivals less instead of more! Remember, you’re dealing with TWO calendars of festivals. This essentially means you’re taking on double the holidays, which means double the offerings, double the work, double the energy expense. Decide which festivals are most important to you in each calendar. Make sure you give yourself downtime for yourself in between!

3. Where it’s applicable, ask to share offerings. You do need to ask each pantheon if they’re okay with this first, but if they are, you’re set! Split the offering in half to keep from the pantheon energy from bothering the space of the other (no one wants to feel as if they’re getting someone else’s leftovers). Keep one glass of water and one plate of dinner to simultaneously offer both pantheons.

4. Less money spent = less stress. Don’t spend unnecessarily. If your cultural gods require more “bought” things that you can’t find already in your home but your ‘adopted’ gods don’t, ask if they mind that you’re only using your spare money for your cultural gods. Because you’re serving two pantheons, that can also mean double the money spent, so be careful to budget wisely.

5. Spellwork, like your rituals, can be simple or extravagant. If you find yourself feeling too burned out doing long rituals for both pantheons but you don’t find yourself devoid of energy going all in for spellwork, then obviously focus more on the spellwork. You should not have to take out loans for energy spent on your gods. If you are, you’re not giving yourself enough breathing room somewhere in your spiritual/religious agenda.

6. Days off! Everyone needs a day to themselves. Sometimes I get so burned out (even going by my methods. And, admittedly, life gets in the way regardless), I don’t do anything religious for a month straight except simple praying. Remember to schedule yourself time off – start with one day a month, then go to two, then maybe even one a week.

7. Fallow periods can happen with one pantheon and not the other – sometimes they happen with both. If you get radio silence from both pantheons at the same time, don’t worry. Your gods did NOT check out on you.Sometimes mundane static gets too strong and NOTHING breaks through. The joys of living a human life with bills, relationships, and hardships. Remember to breathe. Take this time to focus more on yourself. Think of it as a little vacation. Both pantheons can simply be busy working on something bigger than us (check it – Mars has water! ALIENS).

I have gotten some asks regarding how I deal with two traditions and I have been meaning to write this article for some time. I hope this helps others as well. :)

Posted by: tatjaspace | May 8, 2015

The Question of Evil in Ancient Egypt

In Jackal-Infested Waters

I finally managed to get my brain in gear enough to read one of my many recently purchased books (it’s crazy, I’ve got a backlog of 30+ books with more incoming)… and it was really really good! The title is “The Question of Evil in Ancient Egypt” by Mpay Kemboly and I would certainly recommend it to anyone interested in the origin and nature of Apophis and the concept of evil/isfet. The findings weren’t what I was expecting at all, so much so that I feel half-obliged to give a ‘SPOILERS’ warning in case anybody wants to read the book themselves.

Kemboly starts out by giving an overview of several other Egyptologists’ thoughts in regards to Apophis and evil (including Hornung and Assman), which is very useful indeed because he then ends up disagreeing with pretty much every single one and pointing out the flaws in their arguments. One of…

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Posted by: tatjaspace | September 21, 2014

I’m not getting it.

This whole week I’ve been going through the job process of being promoted at my facility (cut in hours, but I was supposedly getting a little raise). I had playfully threatened Sobek-Ra that he wouldn’t get his usual offerings and my Senut dedications until I heard back about the compensation (the final part of the job offer, really) on Thursday. I hadn’t heard anything even after asking my manager, so that night I had a dream.

It started typically absurd as most usual dreams, I was making Chicken Noodle Soup in a bigger ceramic bowl we have. Then I looked out the kitchen window and saw that water filled the yard, up to half the window height but farther in the distance it was just short of the top of the fence. I was in awe and said, disappointed, “If I hadn’t used this bowl for soup I could have taken it out on the water, it looks so nice and calm.” Then I noticed that a large alligator was resting on the top of the fence like a cat would, just sun bathing. Instinctively I knew that it was one of Father’s netjeri.

Another one in the water appeared (back facing me) but it was HUGE and clambered up to the top of the fence also but stalked off then fell of the other side. The other side filled up and became the ocean and Sobek-Ra swam off. Typically when he appears in my dreams to give me messages, it’s pretty damn clear. Friday morning I had taken it as a sign that he had come through for me and to let me know he was still here. But like I said, I still hadn’t heard anything at work the following day. So thinking back on it, I feel like his message was like, “I got other shit to do, ask your other gods”.

idk. I’m getting a blind reading done. And then I’ll do my own in addition.

Posted by: tatjaspace | September 8, 2014

Procession of Sobek to see His mother Nit

The temple room was still warm despite it being quite late in the evening. The torches were lit. Handmaidens scurried behind me. I couldn’t see their faces clearly, but I was fairly sure they were Father’s netjeri in human form. I wore my typical garment though the handmaidens took care to “spruce me up” – they bathed me in incense smoke (which smelled a lot like the lotus incense I stock) and placed golden claw nail rings on each index finger. It held on tightly enough, seemingly made to perfect size.

Another held out a green chime candle. I steadied my gaze on the wick and bent my mouth close, taking in a deep breath and then whispered, “My words that wrap themselves around this wick become the bright, pure flame on which a god lives.” I saw my words take form from my breath, doing as I told, until it circled around the wick tightly and burst into light. The handmaiden bowed her head lightly and stepped back.

Another held out a white green chime candle. I did the same for this and she also took a step back after a slight bow. We repeated this another three times per candle color as I walked down the isle in between the netjeri. In front of us was a grand shrine, the statue of Sobek-Ra peering down upon us, and a table set up with a plethora of offerings – wine, beer, fresh loaves of bread, roasted geese, grapes, figs, and an unidentifiable red meat – antelope? But it’s not like I could lift this huge statue, that was just impossible.

They watched me. I could just see their eyes coming into form, the rest of their faces cloudy, murky like a pond that was ruffled. Underneath the cover I could see glimpses of grinning teeth. Are they testing me now? Are they waiting for him to come? Eh, fuck it.

“Today is the day of a journey. He Who Brings Light traverses across his waterways to his mother, the Great divine Mother Nit.”

They continued to stare but I felt the tension ease into agreement and satisfaction. I wondered if they could lift the statue.

I raised my hand and said a few other things, causing the candles to float near each netjeri. “And now we lift my Father to help him across.”

It seemed the statue was not necessarily attached. The netjeri had little issue raising the statue above their shoulders and I led them at His feet. I felt my gut tell me which direction to go and a new hallway appeared below some stairs. We followed.

At the end was another shrine room, but with a statue of a woman that had crossed arrows over her head. Two simple white chime candles flickered to life on either side of her. I motioned with my hand and gestured the netjeri to place Sobek-Ra in front of Nit, face to face.

“Come in peace, She Who Creates! Come in peace!” I called out, the handmaidens repeating my words with shakes of sistrums. “You who separates night from day, we honor you for speaking my Father’s name into creation.”

We went to work laying a table in between the statues, putting the offerings previously offered to Sobek-Ra now to Nit as well. I clapped four times, and the statues’ eyes began to glow. An immense sense of gratification flooded me and I knew it went well. I offered the netjeri to partake in the reverting of offerings and they did, with gusto. Their human forms seemed to barely contain their true selves as I heard the snapping of their jaws and the gulping of the remnants. I simply took a piece of bread and drank some beer, wanting the handmaidens to feast on such a day since I ate well enough elsewhere.

Posted by: tatjaspace | August 5, 2014

Desert.

I followed my Father from the watery abyss I had been swallowed by through a walkway on land. It led into a temple hallway, which led into a tunnel and then into a jagged cut in the ground. 

When we emerged (through the Nile no less), I grabbed onto the sandy banks and pulled myself out. Sobek-Ra’s form shifted as if his body was air itself, yet his head remained the same. His scaly body turned human-like, with brown skin, a gold glint underneath as if his blood was the precious metal itself.

I found myself to be wearing typical ancient egyptian garb. White linen, two broad straps covering my breasts. The right side of the dress was longer (ending at my shin) than the left (ending at my thigh) and both ends circled upwards to my hips, leaving space in between my legs that was covered by a linen “belt”. The bottom portion of the dress looked to take more after the male style, but it seemed to work a lot better for me to maneuver. 

Sobek-Ra turned to me. “You, as my child, have responsibilities.”

I waited. “Yes, I know.”

“You are essentially my priestess. You will spread my name and try to gather me more followers.”

I frowned, feeling confused. “Will they all be your children?”

He turned and began to walk, a was staff forming into his hands. He lifted it above his head and spun it quickly, causing the air to whir. “No. I only have a few, true children. You are One.”

With a sudden jerk, he slammed the pointed head of the was staff into the earth, causing it to shake. An earthquake of minor magnitude. Sand continued to grow from the spot until somehow we were “pushed” away from the banks. “As my Child, you are a warrior. Do not let yourself be turned away from physically challenging situations. You are my face that is presented to this world.”

“I think I’ve done a decent job at not being dissuaded, due to my job at work,” I murmured, feeling a rise of sullenness. “Besides, who’s ever heard of a warrior priestess? And what is this so called Mystery you were going to teach me? And where are your netjeri? When do I get one?”

“They go about however I need them to. With time. For now, fight me.”

“What?!” I barely had time to react as he charged me with stunning speed. I spoke words that formed into balls of energy in my fists and I shot it towards him. He easily dodged each one and jumped high.

I formed khopesh in my hands and lifted them to defend myself from his staff. He overpowered me, the staff forming into his own khopesh, one blade tickling my neck. I grunted, whispering more words which enabled me to literally become the immediate vicinity of air. 

He stood slowly and nodded. “Excellent.”

I reformed above his back and felt gravity pull. I “fell” onto him and clung, only one khopesh in my right hand that I held over his neck.

“Poor choice of placement, however.”

My world flipped as he tossed me onto my back, was staff pointing against my heart. 

I sighed as he grabbed hold of my hand to help me stand. “Anything else I need to keep in mind?”

My Father didn’t answer as he turned and walked away, vanishing without a trace. The Nile seemed so far away from me now, it looked to be a mirage. What the hell was I even doing out here?

The first Mystery.

I glanced to my right. My daemon, a secretary bird, raised his wings. “Shit, you might be right.” I bent downwards and grasped at the sand. It was so hot. Arid. Dry. My throat felt raspy.

Water. The spirits need water, too.

We began to walk towards the Nile. Each step felt bogged down and like it took an eternity to take another. I soon realized that no matter how much we walked, the Nile never seemed to get closer. There was magic at work here. This was on purpose. “A fucking test,” I snorted, half-exasperated, half-pleased that I was able to work it out quickly.

I needed to become the Nile.

Posted by: tatjaspace | July 30, 2014

Not too long after my Naming Ceremony

I have had repeated visions of a darkened temple with torch lights on the side walls and in front of me, the statue of my Father.

Water seemed to rise from the floor until I was neck deep and fighting the urge to panic. Pairs of eyes opened on either side of me. Crocodiles, his netjeri and symbol, two on my left and right. They spoke, “It’s good to meet you at last. There is work (to be done).”

I placed my hand on one’s head. “Okay, well I want to speak to him.”

They chortled amongst themselves as the floor suddenly gave way, falling into nothingness. I flailed my legs, attempting to stay afloat, but it wasn’t meant to be. I was submerged and while the torch lights still gave off decent light, whatever was past the immediate vicinity of my feet looked like watery blackness. The netjeri playfully circled me until the statue (supposedly made of sand) disintegrated. I looked ahead of me instead and saw a gigantic crocodilic face come forward, a faint outline of his headdresses outlined with what seemed to be stars. His eyes were easily as big as my body and beneath the second membrane layer was something that shone so bright I could have been blinded.

“Help will come. You are ready for the work of my Mysteries.”

His voice was as deep as an earthquake yet it didn’t shake my core. I twisted around, looking at his netjeri then back to him. “Are you sure I’m ready?”

“As ready as you will ever be.”

Posted by: tatjaspace | July 25, 2014

Nekhtet, I received my Shemsu name!

Tatjasobekra, Sobek-Ra’s fledgling. Heh, I hatched. I get it. OH YOU.

So let’s see. I wonder if I can find any other word connections to Tatja. 

Akhu basics: Do akhu play a role in your practice? How do you work with the akhu (shrines, rites, etc)? How do you set up an akhu practice?

It seems that my ancestors like to pay me a visit every two or three months. Once was the first time I had reached out to them, the “matriarch” of my bloodline. She presented a wall filled with framed photos of those who could help me, though I knew none of their names. There were a couple men on there as well. She visited me again maybe a month later, to show me a few folk magic spells. The most recent was of a lady I hadn’t met. I assumed it was someone more recent than the Matriarch, someone closer to my deceased grandmother (perhaps a cousin or her own grandmother). In any case, we only really caught up on how my language lessons were going, but she seemed pleased with what I had learned.

My akhu are an important piece of my cultural heritage and I will continue with a veneration shrine for as long as I live. Korea already has their own well integrated ancestor veneration rites (most predominant on the Lunar New Year and their death day) but for the most part, it’s easily integrated into my own akhu veneration practices within a Kemetic Orthodox setting. The only deceased family member I know of was my maternal grandmother, 박옥랑 (Pak Ok Rang). I have her photo in a frame on the shrine, surrounded by her own candle and her own offering (cool water and soju). I have a tourist-y Korean plate with a skeleton key to help her and my other ancestors find their way to and from the Unseen more easily.

I typically work with them by praying and talking and giving them things. At the beginning, I started off by first finding a photo of someone deceased in my family that I knew (or one could simply write down the deceased names – if you don’t know any, that is fine, simply write “my ancestors”). They need candle flame to draw in warmth and light. They need water as a portal and for nourishment. They need alcohol to boost their strength. They need incense to please their Ka. From there, it’s fairly simple. I lit the candle and poured them fresh, cold water. I invited them to come into my life, to offer me guidance through whatever way was easiest (it seems I have a tendency to receive messages via dreams) and to help me in whatever way I asked. I made sure to banish anyone from my bloodline who had negative intent towards me or my loved ones. I don’t want to deal with them or their shit. I don’t have time for that. However, if they find themselves to be changed to the core, they’re free to come in and take part in the offerings and help me (but I’m a little pessimistic so I don’t extend this offer easily). For food offerings, you really don’t need too much (a tablespoon at the most is more than sufficient) but of course, if you asked them for help with money put more to the side for them. The dead keep what they receive, so after you’ve finished offering and felt they’ve taken their fill, wrap it up and throw it away or leave it on the ground (this bit clashes with how I was raised however – Korean tradition states that we would actually ingest the food offerings to strengthen our bond with our ancestors. So it really depends on if I’m offering within my cultural background context or within a Kemetic context). If you find you don’t have enough to spare for Akhu offerings, don’t worry! Speaking this prayer brings its offerings into existence in the West, so they will be pleased regardless:

An offering which the King gives (to) Wesir, Lord of Busiris, the great god, Lord of Abydos, that he may give invocation-offerings (consisting of) bread, and beer, meat and fowl, alabaster and clothing, and all good and pure things by which a god lives, to the ka of [name], True of Voice. – Translated by Susan Llewellyn

An akhu shrine may also want a white (for the deceased) or dark blue table cloth (to signify Nut) but if nothing else, perhaps a cloth of their favorite color.

It’s especially helpful writing them letters. With the act of physically writing out the things we need their help with, and the act of saying it aloud to them, they hear us. And they will try. I usually do this on the Akhu honoring festivals or whenever I feel I need them most. I will burn the letter and scatter the ashes to the ground or I will bury it. I would also soak the letter in water until the ink all ran, then pour the water outside.

Be respectful. Beyond all doubt, the ones who love us will try to help us the most. They have lived through the daily troubles we go through. Bills, responsibilities, work. They know it’s hard. Offer to them as often as possible (once a day) or at the very least, once a week. The more they pass by between the Unseen, the more the offering water will become slick and dusty and dirty more often than usual. This is why you want to change it at least once a week. Make sure to invite them to come into your life. No on wants to barge in uninvited, why would it change for the dead?

Posted by: tatjaspace | July 8, 2014

Nekhtet!

I was divined a Daughter of Sobek-Ra and Beloved of Wadjet, Djehuty, Bast and Aset-Serqet!!

such rage, much heka.

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